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Ischgl or St. Anton?

The snowy paradise that is St Anton has long been a favourite destination among avid skiers. With its exceptional off-psite and second-to-none après ski, St Anton gaurantees a great ski break. However, despite being a skiing hotspot, St Anton does face stiff competition. Just 40 minutes down the road is the up-and-coming Ischgl, which offers a similar blend of a large ski area, great skiing and epic après ski. But can this new contender steal St Anton’s crown?  Let’s take a look…

Choice of Accommodation

St Anton steals an easy win here. The town offers a huge range of accommodation options, from small and basic guesthouses (which can be great value) to apartments, catered chalets and seriously impressive hotels, such as the new Mooser hotel.

By contrast, Ischgl’s hotel scene is much more focused on traditional hotels – there are a few self-catered apartments around, but almost nothing in the way of affordable guesthouses. This can mean that it ends up costing significantly more to stay in Ischgl.

Buying a property

Both places are difficult to buy an apartment in. Property in Ischgl is very expensive and rarely comes on the market, so if you are looking to buy it’s best to opt for an apartment in Galtür with its picturesque setting and family oriented ski area with over 40km of pistes. For a start, the prices are much more reasonable and you are only 10 minutes away on the free ski bus.

The same goes if you want to buy an apartment in St Anton – they are hard to come by and the demand is very high, plus there are additional land prices.

Snow quality

It’s a draw here – the two resorts are geographically near enough that if one gets hit with snow the other shouldn’t be too far behind.

It’s also worth noting that the village of Lech (part of the St Anton ski area) is routinely listed as the snowiest in the Alps.

Skiing – on piste

Ischgl just pips St Anton to the post here. The resort has an abundance of predominantly red runs, and if you’re a fan of skiing smooth motorways you can have an epic time just dashing around the mountain.

But that’s not to say St Anton is at all shabby on-piste though, especially when you consider the sheer scale of the ski area. It’s also fair to say that both St Anton and Ischgl suffer from a similar problem – the main runs back to the town centre can become horribly busy and cut up late in the afternoon.

Skiing – off piste

St Anton wins by a mile here. This resort is considered to be among the world’s greatest off piste destinations, which is one of the reasons why many serious skiers choose to base themselves there. Despite St Anton’s win, Ischgl also has some excellent off piste available when the conditions are right.

Après ski

Both Ischgl and St Anton are renowned for their lively après skis, but the two approach it in slightly different ways.

In St Anton, the focus is really on the ski-boots-on après ski scene, and in particular on two bars that are perched on the Galzig run back into St Anton – the Krazy Kangaruh and the Mooserwirt. Past 3.30pm things really get going, with 4 hours or so of stomping on the tables, guzzling down beers and singing along to cheesy Germanic pop anthems.

In Ischgl, the party is more focused in the town rather than up on the slopes. People ski down and head straight on to Niko’s Hexenkücke or the Hotel Elisabeth (complete with dancing girls in short Dirndls), but while the party is fun, it doesn’t quite have the same atmosphere as that at the Mooserwirt.

However Ischgl’s real strength lies in its nightlife. For those who have the energy to go out after the afternoon/early evening fun in the Mooserwirt or Krazy Kangaruh, the St Anton late night après ski can feel a little bit tame, and perhaps a bit of a disappointment.

Ischgl, on the other hand, boasts an exceptional nightlife. There is a branch of Pacha, the Ibizan superclub, replete with podium dancers and VIP lounge. There is are also a number of other locations (Posthorndl, Fire and Ice) that are substantially more sophisticated than anything in St Anton, plus two strip clubs – if you’re into that sort of thing.

So which is better?

Of course it is down to personal preference and what your priorities are in a ski trip. If you’re looking for sheer quality for skiing (especially off piste) St Anton is heaven for all those who live and breathe skiing.

Whereas, Ischgl’s greatest strength lies in its epic late night party scene. But this means that a lot of people at this resort are there for the clubs and so it tends to attract less serious skiers.

Go to both and decide for yourself – don’t be surprised if you end going back to each one again.