Obergurgl ski resort
Known as the "Diamond of the Alps", Obergurgl has offered snowsure skiing to its well-heeled clientele for over 70 years, sitting high in the Ötztal Alps in Tyrol, Austria.
The resort is so high in fact that Obergurgl boasts the longest ski season of any non-glacier ski resort in Austria, opening in mid-November and enjoying a near six-month season through to the following May.
The resort itself is made up of three, relatively small, parts. Obergurgl, in the middle, is the largest with several dozen hotels and a handful of shops and restaurants; Hochgurgl, above, is the preferred choice for rich powder hounds, with an enclave of mostly ski-in/ski-out luxury hotels; and then there's tiny Untergurgl below, which is quiet and unassuming with a scattering of cheaper accommodation options.
The resort as a whole oozes quality: the vast majority of accommodation is rated as 4- or 5-star and both the village and ski slopes are predominantly served by fast high-capacity chairlifts and gondolas.
Obergurgl is closely allied with the neighbouring and much larger resort of Solden, with which it shares the Otztal lift pass.
Obergurgl is located in the Ötztal Alps in the province of Tyrol in western Austria. The village is close to the border with Italy.
ObergurglResort Elevation: 2150m
Top Elevation: 3082m
Base Elevation: 1930m
On the slopes
Obergurgl has one of the longest ski seasons and earliest starts to the winter in the Alps for a resort without a glacier, and is typically open from mid-November through to May. This long season is thanks to the resort's high elevation and the fact snowmaking facilities that now cover 90% of the slopes.
Obergurgl's ski area is known for its open, snowy slopes and its excellent modern lift system that's dominated by fast gondolas and six-seater chairlifts, making queues a rarity.
There are runs for all ability levels on both sides of the ski area. Beginners and novice skiers will find terrain best suited to them accessed from the Gaisberg and Mahdstuhl lifts. There is also a choice of two ski schools in Obergurgl ski resort for those wishing to learn or to brush up on their skills.
Intermediates will be drawn to the Festkogl ski area on the Obergurgl side, as well as the Schermerspitze trail; while the 8km (5 mile) run down from the Wurmkogl to Pill is the longest.
For experts, the Hohe Mut black piste (number 11) in Obergurgl is regarded as the most challenging; while there's also a challenging mogul piste (number 27) down from Top-Wurmkogl II in Hochgurgl. Additionally, there are plenty of off-piste and ski touring opportunities to tackle with a guide.