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|Resort: Lech (well Oberlech really)
Date: 14-19 March 2009
Our holiday: Just Me and Mrs Axs, both late 40's intermediates looking for a relaxing few days cruising blues
Website : http://west.skiarlberg.at/english/
Basics : Flew Ryanair from Stansted to Fridrichshafen (in Germany), then caught the shuttle bus to Lech (¬£78 one way for two people, transfer time 2 hours). The bus dropped us at the post office which is right next to the gondola which carried us up to Oberlech. A very nice man loaded our luggage (rollerbag, bootbag and skis X 2) onto a trolley for us and it rode up the tunnel system and met us at our room! For a DIY booking this was very simple as the hotel pre-arranged the gondola ticket and luggage moving, and the shuttle is timed to meet the Ryanair flight (and waited as we were 30 mins delayed). Top marks to Ryanair BTW for a low cost (¬£100 each including all ski carriage) service, the 30 min delay was the only 'hitch'. Return journey was by taxi (¬£185) which met us in the tunnel below the hotel at 6.00 am in order to catch the 10.00 flight home. If doing the trip again, I'd fly back on a day when the shuttle bus was running and save ¬£110.
Lift system : Excellent fast modern lift system, many with covers and heated seats. We mostly rode the Petersboden, Kriegerhorn and Steinmahder chairs which gave access to the 34 and 35 blues, The Weibermahd chair is a bit older but is accessible from the top of Peterboden and gets you back up from the bottom off the timed speed run (if you fancy it). The lifts were so efficient that we barely saw a queue, even at peak times the longest we waited was about 5 minutes, normally it was just ski up to the lift and get straight on.
The terrain : Exactly what we were looking for, gentle cruisy blues and undemanding reds that were beautifully groomed every day. We had some snowfall the first night so day 1 was fresh powder (although only 20 cm or so). After that the sun shone every day and although the pistes were a little hard at 8.30, by 9.30 they had softened up to be just perfect. We would start with a run down 34 from Petersboden, then ride back up and cut across to Weibermahd to pick up 62 all the way back. By this time the pistes would have softened and we'd ride up to the top of 35 using Petersboden, Kreigerhorn and Steinmahder and then have a beautiful cruise all the way back down to Oberlech. The pistes and lifts are well sited so there was very little poling or walking required.
The snow : Snow coverage was great, and it snowed some more on the day we arrived. 1st day skiing was fresh powder and we had a little play 'in between' pistes. From day 2 onward it was blue skies and perfect cruising conditions.
Off-piste : We don't really do 'off-piste' but we saw plenty of people enjoying it. For those that want it there's a lot to go at, mostly easily accessible from the lift system.
The resort : Oberlech is perfectly situated right in the middle of the ski area to give true ski-in ski out. It's car free so you can just ski between the hotels which are all within a few meters of the lifts. We stayed there in the evening and ate in our hotel so didn't see any 'night life' but the gondola down to Lech runs until 1.00 am so you can go down to the bars there if that's your thing. We skied down to Lech once but didn't see any reason to stay there. The snow was quite a bit softer in the afternoons down at the bottom so staying above Oberlech gave us the best conditions.
Food : We ate at several of the Oberlech hotels at lunchtime including the Burg, The BurgWald, and the Sonneburg. Food was excellent and self-service prices were not as steep as we'd expected (Spag Bol 9.50, Beer 3.60). We did have one very nice meal on the last day at the Burg which was table service, and came to over 70 Euro for the two of us, but hey, you only live once right? Evening meals were included in our half board package at the Petersboden and were excellent. 4 or 5 courses with normally a choice of main course, all beautifully presented and a real treat. There was an a la carte option as well but the table d'hote menu was so good that we just stuck with it. Wine was around 33 Euros a bottle for a very nice Sauvignon Blanc, and 38 for a Cabernet Sauvignon; the first Austrian red I have ever really enjoyed Breakfast was a large cold buffet with a great range of meats and cheeses, fruits and cereals. Overall the food at the Petersboden is as good as anywhere we've stayed.
Accommodation : Hotel Petersboden is relatively small, (around 30 rooms) and family owned and run.Traditionally decorated and maintained to a very high standard it was very comfortable and clean. Our room was just a 'double comfort' but was very large with plenty of storage space, two sofas and a separate bathroom/shower and toilet. Free WiFi was included in the price as was use of the Spa/Sauna (although we didn't bother with it). The staff were very friendly and helpful, they even provided tea for us in a flask for our 5.00 am checkout morning! Overall a lovely place to stay.
Costs: Not cheap! Travel costs were around ¬£500 inlcuding flights transfers and parking. Hotel cost was ¬£362 per day for the two of us including half board. Lift passes were ¬£150 each for four days skiing. Bar bill was horrendous, but ours always is
Conclusion: Lech more than delivered on its reputation for quality. The costs were high but the skiing, hotel and resort were as good as anywhere we've ever been to and a lot better than most. Expensive but worth every penny.
A few pix, amazing how many people there aren't :-
Mrs Axs at the top of Blue 43
and Me on Blue 34
A half-buried hut
A bunch of folks trekking up for some off piste
The hotel Petersboden from the terrace of the Sonnenburg with the gondola just passing
A few more here if you are interested.
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