Otherwise known as the ‘Diamond of the Alps’, the Austrian ski resort of Obergurgl-Hochgurgl is nestled at the end of the Ötztal valley and enjoys guaranteed snow thanks to the high altitude. Skiing and snowboarding are often possible here from early autumn until well into spring, a feature that makes the ski area popular with both recreational and professional athletes. For the 2018/19 ski season, Obergurgl-Hochgurgl will be inaugurating the Kirchenkarbahn II, a lift that will open up access to new slopes and off-piste terrain. Professional skiers Fritz Dopfer and Dave Ryding tell us what it is that makes Obergurgl-Hochgurgl so special.
The linked ski area of Gurgl boasts more than 100km of pistes, mostly suited to intermediate skiers and snowboarders, although those looking for a challenge can try their hand at the 20km of black pistes. Freeride enthusiasts will have plenty to explore with the extensive terrain and deep powder snow. Professional skiers Dave Ryding and Fritz Dopfer have selected Obergurgl-Hochgurgl as their training ski area of choice and you can see them sport the logo on their ski gear during national and international competitions. See them describe their love for Obergurgl-Hochgurlg in a few concise words:
The Kirchenkarbahn II monocable gondola is all luxury, with plush heated seats. The new lift will whisk skiers and snowboarders up to an altitude of 2839m in just nine minutes. In total the cable car will give access to 2.2km of new blue and red slopes, not including the off-piste terrain. As always, freeriders should be well-versed in avalanche awareness and equipped with emergency equipment including an avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe.
Obergurgl-Hochgurgl has a jam-packed event calendar, starting with the ski season opening ceremonies, which will be spread over a period of almost two weeks. From November 15-25, skiers and snowboarders can check out a variety of live acts and participate in free ski touring with local ski instructors. If you’re panicked about getting in shape before ski season, be sure to register for the Ski Fit Week from December 8-15 to participate in a comprehensive training program. Also not to miss is the Powder Snow Week from January 12-19, 2019 featuring live music, night skiing and ski shows, rides in a piste basher and more.
Audi Quattro Funslope © Obergurgl-Hochgurgl
The snow park in Obergurgl has no shortage of jumps – lovingly maintained by a dedicated all-female crew – where aspiring freestylers can sharpen (and show off) their skills. Novice park rats can work their way up on the Hochgurgl Funslope and at Obergurgl’s Audi Quattro Funslope, with their banked turns, undulating slopes, bridges and fun obstacles. The funslopes are a halfway point between a snow park and a ski cross track, designed to be not too intimidating, where beginners and families with young kids can venture out of their comfort zone.
From the challenging black slopes and limitless off-piste terrain to the approachable blue pistes and funslopes, the linked ski area of Obergurgl-Hochgurgl has something to offer for every level of skier. Families, old and young skiers alike will get their money’s worth both on and off the slopes, especially if you happen to visit during one of the ski season’s many events. It’s no wonder this exciting, multifaceted ski resort has gained a reputation for being the Diamond of the Alps!
Born and raised in the ski paradise of Vancouver, Canada, I learned to ski before I can remember, balancing precariously on my parents’ skis as they sailed down the hill. I started snowboarding in my teens and am now delighted to be exploring everything Europe’s ski scene has to offer!
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