Hochgurgl Ski Holiday Resort
Hochgurgl is a small resort that is linked by both piste and lifts to Obergurgl. It sits at the end of the Oetz valley up at a staggering 2150m so the ski season is both long and snow sure. In reality, Hochgurgl is a collection of mountain resort hotels all of which are a very high standard. To our knowledge there is a three star hotel and the remainder are 4 and 5 star residences. The resort is really an extension of Obergurgl although the two are not connected at night unless you wish to pay for the 15 minutes taxi ride. The resort isn't exactly picture postcard in the sense of other Austrian villages such as Kitzbuhel, Alpbach, Saalbach, etc but equally it isn't at all ugly. The buildings are all low rise with pitched roofs, attractive facias, and balconies. When the weather is good it's great but it can be a little bleak when the weather sets in owing to the lack of trees up at this altitude.
The beauty of Hochgurgl is ski convenience and snow quality with the mini village sitting at the bottom of a wide snow bowl and benefiting from all the runs fanning back into it. From here you can access the full 110km of piste with its very low density of skiers. The season will start towards the end of November and typically end towards the start of May.
The beginner ski area in Hochgurgl gets very good reviews from first time Snow Finders' clients. Progression to the myriad of blue runs is virtually assured and the confidence building terrain around here makes it ideal for novices. By the end of the week first timers will be skiing down the Wurmkogel (the ski domains highest peak) at 3080m back into the village.
For intermediates this isn't the largest of ski areas with 110 km of piste. In essence, after day 3 you will not need to refer back to the piste map as the area will be familiar to you. Where the Hochgurgl ski area scores is the fact that it is all high altitude so the full 110km of piste is open for the majority of the season. In addition, the ski area has a very low density of skiers meaning that queuing is unheard of and crowded pistes are not experienced. This means more ski time. The red run down to Pill/Untergurgl is a fast thigh shaking blast amongst the trees and the red from the Shermerspitze is highly recommended too. The blacks on the Wurmkogel and adjacent off piste are good for intermediates and advanced skiers alike.
Advanced skiers will blast around the pistes with no huge challenges except for a couple of the blacks on the Wurmkogel and Festkogl. The best thing to do is hire a guide and dip into the off-piste, especially the Konigstall which holds its powder very well and all season.
For boarders see all of the above for skiers. There are few flats here in this ski area and few drag lifts but all in all it is a decent area for boarders. There is no terrain park or half pipe but in our experience few British boarders use these features a great deal.
Non skiers may struggle here but if they are quite happy with the spa facilities, heated pools, hot tubs, tratments etc in the higher star rated hotels then they will be quite happy. Day long excursions to nearby resorts are also possible.
Nightlife is quiet here with a few Umbrella bars being lively at the the time of the pistes closing for a three hour slot. The Sport Hotel Olymp has an atmospheric apres ski bar called Toni's Almhutte. Here the rustic stone floor and warm wooden walls and beams create an atmosphere that is both homely and traditional. Live music is played and you can always enjoy a game of Nagelstock (Nails) whilst having a beer or three.
Hochgurgl is a collection of upmarket hotels perched at a high altitude in this excellent snow sure ski area. Low density levels of skiers here means more time skiiing and less time queuing. Great for families, couples, and empty nesters but don't come here of you are looking for nightlife.