If you are an avid skier or snowboarder, then you couldn’t be in a better place than Munich, with some of Germany’s best skiing only one hour away. The German Alps offer the best in winter sports: modern ski lifts, incredible runs, unimaginable mountain vistas and of course a lively Après-Ski atmosphere. The ski season typically begins in late November and ends in March; resorts at higher elevations will open earlier and stay open longer. Contact the German Skiing Association (Deutscher Skiverband, Tel: 089 857 902 13, www.ski-online.de) for up-to-date information about conditions and rental and lift-ticket prices. Another great contact is the Munich International Ski Club (www.munichskiclub.com). This expat group organizes trips and social events for expatriates living in the Munich area. While there are a multitude of skiing destinations around Munich, there are a few that float above the rest (at least in terms of popularity). Here are some of the top ski getaways in Bavaria:
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is the heart of Munich’s winter sport offerings. Its five ski areas (Zugspitze, Alpspitze, Hausberg, Eckbauer and Kreuzeck) are serviced by 30 lifts. The 120 kilometers of downhill runs also bear the imposing presence of Germany’s tallest peak, the Zugspitze. The resort area has over 100 restaurants and 33 bars, allowing for fun off the slopes as well.
Tel: 08821 797 0
Berchtesgaden, located at the foot of Watzmann Peak, is one of Bavaria’s more scenic regions. The region also includes the towns of Bischofswiesen, Marktschellenberg, Ramsau and Schönau am Königssee. Taken together, the region offers 61 kilometers of cross country trails and 36 alpine slopes.
Tel: 08652 967 0
Oberstdorf is Germany’s southernmost town and the portal into the Kleinwalsertal. The area is famous for its World Cup ski-jumping event and its cross-country races. For the leisure skier it offers nearly 40 slopes with 45 kilometers of runs. The Kleinwalsertal is actually an Austrian valley that can only be accessed (by road at least) from Germany. Its quaint villages of Baad, Mittelberg, Hirschegg and Reizeln offer an additional 80 kilometers of ski slopes.
There are several ice skating rinks in the Munich area. In fact, skaters are blessed with two separate rinks that were built to accommodate the Olympic Games. In addition to the Olympiapark public rink in downtown Munich (www.olympiapark-muenchen.de), there is the Olympia-Eissportzentrum in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (www.garmisch-partenkirchen.de), which was originally built for the 1936 Winter Games. Both rinks offer plenty of ice space as well as accommodating skate times for the public. Further facilities can be found at the Prinzregentenstadion (Prinzregentstr. 80), the Eis- und Funsportzentrum München-Ost (Staudinger Str. 17) and the Eis- und Funsportzentrum München-West (Agnes-Bernauer-Str. 241).