Ski & Snow

Pow(d)erful days in Sölden …

Being owner and one of fourteen journalists of Dutch winter sports website I visited many skiing resorts in several countries over the last years. This season in January we planned a trip to Ötztal again and we were curious how this famous destination has changed over the last years. The snow conditions couldn’t be better after many days of serious snowfall.

Giggijoch Bergstation - Pow(d)er Card Sölden
© Edwin Hagenouw /

Snow chains on our tires, skiing in our mind

Our trip took longer than expected due to lots of snow on the Fernpass where we had to use snow chains and a careful drive over the roads to Sölden. Arriving late in our hotel we had the luck that the friendly women at the reception saved some food from dinner for us, so that we had a great start into our holidays.

Opening the curtains early the next morning we saw it was still snowing. As real winter sports fans we love this weather and after a fast breakfast we took our skis and went to the Giggijoch Mountain Gondola. This gondola was built in 2016 and with 10-person cabins it features an incredible hourly capacity of 4.500 persons.

Two escalators give quick and easy access to the terminal which is directly connected to the ski slope and the covered car park. After getting our ski passes we stepped in the gondola and in less than nine minutes we were at the top station at 2283 meter.

Back at it again!

Gampe Thaya - Pow(d)er Card Sölden
© Edwin Hagenouw /

Back at it again, on the spot where we were for the last time more than ten years ago. We were eager to ski so first we tried the valley descent on the red slopes #19 and #21. Great to hear the clicking of our skis on our boots and to feel the fresh prepared snow while skiing our way back to the Giggijoch base station. Maybe it was because of the time in the season, but we never had queues at this gondola or on one of the other lifts in the skiing area. Because of the strong winds, the Rettenbach and Tiefenbach glaciers were closed, so we did not have the opportunity to go there – so we have to come back soon to check out this area too.

Although we did not have the best weather conditions (wind and snowfall) on these three days in the Ötztal region, the slopes were perfectly prepared. The ski lifts are fast and modern and we never had to wait to get in the lifts or gondolas. In the skiing area are 33 mountain huts, big self service restaurants and smaller cosy huts with friendly service. We were impressed by the architecture of the ice Q. A beautiful glass building with an impressive view overlooking the highest mountains. This location was also present in the latest James Bond movie, “SPECTRE”. In summer 2018 the new 007 Elements cinematic installation will open its doors.

We stayed in two hotels in the village of Sölden, “Das Central” and “Tamara”, both in the centre of the village. “Das Central” is a superb five star hotel with a high standard and service level. We had a big room with maybe even a bigger balcony with views over the mountains. Hotel “Tamara” is situated next to the Giggijoch base station and is one of few hotels with ski-in ski-out. The walk from and to the slopes is only two minutes and this gave an extra plus for this friendly hotel. The Sölden village is a long, towny place in the Ötztal valley leading up to Obergurgl. Gondolas from opposite ends of the town go up to the peak of Gaislachkogl and the mountain station of Giggijoch, with most of the (sports) shops, restaurants and hotels in between them.

Freeride time!

Gaislachkogl is the undisputed number one ski mountain for freeride fans in Sölden. Gaislachkogl peak at 3058 m offers downhill runs for all preferences and skills. Quite steep terrain and narrow troughs suitable for experts. Check also the Freeride Checkpoint at the Gaislachkogel mountain station (opposite of ice Q).

As we had a ski pass for three days we received the brand new Pow(d)er Card. This card gives you access to 254 kilometres of slopes and 55 modern ski lifts. This was a great opportunity to investigate the skiing area of Obergurgl-Hochgurgl for the first time in our lives and that was a great experience. You can read all about it HERE in the Obergurgl-Hochgurgl Blog.

Snowboarder Gaislachkogl - Pow(d)er Card Sölden
© Edwin Hagenouw /

Electric feel

Electric Mountain Party - Pow(d)er Card Sölden
© Edwin Hagenouw /

After our long days of skiing we had some nice hours in some of the famous après-ski bars in Sölden. Halfway down the mountain on the descent of Gaislachkogel you’ll find the après-ski bar “Philipp”, one of the most famous bars in the valley. The audience is international, the party starts outside on the patio and when the sun is gone most people go inside to party on. The bar we like most in Sölden is the umbrella bar next to hotel “Liebe Sonne” and our hotel. The atmosphere is relaxed, the music and party people are mostly from Germany on this day. A good place to celebrate a perfect day on the slopes.

On our last day we had the luck to witness one of the Electric Mountain Parties at the Giggijoch Funzone. When the DJs of Wild Culture started their performance the clouds disappeard and the sun showed its face and illuminated the mountains. What a great moment to end our wonderful days in the Ötztal valley. Now we are sure: We’ll be back soon 😎.

Gastautor Edwin Hagenouw - Pow(d)er Card Sölden
© Edwin Hagenouw /

Guest Author Edwin Hagenouw

Edwin Hagenouw is owner and journalist of the online winter sports magazine and the outdoor website With a team of fourteen reporters we publish daily news and travel reports. Edwin is a big fan of skiing, sailing, mountainbiking and hiking. His favourite destinations are Scandinavia, Austria and South America.

(Cover Image: © Edwin Hagenouw / )


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Author Gastautor

... varied guest authors write about their adventures and experiences in the Ötztal / in Sölden / in Obergurgl-Hochgurgl.

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