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11.10.2011 - Ausgabe: 5/2011

Europe’s Trendiest Outdoor Playground

AREA 47 at the entrance to the Tyrol Ötztal (Ötz valley) combines the most exciting adventure and outdoor activities the Alps have to offer in a 6.5-hectare playground for adrenaline junkies.


The best outdoor and tourism professionals in Tyrol have joined forces with top facility designers, craftsmen and partner companies such as the Sölden mountain railways, Red Bull, Adidas, KTM and Stiegl to create a one of a kind, Europe-wide outdoor park. All the superlatives of outdoor sports are brought together here in a unique blend. The Area 47 site: exactly 47º latitude and 11º longitude at the Ötz valley Ache river estuary where it meets the Inn river in the Haiming district Ötztal-Bahnhof (Ötz Valley train station). As it doesn’t exactly evoke a sense of adventure, the Ötz Valley citizens have also named their new playground “Adrenaline Filling Station”. The creator and Managing Director is Hans Neuner.

New definition of Tyrol water power

35 different sports for outdoor thrills: the new outdoor park in Tyrol offers undiluted action and adventure across 66,000 m². The 20,000 m² Water Area with the 7,000 m² swimming lake is Area 47’s “Hot ’n’ Wet spot”. Aquatic features include a ramp for snowboarders, free-skiers, BMX riders, an overhanging deep-water soloing climbing wall where you hang over the lake while climbing, and a slack-lining obstacle course. A world first is the combined jump and slide tower, which is 27.5 metres in height. The wet and wild thrill ride, which trumps everything that has come before it, starts off at a family-friendly 5.5-metre starting height. The incremental levels of the total six slides culminate in what is practically a freefall. The steepest slide in Europe with an almost vertical slope angle promises to set knees knocking and speeds of up to 80 km/h.

If you want to avoid prune-like fingers and toes, you can take a break between attractions and relax on one of the 2,000 sun loungers. Or perhaps you’d like to “coat” yourself in hot sand playing beach soccer or beach volleyball. Sunset definitely doesn’t spell the end of the fun at the water as there are more than enough reasons to stay. One of the best is definitely the terrace at the trendy Lakeside Restaurant, which boasts room for 400 guests.

For those who prefer to be up high

How best to take in the absolute outdoor madness? The best way would be from high above, because from there you’re eye level with the ultimate highlights of Area 47! So first of all, up to the entrance of the 320m-long rope slide, the Flying Fox, which will certainly leave you hanging, but it won’t leave you cold. Managing Director Hans Neuner promises that the “Flying Fox” will deliver the ultimate thrill – whooshing you over the park complex on a cable.
Balancing on chopped logs – that’s really child’s play. But when these logs are part of the “Skywalk” high rope garden and are floating free 27m above the ground, hanging under a road bridge, the fun becomes a serious test of courage. Even the view of the valley and the three thousand peaks can’t distract you from the occasional panic attack.

For those for whom this still isn’t enough, you can experience another test of your sporting courage with the “Mega Swing”: Attached to a rope, you swing from one bridge pillar 30m up to another pillar. An incomparable thrill! The Area 47 high rope garden, with its 27m free height has set completely new standards in terms of courage and skill. There are trained “geckos” patrolling the entire climbing area, both vertically and horizontally. On top of all that, Area 47 boasts the highest climbing wall in Austria at the Ache bridge – a lead climbing area that twists its way upwards and has more than earned the nickname “Climbers’ Paradise”!

At the foot of the bridge is the start of Rafters’ Paradise: Area 47 organises river rafting, canyoning, raft tours or quick jaunts along the river with the cumulative experience since the pioneer days of the Tyrol raft movement. Or you could have a shot in the “Cannonball” which catapults people nine metres into the lake.

Area 47 is not designed to be an artificial oasis; rather, it should incorporate the entire surroundings – for example on trips along the ca. 2,000km of cycle paths, on glacier tours, while canyoning and on a cave tour through tunnel systems, which Hitler wanted to use during the war to dam the Ötz Valley. The three neighbouring districts of Haiming, Sautens and Roppen can sense a revitalisation of the area during the ailing summer season. The Mayor of Roppen in the Imst district, Ingo Mayr, sees Area 47 as a project that “upgrades the entire region”. The whole “front Ötz Valley” sees an opportunity, believes Anton Haid, proprietor of the “Posthotel Kassl” in Oetz: “It used to be the parents who brought their children here, now it’s the teenagers who are bringing their parents. Up until now there was no nightlife during the summer. Now the young have fun both night and day.” Jakob Falkner, Managing Director of Sölden mountain railways, the main investor in the Area 47 project having invested €3 million, is pleased: “Until now the Alps were not considered a very attractive proposition during the summer. Now they are considered really appealing thanks to this new product.”

TM/ Area 47
Photos: Area 47

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