Bond takes to the slopes of Sölden in Spectre
Sölden and Ötz Valley has long had an international reputation for its snow sure skiing and lively après-ski scene, which was bound to attract the attention of feature-film directors. An area fixed by a rugged landscape that exudes natural beauty seems only fitting for scenes featuring the British Secret Service’s finest, a damsel in distress and a Hulk-like villain. More specifically it was the arrival of Daniel Craig, Léa Seydoux and former WWE Champion Dave Bautista in early 2015 which really saw the spotlight turned to the top of the area’s number one ski mountain, Gaislachkogl.
Sitting at 3,040m, the Ice Q restaurant on the Gaislachkogl opened the scenes for 007’s jaunt on the slopes. Far from the cosmopolitan bubble of Kensington and Chelsea, the Quartermaster soon tracks Bond to the mountain’s peak. The outstanding glass structure takes nothing away from the sublime surrounding landscape, which contributed to the dramatic scenes that unfold. Opened in December 2013, the ice cube-like structure sits next to the top station’s 3-rope mountain gondola looking out over the Ötzal Mountains.
In arguably one of the most action-packed scenes within the film, it’s no real shock to see 007 find his way into a plane before spectacularly cannoning into the white powder slopes. A tense encounter, a twist and an exhilarating chase scene may seem atypical of a Bond classic, especially on the snow, but no amount of bullets or high-speed 4x4 chases can take away from this world famous winter destination.
Sölden itself is an all-round winter sports centre. Connected to glacier slopes and utilising its 33 modern ski lifts and gondolas means school ski groups can easily make the most of the 144km of piste in Sölden alone. ‘All-round’ also encompasses the amount of slopes available to skiers of all abilities. Known for its wide sweeping descents and groomed runs, those seeking the delights of blue and red runs have the pick of the bunch across the ski area. The Gaislachkogl therefore not only attracts the stars of the silver screen but also those seeking some more testing runs.
It’s not the first time Bond has made his way to the Alps for an epic scene on the slopes. Just north of our Clubhotel resort of Les Menuires, Chamonix set the scene for Bond making his way down our Clubhotel-namesake Vallee Blanche in The World Is Not Enough. Austria was again featured in The Spy Who Loved Me, but unfortunately only by name with the famous ski scene actually being filmed in Canada.
With the release of Spectre giving a nod to both Sölden and Kitzbühel within the film, it’s easy to get excited for the upcoming ski season. Schools already heading out to Austria this winter will have plenty of chances to enjoy the scenes of Sölden at the cinema before they venture through the Ötz Valley themselves.
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About the Author
A former primary school teacher, Tim has been writing for educational travel websites, educational publications and leisure magazines for the past three years. His first-hand experience in leading adventure residential trips and seeing the benefits of learning outside the classroom has further fuelled his interest into studying the impact of outdoor education on young learners. Always seeking his next trip to the slopes, Tim’s favourite ski resort is Les Menuires from where you can explore the Three Valleys ski area.