Sunday, January 07, 2007

Europe - St Anton, Day 5

(Previous Stop: St Anton, Day 4)

On this last day of my skiing, I wanted to head over to the upscale ski town of Lech and see what kind of skiing was there...

Here's a few pics of the typical lifts at St Anton. When the red gates open, you scoot forward onto the moving carpet, which moves you ahead to the loading point. Worked great.

The chair lift gates. Instead of getting lift tickets like in the States, we got smart cards which we just had to keep in our jackets and as we got close to the sensor, it would recognize our valid lift pass and let us through. And you get a couple Euros back for giving back the card at the end of your stay.

The Arlenmahderbahn lift, which was needed in order to get to the free bus to Zurs. This chair lift begins at an elevation of 1834 m (6050 ft) and it rose about 700 meters. Most of the lifts here were at a resonably low elevation. In Utah and Colorado, most of the villages themselves are at 8000 ft and the lifts take you up to around 12,000 ft. Altitude sickness is definitely more of a problem in the US resorts.

One thing nice about the chair lifts here was the bubble enclosure to keep out any howling winds or blowing snow.

Warning sign on the bubble

I could tell I was in Lech (luxury ski town of the area) as I saw this display for a Maybach 52, which costs around $300,000.

The town of Lech

A massive 8 passenger chair lift system at Lech. The biggest I've seen is a 6 person one before.

The trail map at Lech showing a majority of the lifts and trails as being open.

"34b goes that-a-way..."

Two dogs getting frisky in the snow... must be the mountain air.

A hotel on the middle of the mountain

Looking down at the town of Lech

They had a tram (Rufikopf), which would basically scale the face of this steep mountain. Impressive stuff.

Looking down at the town of Zurs from the top of the Rufikopf Tram from Lech.

The top station of the Rufikopf Tram.

Heading down to Zurs. They had this trail called Der Weisse Ring, which was a massive ski trail loop between the towns of Lech and Zurs. I'd guess it's about 8 kms (5 miles) in length. Took me most of the afternoon to do.

One of the mini-lifts on the way to Zurs.

Lunch of sausage and beef goulash.

Continuing on Der Weisse Ring. Heading down to the Madlock-Joch Lift.

On the Madlock-Joch Lift

Looking back at Zurs and St Anton in the distance behind those peaks.

The very tiny Madlock-Joch Lift, which was generally slower than the other high-speed high traffic lifts.

One of the famous off-piste chutes in the St Anton area, which I'm told gets very narrow and steep. Being the last day and sore, I decided to skip it.

Der Weisse Ring trail maker

Looking down at the town of Lech

Now that's product placement. An all-wheel-drive Audi wagon at the top of the mountain.

Heading back on the bus... this truck came flying around this blind corner and almost collided with us.

Directions on how to close the bubble

Taking the Valluga tram (which this resort is known for) for my last run down. Looking down at a very high cat-walk ski trail coming down from the Valluga peak.

The backside of Mt. Valluga

Taking a little tow-bar lift to get us over to the front side of the mountain... and taking me home one last time.

I thoroughly enjoyed this ski trip and met some really great people on the chair-lifts and during meals, as well. The terrain is definitely the kind that I like to ski and I'll be back soon...

(Next Stop: Venice and Milan)

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