Gurgl, Austria – The ski season is right here!

The golden leaves are nonetheless on the timber however Gurgl is the primary non-glacier ski space within the Tirol – and one of many first throughout the Alps – to open every day.

The elevate swap was thrown on Thursday, November 17, and by the weekend the social gathering was in full swing. A Christmas market with trumpeters, a gala dinner on the angular Gurgl Carat conference centre (the resort calls itself Diamond of the Alps) with a multi-course menu dreamt up by younger cooks from native motels and surrounded by an exhibition of contemporary artwork and sculpture by Austrian Alpine creators.

There was new snow and temperatures throughout Saturday and Sunday didn’t get above zero, permitting cannons to pump out additional continuous. Saturday there wasn’t a cloud within the sky all day whereas we awoke Sunday to snow pouring down and Monday has a powerful cowl and extra solar – with a forecast of loads of snow to return.

Right here’s why an early season ski break (or one later within the season) can be particular at Gurgl, one in all Austria’s most snowsure locations.

The area

Gurgl, within the Ötztal valley, is one in all Austria’s highest ski areas with base stage at 5,900ft and a high level of 9,940ft. The principle village is Obergurgl whereas the purpose-built Hochgurgl, a commune of half a dozen ski-in ski-out motels, sits at 7,000ft; their respective slopes are linked by the horizontal High Specific gondola.

The snowboarding

There are 70 miles of joyous pistes that, because of the altitude, are largely above the treeline (uncommon for Austria). Pink runs twist down the mountain face alongside the valley, typically providing a problem however equally giving a method down for the much less assured.

Two lifts head out of 1 constructing within the centre of Obergurgl; the Hohe Mut Bahn 1 gondola has a lateral slant to the bottom of Hohe Mut Bahn 2 for various reds and blues and a few off-piste itineraries plus, safely to 1 aspect, a family-friendly space contains a freestyle park, ski-cross observe and newbie slopes.

The opposite elevate, the Rosskarbahn, a giant, easy gondola new for to 21/22 season, glides straight as much as one other part of runs. Midway up, the High Specific leapfrogs two valleys (one in all them the King’s Valley, an off-piste journey) to Hochgurgl. Tons extra blue and pink runs right here, even a handful of brief blacks, the most effective from the resort high level the place the space-age High Mountain Star restaurant sits on a ridge overlooking Italy.

Elevate passes of three days or extra embrace all six valley resorts together with fairly little Hochoetz and spectacular Sölden with its twin glaciers.

Why go there

High Mountain Star, a haven for espresso or scorching chocolate laced with rum

There’s loads of snowboarding and but the area isn’t exhaustingly large. Obergurgl is a small, upmarket village of good motels. Hochgurgl is even smaller however the motels are equally good. The Diamond of the Alps shines with gems. High Mountain Star, a round glass-walled haven for espresso, scorching chocolate (with rum!) and drinks with an entrance staircase formed just like the tail of a taking pictures star sits at Hochgurgl’s peak, on a pointy ridge with views throughout Italy. Views always change within the haze, clouds and solar.

That and far else in Hochgurgl is a part of the household empire of amiable, motorbike-loving 50-something an identical twins Alban and Atilla Scheiber. The jewel of their crown is High Mountain Crosspoint, a wildly up to date on-mountain elevate station, restaurant and museum on the entrance to the Timmelsjoch Excessive Alpine Street, a snaking, summer-only go to Italy that’s a favorite with bikers and drivers of open-top sports activities automobiles. High Mountain Motorbike Museum opened in 2016, displaying its 200-strong assortment of bikes. It was nearly utterly destroyed by fireplace in January 2021 however by December it had been rebuilt, larger and higher, with a brand new assortment courtesy of followers and pals.

Top Motorcycle Museum

High Mountain Motorbike Museum

Not only for motorbike followers, it remembers the large Henry Ford museum close to Detroit, a window on historical past, 400 motorbikes from extravagant Harley-Davidsons to 1920s merchandise of Wolverhampton and Ruislip, panoramas celebrating Austrian adventurer Max Reisch (he rode to India in 1933), a set of historic snowmobiles (together with a Harley) and automobiles. There’s even a simulator so you possibly can sit astride a bike and trip to Italy. All free (in addition to the 007 Components James Bond expertise in Sölden) with a six-day elevate go.

In Obergurgl there’s the Piccard Memorial, commemorating the 1931 emergency touchdown of balloon adventurer Auguste Piccard on the Gurgler Ferner glacier.

And the enjoyable goes on and on… there’s 5 miles of floodlit evening snowboarding in Obergurgl (every Monday) and Hoghgurgl (Friday till Christmas then Thursday) – in contrast to many resorts it’s included on the liftpass. The latter can be toboggan evening.

Consuming and consuming

High Mountain Crosspoint is the most important and greatest for daytime, with a sweeping terrace for sunny days, a big up to date timber inside with motorbikes hanging, memorabilia and historic resort images. Tiroler Groestl, the basic griddle dish of potatoes, beef and a fried egg, €16, and a sizeable pork Wiener schnitzel, €18.

Wurmkoglhutte is self-service whereas Festkogl Alm has Tirolean specialities with glacier views – and is a heat spot throughout evening snowboarding. Nederhütte on the high of Hohe Mut Bahn 1, a swift ski whizz from city, serves up meals, drink and energetic apres-ski with dwell music.

There are connoisseur eating places for the night though many are in motels. Lodge Enzian has its cosy Sud-Tiroler Fondue Stube whereas Lodge Edelweiss & Gurgl has a fondue room with glass-domed ceiling over an open fireplace whereas the wood-panelled most important eating room affords up to date five-course menus with an Austrian slant – barley soup, lake fish and native beef. In Hochgurgl, See You is dramatically fashionable, all concrete arches and smooth timber, serving ‘Alpine tapas’.

The place to remain

Lodge Edelweiss & Gurgl

The family-run Lodge Edelweiss & Gurgl lodge opened in 1889 and is the guts of Obergurgl, from the big bar space to the spectacular restaurant to the spa with an outside pool overlooking the slopes. They don’t come any extra handy than this, with its personal sports activities rental store, and a dramatic ski room with an escalator up the door in the identical constructing as the dual lifts.

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High Lodge

In Hochgurgl, High Lodge is one other spectacular ski in/ ski out property coming collectively of Tirolean really feel and funky. I

t has a contemporary décor with stylishly-timbered rooms, an elegantly conventional restaurant and a spa with a number of saunas with an indoor pool and a heated outside pool with views over the mountains.

It has a terrific location adjoining to 2 lifts and with its personal ski store near the ski room it’s handy to get your skis.

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FACT FILE

FLY: Solely 60 miles from Innsbruck airport, there are flights with British Airways and easyJet.

MORE: Oetztal.com and the Austrian Nationwide Vacationer Workplace.

SKI PASS: A six-day Ötztal Tremendous Skipass begins at €359.50 (about £310) and consists of all six ski areas within the Ötztal valley, all linked by free bus.


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