Ski resorts by train

Soll - slopes

In addition to Soll, the vast Ski Welt includes the skiing of Going, Ellmau, Scheffau, Itter, Hopfgarten, Brixen and Westendorf – with Kelchsau also on the lift pass although not linked by lift. Via Westendorf, it is possible to access the skiing of Kitzbuhel, using a short bus transfer.

The Hochsöll gondolabahn – a very short ski-bus ride or a 15-minute walk away – takes you up to the main skiing and the links with the rest of the Ski Welt. A further gondola rises to the Hohe Salve, the highest point of the Ski Welt and the centre of the area’s most challenging runs. There are a couple of good black runs from the peak.

The majority of the runs in this area are marked red – but the Ski Welt does tend to overgrade runs. They would be blue in many other areas.

The skiing stretches away as far as the eye can see, across the peaks of the Hohe Salve, Zinsberg, Eiberg, Brandstadl, Hartkaiser and Choralpe. But a big plus here for families and groups of mixed ability is that this area uniquely combines grandeur and vastness with accessibility. The energetic and enthusiastic intermediate can comfortably tackle most of what’s on offer – and feel a huge sense of achievement from covering such big distances.

The Ski Welt falls into two main sectors, with the skiing of Söll, Itter, Hopfgarten, Brixen and Westendorf in the east, and that of Ellmau, Scheffau and Going to the west. The linking point is the Zinsberg. The area linking Zinsberg and the Eiberg can get crowded, particularly in the afternoon when people are anxious to return towards their home village.

There’s a decent amount of excellent skiing immediately in the vicinity of Söll and many will choose to spend most of their time on these slopes. But it’s an exciting option each morning to perhaps decide to go on a ski journey, and there are plenty of destinations to choose from. One might pick the furthest reaches of the Ski Welt and head for Going – where there is a choice of about six mountain huts for lunch. You won’t want to linger too long over your meal, however, as there will be a lot of skiing to get back to Söll.

Or a trip to explore the slopes of Westendorf might win the vote, which will mean a super ski down to Brixen then a trip on the solar-powered SkiWeltbahn gondola up to Choralpe. A week, or two, or three or four, won’t be enough to fully know the area.

Quite a lot of the runs, apart from the long home runs, are on the short side – but there is so much skiing to be done that you’ll be glad of the chance to sit down on a chairlift. And the lift system is modern, sophisticated and comprehensive. Söll has another big bonus – the most extensive night skiing in Austria, with ten kilometres of runs. The three kilometre run from Hochsoll down to Söll is floodlit as well as four further runs at Hochsoll. Night skiing is run from Wednesday to Saturday, with lifts open from 6.30pm to 9.30pm.

Beginners: Two draglifts just outside the village – reached either by ski-bus or on foot via the pedestrian tunnel under the main road – serve a flat beginners’ area near the valley station of the gondola. At Hochsöll there are some gentle blues for new skiers and boarders to stretch themselves. The rest of the area above Söll, with the main skiing between Hohe Salve and Hochsöll, is mainly on red runs – but the sort of reds that beginners who get on well could soon feel they could be up to tackling. A long blue leads all the way down to the base area from Hochsöll – a red one does too, so the inexperienced should make sure they’re on the right one. The easier run heads down from the bottom of the Stockl lift.

Intermediates: The entire Ski Welt, including the skiing immediately above Söll, has intermediate written all over it. This is family skiing par excellence – there are lots of steepish reds to excite, but very little to terrify the timid. And there’s a vast amount of it. Intermediates simply need to beware of overstretching themselves by the distances it is possible, and tempting, to tackle rather than the terrain they will face.

Days should be planned, and started early, if you’re heading out into the Ski Welt – or decisions made to ski down to the nearest village, or take a gondola down, and take a bus back to base if some members of the party get too tired. A great network of runs leads off the Hohe Salve down to Hochsöll, a real playground for intermediates. And easy to reach without going too far afield are the lovely long runs down to neighbouring Itter or Hopfgarten, with gondolas from both villages to take you back up.

Intermediates should just be aware that runs can get heavy lowdown, and therefore tiring, in early and late season. It's wise to keep an eye on the time if you have to make a certain lift before it closes to get back home. It's not a disaster if your connecting lift does close and you have to ski down to a village that's not the one you're staying at - Post buses connect the villages, but bear in mind these are not free like the skibuses

Experts: The Ski Welt is not over-blessed with really tough skiing, but of all the resorts it comprises, Söll is probably the best for expert skiers and boarders. The Hohe Salve does have some seriously steep runs from the top. With local ace Patrick Koller, who represented Austria in skier cross at the Winter Olympics in Whistler, as our guide we discovered that the skiing here can certainly be testing if that’s what you’re looking for. Patrick loves the steep powder caches to be found just under the Hohe Salve after a decent snowfall – and the fast run beneath the Keat lift, which he likes because ‘it’s steep and sometimes icy and you can do really fast racing turns’. So there you are, some people do like ice!

The Red Viper ski and boarder cross route, at the Rinnerabfahrt run, gives you the chance to make your own ski movie. You are videoed as you tackle the course, and you can download the clip to watch later using your own personal ski-pass number.
If you love powder a special challenge awaits on the Hohe Salve above Soll - a freeride run for experienced skiers and boarders called the Black Pipe,  with one section that locals claim is steeper than the Harakiri at Mayrhofen.

Speed merchants can see just how fast they can get up to on measured speed courses at Soll, Brixen im Thale and Ellmau-Going.

Ski schools and guides

The Ski and Snowboard School Söll-Hochsöll (00 43 5333 5454) is the oldest established in the Ski Welt and has a fine reputation - it has been the go-to ski school for Brits visiting the area for 40 years. The Ski and Snowboard School Knolln (00 43 664 5116052)  specialises in teaching children.

In the valley gondola station at Soll is the Hexenwiese (meaning witches’ meadow)  ski and play centre, where little ones can have supervised fun in the snow. There’s a small hill, a tunnel and also a ski-through course with jumps. Kinderland Kornkammer (or KiKo) is a kindergarten for ages one to five (with skiing for the older ones).

The tourist office can often help out with recommended babysitters.

Snow reliability and snowmaking

Söll is not high but the Ski Welt overall has a very good snow record, and Söll has the highest skiing in the Ski Welt. And there is a lot of snowmaking, with installations in place to usually ensure the run all the way back to the village is open throughout the season. More than 80 per cent of the Ski Welt is covered by snowmaking, the biggest operation of its kind in Austria.

Terrain park

Söll has its own terrain park below the recently-installed Hans Im Gluck ten-person gondola at Höchsoll, the Hans im Gluck Skiparcour - and it's floodlit for night riding. It has jumps, boxes, curves and corner, tunnels and an array of other hurdles.

There is a fun park at the Rinner piste, the Crazy Kangaroo Park, a medium/advanced area suitable for beginners and experts. The Rinner four-seater chairlift takes you to the beginning of the park.

Ski area
Village Altitude
Ski Altitude
620m - 1957m
Green Runs
Blue Runs
Red Runs
Black Runs
Total Runs 168
Terrain Park
Cabin Lifts
Chair Lifts
Drag Lifts
Total Lifts 91