Guide To Skiing in Germany
Winter sports are huge in Germany. If you’re a fan of German cuisine, beer and schnapps and want to book your ski chalet in Germany, there is much more to German skiing than the large Alpine resorts of the northernmost slopes of the Alps.
If high-speed lifts and comfortable Apres-ski lounges are what you seek, then head to the Austro-German border in Bavaria. If you’d prefer smaller resorts with cheaper passes and less people, Germany has a lot to offer.
The Rhön is a mountain range that spans three Federal states: Hesse, Thuringia and Bayern (in English: Hessa, Thurintchia and Baveria). Because of this, the culture varies slightly depending which state you ski in: Bayern has a hearty, rambunctious culture, while Hesse and Thuringia are equally hospitable, but a little gentler.
The Rhön mountains are dome-shaped, offering gentle slopes for beginners. For the best groomed pistes head to Feuerberg. It’s also famed for the Germknödel – a jam filled dumpling covered in vanilla sauce. If you fancy some night skiing, visit Wasserkuppe.
Head east into Thuringia and just west of the city of Erfurt you’ll find the Thuringian Forest offering some seriously gentle slopes for the inexperienced skier.
Speaking of forests, Germany has one of the best: The Black Forest – fabled and beautiful, it lies deep within south-western Germany. If you have ever had a picture of a fairytale winter in your mind, it exists somewhere in the Black Forest. Even if you have no interest in skiing, this is a location you should visit once in your lifetime. For skiers it offers over 70 peaks above 1,000 metres. Most resorts are small with the emphasis on both ‘affordable’ and ‘family friendly’. Favourites include Todtnau, Stollenbach and Schauinslandbahn.
Head further east into the once dark east of the former communist state of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik, or the GDR, and you’ll come to the Erzgebirge – in English: Ore Mountains – deep in the heart of Saxony. The highest peak is called Fichtelberg and it reaches 1,206-metres. Travel south towards the Czech border and you’ll find two small resorts called Kiingenthal and Schöneck. It may surprise some to know that the former communist state has seen massive regeneration since The Wall fell. While it is still cheaper than western Germany, the cities of Dresden and Leipzig are among the most beautiful cities in Europe.
Saxony is in the former East Germany, while Lower Saxony is located in north-western Germany and is home to the Harz Mountains. Bocksberg-Hahnenklee is a small resort with five runs of varying difficulty. It’s an interesting place because it is quiet happy to make use of snow-making machines to defy global warming. If the planet does warm to temperatures that leave us without snow forever more — what a thought! — There will still be one place on earth to ski. The greatest variety of resorts in the region are clustered around the highest peak, the Wurmberg.
If you’ve ever fancied hurling yourself head first down a large sheet of ice while lying on a tea tray — known officially as Luge, or Skeleton Bob depending on whether you’re lying face-up or face-down – head to Winterberg in Sauerland. Located in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, it offers a rich array of skiing options. It’s also the centre for winter sports in the state.
If the Luge isn’t crazy enough for you and you wish to emulate Eddie-the-Eagle, head to Willingen; host to World Cup ski jumping. It has 25 ski runs, many of which are open for night skiing.
Germany may not be the first location to spring to mind when you’re considering a ski chalet break. What it will offer is plenty of good skiing in smaller family-friendly resorts. And great schnapps!
About The Author: This post was contributed by Marie-Paule Graham, who writes for Chalet Finder, the independent website to help find unforgettable ski chalet holidays and dream ski accommodation.