Finally I can pin Austria to my map & change “bucket list” to “I’m going back!” This ski trip to the Arlberg aka. The Cradle of Alpine Skiing is everything this snowgirl could ever dream of and then some.
After skiing my way through Graubunden Switzerland, I crossed the border (with heaps of luggage) to Austria. It’s been forever on my wish list to visit the Arlberg (which is divided by two provinces Vorarlberg and Tirol) The ski resorts in this region are best known for great snow, beautiful hotels, fun aprés ski, delicious food and wonderful hospitality. Stuben is in the Vorarlberg and it’s a darling village that you must see if in the area.
The Arlberg region has many charming villages near each other, but each with their own unique flair. On this trip I was first welcomed in Stuben, then Lech and finally St. Anton. Because the villages are so different, I will share them independently from one another. There is so much to offer in each place! The Arlberg is the home & birthplace of the alpine ski technique as we know it today.
This is an epic year for the region, with lots of meticulous planning the entire Volarlberg and Tirol ski regions are now connected to each other with the most modern new Flexenbahn gondola. You can ski in 7 beautiful locations without needing a bus or any other transport. The loop is finally closed and the Arlberg is beyond excited about this. What that means for us skiers is 87 lifts and 305 km of ski runs. An unbelievable place no matter what your passion is. So much for skiers and winter enthusiasts of all levels to be excited about!
Let’s talk about Stuben!
This tiny hamlet is home to 80 people (in the winter) and sleeps about 800 in the local inns. This means it’s perfect for a romantic getaway, solo awakening or time with your besties. Stuben is tucked away in a tiny valley, with steep walls of snow making it all cozy and some what mysterious. If a large snow storm is to hit, the village is protected by avalanche blockers everywhere. I felt like I was in the middle of a wild ski film hanging out here.
Stuben is the birthplace of alpine ski pioneer Hannes Schneider. His original house is now a lovely inn & worth a visit! Hannes is known as the father of the stemming ski turns, also known as the Arlberg technique. He was an international ski race champion many times over and pioneer of ski schools based on ability. Every ski instructor I’ve ever had that has been trained here is a total rock star on the slopes. They ski beautifully & always in the upmost control, quite the snow dance! Likely due to training in the Arlberg technique.
The statue in the photo above is Hannes walking with his skis by the church.
Stuben is well know in the ski circles for it’s amazing and diverse terrain. Off piste skiers new to the region can be taken on the most beautiful ski tours with local guides, according to ski level. The other option is staying on piste and making your around the Arlberg at your own pace, with the help of the new gondola system.
The Hotel Mondschein
The translation of Mondschein is moonlight and this hotel is perfectly perched to capture the moons glow in every direction. A very romantic destination that is just as fun for couples as it would be a group of your pals. If you and your partner are into winter adventures then Stuben is the place for you and Mondschein the place to stay.
Hotel owner Marcus was so fun to get to know and hang out with. He told me all about the history of the hotel (it was built in 1739, so it’s got lots of stories!) the amazing local ski spots and he gave me a tour of the Mondschein’s completely awesome wine cellar. Marcus has the largest collection of Austrian wines and I was honored to try some of them. If you visit please tell him I sent you!
We enjoyed authentic Austrian cuisine in the Gaststube for dinner and I had breakfast in the a la carte restaurant upstairs. All food in the hotel is prepared from fresh ingredients and the result is the purest flavors. Local cheese always makes a huge impact on me. The Austrians take great pride in their alpine dairies and local creameries. There’s nothing like cheese made from cows, goats and sheep who feast on high alpine pastures.
At breakfast, I always reach for a bowl of Bircher Museli. Their version was delicious. Stay tuned, when I get back home I will experiment with museli recipes and post my favorite with you. It’s quite similar to overnight oats flavored with fruits, nuts and seeds. The base can be any kind of milk, yogurt or cream. A simple and nourishing way to start the day.
The Mondschein takes great pride in being a part of the slow food tradition.
On the menu for dessert, Kaiserschmarrn. One of my all time regional favorites. A doughy, shredded pancake with plum sauce. It’s to die for!
There are two parts to this hotel. The original property, with a large addition and the new Chalet.
The first night I spent in the hotel side and the second in the new Chalet. I enjoyed them both, the hotel being right in the heart of the action with the restaurants and fun bar. The Chalet is only a 5 minute walk up the hill. If you require more space then I might suggest this option.
The Chalet rooms have a living area separate from the bedroom. The most amazing feature in the Chalet is that each room has it’s own private sauna and fire place. Wood logs are at the ready for you to make a cozy fire. The sauna warms up in minutes for you to enjoy peace & solitude while sweating out toxins.
I had never experienced this in room sauna feature before and loved it! I enjoyed my room so much that I took extra time for a self guided yoga session and time in bed to catch up on reading.
Both of my rooms (hotel and Chalet) had beautiful design with rich woods and sturdy design. Something you will notice in both Switzerland and Austria is the use of natural woods in both old and new architecture and interiors. My favorite is when there is a modern mountain edge in the overall look. The Mondschein captures this rustic modern vibe perfectly in the newer parts of the hotel.
I ventured out with super fun ski guide Vincent from Schischule Stuben. We stayed on piste when we skied together as the snow storm made visibility quite impossible. He introduced me to the ski area and the new Flexinbahn gondola. As great as our ski technology is in the States, this transport system is the most brand new technology there is & is completely amazing!
While on the mountain we went to Albona restaurant at middle station where I feasted on dumplings on a bed of sauerkraut with heaps of caramelized onions. Authentic Austrian cuisine & very tasty!
Being that Stuben is a teeny tiny nugget of a town, the food options are unbelievable. It always astounds me when small mountain towns have dining options as fine as the largest cities. Fuxbau restaurant is not to be missed.
Walking the few blocks down to Fuxbar was a wintery treat. The after dinner drink you see above was worth every sip! Warmed me up before the walk home. Coffee liqueur with a frothy egg. Divine!
The dinner was gorgeous!
What you see in the photos above are horseradish 3 ways (blue bowl) a citrus aperitif and homemade whole wheat bread. Below a gorgeous green salad (welcomed after all the cheese I’ve been eating) a ravioli with farm cheese (OK, more cheese) a beautiful Arctic Char dish and prawns. Spectacular cuisine. Should you find yourself in Stuben, please go hungry to best enjoy everything!
It was hard to leave sweet Stuben, but I know I will be back soon! For more information please visit the following websites: