FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Opening 25 – 26.10.2014 Rettenbach Glacier

FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Opening, 25. - 26.10.2014, RETTENBACH GLACIER.
As we head out of summer, the skiing season is drawing nearer.  The beautiful Austrian resort of Sölden is hosting major alpine sports events all winter, but the most important is the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup on the Rettenbach Glacier, held on the weekend of the 25th and 26th October.

Featuring the most widely followed event of the Alpine Skiing programme, the Giant Slalom, the event will attract the world’s top skiers, such as reigning and multiple men’s champion Ted Ligety.

The stadium itself is a state-of-the-art venue, with seating for 1500 and many more standing places. It has full sanitary facilities, as well as accommodation for press and broadcasters. There’s no public parking at the stadium — parking is restricted to permit-holders on World Cup business — but parking is available at:

• Giggijoch (1000 cars in total)
• Gaislachkogl (980 cars and 18 buses in total)
• Tiefenbach Glacier (1100 cars and 40 buses in total)

All these locations offer a park-and-ride facility, with a shuttle bus to the stadium. Use of the bus is included in your entrance ticket, and it additionally calls at:

• Hotel Stefan
• Liebe Sonne
• Postplatz
• Sparkasse
• BP petrol station
• Pitze
• The turn-off to Innerwald

Admission is as little as €30.00 for the weekend if you stand, with reduced prices for young people and children under eight admitted free. If you prefer to watch from the comfort of a seat, that costs €45.00 per day for all ages.

The World Cup programme 2014

Friday 24/10/2014

13.00-16.00 FIS FORUM ALPINUM – Freizeit Arena Sölden
18.30 Women’s bib number drawing – Postplatz Square, Sölden centre
KRONE World Cup Party

Saturday 25/10/2014

9.30 1st run Women’s GSL – Rettenbach Glacier
12.45 2nd run Women’s GSL – Rettenbach Glacier
Flower Ceremony Women’s GSL – Rettenbach Glacier
O3 Party – Rettenbach Glacier
17.00 Parade of Fan Clubs – Sölden village centre
18.30 Official prize-giving ceremony – Women’s GSL – Postplatz Square, Sölden centre
18.45 Men’s bib number drawing – Postplatz Square – Sölden centre
KRONE World Cup Party
19.00 Race Party

Sunday 26/10/2014

9.30 1st run Men’s GSL – Rettenbach Glacier
12.45 2nd run Men’s GSL – Rettenbach Glacier
Flower and prize-giving ceremony – Rettenbach Glacier
O3 Party Glacier Party – Rettenbach Glacier
Awarding of the best Fan Clubs

All the local hotels are bound to fill up quickly, so make sure you get a booking in early and don’t miss out on the event of the season for Alpine Skiing.

Timmelsjoch open: high alpine road from Austria to Italy

Despite plenty of snow on the surrounding slopes, the Timmelsjoch opened to the public last week.

The Timmelsjoch is a dramatic pass road from Austria into Italy through a saddle between the Jochköpfl 3,141m and the Wurmkogl 3,082m peaks.

One of Europe’s highest paved roads, it is closed all winter because of snow and opens up between June and October allowing tourists (cars, motorbikes and cyclists – no lorries or trailers allowed) to travel in and out of the Ötztal valley (Tirol) to the Passeier Valley in the Italian province of Alto Adige.

To get there: follow the road out of Sölden and through Zwieselstein in the direction of Obergurgl. After a few minutes, take the turn for Hochgurgl and you are there.

Check out the video below of the opening day and the drive into Italy: snow, fog, tunnels and then blue sky …

Relax at the Freizeit Arena Solden


At the Freizeit Arena Solden, you feel right at home! The arena is the ultimate place to relax and have fun. From their landscaped indoor pool and sauna parlor, to their fitness center and sports hall, Sölden’s multi-purpose Freizeit Arena is really the place for families!


The arena offers you the perfect blend of healthy activities alongside deep relaxation. At the spa, take in an ‘Adventure Bath’, or enjoy an authentic Kelo log cabin sauna, a steam bath, or an inhalation bath. They also offer hot stone plates and a sanarium, a classic Finnish sauna.

This is the place to go after a day in the mountains of Obergurgl-Hochgurgl. Unwind after some outdoor activities, or use it as an alternative to the ski slopes; simply stay indoors and play on the tennis courts or enjoy the fitness center. Get your workout inside! At the recreation center you can participate in a wide range of sports, swimming and even some high-altitude training exercises.


At the end of the day, the arena also has plenty of fun things to enjoy. Bowl a game or two, or have dinner. In fact, you can indulge in some amazing culinary delights at one of their restaurants, the “Al Dente”, a fine Italian restaurant, or the “Hacienda”, a Mexican restaurant.

Paragliding tandem flights in Solden


Tandem paragliding is an adventurous activity, and one that you can enjoy this summer in Solden!  Tandem paragliding allows you to discover the world from above.  You will see it all, from a stunning bird’s eye view as you float effortlessly above the Ötztal valley.

Paragliding really gives one the feeling of free flight, it is like nothing you will have ever experienced before.

Take a tandem flight with Solden’s Parataxi, where their motto is “Fun for Two”. On your own, you would need to be a certified pilot, but with their tandem flights, you will fly with one of their certified drivers. This allows you to safely, and easily, experience that feeling of flying, with no past paragliding experience at all!

This is a wonderful way to explore the awesome beauty of the mountains. See nature from a bird’s eye view.

Tandem paragliding gives you both the freedom and fun of flying, whether you are the pilot or the passenger!

If you do have your certification, just a few steps and you will be off! But note that you do need to have proof of insurance to fly. But, even without experience, the certified instructors of Solden will take you up on a memorable flight. You will glide high above the picturesque Ötztaler Ache (the River Ötzt) surrounded by 3,000m snow-capped peaks. 

In the summer, you will take the GAISLACHKOGL Gondola to the middle station, where you can take off from an altitude of 2,500m. Talk about a great view!  Come make all of your dreams come true this summer in Solden!

Ice Q, the new source of culinary pleasures on Gaislachkogl peak


Last December, the Bergbahnen Sölden Lift Company opened Ice Q, which was a new, innovative restaurant on the Gaislachkogl.

The Gaislachkogl is the area’s number one ski mountain, providing a huge number of skiers and boarder to enjoy the new Ice Q.

Why the buzz?  This new restaurant provides amazing culinary pleasures, amusing the palate in unique ways.  The restaurant features aesthetically pleasing modern architecture, with all materials sourced locally.  Additionally, the menu features a number of gourmet specialties.

Construction of Ice Q took six months, from June to December 2013.  It is an outstanding restaurant with wonderful service, gourmet alpine cuisine and an extensive wine list.

Ice Q offers 94 seats inside along with 34 seats on the terrace and a rooftop terrace with some amazing views.

Obermoser Architects built this innovative new restaurant along with three mountain gondola stations. Guests will enjoy the glass facades which open onto the picturesque Ötztal mountains.  Seated inside this new building, you feel like you are sat outside: the windows are so transparent, they fit seamlessly into the natural setting.

Aqua Dome Solden Austria

Aqua Dome

Known as one of the great resort spas in all of Europe, the Solden Aqua Dome offers unparalleled comfort and relaxation for anyone looking to get away from the winter cold or the summer heat. You wouldn’t think that the snow-capped mountains contain thermal spas, but the lava-heated water rushes up through the pipeline to bubble right around your shoulders to toes. From the interior of the bedrock, these healing waters come up to the surface heights of Solden, Austria, helping visitors to experience one of the great rejuvenating powers of the world.

Lodged in the beautiful Otzal Mountains, the Solden Aqua Dome rises from the valley to project pillars of steam in the winter months and crystal-blue waters in the summer months. The ornate rings of glass and steel frame the pools while allowing high quality light to stream through. There’s three outdoor pools, each one projected upon stilts to rise from the surrounding area, as well as two indoor pools surrounded by coloured canopies and decorate interiors.

Fire up your holiday vacation with the heat of the sauna. Known as the “Gletschergluhen”, this massive indoor steam bath allows you to sweat out every iota of stress in your body, then immerse yourself back into the cold water to feel refreshed and up for the next challenge. It’s not just a one-sauna experience, however, since the Solden Aqua Dome includes a loft sauna, a hay barn sauna, and the ravine sauna.

Aqua-Dome-in-Tyrol-Austria_Beautiful-view_1629Once you’ve finished heating up in the warm pools or cooling off in the temperate pools, put your body through a new physical test with the Gipfelstrum fitness centre within the spa centre. The personal trainers help you to get to new levels in your workout, by taking on training equipment just like the types used by professional athletes, or taking classes in aerobics or spinning to feel better. Once you’re done, have a diagnostic on your fitness level ran to see how you compare to the professionals who make millions on the grass or track or ice or snow.

With the day done, it’s time to relax and make your inner beauty shine. The beauty programs and care treatments available at the spa help you to look and feel like the prime of your life. Whether you want exclusive products, expert advice, or a litany of treatments that emphasize your well-being, you can find it all at the Aqua Dome in Solden.

Guest journalist writes about Sölden, Tirol

It was with some trepidation that I agreed to go skiing – after all I’m a beach holiday type of girl and I imagined dire scenarios of shivering in the snow, sliding down the mountains on my bottom in comedy Bridget Jones style.

However, when my husband showed me photographs of the Austrian apartment we’d be staying in, in Zwieselstein, perfectly placed between two major ski resorts, Hochgurgl and Sölden, in the Tirol region of Austria, I was halfway to being convinced.

The mountain views from the balcony were absolutely stunning. We arrived on Saturday evening and went to dinner at the Hotel Neue Post.

By the time I was tucking into the Wiener Schnitzel, one of many Austrian specialities and a glass of extremely palatable Grüner Veltliner, I was warming to this holiday.

We hit the slopes in Hochgurgl, on Sunday morning and by then I was converted.  If nothing else, the wide blue skies and the awe inspiring views were incredible.  I sat on the terrace of the Hotel Hochgurgl, sipping a fresh orange juice before girding my loins to put on my skis.

But I needn’t have worried at all, there are a plethora of wide blue runs in Hochgurgl and as I inched my way down, I realised that while skiing for the winter Olympics might be a little tricky, cruising down at your own speed is surprisingly easy to achieve.

I’m still no expert at skiing, but what with the mountain air, the sunshine and all that exercise (not just sliding down on my bottom), I’ve never returned from a trip abroad, with quite such a good post-holiday glow!

I’ll certainly be heading back to Tirol next year for more of the same.

by Melanie Fallowfield

Sölden & Obergurgl / Hochgurgl opens lifts in November

As is the norm for these ski resorts with long ski seasons, Obergurgl / Hochgurgl will open the lifts and pistes next week on 14 November.

Sölden will follow by opening up the Giggijoch ski area and lift system on 16 November.

Sölden World Cup 2013 extravaganza draws 25,000 visitors

The FIS World Cup came to town last week and Sölden hosted the first Giant Slalom race of the year high up on the Rettenbach glacier (27 October).

With so much fresh snow on the course at 3,000m, the PistenBullys had literally scrape away the new snow layers to expose the ice base below which the racers are used to.

Ted Ligety took the ‘home win’ for the US at their Official European Training Home Base.

Marcel Hirscher of Austria was 3rd.

As well as an opportunity to see how the skiers had developed in their summer training camps, the crowds also had a great party.

If you want to know how it feels to be first down the Rettenbach after new snow, watch this video.

Alpine tradition marks end of Summer

0136cc85c7A very “colourful” event took place on Sunday the 8th of September in Zwieselstein, Sölden: the annual cattle drive which is a living tradition and a special celebration for both locals and tourists.

It’s back down the valley it is for the cattle who have enjoyed the Summer grass high up in the pastures on the mountainside. For the occasion, the cows are festively decorated with all sorts of colorful flowers and bells accompanied by the shepherds.

This rural tradition culminates in a ceremony on the forecourt of the Hotel Neue Post in Zwieselstein where the safe return of the animals is celebrated with culinary specialties, live music and folk dance groups.