Looking for the perfect place to clip on your twin blades and set off in pursuit of life-affirming downhill thrills? Try Sölden, the mountainous Austrian setting for one of Spectre’s most memorable action sequences
James Bond has form when it comes to Alpine antics, from George Lazenby’s black-run chase in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) to Timothy Dalton’s evasion of pursuers on a cello case in The Living Daylights (1987) via Roger Moore’s Union Jack parachute jump in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).
But Spectre is the first film in which we see 007 grace the piste since Pierce Brosnan’s wilderness chase scene in The World Is Not Enough (1999).
And they couldn’t have chosen a better setting for it: over January and February, Daniel Craig, his co-stars and crew members (500 people, including 150 local film-makers, at the peak of activity) were heading up the slopes in Sölden, in the East Tyrol region of Austria.
Part of the reason they chose the location comes down to the guarantee of snow – its 150km of pistes reach up to a dizzying 3,250m, with access to two glaciers.
But it would surely also be down to the appeal of a municipality which is third only to Vienna and Salzburg as an Austrian tourist destination.
Sölden sits in the Ötztal valley, which leads up to the village of Obergurgl, and gondolas from opposite ends of town go up to the peak of Gaislachkogl. Don’t expect a sleepy mountain village, however – party crowds spill onto the streets at night.
Respite is on offer, though, thanks to the five-star luxury at Das Central – a bright, ultra-comfortable and easy-going hotel spread over three floors, with 121 individually designed rooms and suites, a stunning wine cellar, 10 saunas and steam baths, and a hot tub.
Since December 2013 Das Central’s main attraction has been Ice Q. Nestling at 3,048m above sea level, this gourmet restaurant – which appears in Spectre – has panoramic views of 250 peaks in Austria, Germany and Italy, offering Alpine cuisine so hearty, even Bond himself wouldn’t let pursuit by a balding sociopath’s henchmen stop him from swooping in to give it a try.
For behind-the-scenes footage of the Spectre shoot at Sölden, click here