The views from so many cable cars, gondolas and chair lifts are spectacular enough when you go skiing or snowboarding.

But the one coming up over the edge of the Schindler Spitze really did have its own wow factor.

Suffering a little from vertigo, I was relieved on this chairlift to be sat on the right, rather than the left, with what looked like a 100m drop below before we soon arrived at the end station.

This lift, which had also passed some amazing and distinctive rock formations, was just one part of a vast ski area after the "loop" was closed last winter following the completion of the Flexenbahn and Trittkopfbahnen cable car and gondola lifts.

It meant you could now ski continuously, without the need for inter-connecting buses, between Lech-Zürs and St Anton which, with the adjoining areas of Warth, Schroecken, Zug and St Christoph, makes this the largest continuous ski area in Austria with more than 300 km of slopes.

The Flexenbahn is an amazing construction and leaves one incredulous at how they can build such massive cable car-supporting pylons into the sheer rockface far from any road. By helicopters and winches, dropping in the material, our ski guide Edi Radeticchio informed us.

The new lifts, costing 45 million euros, have opened up a whole new world to winter sports lovers visiting the Arlberg, and makes the pretty resort of Lech, where we stayed, even more appealing.

The eventual aim is to link up with the vast area of Ischgl and Galtur farther east in the Tirol, creating one of the largest ski areas in the world.

Why do all this? Well, as any experienced skier or boarder will explain, you can soon "ski out" a smaller resort in a day or two, repeating all the runs and lifts, and excitement comes from venturing to new slopes.

And so it was here. We had soon skied most of what Lech had to offer, and before Christmas the pistes were superbly maintained despite a lack of the real white stuff. Nowadays, the snow-making machines and piste bashers do such a good job that great conditions are guaranteed throughout the season.

The area's 87 cable cars and chairlifts now provide access to more than 300 km of marked ski slopes.

This was my first time in Lech, and I was impressed.

VIP SKI has many hotels and chalets in France but, apart from one in neighbouring St Anton, they had not had much of a presence in Austria.

But when Martina and Dietmar Walch, the owners of Hotel Theodul, decided to take a sabbatical, to follow sons Magnus and Linus on the professional ski sport circuit, it was an opportunity VIP SKI felt they could not ignore.

They took over the hotel last year and renovated the rooms to provide luxurious contemporary comfort, while maintaining the building's typical Austrian charm - so much of it in beautifully-carved wood.

The hotel has a great location on the main high street, just a short stroll to the main ski lifts and resort centre, but at the same time it's in a peaceful corner providing tranquility for your stay in Lech.

There's a comfortable lounge and bar, a spacious restaurant and enormous sauna, steam and relaxation area with massage suites – the perfect way to unwind after a day in the mountains.

Hotel Theodul has 29 spacious and luxurious bedrooms over three floors. All the bedrooms have en suite bathrooms with flat screen TV, wi-fi and hairdryers and most have a balcony with spectacular views.

Returning from a day's skiing to enjoy home-made cakes, then winding down in the sauna and steam room, and knowing you have a delicious three-course dinner and wine to come . . . life doesn't get much better than this!

VIP SKI also have superb staff who provide a high level of service, ensuring your stay is as perfect as it can be.

And what of Lech itself? An old farming village and in a sunny position, it oozes charm and style, so you can understand why it was a favourite of Princess Diana and many celebrities.

It boasts one of the best snow reliability records in the Alps. The ski area is high and open, with very few trees. Maybe it is a bit limited for the more experienced skier, with just one short black run, but that's why connections via the new Flexenbahn are so useful.

Everything, though, seems luxurious in Lech, with even the main ski hire shop, Strolz, a stunning building beautifully combining a traditional wooden exterior with an ultra-modern inside.

Oberlech, above the main village, is pretty, and the Restaurant Ski Chalet "Der Wolf" at the top station of the Schlegelkopf lift has fine food for a lunch, albeit with rather slow service.

And down in Lech itself, try Hus Nr 8, almost opposite the hotel. This characterful 300-year-old barn restaurant is rich in atmosphere as well as good food – with the Käsespetzle particularly recommended!



A seven-night stay at Hotel Theodul is priced from £1029 and includes return flights from Gatwick to Friedrichshafen, coach transfers, accommodation, catered chalet board of cooked breakfast, afternoon tea, three-course evening meal on seven nights followed by cheese board and coffee and mints, house wine, ski and snowboard hosting and complimentary toiletries.

Visit or call 0208 875 1957.

Lift passes: a 1-day adult lift pass for Lech Zürs am Arlberg is priced from €49.50; a 6-day adult lift pass is priced from €227.


Ski hire: 6 days’ ski hire is priced from €147;

6 days’ boot hire is priced from €72. Visit