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L.L. ⁄ There are quite a few hotels all around the Arlberg that look back on a long standing tradition and have character. What’s so special about the Bergschlössl? K.L.M. ⁄ It’s a historical building, more than 100 years old. Apart from that, the fact that there only are 10 rooms and suites makes it cozy. And of course the way it’s situated right by the slope, between two lifts, makes it special. If a different business was here in this place, it’d be much larger. The privacy here really is something special. J.M. ⁄ The house has a lively history that is sometimes parallel to St. Anton’s history. It was built as a kind of granary in 1905/06, together with the railway line. So that was long before Galzigbahn or any other infrastructure the skiing area has today came here! Despite this, the spacious, bright bathrooms and Apple-TVs in the rooms make it very modern. The contrast between the consciously conserved tradition and today’s amenities you do not have to do without is what makes it so interesting. L.L. ⁄ Speaking of contrast: for 10 years your Icebar has been one of St. Anton’s first après ski locations. How does the quiet atmosphere at the hotel work out when you have people dancing on the tables at “Basecamp” next door? K.L.M. ⁄ Well basically these things happen at different times. And our guests are not encouraged to dance on the tables. But on the benches that’s something that can happen … J.M. ⁄ Of course our guests can party, we prefer if they do so in style, though! Après ski as a celebration after the experience in the nature is part of what skiing is. In former times there was the 5-o’clock-tea and now the times have changed. It can be seen as an expression of culture – primitive peoples celebrate differently than people at the Vienna Opera Ball. Après ski is uncomplicated and casual and very often you can’t tell a millionaire from a simple accountant. What’s most important is good quality, fresh food and a great selection of wines. That’s how skiing can be celebrated in a casual atmosphere. K.L.M. ⁄ And during the night the ‘Basecamp’ is quiet, too. The fact that the bar, the restaurant and the hotel rooms are so close together is practical and something many of the Bergschlössel’s guests really appreciate. 84 L.L. ⁄ Do you see change in people’s après ski habits that have happened in the past years? K.L.M. ⁄ They change every week! The guests are always different: sometimes there are quiet family weeks and sometimes there are wild party weeks. And the weather which – of course – influences people’s party mood is different every day.
L.L. ⁄ How important is the entertainment offer for the time after skiing these days? K.L.M. ⁄ I’d say the après ski topic has developed significantly over the years. Many places try hard to offer people a few hours of enthusiasm, fun and happiness. J.M. ⁄ It’s important to offer the whole range. A holiday guest needs the infrastructure in the skiing area, the experience, the accommodation, the culinary quality and the partying opportunities. A holiday experience is made up of many components! K.L.M. ⁄ Of course après ski is not that important for families but when groups of men or women arrive outside of the holiday season for a few days, the athletic aspect has to be accompanied by party too. J.M. ⁄ However, “Basecamp” does not just stand for après ski. You can have a nice coffee there in the morning, or a good lunch. You often get non-skiers who wait here for their friends or family. So there’s a steady stream of people coming and going really – it’s just like a basecamp, a place you can come to and recharge! L.L. ⁄ How quickly do you have to react to new trends? Does it require a certain amount of courage to NOT go along with the latest fad or would that mean you’ve already lost business to competitors? J.M. ⁄ The challenge lies in creating your own profile. That goes for the whole town as it is as well as for each business. Some hosts are dedicated to hiking, others to Bordeaux wine; others are great dancers or have other traits. St. Anton is certainly going to remain an athletic skiing area and the guests expect professionals when it comes to that. Which is why that’s something that needs to be cared for. Apart from that there’s the challenge of making the place attractive all year around because apart from the tourists the locals need to be comfortable too. I think there are more possibilities of making a place worth living than we currently realize. L.L. ⁄ You have proven to be quite innovative yourselves, you’ve been running the luxurious Lech Lodge Chalets since December 2012. Where did this idea come from? K.L.M. ⁄ That was about seven years ago. Because the property was so quiet it simply seemed ideal for the chalet concept. At that time we only had a few holiday homes here in Lech and there were no chalets – they’re more popular in Switzerland or France. Shopping & Lifestyle “If you like people this job is definitely right for you.” “Making sure the guests are comfortable is something we have to work on every day.” “The challenge lies in creating your own profile.” “I do think that St. Anton is worth a visit every month of the year.” “Après ski can be seen as an expression of culture.” “Our guests are not encouraged to dance on the tables. But on the benches that’s something that can happen …” 85
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