With its high-altitude, snowsure slopes, Gurgl is a natural choice for savvy skiers and snowboarders. The resorts of Obergurgl and Hochgurgl grant access to some of Austria’s finest ski terrain, with 112km (69 miles) of runs to delight beginners and experts alike.
However, alpine skiing is just one of the activities that’s on offer during the winter. Tobogganing is a family favourite and the 3km (two-mile) run from the top of the Hochgurgl gondola provides plenty of adrenaline shots as you speed through 25 bends and banked turns. Safety is paramount and the course has been awarded the Tyrolean seal of quality in recognition of its high standards.
Cross-country skiing isn’t just a great way of immersing yourself in the beauty and serenity of the Ötztal Valley, it’s recognised as one of the best forms of aerobic exercise. There are short trails in both Obergurgl and Hochgurgl, offering beginners the chance to find their feet and fill their lungs with clear mountain air. The 7km (four-mile) Pill-Angern-Poschach trail is more of a challenge, climbing from the valley floor followed by a slight climb across Issewiesen meadows before looping back beside a frozen stream.
If you’d prefer to discover the beautiful alpine landscape at a stately pace, try snowshoeing. The resort is criss-crossed with well-signposted winter walking trails, leading you through ancient pine forests, past mountain huts and along secret cart trails. For a deeper insight into your surroundings (and a bit of local history), you can join a snowshoe tour with an expert guide; all equipment is provided.
Obergurgl’s skating rink is popular with families and couples and its owners take pride in providing a perfect ice surface. It’s a romantic spot: by day, surrounded by a crown of glacier-topped peaks and floodlit after dark. What’s more, you can make a group reservation outside normal skating hours if you want to try your hand at curling – a sport that’s easy to learn but extremely tricky to master!
Indoor golf is among the more unusual activities on offer. Hochgurgl’s Putt-In Bar has four state-of-the-art simulators, letting you tee off on 54 of the world’s greatest courses, and a 200 square metre putting green. Novices can sign up for a taster course, or work towards obtaining a handicap certificate for the coming spring season under the guidance of a golf pro.
Further indoor activities are on offer at the Freizeit Arena in Sölden, a short drive from Obergurgl and Hochgurgl. As well as housing a large swimming pool (and separate children’s aquatic area), the complex has facilities for tennis, badminton, basketball and volleyball, plus a well-appointed fitness suite.
Lastly – and perhaps the name is a giveaway – Gurgl is renowned for its spas. Many of the hotels have large wellness centres, offering a vast range of sports, beauty, cosmetic and pampering treatments. For some visitors, a dip in the Jacuzzi is the time-honoured way to restore aching legs after a hard day on the slopes. Others may want to explore more sophisticated options, from alpine hay baths to hot stone massages.
An Alpine retreat
Head up high in the Austrian Tyrol and you’ll reach a ski resort known a ‘The Diamond of the Alps’. Snowsure, scenic and friendly, Gurgl – made up of the twin areas of Obergurgl and Hochgurgl – has an amazing profusion of terrain to suit all skiers and boarders. Offering something for everyone, find out how to make the most of this beautiful resort with insider guides to its best mountain cuisine, après ski, and activities on and off the slopes.
For more information, go to obergurgl.com