Skiing Resort Report: Lech

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Indy Lifestyle Online
One of the weird things about ski resorts is that places that attract seriously moneyed visitors still appeal to the rest of us. Lech and Zurs, linked resorts over the hill from St Anton, are the big-money resorts of Austria; but like Courchevel, St Moritz, Cortina and Aspen, they deserve the attention of the ordinary British skier simply because they are excellent resorts.

You could say Lech is the ideal compromise. The slopes are high by Austrian standards (1,450m-2,450m), and snowy by any standards. They're also extensive by most standards, provided you include the terrain of Stuben, St Christoph and St Anton, covered by the lift pass and reached by frequent bus service. And Lech itself is as appealing and traditional as the little, low resorts that form the Tirolean norm. (Higher Zurs is just as affluent as Lech, and its hotels are just as heavily wood-clad, but it does not feel like a village.)

Of course, money has its impact. Prices are a bit higher, and your muted Berghaus gear will seem a little drab alongside the metallic Bogner suits for the teatime disco at the Tannbergerhof.

On the other hand, the excellent off-piste terrain on the Rufikopf and Zuger Hochlicht won't get skied out in no time like the slopes of St Anton. And, if you have money of your own, this is practically the only resort in Austria where you can go heli-skiing.

Package operators to Lech include Inghams (0181-780 4444), Momentum Travel (0171-371 9111), Independent Ski Links (01964 533905), Made to Measure (01243 533333), Simply Ski (0181-742 2541), White Roc (0171-792 1188) and Flexiski (0870-909 0754).

Chris Gill is co-editor of `Where to Ski and Snowboard 2000' (NortonWood, pounds 15.99; available P&P free from 01373 834227).