Skiing in St Anton

Skiing in St Anton

The majority of slopes at St Anton are exposed, with only the lower runs at Gampen and the Rendl run to the valley offering any shelter from poor weather conditions. In a straight contest with Val d’Isere, St Anton might well win the ‘under-classified runs’ title, as many of the blues should be reds. Plenty of reds could well be black and the blacks themselves aren’t especially steep.

The truly steep runs show on the piste map as marked and avalanche-controlled but un-patrolled or groomed ‘ski routes’, indicating solo skiing is risky here. Even so, hundreds of skiers daily treat them as pistes, with evidence of grooming suggesting a need for re-classification. In addition, many of the map’s ‘off-piste high-alpine touring runs’ are unmarked and have no avalanche control, suggesting that, even with a guide, these should not be on the map. All this means care should be taken at all times on all but the most obvious on-piste trails.

Of the three sectors comprising the slopes here, two are linked, with the major sector under the Velluga accessed via the huge gondola to Galzig and thence by cable car. The last section of the cable car ending at Valluga itself is just for enjoying the magnificent views unless you’ve hired a guide for the difficult off-piste down to Zurs. The lower station of Valluga Grat gets you to the resort’s high, sunny bowls and the long red-blue run down to Alpe Roez. From there, an exploration of Stuben’s less populated slopes is a good idea.

The high Valluga runs are also approached by the Schindlergrat triple chair and an occasional hike. The second sector, Kapall-Gampen, is accessed by gondola from Nasserein or by chair from St Anton centre. At mid-mountain, these runs end back at St Anton or Nasserein, or onwards to Kapall for the treeless upper slopes. Rendl, the third sector, is now reached by a new gondola, but is still amazingly un-crowded and quiet.

St Anton gives one of the world’s magic areas for the expert skier, with countless guided off-piste opportunities as well as challenging runs from Kapall-Gampen and Galzig, tricky in full sun. Rendl’s open spaces at altitude have a few challenging runs, which are quiet, in spite of the new gondola. Adventurous intermediates will love it here, with lots of testing pistes as well as a few challenging ski routes for the seriously confident and fit. Beginners should start at Nasserein, with its gentle nursery slope, but there’s little else, apart from a few Gampen slopes and one short blue at Rendl, on which novices can cut their teeth. For snowboarders, however, St Anton is freeriding mecca, with backcountry powder fields, steep gullies and challenging terrain.