PlanetSKI starts its season

On Thursday, October 17th, we made our first turns of the 2013/14 season. If it continues in the same vein we are in for a cracker. 70cm of fresh snow, deep blue sky and the best racers in the world out training as a backdrop. James Cove reports from Solden.


I usually start my season in October up on one of the glacier resorts of Europe and each time I ask myself the same questions.

Why aren’t more people out here?

Why do most people wait for what they think are the only snowy months – December, January and February?

Why do people not know what they are missing?

When I finish my skiing in May, back up on the glaciers of Europe and also, without fail, in excellent conditions the same thoughts occur.

This October the questions have more resonance. It is the best start here in Solden that anyone can remember.

The slopes of Solden received 70cm of fresh snow last weekend and there is a superb covering.

To reach the ski area it is a 20- minute drive up to the glacier from the resort and as I approached it looked inviting.

“My ski season starts in about 15 minutes,” I thought as a broad grin spontaneously spread across my face.

Ready, steady....

Ready, steady…. Image © PlanetSKI

Now as a careful and considerate driver I always like to check my mirrors too.

The view behind was none too shabby either. This is the Alps in October and most people don’t realise it looks like this.

It pays to be observant

It pays to be observant. Image © PlanetSKI

8 lifts are open in Solden, with more firing up next week, and the picture below showed the skiing and snowboarding on offer as I clicked into my skis for my first turns of the season.

I had a couple of mornings of summer skiing in Les 2 Alpes back in July, but otherwise I hadn’t had a full day on snow for 5 months.

More than enough

More than enough. Image © PlanetSKI

The lifts open at 9am and shut at 4pm so a full day is in store.

Of course there isn’t the same size of terrain open in the winter, but that isn’t the point.

There is more than enough to have a huge amount of fun.

And I did.

October or February?

October or February?

First turns

First turns

At the top of the resort at 3,300m, I knew exactly why I love the mountains and spend so much time in them. I had missed them.

All this on my first morning of the season.

The Tirolean glaciers

The Tirolean glaciers. Image © PlanetSKI

In Solden at this time of year there is the added bonus of rubbing shoulders with the best racers in the world.

In 10 days time the opening GS World Cup race takes place and THE top names in racing are here.

Lindsey Vonn, Ted Ligety, Bode Miller and Maria Hofl-Riesch.

You can ride the lifts with them if you are lucky and see them in action.

I bumped into Maria Hofl-Riesch and she was more than happy to pose for a photo.

Maria Hofl-Riesch

Maria Hofl-Riesch. Image © PlanetSKI

Around one area of the slopes are all the main racing teams – with the best racers in the world just hanging around.

The Austrian men

The Austrian men. Image © PlanetSKI

Pretty in pink

Pretty in pink

There are ski clubs having outings, ski instructors training, the keen ones getting in their first turns of the season and the next generation getting bitten by the bug of skiing.

The kids are alright

The kids are alright. Image © PlanetSKI

Also soak up some more images from Solden that were all taken on Thursday October 17th.

Winter is back and the PlanetSKI season is underway.

If PlanetSKI did piste maps...

If PlanetSKI did piste maps…Image © PlanetSKI

Race training

Race training. Image © PlanetSKI

World Cup awaits

World Cup awaits. Image © PlanetSKI

Paradise this way

Paradise this way. Image © PlanetSKI

The Austrian Tirol

The Austrian Tirol. Image © PlanetSKI

Autumn in the Alps

Autumn in the Alps. Image © PlanetSKI


If any of this is tempting you then it is very simple to get out to the Tirol at the moment. Accommodation offers for the glacier regions can be found here http://www.tirolergletscher.com/en/offers.

They include:

Stubai – 3 nights on half board at the 4* Stubaierhof Neustift starts from €339 pp

Solden – 3 nights on half board at the 3* Hotel Gasthof Neue Post starts from €249 pp

Pitztal – 4 nights in half board at the Pension Dorfplatzl starts from €302 pp

There are flights to Innsbruck with easyJet on Saturdays and Wednesdays . See here for  a good transfer company – www.transfer.tirol.at.

The airline has also has daily flights into Munich from London Gatwick and up to 4 times a week from Manchester to Munich.

The same transfer company operates.

In addition the British Tour company, Zenith Holidays offers holidays to the region at this time of year if you want to take the hassle out of it all.  See here for further details.

What are you waiting for? Smile

For the spirit of the mountains

Hautes Pyrenees