by The Daily Telegraph, June 30, 2016
Sölden used to have a low profile on the UK market. But recently we received more reports on it than ever before. And its profile will be raised further because scenes from the new James Bond movie, SPECTRE, were shot here last season. We’ve always liked its snow-sure challenging red pistes and exceptionally long top-to-bottom runs. But we’re less attracted to the village, with its busy road and very lively après scene.
|Photo by Freeimages.com/frederico paiva|
Sölden is a long, towny place in the Ötz valley leading up to Obergurgl. Gondolas from opposite ends of town go up to the peak of Gaislachkogl and the lift junction of Giggijoch, with most of the shops, restaurants and hotels in between them. A road winds its way above the town through various hamlets up to Hochsölden – a group of four-star hotels and little else.
When buying a six-day lift pass you can opt to pay €10 extra for a day in nearby Obergurgl (the half-hourly buses are included in the lift pass). You can also get buses down the valley to Längenfeld where there is a big thermal spa. With a car you could make trips to St Anton or Ischgl.
Excellent snow reliability, with access to two glaciers and some exceptionally long runs
Fairly extensive network of slopes suited to adventurous intermediates
Impressive lift system
Wide choice of huts for its size
Very lively après/nightlife
We don't like
Towny resort is spread along a road that is busy with through-traffic
You may need a bus to the lifts
Main runs are almost all above the trees; only a couple are sheltered
Town centre can get rowdy (but easily avoidable, say reporters)
Not a strong point
Despite its traditional Tirolean buildings, a pretty church among them, Sölden is no charmer. There’s a good selection of shops and bars, but the ambience is towny (prominent ads for strip clubs don’t help) and lacks a central focus. More seriously, it is strung along the valley road running through it and the central strip is badly affected by traffic. The place attracts a lively crowd, and the partying can spill into the street. Across the river there’s a quieter area, mainly of hotels and guest houses. Hochsölden offers splendid traffic-free isolation up the mountain
Lifts at either end
It’s a long town, and the gondola stations are almost a mile apart. So you may face a good walk to the lifts, or a ride on the free shuttle-buses. Places over the river from the main street aren’t necessarily remote from the lifts. Hochsölden is ski-in/ski-out.
Go for the Big 3
Sölden promotes its Big 3 viewing platforms with spectacular 360° views from peaks over 3,000m. But lower down things are less spectacular.
Where to Ski and Snowboard 2016
This guide is taken from Where to Ski and Snowboard, written by Dave Watts and Chris Gill.
Click here to buy a discounted copy of the book.
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