Ski & Winter Sports
Explore Ötztal’s Sunshine Plateau with the Niederthai Card
Straight in the center of Ötztal near Umhausen, adventurers can explore a valley in the valley – more exactly one of Ötztal’s side valleys called Horlachtal and its idyllic village of Niederthai nestling at about 1500 meters above sea level. In close vicinity to the mystic Stuiben Falls, this high altitude plateau stands for a whole Alpine world of rest and peace far away from the worries of everyday life.
From the coming 2016/2017 winter season onwards, all holiday makers in search of relaxation and smooth winter activities receive the new Niederthai Card for free. We have tried and tested all the ski slopes, Nordic ski tracks, walking trails and toboggan runs in the surroundings of Niederthai. Therefore we created a fun-fill holiday program suitable for families who enjoy a 2-day stay here on Ötztal’s sun-kissed balcony – an example for imitation!
Unlimited fun at the ski race for children © Oskar Grüner
Day 1: Grab your ski suit and hit the slopes
We arrived at our accommodation in Niederthai already in the evening. The moment we checked in we also received the Niederthai Card. Besides our lovely hotel there are further 31 holiday apartments, chalets and guesthouses which are partner lodgings of the all-inclusive holiday card.
After a substantial breakfast we headed for the public skibus and Nordic skibus taking us effortlessly to the Niederthai ski area – just perfect for our little son to make the season’s first turns. Those looking for superlatives probably have chosen the wrong place: this little ski slope features only 3 T-bars and a connecting ski lift.
But that’s exactly why this high Alpine plateau is so appealing. I takes me straight back to my childhood, reveling in wonderful memories – such nostalgic ski areas can rarely be found in the Tirolean Alps. Additionally, the terrain is ideal for beginners and families: it’s not surprising that our little ski fan is totally enthusiastic about the 4 slope kilometers.
View of the Niederthai ski area © Michael & Margreth Leiter
I spend the entire morning on the ski slope while my wife enjoyed a fun-filled Nordic skiing taster lesson which is as well free of charge for holders of the all-inclusive card.
A certified cross-country skiing instructor can reveal many secrets: the introductory unit comprises information on posture, technique and stamina training followed by some exercises on the skating track – here you can choose from more than 31 kilometers of well-groomed Nordic ski tracks.
Explore the Nordic tracks in skating-style © Bernd Ritschel / Ötztal Tourismus
We all meet again for lunch in the hotel where we start to plan the afternoon. Of course, our son has the final say: Let’s go sledding! Two splendid toboggan runs are available on the sun-flooded plateau, we decide to ascend to Larstigalm at about 60 walking minutes.
The first thing to do on the hut: we order a delicious hot chocolate and scrambled pancakes – called “Kaiserschmarrn” – before we speed down to the valley on our sleds. We are tired but extremely happy! Therefore we decide unanimously to rise later the next morning.
Idyllic Larstigalm mountain hut in Horlachtal © Bernd Ritschel / Ötztal Tourismus
Who will hit the bullseye? © Elias Holzknecht / Ötztal Tourismus
Day 2: Splendid snow playground & Challenging shooting range
We really had a good night’s sleep and a mouth-watering breakfast! Therefore we discuss our day program full of energy. Today we swap roles: my wife takes our junior to the snow playground including also a giant Ötztal Snowman while I try the Nordic ski biathlon for everyone.
A truly demanding combination of endurance, stamina and precision makes this sport a very special experience. Something I would never had imagined: it’s extremely difficult to hit the mark if you are exhausted and out of breath!
Under the professional guidance of certified instructors I can improve my skills quickly thanks to useful advice on my posture and shooting technique. At the end I am totally enthusiastic and it’s not easy for me to leave the new laser shooting range – but we meet again for lunch at the hotel.
Slowly our two-day short break comes to an end but there is still a highlight to come: we booked a nighttime lantern walk to the Stuiben Falls at the tourism office. We meet our walking guide at the Niederthai Information at 6.30 pm.
He takes us on a romantic, snow-covered trail towards the Stuiben Falls. Tirol’s biggest waterfall is even more breathtaking when floodlit by night – we are totally enchanted by this magic spectacle of nature, indulging in moments of unrivaled beauty.
Torches light the trail towards the mighty Stuiben Falls © Bernd Ritschel / Ötztal Tourismus
Back in our hotel room we still feel a magic spell before we fall asleep. Niederthai simply makes us happy! We have discovered Ötztal’s sun-kissed balcony – there are countless reasons to come back and take advantage of many other attractive activities and highlights included in the Niederthai Card!
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