While Germany doesn’t have the giant ski areas of France or Austria, it does have decent ski resorts with picturesque villages and panoramic views of the Bavarian Alps. Beyond the pistes, many of these resorts offer tobogganing, ice skating, curling and more. From Arber to Feldberg, here are Germany’s top 10 ski resorts.
Arber is the perfect place to teach your kids how to ski. It has a large ArBär children’s area with four magic carpets, perfect for getting kids up the slopes to learn to ski. It also features the Children’s World Cup, a parallel slalom ski slope where kids can race against each other. Adults and kids can take on the family cross park with jumps and boxes, helping novices progress quickly. During the high season, the pistes can get quite busy as there are only five lifts and eight runs in total.
If you are looking for a family-friendly ski resort that comes with a fun park, free parking, winter hiking trails and tobogganing, then head to the Alpsee-Grünten ski resort. With just five lifts, it isn’t Germany’s biggest ski resort, but it does have a decent vertical descent of 760m (2,493ft) with a long 4.5km (3mi) run. The panoramic view of the surrounding hillside and its double-chair ski lift add to its popularity. Also, it has Germany’s longest tobogganing season, available all year round.
If you want to ski along the slopes where champions have made history, then head to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Located about one hour south of Munich, this ski resort hosted the 1936 Winter Olympics. Even today, this resort continues to host annual World Cup ski competitions. With 40km (25mi) of slopes across three mountains and lifts ascending to the top of the Zugspitze at 2,962m (9,718ft), it is definitely one of the main ski resorts in Germany. Buy the Top Snow Card for access across Garmisch and eight other local ski resorts.
Combining two ski areas, Winklmoosalm-Steinplatte (try saying that three times quickly!) sits in the middle of the Chiemgau Alps, right on the border with Austria. Like Garmisch, it’s just one hour from Munich, and it features 16 pistes, 50km (31mi) of skiing and a vertical descent of 870m (2,854ft). The resort is regularly updating its lift system to make it faster and more efficient, which means more skiing time for you. Free parking is a real bonus here. Don’t forget to stop at Almstueberl for a home-made cake at the end of the day.
With 130km (80mi) of pistes, the southern Bavarian ski resort of Oberstdorf links seven mountain peaks, crossing over into Austria. Each mountain has its own character – there are family-friendly vibes over at Söllereck, while powder hunters should head to the summit of Walmendingerhorn. There are also 70km (43mi) of cross-country trails, including a World Cup track. Non-skiers will enjoy the extensive winter hiking trails at Oberstdorf – and perhaps a night at the IgluLodge too.
The hint is in the name, right? Winterberg is a popular ski resort in the Rothaargebirge mountain range. With 23km (14mi) of slopes and 25 lifts, it is pretty small, but there are certainly enough runs to satisfy beginner and intermediate skiers. Nearly one million people visit here each winter, many from nearby Cologne and Kassel. It’s also home to a ski jump and a bobsled track. Off the slopes, you can head to the West German Winter Sports Museum to delve into the history of skiing.
Oberjoch Bad Hindelan is one of the 10 highest ski areas in Germany. The highest skiable point is 1,559m (5,115ft), which might seem low compared to France or Switzerland; however, it allows for decent skiing, particularly in January and February for local residents. With 32km (20mi) of slopes, three toboggan runs and a mini snow park for little ones, Oberjoch provides plenty to entertain kids. It even runs horse-drawn carriages through the snow here. Come back in the summer to watch for golden eagles soaring overhead.
Oberammergau is a quaint place well known for its wood-carving and the Oberammergau Passion Play. During the winter season, its ski resort – Kolbensattel – turns into a winter paradise with nine lifts and 8km (5mi) of skiing for beginners and intermediates; 90 percent of the runs are easy blues. There’s also a decent park with three lines, with Friday night sessions open from January onwards. Those who are interested in getting into ski touring will like the dedicated ski tourers’ route that leaves from the Kolbensattel-Lodge. It’s an easy 400m (1,312ft) ascent, perfect for honing those kick turns.
Mittenwald, known for its colourful houses and violin-making history, is also home to the ski resort of Alpenwelt-Karwendel, made up of Kranzberg, Wallgau and Krün. The quaint Bavarian mountain huts perched overlooking the stunning vistas make this a truly picturesque place to ski. The Barmseelift near Krün is popular with beginners and children, while advanced skiers will enjoy the longest ski route in Germany, Dammkar. The annual carnival takes place during January, which adds to the fun.
Skiing in Germany has its roots in Feldberg. The first German ski club was founded here on 20 November 1892 at the highest point in the Black Forest. With 28 lifts and 36 ski slopes, Feldberg attracts skiers and snowboarders from all over the region. The snow park has the longest jibline in Germany, and they’ve recently installed a kids’ slope rally, similar to a boardercross course but with bumps, banks and foam hands that you can whack to make noises. We recommend staying at Feldberger Hof for its ski-in, ski-out access to the slopes.