When most people think of Germany, their mind immediately goes to castles, winter markets, and Oktoberfest. But Germany is an untapped adventure paradise. Not only did I not know you could ski in Germany, but I definitely did not know you can ski and surf (in the middle of a river in Munich) in the same season.
I don’t know why Germany’s ski resorts aren’t more publicized. You only really hear about the Swiss and Austrian Alps, but as it turns out, eight countries share Europe’s highest and most famous mountain range (France, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Austria, Slovenia, and yes, Germany). It takes just one look at the photos to realize this is not some rink-y-dink little resort. The snow is stunning and there’s fresh powder for days.
Where to Go: Zugspitze
The highest mountain in Germany is by far the most impressive. Zugspitze is home to three glaciers and 360-degree views of 400 peaks that span four different countries. You can walk right across to the Austrian side – no passport required. The resort is open an impressive six months of the year and costs next to nothing compared to U.S. ski resorts. A lift ticket will set you back just $55 (compare that to almost anywhere in Colorado which costs $100-150 a day). Ski and pole rentals are equally as cheap at just $25-35 a day.
How to Get There
Zugspitze is one of the best ski resorts near Munich and an easy day trip from the city. About 1.5 hours each way, take the Deutschbahn Railway train south to Garmisch. You’ll switch to a cogwheel train, which goes straight up the mountain to Eisner. Purchase your lift tickets at the station and you’ll be directed to a gondola to get to the resort. Both the train and the lift have awesome views.
There are toboggan courses that run parallel to almost every ski run (even blues and blacks). It seems fairly dangerous how fast you can fly down the mountain on a sled with almost no way to stop, but people just seem to figure it out (or get out of the way). Also, it’s hella fun. Give it a try. There is a church at the top, people sunbathing, and dogs everywhere. Whether you ski or not, it’s the place to chill – literally.
A Secret Igloo Hotel in the Middle of the Ski Resort
The highlight for me though was the secret igloo village. Called Iglu-dorf, this is an ice bar on steroids. You can eat fondue in the igloo, tour the ice sculptures and art, and even spend the night in one of their 20 rooms on a bed carved entirely out of ice (all experiences require pre-booking). With temperatures that are kept right around the freezing point, guests have access to private hot tubs and a sauna and are offered heavy sheepskin blankets and sleeping bags to warm up.
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