Stories & History

A smart mind once said: "A time without stories is a time without history." That is why Sölden and the upper Ötztal Valley have many stories and legends to tell. The region boasts a huge number of deeply rooted characteristics so typical for a high Alpine valley and its mighty peaks beyond 3000 meters. But this ultimate Hot Spot in the Alps has always remained young at heart: "Change is the only constant factor."

A time-lapse history of our valley: from the first settlements in pre-Christian times to Tirol's top holiday destination.

The History of Sölden


Around 1000 BC:


the first immigrants come from Vinschgau via Hochjoch, Niederjoch and other passes and settle in the Ötztal Valley.

15 BC:

the Romans arrive in the Alps and found the Roman province Raetia.

Around 550 BC:

the Bavarians advance from the north into Ötztal valley; Vent and Rofen become permanent settlements.


Sölden makes its first appearance in the chrincles of the Swabian Lords of Ronsberg in Allgäu who leave farmsteads to the Ottobeuren Monastery.

13th to 16th century:

the sovereign, the Stams monastery and the Frauenchiemsee Benedictine Monastery are Ötztal's biggest landowners; most of their property consists of farms who pay their basic interest in form of small cheese loaves (up to 300 per year) and later also in cash.


Sölden is assigned to the pricinct of Silz.


Vent, which so far belonged the Kastelbell jurisdiction in South Tirol, becomes a municipality of Sölden.

19th century:

Ötztal attracs more and more mountaineers, and tourism gets under way.


there are 5 inns in the municipality of Sölden; several of the first inns are run by pastors.

1860 - 1872:

Franz Senn, a priest in Vent, realizes that tourism would better the economic situation for the locals.


foundation of the Austrian Alpine Association.


Franz Senn builds Hochjoch hospice, Ötztal's first shelter, on the trail via Hochjoch pass to South-Tirol; by the turn of the century there are already numerous mountain refuges of which most were built by the German Alpine Association.


the German and the Austrian Alpine Associations merge.

Around 1900:

Alpine skiing became more and more popular and Ötztal embarks on winter tourism.

1898 - 1903:

a road is built trough Ötztal to Sölden.


the valley's landlords publish their first joint brochure titled "The Ötztal".


the road is extended to Zwieselstein, tourism experiences a boom until the outbreak of WW I.


there are 12 inns in the muncipality of Sölden.


End of WW I - Austria is restored to its 1937 frontiers; South Tirol is ceded to Italy and a new frontier to Italy is created across the main Alpine chain; the economic problems in the area mount.


foundation of the Sölden Ski Club, winter tourism grows thanks to the development of the Hochsölden ski area.


Isidor Riml started the first hotel in Sölden.


Sölden logs 88.000 bed nights (90 % of which are attributed to summer tourism)


the "thousand mark" barrier - a kind of tourist tax - is introduced in Germany to disourage travel to Austria; the consequences for the tourism industry are severe.


construction of the first 1-seater chairlift from Sölden to Hochsölden; tourism experiences a great revival.


there are 45 inns in the municipality of Sölden.


Sölden registers 300.000 bed nights.


opening of the Gaislachkogl gondola giving access to Gaislachkogl mountain.


opening of the Timmelsjoch high Alpine road.


the ski areas of Hochsölden and Gaislachkogl are linked.


Rettenbach glacier is developed for skiing.


the municipality of Sölden records 1,5 million bed nights of which 63 % are logged in the winter alone.

19 September 1991:

Mr. and Mrs. Simon from Nuernberg/Germany discover the mummified corpse of a mean near Tisenjoch glacier. Archeologists soon find out that the man has lived around 3200 years BC, that is between the Neolithic age and the Bronze Age; he later becomes known as "Ötzi" or "Ice Man".
Other scientific findings show the following:
About 900 years ago Stone Age hunters camped down at "Hohler Stein" near Vent and other places in Ötztal Valley.


The single holiday villages within Ötztal join forces by forming the renowned, valley-wide "Ötztal Tourismus" tourism board.


there are hardly any private residences in Sölden anymore; almost all houses are geared toward accommodating tourists; all locals are directly or indirectly involved in tourism; trade and industry produce a high return thanks to the many investments in the tourism. Sölden meanwhile registers 2 million bed nights.


Live broadcast of a "You Bet!" program directly from Sölden.


Opening of the then highest triple cable gondola world-wide, Gaislachkogl mountain gondola.


20-year anniversary of Alpine Ski World Cup races held in Sölden. Awarded with "Tirol Touristica" tourism prize.

State-of-the-art landmark: ice Q design restaurant at 3048 m above sea level – one more architectural highlight in Sölden, built by Bergbahnen Sölden Lift Company.


The queen's stage finish of the Tour de Suisse leads up to Rettenbach Glacier in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Sölden appears as official film shooting location of the latest James Bond movie “Spectre”. Among the action-scene shooting spots are the ice Q restaurant, the glacier road and the glacier tunnel.


Sölden counts 1.8 million bednights for the 2015/16 tourism year, achieving an increase of 2.2 % compared to the previous season.


Opening of the world's most powerful mountain gondola. The new Giggijoch gondola has an hourly transport capacity of 4500 persons. World record!