Skiing in Germany – here’s what you need to know.
As a travel destination, Germany is both overlooked and undersold. Whole portions of this diverse and visually-appealing nation are surprisingly unfamiliar to international travellers. It is as if the rest of Germany doesn’t exist.
And yet, Europe’s third-largest and most populous country has some incredibly fine features. It has some of most immaculately preserved towns and cities, some of the finest hotel accommodation and some of the most stunning scenery.
The scenery runs all the way from the silken sandy beaches along the Baltic Coast in the north to the snow-capped mountains of the Bavarian Alps in the south.
The German people are are hospitable and honest and their food is hearty and healthy. The transport infrastructure is fast and easy to comprehend. There is invariably good value in its shops, hotels and restaurants.
Skiing in Germany
Skiing in Germany is an exhilarating experience. A country with a warm culture and plenty to see and do, Germany is a treasure trove for skiers.
Exceptionally well managed ski parks make up for the fact that the skiing season in Germany is shorter and that the slopes cannot compare in height to the majestic peaks in other regions.
The Germans know what skiers want have have developed their ski parks to encourage more skiers to spend time on their snowy slopes. The effortless combination of affordable and easily accessible accommodation makes German resorts renowned across the world.
These resorts offer prime skiing options as well as a lively nightlight. This is due to their close proximity to local villages and towns. Locals and tourists alike can bond over good music, hearty fare and hot beverages after a day on the slopes.
If you are considering heading out to Germany for skiing, we have done all the research for you. The following resorts are a few places that you should consider visiting. We evaluated the resorts based on their terrain, difficulty, vertical drop, and accessibility.
Also included are some other factors for you to consider when choosing a resort – accommodation, nightlife and food. We are sure that you will be able to experience some of the best skiing in Germany at these resorts!
Großer Arber lies in the Bayerischer Wald (Bavarian Forest). It is the highest peak in the forest, rising up to 1456m above sea level. It’s high elevation has led to the Große Arber, also known as the Arber, being known as the “King of the Bavarian Forest”.
Große Arber has been distinguished as one of the best ski resorts in Germany multiple times in recent years. The diverse range of sports thrills young and old equally and is one of the most family-friendly resorts in Germany.
There are 11.5 km of slopes and 5 km of ski routes available for skiing and snowboarding. The Arber also has 6 lifts available to transport the guests to the ski routes. This resort offers skiing enjoyment for all ability levels.
At Arber, comfort is also paramount. Modern, safe lift systems, cable cars, drag lifts, conveyor belts and the only gondola in the Bayerischer Wald (Bavarian Forest) make the peak accessible.
Große Arber has ensured that the skiing surface is sufficiently covered, by installing up-to-date snowmaking machines. Skiers can also hire a range of skiing equipment on-site at Arber.
The resort features a dwarf garden as well as a large children’s area. While the adults enjoy some skiing time, the kids can easily play as well as go tobogganing in the snow.
All these factors combine to make the Arber one of the best skiing resorts in Germany. Especially if you’re thinking of going skiing with your family.
The resort also capitalizes on their family friendly aspect by organizing activities that allow you to spend some quality bonding time with your little ones.
Schwarzwald is a mountainous region in southwest Germany, bordering on France. Known for its dense, evergreen forests and picturesque villages, this area is often associated with the Brothers Grimm fairy tales.
Schwarzwald features in the childhood memories of hundreds of thousands of Germans as the place where they first strapped skis onto their feet. With a popularity that brings tourists and locals in droves to its slopes, Schwarzwaldis one of the best skiing resorts in Germany. One of Germany’s oldest skiing clubs, established in 1895, can be found in the Schwarzwald.
Schwarzwald has at least a dozen mini ski resorts are scattered throughout the mountains. These resorts range from Vogelskopf (one lift and a couple of pistes), to the slopes of Feldberg with 50km of downhill. Most of the resorts have a mixture of cross-country routes and pisted slopes.
They are also all within an hour’s drive of key airports like Freiburg, Basel (Switzerland) and Strasbourg (France). Each resort has a different, hand-crafted flavour, unlike the mass skiing destinations up in the Alps.
Each year, Schwarzwald continues to attract thousands of skiers. This is due to its well-maintained slopes, breathtaking views of the mountains and luxurious spas.
Schwarzwald also shares close proximity to the town of Baden, which is where you will find accommodation, particularly during peak skiing season.
Known as Germany’s most beautiful ski resort, Zugspitze is located inside the Schneeferner glacier, located 2700m above sea level. The chilly temperatures mean that the ski season here runs for 7 months each year.
The guarantee of good snow fall, amazingly well maintained ski slopes as well as the natural beauty make Zugspitze a favourite resort among skiers from all across the globe.
Both beginners and experienced skiers will find their perfect line in the 40 kilometres of pistes at the Garmisch-Classic ski area. This area is interlinked over three local mountains, the Hausberg, Kreuzeck and Alpspitze.
Zugspitze boasts 22 slopes for intermediate skiers and 14 slopes for beginners. The challenging Kandahar Downhill is a regular meeting point for some of the world’s best skiers. It is also a real magnet for ambitious skiers and snowboarders.
The Ochsenkopf Mountain is the highest situated touristic-developed area in Northern Bavaria. It is the second-highest mountain in the Fichtel Mountains with a height of 1,024 metres.
Situated in Fichtelgebirge, renowned as one of Germany’s best region for winter sports, the skiing conditions at Ochsenkopf are extremely ideal.
The slopes at Ochsenkopf total to 4km long, making them the longest slops in Northern Bavaria. The slopes range from beginner to expert level. This provides for family fun as well as a challenging variety for more sophisticated customers.
The resort has installed artificial snowmaking machines, which means that skiers can ski all year round.
The south ski slope is the best place for beginners to practice their skiing technique. At 1.9km long and 250m above sea level, this slope offers blue runs and snow guns at the beginner area in the valley.
The north ski slope is the best place for intermediate and experienced skiers to have some proper runs. At 2.3km long and 350m above sea level, this slope offers red runs and snow guns on the whole slope.
Well maintained slopes and night-time skiing are some of the experiences you can look forward to at Ochsenkopf. Night-time skiing is possible as the slopes are floodlit. They also ski-jump facilities for those wanting an exhilarating experience.
Visitors to Oberammergau often have other things on their minds than rather than skiing. These could include seeing the site of the Passion Play, the nearby Linderhof Castle, or the attractions of the picturesque cross-country skiing runs that criss-cross the valley of the area.
A quaint place that can be easy to overlook at times, Oberammergau has slowly gained renown for having the most breathtaking Bavarian landscape, as well as for its wood carving work. The little town is a true winter wonderland and has many relics of Germany’s past.
In winter, the snow covers all the castles, churches and monasteries in the area, making the place extremely alluring and mysterious. Other than this charm, Oberammergau’s terrain is also great for cross-country skiers.
Main skiing areas
Oberammergau has two main skiing areas, the Kolben and the Laber, each with their own individual qualities to offer the winter sports enthusiast. The main ski area is the Kolben. The long chairlift journey to the top of the ski area is as slow as it is picturesque. From the top, an easy tree-lined run heads down through the trees to the drag-lifts at the bottom. Halfway down the run, a draglift offers the opportunity to repeat a part of the run without retracing one’s steps.
However, the red colour of the piste on the ski map has less to do with severity and more to do with it being perhaps the hardest of some very flattering runs in this area. Beginner skiers will be in their element at the Kolben, as there are a number of draglifts rising up from the two base areas.
Oberammergau’s other ski area, the Laber, packs a sucker punch for those lulled into a false sense of security by the Kolben. Somewhat difficult to find, it is located on the other side of the village near the swimming complex and the NATO hotel.
The Later has just one run, although a second ski touring route appears somewhat confusingly on the ski map. This run is left the way nature intended it – with no pisting or preparation. Skiiers who are used to skiing in at other resorts in Germany or Austria may be used to taking black runs with a pinch of salt. However this route is a delight in powder but can challenge the best of skiers in poor conditions.
For beginner and timid intermediate skiers, Jekyll and Hyde offers a selection of sunny slopes. For experienced skiers, Jekyll and Hyde offer the option of a hard-core unpisted experience.
If you are looking for a family-friendly ski resort that comes with a fun park and free parking, head to the Alpsee-Grünten ski resort. With winter trail hiking, as well as tobogganing, the ski resort has one of the longest seasons for tobogganing.
Alpsee-Grünten has a range of slopes, from beginner to expert descents, with the longest being 4.5 km. Skiing opportunities here are plentiful. The panoramic view of the surrounding hillside and the double-chair ski lift add to Alpsee-Grünten’s popularity.
You can look forward to 55 kilometres of slopes and 22 lifts at the resort, making for some of the best skiing in Germany. Alpsee-Grünten offers affordable accommodation for the whole family, which adds to the attractiveness of the location and resort.
Located in the Kranzberg mountains, Alpenwelt Karwendel is a winter sports lovers haven. The resort is perfect for both families and experienced skiers as it tends to have deep snow for the majority of the winter.
This means that there is much more to do than just skiing here: snowboarding and making snowmen and snow castles are fun too. The resort is also family friendly with activities for kids ranging from snowboarding and skiing classes to hikes and more.
The Alpenwelt Karwendel offers many places of retreat on its 700-kilometre network of trails. It plays host to 22 kilometres of slopes and 10 ski lifts for skiing enthusiasts.
In January, Alpenwelt Karwendel also has an annual carnival and turns the resort into a lively and festive place, making it a favourite place to visit in Germany. The hearty food and affordable yet comfortable accommodations also contribute to making this a good place to stay.
Even the fairytale king Ludwig II liked retreating to the mountains of the Alpenwelt Karwendel. This is in accordance with the diary entry he made in 1871 about the mountains being a “the romantic location [with] good visibility”.
Germany has some of the best ski resorts in the world. Regardless of whether you are looking for a challenging course or simply looking to weave down the hillside with your friends or family, Germany has it all.
Its well-managed slopes from the Alps to the Black Forest, offering breathtaking views of the surroundings and making every skiing holiday a truly memorable one.