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St Anton Am Arlberg, Austria

Skiing has a long history in St. Anton: ski instructors from the area emigrated to America in the 1930s, helping to popularise the sport. St. Anton was the host of the Alpine World Ski Championships in 2001. St. Anton is frequently listed as one of the world’s top skiing resorts both in terms of skiing available and aprés-ski entertainment.

St. Anton is part of the Arlberg area of ski resorts—a region that includes 82 cable cars and ski lifts, 260 km (160 mi) of groomed pistes and 184 km (114 mi) of deep-snow runs, all of which are covered under one liftpass.

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On the western edge of village is the “Galzigbahn” which has been replaced by a Funitel gondola. The new gondola also includes a first-ever “Ferris wheel”: enabling passengers to board the gondolas on ground level, then rotating the gondolas up to the main high-speed cables. The Funitel accesses the Galzig slopes and connects to Schindler and Valluga peaks. On the eastern edge of town, the Nassereinbahn rises to the Nasserein area with connections to the Kapall peak. The Kapall, Valluga, and Schindler peaks provide skiers with close to 1,500 vertical metres skiing (4,920 ft). Slope-side après-ski bars can be found on the Steissbachtal trail just above St. Anton.

The groomed runs in the region cater to all levels; 36% are for beginners (blue), 42% for intermediate skiiers (red) and 22% are for the more advanced (black). There are also 184 km (114 mi) of deep snow runs in the area.

Expert terrain includes less-frequently groomed ski routes such as Schindlerkar and Mattun, and the backside of Valluga (2,811 metres or 9,222 feet) down to Zürs, which is for experts only if accompanied by a guide. There are also a large number of off-piste routes in the area that experts can explore with the help of a guide.

Other ski areas are Lech, Stuben and St. Christoph, a hamlet where in the 14th century the shepherd Heinrich Findelkind built a hospice as a shelter for travellers crossing the Arlberg pass to the Vorarlberg province.

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Après-ski comes from the French for “After Skiing” but is now used universally and refers to the socializing that is popular after a days skiing ends. When the sun goes down is when the ski resorts come alive and enjoying a steaming mug of hot Chocolate laced with rum or a glass of hot Gluhwein whilst watching the sunset over the snow covered mountain peaks is a memory which will last a life-time.

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