If I had to book an Austrian ski holiday with reliable snow, Obergurgl would probably be at the top of the list. Obergurgl is the highest parish in all of Austria. Located at the head of a snowy valley, close to the Italian border. It’s easy to understand why this very small village should become so popular in winter. Deep reliable snowfall, great views, and a choice of hotels for all budgets.
The village is at 1,930m, making it one of Austria’s highest ski resorts, with the top ski lift station at 3,080m, Obergurgl competes happily with other high European ski resorts, such as Val Thorens and Val d’Isere which also claim both reliable and excellent snow cover. The snow in Obergurgl is pretty much guaranteed from November through to May. Perfect for skiers and snowboarders alike.
The ski lift system in Obergurgl is modern, mainly high-capacity gondolas and fast chairs which provide access to the 112km of perfectly groomed pistes above Obergurgl. The pistes are best suited to intermediate skiers and beginners, the slopes are wide and perfect for long carving turns. The Blue and some of the red runs are well within the capabilities of most first or second-week skiers. While there are a few black runs, none are particularly testing for the advanced skier or snowboarder, who would prefer Solden, also covered by the ski pass. Obergurgl is an excellent choice for either beginners or really any level of intermediate-level skiers.
Free lifts are available at the nursery slopes for beginners and the easy progression slopes bring comfort to even the most nervous first-time skiers.
For visitors staying more than 3 days, the ski pass also covers skiing in the nearby Solden, which gives access to a further 145km of skiing. Solden was the film location for much of James Bond Spectre.
Visitors from Austria, Germany, Netherlands, and Brits make up the bulk of visitor numbers and many return year after year to enjoy, probably the most reliable snow cover in Austria and an après ski scene that makes Austria so popular.
The choice of places to stay in Obergurgl is extensive for a village with just 480 full-time residents but I’ve selected two quite different 5* accommodations to make your stay in one of Austria’s best-kept secret ski destinations in Obergurgl.
Highly recommended; Hochfirst Alpen-wellness Resort, Obergurgl, Austrian Alps
Having recently returned from Obergurgl I dropped in on a hotel that has been popular with my clients for many years. The hotel has been under the same “Fender family” ownership and management for 80 years. With each generation passing on an even better hotel than they inherited to the next generation. Today Karl Fender oversees the family jewel and the Hochfirst is regarded as one of Austria’s finest and most luxuriously and beautifully decorated hotels in Austria.
As with any great skiing hotel, location is a key consideration, something hotel ratings aren’t determined by, which has always been surprising to me. The Hochfirst won’t disappoint, its location couldn’t be better as its ski in/ski out with the nearest lift just a short and gentle ski from the hotel’s ski room.
Great food is a given at Hochfirst, given the energy levels needed for an active ski holiday, Hochfirst chefs promise food to recharge and energise your batteries in style and flavours. There are various dining options available. However, the Gourmet Parlour holds Three stars with Gault & Millau (an equivalent to a Michelin star rating) Their 6-course menu is sublime.
The day starts with a delicious cooked and organic breakfast in the hotel’s luxurious dining rooms.
In the evening guests are required to wear formal attire. While the hotel chefs are required to drive your taste buds wild. The hotel’s Gourmet Parlour, an exquisite 6-course gourmet menu awaits. An a la carte menu is also available together with an extensive wine list from the hotels first class wine cellar. The Seepferdl Bistro offers a cosy spot in the Alen Spa in a very casual atmosphere.
A great spa allows ski wimps to wimp out from a day if clouds close in and non-skiers to still enjoy the wonders of the Alps. For skiers, it’s the perfect way to rejuvenate tired muscles. The Hochfirst, Alpen spa extends an impressive 1,500m2, the in-out heated pool being especially popular. Warming saunas, soothing steam rooms or relaxing massages are all available together with beauty treatments and relaxation areas, even a waterfall makes the Alpen spa a holiday destination in its own right.
Each of the rooms at Hochfirst are unique, and individually furnished to cater for all design tastes. But with a reassuring quality that seems effortless to visitors lucky enough to stay here.
Highly recommended; Chalet Obergurgl’s brand new 5* luxury apartments
The 5* Chalet Obergurgl is a new concept for Obergurgl, stylish apartments offer a real home-from-home feel and offer a luxurious base for a group of friends but are especially ideal for families. The apartments offer one, two or three bedrooms and each of the bedrooms has a private bathroom. (50m2, 70m2 and 120m2)
All of the apartments have access to a balcony. It would be a pity to waste these wonderful mountain views! Some of the rooms will take extra child’s beds and the living space is generous in all the apartments. The bedrooms have space and light provided by huge windows which gives access to the many balconies to take full advantage of the mountain setting.
Described as self-catered apartments, we understand guests rarely cater for themselves. Instead, they use the online booking service for breakfast and dine out in one of the many great restaurants. Some of the best dining experiences are in the local hotels. I particularly enjoyed lunch in the See You restaurant, a few minutes’ walk from Chalet Obergurgl.
For budding home chefs, the apartments provide high-quality Bosch and Mille appliances, with cooking pots, pans, plates and cutlery. A nearby supermarket is handy for supplies. You have everything you need to feed a hungry family.
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A funky spa with an onyx wall, heated pool, sauna, steam room and hot tub provides the perfect place to relax after skiing. If you still have energy, the gym is very well equipped.
Angus Kinloch is the Managing Director at Ski Line. Ski Line specialist ski agency that provides luxury ski holidays to Europe’s and North America’s most popular ski resorts.