Obergurgl-Hochgurgl: Top Quality Skiing!
Isn’t it fun (although predictable) that around this time of year skiers everywhere (at least in the northern hemisphere) are all coming up with their annual cry: “Not long now!” or “Winter won’t be long now”- and of course “How good is the snow going to be?”
Well as we know, the snow in Obergurgl–Hochgurgl (aka the Diamond of the Alps) and Sölden is wonderfully reliable. And the new Ötztal Super Ski Pass covers 356 kilometres of slopes served by 90 mountain lifts in six ski areas in a single ski pass. You’ll be skiing amongst truly breathtaking Alpine landscapes: more than 250 peaks higher than 3000 metres encircle the region.
The valley-wide ski pass is valid in the areas of Obergurgl-Hochgurgl, Sölden, Hochoetz-Kühtai, Niederthai, Gries and Vent. And snow is pretty much always guaranteed thanks to the high altitude. As well as all this, an Ortovox Training Park and avalanche transceiver checkpoints can be found in the ski area. The Ötztal valley also offers off-piste activities such as ski mountaineering, cross-country skiing, snowshoe hiking – or, if you prefer, simply relaxing!
The Obergurgl-Hochgurgl area’s 25 modern lifts have a total hourly capacity of up to 40,000 people, giving access to 112 kilometres of immaculately groomed ski slopes between 1930 and 3082 metres – starting right on the doorstep of The Chalet at 11 º East.. Opening events – as early as November 15-25 – include music rallies and parties.
Culinary highlights await you too – literally at the highest level, at the Hohe Mut Alm (2670m) and Top Mountain Star, a 360-degree panorama bar at the Wurmkogel peak (3080 m). And the refurbished Schönwieshütte can be reached by skidoo from the Steinmannbahn top station or via a winter walking trail from the base terminal.
The Top Mountain Cross Point in Hochgurgl, nestling in the foothills of the Timmelsjoch High Alpine Road at 2175 metres, includes the base station of the Kirchenkar gondola and Europe’s highest motorcycle museum.
The event calendar includes several attractive events, including Powder Snow Weeks in January, the Open Faces Freeride Contest from March 21-24, and the Nassau Beach Club Snow Special from March 12 – 16, offering guided freeriding tours, ski mountaineering, yoga, a ski show, and après-ski parties.
Nordic skiers and skaters can choose from a 185 kilometre network of cross-country tracks. And the entire Ötztal has no less than 310 kilometres of winter walking trails, 40 kilometres of winter running routes, and 14 toboggan runs (eight equipped with floodlights).
Ice-skating enthusiasts can choose from no fewer than 10 rinks, and ice climbers can take advantage of about 30 climbing routes through frozen waterfalls.
Down the valley at Längenfeld, hot and healing waters are on the programme at the Aquadome Spa Centre: the Tirol Therme, with big indoor pools and three steaming outdoor pools, along with stunning scenery.
In neighbouring Solden, A gastronomical attraction is the ice Q gourmet restaurant at the peak of Gaislachkogl (3058 m): a glass cube marking one of the locations for the James Bond film Spectre.
And the new 007 Elements museum is a James Bond installation at 3,048 metres in Sölden where visitors can experience the “cinematic universe” of the famous secret agent.
Built beneath the location where Spectre was filmed, it’s designed to look just like a Bond villain’s lair. The atmospheric bunker, with its mirrored walls, famous Bond action scenes, original props and gadgets is pure Ernst Stavro Blofeld (the deeply unpleasant character who first appeared in From Russia With Love more than 50 years ago) – and of course Bond’s arch enemy.
But wrap up warm! Even though James Bond doesn’t actually ski in Spectre, you might want to wear some substantial ski clothing if you visit the museum!
By Arnie Wilson