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|• Mayor||Anton Mattle|
|• Total||121.2 km2 (46.8 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1,584 m (5,197 ft)|
|Population (1 January 2014)|
|• Density||6.6/km2 (17/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
Galtür was settled by the Engadinern from the south, the Walsern and Vorarlbergern from the west, and Tyroleans from the east. Today the cultivation work of the Engadiner is remembered in the name Galtür, meaning Cultura. During the Thirty Years' War, Galtür was badly damaged. The church and many houses were burned down. The first roads leading through the Paznaun were built in the 19th century. During that period, Galtür consisted of a church, an inn, and eight houses, and was considered very poor. After the first hotel was built, the Jamtalhütte was soon constructed. With the advent of tourism, Galtür and the valley became prosperous.
On 23 February 1999, an avalanche descended on Galtür. In less than 60 seconds, the 50 m (164 ft) high wall of snow traveling at 290 km/h (186 mph) overturned cars, destroyed buildings, and buried 57 people—of these, 31 died before rescue teams could reach them. The avalanche was considered the worst in the Alps in 40 years. Due to the continuing danger of avalanches, thousands of tourists were evacuated from the Paznaun valley via air-lift. Military and civil helicopters from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, and the United States were engaged in one of the biggest rescue operations of Austria's recent history. The avalanche was caused by three major weather systems from the Atlantic that produced large snowfalls totaling around 4 meters in the area. Alternating freezing and thawing created a weak layer on top of an existing snow pack, followed by additional snowfall. High winds created large snow drifts, and eventually caused roughly 170,000 tons of snow to fall on the village.
Galtür is a popular tourist destination in winter. There are 40 km (25 mi) of perfectly prepared pistes and a varied selection of slopes to explore. Galtür is a family-friendly ski area. Most ski slopes range from easy to medium difficulty. In addition, ski pros find challenging runs and many deep snow slopes without any tracks. There are 10 mountain railways and lifts, including the eight-seater Alpkogel gondola. Wednesday evenings, night skiing is possible on a floodlit piste.
Galtür's ski resort is called Silvapark and is located 2 kilometres outside the main village in the small village of Wirl. Ski buses run along the main road through Galtür between the ski area and other destinations in the valley, including Ischgl, Kappl, and See. There are stops in Galtür at the Hotel Alpenrose, Dorfplatz, and Alpinarium, as well as one stop next to the Birkhahnbahn chair lift in Wirl. In Wirl, skiers and snowboarders can take either the Birkahahnbahn chair lift or the Alpkogelbahn Gondola up onto the mountain.
Silvapark offers 40 km of groomed pistes served by 3 chair lifts, 1 gondola and 5 smaller tow lifts. Many of the runs are marked Blue and Red, making the resort accessible to families and beginners. In addition to these, the resort also offers a number of more difficult Red and Black runs, which means, coupled with the off piste possibilities, the resort caters for more advanced skiers and snowboarders too. Off piste opportunities through trees and between runs, particularly surrounding the Breitspitzbahn chair lift, are available, even for less experienced skiers. This area is much quieter and has better on-piste conditions.
There are several mountain huts and restaurants on the mountain which offer traditional Austrian cuisine and a friendly atmosphere. Most offer indoor and outdoor dining areas as well as smoking and non-smoking areas respectively. At the bottom of the Alpkogelbahn Gondola, there are a number of hotels which have ski in ski out facilities. These hotels offer accommodation and facilities for those who would rather not take a ski bus.
The village consists mostly of large Austrian-style chalet buildings. Many of these offer bed and breakfast or self-catering accommodations, as well as hotel accommodations on a half board or full board basis. In the centre of the village there is a bakery, a few ski rental shops, a church, and a butcher shop. The Pyramide night club is renowned for its amiable DJ's who will play anything requested of them, though the clientele is almost exclusively drunken geordies. There is also a supermarket located 0.5 km outside the village square in the direction of Ischgl, opposite the Hotel Alpenrose. This can be reached easily by bus. There is also a sports centre in the village which has an indoor swimming pool, indoor tennis court, and offers opportunities to play other sports such as darts, pool (billiards), and squash.
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