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February 2005

Home Runs

Discover the best resorts on Munich's doorstep

Germany is not the first country that springs to mind when one mentions winter sports destinations. However it does harbour some extremely good and rather salubrious little resorts that have a charm and exclusivity of their own. The majority of these are strung along the Alps that span the Austrian and German border and are therefore within a short drive of Munich.

Danny Burrows, editor of Munich-based Onboard snowboarding magazine, enlisted the help of celebrities from the German snowboard scene to give some insight into the best destinations close to the Bavarian capital.

Christophe Schmitt is a professional snowboarder who grew up in Munich and now helps maintain the snowboard park in the resort of Spitzing.
My favorite resort is Spitzingsee. It is a small resort about 75 km south of Munich. It has a well-serviced lift system, starting on both sides of the beautiful Spitzing lake, and its highest point is still below treeline. For some reason it usually gets more snow than other resorts in the area. For snowboarders, there’s a park with kickers of different sizes, plus a corner and rails as well as plenty of special runs and hikes, but you’ll have to go there to find them yourself.
Spitzing, with its snowboard park and plentiful backcountry, is the ideal resort for the keen snowboarder, from the novice to the adventurous professional. Its location also makes it easily accessible from Munich, although this does mean that it is crowded on weekends. And there’s more to look forward to than just the snow: try the delicious Apfelstrudel at Waller-Alm, and home-made cake at Sonnalm.
Total pistes: 160 km
Lifts: 3 cable cars, 9 chairlifts, 63 drag lifts;
Snowboarding facilities: A park with good jumps, a corner and a pipe.
2-day: € 44, 5-day: € 92, 7-day: € 114, 14-day: € 168, 20-day: € 200
Alpenbahnen Spitzingsee, Tel. (08026) 73 04 Skipassgemeinschaft Spitzingsee Tel. (08026) 712 26,

Hansi Herbig is a professional snowboard photographer and has been snowboarding around Munich for most of his life.
My favorite resort is Sudelfeld, which is about 45 minutes by car from Munich, between Bayrischzell and Brannenburg. It is a small, short-seasoned resort and a mellow, fun place to cruise around. If you know what you’re doing, you can ride down to Bayrischzell, a 20–30 minute run, which is loads of fun when there is good snow.

Bene Heimstädt, founder and editor of Pleasure Magazine, Germany’s most popular snow-board publication, is a reliable fountain of knowledge on the subject of snowboard-friendly resorts.
My number one resort is Sudelfeld. I grew up 20 minutes from there and it is home sweet home for me. In second place I would have to elect Spitzing, for the same reasons, but there are too many big-headed Munich dudes around, those weekend warriors that we hated when we were kids. Sudelfeld has some 20 or so lifts, including a new six-man chair, one two-man chair and one single chair. While I love the resort, it is only 1,500 m high so the season is short due to bad snow conditions. It is often windy, too. The best times to ride the resort is between Monday and Thursday, from 8 to 1 o’clock. In so doing you will have the mountain to yourself and be able to slip back into your office back in Munich within 30 minutes.
Although Sudelfeld does not have any particular snowboarding facilities it does possess some incredible runs that in good snow are second to none. Alas, as the resort is low-lying its season is short. Also at weekends the crowds can be a little overpowering, so taking a couple of days off work sick over the winter season is probably the best way to enjoy the resort.
RESORT INFO Total pistes: 31 km
Lifts: 3 chairs, 18 drags; Snowboarding facilities: There is none specifically for snowboarding but there are plenty of riding opportunities both on and off the piste.
2-day: € 44, 5-day: € 92, 7-day: € 114, 14-day: € 168, 20-day: € 200, 4 days in the season: € 88, 5 days in the season: € 100
CONTACTS Liftbetriebe Sudelfeld, Tel. (08023) 588 Snowline: Tel. (08023) 428

David Benedek is probably the best-known German rider, both internationally and at home. He has appeared in countless films and magazine articles, and this winter he will be directing his own film. The son of a Munich-based architect and political cartoonist for the Süddeutsche Zeitung, David knows the local mountains like the back of his hand. The easiest resort to get to from Munich and the one most likely to have good snow conditions is the Zugspitze. It is just the perfect location and my favorite resort. There’s usually a good park and a good pipe too and, if the snow is really good, the backcountry run Wächtenabfahrt (which translates as “windlip run”) is really fun. In total the park has around three jumps, three rails and a pipe, once there is a little more snow. In the early season the conditions are good because it’s the only place with a decent park in the area. Later on in winter the backcountry can also be good.
The Zugspitze, with a height of 2,830 m, is the highest mountain in Germany and has a glacier that is open for snowboarding year-round. With its well-serviced snowboard park it could be described as Germany’s snowboarding Mecca. It is advisable to get there early, as the lines to get up the mountain, both on the train and gondola, can be long. Also bring a book for the journey up, as it is rather a long ride.
Total pistes: 118 km
Lifts: 1 cog railway, 6 cable cars, 1 gondola, 5 chairs, 24 drag lifts
Longest run: 3 km
Snowboarding facilities: A park including rails, jumps and a pipe
1-day: € 40, 6-day: € 180

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