Snow guarantee from October until May, the two most powerful Alpine mountain railways in the world, 143.9 km of slopes, 31 lifts and two ski regions on glaciers. Jakob „Jack“ Falkner, the General Manager of the Sölden mountain railways, raves about „his“ area.
Sölden is particularly known as the opening venue of the annual Alpine Ski World Cup. „We are always happy when a German skier wins this competition since Germany is our most important market“. This year, German Olympic champion Viktoria Rebensburg did Falkner the favor to win the first giant slalom of the season. However, the World Cup is just one of many highlights in this first-class ski region which ranges from 1,350 to 3,340 m. Night skiing, ski shows and legendary music events with international DJs such as Felix Jaehn and David Guetta are just a few examples. In November 2016, the Giggijoch lift was opened. It can handle 4,500 passengers per hour and ensures no waiting times for the skiers. Simply unbelievable!
Photo: Ready for a fun ride in the brand new lift? - KHL
Every two years another mega-event takes place in Sölden. It illustrates the historical crossing of the Alps by Hannibal (without elephants though…). Would love to watch this one day!
Sölden – just a ski destination? No way. You can increase your adrenalin level on one of the natural mountain bike tracks or try wakeboarding and canyoning in „Area 47“, Austria`s largest outdoor theme park. How about a little thrill?
Photo: Even in summer you can see snow-capped mountains in Sölden - Ötztal Tourismus
Where do all these super sportsmen and women (and all the others, of course) stay? If you love comfort, a first-class cuisine and want to be right downtown, the DAS CENTRAL is the place to stay. It is Sölden´s best and largest hotel. Five well-deserved stars, 125 elegant rooms, excellent wellness facilities and carefully managed by Angelika Falkner, sister of the gentleman mentioned at the beginning of this article. The Central combines Austrian tradition with modern elements in perfect harmony. Cosy, nothing overdone, no chi-chi. You will enjoy local gourmet food and a wine cellar second to none, the largest in all of Austria. 30,000 bottles are stored here – sometimes up to five or six years for a perfect maturity. And the best: the CENTRAL has created its own red wine called Pino (without a „t“) 3000.
Photo: What a special wine - in every respect! - Photo by Rudi Wyhlidal
Top wine-growers from Austria, Germany, and Italy have produced this first-class wine which was awarded as „rookie of the year“ by the renowned Falstaff magazine. Well, quality has its price: if you want to taste the Pino 3000 at the CENTRAL, you have to pay 129 EUR per bottle. But no worries – there are 29,999 other wines to choose from in the cellar!
Photo: DAS CENTRAL in all its glory - photo kindly provided by the hotel management
How about Breakfast on a Mountain?
As awesome as the gastronomy of the CENTRAL is (recommendation: enjoy a typical fondue in the wine cellar), don´t miss to explore the mountain cabin Gampe Thaya! We had to earn our second breakfast on a 25-minute hike through a true winter wonderland. Your breath may get short on over 2,000 m, but you will be rewarded with incredible views and a hearty breakfast with local goodies.
Photo: Typical breakfast goodies from Tyrol - KHL
The little cabin is historic. You can see how people lived here 100 years ago, the girls´ room was just next to where the animals were living. I am sure they had their special tricks to get rid of the smell when they went on their first date with a guy. Very old cowbells, historic photos, and the unavoidable antlers are hanging on the walls. Raffaela, the owner´s wife, tells us about the alpine life. No factory farming, of course. Cows are having a happy life until … hmmm, they end up on someone´s plate for sure one day. „No calf younger than one year is slaughtered,“ explains Raffaela. At least something. And slow food fans will rave about the fact that most products here (and in the hotel) are local. Thumbs up! Ah, the espresso up here is fantastic. „We are not that far from Italy“, says Monika Woelkl, the charming marketing lady of the CENTRAL Hotel. Doesn´t that say it all?
Photo: KHL is ready for breakfast in the Mountains!
No Stress - just Nature... and excellent Wines!
I am sure life up here is fantastic and free of stress. You enjoy the most beautiful landscapes, you breathe fresh air all the time and you have so many great leisure activitites for all seasons. Naturally produced, healthy food and excellent wines and top that, you have high-speed connectivity... even at this altitude. Maybe I should train my lungs a bit and move here when I am retired? You may reach 100 and more years in this little paradise (if you want that at all…).
Back to the CENTRAL Hotel. I enjoy one of the best massages in the spa. Michal from Poland treats my oppressed back so well that I feel totally relaxed. I have, of course, worked out hard at the well-equipped gym before this relaxing part. After a day of wonderful skiing, you can also enjoy the indoor pool with underwater massages. Life is good!
Photo: How about some après-ski training in the hotel gym? - KHL
My Name is Bond ... James Bond!
So how about James Bond? In early 2015, part of the shooting of SPECTRE with Daniel Craig took place in Sölden, to be more precise in the spectacular ICE Q restaurant on an altitude of 3,048 m; a technical masterpiece, offering alpine haute cuisine on top. No wonder that Emma Peel, location scout for the 007 movies, selected this magic place. „80 trucks, 80 minivans, 50 pickups, 45 range rovers and up to 600 staff members were on the mountain during the 15-day shoot“, says Jack Falkner full of pride. We know the result – probably one of the best of all Bond movies. And another highlight will follow: a worldwide unique “cinematic installation” called 007 ELEMENTS will come up next year, allowing visitors to dive into the awesome world of James Bond. The opening is planned for summer 2018 and needless to say that details are strictly kept as secret. After all, we talk about James Bond! I have the honor of being invited for a sneak preview in spring and will definitely share details and images with you. 007 fans – stay tuned!
Photo: A perfect place for James Bond - the ICE Q restaurant! - Ötztal Tourismus
Sölden - a perfect Hideaway in the Austrian Alps
No wonder that I really enjoyed my short trip to Sölden. I had the chance to admire the new lift during a short excursion to the Giggijoch mountain. When we came out of the fog, the view was simply breathtaking. One of the many mountains over and above 3,000 m could be seen in all their glory, with sunshine and blue skies. Simply awesome! – On the same day, after a three hour transfer to Munich International Airport and a short flight to my home city of Düsseldorf, I was in another world, still dreaming about the snow-covered Austrian mountains. And I simply cannot wait to meet 007 in spring 2018!
Photo: Just lovely - the little mountain cabin with excellent food! - KHL
Photo: Dramatic view at breakfast at the CENTRAL - KHL
Photo: I loved the stylish lobby of the CENTRAL - KHL
Photo: Cosy and elegant - DAS CENTRAL - KHL