La Folie Douce in St Anton, Austria?

We are often asked if La Folie Douce operates one of its après ski bars in St Anton, Austria. Imagine if the biggest brand in après ski descended on one of the contenders for the world après ski heavyweight crown – St Anton am Arlberg.

Division 2 of après ski

The Chambre Neuf in Chamonix, Méribel’s Le Rond Point or Le Petit Danois in Val d’Isère – all would dispute the supremacy of La Folie Douce in their locals. But it’s hard to argue against La Folie Douce being the biggest brand in après ski – they cover big name resorts such Val Thorens, Val d’Isère, Méribel / Courchevel, Avoriaz and Chamonix. But whilst its easy to talk up the French après ski, it is still second division compared to the mighty Austrian après ski machine. So, imagine La Folie Douce on the slopes of St Anton (or Sölden, Ischgl, Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Mayrhofen, Kitzbühel etc, etc). It’s not inconceivable, La Folie Douce is the biggest brand in après ski, and it has grown from its roots in Val d’Isère to cover the most popular ski resorts in France. In terms of expansion, the French market now seems pretty much saturated, and it follows that any further expansion would be in overseas markets.

The reasons why Austria will get a Folie Douce 

La Folie Douce offers high-end après ski and dining and its business model is based on packed terraces during the winter months. There are no more busy terraces in the alps than in Austria where the locals are joined by the thirsty Germans, Dutch, Scandinavians and Brits. La Folie Douce St Anton could be an absolute goldmine and given that the Mooserwirt doesn’t shut its doors until 20:00, that is an extra couple of hours to tap glasses and payment terminals that the French Folies don’t get. For the locals and the visitors, La Folie Douce St Anton would be a slice of French life in the Austrian alps, with no real comparisons. Umbrella bars can be a whole lot of fun but upmarket they aren’t. La Folie Douce St Anton would be filling a gap in the market with ‘Cowboy Und Indianer’ going up against a French DJ.

The reasons there won't be an Austrian Folie Douce

La Folie Douce in the French alps tend to be on the slopes, (Chamonix excepted) and it’s hard to see where in the leading Austrian resorts there would be the opportunity to convert an existing venue to the La Folie Douce format. Planning is strict and most slope-side huts in resorts such as Sölden are literally goldmines – it’s hard to imagine any of these businesses going under any time soon. It would be almost inconceivable to get permission to build something new on the slopes of these ski areas to accommodate a new instalment of La Folie Douce. The alternative option, located in a resort would come up against noise regulations. Culturally, La Folie Douce may offer the German and Dutch market something too unfamiliar. Austria delivers Euro-pop and Jägerbombs, it is a no-frills menu that creates a unique, unmatched atmosphere. It could be that German ski boots just won't move to a French DJ, like they do to anthems such Anton aus Tirol.

Never say never, but to date La Folie Douce isn’t offering its theatre anywhere outside of its home patch. St Anton will be rocking to Schatzi schenk mir ein Foto, for some winters to come.

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