Austria’s unique twin-glacier year round ski centre has a new promotional angle – it’s ‘Big Three’ status means it can offer 3000m snowsure altitude glacier skiing on three mountains.
At 3,058m, Gaislachkogl, the first of the “Great 3” peaks, is the smallest. Next in height comes Tiefenbachkogl at 3,309m, but the newly accessible Schwarze Schneide tops them all at 3,370m. It was developed for skiing this season thanks to a new gondola lift. Now all three peaks are accessed by modern eight seater gondolas.
The Schwarze Schneide gondola starts at an elevation of 2,674 meters above sea level and whisks 2,800 persons per hour up to the mid terminal at 2,990 meters altitude. From here the gondola continues on to the Ötztal’s highest skiable point at 3,247 meters. The feeder lift to Schwarze Schneide was also fully modernized to make lift queues a thing of the past.
The Big3 Rally, a special route for those wishing to clock up over 10,000m (approix 30,000 feet) of vertical by visiting all three peaks) starts at the base terminal of Giggijoch gondola which takes the skier up to Giggijoch area where the “Golden Gate to the Glacier” feeder lifts continue on to Rettenbach glacier.
Here skiers can board Schwarze Schneide gondola to Tiefenbach glacier where Tiefenbach gondola whisks you up to Tiefenbachkogl peak. On Rettenbach glacier you can ski the new route through Rettenbachtal valley down to the base terminal of Gaislachkogl gondola. If you think that this was already it, then you couldn’t be more wrong! Gaislachkogl gondola soars up to an altitude of 3,058 meters from where you can ski down - via Gaislachalm mountain inn - to the base terminal of Gaislachkogl gondola which at the same time is the finish of the glacier tour.
The route not only holds a total elevation gain of about 10,000 meters and covers a distance of some 50 kilometers, but also offers one of Europe’s most overwhelming 360° panorama views. Experienced skiers and/or snowboarders can do the entire round in about 4 hours.
But Sölden didn’t leave it at the modernization of these ski lifts: the arrival at the ski lift’s top station has become an experience for all senses to enjoy. The motto is stop, look and enjoy instead of disembark, turn round and set off. Each of the BIG3 mountains now offers a vista point accessible on comfortable and safe paths dug into the snow. On Gaislachkogl, for instance, you can walk all the way to the summit cross, and on Schwarze Schneide you can revel in a panorama that was previously left to ski mountaineers only.