Rettenbach Glacier. Sölden Ski World Cup Racecourse


Sölden. World Cup Racecourse. Picture: Ötztal Tourismus, Ernst Lorenzi

The 2021-2022 Audi FIS Ski World Cup season is just around the corner. After months of waiting, in three days the Giant Slalom World Cup Races in the Rettenbach Glacier, Sölden will take place.


Sölden is a very modern and popular ski resort in the Ötztal valley in Tirol, Austria. The main village of Sölden is located at 1,368 meters above sea level.


Sölden offers the marvelous BIG 3, Austria's only ski area with 3 mountains higher than 3,000 meters which are accessible by lifts. From November through May thanks to the ski area's high-Alpine location (1,350 - 3,250 m) and the modern snowmaking system (covering all slopes lower than 2,200 m) snow is guaranteed in Sölden.


With a surface covering more than 20 km² and 34.5 km of pistes, Sölden's glacier ski area ranks among the largest in Tirol and all Austria. Located between 2675 and 3250 meters, the scenic mountain ski areas of Rettenbach and Tiefenbachferner are connected by a ski tunnel.


Eight modern mountain lifts take skiers up the glacier ski mountains. The base lift stations at the Rettenbach and Tiefenbach Glaciers can be also easily reached by car or bus via the highest Panoramic Road in the Eastern Alps.


On spectacular bends and steep ascents, you will quickly gain altitude on this connecting toll road (free of charge with a valid ski pass). An average gradient of 11% awaits drivers on the 13 km long route to Rettenbach Glacier. If you also want to visit Tiefenbach Glacier you have to cross the mountain through Europe's highest road tunnel (1,8 km), passing also the highest point of the glacier road (2830 m).


Rettenbach Glacier. Sölden. Picture: Ski Paradise

To reach the start of the World Cup racecourse by lift you must take the Schwarze Schneid Bahn I + II, an 8 passenger Gondola lift (mono cable circulating ropeway) built-in 2003. In less than 7 minutes you move from the Base station (2.673 m.) to the Top station located at 3250 meters a.s.l. The start of the course (blue piste number 33 and 32) is easy and relatively flat (Gletschertisch) until you reach the start of the big impressive steep wall, the "Eisfall" (black piste number 31, with the steepest section of 65%).


The final part (Elefantentränke) of the track is flat again, and it is at that point where the race is often decided.