Ski Resorts of Vorarlberg
Austria’s western most province of Vorarlberg features family friendly ski regions offering great skiing on- and off-piste, high altitude ski touring and well-maintained trails for cross country skiing and winter walking. They are also easy to get to from Zurich, Innsbruck, Friedrichshafen and Memmingen Airports.
Vorarlberg has plenty to offer discerning skiers and boarders – traditional Austrian hospitality in pretty villages, good accommodation, a consistently good snow record, efficient lift systems, well groomed pistes, plenty of off-piste and easy transfers by road or rail from a choice of airports. There’s value for money accommodation to suit all budgets from affordable 4-star hotels including some great ski-in ski-out hotels, bed & breakfast pensions and self-catering ski apartments.
The pretty Bregenzerwald region in northern Vorarlberg lies between Bodensee (Lake Constance) in the west and the Arlberg and the Tirol to the east. There’s 259km of downhill skiing and 93 ski lifts between 600-2,050m, best of which is in Damuls-Mellau (89km), Warth-Schröcken (66km) and Au-Schoppernau (44km) which are linked by buses. Warth-Schroecken is lift-linked to the Lech-Zurs and the other Arlberg resorts, but has kept its separate identity. In all these resorts, there is skiing and boarding for all abilities including off-piste, ski touring and over 300km of cross country skiing (including 66km on mountain above 1,000m) and 200km of well prepared winter walking trails. Bregenzerwald is a thriving tourist destination both in winter and summer with 35,000 tourist beds, in over a dozen pretty villages throughout the region and numerous attractive 3-star and 4-star hotels some of which are situated high in the ski areas. Bregenzerwald Ski Resorts Guide >
The Montafon ski region in southern Vorarlberg has glaciers and 80 peaks over 3,000m. There’s 219km piste skiing between 650-2,300m mostly on Silvretta Nova, Hochjoch, Schafberg and Golm and 57 ski lifts carrying 90,320 riders per hours. Most pistes are blue (109km) or red (78km) with comparatively few black runs (32km), but lots of opportunity for skiing off-piste, great ski touring, three Snowparks, around 30 mountain restaurants and 144km cross country skiing. Montafon has over 17,000 guest beds including a wide range of accommodation in the main town Schruns-Tschagguns and ski villages Gaschurn, St Gallenkirch, Gargellen, Partenen and Silbertal and more beds lower down the valley. Montafon Ski Resort Guide >
The Brandnertal region in the south western corner of Vorarlberg has 53km of family friendly piste skiing between 890-2,000m and on two mountains served by 14 ski lifts carrying 20,200 rider per hour. There are ski lifts from the adjacent villages Brand and Bűrserberg as well as a cable car and a blue piste connecting the two mountain ski areas and a free ski bus running between them. There’s also 27km of cross-country skiing and a good selection of family friendly hotels. Brandnertal Ski Resorts Guide>
Klostertal is situated west of the 13km long Arlberg tunnel and home to the family friendly ski area of Sonnenkopf above the villages of Wald am Arlberg, Danofen, Klösterle am Arlberg and Langen am Arlberg. There’s 39km of skiing at Sonnenkopf and some excellent off-piste but there is also a frequent and free ski bus connecting irt to Stuben am arlberg (about 20 minutes away) which is near the centre of the main Arlberg ski area. Aonnenkopf skiers have the option of buying either a local pass for just the Sonnenkopf area, or the Arlberg ski area pass that covers Stuben, lech-Zurs, Warth-Schroecken and the other Arlberg resorts. Sonnenkopf Ski Resort Guide >
Stuben is both a small, quiet mountain village (no smart shops, no night clubs and whilst there are luxury 4-star hotels, there are more B&B guesthouses) and a truly great ski resort. The latter accolade is based both on its local Albona mountain, a magnet for off-piste skiers and freeriders, and its location near the centre of the huge lift-linked Arlberg ski area with excellent connections to Lech-Zurs, Warth-Schroecken, St Anton and St Christoph. The latter two resorts are geographically and politically part of the Tirol but only just, and share the Arlberg ski area with their Vorarlberg neighbours. Sonnenkopf is not lift connected to any of the other Arlberg resorts but it’s only 20 minutes away by bus (or 15 minutes by car or taxi) from Stuben. Stuben am Arlberg Ski Resort Guide>
Lech and Zurs are among the smartest ski resorts in the world, favoured by celebrities and royalty (Princess Diana was a regular) and renowned for their luxury and comfort. Both are parts of the huge Arlberg ski area. ‘Lovely Lech’ has more charm and livelier nightlife, whilst high, purpose-built Zurs has better snow and is better located for exploring the Arlberg’s toughest skiing, which is between Zurs, Stuben and St Anton. (The expert-only off-piste itineraries that you can ski with a guide from St Anton down to Zurs, from Zurs to Stuben and from Stuben to near St Anton are all deservedly famous.). And if you can not choose between Lech and Zurs, don’t worry: they share the same slopes and there are frequent buses running between them. Lech-Zurs Ski Resort Guide>
The Kleinwalsertal in north east Vorarlberg, close to border with Germany, has 61km of piste skiing between 920-2,037m, mostly red (33km) and blue (21km) runs on three mountains served by a total of 30 ski lifts carrying 32,830 riders per hours. Kleinwalsertal has three ski villages – Riezlern, Hirschegg and Mittelberg – and the cost of a lift pass and hotel accommodation for two people for one week is apparently cheaper in Kleinwalsertal than in other Vorarlberg ski regions.
Nearest Airports to Vorarlberg
Getting to the Vorarlberg is easy via Zurich, Friedrichshafen, Memmingen and Innsbruck. The advantages of flying via Zurich include numerous scheduled flights daily and more choice of airlines as well as good road and rail connections. Transfer distances vary depending on which Vorarlberg resort you are visiting, but distances from the airports to Bludenz in the heart of the Vorarlberg are as follows:
Getting to Vorarlberg by rail
There are fast Inter City trains from Zurich and Innsbruck to Bregenz (for Bregenzerwald), Bludenz (for Montafon and Brandnertal) and Langan am Arlberg (for Sonnenkopf, Stuben am Arlberg and Lech-Zurs) with easy onward travel by private taxi to all destinations – ask your hotel to arrange the taxi for you. For Montafon change trains at Bludenz and catch the local Montafonerbahn railway to Schruns.
Airport transfers to Vorarlberg ski resorts
There are fast motorway connections most of the way from all of the abovementioned airports and you can easily drive from those airports to any Vorarlberg ski resorts in approximately two hours or less. If there are two or more of you travelling it’s often convenient and no more expensive to rent a car, but if you prefer not to drive there are plenty of transfer companies to choose from.