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Where Visitors Might Meet George Clooney, Jake Gyllenhaal and other Stars on a Hike
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Where Visitors Might Meet George Clooney, Jake Gyllenhaal and other Stars on a Hike

The pristine Schnalstal Valley not only offers holidays in a beautiful Alpine valley, but with a bit of luck, one can spot a Hollywood star on a hike.

To see Jake Gyllenhaal or Jürgen Vogel sitting at the bar or in a restaurant in Schnalstal Valley (Val Senales in Italian) is not an uncommon sight during filming events. Even George Clooney spent a holiday here, although in a purely private capacity. But that is all that one will get out of the taciturn inhabitants of this valley, who are well-known for being discreet. Some even take little notice of the stars spending their holidays here in this valley between vineyards and glaciers. But why are more and more film crews and actors coming to the Schnalstal Valley in recent years?

The answer is that the unspoiled high Alpine valley offers a unique backdrop for big screen productions, commercials or photo shoots. The landscape here, between the Schnalstaler Glacier and the mighty Ötztal Alps, has caught the eye of the film industry. The pristine Alpine nature, ancient remote farms, deep forests and extraordinary landscape above the timber line are just a few of the many locations to be sought out.

Has the Schnalstal Valley turning into Senallywood? Manfred Waldner, director of the tourism association of Schnalstal, likes to use this term for the valley, which in 2008 attracted the first international film crews.
"Vacanze di Natale", an Italian family movie, was the first major production, with others soon to follow. The Euro-Western "The Dark Valley" was shot here in 2014 with Tobias Moretti and Sam Riley. The Hollywood production "Everest" was shot on the Schnalstal Glacier over a period of five weeks, and brought Jake Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin and John Hawkes to the valley. By the way, in 2017 the Schnalstal Valley was nominated for this film for the “Best European Film and TV Location" and even made it into the top ten, next to the world-renowned locations used in "Game of Thrones", "Mission Impossible", "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and "Bridge of Spies" by Steven Spielberg.

Another feature film set in the Schnalstal Valley was "Iceman", starring Jürgen Vogel. This survival drama was shot to a certain extent in the original locations, because it was here in the Ötztal Alps in 1991 that climbers discovered the famous man from the ice: Ötzi.

The discovery of this more than 5,000-year-old glacier mummy, known as Ötzi, made the valley famous overnight all over the world. Soon the first television crews began to come to the valley to shoot big budget documentaries about Ötzi, including National Geographic USA, the History Channel and the BBC.
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Has the Schnalstal Valley turning into Senallywood?
After the discovery of the ice mummy brought camera crews from all over the world to this quiet valley, a small but high quality photographic and film industry started to emerge in Schnalstal. Throughout the current year, shoots for major fashion magazines such as VOGUE and ELLE have taken place in the Schnalstal Valley. Top commercials for VISA, LG, Odlo, Haglöfs, North Face and Ferrero have also filmed here. The rapper J-AX shot a music video in the wild nature of the valley. Currently this video has over 38 million views on YouTube.

Manfred Waldner knows the advantages of the film industry in the Schnalstal Valley. Discretion is particularly important here. "We keep absolute silence while a film is being shot here, in order not to promote bystander tourism or to bring the press too early into the valley." In addition, thanks to the Schnalstal Glacier, winter scenes can be shot and filmed already in autumn. With the highest cable car in South Tyrol, film crews can easily reach the mighty Hochjochferner Glacier. It only takes six minutes to reach the Grawand mountain station at 3,212 meters, close to the site where Ötzi was found.

Famous actors like Jake Gyllenhaal, Juergen Vogel and Tobias Moretti spent their days off skiing or hiking with the crews. "And everyone was allowed to join the Ötzi Glacier Tour", says Waldner. In the meantime, it could be said that this has already become a tradition. With an experienced mountain guide they make a trekking tour with rope teams up to the Ötzi site at the Tisenjoch. There guests can experience the imposing views of the northern flank of the Similaun, a truly memorable experience for all who join the tour.

In summer, the Ötzi Glacier Tour is offered as a hike, and from October to April as a challenging ski tour. The starting point is on the Grawand at 3,212 m in height, where, by the way, the highest situated hotel in the entire Alps is located. The ski tour lasts from seven to eight hours, leading over the Hochjochferner Glacier, the Schwarzwand, the Hauslabjoch and up to the Tisenjoch. Here you can experience first-hand the same trails that Ötzi once probably moved through. And if you want to find out more about the famous iceman, you should definitely make a detour to the archeoParc open-air museum or visit the Archeological Museum in Bolzano/Bozen.

Back to the film industry: Time and again, people from the world of film and television travel to Schnalstal Valley. Who this might be in future remains a mystery. But who knows, maybe one day you might also end up in the hot tub on the glacier next to a real Hollywood star.
On the trail of the Iceman Ötzi
On the trail of the Iceman Ötzi
Everything about the most famous mummy in the world
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In touch with archeology
In touch with archeology
Archaeological trails in Schnalstal Valley
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In touch with archeology
In touch with archeology
Archaeological trails in Schnalstal Valley
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Holidays in a pristine film backdrop
Holidays in a pristine film backdrop
Here you can find accommodation of every category in Schnalstal Valley
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