Tirol’s ultimate adventure park at the entrance of the Ötztal valley, AREA 47, remains at the top of its game going into its ninth season. The park, which is the only one of its kind in the Alps, offer action on water, land and up in the air. Cult sports such as wake-boarding, innovative pro camps and fantastic events make AREA 47 the place to be for fans of the outdoors in summer 2017.
As soon as AREA 47 opened its doors in May 2010, it was clear there would be no standing still here. The location, named after the 47th degree of latitude, has a passion for innovating. The largest outdoor adventure park in Austria – with close to nine hectares – has been setting benchmarks every year since it’s opening.
Visionary Hansi Neuer relentlessly pursued his life-defining project of creating a unique adventure paradise. In the first decade of the century, outdoor pioneer Hansi Neuner, the initiator of the project who died in 2015, already had the idea of creating an ‘ultimate outdoor playground’. After years of research across the world into similar top facilities and a lengthy planning and project development phase, Neuner finally got the go-ahead to complete his ambitious project. After construction officially began in August 2009, AREA 47 opened its doors in spring 2010. This was the start of a success story that continues today. The attraction has up to 250,000 visitors each summer.
As a showcase project for summer tourism in the Alps, AREA 47 has taken pretty much all the awards available in Austria for innovative tourism concepts. In addition to the Tyrol Touristica prize, the Austrian Innovation Prize for Tourism, the destination has also been handed the Austrian Export Prize. AREA 47’s exceptional setup has attracted hue media attention from the start. This has included all major German language daily newspapers (BILD, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, NZZ, Krone, etc.) and magazines (Focus, Stern…) as well as effectively all the known German TV channels. Asian viewers have seen the Austrian outdoor destination on popular channels such as Nippon TV (Japan), or Dragon TV (Shanghai). As an ultimate accolade, CNN.com has rated it one of the top five water parks in the world.
For those starting to plan their summer holiday and would not mind going back to the mountains, as most of us mountain lovers do, maybe planning in coming to Austria and being able to play in such a massive outdoor area, could be a good option!
Let’s get wet!
The beating heart of the park is the 20,000 m2 Water AREA. Guests love to swim here to complete their day at the attraction. Whether from the giant waterslide park, for example, from the freestyle ski jump with a Slip’n’slide chute in the US style from an air-filled blog or a water catapult- one of only two of its kind in German-speaking countries. The 27-metre board of the driving tower may be reserved for professional cliff divers, but us mere mortals are sure to get trembling knees at the board 10 metres up. Other sporting challenges in the Water AREA include slicklines stretched across the water, trampolines and overhanging deep water soloing bouldering wall.
Wakeboarding: from a trendy sport to a true cult
Since AREA 47 opened the first wakeboard zone in western Austria in May 2016, the booming sport has found more and more fans. The WAKE AREA includes an over 19,000-m2-wakeboard lake with ultramodern cables, six spring retainer brackets and numerous obstacles for pros and experts to pull off rolls, grabs and inverts on.
Last summer AREA 47 started offering a professional but relaxed way for you to take up wakeboarding with the Wake School. Rookies can complete 90 minutes of intensive coaching in the Little Bro wakeboarding zone in the WATER AREA for one and a half hours. If they feel ready, they can then take to the waters of the WAKE AREA after receiving detailed instructions. Including equipment and drinks vouchers, the Wake School, which runs every da, costs 65 EUR. Especially for the beginners and sporty kids trying the sport, the 420-metre lift is a little slower an hour before regular opening hours start every day. That makes it a little easier, and boosts the motivation and fun factor. Along with the scheduled Wakeboard Camps, which plan to offer training courses for beginners and pros with the best coaches in Austria, AREA 47 is emphasising its pioneering role in the wakeboarding scene. Among others, Austrian sports legend Daniel “Fetzy” Fetz will pass his expertise onto the AREA 47 community.
Sheer adventure- around the clock
Brave visitors in small groups can enjoy exciting outdoor activities in the surrounding area, starting from the adventure park. Professionally guided rafting and canyoning trips will make sure the adrenaline races as much as the white water does in the rivers, streams and ravines. You can push your own limits by mountain biking and caving in the nearby mountains. The Climbing AREA of AREA 47 provides a stern test to your limits in itself: as the highest artificial climbing wall and the highest high ropes course in Austria – some 27 metres up in the air over the thundering Ötztaler Ache river. On the way down, the pulse rate just keeps on soaring: the mega swing – with its 12 metre free-fall and the over 300 metre – long Flying Fox create action-packed memories to last a lifetime. You can get a bite to eat after so much adventure at the cosy Lakeside Restaurant overlooking the lake, or at the first-rate Argentinian BBQ with its bar in the River House. You’re likely to come across a hard core of revellers from all over Tyrol celebrating the night away. If you fancy that, you won’t have far to your bed – as depending on their preference, AREA 47 guests can stay in rustic wooden tepees, cosy lodges or comfortable double rooms.
New camps: learn from the pros
AREA 47 is again offering the best in sporting education and training in its night season. Four day camps, which are being offered for the first time, allow outdoor freaks to plunge even deeper into the likes of the white water. The camps are designed for all those who already know the rafting, canyoning or mountain bike tours and just can’t get enough of them. While all other providers in Austria offer nothing after the advance tours, that’s where the fun is just beginning at AREA 47. Professional guides lead tough to highly demanding tours far removed from the standard programme as they transmit their theoretical know-how. Anyone who wants to enjoy an action-packed and educational experience like this can choose from:
• Canyoning Basic Camp for Intermediates
• Canyoning Verticals Camp for Advanced
• White Water Camp – Rafting for Intermediates
• 2 Wheels Camp – Mountain Biking in Ötztal
At the special girls camps (check dates on the website) sporting ladies can experience a tailor-made programme that really brings everything together. They can have their first go at wake-boarding with reigning Austrian Champion Tanja Warmuth, for instance, conquer some wild rafting tours, overcome the Flying Fox and Mega Swing and relax again with yoga sessions and SUP yoga.
Jump into the party summer.
It would not be AREA 47 if the party atmosphere didn’t continue all summer long with stunning music, sport and party highlights. 2017 saw cult events such as the Cliff Diving Show with the starts form the Red Bull Cliff Diving Series. An equally fun if bizarre spectacle has been provided again by Stiegl Extreme Blobbing, in which the European elite of splash diving have somersaulted and twisted as they only can.
Fore more information on Area 47, go to www.area47.com
Featured image: Area47 Water AREA Slip’n’slide- Photo courtesy www.AREA47.com