The Rhön mountains, between the states of Hesse, Bavaria and Thuringia, are fairly low mountains providing gentle slopes for beginers and gentle skiers.The Feuerberg area has the best of the pistes and lays claim to the only chair lift in northern Bavaria.The Wasserkuppe area features night skiing and a 600 meter, lift- served toboggan run. The Black Forest,Here there is a generous amount of snowfall most years which means that the 200 ski lifts get plenty of use. There are over 70 peaks above 1,00meters.The former East German states of Saxony and Thuringia provide a few treats for skiers.The Fichtelberg, 1,206meter, is the highest peak in the Ore Mountains, it rises over the town of Oberwiesental the largest ski area in Saxony.Furthr south along the Czech border are the resorts of Klingenthal and Schöneck, both situated within the Erzgebirge/Vogtland Nature Park. Garmisch-Patenkirchen holds the position of Germany’s number one ski resort it’s history and sporting achievements puts it above it’s neighbouring resorts. The Olympic Winter games were held in the town in the 1930’s and it is the venue for one of skiing’s traditional downhill races on the ‘Kanahar’ course. There has been a massive increase in tourism since the two towns were joined at the time of the Olympics and there are now nearly 40,000 beds for tourists. The first cable-car in Bavaria was built in 1929 on the Kreuzeck and then the cog-railway to the Zugspitz Glacier was built four years later. Most of the popular ski runs are just above the town on the Hausberg, Kreuzeck and Osterfelder, the more difficult runs are seperated from the lower pistes and need to be accessed by car or bus and cable car.Garmisch-Patenkirchen is easily accessable via the motorway system and there is Innsbruck Airport only an hour’s drive away, there is also Munich Airport and Salzburg Airport as alternative options.
The area of Berchtesgaden National Park is an area of outstanding beauty in both summer and winter, and although it has a dark history with the infamous ‘Eagle’s Nest’, Hitler’s mountain retreat during the Second World War, it is a destination for many tourist every year.It’s close proximity to Salzburg makes it easily accessible via motorways.The most well known ski area is the Jenner ski area just outside Schönau and can be reached by car. A little known gem, outside of Germany, is Lenggries in the Isar valley, close to the town of Bad Tolz and near to Munich. Look out for the Brauneck ski area and there are extensive cross-country ski trails in the area. Munich Airport is about 1 1/2 hour drive away. Oberammergau is better known for it’s ‘passion play’, it’s colourful houses and the wonderful selection of woodcarving shops, but it also offers a good selection of cross-country skiing trails around the village, there are also some good ski runs, the main ski area is the Kolben area which offers gentle slopes for beginers and intermediates, but there is also something for the more experienced skiers on the Laber Mountain behind the town.Motorway access is good from both north and the south and the closest airport is Innsbruck but Munich Airport offers a better option with motorway connections. Obersdorf is situated between Munich, Stuttgart and Lake Constance and has a world-wide reputation for it’s ski-jumping competitions, it’s Spa’s as well as it’s skiing. The main ski area is the Fellhorn/Kleinwalsertal which is found a few kilometres outside the town, there is a smaller area closer to the town, the Nebelhorn, which is reached by a cable-car from the outskirts of the town.
When you think of the Black Forest, Skiing is not the first thing that normally springs to mind but it is actually the birthplace of skiing in mid-Europe. It was here that the first ski club was founded and in 1892 the first wooden skis were manufactured here, also the world’s first ski-lift was built in the town of Schollach and was powered by the local water mill, so there is quite a history with skiing in the Black Forest. Feldberg Mountain, standing at 1,493 metres high, is the largest skiing resort in Germany and there are over 28 ski lifts and over 50km of cross-country trails. or the less energetic can take a horse drawn sleigh ride through the winter wonderland scenery, the memory of which will never leave you.
Skiing is a pastime enjoyed by millions in all different forms. The general concept is to attach long runners or skis to boots or shoes on the feet and uses them to travel on top of snow. Skiing is a past time as well as a competitive sport, it is also used as a form of fitness and has been used in the military. Many types of competitive skiing events are recognized by the International Olympic Committee, and the International Ski Federation. Skiing can be dated back to be before 5000 B.C where drawings depict a skier with one pole, located in Rødøy in the Nordland region of Norway. The word “ski” itself is one of a handful of words Norway has exported to the international community. It comes from the Old Norse word “skíð” which means split piece of wood or firewood.
Après-ski comes from the French for “After Skiing” but is now used universally and refers to the socializing that is popular after a days skiing ends. When the sun goes down is when the ski resorts come alive and enjoying a steaming mug of hot Chocolate laced with rum or a glass of hot Gluhwein whilst watching the sunset over the snow covered mountain peaks is a memory which will last a life-time.
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