Ski Resort Guide | Ötztal

Take your pick of world-class resorts in Tirol’s biggest valley

Featured image credit: Rudi Wyhlidal

Rip groomers on 3,000m peaks; get a proper Alpine workout on the sprawling network of cross-country trails; watch international pros shred at the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Opening.

“The Ötztal Valley, with its six resorts and soaring Alpine peaks, will have something to get your blood pumping”

It doesn’t matter how you get your kicks, the Ötztal Valley, with its six resorts and soaring Alpine peaks, will have something to get your blood pumping. With world-renowned ski areas like Sölden and Gurgl, and family-friendly spots like Hochoetz-Kühtai, no one is left out on a trip to this Tirolean snowsports mainstay. 

These are just a few of the reasons to pay Ötztal a visit this winter, and there are plenty more where they came from. Take a look at this condensed guide for some further highlights and key information to help plan your visit.

Credit: Ernst Lorenzi

How To Get There

The easiest way to reach Ötztal from the UK is to fly to Innsbruck. From there, there’s a direct train to Ötztal station which only takes 30 minutes. Then it’s just a short bus ride to your chosen resort.

Innsbruck isn’t the only option though. If it’s easier, you could fly into Munich, Germany (231 km) or Salzburg (263 km). For the former, it’s a two-and-a-half hour train with one change in Kufstein, and for the latter it’s just over two hours direct.

Why Go

It’s difficult to think of reasons not to go skiing or snowboarding in Ötztal. Thanks to its high altitude and glacier ski areas up to 3,440m above sea level, prime conditions are guaranteed here for a considerable chunk of the year. That means nothing is left up to chance in terms of snow. It’s also the only ski area in Austria to feature three three-thousanders: Gaislachkogl (3,058 m), Tiefenbachkogl (3,250 m), and Schwarze Schneid (3.340 m).

“It’s also the only ski area in Austria to feature three three-thousanders”

To make the most of the area and all it has to offer, visitors can invest in an Ötztal Super Skipass. This access-all-areas card includes six ski areas, 363km of immaculately groomed pistes to tear up, and 90 lifts to facilitate that.

Cross-country skiers are well catered for too. Ötztal has a huge 185km network of trails to explore, covering both classic and skating styles, plus some beginner friendly routes too. All the trails are free to use, and the villages of Längenfeld, Umhausen and Niederthai all offer floodlit skiing after dark.

There’s a huge amount of variety in the area: picturesque mountain villages, lively snowsport towns, vibrant nightlife, upscale dining and accommodation, and lots to do sans skis or snowboard too.

Where To Stay

Another reason to visit Ötztal is the enormous Aqua Dome wellness retreat in Längenfeld. It’s a 22,000 m² thermal spa, encircled by the towering peaks of the Ötztal Valley, including Gamskogel, Fernerkogel, Hauerkogel and all the other summits that surround Längenfeld. The best part? You can stay there.

Guests at this unique spa hotel are treated to no less than 12 indoor and outdoor pools, forming an impressive network connected by waterways, and three striking outdoor pools held up by stilts. Enjoy the warm sulfur water while taking in the views, as the snowflakes drift down around you.

Eating And Drinking

The jaw-dropping panoramic views at the Top Mountain Star bar and restaurant are matched only by the cocktails. This glass building is one of the modern architectural highlights of the area, located 3,080m above sea level among some of the most incredible scenery in the Alps.

A meal or even just a few drinks here is a must if you’re visiting the area. And if you go on a Saturday you can enjoy live music with dinner too.

“This glass building is one of the modern architectural highlights of the area”

Other Activities

James Bond fans will be impressed to learn that parts of Spectre were shot in Sölden. If you want to learn more, you can pay a visit to the 007 ELEMENTS museum, which takes visitors on a journey via a series of interactive galleries and installations. Expect to see hair-raising action sequences, stunning filming locations, cars, gadgets and iconic studio sets.

For those seeking alternative winter sports, there’s lots going on too. Explore the mountains at a slower pace on the 320km network of cleared winter hiking trails, or hurtle down the 15 local toboggan runs, nine of which are illuminated at night, and one of which is the longest in Austria.

Hit This Run

Go easy on the cocktails at the Mountain Star if you’re thinking of tackling Black 27 afterwards. From the bar, this challenging black run is very steep, and often powdered and peppered with moguls. It’s a big challenge that should only be attempted by advanced-level skiers and snowboarders.

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