What’s the skiing like? The pretty Alpine village of Obergurgl offers high-altitude skiing up to 3,080m. It is one of the most snow-sure ski resorts in Europe with most of its slopes above 2000m and a ski season spanning November to May. The 112km of slopes are served by state-of-the-art lifts, often with heated seats. Skiers will find quiet, open slopes with no lift queues.
Best suited to? Beginners and intermediates
Beginners like the snow-sure slopes, good English-speaking ski schools and friendly villages. The children’s area in Obergurgl is served by three magic carpets and is complete with Bobo the penguin. Families enjoy the Fun Slope with its bridges, tunnels, rails and jumps.
Intermediates can head to the good cruising blues and reds just below the summit of Festkogl. Or those wanting to stretch their legs on longer runs, head to the mid-mountain red and blue slopes of neighbouring Hochgurgl.
Advanced skiers love the off-piste opportunities here, particularly those surrounding the Hohe Mut at 2,670m. The deep, untouched powder is a favourite for freeriders in the know.
Those looking for more challenging pistes can head to nearby Solden or Vent, both included in the Obergurgl lift pass.
The Audi Quattro terrain park at 2,120m has 22 features including kickers, boxes and rails.
What’s the resort like? The traditional village of Obergurgl has an 18th-Century church and hardly any traffic. There are limited shops in the resort but a good selection of accommodation, including B&Bs, apartments some plush 4- and 5-star hotels with luxurious spas and ski-in/ski-out facilities.
The apres-ski in Obergurgl is not for hardcore drinkers, it’s more about live bands and dancing, and a particularly favourite is the Nederhutte mountain restaurant. But there is a nightclub, the Josl-Keller, with a DJ in the resort.
Off the slopes? Enjoy tobogganing and the outdoor ice-skating rink. Slightly random but you can visit Europe’s highest motorcycle museum at the Top Mountain Crosspoint. Or take the gondola up to the Top Mountain Star (3,030m) for 360-degree views of the Otztaler peaks and even the Italian Dolomites. Enjoy a hot chocolate in front of the fire at the Hohe Mut Alm (854m) mountain restaurant.
Downside? In bad weather the slopes can be quite exposed as they’re above the treeline. Advanced skiers may find the local slopes limited but can access the other ski areas in the Otztal Valley ski pass.
Nearest airport(s): Innsbruck 90 mins/94km
For a well-deserved pit stop, head to the rather special Hohe Mut Alm. The restaurant, which is situated on the mountain, serves a broad range of wonderful Tyrolean cuisine. Every Wednesday evening the restaurant has live music until 10pm. A quick and free gondola ride will transport you there after 6.30pm. There’s a gorgeous bar too with an open fire where visitors can relax and feel comfortable. Get there via the Hohe Mut Bahn gondola.
Situated at the Hochgurgl ski area, Wurmkoglhutte at the mid-station has a tiled stove, a number of private dining rooms and a large sun terrace and deckchairs.
The Haus Gurgl Hotel serves good pizzas cooked in a wood stove oven. The restaurant is smart and offers a wide selection of a la carte dishes in addition to its crispy pizzas. The tiramisu dessert comes highly recommended. Prices are purse friendly.
And the Top Mountain Star panorama bar which sits at 3,080m above sea level is not to be missed.
Obergurgl and Hochgurgl are linked via the Top Express gondola. There’s not a huge amount of terrain but it’s perfect for beginner and intermediate level skiers who can access a combination of slopes directly from the village.
There are longer, and slightly more challenging, runs at Hochgurgl, where skilled intermediates will find plenty of varied reds to satisfy them. There are some good blacks too, though, nothing especially hairy.
The groomed ski area is split into three parts. The sector immediately above the village is reached by the Festkoglbahn gondola and the Roskarbahn chair that goes from the village centre. Both reach just below the 3,038m peak of Festkogl, from where a drag lift and a chairlift give access to a variety of blue and red runs and a few easy blacks.
The second sector comprises the Hochgurgl ski area which has an assortment of broad blue runs, reds and some blacks which strong intermediates will get the most out of. And the third sector, accessed via a two-stage gondola from the centre of Obergurgl, transports you up to the Hohe Mut restaurant. The red descents from here are challenging and timid intermediates may want to find alternative routes down.
Much of the terrain is treeless which is perfect for beginners and there are lots of wide, flat, and gentle runs. We recommend the blues which can be reached from the top of the Roskartbahn and the Festkoglbahn. The section above David’s skihutte is a favourite for newbs practising their turns.
In Hochgurgl the blue 27 from the top opens up into a vast playground of blue runs where the open space gives beginners a feeling of confidence – it’s a good spot to practise turns in and is never crowded. Most of the cruisy blues finish at the bottom of the Wurmkogl I chairlift or down into Hochgurgl itself.
Skiers will enjoy the quality of the snow which is smooth and grippy on the groomed runs allowing for perfect cruising.
The Obergurgl ski school (skischule-obergurgl.com) and the ski school in Hochgurgl (schischule-hochgurgl.com) are traditional, however, most of the instructors speak good English. Make sure you mention this as a requirement before you book.
Above Obergurgl there are three main red runs. The shortest is red 7 from the top of the Festkoglbahn. The other two red runs are long, fast and will give skilled intermediates a thorough work-out. Red 1 drops from the top of the gondola on the Ferwalital valley side down to the lift. There are also some great red runs near the Steinmannbahn.
Strong intermediates will enjoy the black 27 from the Top Mountain Star Restaurant and black 32 on the Konigstal side.
Cross country is a big activity and the resort boasts 12km of excellently groomed trails for Nordic skiing fans. Instructors are available for beginner and advanced skiers at the Obergurgl-Hochgurgl ski schools.
The most testing run is the black 11 from the top of the Hohe Mut Festkogl down to the Nederhutte but experts will revel in the excellent off-piste powder fields. They should head to Hochgurgl for challenging backcountry and nearby Solden which is just a twenty minute bus ride away.
The best way to explore the off-piste terrain is with a local guide. The ski school will be able to provide you with more information.
Apres takes place early in Obergurgl and after dinner most skiers retreat to their hotels and chalets. But the drinking scene’s not totally quiet. At the end of the afternoon you’ll see a crowd of merry revellers gathering at the umbrella bar by the Hohe Mut lift. There you’ll find the Nederhutte where the local rock band gets punters up and dancing on tables.
For a real knees up go to the Top Safari Disco in Hochgurgl – it has live music and is open until late.
A popular spot for apres ski and BBQ or fondue is David's Hutte. Next to the Steinmann lift, it’s open on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.
One of the resort’s biggest attractions the ‘Return of the Pioneers’ - a night skiing show performed by the ski instructors. They carry out effortless stunts and jumps and the show ends with a fantastic fireworks display.