Previously this winter I'd been to Borovets in Bulgaria on a an actual holiday. No work just a holiday. Well that was the plan but I found myself live tweeting from the roadside after the transfer bus slid in a ditch and had to be towed out. Things got even more interesting when the bus disappeared up the road abandoning us on a dark icy mountainside with no representative from the company. But this is a story for another time except to say that we experienced shocking customer service from all parties involved on the holiday bar the hotel (even though the food was abysmal). Poor airport, couldn't care less baggage handlers resulting in wet luggage and for one passenger, damaged equipment. Sorry I'm ranting and I shall leave it there.
So to Obergurgl. I would be travelling with Ski Total and my brief for this trip was to experience things as a customer and not as a journalist. I was to stay at the Chalet Christophorus on the edge of the piste. Apparently this slope is infamous due to a former resort manager crashing through the safety fence and having to be dug out of a snowdrift whilst having a tantrum. But looking at the button lift and toddlers enjoying themselves it seemed innocuous enough.
After a simple check in and comfortable flight to what I think my is now my favourite airport, Innsbruck, a shortish transfer took us to the resort passing on the way Solden. Solden is included in the price of a Obergurgl lift pass and was recently used as a location for the Bond film Spectre. Solden also boasts a multi-million pound hotel/spa with spectacular open air pools for a very European way to relax.
Ascending the valley on the bus the views opened up and that mountain vibe was soon felt and as we arrived at the accommodation I started almost to purr. Beautiful, groomed pistes. Powder deeper than I'd seen in years. It was the week of the so called "Beast from the East" and the forecast promised temperatures dipping below -20. Lovely stuff, it may be cold but after the last few years of slush and mud this is a dream.
The Chalet Christophorus accommodates approximately 30 guests and when they say ski in ski out, they aren't exaggerating. I've stayed at premises promising such before and whilst true you had to be a pretty advanced skier to do so. Chalet Christophorus has two of the resorts easiest runs basically to the front door. It also has one of the more challenging reds doing the same.
I'll admit to having my reservations being a solo traveller in a chalet. I get times when I don't really like people that much but I found the atmosphere to be relaxed and accommodating. This was in no small part down to the rep Imogen, who was a wealth of information and I'm told a excellent ski host, and Steph our chalet host and her team, always keeping the wine flowing and even inviting me to join them on staff night off at the notorious apres bar the Nederhutte. On a side issue unless you've started a mosh pit in ski boots to Mama Mia you haven't lived.
Apres-ski at the Nederhutte on a previous trip
Obergurgl has two main ski areas. Obergurgl itself and a short bus or gondola ride away Hochgurgl. Both areas have beautiful wide uncrowded slopes. If I have a slight complaint, it's that runs graded blue varied enormously. From gentle slopes like the one I could see from my bed, to ones harder than reds I'd found easy in Italy. Competent skiers won't be troubled by this but those at a more beginner level should get lessons there to make the most of things.
In both areas the lifts were fast, efficient to the point I hardly saw a queue the entire week. Pistes were impeccably maintained, easily followed and well serviced by drinking establishments serving good beer, passable Bombardinos and warming gluwein. I'm told they also did soft drinks and coffees but having not experienced such things I couldn't possibly pass judgement.(Ed - I can confirm you can get great coffee!)
2017/18 has seen the best snow conditions for 30 years in the Alps and even more is falling as I write. There are a few more weeks left this season and time to get a few more runs in. As days get longer and the sun gets stronger, sliding down on a mountain on planks gets even better so if you can get out there now. Me I'm setting the turbo up to start training, although I do live on a hill..........
For more on Obergurgl as a place to learn how to ski check out how our Editor got back in 2014.
Thank Yous go to
Ski Total for an fabtastic customer experience and perfect trip.
Obergurgl Tourist Office for the lift pass
Daniela at Hills Balfour for arranging everything
Imogen our Ski Total rep for the information and quiz night (although "I am your father" is from Empire Strikes Back not Star Wars)
Steph and the Chalet Christophorus team for the top notch service, exquisite food and plentiful red wine. The whole resort team were the best and Cat at Ski Total head office for being my mine of information on the resort.
Ski Total (skitotal.com / 01483 791 935) offers seven nights at the four-diamond plus Chalet Christophorus in Obergurgl, Austria from £798 per person. Price includes flights from London Gatwick to Innsbruck, resort transfers and chalet catering (daily skiers’ breakfast, afternoon tea with homemade cake and three-course evening meals with complimentary wine).
For more information on visiting Obergurgl go to obergurgl.com