2km of vertical and then the fun really starts

Just back from a fantastic autumn day on the mighty Rettenbach and Tiefenbach glaciers which are located high above the ski holiday resort of Solden in the southern end of the Otztal valley, Austria.

One of the most popular ski holiday resorts in Austria, Solden is sometimes bypassed by those heading to its southern neighbour - Obergurgl. Yet Solden really isn't one to miss - it has size, height, variety and apres ski that few can match.

The remoteness of many of the Austria glacier skiing areas means that few are connected to non-glacier skiing areas or resorts. Not so in Solden and there is a whopping (near) 2km of vertical between the top of the Rettenbach glacier and the street-level pistes in Solden. As well as offering an epic route down it also ensures that what lies at the top of the ski area is snow sure and for much of the winter offers some of the best snow in the region. The ski pistes are massively wide and the Tiefenbach glacier in particular offers a skiing area that feels as if it is as wide as it is long. On the other side of the ridge, the Rettenbach glacier offers the steeper terrain and hosts the FIS world cup opening ski weekend. Skiing kicks off on the Solden glaciers in October and runs right through to June, whilst the non-glacier skiing area above Solden offers skiing to over 3000m and some epic and varied terrain. When the 2km vertical pistes finally spit the skiers and snowboarders out in Solden, the weary legs are called upon again for apres ski that maybe equalled but almost never beaten (Ischgl possibly being the only credible contender for the king of apres ski crown). Solden apres ski really can test the very best. For those looking to escape imminent burnout then just a short drive north of Solden in the Otztal valley is the Aquadome spa resort that is open to the public and offers possibly the best spa facilities in Austria. And for those groups looking to do a spot of team building then the platform jutting out from the upper reaches of the Tiefenbach glacier always offers precipitous drops but it is the high winds that offer a far more potent participatory filter.

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