Located in Vorarlberg, Austria's westernmost province, the tiny resort villages of Zürs and Lech can be reached by train from Zürich, 124 miles to the west, in Switzerland. Many hotels offer shuttle-bus service from the Zürich airport. Ski season runs November 28 to May 2; passes are sold at area hotels (from $41 per day). Buses connect Zürs and Lech with the surrounding towns of St. Anton, St. Christoph, and Stuben.
WHERE TO STAY
Hotel Zürserhof There's nothing rustic about this refurbished farmhouse with its expanses of marble floors and Persian rugs. Lunch and dinner tend toward the exotic—lemongrass soup with oysters, fjord salmon on kohlrabi with coconut curry. DOUBLES FROM $502, INCLUDING ALL MEALS. 43-5583/25130; www.zuerserhof.at
Sporthotel Lorünser, Zürs A 77-room Alpine retreat. Choice of macrobiotic or Austrian cuisine (the ubiquitous Wiener schnitzel, liver spätzle). DOUBLES FROM $315, INCLUDING ALL MEALS. 43-5583/22540; www.loruenser.at
Hotel Schneider Almhof, Lech Fireplaces in the bedrooms; handmade quilts. Popular cocktail bar and Walser Stube restaurant. DOUBLES FROM $654, NO CREDIT CARDS. 43-5583/35000; www.almhof.at
Hotel Gasthof Post, Lech Hallways hung with hunting trophies and cowbells. Hand-painted murals stand in for headboards in most rooms. Not surprisingly, both restaurants serve traditional regional food. DOUBLES FROM $630. 43-5583/22060; www.postlech.com
Zürs has two nightclubs: Disco Zürserl, in the Hotel Edelweiss (43-5583/2662), and Vernissage, at the Robinson Select Alpenrose (43-5583/2271). In Lech, one of the most popular hangouts is the new, ultrahip Skihütte Schneggarei (43-5583/39888).
Private or group lessons can be booked at either the Zürs Ski School (43-5583/2611), where Peter Happ is one of 150 instructors, or the Lech Ski School (43-5583/2355). Both can arrange guided off-piste and heli-skiing outings.
Lech's sports emporium, Sporthouse Strolz (43-5583/ 23610; www.strolz.at) has ski and snowboard rentals, fur-lined Prada parkas, and Strolz's famous handcrafted ski boots, which can be custom made in 24 hours. There's an outpost on the ground floor of the Hotel Zürserhof (43-5583/251-3911).
—Jaime L. Gross