Apres Ski in Obergurgl
Obergurgl VillageIn Obergurgl, ownership of the Otztal valley land has been tightly controlled by families of the original farmers, resulting in the village’s development being kept in check and its traditional Alpine uniqueness preserved. There are only about 400 inhabitants living in Obergurgl all year round.
The first skiers took to the slopes in 1911, making Obergurgl the second oldest ski area in Austria after St Anton. More tourists started to arrive in the 1930’s after Professor Picard in his hot air balloon made the first ascent into the stratosphere, but then had to undertake an emergency landing on the Gurgler glacier in 1931, thereby putting the place in the world’s newspapers. Obergurgl now receives over 100,000 visitors a year during the winter season, mostly from Germany, UK and the Benelux countries. In general, Obergurgl appeals to an older clientele and to families with small children – teenagers and those in their twenties will prefer the nightlife in Solden, down the valley.
Eating out in Obergurgl is limited. Most people tend to eat in their hotels, although we recommend Krumpn’s Stadl next door to the Granat Schoessl hotel. This is a lively but small restaurant oozing Tyrolean charm – if it happens to be your birthday, they will hoist you up to the ceiling in a harness and sing Happy Birthday! Try the Snowboard Steak, or the Pike. The salads and home made soups are mouth-watering too.
In the town, despite the number of apartments, there is only one Spar grocery and one baker and a couple of souvenir shops. For those needing retail therapy there are a couple of boutiques and a modern up-market ski sports shop, Lohman, with high quality brands.
In summer the mountain area attracts visitors who come for the superb walks and hikes, including Europe’s highest ‘Nordic High Walking Trail’ and a starting point for high alpine treks and glacier tours. Thursdays, from early June to October, has an organised high altitude hike. Obergurgl is also a haven for allergy sufferers who want to enjoy the mountain air and pollen-free holidays. The high reputation of the Schreiber riding arena even has visitors who bring their own horses.
Staying in the hamlet of Hochgurgl consisting of just six hotels situated high above the tree line, means most are content to use the hotel facilities and their health centres. For those desperate for nightlife Obergurgl is only a taxi drive away, but even here late nightlife is quiet compared to other bigger and busier ski resorts.
Tel: +43 (0) 57200 100
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Obergurgl Apres Ski Bars & RestaurantsObergurgl’s apres ski hot spot is the Nederhutte with live music four nights a week and traditional dancing on the tables. Snowmobiles will ferry you back to the village if you feel unsafe on skis after too many beers! For dinner in Obergurgl, the gourmet attractions lie in the restaurants of many of the upmarket hotels rather than village restaurants which are scarce.
Obergurgl Apres Ski Bars
David’s Hutte, next to the Steinmann lift, is open Wednesday and Thursday evening for après ski and BBQ or Fondue. One of the highlights of the week is the Night Skiing on Tuesdays with “The Return of the Pioneers” performed by the ski school, an impressive show of stunts and jumps, rounded off with a firework display.
In Obergurgl itself, the Edelweiss Umbrella and the CU bar between the Edelweiss and the Josl cellar are popular. The Josl cellar is open daily from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. Hochgurgl is more sedate, with little après ski.
The restaurant at the Hotel Edelweiss and Gurgl still enjoys a great reputation but reports of excellent dining at Hotel Alpina suggest the gap may be closing. Beside the PicNic restaurant, in the lower part of town there are the Romantica and Belmonte pizzerias and close to the Festkoegel lift there is the new Salt and Pepper restaurant serving Mediterranean style food. Next door to the Granat Schoessl hotel, is the Krumpns Stadl, a typical Tyrolean chalet serving generous portions of steak, local pike or perch, and heart-warming soups. It is a popular bar with the locals too.
One venue not to miss is the Nederhutte on Thursday nights where a Dine and Dance evening features Raclette Grill or Meat Fondue. Booking a table there is a must and they will arrange transport from the village and back afterwards.
It’s fair to say that neither Obergurgl nor Hochgurgl is renowned for wild nightlife and both resorts can seem quiet later on with Obergurgl’s centre being car-free at night. That doesn’t mean there is no action but it does mean that because both resorts do not target the student or singles market, most late night entertainment is to be found in the hotels.
In Obergurgl, most late night revellers head for the Josl Keller (open until 3 a.m.) which has a disco and two large bar areas and late on is always packed out.
In Hochgurgl, there are no restaurants outside of the hotels. The evening atmosphere is broadly low key and relaxed but there are two discos to attract the post-dinner crowds – Toni’s Almhutte at the Hotel Olympic and The African Bar at the Hochgurgl Hotel.
Obergurgl Other Activities
Other activities in Obergurgl – Hochgurgl include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ski touring, ice skating, tobogganing and night skiing, but apart from winter activities, indoor golf and indoor horse riding there’s not a great deal for non-skiers to do in either village.
The ski schools offer guides for other cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ski touring:
Cross-country skiing in Obergurgl and Hochgurgl
Obergurgl is not renowned as a cross country ski area, but for beginners, intermediates, or older visitors who prefer not to hurtle down the mountain at speed, the gentle tracks, cut for classic or freestyle skating, are ideal. The 7 km long high altitude trail from Pill/Angern through the meadows of Isse to the hamlets of Koenigsrain and Alt-Poschach along the river shore is a good work out. The start is at the base terminal of Hochgurgl gondola. In Obergurgl the 3 km training track, starts at Bobo’s Kids Club or below the Church. There are two level ski loops, along the Oetztaler Ache in the direction of Bobo’s Playground, across the brook, and back via the Bartebene area. The 2km long training track in Hochgurgl starts above the Chapel, next to the ski run. Part of the run is floodlit.
Snowshoeing in Obergurgl
Guided snowshoeing is offered on Thursday afternoons for a minimum of 2+ persons with snowshoe rental is included in the cost. The showshoe hiking route starts from the top end of Obergurgl and passes close to David’s skihutte enroute to the Schonwieshutte restaurant where a re-fuelling stop will be well deserved. For something with a difference, on Wednesdays there is a 2 hour night snowshoe hike for a minimum of 4+ persons at the same cost. Snowshoe and headlamp rental included.
Ski Touring in Obergurgl
Ski Touring off-piste is offered once or twice a week for a minimum of four persons. The itineraries are dependent on the state of the snow and the exact terrain covered is decided on the day itself.
Tobogganing and night skiing in Hochgurgl
Also in Hochgurgl, there is a new 3km natural togoggan run, from the top station to the base of the Hochgurgl gondola. Toboggans can be rented or hired. On Mondays and Thursdays, the toboggan run is floodlit, and there is night skiing in Hochgurgl, included in the lift pass. For non-skiers without a pass, there is a small charge to use the toboggan run. Contact Hotel Hochgurgl for more information. Tel: +43 (0) 5256 6223.
Ice-skating and curling in Obergurgl
For a day off the slopes go to the ice-rink in the centre of town (Tel: +43 (0) 5256 6340) next to the Hotel Enzian (Tel: +43 (0) 5256 6265 Web: www.obergurgl.com/winter/winteractivities/ice-skating-hockey-curling.html) or try your hand at curling in one of two sound-proofed curling alleys at the Hotel Alpenland whose facilities also include bowling, table tennis and billiards. Tel: +43 (0) 5256 6337.
Indoor golf in Hochgurgl
In Hochgurgl, for something totally different and unexpected at this height, there is a new indoor golf park at Hotel Riml where golf lovers can keep their swing in good shape by playing 54 world courses on seven golf simulators and a 200 square metre putting green. Contact Hotel Riml for further details. Tel: +43 (0) 5256 6466, Web: www.skiundgolf.com.
Horse-riding in Obergurgl
Equestrians will enjoy the magnificent indoor Scheiber riding arena built to international tournament standard in Obergurgl, which is also a breeding centre for the Haflinger horse. Owned by the Edelweiss and Gurgl hotel it provides instruction for all levels of ability. It is located behind Obergurgl’s beautiful alpine church. For more details contact Hotel Edelweiss & Gurgl. Tel: +43 (0) 5256 6223.
The Alpine Church in Obergurgl
Obergurgl’s beautiful alpine church is worth a visit. Consecrated in 1737, St Johannes Nepomuk Church is the highest in Europe and on Christmas Eve the midnight Mass with the local all male choir in the gallery is memorable.
Wellness in Obergurgl and Hochgurgl
A visit to one of the hotel Wellness Centres and a treatment course will ease tired muscles and rejuvenate the body.
The Aqua Dome at Laengenfeld
Half an hour by taxi from Obergurgl the Aqua Dome at Laengenfeld is a magnificent complex of pools, heated to an ultra-comfortable 38 degrees celsius, where you can swim out into the open air, and back, with occasional jets popping up at the sides and in the centre, to ease the tired muscles. There is a separate pool for naked swimming within the sauna section. There are two children’s pools, built within a vast wooden Noah’s Ark, and separate play areas. There are sunbeds in the solarium, a restaurant and bar, a hairdresser and a shop. On a bad snow day, this is a great escape – or just to relax for an afternoon away from the slopes to recharge the batteries. Best of all, you can text AQUA to see how crowded the place is before you set off – adjusting your visit accordingly. For more information visit www.aqua-dome.at
For more information, including details of events, contact the Tourist Office in Obergurgl.
Obergurgl Tourist Office
Tel: +43 (0) 5254 510100
Fax: +43 (0) 5254 510101