Excellent Vacation But We Were Lucky with the Weather and Exchange Rate
The Sporthotel Loruenser is a superb 5-star hotel with outstanding meals and wonderful staff. We stayed an extra 2 days, and are planning to return next season (not too early due to the European school holidays, and not too late due to the snowpack). As for the skiing in Zurs and the connected Arlberg ski areas, someone used to skiing in Utah or Colorado snow might not be that impressed. Zurs itself is not that expansive and while the base is at 1800m, the vertical is not that great. So I either took the bus to Lech (free 10 minute ride + some walking in your ski boots), or the new gondala(s) to St. Christophe & St. Anton. St. Anton, at a lower altitude, desperately needed snow. In mid-March, it was warm and melting fast. The last day it was raining at 1800m. The higher elevations had plenty of base, but as 99% of the people ski on the 'pistes', they get packed down and icy. The 'pistes' are groomed each night, but the grooming does not compare to what you see at Deer Valley or Vail. The easier trails are marked with blue poles and the intermediate ones with red poles, but there is really not much difference. I couldn't find any black(expert) runs that were groomed at all. As all the areas are mostly above the tree line, it is incredible mountain scenery on sunny days, but a total white out when cloudy or snowing/raining. The lifts are amazingly efficient, with 6 and 8 person high speed chairs with automated hoods and safety bars.If you have not skied Europe, I would go here. I would strongly recommend Zurs & Lech for the ambiance, food, wine, the mountain scenery, Austrian culture and lifestyle. The skiing itself is nice, but not that special. The Alps seem to be suffering from climate change. Once there, it is also considerably less expensive than in the US, with my lift tickets about $35/day and performance rental skis about the same.