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Resort Guides

Adventure Destination Guide | Ötztal

The spectacularly scenic home of Austria’s ‘Big Three’ just got even bigger

Photo: Ernst Lorenzi.

With more than 250 peaks of 3,000m and above, the Ötztal Valley forms the spectacular backbone of its Tirolian region, and provides winter adventurers with a jaw-dropping, world-famous and tell-all-your-friends powder playground that has snowboarders going back for more over and over again.

“Just 50km from Innsbruck airport, the Ötztal Valley is an outrageously convenient place to spend a winter week”

But in the 2019/2020 season, expect an even bigger and even better season from this Austrian favourite. Not only is there an all-new state-of-the-art gondola to ride, but a massive new Superpass means more ridable terrain for repeat visitors and newbies alike to sink their tracks into. Convinced? You bet. Here’s a shotgun guide to doing winter in Ötztal right…

How To Get There
Just 50km from Innsbruck airport, the Ötztal Valley is an outrageously convenient place to spend a winter week. If you can’t get flights to the ‘Bruck though, you’ll find more options heading to Munich, which is 160km away. Then, there’s a direct train from central Munich to Ötztal, meaning minimum transfer stress and maximum ride time.

Why Go
When was the last time a snowboard holiday guaranteed snow from October all the way through to May? And when was the last time you squeezed in a session on not one but two glaciers, and three 3,000m peaks? And have you retraced the footsteps of a British secret agent recently? These are all boxes that the epic Ötztal Valley can offer.

“More terrain, less lift time? A certified win-win”

Here, setting off for top-drawer snowboarding will not only take you to some of the highest resorts in the Alps, but will see you retracing the well-heeled footsteps of James Bond who, in Spectre, drove the glacial roads and dined in the heart-stoppingly beautiful ice Q restaurant of Sölden.

Even better, getting around the Ötztal Valley just got a whole lot easier. New for 2019/2020, the Ötztal Superskipass opens up 361km of slopes and 90 lifts across six ski areas: Hochoetz-Kühtai, Niederthai, Gries, Vent, Sölden and the popular Obergurgl-Hochgurgl. What’s more, there’s a box-fresh ten-seater gondola in the Ötztal village that’ll shoot passengers up 2,083m to Hochsölden and the Giggijoch ridge in less than six minutes. More terrain, less lift time? A certified win-win.

Where To Stay
Ring your richest mates, convince your poshest pals and rope in your financially-buoyant family for a stay at Obergurgl’s The Chalet at 11° East – a private ski-in-ski-out luxe offering with its own bar that starts at £23,000 based on ten people sharing for the week. Leaving the gold-plated credit card crew behind? No bother. The Die Berge Lifestyle-Hotel in Sölden is incredibly good value, starting at just 56€ a night for a medium-sized double with a balcony and access to the infinity pool, gym, heated boot room and more.

For more information on Ötztal’s accommodation options, head here.

Eating And Drinking
In Sölden, with its lofty peaks and Instagrammable landscape, it’s all about eating with a view. The ultra-modern Ice Q and Panorama restaurants are total gotta-trys (check out the local fish and pastries at the former) for a fuel-stop that’ll be incredibly hard to pull yourself away from. Same goes for the very sci-fi Top Mountain Star panoramic restaurant, more than 3,000m up in Obergurgl-Hochgurgl, where the views over the Dolomites are only improved with a cold beer attached to your glove.

Après Action
If you’re going to hit only one apres bar when you’re in the Ötztal Alps, make it Philipp, which has cemented its place in Tirolian party history with almost 40 years of mid-mountain knees-ups under its belt. And with its claim as Austria’s first ice bar, its opening time of 2:30pm, its solid line-up of live DJs and its perfect positioning at the top of the funicular from the centre of Sölden, you’d need snow in your head to leave without sucking back the suds here.

Hit This Run
If you happen to be suited and booted by 7:30am on a Friday and stood outside the Festkogl base station in Obergurgl-Hochgurgl, you can have your early start rewarded by heading up the lift with no more than fifty skiers and a guide, to enjoy the freshly-groomed, totally pristine and gloriously silent slopes before the crowds cut up the corduroy. Missed your alarm? Take on Sölden’s Big Three Rally – a four-hour, 30-mile challenge to hit the resort’s trio of mountains over 3,000m.

For more information on Ötztal, head to the official website.

For more information on Austria, visit the tourist board’s official website.

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