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007

Have you heard the news? 007, the most famous secret agent in the world, will start filming the 24th Bond film, Spectre, at Sölden, just down the road from us here in Obergurgl. Daniel Craig, playing Bond for the fourth time, will be embarking on his Alpine adventures along with the other stars in Sölden and Obertilliach, in the East Tirol. Suitable filming locations have been investigated around the world since January 2014, but eventually the director and production team chose locations in Ӧtztal and East Tirol.

In August the production office was set up in Sölden, ready to co-ordinate the planned filming, which is scheduled to take place from mid-January to February 2015. A total of 22 filming days is planned in the Tirol, and at its peak the film crew will consist of 500 people, including 150 local filmmakers covering various positions. The new Bond film will be seen by an audience of millions when it’s released next autumn, hopefully encouraging people to visit the locations themselves.

Sölden is renowned for its excellent snow reliability with access to two high glaciers, impressive lift system and lively après-ski. Its consistently good snow conditions along with over 140km of slopes makes it one of the Europe’s top ski and snowboard destinations. Its glacier slopes tower high above the village, offering ideal snow conditions as early as September. The resort has strength-sapping glacier skiing, an exceptional vertical drop, (1870 metres – well over 6,000 feet), and wonderful views across the Ötztal Alps.

Some American resorts joke that they have four seasons – early winter, mid-winter, late winter and next winter. But Sölden really does enjoy three winter seasons: early winter, mid-winter and spring. From September onwards skiers and snowboarders can enjoy the resort’s superb glacier slopes. And by October the season is already up and running, with the official glacier opening followed soon afterwards by the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Opening. From then on in, it’s non-stop winter right through till early May!

The highest panoramic road in the Eastern Alps takes skiers and snowboarders effortlessly by car or coach from Sölden to the slopes of Tiefenbach and Rettenbach glacier, one of Austria’s largest glacier ski areas. The two glaciers are linked by a road tunnel and a separate skiers’ tunnel. Sölden boasts the only interconnected glacier ski area in the Alps.

And the resort has another unique attraction – or rather three. Three mountain peaks of 3000 metres or more which are easily accessibly on skis provide all the excitement of the so-called BIG3. Between them, Gaislachkogl (3,058 m), Tiefenbachkogl (3,250 m) and Schwarze Schneide (3,340 m) provide a unique tour of all three summits which can be made in a single day. This spectacular tour starts at the base terminal of the Giggijoch gondola and ends at the base terminal of the Gaislachkogl gondola. It’s a truly challenging experience: in four hours you can conquer 50 kilometres of slopes and clock up 10,000 vertical metres while enjoying three awe-inspiring panoramic views from the BIG3 viewing platforms.

The claim that Hannibal and his 60,000 men, thousands of horses and 37 elephants passed this way en route to do battle with the Romans may be dubious, but each year, hundreds of actors, helped by the odd elephant, “recreate” the Carthaginian General’s possible route over the Rettenbach glacier. The genuine route was almost certainly hundreds of miles away, via Montgenèvre in France. Ah well, in journalistic parlance one should never let the facts spoil a good story!

Obergurgl is the next village up from Solden , just a ten minute taxi drive or bus journey away!

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