This article is sponsored by the Austrian National Tourist Office.
Who doesn’t appreciate the offer of guaranteed snow October through May? With two snowy glaciers, more than 350km of smoothly groomed pistes and masses of freeride terrain, the winter-sure ski areas of Obergurgl-Hochgurgl and Sölden beckon.
These mountains never disappoint: soak up the spectacular scenery of the BIG3 vantage points above 3,000m, make tracks in the famous powder, and stop at cozy mountain huts for some renowned Tirolean apres ski. It’s fun for everyone from friends to families to first-timers – even James Bond.
Yes, you’re traversing the same powdery tracks as 007 himself – Ötztal starred in Spectre. Atop Gaislachkogl, the interactive cinematic installation, 007 Elements, sits right next to the sexy Ice Q restaurant, filming location for the movie’s shadowy Hoffer Clinic.
Reached by one of the area’s 90 sleek and modern lifts, the huge variety is tough to beat and it’s the only ski area in Austria featuring three three-thousanders: Gaislachkogl (3058m), Tiefenbachkogl (3250m), and Schwarze Schneid mountains (3340m). All these spectacular peaks are easily reached by lift so everyone can visit, no matter their level.
Faster skiers love to conquer all BIG3 mountains in one day, a thrilling route of some 50km. For apres and accommodations, you have plenty of options, such as the glamorous and lively Sölden or a romantic mountain village like Obergurgl. There are enough slopes to never take the same run twice, and the same applies to the many charming mountain huts and chic top-service restaurants.
All ages and energy levels are catered for, on and off the slopes. From tobogganing, snowshoeing, ice skating and cross-country skiing to wonderful relaxation in between. Soak, bubble and steam at the Aqua Dome – the stylish, modern and deeply decadent thermal spa is guaranteed to relax and rejuvenate. This funky and futuristic-looking wellness resort boasts a huge array of indoor and outdoor pools, waterfalls, saunas and a separate play area for children. Be sure to slip into the soothing waters of the three giant “levitating” bowls.
Ötztal is always a hit. The world’s fastest skiers arrive each October for the Alpine Ski World Cup kickoff. With one of the longest guaranteed snow seasons in the Alps, there’s a full Alpine menu for beginners, intermediate and advanced skiers and boarders. With two glacier ski areas, artificial snow-making that covers more than 77% of slopes, the entire Ötztal paradise is covered by one ski pass – from skiing superstars like Sölden and Gurgl to crowd-free family ski areas such as Hochoetz-Kühtai, it’s always Ötztal time.
Featured image: Oetzal Tourismus, Anton-Klocker.