SÖLL, AUSTRIA - Small, lively village with large, easy ski and snowboard area.

Söll has long been popular with groups of British beginners and intermediates. Its pretty scenery, gentle slopes, small attractive traditional village, good-value accommodation and lively nightlife attract a mixture of young singles looking for a fun time and families looking for a quiet time. In the 1980s it gained notoriety as prime lager-lout territory; it still has some loud bars but has calmed down a lot.

Many visitors find the village surprisingly small and are disappointed by the distance between it and the slopes (and by the bus service).

Its main drawback has always been snow. Because of its low altitude and sunny slopes, slopes have often been slushy or bare, not just in Söll but also throughout the extensive Ski Welt circuit it is part of. But this problem has been tackled by a massive investment in snowmaking and half of the Ski Welt's 250 km of slope are now covered by snowmaking - more than in any other Austrian ski area. This ensures the region's main slopes and links stay open, though it can't prevent slush and ice developing.

When the snow is good Söll can be a great place for a holiday, cruising the attractive and undemanding slopes of Austria's largest linked area.

What's Great
What's Not-So-Great

+ Part of Ski Welt, Austria's largest linked ski and snowboard area

+ Local slopes are the highest and steepest in the Ski Welt and north-facing so keep their snow wel

+ Massive recent investment in snowmaking has paid off

+ Plenty of cheap and cheerful pensions for those on a budget

+ Pretty village with lively après-ski

? Poor natural snow record - Long walk or infrequent bus-ride to the lifts

? Little for experts or good intermediates

? Ski Welt slopes can get busy at weekends and in high season

? Local slopes are the most crowded in the Ski Welt

? Mostly short runs in local sector