Söll ski resort
Shortly before snowboarding burst onto the winter sports scene in the 1980s, Söll ski resort had taken the crown from Italy's Sauze d'Oulx as the party hotspot in the Alps, especially amongst young British skiers.
Although still one of the livelier choices in Alpine skiing, Söll now rarely makes the headlines for anything other than its traditional Tyrolean ambience and large, accessible ski area.
Like Sauze d'Oulx, Söll had a long history as a farming centre long before winter sports were even thought about, and despite extensive growth as a tourist resort, Söll has kept a lot of its character by maintaining historic architectural standards, with the village still centred on its beautiful, old church.
Söll is one of nine villages with inter-linked ski areas that together form one of the largest and most modern ski resorts worldwide, the SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental. This vast domain provides ample opportunities for skiers and boarders of all levels.
Söll is located in the Wilder Kaiser Alps region, within the province of Tyrol in northwest Austria. The resort is very close to the German border.
SöllResort Elevation: 703m
Top Elevation: 1829m
Base Elevation: 650m
On the slopes
A modern gondola close to the village centre is the access point for anyone who is staying in Söll to access the giant SkiWelt area, which encompasses the local slopes and those from half-a-dozen neighbouring villages. Altogether there are 284km (176 miles) of ski runs – more than 220km (137 miles) of which has snowmaking cover. These are served by 90 lifts and more than 70 mountain restaurants.
The closest slopes to Söll village itself include four black runs to explore, but the SkiWelt pass covers the full area and you can easily reach another nine black runs if you wish to find more, with the Alpseite run popularly regarded as the most challenging, hitting gradients of up to 80%.
Beginners based in the resort have wide, sunny pistes at the top and bottom of the mountain. A special beginners-only lift ticket is available, although only if you are booked on a ski school course, which saves money for those who don't want the full SkiWelt pass (there is no Söll-only ticket).
Intermediates will feel they can ski forever here. There is a marked circuit of around 20 runs within the Söll vicinity that's enjoyable enough, but real powder hounds will want to sample the 70 or so sweeping blues in the huge lift-linked SkiWelt area.
If that's still not enough, a further option is the Kitzbüheler Alpen AllStarCard, which incorporates additional neighbouring areas to include more than 350 lifts and cable cars serving over 1,080km (671 miles) of runs. But note that these areas are not lift-linked, so a car or the use of bus connections is necessary.
The ski season in Söll generally runs from beginning of December until the beginning of April.