We’ve just been discussing the pros and cons of ‘The White Ring‘ in another Austrian resort, Lech Zurs am Arlberg, comparing it with our own ski circuit – the famous (in Austria at least) Tauern Runde or Tauern Circuit. Doing some Internet searches, I found that nobody had really given a thorough breakdown of the Tauern Runde and it was literally impossible to find out how many kilometres the circuit covers. This article provides as much information as we could find, as well as some insight from our own experience – as we’ve skied it many times!
I’ve never skied the White Ring, but it looks interesting. The figures say there’s 22km of skiing, but I’m honestly not sure where they get that figure from – if you add up the routes shown in the interactive map, it comes to 13.4km?! Perhaps more importantly, however, 4.2km of the White Ring is not actually a piste but what’s called a ‘ski route’. Like pisted runs, ski routes are avalanche controlled and marked, but unlike pistes they are neither groomed nor patrolled. You should never ski such a route alone and should ideally take a shovel, avalanche transmitters, and a guide. If you’re skiing the White Ring into Zug and Lech, you have no option but to take this off-piste route, with no way out, which means that once you’re committed, there’s no bailing out. Beginners – don’t try it.
In contrast, the Tauern Circuit is 100% groomed runs, which means most skiers and boarder are capable of getting round it. If you want off-piste, there are ski routes close by and you can easily make detours without losing the route or your more cautious friends. What’s more, you can ski the Runde in both directions – clockwise and anticlockwise, which actually makes for two very different experiences. If you look at the interactive map below, you’ll see what I mean.
Skiing the Runde is no mean feat – it’ll take more time than you might think and there’s a full day of skiing there for most people.
Tauern Runde Facts
Here’s some basic information about the Tauern Circuit:
- Difficulty of runs: red and blue (optional blacks en-route for those who want them)
- Total number of uninterrupted runs – green (anticlockwise) circuit: 7
- Total number of uninterrupted runs – red (clockwise) circuit: 9
- Total number of lifts – green circuit: 7
- Total number of lifts – red circuit: 7
- Total skiing distance – green and red circuits: TBAkm (we’re working on this information!)
- Total number of restaurants on the green circuit: 12
- Total number of restaurants on the red circuit: 10
Tauern Circuit Interactive Map
This map takes a little while to load, but it’s a great little tool for showing you where the Runde passes. Despite the difficulty I had finding this online, you don’t need to worry – when you get to Obertauern the circuit is well signed, in both directions, so it’s hard to get lost if you keep your eyes open for the sign posts. Click on the image below to open the interactive map. To show the Green and Red Tauern Circuits, click on Grüne Runde and Rote Ründe in the bottom right hand corner.
Don’t get me wrong – if you’re a capable skier, I’m sure the White Ring is well worth skiing and Lech itself is a fun place. It also joins up with legendary St Anton am Arlberg, which is amazing for partying (I needed some serious detox after my last visit), so you’ll definitely have some! Having said that, it’s not just the Ring that’s difficult. The skiing in the whole area is predominantly advanced, so the whole Arlberg ski area isn’t the best for beginners. It’s also famous and therefore expensive. The Tauern Runde, on the other hand, offers a full day or more of skiing, without ever skiing the same run or using the same lift twice. Hopefully we’ll see you on it some time, or drop us a line if you want to check out our availability.
The pros and cons of Lech and the White Ring are covered quite nicely in a recent article in this Telegraph article.