Our last ski trip for the season was to Sölden, the Tirol resort in Oetztal, or the Oetztal Valley.
Located about 45 mins east of St Anton if you’re coming from the west or slightly over an hour from Innsbruck Airport, Sölden offers 146km of piste from 1350 to 3340m above sea level. Here are some stats to get you excited:
- 5 km blue ski trails (easy)
- 44,9 km red ski trails (intermediate)
- 29,2 km black ski trails (difficult)
- 1,9 km ski routes
When we were researching this place and where to stay, accommodation in and around Sölden were either fully booked or completely way out of our price range (above €300 per night). Fortunately we found an apartment that was reasonably priced in the town before called Längenfeld.
Here are some of our observations from the trip:
It’s OK to stay outside of Sölden. Provided you have a car, Längenfeld was a great location. The town is very quaint with modern day amenities including two supermarkets: M-Preis (highly recommended) and Spar; bakeries, kondetoreis and restaurants. They also have a bus shuttle running along the valley.
Gondolabahn. It takes around 15 mins by car from Längenfeld to the Gigijoch gondola and the public car park. Parking is free from 8.00am – 7.00pm. Aim to get there before 9.30am as it gets busy with day trippers. There’s a second car park at the other end of the town by the very futuristic Gaislachkoglbahn station.
Ski passes. This ski resort offers plenty of ski pass options. Check out the website www.soelden.com for more information.
Weather. Because of the high mountain ranges, the weather changes quite dramatically, making it difficult to plan ahead. We found the most reliable source to be from Sölden’s official website. It also features panoramic webcams to check live weather.
Skiing in the glacier bowl. This has to be one of the best experiences. Not only are you skiing above the clouds, the snow feels really good up there. Both Rettenbach and Tieffenbach glaciers offer 34.5 km of groomed piste, of which 25.4 km are blue – gentle yet very long runs to put that craving into practice!
Ice-Q. You can’t visit Sölden and not make your way to Ice-Q on the peak of Gaislachkogl. For the benefit of non-James Bond fans, there’s a scene in Spectre where 007 meets Madeleine Swann, the Bond girl in Ice-Q.
Getting there. There are 2 options to getting to Ice-Q. (P/s: Now if you’re a beginner/blue piste skier, I’d suggest using my second option.)
Option 1: From Gigijochbahn, take Red 11 to xx then chairlift up and the traverse across the mountain on the Blue 1A (when I did this we had zero visibility). You’ll come to the mid station where to change to the 28-person gondola and you’re there. And when you leave IceQ, you’re on a very steep Red 1 (I felt sorry for this girl who was stuck on the moguls just as we left the place)
Option 2: Straight from the base at the futuristic Gaislachkoglbahn in town, take the 8-seater for 6.7 mins and change to a 28-person gondola for another 5.5 mins and you’re there! This way, you can arrive and leave looking absolutely stunning…just like a Bond girl!
And if you’re bored of skiing in Sölden…head on further up the valley to Hochgurgl and Obergurgl. While they are much smaller towns as compared to Sölden, the ski town looked like it has a good infrastructure set up. Here are some fun facts: the US Ski Team have been spotted training at Hochgurgl; we saw more British, Polish and Czech number plates than any other cars combined; and every other skier spoke English! I think we have Inghams to thank for this.
Editor’s Note: This post is not in any way sponsored by Sölden or Längenfeld. But we had a good time and wanted to share our trip!