Sölden ski resort
One of Austria's snowsure glacier ski areas, Sölden is a traditional mountain community that has morphed into one of the most successful resorts in the Alps over the last quarter of a century.
A key reason for this success hangs on the resort's skiable twin glaciers, which allow it to open as early as October. The world's media arrive soon after this to show the first northern hemisphere world cup races of the season, underlining Sölden's global significance, and illustrating the allure of the resort's snowsure slopes.
To support this attractive terrain, Sölden has also invested heavily in ultra-modern, fast and comfortable lifts.
The village, which has thankfully managed to maintain a traditional Tyrolean look despite its growth as a tourist resort, has built a reputation for its lively nightlife, as is the case with many Austrian ski resorts. The antics usually kick off in the centre of town during the afternoon and don't really stop until the following morning.
Sölden is located in the Ötztal Alps of Western Austria in the province of Tyrol, close to the Italian border. The road through it continues to neighbouring Obergurgl (and from there to Italy), but this pass is closed through the winter.
SöldenResort Elevation: 1363m
Top Elevation: 3250m
Base Elevation: 1377m
On the slopes
Sölden is one of the world's most snowsure destinations and is the traditional starting point of the World Cup international ski racing competition in the Northern Hemisphere in mid-October each year.
The resort has an exciting ski area with some of the highest lifts in the Alps opening up a huge vertical back down to the village. At the top are the Tiefenbach and Rettenbach glaciers, which are generally open from October to May.
These runs are connected to the resort by an impressive network of high-speed, high-capacity chair and gondola lifts that make getting around the large ski area of nearly 150km (93 miles) of pistes relatively quick and easy.
Much of the terrain is made up of fast, wide red intermediate pistes up to 15km (9 miles) in length; although there are almost as many blue-graded runs. But expert skiers aren't forgotten, with 28km (17 miles) of black pistes making up around a fifth of the terrain; including the challenging Rosskirpl descent. In addition, the ski schools offer off-piste guiding and ski touring courses for experts.
Snowboarding is also big in Sölden, with the fast, easy-to-ride lift network and the youthful vivaciousness of the resort attracting a large number of boarders each year. In addition, Sölden also a choice of world-class terrain parks in which to play.
The resort is marketed jointly with neighbouring Obergurgl, which is further along the valley, and the two resorts have a fully interchangeable lift pass.