An Instructor's Guide to the Arlberg 'White Ring'

Mon September 16, 2019 by Sophie King

On response to being asked about one of the most unforgettable ski experiences during my ski instructor days in St Anton, there are several memories that spring to mind. However, The White Ring ski circuit also known in German as ‘Der Weiße Ring’, has to be at the very top. It is undoubtedly, the greatest all-round ski experience in the Arlberg ski area.

If you’re not familiar with the famous Arlberg White Ring ski route or if you fancy getting some insider’s tips on how to make the most of your time on the White Ring, read on to find out more. We are sure it will end up being the highlight of your next Arlberg ski holiday!

What is The Arlberg White Ring?

The White Ring is commonly known for its stunning panoramic views across the Arlberg ski area, linking together Lech, Zürs, Zug and Oberlech. It is an impressive 22km long, boasts 5,500m of altitude difference and has up to 13 chairlifts that take you from one peak to the other. It is also suitable for all abilities due to the terrain being easy to intermediate. You can also make the most of two very photogenic viewing platforms on the route as well. One at the Rüfikopf and the other at the Madloch station.

The traditional starting point of The White Ring ski circuit is in Lech. However, it can also be started in Zürs or Zug and it’s to be skied clockwise due to the accessibility of the lifts.

Ready, Set, Ski! The First Stretch – Zürs to Lech

My preferred starting point is Zürs and there is no better place to stay than at the start of The White Ring ski circuit. We have the ideal base camp for the White Ring, the Thurner’s Residence, located opposite the ZürserSee lift and benefiting from an enviable ski-in ski-out location.

This building provides 5 spacious apartments across 4 floors and has the capacity to cater for small or large groups. The Thurner’s Apartment 5 is the largest, sleeping up to 9 guests and the Thurner’s Apartment 3 is the smallest, sleeping just 2. Offering a highly finished interior, that showcases warm alpine tones with a modern Scandinavian twist.

These luxury self-catered apartments in Zürs have the added benefit of being partnered with the luxury 5* Thurner’s Alpenhof Hotel, which is situated 100m away. Guests at the residence can make the most of the luxury facilities and spa area on offer here.

Clicking in ours skis at the Thurner’s Residence, we’re off towards the ZürserSee lift. There is also the Seekopf lift, they both travel to the same destination. Meeting at the Madoloch-Joch, which is at the highest point of the White Ring circuit, reaching 2,438m. The first viewing platform is at the top of here, displaying a magnificent mountain skyline, allowing you to appreciate the view and breathe in the fresh mountain air, forgetting or without realisation that the start of ski route 33, is just around the corner. This ski route is notorious for either being heavenly or hellish due to the slope being ungroomed. I have skied both conditions and I can assure you, the restaurant and bar at the top of the Zugerbergbahn chair lift called the Balmalp is the perfect spot to regain your composure, whatever conditions you have just faced.

The First Pit Stop – The Balmalp

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You can’t miss the Balmalp; it has a beautiful terrace offering incredible views, and is lined with huge champagne bottles. A combination that makes it virtually impossible not to go in!

After finishing a glass of champagne or two, the blue 200 ski run takes you across to Oberlech and down into Lech. Travelling past the Kriegerhorn, where you can discover some charming terrain. It is north facing, therefore, it has some of the best snow around, especially if it has just snowed. This is a must blue ski run as it is very long, allowing you to pick up speed and perfect your carving turns.

On your way down into Lech in a prime ski-in ski-out location, you past the stunning Aurelio Club Chalet, one of our top luxury catered chalets in Lech.

Displaying traditional alpine architecture and decor with a stylish, contemporary edge that creates a supremely comfortable and luxuriously homely mountain retreat. The chalet comprises of six uniquely designed club comfort double bedrooms and two junior suites. The impressive boutique chalet will comfortably sleep up to 20 people, across these spacious and tastefully decorated rooms.

The sleek and elegant spa offers several saunas, aromatherapy steam rooms, a state-of-the-art fitness centre and an indoor pool. If that is not enough relaxation, you can find yourself in the comfort of the cinema room to take some time to really unwind. You can also head over to the 5* Hotel Aurelio and make use of their facilities including concierge, gourmet restaurant, Lica Lounge with a bar and kids play room.

Lunchtime Spots In Lech

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Normally ending up in Lech around lunchtime, a couple of favourite pit stops of mine are Haus Nr. 8 and Rüfikopf Panorama Restaurant.

Firstly, Haus Nr. 8 is one of the oldest buildings in Lech and has a very traditional menu, serving outstanding dishes. The menu is priced very reasonably for Lech and has a wide selection of dishes to hopefully suit everyone. However, my go to would be the Raclette, as a cheese lover, it is simple too good not to be missed.

Secondly, the Rüfikopf Panorama Restaurant, which is situated at the top of the Rüfikopf cable car. This is the second highest point of The White Ring ski circuit – at 2,438m high. Due to the positioning of this luxury restaurant it has a quite a pricey gift tag. However, it doesn’t disappoint and is truly a unique pleasure. The sun-trap terrace, is the perfect way to relax whilst witnessing impressive 360 degree views. You can completely unwind and get lost in their menu which is the epitome of classic Austrian cuisine. A hit every Friday at the Rüfikopf is the fondue evening, with an exclusive cable car ride and sparkling wine reception. What can I say it has to be cheese again!

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The Final Stretch – Lech via Stubenbach to Zürs

Beginning your descent back into Zürs, you ski through Stubenbach. In my opinion has to be one of the most beautiful and enjoyable ski routes across the Arlberg and a highlight of the Arlberg White Ring.

Skiing down ski route 181 to meet the Schuttenboden t-bar, continuing onto a long blue run to meet the Trittalp cable car and travelling down the Hexenboden piste to the finish line. This whole stretch showcases stunning scenery, with smooth, wide open pistes that are so quiet and peaceful you barely see another skier in sight, making the Hexenboden piste completing a truly magical ski circuit experience.


If you’re interested in taking on The White Ring ski route this winter and you’re wondering where to stay on your Arlberg luxury ski holiday, give us a call on +44 1202 203 650 or send us an email and we will be happy to give our advice. It’s surely one for every ski bucket list – the Arlberg White Ring.


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