Lech and Zürs in Austria is the winner of the Luxist Awards' Readers' Choice Award for Best International Ski Destination.
One of Europe's finest skiing locations, Lech and Zürs offers the glamour and glitz of Milan or Paris in the setting of a quaint mountain town. Packed with top-notch restaurants, stellar scenery and copious entertainment opportunities, it is made up of the neighboring hamlets Lech am Arlberg and Zürs.
Lech and Zürs dates back to the fourteenth century. Like many ski resorts in Austria – as opposed to ones in France and Switzerland – Lech and Zürs offers a slightly younger, more laid-back atmosphere. It is established as one of the world's greatest ski resorts and a snowy playground for Europe's rich and famous. Renowned for its five month guaranteed snow season, glamour and quality skiing, attractions include outdoor performances like "Viva Verdi: The Magic of Arias in the Alpine Landscape," a riveting performance of light, fire and passion enacted on a unique outdoor stage setting consisting of several hundred cubic meters of snow and ice with an impressive natural backdrop.
Located in a particularly snowy region, the road between Lech and Zürs is sometimes blocked during the winter, making the villages unreachable each other except by ski or snowmobile. Fortunately, the two towns are linked by countless trails and lifts. Lech is almost entirely self-sufficient thanks to a local biomass power plant.
The Lech ski lift system has a limit on the number of day passes to prevent over-crowding and queuing. A 14,000 limit on the number of day passes is strictly enforced but anyone staying in the village of Lech has a guaranteed pass during their visit. The 2009/2010 winter season began on December 4 and will last until April 24th.
The villages of Lech and Zürs have only a few dozen hotels and guest houses between them. When in the area, check out Hotel Aurelio (a nominee for a Readers' Choice Award for Best Ski Hotel) or Hotel Almhof Schneider. With an unfavorable exchange rate for Americans, an Austrian ski vacation won't be cheap, but it will no doubt be as memorable as any in the international ski destination category.