Skiing in Germany
Information on skiing in Germany, the rules of the slopes and details of the facilities for skiers, snowboarders, cross-country skiers and other snow sport enthusiasts...
Germany is not renowned for its ski resorts and facilities. However the country has slopes for beginners and experts within its area of the Alps – the resorts in the Bavarian Alps are most popular. Many resorts have a smaller and more informal feel than the bigger and more fashionable resorts in France and elsewhere.
The ski season in Germany run approximately from December until March.
- Skiers will find lots of useful information in English on Ski Germany
Snow Reports and Weather Forecasts
- Snow reports and weather forecasts from Snow-Forecast
Ski Resorts in Germany
The local tourist websites usually have full information in English on the area's slopes and facilities and also offer avalanche warnings, weather reports as well as ski lift prices and other practical information.
- Skiers can also get a quick overview of the country's resorts from j2ski
- ifyouski.com has reviews of Germany's main resorts
Highest point: 2,050m
- Facilities: The oldest and still the country's top ski resort. The winter Olympics were once held here. Skiing, cross-country skiing and snowboarding take place in four main areas: the Kreuzeck, Osterfelder and Hausberg areas on the south side of the town and the Zugspitze area, under Germany's highest mountain, reached only by cable car or mountain railway. There are a total of 118 Km of downhill runs of all difficulty levels, including the world famous Kandahar, Germany's only downhill run with a "World Cup Licence"
- Access: Take the train from Munich. Bus and cable cars run locally to allow access to the slopes
- Garmisch-Partenkirchen tourist website
- Facilities: This is Germany's highest mountain and supposedly its only glacier ski area. The views from the top are magnificent
There are gentler slopes for beginners as well as red runs and intermediate slopes
- Access: By train from Munich. Bus and cable cars run locally to allow access to the slopes
Oberstdorf is a more modern ski resort.
- Facilities: The principal ski area is the Fellhorn/Kleinwalsertal a few kilometres outside the town. This area has the distinction of including a valley which is part of Austria but only accessible from Germany. There is also the smaller area of Nebelhorn, which is reached from a cable car on the outskirts of the town. It also has many non-ski related activities
- Access: The town is located between Munich, Stuttgart and Lake Constance. Access by car and rail from Munich is quite easy
- Oberstdorf tourist website
Not far from the Austrian city of Salzburg and on the edge of the Berchtesgaden National Park this is a ski resort of great natural beauty in both summer and winter. Also visible from the ski area is the infamous "Eagle's Nest" - Hitler's mountain refuge in the Second World War and today a destination for tour groups and sightseers.
- Facilities: The resort offers cross-country and downhill skiing as well as sledding and ice-skating
- Access: Travel by rail from Munich is straightforward as is road access. Once in the resort area there are local ski bus services
- Berchtesgaden tourist website
A little known resort outside of Germany but the local ski club has produced a number of world class female skiers recently.
- Facilities: The area has year round attractions – the Brauneck ski area and the extensive cross-country ski trails in winter and a range of climbing and hiking options in summer. The slopes can be quite quiet during the week – ideal for beginners
- Access: Trains run every hour from Munich
- Lenggries tourist website
Highest point: 1,280m
Oberammergau is a small village but a huge tourist attraction year round.
- Facilities: Most of the skiing goes on in the Kolben area where there is a good selection of runs for beginners and intermediates. As well as alpine skiing there are cross-country ski trails and facilities for sledging, curling, ice skating and winter hiking
- Access: Getting there from Munich by road and rail is quite easy
- Oberammergau tourist website
Mittenwald is a market town situated on the German/Austrian border. The Austrian ski resort of Seefeld is 15 minutes' drive away in one direction and Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a little further away to the north.
- Facilities: The Kranzberg is the main ski area. The Luttensee area is also popular and has several short blue runs. There are lifts to a higher red run
- Access: Getting there by train and car is easy; trains run from Munich
- Mittenwald tourist website
Lots of useful information on skiing safely can be found on the website of the International Society for Skiing Safety (ISSS). Their site includes pre-ski exercises designed to minimise the risk of injury.
- Skiers can also get general safety guidelines from Safe Travel
Before even starting to ski there are some common sense precautions that can be taken. Some resorts offer mountain safety classes including techniques to use if caught in an avalanche.
- Check equipment
- Make sure that you have the necessary maps and know how to get back to your resort
- Check the local weather reports and avalanche warnings
- Be sure you know what is expected of you on piste - remember to give way to those in front
- Do not ski alone
- Decide in advance who will go for help in an emergency
- Carry the right safety equipment
- In the event of an avalanche a beacon is the best chance of being rescued
- See Ultimate-ski.com for more advice
Mountain rescue services
Mountain rescue services in Germany are provided by the German Red Cross division known as Bergwacht and by Deutsche Rettungsflugwacht (DRF) (German Air Rescue).
The Air Rescue services are a joint initiative with Austria and Italy. A number of helicopters with trained personnel are located at various points.
This is not compulsory but many people do have ski insurance to protect themselves and others. Some private medical policies will cover sports injuries – check with the insurer.
Ski insurance can be bought through the National Skiing Association in Germany, Deutscher Skiverband.
Flags and Slope Ratings
Ski patrols and tourist websites offer the most up to date safety information. However the flag and slope ratings give good indications of conditions.
The risk of avalanche is indicated by flags: yellow being low to moderate risk, yellow and black chequered indicating considerable risk and black indicating very high risk.
|Risk level 1-2
|Risk level 3-4
|Risk level 5
Slopes - or pistes - are clearly marked; a disc usually gives the name of the slope and the category. Green is easy, blue is average, red is difficult and black is very difficult.
|Green: beginners/nursery||Blue: average||Red: difficult||Black: very difficult|
- The national skiing organisation in Germany is Deutscher Skiverband (in German)
There are some other more local ski clubs such as:
- Munich Ski Club who organises trips for members to resorts at discounted rates
- Heidelberg Ski Club (in German)
- Destination 360: ski resort reviews and travel information
- Germany tourist site
- Weather and snow reports at J2Ski
- Avalanche information