News from the snow
Located in a wide sunny valley only 15km (9 miles) from the German border, the favourable location of Söll, both in terms of how easy it is to reach and how well placed it is in the centre of Austria's largest lift-linked ski area, has led to its fame greatly exceeding its size. Indeed, whilst Söll is no longer a tiny village, it has successfully endeavoured to maintain a 'village feel' whilst at the same time introducing modern leisure and accommodation opportunities for guests. New building has been completed to traditional architectural style and the village centre is now pedestrianised, making the whole effect even more pleasant. It is still centred around its impressive onion-domed church and maintains a relatively healthy ratio of almost 1:1 for locals-to-tourists. Four centuries ago this was a village of farmers with very few tourists, today Söll still has its farmers but they're now second to tourism as Söll's major employer. Long popular with British, as well as German visitors, English is widely spoken, including by all ski school staff.
The picturesque Tyrolean village of Soll offers lift-linked access to the largest lift-connected and the largest artificial snow covered ski area in Austria - the Skiwelt Wilder Kaiser Brixental. The resort is located at the foot of the Hohe Salve mountain in the centre of the SkiWelt, itself part of the giant Kitzbuhel Alps.
The area got bigger still in 2005-6 when the Ki West gondola created a lift link between the SkiWelt and Kitzbühel's ski area thanks to a 4km long gondola between Westendorf and a point near Kirchberg. A short bus journey is required to reach Westendorf and from the gondola base at Kirchberg to the lifts that link to Kitzbühel.
Beginner skiers taking ski school lessons will normally be happy with the cheapest local pass, introduced in the 2000-2001 season for beginners in ski school only. which covers 34km (21 miles) of trails on the Hohe Salve mountain above Söll. You can also put your ski kit in an overnight ski store by the nursery slopes if you want to avoid the downside of those first few days on the piste - having to cart your heavy kit on and off the ski bus (which you can ride free when you produce your Guest Card, provided by your accommodation). The base of the lifts is about 1km (3/4 of a mile) from the village centre so transport is required, be it the ski bus or your own.
The first lift of the day for most is the 8 seater gondola up to Hochsöll from where runs radiate in most directions to inter-connect with other resorts, ideal cruising territory for the advancing intermediate and there's a snowy plateau for beginners. The local slope that experts will most enjoy is the FIS approved 7km (4 mile) black back down the mountain, but for longer stays the Kitzbüheler Alpen Ski Pass will be a boon for visiting the tough runs in nearby ski areas.
Night skiing is also possible on six kilometres (four miles) of runs down from HochSöll beneath the gondola to the village several nights a week.
Given the resort's pedestrian centre and its village feel and slopes, Söll is quite a good choice for families. With the Kitzbüheler Alpen Ski Pass comes free access to half a dozen swimming pools in the area and of course many children love the long toboggan run.
For a bit of additional exertion the 3.5km (two mile) toboggan run is illuminated and open at night as well as during the day, accessed by the 8 seater gondola. Night skiing is also possible several nights each week on a 6km run down to the village.
A weekly activity programme includes guided winter hikes and snowshoe walks bookable through the tourist office.