Skiing at over 3km in Obergurgl

Just back from a weekend deep in the Ötztal valley where clients were forecast miserable conditions with heavy cloud and wind - instead Sunday served up one of the best days in recent weeks with fresh snow under clear blue, sunny skies.

We took a few hours break in Obergurgl, the most southerly ski holiday resort in the Ötztal valley with views into Italy, across the valley onto the Solden ski area and on the horizon the Wildspitze peak - the highest in Tirol. Over recent years the Obergurgl ski area has seen a great deal of investment and the lifts and both high capacity (& queue-free) and modern. Modern also applies to the 'Top Restaurant' which is the highest restaurant in the ski area at over 3000m and occupies a stunning ridge at the top of the Obergurgl ski area. The structure is modern and daring and replaced a traditional hut that occupied the same location for many years. It isn't without it critics and the menu offered has certainly dwindled to become more of a soup and beer drop-in provider than the full menu option on offer at other mountain huts. That said the views are fully exploited with 360 degree windows, an exterior circular observation deck offering similar panoramas, as well as an extended platform that clings to the side of the ridge. In terms of drama then there are few restaurants in the Alps to compete with it. On the slopes the Obergurgl ski area benefits greatly from the towering heights and with skiing and snowboarding on offer between 2 and 3km above sea-level, the snow is some of the most reliable in the Alps. The skiing is similar to a glacier area with wide slopes high up and there are some tough ski routes to complement the numerous intermediate pistes. Obergurgl the resort has a reasonably refined feel to it and being the last village in the valley the traffic is greatly clamed due to the fact that none f it is through-traffic. What apres ski there is in Obergurgl calms pretty quickly although one of the apres ski giants of the Alps, Solden, is located just south down the valley. Ski passes can be bought to cover both areas and for those sampling the apres ski in Solden, there is little chance of seeing any fresh tracks on the slopes.

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