A June 2004 trip
to St. Anton by jim
Quote: The Tirol region is an outdoor/adventure lover’s paradise, and St. Anton is a wonderful place to start.
During my four days in St. Anton I experienced as many of the outdoor activities as I physically could. Then I hit the health club and my very comfortable bed for a fantastic night of deep sleep. But before that I always found a good beer and a nice meal to help fuel me for the next day of activities.
Even though I enjoyed myself thoroughly, I still think that potential visitors should know what they are about to experience. St. Anton is not a jumping nightspot during the summer (unlike during the winter when the après ski scene is very noteworthy). But I liked the quiet scene. It's perfect for a romantic getaway, you can find a nice deal, and all of the locals bend over backwards to show you excellent hospitality.
Bring a good book. There will be some down time. Given my busy life, I welcomed the change of pace and loved that I got to read a couple of books while I was here. Also, some of the outdoor activities were so tiring (in a good way) that I needed the rest.
Ask the locals for the best places to hike, bike, run, etc. They are eager to provide some guidance and will oftentimes go with you (i.e. the folks at the Intersport Sporting Goods store led tours). There are so many options that you will want to experience the best routes.
I was in St. Anton for four days, so it was nice to have such a comfortable place to stay. I really spread my stuff out and was glad I had the extra room when I got back from various hikes and could throw my dirty clothes off. It was also neat to watch the cows from my balcony being brought in and out of town at the beginning and end of the day. The balcony was also perfect for late night lounging and star-watching. I also have to especially compliment the food in the dining room. I had several meals at the Hotel Post and enjoyed every one of them. The Austrian wine was particularly memorable (even though I drank far too much of it).
As for the particulars of the hotel, the ambience/style was very cozy. There was nothing that was ornate, and you felt like the hotel had been around for awhile (although nothing was rundown or overly worn). The bed was extremely comfortable, so much so that I overslept at least two mornings. There was a nice bathtub if you wanted to soak your tired bones.
Finally, you got the feeling that the owners really cared about their guests. This was not a large chain hotel experience. Without reservation, I highly recommend this hotel for both winter and summer stays.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 28, 2004
Walter Schuler Weg 2
St. Anton, Austria
But before I went hiking, I had my first introduction to Nordic walking while in St. Anton. You can think of Nordic walking as cross-country skiing without the skis, or as hiking with poles (but different). In essence, you take longer strides and use the poles to work your upper body. It looks a little goofy sometimes, but it was a nice workout if you like hiking/walking.
You can get a class at the Well.com Health Club, and then you are off. Taking the class actually helps because there is a bit of technique involved. Having said that, I’m still an old-fashioned hiker. The Nordic walking was a nice twist, but I like to take pictures along the way and didn’t like having to mess with the poles all the time.
A particularly nice way to do some hiking involves hiring a mountain guide in town and then hiking up to the mountain huts. This is a nice day trip out of town and provides the experience of staying up on the mountain at night--an absolutely wonderful experience. The mountain huts vary in terms of quality so map out the best option with your guide. This is one of the most uniquely European experiences I have encountered, and I highly recommend it.
General Hiking Overview
All around town
St. Anton, Austria
I like a great workout and was not disappointed on this trek. At the end of the ride I was completely exhausted. I rode with some friends who were not regular mountain bikers, and we found ways to make it interesting for everyone (like shortcuts and nice breaks at the top of steep climbs). Having said that, make sure everyone is on the same page regarding the difficulty level because St. Anton has some serious trails (even if you think you are in great mountain biking shape).
On one ride I particularly enjoyed we followed several trails. It took us about 3 hours and it was easy to stay oriented given the layout of the valley. There are several places along the way where you can go further or take the shortcut home, so it is nice to be with a group. We hired a guide from Intersports where we rented the bikes. The rental cost was about $20 a day, and the bike was top-notch. Our guide was also very good. He told us a ton about the area, took food along for breaks, and kept an eye on everyone. He also showed us some parts of the trail that we probably wouldn’t have found on our own.
Mountain Biking Overview
The mountains surrounding the town
St. Anton, Austria
Attraction | "Golf in St. Anton"
The course welcomes "golfers" of all abilities. In fact, a couple of people in our group had never played before and got lessons at the course (they have range balls and rental clubs available). The atmosphere is very friendly and everyone had a good time. One of the members of our group even made the comment that she would never think of going to a regular golf course but that she was thrilled she had gone in St. Anton because it was so approachable and friendly.
Having said all of that, I definitely enjoyed hitting the ball around the course. But it is not the kind of course Americans expect. It is a little rough around the edges, the greens need work, the practice range and holes intersperse, the tee boxes are a little bit rugged, and the facilities are sparse. I would not let any of this stop you from checking it out though. The American that runs the club is very nice, and they have a legitimate golf pro for lessons. They also have various tournaments and other special events at the course to keep things interesting.
I got some great exercise walking the course, had a relaxing beer with my friends on the terrace at the golf shop, saw a different part of St. Anton on my walk to the course, and overall had a really fun time. I highly recommend you give it a try.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 28, 2004
Middle of town
St. Anton, Austria
Attraction | "Ski and Local Heritage Museum"
I particularly enjoyed seeing some of the old ski equipment, looking at the old photos of famous local ski events and skiing stars, hearing about the tunnels through the mountains, and just learning about the local history of the place. Our guide was very informative and the walk up to the museum was quite nice (it is about a ten minute walk from the Hotel Post).
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 28, 2004
Ski & Local Heritage Museum
St. Anton, Austria
There were a couple of things I liked in particular. One, the sauna that had a view of the mountains was pretty neat. It was very large, the walls were made of logs, and it had a very relaxing feel to it (plus the view was very nice).
Two, the outdoor jet pool was something I had never experienced before. You can sit in the middle or on the sides and feel a variety of jets. Nothing new there, but about every 15 minutes some massively powerful jets work in unison to literally propel you in a counter clockwise circular motion around the pool (which is about 10 yards by 10 yards). It's fun to fight the jets or just lay back and be taken away.
Third, I thought the café was an excellent choice. You get a nice, healthy meal and can sit outside by the pool. Finally, everyone at the facility was very helpful and friendly. All said, I recommend you spend some time here while in St. Anton.
Regarding the dancing, the moves are extremely strenuous and athletic. The men who perform the more difficult maneuvers are definitely studs. For perspective, one of them had just returned from the Himalayas where he summated one of the 8,000-meter (around 25,000 feet) peaks. The other dancers are mostly mountain guides, ski instructors, and at the very least people who enjoy staying in shape. They throw each other around, jump on and off the stage, spin very quickly on stilts, kick each other in the butt, and various other things that keep the show entertaining throughout. The dancing and music also tells several stories. For instance, one number was called jealousy and involved two of the men arguing over one of the women. I didn’t understand the words, but I certainly understood the plot. It was funny stuff. Several women also dance, but their parts are much less demanding (although they are much prettier).
Regarding the music, it mostly consists of a three-or four-person band playing the guitar, the bass, and various other instruments including traditional horns (some up to ten feet long). The musicians and dancers rotate throughout, and many of the songs include singing by the dancers.
Throughout the performance, beer and drinks are served, and at the end of the performance, you can meet the performers and have yet another drink for the road. I give this performance an unqualified, enthusiastic recommendation and given that summer nights in St. Anton aren’t exactly hopping, the show is even more of a must-see.
Charlotte, North Carolina