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A Day in St Anton

By Nick Thompson St Anton Resort Manager

Waking up in St Anton and looking out the window you could only describe it as a skier/boarders dream.  After the half-metre of snow dumping that gave the mountain a nice fluffy blanket the previous day, today you could only see the contrasting colours of the deep blue sky and the perfectly white snow which was reflecting the warming rays of the sun high in the sky. As we rushed to gather our stuff in the apartment, eager to get out and bursting out of the door, the first thing that hits you is the smell and feeling of the crisp freshness of that mountain air, followed by the warming rays on your face. We even got a taxi into the centre of St Anton as we didn’t want to waste any time hanging around for buses! We arrived at the Gampen chair lift to venture up our first run and you can just sense everyone around you is feeling the same excitement, happiness and just in awe of the spectacular views that the St Anton Arlberg Mountains offer.  Going up on the chairlift, everyone is obviously happier as people are actually talking to each other on the way up regardless if they know each other or not, only small talk but just sharing the appreciation of what a beautiful day it is. We arrive at the top of the chairlift and to me and my friends’ surprise, there is hardly anyone on the slopes - there are no queues to have the frustrating waits in, the slopes look wide and free and we can hardly believe how much room we have for shredding up the mountain. Our morning consisted of just warming our legs up on the wide open blues and easier red runs around Gampen and Kapall. Even on the piste, the snow is so fluffly my skis just float over the snow and every turn I make I am engulfed in a flurry of snow kicking up into a cloud. There’s even little moguls to practise a few jumps and 180s without the worry of falling and hurting yourself, as if you did (which is never!) you would just fall onto the softest of blankets of snow. The only worry is it’s going to be cold! We hit the runs: Blue 36, Red 37 and Red 21 with only a few stops for a beer in the snow just off the side of the piste; making ourselves comfy sitting on our boards and skis. We even stopped in the Gampen Restaurant for some food, which is your typical Austrian ski lodge restaurant with all your Austrian favorites. We only had pomme frites though and a cold chilled beer to wash it down with. Later on in the afternoon, we went up Rendlbahn to meet the rest of the team at Rendl beach. In the lift you can just see the untouched areas of Rendl, and now that our legs are warmed up having the thoughts of hitting all those untouched areas.  The views are stunning at Rendl beach, looking out and just seeing the vast size of the Arlberg Mountains, all the trees still have their white coats on and the sun is even higher and hotter in the middle of the clear sky. We simply had to sit in the deck chairs with another beer chilling out, relaxing and just taking in the great atmosphere with all the people around listing to music and trying to catch their goggle tans, whilst the rest of the team come meet us. After that, we put our skis back on and headed to Rendl fun park to get the park rat feeling inside me out. We weren’t brave enough to hit the pro kickers so just stuck to the intermediate ones but still got some massive air and still practicing those 180s off the boxes. At the end of Rendl fun park is a button lift that everyone detests, but we had a better plan! If you carry on down the mountain you come to a great off piste area that leads you down onto the Maass Lift. This is where the snow gets deep, even hip height! So throwing in the turns down the slope the snow kicks up so much I can barely see through my sunglasses. We come to the Maass Lift covered in snow from top to bottom with the biggest smiles on our faces as it was so AWESOME! We then carry on up to the highest point in Rendll - the Riffel 2 Lift,  only to find the best off piste skiing I’ve ever done. I’ve done four seasons to date and I kid you not, the conditions were fantastic. It was a dream gliding through the snow and not one person was there just me and my two friends with all this snow to ourselves - it seemed to go on forever. We had to stop a few times as going through all this snow was hard going on our legs. But with that, when we did stop we would simply flop over with our arms extended and just plop into the snow and have a quick rest. When we did finally meet back on the piste at the bottom, we were all ready to call it a day of skiing. So we followed the R1 run down to the bottom, headed back to the Galzig Lift and headed to Taps for some Apres fun. This was simply the best day of skiing I’ve ever had. Great snow, the sun was out without a cloud in the sky. Great ski area, on and off piste and great company with my friends. It was the perfect day in what I think is the best ski resort in the world.  St Anton – I salute you!

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