Change of location: On the Acherkogel mountain gondola I float from Oetz up to Hochoetz. Although this year it closes already on 11 October. But just in time for the winter season, on 05 December, it will go into operation again to transport snow fans to the Hochoetz family ski area with its 13 mountains lifts and 39 slope kilometers in eight minutes. Topped by the free offer to use also the superb slopes of Kühtai with the same lift ticket. In summer after a short ascent, in winter directly connected by chairlift, fresh apple strudel awaits me at cozy Bielefelder Hütte.
Even up here, at an altitude of 2112 meters, where all of Oetz and the Inntal Valley are at my feet, face masks are required. "Overnight guests have to register in advance," explains hut tenant Werner Schöpf. “Even some local Tiroleans come up and say that they didn't know how nice it is to go hiking up here. Many people want to test our ski area soon."
The fact that the evening closing time is at 10.00 pm in the whole valley is no problem at all. Instead of going to the bar and après-ski, vacationers take the chance to chat with the neighbors at the next table, enjoy talking about the catch of four trout with the Swiss fly fisherman at four-star-plus Posthotel Kassl in Oetz, diving into the huge wellness parlor or having a drink at the 120 year old Art Nouveau hotel bar.
"The saunas can now only be used upon reservation, one household per sauna," explains Philipp Haid, one of the two junior bosses. "Additionally, the entire staff is tested once a week at a mobile test station. Upon request, the guests too."