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Date: 28th Feb to 7th March 2009
Our holiday: Family holiday. Wife and 3 kids aged 11, 8 and 5 plus my borther-in-law, his wife and 3 kids aged 11, 13 and 15.
Website : www.stuben.com
Basics : Just under an hour and half from Innsbruck airport by bus. Would be slightly quicker by taxi. Langen train station around 5 mins away with direct links to Innsbruck and Zurich. Friedrichshafen airport around 2 hours away by road or train.
Lift system : Only one old two man chair in Stuben up to Albona with two further chairs once up. Although there are only a few runs around Stuben, they are really good fun. You can ski all the way from Stuben to St Anton and even the Rendl area of St Anton (if you ignore the short walk to the rope tow or 1 minute bus ride). Lift system around St Anton in the main is good although a few more chairs could be updated. The Zurs/Lech section is a 5-10 min bus ride away and the lift system there is better than St Antons - more high speed, heated chairs.
The terrain : The pistes around Stuben itslef are limited but great fun. You are at the far end of the St Anton circuit and easilly linked into that. As stated above the Zurs/Lech section are a short bus ride away. Don't think I really need to comment on how awesome the whole Arlberg region is for skiing as I think it's well known.
The snow : It had been dumping big style before we arrived - snow depth in village went from around 75cm to 220cm in around a week. However the temps increased significantly the day before we arrived and for the next day or two. This did not really impact on the snow around Stuben though (although would undoubtedly have affected off pitse). Snowed on the Tuesday again to freshen things up then started on Wednesday during the night and was still snowing when we left on Saturday - snow conditions were amazing. Downside was that visibility was really bad up high but was fine lower down. Snow conditions were better in our experince in Stuben compared with St Anton and Lech
Off-piste : Can't comment as I don't do but looks amazing. A lot quieter than the off piste around St Anton.
The resort : Stuben is tiny but what restaurants and pubs there are we found to be excellent, both in quality of food and friendly service. Better value than its bigger neighbours too.
Food : I have always found Berghaus Stuben to be excellent and this year was no different. Haus Schneider was a nice find too - really small but really friendly staff. The self service restaurant up Albona is absolutely fine too. We tended to lunch elsewhere though, for example at Hospitz Alm in St Christoph, which I had been put off over the years as I thought it would be mega expensive. Turned up there day one purely by accident and loved it - food and service excellent and only a wee bit dearer than the majority of the other restaurants in the area - portions are massive so in reallity the price is no different - cost us around â‚¬55 for 4 with a few alcoholic drinks included - can't imagine doing that in Verbier or Courchavel's most famous eateries? Rud Alpe in Lech is another lovely spot for lunch and similar in price to Hospitz Alm. Have absolutely no complaints about the food anywhere I've eaten over the years around the area. All high quality and big portions, coupled with efficient and friendly service. Even though there was either 9 or 10 of us eating every lunch, we were always able to get a table quickly and be served fast - amazingly fast in Griabli (opp. Mooserwirt).
Accommodation : Stayed at the Hotel Hubertushof. 4 star hotel at highest point in village. Owner Heike Schwarzman was so welcoming. Food was excellent and included afternoon snacks at 4-5 pm. Leisure facilities were good too. All the staff were friendly, efficient and had good sense of fun. Could not fault any of the staff at all. Leisure facilities were good too with lovely views from the pool over the valley. If I was being picky, I would need to make comments on the beds - but having holidayed in Austria around 14 times over the years it's clearly an Austrian thing - why do they insist on two single mattresses and duvets instead of a double mattress and duvet - for a country that believes in nude saunas etc for HYGENE reasons (aye right ), why the hell can't they have double mattresses
Costs: Family of 5 in a 4 star hotel for a week half board with afternoon snacks and adult lift passes thrown in â‚¬2500. Kids lift passes x 2 @ â‚¬120 plus one at â‚¬10. Ski school for my 5 year old 10-3.30 including lunch and supervision â‚¬210. Lunch was typically around â‚¬50 for 2 adults and 2 kids with cokes costing â‚¬3 and the same for beers (0.5l), â‚¬4 in some places. Gulaschsuppe varied between â‚¬5-7 and pastas between â‚¬8 and â‚¬13 (lasagne at Hospiz Alm which was the best I've ever tasted, although my son ordered that one!)
Conclusion: Having skied around the area several times before I pretty much knew what to expect. Stuben is a beautiful and peaceful place to stay. Ski school was excellent and ideally would have been situated closer to the lift instead of being the other side of the road. Maybe not the place to go on a boys/group trip but ideal for families, couples looking for a romantic place to stay or off piste junkies who are not bothered about being in the hub of apres central (but hey, St Anton is only 10 mins away). Although I would probably prefer to return to Oberlech as a base, it's hard to quantify whether paying an extra â‚¬2-2,500 on accomodation is worth it for the additional ski convenience, and instant access to great fun toboggan run - on reflection probably not as we all enjoyed our stay so much, helped very much by the Hotel Hubertushof. I would have absolutely no hesitation in returning again tomorrow with the family, or with my wife.
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