20km of prepared pistes await at the Alpsee-Grünten in the Allgäu (sounds like Allgoy), one of Germany’s more famous winter sport regions. Go straight from the train station to the chairlift, or, if there is enough snow, hit the rails, boxes, and kickers in the fun park. Hiking trails are available, as well as toboggan trails for adults that want to be kids again, with night tobogganing every Friday and Saturday from 7-10 pm (last mountain ascent 9:45 pm).
With a mix of pistes for beginners, advanced, and professional skiers, as well as snow parks for snowboarders and freestylers, Geißkopf really does have something for the whole family. The resort helpfully points out that all lift passes are good for tobogganing as well as skiing, because in Bavaria that is a real thing that adults do. Floodlights are in place at Geißkopf-Herren, Nordhang I und Nordhang II.
A five-km-long floodlight run makes night skiing at Hohenbogen a rather special experience. The summit is 1079m above sea level, and from this vantage point right near the Czech border, Arber, Osser, Kaitersberg and Voithenberg look close enough to touch. Kids will love the dedicated ski carousel and magic carpet in the Kinderland. Kids at heart can go crazy on the 14km tobogganing run. The entire run takes 45 minutes, and with a traditional wooden sled, it’s possible to reach speed up to 50km and hour.
St. Englmar boasts 12 lifts and descents up to 2.5 km in length, as well as 50km of maintained winter hiking paths and even ten cross country ski runs for those that prefer horizontal to vertical skiing. The individual regions are Pröller Mountain, in Grün-Maibrunn, Predigtstuhl Mountain and St. Englmar at Kapellenberg.
Oberjoch is another of the top ski resort areas in Germany, and while there are facilities for beginners and children, it caters especially to advanced and professional skiers. Nearly all the descents begin over 1200m above sea level, so there is plenty of natural snow. Should it be a bad year, 50 snow machines stand ready to supplement. The pistes in the Allgäu Alpine Training Centre are floodlit every Thursday until 9pm.
Attention free riders – the 7km Dammkar await. There is 7km of guaranteed deep snow on Germany’s longest ski route. No helicopter required. For the skier content with a more usual experience, the vibe at Karwendel is super chill. Alpine huts offer a nice pause in the middle of a run either to refuel with a small meal or warm up with some hot chocolate and/or schnapps.
Warning: video has obnoxious disco soundtrack.
The 830-metre-long double tow lift Grün-Maibrunn is open between November and Easter, depending on snow levels. The descent here is one to do slowly in order to take in the panoramic views of the Bavarian Forest. There is excellent natural snow in this area, right next to the Czech border a few km north of Passau. Best suited to families, many pistes are floodlit to prolong the skiing day.
The Goliath of the German skiing areas, the Zugspitze lies around 2500m above sea level and has skiing for seven months of the year. There are 22km of pistes for beginning and advanced skiers. Expert skiers or those with more bravado than sense can try the thigh-crushing 3km-long Super-G course. Stop halfway down the mountain for dinner, and take in a view of 400 mountain tops over dessert.
Brauneck / Lenggries
18 cableways and lifts service 34km of runs spanning all ability levels. Just 60km south of Munich, it’s also one of the few that allow skiers to stay in the city and not get up at a ridiculous hour to get a full day on the mountain. Garland is a World Cup downhill route, so the expert among you can see how you fare against the pros. Tuesdays to Saturday the Streidlhang is floodlit and turned into a vertical disco. Bars on the slopes serve until 10pm.
Back in the Allgäu, the ski area of Oberstaufen is the perfect combination of challenging runs, excellent snow and fun après-ski vibe. The Hochgrat is one of the best alternatives for skiers who want to avoid the crowds at the larger resorts. At 1834m high, there’s plenty of natural snow and lots of opportunity for going off-piste without killing yourself.
Note: Resorts are generally open November to Easter. Some later, depending on snowfall. Also, some resorts offer skiing under floodlights until 10pm, but the majority of runs close around 4pm.