Skiing in the German Alps
Skilaufen (skiing) is a favorite winter hobby of mine and I have always wanted to ski down the powdery slopes of the German Alps. For those of you unfamiliar with the area, the Alps is the name for one of the great mountain ranges in Europe, it stretches from Austria and Slovenia in the east, through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west. The German Alps are situated in the southern portion of Bavaria, near the country’s Austrian border. Garmisch Partenkirsche at the foot of Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze, and Oberstdorf not far from Lake Constance, are Germany’s two main international ski and snowboarding centers that offer high altitudes, a variety of slopes, and host international downhill, ski jumping and cross country competitions. The Black Forest is another favorite among winter sport enthusiasts. The skiing season in these areas kicks off in late November and ends sometime in April.
Garmisch Partenkirchen lies in the middle of the Bavarian Alps, an hour drive south of Munich. In 1936 it was the site of the Winter Olympic Games. The area is a favorite spot for skiing, snowboarding and hiking, with some of the best skiing areas in Germany. All this and much more are available in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which sits before the wonderful sight of the Zugspitze and its surrounding mountains that rise nearly 3,000 meters high. Whether you are a beginner or a racing expert, you are sure to find your favorite ski slope. There are a total of 118 kms (73 miles) of downhill runs of all difficulty levels, including the world famous "Kandahar", Germany’s only downhill run with a World Cup License.
Oberstdorf is situated in the beautiful Allgau region of southern Germany. The town is conveniently located between Munich, Stuttgart and Lake Constance. The German ski resort of Oberstdorf is one of smaller skiing areas in Germany, but still offers 44km of downhill slopes above 2000 meters high. It is also known for having Germany’s longest downhill slope, at 7.5 km (4.65 miles) long. The area is especially good for intermediate to expert skiers, while beginners are severely cautioned. Oberstdorf consists of two ski areas, the Fellhorn and Kanzelwand, which are located 8 km outside of the town. These skiing areas are known for their “Zweilaender” (two countries) chairlifts because they can lead you to either German or Austrian trails. Oberstdorf is known for being one of the most extensive and challenging ski areas in Germany as well as a rival of Garmisch Partenkirchen.
The Schwarzwald (black forest) is located in the wooded mountain ranges of Baden-Wuerttemberg, in the southwestern portion of Germany. The Black Forest is typically known for its wooded surroundings, Schwarzwaelder Kirschtorte (Black Forest cake), and the traditional cuckoo-clocks they sell. However, carefree hiking and stimulating winter scenery are ranked as favorites of those who visit the Black Forest, making it a cradle for skiing. The oldest ski club in Germany dating back to 1895 still exists in the area today. The area offer 100 km of hiking and skiing to its visitors.
A winter spent in Germany offers its visitors plenty of opportunities to take advantage of, especially those who enjoy the outdoors and hitting the slopes.