Ötztal - Big, beautiful and high with something for everyone

Tirol's longest side valley is home to six ski areas and hundreds of kilometres of pistes – plus two glittering glaciers that bring a snow guarantee to your next winter holiday

Next stop, Ötztal. Welcome to the long snowy Ötz Valley where hundreds of long pistes roll gently and tradition rocks into the night. A delightful array of welcoming villages await -- each renowned for their hospitality, cuisine and hearty welcome. The only challenging part – and always fun -- is deciding exactly how and where to spend your days of fun in the snow -- and the new Ötztal Superskipass makes it easy by bundling six ski areas, a thigh-testing total of 361km of slopes and 90 fast, modern lifts and together on one ticket.

Twirl in all directions and the spectacular alpine panorama of the Tirol is framed by a crown of three-thousand metre peaks – a glittering 250 of them. Here, on the Ötztal pass are well-known resorts of après-ski-rich Sölden and high-mountain Gurgl (Obergurgl and Hochgurgl are on every powder skier’s wish list), as well as the particularly family-friendly destinations of Hochoetz-Kühtai and the three further snow-laden ski areas Niederthai, Gries and Vent. From sporty-chic to romantic and wild, this valley is rich with its diverse and charming mountain villages, a soothing thermal bathing paradise to soak in, countless kilometers of slopes to explore and a variety of exciting outdoor sports to enjoy. Go for a snowshoe or winter hike, tobogganing, ski touring or cross-country skiing, and revel in athletic bravado at the Open Faces Freeride Contest or groove to the beat during the Electric Mountain Festival. There is always something happening in the Ötztal.

Where to start?

Among the many must-do adventures is a ski safari to visit the top of Sölden’s three mighty three-thousanders, known as the Big 3 Rally (see more details below). Connected by state-of-the-art smooth as silk cable car systems, skiing from the Gaislachkogl to the Tiefenbachkogl and onto the Schwarze Schneid – each peak topping out over 3,000 metres above sea level -- is a scenic right of passage with built-in thrills and the most beautiful viewing platforms in the Alps. In Hochsölden, a new a state-of-the-art 10-passenger gondola also lifts off this winter. Serving this exclusive high-alpine hotel village, the new lift makes the ascent to just above 2,000m quicker and easier.

How to do the Big 3

The area’s signature ski journey is called the Big 3 Rally, a 50km adventure that encompasses an elevation gain of around 10,000m – with splendid 360-degree views much of the way. The four-hour route begins on the Giggijoch gondola and through the so-called Golden Gate to the glaciers. Whiz through the 170m ski tunnel that connects the two glaciers (very cool!) and it’s carving heaven down the super smooth and wide Tiefenbach and Rettenbach glaciers. Once you’re done nursing your Hermann Maier fantasies, head down the winding ski route through Rettenbach Valley. One more gondola ride, up the Gaislachkogl to 3,058m, and you’ll arrive at the final Big 3 Panorama platform. Smile for the camera!

So many delicious delights

Set your clocks to Gurgl time: early birds get the worm with a chance for first tracks on early morning groomed slopes. Experience the wonder of morning alpenglow with a guided descent combined with gourmet breakfast at the stylish Hohen Mut Alm. For a lunch date with true sparkle, the glass-walled Top Mountain Star is perched on a narrow ridge of Wurmkogl peak -- an architectural masterpiece serving delectable delicious and awe-inspiring views at altitude. Lovers of fine cuisine, excellent wine, exciting architecture -- and James Bond -- won’t want to miss the quintessential 007 moment with a lunch table at Ice-Q. The spine-tingling vistas over the Ötztaler mountains are just as dramatic as when this mountain-top destination made its global cameo as the Hoffler Clinic from the recent James Bond film Spectre. Real Bondies head for 007 Elements, a high-mountain, high-tech cinematic gallery experience that offers a fascinating romp through Bond’s cars, music and deep-drama settings. For something completely different, the Top Mountain Crosspoint, a cozy restaurant with table service, is also home to Europe's highest Motorbike Museum with more than 230 historic motorcycles under one roof.

And then there is your time off the slopes

Hotels and inns here offer supreme facilities for steaming, soaking and relaxing. And in addition to the wellness and spa hours, you’re well placed to devote some energy to Solden’s other specialty – full on euro après ski. From the umbrella bars to the cigar lounges to the pulsing dance parties at Fire & Ice, its nearly 100 discos, bars and restaurants blend seamlessly with the skiing, ready for action whenever you are. Combine peaky panoramas and sightseeing with action and relaxation all in the heart of the Ötztal mountains.

Late Lunch at Top Mountain Crosspoint and visit the Top Mountain Motorcycle Museum The Top Mountain Crosspoint is the communicative heart of Hochgurgl. It combines the Timmelsjoch High Alpine Road toll station, the base station of Kirchenkar mountain gondola, A cozy restaurant with table service and Europe's highest Motorbike Museum under one roof. Guests who are a bit tired of snow are recommended to visit this place and dream of more horsepower for a while. Over 230 historic motorcycles of more than 100 different manufacturers as well as a number of automotive rarities can be admired on the 3000 m2 exhibition area. And as if one of the most extensive and most valuable collections in Austria still was not enough, themed special exhibitions are presented on a regular basis.

Take our quiz

Early morning freerider or après-ski lover? Answer five question and we’ll tell you what type of skier you are and give you a custom ski day itinerary for Ötztal in Tirol!

 

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