Freeriding, terrain parks and pistes
in St Anton
Freeriders are best suited to St Anton as it's the perfect playground, with a little of everything: steeps, powder, trees and big drop offs. Riders who know what they're doing should worm their way up to Kapall where they'll find loads of great freeriding terrain, with good natural hits. Alternatively, head to the mid station of Valluga Grat via the Galzig cable car to reach some major off-piste, with long runs back down to St Anton and St Christoph. Note you can only go to the summit of Valluga with your board if you are with a guide.
Intermediates just getting it together will find loads to ride, especially on Gampen and Kapall. The runs on Galzig are easier, but tend to get busy with skiers. Advanced riders will love Rendl, a separate mountain on the opposite side of St Anton across to the Gampen runs. Whenever there's a fresh dump, expect to find the locals and ski-bums cramming into Rendlbahn for first tracks, but without a decent coat of snow you'll pick up plenty of scrapes. This area is absolutely amazing for full-on freeriding terrain with tight and open trees and crowd-free slopes.
Within a few days of a good dump, you'll be amazed to find much of the off-piste area to be completely tracked out. This is a serious Freeriders resort, with the right conditions and definitely with a guide, its possible to board from the top of the Valluga into Zürs, and off the back of Rendl from the top of the Riffelscharte, but do not underestimate the risks. Another great off-piste run is from the top of Albonagrat down to Stuben or Kloesterle. You will have to walk about 10 minutes from the peak but it is worth it for the long powder runs in large open bowls.
FREESTYLERS spending a month or two here will never find every natural hit - the resort is simply littered with great take off points and drop ins. There's a good area running parallel to run 17 to St.Christoph that's packed with drops offs and several natural half-pipes. It's a great freestyler's place, but lovers of man made obstacles will be disappointed. The park at Rendl has been expanded, but still feels more of an after thought. There is one intermediate/advanced line of 3 kickers, and a beginner/jib line the other side of the t-bar which services it. Another, but not really better park, is located in Lech.
Everynight, the 31 groomers bash the moguled slopes to perfection, but the mass of skiers make sure they're moguled again by the end of the day, so you'll only be able to get mach-5 decents in the morning. The variety of pistes is fantastic; from the steep and fast runs down from the Valluga to the gentle runs off the Gampen and Galzig. Fast carvers will enjoy the black Kandahar run down from the Galzig, and beginners will love the pitch of run 5.
Beginners with a little adventure will be able to handle St Anton, but wimps may have trouble if they stray too far from the easy runs. A learner's slope at Nasserein provides a good starting point for a number of easy blue trails. Runs 4 & 5 from the Galzig are great for beginners, but there are a few flat bits at the bottom of run 4; stick your thumb out and try and hitch a pole from the passing skiers. If you're after lessons then its worth hunting around to find a specialist boarding instructor. If you are in the area we recommend Black Sheep Snowboarding who cater for all levels form beginner to pro
It isn't very clear from the piste-map but the easy blue runs 17 & 12 can be accessed from the Galzig cable-car, by first taking run 5 and then the chair back up, and then take a short walk and feather down the very short black 10. If you do venture down this way, then prepare for a long walk along run 12 on your return.
The blue run straight off the Rendl gondola is nice gentle slope to learn on, but it is recommend for beginners to take the gondola down to the village rather than tackle the red-run, which can get very icy.READ NEXT: Village life, accommodation & nightlife