Worth for Cash
In a Nutshell
Gurgl has been widespread with British households for the reason that Nineteen Sixties. It’s an enthralling, high-altitude resort with magnificent surroundings, an extended ski season and cheerful (however not hectic) apres-ski. A gondola hyperlinks Obergurgl with the even increased village of Hochgurgl.
Michael Zwischenbrugger was raised in Obergurgl, and has been a ski teacher and mountain information within the resort for 27 years. “I prefer it right here,” he says. “We’re a quiet resort, on the finish of an extended valley – so there’s not a lot visitors within the village and we rarely get carry queues. There’s a relaxed, low-key ambiance on the pistes, too. This isn’t the sort of place the place individuals are snowboarding like lunatics.”
In 2010, Michael was one of many founders of the Skischule Exclusiv – an elite floor of mountain guides and ski instructors providing personal classes and off-piste mountain excursions.
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Ski Holidays in Gurgl: an Overview
The village of Obergurgl is about round a tremendous church at 1930m within the lengthy, chilly Otz Valley – near the frontier with Italy, and a simple drive from Innsbruck. It shares its ski space with Hochgurgl, a set of ski-in ski-out inns perched on the mountain, at 2150m.
Do these altitudes sound excessive? They need to. That is Austria’s highest parish, and with a carry system that extends as much as 3080m, Obergurgl gives among the most snowsure snowboarding within the Alps. That makes it a dependable alternative for early-season snowboarding, or an Easter household vacation: but it surely’s an ideal place to ski mid-season too, because of the consistency of its cowl. There are lots of fewer days right here the place the snow is both hard-packed or slushy than in decrease resorts.
The 2 are linked by street and by gondola. Collectively, the 2 villages and shared ski space at the moment are marketed underneath the title Gurgl.
Simple-going and family-friendly
The undersized ski space irritates some individuals, however others love the actual fact it’s stored Gurgl quiet and family-friendly. “No queues, nice ski college, no idiots on the piste, pretty atmosphere within the inns and wonderful meals,” enthused a latest reporter. “Good worth for what is kind of a cultured resort.” stated one other. And if these feedback make you marvel if maybe the typical customer is a bit of older and fewer gung-ho than the powder pigs of St Anton or the occasion animals of Ischgl and Val Thorens, you’d be spot on.
Non-skiing choices are bettering
Two compact villages and a high-altitude ski space aren’t pure vacation locations for non-skiers – who’d most likely be happier in a correct city, or in a resort which is shut sufficient to Innsbruck or Salzburg for day-tripping. That stated, the variety of various actions has elevated not too long ago.
One attraction is the High Mountain Crosspoint, simply exterior Hochgurgl. It’s Europe’s highest motorbike museum and is aimed primarily at bikers driving the go over to Italy in the summertime, however is open within the winter too. In the meantime, half-way down the valley at Langenfeld you’ll discover the extraordinary Aqua Dome Spa Centre, full with large, steaming bowls of thermal water. Throughout the resort, you’ll be able to attempt cross-country snowboarding, tobogganing, snow-shoeing and skating – and there’s an indoor driving secure the Edelweiss & Gurgl lodge. Common journeys to the High Mountain Star café and bar, to take in its top-of-the-world views, are important.
Just a little little bit of historical past…
Again in 1931, Swiss aviation pioneer Auguste Piccard first put Gurgl on the ski map when he landed his hot-air balloon on the Gurgler-Ferner glacier, after reaching a world altitude file of just below 16000m. In a triumphant rescue operation, native information Hans Falkner led the explorers throughout crevasses to security and glory. Extra not too long ago, Oetzi, the 5,300-year-old hunter whose completely preserved physique was discovered on one of many 23 glaciers above the resort, introduced renewed fame to the valley.
Information to the Mountain
There’s good, however restricted on-piste cruising right here – made higher nonetheless by the standard of the snow, and enjoyable further options laid on by the resort, similar to its early-morning first tracks programme, the Funslope above Hochgurgl, and the Snow Park. “Wonderful carry system all through and no queues in any respect after I was there,” enthused a reader.
The snowboarding takes place in three topographically separate, however lift-linked areas unfold throughout the northwestern aspect of the Otztal. Gurgl’s major Festkogel sector is accessed by two gondolas: one firstly of the village and one other, sooner carry, at its centre. From the highest you’ll be able to attain two additional lifts and collectively these give entry to a sensible choice of soothing blue and feisier purple pistes, in addition to a few steeper blacks.
A gondola spanning two valleys
From mid-mountain, the lengthy, gradual 3.6km High Specific gondola crosses two valleys to succeed in Hochgurgl’s slopes. The terrain right here is extra intensive with loads of lengthy, primarily blue, descents, that are excellent for constructing confidence early in your snowboarding profession. The 2-stage Hochgurglbahn gondola permits swift entry from the valley to the modest assortment of drag-lifts and chairs – together with a contemporary six-pack – and a steady vertical drop of 1200m.
The third smaller space of Gaisberg lies to the south of Obergurgl and is reached by gondola from the village centre. Gaisberg gives pleasant blue runs in addition to properly as three more difficult reds between the timber, served by the swift six-person Steinmannbahn chair. It’s a canny place to be very first thing within the morning, when most skiers are heading to the highest of the Festkogel and Hochgurgl sectors: the surroundings is stupendous and the pistes often empty.
An excellent off-piste route begins from the lonely Hohe Mut Alm (see picture, under) and finally ends up close to the Schönwieshutte.
For the extra adventurous, there are many alternatives for guided excursions into magnificent terrain main as much as the Italian frontier and, throughout late season particularly, the ski-touring is very really useful.
Due to its excessive, snowsure slopes, Obergurgl is often the primary massive resort with out glacier snowboarding to open for the winter, often in mid-November. It’s on our hit listing of the greatest resorts for early-season snowboarding consequently.
Snowboarders can have a number of enjoyable after contemporary snow
“One of the best bit about Gurgl is there are hardly any boarders,” purred one report. You would possibly properly be delay by such statements – however maintain up there a second: the wide-open terrain in some sectors could be heaven after contemporary snowfall (offering you’re driving with a professional mountain information, in fact), and there isn’t an excessive amount of competitors for first tracks both. The resort now has a professionally-maintained terrain park, too – and the wide-open high-altitude pistes are an ideal place for intermediates to work on their carved turns. As long as you don’t thoughts the subdued nightlife, you’ll be in clover.
The place to Keep
It doesn’t actually matter the place you keep in Gurgl, as each villages are so compact, with a number of ski-in ski-out lodging. Even should you’re not proper within the centre of Obergurgl, you’ll solely be 10 minutes’ stroll away or a two-minute bus journey. Buses come commonly, though they cease for an hour at lunchtime. You gained’t endure from visitors noise, both, as automobiles are banned at night time.
Resort Edelweiss & Gurgl
Prime lodging spot has at all times been Resort Edelweiss & Gurgl, within the centre of Obergurgl village and on the foot of the slopes. It is likely one of the resort’s unique and greatest inns. “This was our fifth go to to lodge Edelweiss,” stated a reporter. “Nice location. Every little thing is close by. The meals is scrumptious. It has a spa, childcare, and – extra unusually – an indoor horse driving enviornment.”
Extra luxurious nowadays is the four-star superior Resort Bergwelt with wonderful meals and wine, in-house childcare, a superb pool and a brand new three-storey spa. It’s set above the village and is now a member of Small Luxurious Inns of the World. It is a good selection for households, with weekday supervision for youngsters aged three years and above, with video games, arts and crafts, and a children’ cinema. On prime of this there’s a weekly pizza baking session with the kitchen workers.
The Crystal Way of life Resort
The Crystal is a monster of a constructing in two elements linked by a glass walkway. It’s positioned reverse the Festkogel carry station, and is extraordinarily snug (“the lodge was incredible” stated a latest customer). It has an enormous spa with an indoor and outside pool and a scorching water grotto. There’s a free children’ membership, too.
Resort Madeleine is constructed into the rock and, in accordance with reviews, has “pristine lodging, wonderful meals, and really nice workers”. The spa space and lots of the rooms had been not too long ago revamped, making every part very gentle and modern.
Berg Important Resort Alpenaussicht is a lodge that has a sustainable philosophy. The kitchen makes use of merchandise from the lodge’s personal farm and neighbouring farms, with the goal of retaining as many minerals and nutritional vitamins as potential. Cleansing merchandise are all pure, while heat water and heating is obtained from the lodge’s wood-chip plant and photo voltaic power. The lodge is positioned close to the Festkogel carry and near a bus cease hat takes you into the village centre.
Resort & House Alpenland
Resort Alpenland is family-run, with lodge rooms, household suites, and flats for as much as six individuals. There’s a superb spa space right here with numerous saunas and rest rooms. Then lodge additionally has a youngsters’s delicate play space.
Resort Olympia is a small lodge that mixes conventional Tirolean type with trendy comforts, and is about above the village. There’s a wellness space, and the restaurant is understood for its delicacies together with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes.
Josl Mountain Lounging
Josl Mountain Lounging is a boutique lodge embellished in trendy type, very gentle with floor-to-ceiling home windows, with stone, wooden and pure materials all through. The trendy Mountain Lounge is the lodge’s hub, and contrasts with the cosy Hunters’ Parlour. There’s a rooftop spa and swimming-pool, and the lodge homes the favored Josl Keller bar.
Relais & Chateau High Resort Hochgurgl
Relais & Chateau High Resort Hochgurgl was Hochgurgl’s first five-star. It has a creche and well being membership, and was rated “incredible, with an incredible fondue“. Its restaurant, High Mountain Star, is an architectural confection of glass and metal perched on the rocks.
Alpen Wellness Resort Hochfirst
The Hochfirst up in Hochgurgl has been operating as a lodge since 1934, and now has 5 stars. With its pretty indoor-outdoor swimming space and fabulous spa, the main focus is as a lot on the wellness as it’s on tremendous eating and ski-in ski-out comfort, with a ski carry subsequent door. The lodge additionally has a supervised children’ membership.
Alpenhotel Laurin is a three-star rated for its meals and has nice rooms, that are merely designed. It’s set 250m under the resort however has some nice views of the encircling mountains. The Hochgurgl lodge has a big solar terrace, which makes the proper place to take pleasure in an after-skiing drink. The wellness space has a sauna, steam room and scorching tub.
Resort Riml has massive rooms and free baby supervision, making it a sensible choice for households. It’s additionally ski-in ski-out onto the Hochgurgl slopes, has an intensive 1000m² wellness space with swimming-pool and a state-of-the-art indoor golf simulator.
Practically each bed room in Sporthotel Olymp comes full with a personal Hydrosoft sauna with steam to stimulate the metabolism, activate the immune system and invigorate the pores and skin. There’s additionally a swimming-pool and spa, and a mountain restaurant accessible from Hochgurgl’s snowboarding that’s proper exterior the door. The kitchen makes use of regional, market-fresh elements.
The place to Study
For group classes, Obergurgl Ski Faculty (“very good tuition”) and Hochgurgl Ski Faculty, are the faculties to focus on. They’ve been efficiently educating the fundamentals to worldwide guests for generations – and have lengthy expertise of working with Brits. “The ski college was sensible for all of us, and our teacher distinctive; he was aged 77,” commented a reporter. Programs embody ski and snowboarding, freeride, telemark, cross-country, and ski-touring.
Three colleges within the resort concentrate on personal and small-group tuition. Skischule Exklusiv is a small group of highly-qualified native instructors and mountain guides, based in 2010. It gives classes each on-piste and off, in addition to ski-touring and snow-shoeing. Ski With A Native and Alpinsport Obergurgl additionally supply personal classes.
Gurgl’s night time snowboarding takes place on Monday nights on 8km of floodlit slopes from the highest of the Festkogl, previous the Nederhutte and again all the way down to Obergurgl village centre or the Festkogl gondola; and on Thursdays from Hochgurgl’s Hochgurglbahn I carry. Each Tuesday at 9pm the Obergurgl Ski Faculty instructors placed on a night-time ski efficiency right here.
Good childcare and pleasant instruction
Gurgl is a family-friendly resort and it’s nice for novices of all ages. The Kinder-Membership supplies tuition for youngsters from three years of age, in teams of three to 5 youngsters. The ski college gives Household Days the place three youngsters underneath the age of 14 years go freed from cost when two adults be part of the lesson. The ski college accepts youngsters from 4 years previous.
Plenty of inns function their very own child-minding. These are often freed from cost for older youngsters, however you have to verify ages rigorously earlier than reserving. They embody the inns Alpina, Bergwelt, The Crystal and Hochfirst, in addition to the Resort Edelweiss & Gurgl.
The place to Eat
Lots of people ski again down into the villages of Obergurgl and Hochgurgl for lunch, particularly if they’ve young children at Kindergarten, however there are some good spots to cease on the mountain, too.
Hohe Mut Alm is a well-liked lunch venue with a stunning woody inside and stupendous views on the prime of the Gaisberg sector. The every day specials are at all times value ordering, and the service is fast. The Schönwieshütte is a touring refuge, rebuilt in 2015, which is famend for its Gulaschsuppe and Kaiserschmarren. The proprietor can drive you there with a skidoo from the highest of the Steinmannbahn carry.
The Zirben is about on the backside of the Steinmannlift, and has specialises in Tirolean dishes. Festkoglalm and Nederhutte – the latter with stay music – are additionally really useful. Even when the Nederhutte is full, the meals at all times arrives in 10 minutes.
In Hochgurgl, the Wurmkoglhutte is a self-service providing conventional mountain fare. From the futuristic High Mountain Star restaurant subsequent to the Wurmkogl peak you’ll be able to see the Dolomites. The star-shaped glass confection is perched on a slim ridge that drops down steeply on either side, mounted by 25 rock anchors which might be an average of eight meters lengthy. The glass façade could be opened in good climate, allowing inaspect and outaspect to mix as one. Order Munich white sausages with a pretzel and a glass of Paulaner weissbier, and take in the views.
One other spot for a superb lunch is the Angerer Alm within the lodge of the identical title. Kirchenkar Ski Hut is a country mountain hut with an open hearth and an ice bar, and it’s also possible to order a gourment picnic within the Perrier-Jouët gondola cabin of the Kirchenkarbahn.
A lot of the village eating places are within the inns
Most eating places in Gurgl are positioned inside the inns – a mirrored image of the truth that most company are staying on a half-board foundation. Amongst these with good reputations for his or her meals are the Edelweiss & Gurgl, the Hexenkuchl in Resort Jenewein, Laurin Alpenhotel which serves Italian and Tirolean delicacies and has a weekly Strudl night.
In Hochgurgl, an kitchen of observe is the Angerer Alm, which is presided over by chef, Christian Rudolf, who transforms the uncooked supplies – a few of which come from the lodge’s personal farm – right into a gourmand deal with. This is applicable to every part from artistic lunches to gourmand dinners.
Gurgl is a resort liked by households and older, extra prosperous skiers: so it’s no marvel its nightlife is mostly muted. One reader described it as: “Not a resort for occasion animals.”
In the meantime, for extra conventional après-ski, the Nederhutte on the slopes above Obergurgl is an important cease. It nonetheless has stay music – and dancing in your ski boots. In the meantime, on the backside of the slopes, the Solar Terrace on the Resort Edelweiss & Gurgl, is an efficient place to toast the tip of a one other spectacular day. Over in Hochgurgl, the Schermer Scherm is the place for a mid-mountain drink, while Toni’s Almhutte Bar within the Olymp Sporthotel is a woody and atmospheric place to finish the day.