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Date: 5th February - 12th February 2005
Our holiday: Group of 12 blokes. The majority of us are around 30, although we had a couple of slightly older gents with us. 9 boarders, 2 skiers and a skier/boarder.
Website : http://www.soelden.com
Basics : Solden is situated in the Otz valley a few miles away from Obergurgl. The nearest airport is Innsbruck, though Munich is also fairly close. The resort has 2 glaciers which are linked by a ski tunnel. It boasts skiing across the Big 3, which are 3 peaks over 3000 metres. It offers summer skiing on the glaciers and it is therefore very snowsure. The village is around 1300 metres so in winter Solden offers some of the largest vertical in Austria. It is very close to Italy and also Switzerland and on a good day there are spectacular views to be had of the Dolomites and the Swiss Alps. I believe Neilson are the only British TO who go to Solden so British voices are rare. Although it is not linked to Obergurgl you can add a day there to your lift pass for 10 euros. A free bus runs every hour between Solden and Obergurgl.
Lift system : 34 lifts (7 gondalas, 19 chairs and 8 T-bars). There are two gondolas at either end of town which get you into the main system. These can be very busy in the morning, especially if you get there after about 8:30. They can also get busy at the end of the day as the runs to the resort are quite narrow and busy, so as a result many people take the gondolas down. Other than that there are few queues (we visited during Austrian half term week as well).
The terrain : 147 km of pistes (45 km blue, 73 km red, 23 km black, 6 km skiroute). While there is a good amount of easier terrain it often requires some skiing/boarding on reds to get to/from it and therefore Solden is not ideal for absolute beginners, however they would probably get by. However there is plenty of terrain for intermediate/expert skiers and boarders.
The snow : Stopped snowing the day before we got there. Temps were cold all week meaning the snow kept very well through the week. Blue sky most of the week then a powder day on the Friday before we left. Ideal.
Off-piste : Some good off piste opportunities, but snow was so good on piste we didn't stray off piste that often.
The resort : Solden is all about apres-ski. People in our group who had been to both, say that it pushed St Anton close for night life. The town isn't as pretty as some in Austria, but it has a certain charm to it. The atmosphere in the bars was incredible. It has a better male/female ratio than many Alpine resorts. Thoroughly recommended for all but the pipe and slipper skier.
Food : Mountain restaurants seemed reasonably priced and the food was very good.
Accommodation : We stayed in the Birkenhof hotel. It is a friendly, family run hotel. There is free use of a sauna, steamroom and swimming pool. Breakfast was available until 10am and the evening meal could be had between 6pm and 8pm. The breakfast was a buffet, however there was a great deal of choice to be had. The evening meal was a 5 course affair (2 of those courses from the buffet). If I was to say that the food was excellent I would be doing it a disservice. The best food I've had on any ski holiday by miles.
Costs: I think the cost was 565 each (LGW -> INN) but we had discounts and extra supplements as some of our party flew from Manchester so I can't remember exactly. Lift pass was about 190 euros for the week (with a day in Obergurgl included).
Conclusion: One of the best holidays I've ever had. Thoroughly recommended.
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Last edited by A snowHead on Wed 6-04-05 13:50; edited 1 time in total