Looking to go skiing or snowboarding in Austria this winter? Are you after great slopes, excellent apres and comfy accommodation that won’t break the bank? Then read this review of Inghams ski holiday at Residenz Tamara in Solden.
For this trip a friend and I headed to Austria with six other mates. It was our annual guys trip where we ski (or board) hard and party even harder. Although it should be added that all being in our forties we no longer party like we used to!
Solden ski resort
Usually we would take the Inghams transfer. But for this review of Inghams ski holiday at Residenz Tamara in Solden we were on a short break arriving outside their usual transfers. If you are on a week long holiday with Inghams they will transfer you to resort.
Some of us flew to Innsbruck from Gatwick and others from Birmingham. Weirdly we all flew home together into Heathrow. It’s safe to say there are plenty of options to reach Innsbruck. You can also fly direct from Manchester, Bristol or Edinburgh.
The Otztal Valley
The Otztal Valley has six ski resorts which are all linked by frequent free buses. The resorts give access to four ski areas with 350 km of pisted slopes. There are two glaciers which ensure the season runs from September to May and the snow is reliable.
Within the Otztal Valley Solden is the largest individual area with 143 km of slopes. The top lift reaches 3249m where you can ski the two glaciers. It is a large and snow sure ski area, plus there are extra slopes to explore in the other Otztal resorts.
The town of Solden is located at the base of the Ötztaler Ache valley at 1377m. There is an impressive 1872m of vertical with the possibility to ski or snowboard from the top to bottom. For more info check out our review of Solden snowboarding holiday in Otztal.
The slopes are accessed by two fast and efficient gondolas in town. The Giggijoch Tal was our local gondola less than five minutes walk from the Residenz Tamara.
If you want to get around town, or end up skiing or snowboarding to a different area there are regular free buses. Up the mountain there are many chairs and more gondolas that make up a very efficient lift system.
Residenz Tamara in Solden
We had booked the three star Residenz Tamara through Inghams. Located very centrally it is just 300m from the Giggijochbahn gondola. Much of the apres is right on its doorstep which was both convenient and dangerous…
The room and facilities
We had a lovely large twin room. Although the Austrian twin beds were a little to close together for our liking. There was lots of room to store our gear plus a very nice heated boot room downstairs.
Despite spending a lot of time in them…. I don’t normally talk much about the bathrooms. But this is worth mentioning as it had both a bath and a powerful walk in shower. It made a nice change to have the option.
A review of Inghams ski holiday at Residenz Tamara in Solden would not be complete without talking about the hotels spa. It is not the largest I have been to, however the sauna, steam room and whirlpools were very relaxing. You also have free entry to a swimming pool nearby.
Review of Residenz Tamara food
We were staying on a half board basis and enjoyed tucking into the breakfast at the Tamara. The hot options, which included eggs, bacon and sausages were a hit. But there was also plenty of fruit, cereals, and continental choices.
As the Tamara is not that big dinner is served at their sister hotel – Hotel Sölderhof. The walk there takes about five minutes from Residenz Tamara.
Although it’s essentially a large buffet everything was always very fresh. Traditional Austrian dishes featured fairly heavily, and there were vegetarian, meat and fish options.
The salad buffet buffet was excellent as were the side dishes, soups and breads. For desert there were more cakes, deserts and ice creams than I could try. Both myself and my vegetarian friend ate very well.
Review of Inghams ski holiday in Solden
While the accommodation was lovely I am sure what you want to know about the skiing…
We arrived in resort at around three in the afternoon thanks to the efficient Ski Lifts transfer. During the warm welcome to the Residenz Tamara we were asked if we would be hitting the slopes that day.
With just a couple of hours until lifts closed I thought we would be going straight to the pub. But we were told that lift passes purchased for the next day can be used after 3pm. So we hit the slopes ASAP!
There are three major zones in Solden: Giggijoch, Gaislachkogl and the glaciers. In our four days we got to explore all three extensively and in different conditions.
Review of Giggijoch Solden
Just five minutes walk from Residenz Tamara was the Giggijoch Tal gondola. It quickly and very comfortably whisks up to ten people to almost 1000m above the town.
You arrive at a kind of mountain staging post. You can either take a fun long run back down to the gondola base station or take one of four chair lifts up higher. We did all four on our short first day session.
The pites above the Giggijoch gondola are exceptionally wide. As first I didn’t know where one piste ended and another began. But then I realised they has pretty much pisted all of this part of the mountain.
So there was plenty of room for everyone to enjoy the undulating terrain, although it might be disorientating for beginners. It is only a small section of the mountain directly above the gondola that is like this, the rest has more defined runs.
From the top of the lifts above the Giggijoch area you can either head towards the glaciers or link up with the Gaislachkogl zone. There is a great long run to the bottom of the Gaislachkogl Gondola that we did quite a few times.
Freestyle in Solden
You will also find the Area 47 snow park in the Giggijoch zone which can be lapped via two different chairlifts. As freestyle areas go this is a big one.
There are very long lines of features, with fun for all levels of freestyler. We hit the beginner jib line which was nice and easy, plus the beginner and intermediate kickers.
For experts there are some massive kickers and a serious variety in jib features. If you are a park rat you will love Area 47 Snow Park. Even the beginner lines are creative with features you don’t see in many parks.
The slope below the Giggijoch back into Solden became our ‘home run’. It’s long, winding red that at points is fairly steep. If you hit it early in the day it’s an awesome run. Come the end of the day it was cut up and busy. I love this kind of challenge, but some of my mates hated it.
Review of Gaislachkogl area in Solden
At the other end of Solden you’ll find the Gaislachkogl 1 gondola. From which as a mid station you can switch on to the Gaislachkogl 2 which takes you up to 3040m. From here there is a whopping 1700m of vertical.
At the top you’ll find the 007 Elements experience. Part of the James Bond Spectre movie was filmed in Solden and it is well worth a visit.
From the mid station there are many routes back down to town. But from the very top you have to take a red, in tough conditions I would imagine intermediates would not enjoy it. However, you can also get the gondola back down if you are not up to it.
There are plenty of other chairs in the Gaislachkogl area which give access to lots of runs in other parts of the mountain. Below the Gaislachkogl mid-station there are plenty of slopes below the tree line – a good area if visibility is poor.
For probably the quietest slopes in Solden head over to Heidebaan – we barely saw anyone else here. During our visit the off-piste was icy and cut up, but this would be a great area after fresh snow.
Head for the Langegg chair if you want to reach the Glaciers or the Giggijoch area. One of my top pistes during this review of Inghams ski holiday at Residenz Tamara in Solden was the black that begins near the bottom of the Langegg.
Review of Solden glaciers
If you like high altitude glacier skiing then Solden is a great destination. With a high point of 3249m the Rettenbach and Tiefenbach glaciers have about 35 km of pistes that are open from September to May.
Unfortunately, to reach the glaciers takes a bit of effort. First you need to take the Silberbrunnl from the Giggijoch area or the Langegg from Gaislachkogl. You then do a short run before taking four consecutive lifts – plus a bit of walk – to get to the top.
As there is only one route up there can be queues. Although the lifts are fast and efficient and we never waited more than about five minutes. Still to reach the glaciers from town takes about 90 minutes without any significant time skiing or snowboarding.
But the glacier area has plenty of slopes and will keep you interested for most of the day. You can ski a range of blue, red and black slopes. Plus when you are done you have an awesome 2000m descent to enjoy.
Visit the viewing platform
The scenery at the top is incredible – make sure you visit the viewing platform. It juts out across a sheer drop and gives panoramic views of some of the Solden backcountry.
If the off-piste conditions had been better the glacier area would be amazing. Although when off-piste on glaciers you need to be aware of the danger of crevasses, so don’t duck under any barriers into closed areas.
This review of Inghams ski holiday at Residenz Tamara in Solden was at the end of March. The lower slopes were soft and slushy but up on the glaciers where this was not a problem.
Although there was a bit of queueing to get up to the glaciers once there people spread out. So it didn’t feel busy and with six lifts there’s no queueing.
Apres ski in Solden
A review of Inghams ski holiday at Residenz Tamara in Solden wouldn’t be complete without discussing the apres ski. As this was the annual guys trip we dived straight into the party scene – a little too enthusiastically!
The great thing is it starts early. From around two thirty the bars on the mountain start to fill up and are busy until around five or six. In town it gets going from around four and doesn’t stop until the small hours.
Some of the guys stayed out until four or five in the morning. They were not a pretty state when we eventually saw them the next afternoon.
Luckily the two of us staying in Residenz Tamara had dinner included. So each evening we left the apres around eight to have a shower and go for dinner. I went straight to bed after dinner a couple of times and was in bed by 1am on the other nights.
First night party in Solden
There is a big party every friday at the top of the Giggijoch gondola. This happened to be the first day of this review of Inghams ski holiday at Residenz Tamara in Solden. With loud dance tunes and a heaving crowd we we popped in for a drink just before it closed.
Skiing back towards town on we were drawn into the Obstlerhütte by the blaring Oompah music. It is near the base of the Rotkogel chair and well worth a visit on the ‘home run’.
Beer with Jagermeister chasers meant we were pretty hammered when we left around 6:30. The light was starting to fade and the drunken run down to town was a challenge! Fortunately we had the cut up, slushy and moguly piste pretty much to ourselves.
If you want to carry on the party you are spoiled for choice. Fire and Ice, Kuckuck, Katapult, Marco’s, Grizzly Bar, Schirmbar, Alms Rauch, and Mogul Bar were close to our hotel and always banging.
We spent more time in Marco’s and Fire and Ice than the rest for no other reason that we happened to go to them first. Although we visited all of the above I have to be honest my memory is pretty hazey…
Review of Inghams ski holiday in Solden: Conclusion
It was my first visit to Solden but I am sure it won’t be my last. I absolutely loved every aspect of it. From the comfy and friendly Residenz Tamara, to the awesome slopes and the wild apres it is a great ski resort.
It is high and snow sure plus in fresh snow it would be incredible. Add the Area 47 snow park and you have the perfect mix of freestyle and freeride. Apart from how long it takes to get to the glaciers I have no complaints at all – and what goes up that far has to come back down anyway!
The apres starts early and carries on late. It is typically Austrian in style meaning it is fun and relaxed. Although bars do get quite smokey which is not very nice.
If you are looking for a central location then Residenz Tamara is hard to beat. The rooms are comfy, food is good and all the staff are very friendly. To conclude this Review of Inghams ski holiday at Residenz Tamara in Solden I thoroughly recommend it.
Inghams offers seven nights half board at the Hotel Sölderhof & Residenz Tamara in Sölden, from £869 pp based on two sharing. Price includes return flights and airport transfers. To book, go to www.inghams.co.uk/ski-holidays or call 01483 938 047.