Europe Stop #2 – Blingin' in Lech
With rumors of Aspen-esque cougars, rampant fur coats and Royal Family sightings, how could we miss a chance to visit this European utopia known to mortals as Lech am Arlberg. Originally one of the poorest villages in Austria, Lech was an isolated cattle and dairy farming town with very little connection to nearby valleys.
But in the early 1900's they built a mountain road into Lech, some wise guy finally looked up and saw how awesome the mountains were, and skiing started booming. It has since grown to an elite and well-known resort for those privileged enough to visit. There's even a saying that goes: "How do you become a millionaire in Lech? You go into a shop as a billionaire and come out a millionaire". But we knew it was the skiing that got it all started, so we threw on our invisible fur coats and went to check it out for a day.
Just around the corner from St Anton, we knew we'd be skiing the same spring schmooo we'd been shredding all week, but I had my eyes pealed for future potential. Sam 'Chief' O'Keeffe and Will 'Pissy Knickers' Hoddell were my tour guides once again, and once again they could throw a stick in any direction to point out lines we could be skiing only 2 weeks earlier; lines we will be skiing when I return.
It soon became obvious why the locals hadn't chosen dairy farming as their only pastime, no matter how much anyone likes goat cheese. Apparently skiers weren't the only ones looking up. After a full day of touring Lech's potential, we headed down to check out Lech's other less-expected asset; the terrain park. It's no Super Park 6, but finding a terrain park at any big mountain Euro resort ain't easy. And isn't the land of shopping and fur coats the last place you'd expect to find one? Think again, it's the perfect match.
What better a place to throw on your fur collared puffy jacket and gold chains, walking around like you own the place? They've been doing it for half a century before Tanner Hall or twin tips even existed. And it shows, as their well-shaped tabletops, spines, and kinked and curved rails make for a pretty killer spring session. After all, you know that lonely zipper on your jacket is begging for you to zip the fake fur collar back on, just this once.
Sam O'Keeffe corked 3.
Next Stop: Engelberg, Switzerland – Where Angels Roam
Lech Am Arlberg is 100km from Innsbruck , 200km from Zurich, and 250km from Munich. It's part of the same network of lifts as St Anton, St Christophe, Zurs, and the other nearby spots, all together forming a huge ski area that you shouldn't miss on your next Euro trip.
The area got pounded with snow in '05 while many other European resorts suffered, and it's consistently one of the snowiest valleys in the alps. Web: www.lech-zuers.at for more info.