St. Christoph

St. Christoph am Arlberg is, at 1793 m above sea level, one of the highest ski resorts in Austria. It's in the upper part of the Stanzer Valley in the federal state of Tirol, bordering Vorarlberg.


Map of St. Christoph
View from the south to the hospice-hotel

St. Christoph mainly consists of hotels, guesthouses, and ski lift facilities, and is administratively part of St. Anton. The village has a permanent population of around 40 persons, though there are hotel rooms for around 700.

The history of the village began in 1386, when the Arlberg Hospiz was established here. During the Middle Ages, the Arlberg mountain pass was an important alpine crossing, but also a dangerous route where many people lost their lives every year, especially when weather suddenly turned bad. Heinrich der Findelkind ("Heinrich the foundling"), a pig shepherd at Arlen castle in St. Jakob, was given a lot of land by Duke Leopold III to build the hospice which was to serve as a shelter and base for rescue operations. He also received permission from the pope to found the Brotherhood of St. Christoph[dead link] (Bruderschaft St. Christoph) to collect funds for the hospice and its functions. Allegedly seven people who had gotten into trouble on the mountain were rescued during the first year of operation.

While religious in name and character, the brotherhood was only tasked with financing and taking care of the hospice, and had members from all walks of life - rich and poor, clergy and merchants. It was common to donate one or two guldens a year to the brotherhood, which can be seen as an early form of travel insurance. The membership grew heavily during the Council of Constance (1414-18) when clergy from the east and south crossed the Arlberg pass to get to Constance and back. Over time the brotherhood grew and shrunk depending on economical circumstances. However in 1783, Emperor Joseph II dissolved the brotherhood and decreed that the hospice was to be operated as a secular organization.

A century later, in 1884, the Arlberg railway tunnel was opened and only then the hospice lost its importance as most people now could cross the pass safely and comfortably by train. It still remained a shelter for recreational hikers and the very poorest travellers who couldn't afford to go by train. On 3 January 1901, Austria's first ski club, the Schiclub Arlberg, was established in the hospice building by eight ski enthusiasts from St. Anton.

In 1955, industrialist Arnold Ganahl (grandfather of the current operator) from Feldkirch bought the hospice and turned it into a proper guesthouse with restaurant, establishing St. Christoph as a ski resort. Nevertheless, the hospice burned down two years later due to faulty electrical installations. It was rebuilt according to the original design (externally) and opened for the Christmas season 1959 as Arlberg Hospiz Hotel. The interior however was modern for its time, with shower and toilets in all rooms. This was also the beginning of the development of the Arlberg Valley into a series of luxurious ski destinations.

Together with 40 friends Ganahl re-established the brotherhood in 1961. Following a series tragical work accidents during the construction of the Arlberg road tunnel (passing right below the village) in the 1970s, the membership grew and the brotherhood focused on supporting the families of the 18 tunnels workers that died. Today the organization, based in the village, has more than 17,000 members including members of royal houses and is the largest in the world where the costs of operation are paid by the members, and all donations go to people in need.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

The closest passenger airport is in Innsbruck, around 100 km away (1.5 h of driving). It has mostly seasonal flights (during the ski season), mainly from destinations in central, western and northern Europe. The closest airports with intercontinental flights are Zurich Airport (200 km away) and Munich Airport (240-300 km away depending if you drive on motorways or more or less as the crow flies on mountain roads).

By train[edit]

The nearest 1 railway station is in St. Anton, a few kilometers away. Check schedules and buy tickets at the website of the Austrian Federal Railways ÖBB. From here you can continue by bus or taxi.

By car[edit]

The Arlberg pass road in Stuben

From the east (e.g. Innsbruck), drive along the Inntalautobahn A12 to Landeck, and onwards along the S16 expressway. Exit at St. Anton before the road enters the tunnel, the signs also say Arlbergpass. Then, drive along the 197 to St. Anton and further uphill to St. Christoph. During the winter the road can be closed if there's a risk for avalanches.

From the west (e.g. Feldkirch and Bludenz), drive along the A14 which becomes the S16. Exit at Langen am Arlberg (also written Langen a. A.), also here the signs say Arlbergpass. Follow the 197 to Stuben and onwards to St. Christoph. The road reaches the highest point of the Arlberg pass just before arriving in St. Christoph.

Parking lots in the village are reserved for hotel guests, but there's a large parking lot at the ski lift at the southeastern end of the village.

By bus[edit]

Postbus ÖBB's (also operated by the railway operator) line 92 connects St. Anthon to St. Christoph and onwards to Zürs and Lech. There are departure every hour, sometimes even more frequently. During the ski season there are free shuttle buses from Zürs and Lech.

Get around[edit]

Walk - the village is just a few hundred meters across. Ski lifts take you uphill.


Interior of the chapel
  • The Hospice building, listed in Sleep below, is definitely the most prominent attraction in the village. Indeed this large building was St. Christoph for centuries.
  • 1 Christophoruskapelle (Bruderschaftskapelle). The chapel adjacent to the hospice building was also built in 1386, and also burned down together with the hospice on the Epiphany night in 1957. It too was rebuilt as a replica, and inaugurated on 7 January 1962.
  • 2 Highest place on the Arlberg pass (Arlbergpasshöhe). The highest point on the Arlberg mountain pass (1802 m ASL) is at the northern outskirts of the village. There's a goat figure of laser cut metal with the text "Arlbergpasshöhe 1802 m", a small summit cross on a hill next to the road, as well as a restaurant and a souvenir shop.


Skiers riding up on a ski lift

In the summer hiking is the main activity. You can access the 1 Verwall and 2 Lechtal Alps for instance. In the winter, it's skiing - what else?

St. Christoph is part of the Arlberg skiing region, and the ski lifts have a common ticket. The Arlberg area has 86 ski lifts, around 270 km of prepared pistes and 170 km of deep snow pistes. A one day ticket for an adult costs €64 in the 2022/23 season (lower prices for children and seniors) which also allows you to ride shuttle buses to Lech and Zürs. On average the skiing season begins in late November and ends in late April, though this depends on the weather.

From the village there's a chair lift - the St. Christophbahn - to 3 Galzig (2183 m ASL). This allows you to get to the pistes closer to St. Anton, as well as Valluga (2811 m ASL). There are also two shorter T-bar lifts, the Maienseelift and the St. Christoph practice lift (Übungslift St. Christoph).


This isn't a shopping destination. There are two sports shops selling and renting ski equipment: Intersport and Alber Sport. Other than these, the nearest shops (even grocery shops) are in St. Anton, about 6 km away.

Eat and drink[edit]

Most buildings are hotels and guesthouses, and as a result this is also where you can find the restaurants and nightlife the village has to offer. Though during the ski season there are also ski bars at the pistes.



The ski resorts in the Arlberg region are on the more expensive end. Mountain huts open to hikers in the summer season can be considered budget accommodation, compared to the village's hotels.



Stay safe[edit]

Skiing down towards the village

Emergency numbers:

  • 112 - general emergency number
  • 133 - police
  • 144 - rescue services
  • 140 - mountain rescue

See the website for up to date avalanche risk levels.

Stay healthy[edit]

The nearest doctors and pharmacies are in St. Anton.

  • 1 St. Vinzenz, Sanatoriumstraße 43, Zams (about 40 km east), +43 5442 600. The regional hospital for Landeck and Imst counties with two surgery rooms. It's the closest hospital to St. Christoph. Krankenhaus St. Vinzenz Zams (Q38046333) on Wikidata


The closest post office is in St. Anton.

Operators T-Mobile and A1 offer 4G coverage in and around the village.

Go next[edit]

St. Anton, Zürs and Lech are the closest ski resorts, about 7, 6, and 13 km away. Somewhat larger destinations are Landeck and Bludenz, a little over 30 km east and west, respectively.

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