A note: German school children get two weeks off for Easter holiday, usually the last week of March and first week of April. If you want to go skiing during this time, book far in advance and expect to pay more.
The villages nearest the Zugspitze (Garmisch Partenkirchen, Eschene, Farchant, Grainau and Oberau) exist to support skiers. This means there is a huge number of private apartments, chalets and houses available for rent. The trouble is not finding a place, but choosing one. Airbnb is a good place to start if your German is a bit dodgy. If you’re feeling braver, choose something from the official list.
A bit of vocab to help: Reiseziel is location, Reisedaten is travel dates, Belegung is occupancy – choose Zimmer if you just need a single room or Appartment if you need more. Unterkünfte is accommodation type. Bauernhof is farm, Jugendherberge is youth hostel and Ferien means holiday.
Tip: if you’re not into Bavarian ski kitsch, try the modern calm of Quartier Lodge, right in the centre of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
If your idea of the perfect ski vacation includes an extra large helping of romance, consider staying in an igloo. Iglu Dorf offers romantic packages that include nights in the igloo followed by nights in a fully heated, luxury hotel with a fantastic breakfast. Free sparkly on arrival, whirlpool and spa and a walk at the top of Germany at night. The Igloo is open from the beginning of December to the beginning of April.
Skiing is a family sport in Germany, so there are plenty of holiday houses and resorts geared specifically for families. Big rooms, kid-friendly activities and proximity to the ski schools and beginner slopes make these places a holiday home-run even for non-skiers. The keyword for searching is Familienhotel Zugpitze.
If some of your party isn’t that into skiing or any sort of outdoor pursuits, it may make the most sense to stay in Munich where there is plenty to keep museum, music or shopping lovers occupied while you cut your way down the mountain. While you can choose essentially any hotel in Munich, staying near to the train station is useful because you can board with your ski boots on and get off at the bottom of the lift.