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Try something new: 10 extraordinary experiences in winter

No one knows what they can do until they try

Away from the ordinary: Tirol's longest side valley offers extraordinary experiences and activities at full length, which broaden your horizon or push you to your personal limits. Maybe even beyond. We would like to present ten of these adventures in the following article.

1. Spend the night in an Igloo at 2000 meters

Snow Village Hochoetz

Have you ever seen an igloo village, even less stayed in one overnight? There is something like that not only in the Arctic, but also amidst Ötztal: more precisely in the middle of the Hochoetz ski area at 2000 meters. Wrapped in a thick sleeping bag, you can spend the night in one of the 18 snow buildings. Before that, a warming cheese fondue is served, optionally you can also take part in an igloo building workshop - you never know what's going to happen in life. The Candlelight Night promises romantic hours for all those in love. The double sleeping bag alone guarantees cozy warmth.


2. Celebrate ski touring premiere

Hochoetz Ski Mountaineering

"Earn your turns" or the ultimate downhill adventure: this saying sums up the essence of ski touring - you do without lift support, instead you only cover altitude meters using your own muscle power (plus climbing skins on your skis).

This kind of endurance sport is booming, especially safe ski touring on groomed slopes has been very popular for several years. Thanks to the first piste ski tour route in Ötztal, leading from Ochsengarten to Hochoetz, the ascent is child's play: you climb 520 altitude meters through snow-covered forests before wedeling down to the valley on the groomed piste. If you want to give ski touring a try under expert guidance you will find the right offer in the adventure shop.


3. Venturing onto the ice

Ice Skating, Lake Piburger See

A scenery straight out of a fairy tale: Lake Piburger See in winter is not only fabulous to look at, you can also ice skate on it if the ice is thick enough. The cleared loop on which you do your laps (and pirouettes) is two kilometers long and eight meters wide. Ice skate rental is available not far from the lake at Gasthof Piburger See.

If you prefer to avoid the narrow ice skates, you can simply walk on the cleared ice surface. This also works fantastically on the winter hiking trails around the scenic lake.


4. Illuminated hike to Tirol’s biggest waterfall

Ötztal, Urkraft Umhausen, Waterfall, Lights, Night

Standing undoubtedly in the spotlight: 159 meter high Stuiben Fall near Umhausen. Water masses thunder loudly into the valley, while huge ice formations can be admired on the rock faces. You can experience this natural spectacle up close every Wednesday evening as part of a guided lantern hike to the illuminated Stuiben Falls. By the way, easily book this and other guided winter and snowshoe hikes online in the adventure shop.


5. Hit the bullseye

Biathlon, Niederthai

Now it's definitely time to take a deep breath, keep calm and, if possible, hit the mark. Easier said than done when you are standing on wobbly cross-country skis and are out of breath at the laser shooting range. Biathlon for everyone is scheduled in Längenfeld every Wednesday and in Niederthai every Thursday: put your accuracy to the test under professional guidance. You will find this unrivaled activity in the adventure shop in addition to other cross-country ski offers.


6. Climbing to icy heights

Ice climbing, Längenfeld

Do you still remember Sylvester Stallone’s movie Cliffhanger from the 90s? Where the action hero, equipped with an ice ax and crampons, climbs up a monstrous wall of ice in a T-shirt, mind you. In Ötztal you too can become a true cliffhanger, but you better keep your winter jacket on. During professionally guided ice climbing tours you will learn all important sporty facts and techniques: correct belaying, the right crampon technique or how to assess the ice quality.


7. Master the longest ski run in all of Austria

Viewpoint Schwarze Schneid, Sölden

Do you have the guts for "Schwarze Schneid"? If you want to experience what an almost endless downhill run feels like, you've come to the right place in the Sölden ski area. Splendid "Schwarze Schneid" is Austria’s longest top-to-bottom ski run. Ready for the ultimate endurance challenge?

The bare figures leave you incredulous at first, as you have to conquer almost 2000 altitude meters and cover 15 kilometers. By comparison: the Lauberhorn run near Wengen - the longest ski run in the Ski World Cup circus - is just 4.5 kilometers long. Therefore, burning thighs are inevitable! From a technical point of view, this downhill adventure is not too demanding and can therefore be easily mastered by any sporty skier. And yet: arriving on the valley floor you know what you have achieved.


8. Plowing through the snow on a tracked go-kart

Bobsla in Gurgl

Fasten your seat belt and hold on tight: In the Gurgl ski area you can swap skis or snowboard for a “bobsla”. Bobsla what? An electronically driven caterpillar vehicle is hidden behind this name, a kind of go-kart made for snow. After a short introductory training session, you will make some rounds on the specially designed course at Festkogl, making the snow just splashing. No previous experience is necessary, you just need to be 18 years or older.


9. On big feet through the past into the future

Snowshoe hiking in Gurgl

They are the kings of the tree line, often looking after them all by themselves. In an exposed location, they defy wind and weather and have done so for almost 400 years. We are talking about the stone pines or Gurgl’s unparalleled stone pine forest. Due to its age and the size of approx. 20 hectares, it is a real rarity and was therefore declared a natural monument already in 1963.

During a fabulous snowshoe hike through the mystical forest, you will embark on a journey back in time before reaching the (probable) destination of this hike at Schönwieshütte in Rotmoostal side valley. And thus arriving back in the future as the futuristically designed hut could also be from the year 2100.


10. Across the highest peaks of the Ötztal Alps in 5 days

Ski mountaineering Vent, Martin Busch Hütte

We have already told you about the fascination of ski touring. Are you an experienced and ambitious ski touring fan who is eager to take the next step? Then the Venter Loop Ski Tour, one of the most popular "Hautes Routes" of the Eastern Alps, could be the right adventure for you.

The starting point and destination of the five-day ski touring adventure is the mountaineering village of Vent, nestling in the farthest corner of Ötztal. In between: Endless expanses of snow-white, lonely huts and legendary ski touring mountains such as Similaun, Weißkugel or Wildspitze - North Tirol's highest mountain at 3768 meters.


Browse through our adventure shop and discover what other adventures Ötztal has in store for you. The whole range includes not only culinary highlights and alpaca hikes but even learning all about the signs of the zodiac.

Adventure Shop

Hold on tight, here comes everything - really everything! - what you can experience in Ötztal.

Discover now