Pension Waldheim Reviews
Solden was recommended to me by a German colleague as a good alternative to some of the other better known lively Austrian resorts. Initially we were slightly wary due to the small number of English reviews, however from a cost perspective it was much more attractive so booked up with Iglu. First impressions of the resort was good, very clean, everything is laid out along the main road, all easily accessible on foot. The Pension Waldheim is to be found at the end of the resort, very close to the new lift, a little out of the hustle and bustle which personally we found to be to an advantage. The hotel was immaculately clean and appeared to have been recently renovated with new a bathroom and furniture. Secure ski and boot storage was provided. We visited in March and skiing conditions were good for the time of the year, although a little slushy as you got back to resort. Generally the lift system was efficient, however there are a number of bottlenecks which need to be resolved, the worst of which is between the Solden ski area and that of the Glacier. But the skiing over on the glacier is well worth it, lovely snow conditions and great rolling blues, you’ll soon forget the half hour queue. The nightlife proved to live up to the reputation my colleague had led us to expect, very lively, friendly and extremely loud! We found ourselves heading out to enjoy a few après ski beers however on most occasions didn’t make it back until the early morning.
Apres Ski: 5/5
2nd visit to this hotel. Hotel is clean, modern with no frills. 3 person room was specifically setup as such being large enough with the 3rd bed a permanent fixture. Shower was excellent with plenty of high pressure hot water. Breakfast was good with the usual cereals, cold meats & cheeses pastry selection as well as bacon, fried and scrambled egg. My only gripe was the WiFi which was pitifully slow with bad hotel coverage, I couldn't Skype my family at any time of day which was a downer for the holiday and sometimes couldn't even upload photographs or visit web pages so was a waste of 10 Euro for the week, I should say last year it wasn't an issue - but technology moves on and with so many hand held devices automatically backing up when on wifi and so many VOD services the speed really needs increasing to be useful. If I read there is WiFi for a price, I expect to be able to keep in touch by using it or deal with work should the need arise. This hotel is at the edge of town, so expect a 15 min walk to the main bars etc. or use the free Ski bus within running hours, but you are within very close reach of one of the main gondolas so getting up the mountains is very easy in the morning after a few mins walk. It's not well advertised, but the Waldheim supplies free entry to the Freizeit Arena for the whole week, which is a modern tropical type indoor pool with aqua jets (great for massage), waterfalls, slides for the kids. It's in town so jump on the bus. In St. Anton I pay 30 Euro a day PP for a similar place! It also has a comprehensive Steam/ Sauna and relaxation area with recliners included free too, which being Austria is mixed and fully nude (except towel so you can preserve modesty if you want), but is great to refresh those tired muscles. Keep an ear out for the bath Meister, drumming loudly to call you into the main sauna, he does a great bit a theatre packing it with 20 people and driving the room up to 90+C with menthol vapours, throwing snow at you etc. egging you on to last out the full 10 mins. It's fantastic and really a bit of a show and he obviously loves his work, but be warned, you will get some minor abuse for opening the door if you don't last at least the 10 mins, he warns this (in German) before starting :) - when thats over you won't care your stumbling out nude into a cold shower whoever you are - but after a 15 min rest you'll feel great! Resort wise, I have ridden many in Austria including the biggies like St. Anton. But I wouldn't discount Solden due to it's shorter total piste length. It's known as the 'Big 3' with 3 peaks over 3000m and has some great runs to keep you busy for a week and is often much cheaper for the package and the pass. I would rate it as Intermediate/Beginner, there are steeps but you can avoid them, there is a never a time you are forced to run a black to link pistes - so you can avoid if you want. If the weather is good the glaciers offer spectacular, wide, long, fast pistes with pretty much guaranteed fantastic conditions and the runs can be chained together when returning non-stop from 3000+ to 1000m for town for 10K+ runs with a choice of routes. Twice I've flown out on the 6.10am flight and with only a 90min transfer I've been on the mountain that day at lunch when most are wasting the afternoon, getting 16 mile of downhill in, Saturday has also been so quiet being change over day. So it's worth getting a 7 day pass and seeing more snow time! For 10 Euro you can add Obergurgl and Hockgurgl to your pass for one day which is worth doing, Hockgurgl being the easier mainly blue area, but I usually ride out both in 1 day. The free ski bus to these resorts stops outside the hotel too. Solden has a decent board park too. Apres wise there is plenty, with several busy/jumping bars, Marco's in town has a piste straight to it and is always lively from 3pm onwards, Fire and Ice is the goto club type bar later on. The Electric Mountain festival is also on, so friday at the main mountain bar at Giggijoch there was a proper outdoor stage with DJs dropping some quality house choons, and a massive crowd dancing in the sunset, before we travelled the final pistes into town a bit wobbly with low light! Great fun! There are also a couple strip bars in town if thats your thing, where I'm reliably informed (by a promo girl) its 40 Euro a table dance, 60 Euro for private, 8 Euro entry and about 8 a drink. Whether its worth it, I couldn't comment. If you want a traditional boozer there's Chris' Irish bar for a quality Guinness. The pizza place next door will even bring food in for you to eat at the bar with your pint - there's also free WiFi, which is better than the Waldheims and actually usable for Skype. Plenty of places to eat in town too, from Marco's 6 Euro burgers, or Aptiks kebab house, through to Gourmet local or Italian. a sit down meal in a decent place usually runs about 50 Euro PP with a couple courses and drinks for us. Overall Solden is often overlooked by the British - you will be a minority, but well worth a visit, especially if you have a mixed experience group. I would go again in the future, having been riding for 10+ years. but we also had someone this year who had only been on UK indoor slopes so far and he handled it well.
Apres Ski: 4/5
Accommodation & Value: 4/5