The Arlberg lift company today announced that the go-ahead for the long-awaited ski link between the St Anton and Lech has been granted.
The lift company expects to build the necessary connecting lifts during the summer of 2016 and have the link in place for the following winter of 2016-2017.
The cost of the project, which involves building four new lifts, is estimated at 45 million Euros and will result in a linked ski area of 87 lifts and over 300km of runs. With both major areas available on skis, the villages also hope to reduce the amount of traffic through the narrow Flexen Pass.
The four lifts to be built in the summer of 2016 include two completely new links and the rerouting of another. All of them will be 10-person gondolas:
The Flexenbahn is the new lift from Alpe Rauz (in between St Christoph and Stuben) which will link up with the rerouted Trittkopf lift from Zürs. The journey will take 6 minutes.
The Trittkopf I and II lifts replace the old lift from Zürs, which will be rerouted into a dogleg with a middle station. The Flexenbahn lift will join at the midstation, giving skiers the option to descend to either valley or to head up to the Trittkopf top station.
The Albona lift will start at Alpe Rauz and head up to the top of the Albona ridge, which is currently served by two slow (and notoriously cold) chairlifts from Stuben.
The project leaders estimate that the building of the new lifts will save around 120 bus journeys a day. There will be no new ski runs built as part of the project.
Willy Skardarasy, chairman of Ski Zürs AG and one of the main supporters of the project, said: "At last. A linked snow-sure ski area with most of it above the tree line. What has been a vision for 50 years is now a reality!"
The Arlberg area also plans to commemorate the link with a new ski circuit: "The Run of Fame". This will visit the whole of the linked area with a length of 65km and 18000m altitude difference. The Run of Fame will pay tribute to the contributions of the many ski pioneers in the Arlberg.
More information (currently German only): www.flexenbahn.ski
Ski article updated: 19.05.16