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FASCINATION GLACIER

From wandering sheep and eternal ice

It is difficult to escape the spell of the Val Senales Glacier. It lies there like a quiet giant, with its bizarre rocks and barren expanses. Many know it as a hiking and winter sports paradise, but the Val Senales Glacier offers so much more: from Ötzi’s footsteps to healthy high-altitude air and transhumance, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

ICE COLD FACTS

The Val Senales Glacier, called Hochjochferner, lies between the South Tyrolean Val Senales and the Austrian Venter Tal in the Ötztal Alps. It is 185 hectares in size and over 3 kilometres long. About one sixth of the area serves as a ski resort. Glaciologists are also observing a retreat of the ice masses at Hochjochferner, but the retreat of the glacier tongue is less pronounced than at other central Alpine glaciers.

PROTECTIVE SHELL

Perhaps you have already noticed them: the snow deposits and foils that cover large parts of the glacier in summer. They protect the precious white gold and the sensitive nature on the glacier. In the ski season, the snow deposits ensure perfect piste conditions and allow extra-long skiing fun from September to May. Summer skiing was stopped years ago to protect the environment and the glacier.

THE TRANSHUMANCE

The Val Senales Glacier is not only where Ötzi was found and where he lived, but also the scene of a centuries-old tradition: transhumance. The sheep drive is an intangible UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts visitors from near and far year after year. When the shepherds drive thousands of sheep and goats over the Hochjoch and Niederjoch from Austria back into the valley in September, there is a celebration in Kurzras and Vernagt. And you shouldn’t miss it either.

YOUR ALPINE ADVENTURE

Time to experience something