“Why don’t we go skiing?” I asked. After offering the hubby several suggestions for a weekend getaway we decided that skiing would be a great idea. And so, I started researching the best ski resorts in Europe with a short transfer since we would only be going for a weekend. Which narrowed it down to Chamonix, St-Anton, Verbier, Espace Killy, Megève, Mayrhofen, Courmayeur and Morzine. We ended up at none of these locations because there were no direct flights or they were fully booked. Apparently planning the ultimate winter weekend getaway one month before is still considered last minute.
Luckily, I found a great website with all the information I needed to find the best last minute skiing destination. Go Ski, allows you to select the country you’d like to ski in and then provides information like; the mountain stats, terrain, ratings and nearby airports. We narrowed it down to St Christoph am Arlberg, a little ski town about a 10-minute drive from St. Anton. If you are looking for an alternative to the busy and noisy vibe down in St. Anton or in our case, just need a place that isn’t sold out, this is a great option.
The Arlberg ski area is one of the world’s best; St Christoph offers excellent pistes, ski-in ski-out accommodations and connections on piste to Lech, Zurs and St Anton. Be advised that it is not cheaper than other resorts in more popular areas even though it is very small and does not offer the nightlife you would find in other nearby towns. It is not the best choice for beginner skiers either, I can vouch to that as I spent most of my time laying down on the slopes.
When visiting a country, I believe that one should enjoy the regional cuisine even if you are only driving through to get somewhere else. Switzerland is home to the fondue and there was no chance in hell we weren’t stopping for some scrumptious melted cheese on our way to Austria! We stopped in St Gallen, a perfectly located city in Switzerland that happens to be located at the half-way mark to our destination; St Christoph, Austria. We enjoyed a nice meal at Fondue Beizli and were on our way!
As we drove into the Arlberg mountains we started to get a little worried with the lack of snow and started to think that maybe we would have to cut our ski weekend short and find something else to do. Well, we were wrong. As we got closer to Bürs, it started to look a lot more like a winter wonderland; we were going to ski after all!
We made our way up to St Christoph through snow covered winding roads which we drove through as a true Montrealer would; without any hesitation. We checked in to our hotel, Arlerg Hospiz, and made our way to our room to get some much-needed rest before our big ski day.
After waking up a little later than anticipated we made our way down to confirm our ski rental and fill our bellies. Arlberg Hospiz Hotel has an Intersport on site where you can rent your ski equipment online ahead of time, very convenient for anyone who doesn’t want to carry their skis too far. After we were all suited up and ready to go, we made our way across the street to the ski lifts, another very convenient feature of this hotel.
It was all down hill after that, pun intended. I spent several weeks taunting my husband about how great I was on the slopes nearly 15 years ago, the one and only time I ever went skiing by the way, and how I was going to do so much better than him. Well, I was a disaster, turns out skiing is not like riding a bicycle. After several hours of struggling down the slopes, wiping the snow off my face and being asked by random strangers if I was ok we made it to an après-ski where I ordered a much-needed alcoholic drink.
All good things must come to an end, back to the slopes we went! Apparently, it wasn’t over, I still had to make my way down to the base. I slowly made my way down as toddlers were speeding down the slopes and cutting me off. I’d had enough! Time for a nice dinner and lots of wine. We returned our skis and were told that we still had a few hours left on our rental and that we could take advantage of another day of skiing or get a refund. I think it’s clear what we opted for…
Before dinner we hopped in the car and took the short drive to St Anton to see what all the hype was about. It was certainly more lively than St Christoph; people were gathered outside enjoying a few drinks, music playing and everyone genuinely enjoying themselves in a very relaxed setting, a real après-ski experience. There are several restaurants and bars but be sure to reserve way in advance as they get booked up quickly.
A nice relaxing dinner was awaiting in Lech, another ski town about 15 minutes away from St Christoph. Restaurant Fux is a steakhouse that offers a variety of exotic meats like bison, Wagyu, ostrich and the traditional beef filet along with serval other vegetarian friendly menu options. Our dinning experience was rather disappointing, I ordered a Pittsburgh rare ostrich filet which came barely charred and blue. I then ordered dessert in hopes that maybe my dinner would end on a high note but my crème brulée came without the crunch and made its way right back to the kitchen leaving me with no dessert. L
On our last day, we decided to head into Zurich a little earlier to enjoy some more Fondue and do a little sightseeing. We found this lovely restaurant called Chäsalp about 15 minutes outside of the city that served excellent Fondue. The service was excellent and the food as well!
Sunday is usually not the best day to wander a city in Europe as everything is typically closed, which happened to be the case in Zurich. We made our way to Limmatquai, a street along the Limmat river, a river that flows out of Lake Zürich. Once you make your way to the Quaibrücke bridge you’ll see Lake Zürich and Bellevueplatz square. On the opposite side of Limmatquai you can find some high end shops like Céline, Mulberry, Jil Sander, Valentino, Tom Ford and much more.
Our last stop before heading to the airport was Café Restaurant Mohrenkopf, where I enjoyed a Coupe Dänemark, which would be the equivalent of a chocolate Sunday. I needed my sugar fixed after the previous evening’s dessert disappointment.
Our fondue filled ski weekend was a success and I haven’t completely given up on skiing despite the failed attempt at getting back on the slopes after such a long time.
Where was your best ski vacation? Before I start planning our next ski trip I’d love some recommendations, maybe I’ll even try snowboarding next time? lol
Leave your comments below and tell me all about your ultimate winter weekend getaway!