For over 1,000 years, the local farmers have driven their sheep up into the pastures of the Ötztal Valley near Vent in Austria, where the farmers of the Schnalstal Valley own pasture rights. Each year in June, more than 3,000 sheep are led over the Niederjoch (3,019 m) and the Hochjoch (2,857 m) ridges into the Ötztal Valley, returning in mid-September. Led by shepherds and dogs, the herds must surmount several natural barriers during this strenuous day march. When crossing the main Alpine ridge, animal and human must both pass over fields of snow as well as steep gullies and ice chutes. The driving of sheep between the Schnalstal and Ötztal Valleys is recognised as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.
This autumn, we will once again look forward to their homecoming on 9th September in Vernago/Vernagt and on 10th September in Maso Corto/Kurzras. A small celebration then follows.
There is a special lift ticket offer for anyone interested in experiencing this unique spectacle up close.
The ticket includes: