World Cup Racecourse (Sölden, Rettenbach Glacier)


Rettenbach Glacier. Sölden. Picture: Ski Paradise

In three days the Giant Slalom World Cup Races in Sölden will remind us that a new winter season is just around the corner. And this year, after the abrupt end of last season and all the uncertainty around us, we are looking forward more than ever for the competition to begin. Sölden is a very modern and popular ski resort in the Ötztal valley of 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. With two glacier ski areas and 144 kilometers of perfectly prepared pistes of all difficulty levels, the Sölden ski resort promises a maximum of variety during your skiing holiday in Tirol. If you drive towards the upper valley through Sölden, the glacier road branches off to the right at the very end of the village. 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).


Sölden. World Cup Racecourse. Picture: Bergbahnen Solden. Markus Geisler

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 (monocable 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, maximum slope of 68 %).


Sölden. World Cup Racecourse. Picture: Ötztal TourismusErnst Lorenzi

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


Not without reason, the Giant Slalom of Sölden is one of the toughest and technical races in the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup calendar.


Facts Race Course:

  • Altitude at the start: 3,040 m

  • Altitude at the finish line: 2,670 m

  • Vertical drop: 370 m

  • Minimal incline: 15.5 %

  • Maximal incline: 68 %

  • Average incline: 33.1 %

Women's Giant Slalom Race (2020):

  • Turns: 46

  • Gates: 47

Men's Giant Slalom Race (2020):

  • Turns: 47

  • Gates: 49


Picture of the Day (14/10/2020):