TRAVEL AUSTRIA – A Lech Family Adventure

November 19th, 2010

Picture perfect Lech. Image:: Plattenhof

Words | Annabel Tudhope*

I remember when I was 12 going to Austria for the family ski holiday. It was the worst season that Europe had seen, but that didn’t stop the snow falling in Lech.

About 20 minutes from St Anton, deep in the mountains, Lech is the most beautiful ski resort, the perfect destination for a family ski holiday. With the breathtaking views, small traditional town and the relaxed atmosphere, what’s not to love!

Places to see and places to go
Lech is surrounded by the Austrian Alps and with a small town down the road called Zürs there are so many things to do! My favourite would have to be the most massive toboggan run probably ever known to man! It is about 1.2km long down a steep, snow-covered track, racing down a hill with little bob sleds. You can race the whole family down this windy path which runs from Oberlech to Lech. I still remember trying to beat my little sister at night, not being able to see much but the black trees racing past, using the toboggans we nicked from the hotel, we just kept doing laps of the track until the very last run. Because it is open till 10 o’clock at night, you can have the whole day of skiing and then hit the toboggan park at night.

Another fantastic activity would be the ice skating rink at the Hotel Monzabon, which sits at the bottom of the main ski lift. It is open to anyone and everyone, with so many fun things to do, like playing an exhilarating game of ice hockey, trying out curling or just having a relaxing skate around. I remember when all the kids decided to play a huge game of ice hockey, Germans vs Aussies, it was such a thrill to be playing ice hockey for the first time, even though we got thrashed, sorry Aussies, it was still such a memorable time racing around the rink trying not the fall on the freezing ice and attempting to hit the puck, definitely a highlight of the family holiday!

The skiing
Lech is surround by enormous mountains; it has breathtaking views and a whole load of snow. The runs are picture perfect, long wide and covered in powder, with trees lining the side – the stereotypical skiing you would expect in Austria. The area is divided into a series of districts, the main ones being Lech, Oberlech and Zürs.

Because Lech is divided into districts, there is a huge circuit called The White Ring, it is 22km long and goes through lots of the different districts. The White Ring is also the world’s biggest ski race, during the ski season; people compete in a long treacherous race trying the get to the end in the fastest time possible. Unfortunately I didn’t get the see the race, but I did get to do most of the circuit. Half of the time you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere surrounded by gigantic mountains, blue bird skies and steep long runs with not a soul in sight. Amazing. My favorite was the adorable little cafes on the top of the hill, with the most amazing crepes I have ever tasted, hot chocolate with extra whipped cream and deck chairs so you can relax outside, rest your legs and indulge in the crepes full of fresh berries and cream, yummm!

The ski school is so much fun. My sister, brother and I couldn’t wait every day to go to ski school and laugh at the instructors’ funny accents. We learned a lot tackling the Austrian powder and flying through the trees. At the end of our stay there, they threw a small race for all the kids to compete in, my brother was so excited when he came second in his class and the instructor gave him his ‘ski schule’ beanie.

The town
Lech is a beautiful traditional Austrian town with a lot of character, it is full of true Austrian houses and you can really feel the culture and the values the people have in Lech. It is an amazing place to go on a holiday and you will never experience anything like it. It has piles of snow everywhere, just adding the snow feeling to the classic Austrian town. It is filled with shops for clothing, snow sports stores, restaurants and so much more. Also to get around town they have horse drawn sleigh rides for people wanting a ride around town and see all the attractions. You just need to call them up and they will take you wherever you want to go.

From the exhilarating toboggan park to the classy Montana Hotel, Lech is one of my favourite places in the world with views that blow you away.