Cookies on Dublin People website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. We also use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Dublin People website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time by amending your browser settings.
Hide Message
  • Entertainment

TRAVEL: Why you’ll always return to Soll

Wednesday, 8th January, 2020 5:00pm

Story by Tony McCullagh
TRAVEL: Why you’ll always return to Soll
TRAVEL: Why you’ll always return to SollView More Images

LOCATED in the Austrian Tirol, there is something about Soll that will draw you in gently and hook you for life.

I’ve been to Soll more than any other resort since I took up skiing almost two decades ago. And despite all those years on the slopes, I still find myself stuck in some sort of intermediate level purgatory, unable to venture down the more technically challenging runs with the ease and confidence of my more accomplished ski buddies.

Which is probably why I love Soll so much – it’s a paradise for intermediate skiers, with a variety of slopes of varying degrees of difficulty to keep you occupied within your comfort zone.

Complete beginners can find their ski legs on the wide, open run at the base of the mountain, which is walking distance from the village and beside many of the ski hire outlets. With the help of the expert ski instructors, you can quickly progress to the next stage by taking the gondola up to Soll’s main ski area.

There are enough slopes in the Soll area to keep you busy for the week, including two home runs that will bring you back down to the village (beginners can always take the gondola down). The red slope, while that bit steeper and icy in parts, can be less crowded than the narrower blue run option, particularly as tired skiers funnel down the mountain on the last run of the day.

But here’s the headline news: when you visit Soll, you have access to 284km of ski runs in the vast SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental area, served by 90 modern cable cars and lifts that connect you to the villages of Brixen im Thale, Ellmau, Going, Hopfgarten, Itter, Kelchsau, Scheffau, Soll and Westendorf. To describe the area as a skier’s utopia is possibly something of an understatement.

From Wednesday to Saturday (6.30pm-9.30pm), you can experience Austria’s largest night skiing area in Soll, with 10kms of illuminated slopes. For many visitors to Soll, this proves to be a highlight of their ski holiday. There are few things in life more enjoyable than finishing your night ski session with a well-earned drink at the Moonlight Bar at the bottom of the home run.

Off the slopes, Soll is as lively or as chilled out as the mood takes you and there is a diverse range of dining out options (see fact file panel). Whether you book through a tour operator or travel to Soll independently, there are plenty of accommodation options, from traditional hotels to modern apartments. We stayed in a new apartment complex called Echt Woods, which had two comfortable bedrooms, a spacious living/kitchen area and underfloor heating (www.echtwoods.com). I also strongly recommend Bergview Haus apartments, owned and run by Dubliner Lenny Carroll (www.bergviewhaus.com).

Soll is a very accessible winter holiday destination for Irish skiers, with flights to Munich, Innsbruck and Salzburg (see fact file panel). You can choose a tailor-made package with a tour operator or make your own way there. We flew to Munich with Aer Lingus and travelled by train to Worgl, which is just a 10km taxi ride away from Soll.

If you are planning on kicking off 2020 with a winter holiday, you’ll find everything you’re looking for in Soll, one of Europe’s top ski destinations and a place you’ll always long to return to.

FACT FILE: 

‘Soll Ski and Rock’, an annual music festival, will kick off this month from January 15-18. Gigs will take place on and off the mountain with Irish bands The Academic and The Blizzards headlining. 2FM will also be at the event, with special DJ sets by JJ Hartigan. Visit www.skiandrock.tirol 

Austria is one of Europe’s liveliest ski destinations, known for its superb value and warm hospitality – and voted Ireland’s favourite ski destination! 

Austria’s SkiWelt area, which includes Soll, was recently awarded first place among 431 ski resorts worldwide by Skiresort.de.

Sample Soll’s gourmet delights at restaurants on and off the mountain. Giovanni’s is great for authentic Italian pizza, while arguably the best steak in town can be found upstairs at the Whiskey Muhle, which has an extremely family-friendly restaurant above its popular pub and nightclub. Immerse yourself in Soll’s great tradition of après ski with a wealth of live music and parties. We set up camp at the lively bar in the Hotel Austria for most of the week. We also highly recommend the Moonlight Bar at the bottom of the slopes in Soll, particularly after some night skiing.

Soll offers superb night skiing and excellent toboggan runs. Other activities include snow-shoeing, sleigh rides and schnapps tasting.

Soll is easily accessible from Ireland, with flights from Dublin and Cork to Munich, with a choice of Aer Lingus, Ryanair and Lufthansa from Dublin, and Aer Lingus from Cork. Ryanair fly to Salzburg every Saturday during the ski season and the tour operators offer charter flights/ski packages, including Crystal, Directski.com and Topflight.

For ski and boot hire, we highly recommend Edinger Sporthaus, with one of its branches conveniently located at the gondola station in Soll. The expert staff offer a 360-degree personal measuring and boot-fitting service, with storage facilities for 2,500 boots and skis (www.sport-edinger.at)

For more information visit www.skiwelt.at
or www.wilderkaiser.info. Check with your local tour operator for January and early spring deals.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here