Zürs am Arlberg
Telephone: (5583) 2245
A classic, and arguably Austria’s most exclusive resort, with a long skiing history and beautiful scenery. This is the sort of place where the rich, famous and royal go when they are so confident that they do not feel a need to make the “I can afford St Moritz/Gstaad” statement. The resort has two Gault Millau rated restaurants. Ski School programme includes Big Foot Carving and Ski Guide.
With its three five star hotels and nine four star establishments, the tiny resort of Zürs is the destination that the world’s well heeled skiers head for when they want luxury but they don’t wish to make a song and dance about it by booking in at St Moritz or Cortina. Apart from the luxury of the accommodation, which is actually what the resort is made up of – giant chalet-style buildings – the resort has several other important advantages for winter sports fans, wealthy or otherwise. It is one of Austria’s highest ski centres, up at a very snow sure 1720 metres (5643 feet) and it’s lift linked to Lech in the famous Arlberg region with St Anton also on the lift pass.
There’s history too: a year-round inn was known to have existed here as long ago as 1416, as a refuge for those crossing the Arlberg, centuries before there were ski lifts and Gore Tex. Ski tourism began in 1925, however the first pair of ‘Nordic Planks’ (Telemark skis) arrived in the Arlberg in 1890. The first courses in the ‘Alpine’ technique of downhill skiing took place at Zürs in 1906. One of the students was Hannes Schneider, the legendary founder of the world famous Arlberg school of skiing, who became a film star and travelled the world, most notably to Japan, to teach his technique.
The first rope tow lift in Austria, possibly the world, was installed in Zürs in 1937. Today the ski school is regarded as one of the best in the world with 140 of the cream of Austria’s ski instructors working, usually offering private tuition and off-piste guiding to annual repeat clients. Its not unusual for some of the instructors to be so in demand that they can be fully booked for the entire season!
Naturally, the resort which markets itself as ‘High Zürs’ is proud of its ‘quality rather than quantity’ approach and markets itself as the ‘First ski resort’ …they believe first for snow, skiing, ski school, restaurants and hotels.
Zürs am Arlberg, Vorarlberg, Lech, Alps
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