Long a favourite of fun-seeking Aryans with powerful ski legs and drinking arms to match, Solden’s not one but two snowsure glaciers make it Austria’s largest year-round ski destination. Come winter, there’s enough ski and après ski action to please an all-nations gathering – snow is guaranteed.
The splendid Otztal Valley made international headlines in 1991 when its most diehard patron, a 5,300 year old man, was uncovered perfectly preserved though with "the skin of a roasted turkey" in a high Alpine snowdrift. Otzi, the Neolithic era hunter, found out the hard way that Solden's terrain is a formidable thing. Stretching to 3,249 metres, the Otztal Arena Solden is impressive by Austrian standards and even by Swiss ones, a winter playground accessed by a state of the art lift system and lined with 48 snow guns for good measure.
Each October, the winter ski and party season officially blasts from the start gate. At the first World Cup meeting of the season the likes of Hermann Maier attack the savagely iced technical courses on the Rettenbach Glacier. The Rettenbach and the Tiefenbach glaciers, connected to the wider ski area in 1998-99, make a superwide playing field for the fastest skiers in the world. You'll be impressed too.
Ringed by sparkling ripples of snowy peaks, Solden's three skiable 3,000ers are each showcased by an impressive observation point. The first is at the Gaislachkogel gondola, a round deck at 3,058 metres. The next, at Tiefenbachkogl, is a harrowing gangplank that hovers over thin air and peers hard into the face of the Wildspitze, Austria's second highest peak. The third, Schwarze Schneid, is a 10-minute hike up to an imposing column with an excellent 360 degree map detailing more than 20 peaks that surround. With a view from here to eternity and all that skiing at your feet, who wouldn't be excited?