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 The mountain village of Obergurgl

 

WHERE EXACTLY IS OBERGURGL?

Obergurgl is a village in Tirol in the west of Austria. It is located at the end of the Ötztal, a valley that extends in a north-south direction and begins about 45 kilometres west of Innsbruck. It is the Tirolean Inn valley’s longest side valley.

The small mountain village of Obergurgl, to which the settlement Hochgurgl also belongs, has about 500 inhabitants and is situated at an altitude of 1,930 meters above sea level. This makes it the highest ‘church village’ in all of Austria. The main ridge of the Ötztal Alps surrounds Obergurgl and the Italian border is less than 5 kilometres away as the crow flies.

HOW FAR AWAY IS OBERGURGL?

Obergurgl is about 225 km from Munich while Stuttgart it is about 340 km. Frankfurt am Main is about 540 km away from Obergurgl. From Düsseldorf, it’s about 740 km to the Hochfirst. Obergurgl is about 850 km away from Berlin and Hamburg and Obergurgl about 930 km apart! Vienna is about 570 km to Obergurgl and Zurich is about 290 km away.

IS THERE A SKI RESORT IN OBERGURGL?

Of course! In fact it’s the most snow secure resort in all of the Alps! The joint Obergurgl-Hochgurgl ski resort begins at an altitude of 1,800 metres (where some ski resorts are at their highest) and reaches to the summit of the Wurmkogel at 3,080 metres. With such incredible conditions, nothing stands in the way of a long ski season in the "Diamond of the Alps": The season here lasts from mid November to the end of April.

IS OBERGURGL REALLY SNOW SECURE?

The region around Obergurgl-Hochgurgl is rightly described as one of the most snow-secure regions in the Alps. The area’s extraordinary altitude guarantees snowy conditions: The lowest point of the ski resort is already at 1,800 meters above sea level, where some ski resorts are at their highest. In Obergurgl, the ski resort extends up to an altitude of 3,080 metres! Year after year, the snowy conditions are actually borne out by the long-term statistics: On average there is snow cover here 198 days a year.

Is Obergurgl a glacier ski area?

No. Although the town is surrounded by many glaciers, for instance, the Gurgler Ferner, Obergurgl is not a glacier ski area. Due to its elevation, skiing starts here from mid-November.

OBERGURGL AND ITS HISTORY

"Gurgl” as a place name was first mentioned in an official document in the year 1250. However, traces of a first settlement date back to about 7,500 BC. For a very long time, this idyllic mountain village remained an undiscovered treasure. The few inhabitants of Obergurgl lived primarily from agriculture.

Obergurgl first became famous when Auguste Piccard landed his balloon on the Gurgler Ferner mountain on 27 May 1931, setting a new altitude record. In 1948, the first t-bar lift was built. This helped lay the foundation for Obergurgl as a modern winter sports resort.

WHERE DID OBERGURGL GET ITS NAME?

The village of Obergurgl is surrounded by numerous glaciers and this special location is also expressed part of its name. Gurgl is derived from the word "Gurgall" and roughly translates as "place in the glacier ring."

ARE WINTER TYRES OR SNOW CHAINS NECESSARY FOR ARRIVING TO OBERGURGL?

Your vehicle should definitely be equipped with winter tyres for the journey to Obergurgl. From 1 November to 15 April, winter tyres are compulsory in Austria in winter driving conditions. This also applies to cars with four-wheel drive. If it snows heavily, snow chains can be made compulsory for cars at short notice. It is therefore advisable to also carry snow chains.

How extensive is the OBERGURGL-HOCHGURGL ski area?

There are 25 state-of-the-art lift facilities in the Obergurgl-Hochgurgl ski area, which have a total conveyance capacity of 42,000 people per hour. This means that waiting times in Obergurgl are an unknown concept. Since there are also several valley stations with cable cars that take you up the mountains, there are not any long queues, even early in the morning. Thanks to the 112 kilometres of slopes in all difficulty levels, that are also very wide, you have plenty of space to practice your turns.

HOW MANY LIFTS ARE THERE IN THE SKI RESORT?

Obergurgl-Hochgurgl boasts 25 ultra-modern lifts, which can transport about 42,000 people per hour. This means there is no waiting time even during the busier holiday periods.

HOW LONG HAS THE SKI RESORT IN OBERGURGL BEEN AROUND?

People have been skiing in Obergurgl for a long time. Obergurgl became a well-known winter sports resort last century. It all began with the construction of the first surface lift in 1949. Just 4 years later, the chairlift to the Hohe Mut was constructed. After the completion of the Timmelsjoch High Alpine Road, the settlement of Hochgurgl started in 1960. Thanks to the high altitude of the location, ski operations open here as early as mid-November.

HOW IS THE WEATHER IN OBERGURGL?

Obergurgl is embedded in the high mountain ranges of the main Alpine ridge. As a result, Gurgl has a relatively dry, inner-Alpine climate. This also means that the sun shines more often here than in other ski resorts. In total more than 1,260 hours per year! You check out the current weather forecast at our website. Current pictures are provided by the livecams of the Obergurgl-Hochgurgl ski resort.

What is there to do in Obergurgl other than skiing?

Ski touring has become popular again in the last few years. There are lots of rewarding summits that you can access direct from the town, some of which are more than 3500 metres altitude. Thanks to the numerous glaciers, spring in particular, is a great time for high Alpine undertakings. Snow-shoe hikers can enjoy a somewhat more leisurely walk in the nearby Swiss pine forest near Obergurgl. This charming destination is easy to get to from the town and inspires thanks to its scenic beauty.

There are also a few slopes in and around Obergurgl that are available to classic style cross-country skiers and to skaters. Winter hiking can be fun too, especially when you are out and about on the well-cleared paths and can then get to enjoy the deep snow-covered landscape. There is also a toboggan run in Hochgurgl which is open several times a week - in the evening too.

Where can I purchase items in Obergurgl?

Items for everyday use can be purchased in two small grocery shops and there are a wide selection of sports shops too. You will also find exclusive gifts in the Hochfirst Shop.

Is there a doctor or a pharmacy in Obergurgl?

A G.P. is always available in the town of Obergurgl. If required, any required medication can also be organised by the G.P. surgery.

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