A small traditional old and picturesque Tyrolean village with a long skiing tradition and a long season It's main off-shoot is a group of up-market hotels at Hochgurgl ( 2150m ). An eight-seater gondola connects the ski areas of Hochgurgl and Obergurgl.
Obergurgl is one of the world's few classic ski resorts and unlike some of the others, it's got superb skiing and an admirable snow record as well as the picturesque village. Then there's the spectacular scenery of the Ötztal region of the Tirol, the wonderful mountain air and peace. But beyond that there is Obergurgl's remarkable altitude - one of the Alps' highest genuine villages, meaning village level snow is the norm from November to May. With lifts right up to 3080m (over 10100 feet), the big vertical is skiable right through the season.
Obergurgl's big break came in May 1931 when pioneering Swiss balloonist Professor Auguste Piccard was forced to make an emergency landing on the resort's Gurgler Ferner glacier whilst setting a new altitude record in his stratospheric balloon, after taking off from Augsburg in Germany. News of the attempt and emergency landing made headlines around the world. Perhaps this sudden fame was a partial catalyst that brought the first tourists in 1939. It has been studied since 1951 as a model for Alpine development.
Hochgurgl, a small settlement made up almost entirely of large luxurious hotels, began its life in 1961 when the local Scheiber family founded the first hotel there. Obergurgl is the major settlement in a series of villages once called 'Gurgl' but now referred to by the tourist office as Obergurgl - Hochgurgl. The latter is an even higher-altitude off-shoot that's increasingly popular. The lower villages were once known as Untergurgl but were broken up in to smaller settlement names (Pill, Angern and Königsgrain) back under the obergurgl banner, in 1999. However, although the names change most of the world still choose to remember only the name 'Obergurgl'.