Overview of Obergurgl
Sitting at 1,930 metres in the Ötztal Alps in Austria, Obergurgl is one of Europe’s highest and most snow-sure ski resorts.
Linked with its sister ski village Hochgurgl, the entire area is locally referred to as ‘Gurgl’. It is an idyllic area of 112 kilometres of high-altitude pristine slopes encircled by a crown of 3,500-metre snow-capped peaks and several gorgeous glaciers; earning it the nickname ‘the diamond of the Alps’.
The terrain is varied and offers great options for all ski abilities. It is particularly popular with snowboarders, freeriders and freestylers. The ski area is serviced by 24 high-tech lifts ready to whisk you from piste to piste. The Top Express gondola links Obergurgl and Hochgurgl at mid-mountain level and the new 10-seater Kirchenkar mountain gondola in Horchgurgl zooms you up to the top station in just nine minutes. Sitting at 1,930 metres in the Ötztal Alps in Austria’s, Obergurgl is one of Europe’s highest and most snow-sure ski resorts.
Linked with its sister ski village Hochgurgl, the entire area is locally referred to as ‘Gurgl’. It is an idyllic area of 112 kilometres of high-altitude pristine slopes encircled by a crown of 3,500 metre snow-capped peaks and several gorgeous glaciers; earning it the nickname ‘the diamond of the Alps’.
The terrain is varied and offers great options for all ski abilities. It is particularly popular with snowboarders, freeriders and freestylers. The ski area is serviced by 24 high-tech lifts ready to whisk you from piste to piste. The Top Express gondola links Obergurgl and Hochgurgl at mid-mountain level and the new 10-seater Kirchenkar mountain gondola in Horchgurgl zooms you up to the top station in just nine minutes.
The snow ranges from 1800-3082m and the ski season lasts from November all the way through to May, and the preponderance of quiet, wide, sweeping runs at beginner and intermediate levels means it’s popular with families as well as intermediate skiers. There are a few trickier red and black runs for more confident intermediate and advanced skiers, while the wide open slopes are ideal for carvers, there’s off-piste ripe for exploration, and 12km of tracks for cross-country skiers.
Alternative winter activities include tobogganing and sledding, winter walking and snowshoe hiking, but whether you’re skiing, snowboarding or sledding, the mountains are pleasant and sunny for the majority of the season, which makes spending time amidst the spectacular scenery here an absolute pleasure.
Away from the slopes you’ll find a charming, authentic, traditional resort which is full of Alpine character and warm hospitality. The apres-ski scene is lively without being wild, thanks to bustling beer kellers, busy bars and cafes and restaurants serving everything from fresh family favourites to local fare and streetfood to haute cuisine.
In terms of accommodation, quality is evident throughout that chalets, apartments and hotels in Obergurgl and many of the residences have onsite bars, restaurants and wellness facilities with pools, saunas and spas where you can relax and recharge in between your adventures on the slopes.
An Obergurgl ski holiday is an outstanding choice for families, intermediate skiers and mixed groups who appreciate quality lift-linked slopes in prime condition, majestic surroundings, traditional architecture and authentic Alpine hospitality. When you’re ready to experience Gurgl in all its glory, no one’s better placed than Erna Low to arrange your customised, comprehensive ski break.
The Obergurgl ski area has much to recommend it.
For starters, there’s the 1930m resort height, and a snow range that doesn’t start until 1800m and reaches well over 3000m. Then consider natural topographical blessings of a location amidst sky-scraping mountains, an uber-efficient lift system and ample snowmaking for those rare occasions when mother nature doesn’t deliver. Here are some more helpful facts on skiing in Obergurgl:
Skiing in Obergurgl is best suited to beginner and intermediate enthusiasts, but there’s more challenging terrain in the nearby resorts of Sölden and Vent, both of which are included if you spend a little more on the Ötzal Super Skipass, which applies to any Obergurgl lift pass valid for three days or longer.
There are lots of off-piste opportunities for powderhounds in Obergurgl and it’s a magnet for ski touring towards the end of the season.
You reach the ski terrain right above Obergurgl village via the Festkoglbahn gondola on the edge of the village and the Rosskarbahn lift in the centre of the resort. These both take you up to just underneath the 3038m Festkogl summit, where a charlift and draglift then take you to a variety of cruisy blue and east red runs, as well as a couple of black routes which would be graded red in many other more challenging resorts.
Take the Top Express gondola if you want to explore across the other side of the valley in Hochgurgl, where the blues, reds, and blacks are around the same level of difficulty as the Obergurgl side, however they’re much longer therefore there are a few thigh-burners to test your stamina. One great run in this area takes you 1200m down from the Wurmkogl peak to the valley road.
Off-piste fans should take the two stage Hohe Mut Bahn gondola up to the 2670m Hohe Mut where there are best of the areas ungroomed terrain is found, and there are some thrilling, vertiginous runs here, several of which conveniently start from the panoramic restaurant perched on the mountainside. Remember that the best advice is always to hire a mountain guide in order to stay safe off-piste.
Freestylers can polish their tricks at the Familypark near the Bruggenboden lift and there’s also a terrain park for more advanced enthusiasts next to the Steinmannbahn chairlift.
As you can see, if you’re a beginner or intermediate downhill skiing fan or a fan of high altitude off-piste, you’ll be in your element in Obergurgl.
It’s fair to say that Obergurgl isn’t first on the list of Europe’s snowboarding hotspots, but if you’re a beginner or intermediate rider, you’ll still find enough in the pistes, parks and ungroomed areas to keep you satisfied. Here’s the lowdown on snowboarding in Obergurgl:
The vast majority of the ski area here is well above 2000m and this high altitude combines with excellent snowmaking facilities means that Obergurgl has pristine powder throughout one of the longest Alpine ski seasons. Most of the slopes are suitable for novice and intermediate boarders, and their wide, sweeping expanses are ideal for finding your balance and practicing turns. However, black run 27 is a nice steep piste if you’re an advanced boarder looking for a bit of a challenge.
The lower slopes have a few nice tree runs and after a fresh dump of pow you’ll find some lovely off-piste and powder terrain which you can carve up at pretty quickly. The best freeriding area is around Hochgurgl and the most vertiginous runs are accessed from the Wurmkoglift and t-bars.
Follow the ski route 1 in Obergurgl to reach the heart of the Ferwalltal Valley and if conditions are good you can ride right down to the bottom.
The Audi quattro funslope is a 500m long track with bridges, bends and tunnels, the Funcross course is ideal for speed demons and the Snowpark Obergurgl is perfect for freestyle shredders. Meanwhile, the Familypark Obergurgl has rainbow boxes, butter boxes, kickers and tables that are designed for beginner boarders building their confidence.
Snow Conditions in Obergurgl
A sky-high resort altitude, majority of slopes above 2000m, a snow range that extends above 3000m and a constellation of mountains and glaciers around its boundaries mean that Obergurgl is one of the world’s most snow-sure ski resorts. Here are some tips on historical snow conditions in the resort:
Because most of the ski area is above the tree line, you can feel exposed in poor weather ̶ when conditions are bad, head down to the Gaisberg ski sector, where there are some sheltered sloped amongst the trees
In recent seasons, the first week of March has been the snowiest in Obergurgl, with 5.1 snowfall days and 54cm of snowfall.
Snow reliability is excellent throughout the season, but from December right through to April there are plenty of bluebird powder days where you’ll enjoy fresh powder, light winds and sunny slopes.
There are 320 snow cannons in the wider Gurgl ski area, which equates to 99% of the slopes having snow-making capacity.
In the most recent ski season, Obergurgl enjoyed a 475cm total snowfall, 100cm largest snowfall, maximum summit depth of 270cm and maximum base depth of 115cm.
If you take your evening entertainment as seriously as your daytime skiing and snowboarding, the apres-ski scene in Obergurgl doesn’t disappoint. Here are some tips on the best places to hang out in this authentic Austrian ski resort:
Josl-Keller bar at Hotel Josl is the place to be if you like a party atmosphere ̶ its nightclub is open until 3am, the DJs are superb and there are regular themed and fancy dress nights.
Fassl Bar is located at Hotel Mathiesn in the middle of the village and it’s a nice place to meet for a beer on the terrace and enjoy a mix of retro and modern tunes.
Shirmbar Eidelweiss sits outside the Edelweiss & Gurgl hotel at the foot of blue run 6 at the Hohe Mut gondola and it’s a super spot for enjoying a few fresh beers or aperitifs.
Nederhutte is a restaurant at the Hohe Mut Bahn top station and it’s also a great après spot where revellers gather from 4pm to get themselves in the mood for an exciting night out.
Top Mountain Star is located at an altitude of over 3000m on a ridge of the Wurmkogel and it’s a lovely spot to enjoy a sumptuous meal and sink a few drinks whilst enjoying panoramic mountain views.
Iceberg Sportsbar is located next to the ice rink and it’s a friendly spot to meet for a few relaxed drinks and enjoy top TV sports events.
Jenewein bar in Hotel Jenewein is a cosy, chalet-style bar with delightful wooden décor and a welcoming ambience. If you’re looking for somewhere laid-back which offers a wide range of quality refreshments, this is it!
Pizzeria Belmonte is part of the Haus Gurgl Hotel and serves lip-smacking pizzas prepped in a wood-fired oven. Prices are reasonable too!
Salz & Pfeffer Steakhouse at The Crystal Hotel is open in the evenings only, but it’s worth the wait for sizzling cuts of succulent meats cooked to perfection on a lava stone grill. When you want an authentic Tirolean dining experience, look no further.
Whether you want to sip a few cocktails in swish surroundings or enjoy steins of beer in an authentic Austrian bar, apres-ski in Obergurgl has something to suit every taste.
On and off the slope, facilities and amenities in Obergurgl are well-designed, organised and efficient. Whether you’re skiing solo, enjoying a couples weekend or taking a week’s holiday with your family, it’ll feel like a home from home.
There are lots of ski hire facilities in Obergurgl but rather than going to the trouble of organising your own equipment, we can make the arrangements for you, finding great deals on high quality equipment that’s perfect for every member of your party.
Pre-book your Obergurgl ski passes with us and receive it before you arrive at the resort. Reserving your passes with us saves you a great deal of time and hassle when you arrive at the resort; with one less thing to worry about, especially if you are visiting with the family. One and two day passes here are only valid for the Obergurgl-Hochgurgl ski area, but those for three to 14-day durations allow you to explore all the ski areas in the Ötztal domain and there are different rates for adults, youths and children. Ask us about including Obergurgl ski passes in your Erna Low holiday because we can often secure discounts throughout the season. Look up our Obergurgl ski pass page as well for additional information.
Several of the hotels and apartment complexes in Obergurgl have onsite spa and pool facilities for guests and there’s a well-appointed day spa at Mühle Resort 1900 which has a pool, sauna and jacuzzi, as well as cathartic massage and beauty treatments.
Fancy a shopping spree? You’ll find several sports and fashion boutiques, supermarkets for all your daily essentials, and independent shops selling souvenirs and local crafts.
As one of Austria’s most family-friendly ski resorts, facilities for kids in Obergurgl are excellent and resort staff make an extra effort to encourage youngsters to embrace healthy mountain culture.
There are several ski schools in Obergurgl with excellent instructors and lessons for children and adults of all ability levels. The children’s pistes at Pirchütt and Wiesental are operated by Skischule Obergurgl and there’s a novice area at the Krumpwasser lift which has a convenient magic carpet where the Skischule Hochgurgl meets.
Alternative kids activities in Obergurgl include ice skating, tobogganing and curling, while snowshoe hikes in search of Yetis are also available! There’s also a natural playground at the Hohe Mut Alm where the obstacles are crafted from wood, and the Bobo Ski club provides instruction and fun activities for children as young as three years old. Another excellent activity is taking a trip to the Edelweiss and Gurgl indoor riding area to see the village’s Haflinger horses.
The Bobo Ski Club has a kindergarten where kids ages three and above can enjoy ski lessons outside and educational and creative activities indoors on a full-time basis. Another similar option is the Kinder Club Kindergarten and it’s located close to the Bobo Ski Club.
One of the earliest ski resorts to open in Austria thanks to its impressive altitude, Obergurgl’s ski terrain offers skiers a truly fantastic ski experience. The ski range here stretches between 1,800-3,082m and is made up of up to 112km of wide-open, well-groomed pistes between Obergurgl and Hochgurgl.