Munich in English - selected by independent Locals for Cosmopolitans, Newcomers and Residents - since 1989

back to overview

December 1996

Hitting the slopes in Garmisch and the Tyrol: A user's guide of Geheimtips

Skiing deals and hotspots not far from Munich.

A short hour-and-a-half drive south from Munich brings skiers and snowboarders into the Bavarian Alps and mountain regions of the Tyrol. The choice of shredding at the larger resorts under the Zugspitze and near cozy Tyrolean villages can satisfy virtually every taste and skill level. All the ski resorts listed - except the Zugspitze, which opens in November - open two weeks before Christmas; limited skiing is offered a week or two earlier at the Austrian resorts, which have snowmaking facilities. GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN Autobahn 95 brings skiers to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where there are four ski areas. Call the Garmisch Tourist Office at tel. (08821) 1800 for slope conditions, reduced-rate passes and other information. The Zugspitze. Beginners might be disappointed by the lack of suitable terrain, but six lifts provide ample room for intermediate skiers and snowboarders. After a storm, the off-piste sections of the Zugspitze, the only glacier skiing in Germany, can be excellent, but overnight winds can turn powder there to concrete. Hausbergbahn. Although the slopes are low-lying and sometimes have inconsistent coverage, this is arguably the most interesting skiing in Garmisch. The beginner-level terrain above the gondola station is also good. The slow Kreuzjoch chairlift accesses the Kandahar World Cup downhill run and some steep, forested shots unparalleled in Garmisch after a snowfall; there are also two lines of limited moguls beneath the lift. The Kandahar run itself is often icy and, unfortunately, often closed during January and February in preparation for World Cup events. The Wank. After a powder deposit, the Wank, the only skiing in Partenkirchen, can be epic. There are two runs of beginner terrain and never a lift line. The forested gullies below the Sonnenalm Lodge are generally reserved for advanced skiers. Osterfelder/Kreuzeck. Located in the cleft under the Alpspitze, this area is of limited interest to beginners. Good off-piste skiing below the Hochalm and on the Bernardein headwall gets tracked-out early after snowfall, but the shaded intermediate runs remain good long after a storm. A brief bump-run on the Langenfelder lifts softens up nicely on sunny afternoons. Ski Rentals & Lessons. Several Garmisch ski schools offer rentals and English instruction. Two are at the Hausberg cable-car station: Flori Wörndle Skischule, tel. (08821) 58300; and Garmisch-Partenkirchen Skischule, tel. (08821) 4931. Zugspitze-Grainau Skischule, tel. (08821) 8466, is on the road to Zugspitze. IN NEARBY AUSTRIA The Tyrol unfolds just 45 minutes past Garmisch on Bundestrasse 24, where a half-dozen small ski areas lie in a different weather pattern than in the previous four mountains. So when the snow is less than great in Garmisch, it can be ideal a few kilometers over the border. In Munich, call tel. 66 67 01 00 for general information about skiing in the Tyrol. Lermoos. The terrain beneath the Grubigstein peak provides some of the area's best skiing. When there's coverage, the chutes off the top chairlifts can be excellent, and there are bumps on the lone black run; the sloping fall-lines, though, can be intimidating for beginners and intermediates. Rather than T-bars, competition-driven and pragmatic Lermoos has high-speed gondolas and chairlifts. Ehrwald. The long valley run beneath the ancient gondola is perfect for novices, as are the flat, well-groomed T-bar runs just above the Ehrwalder Alm Lodge. Snowmaking provides consistent but potentially icy coverage. Almost the entire southern face is exposed to the sun, and dumps of snow quickly soften. When the conditions are right, however, the chutes on the left side of the lift are protected and interesting for more advanced skiers. Biberwier. Just past Lermoos, on the highway leading to the Fernpaß, the Marienbergjoch has good beginner and intermediate skiing. Offering a decent black run and a long intermediate slope from the top T-bars, a trip to Biberwier is a good way to beat the Garmisch or Lermoos crowds. Berwang/Bichlbach. There's ample beginner and intermediate terrain on the Berwang side, comprising the bulk of this area on the road to Reutte. Three chairlifts access challenging advanced terrain, and confident skiers can explore the steeper terrain on the Panoramabahn Rastkopf chairlift. The 16-lift Berwang area offers the bonus of lift stations located virtually in the center of town. Ski Rentals & Lessons. The following offer English instruction and ski rentals: Skischule Lermoos, tel. +43 (05673) 2840; Skischule Total Zugspitze, tel. +43 (05673) 3416, in Ehrwald; and Skischule Berwang, tel. +43 (05674) 8132. AN AUSTRIAN SKI DEAL For the first time ever, you can ski all of Salzburger Land, the largest ski region in the world, with a single pass. The Salzburg "Ski-Joker Wild Card" can be used at all of the more than 20 ski areas across Salzburger Land, from glaciers and championship runs to family-friendly slopes. You can also use the flexible pass at many neighboring areas, such as Kitzbühl and Berchtesgaden. Buy a 10-day pass for ÖS 2,990 or a 14-day pass for ÖS 3,990; depending on the type of pass, figure on circa DM 40 per day. The Wild Card can be used all at once, on a collection of single days, or in any combination of ski weekends between Nov. 15, 1996, and April 30, 1997. A deeper discount is given on children's passes. To order or for more information, call the Salzburger Land Tourist Office at tel. +43 (662) 6688; alternatively, go to Sporthaus Schuster (Marienplatz, tel. 23 70 70), which is authorized to sell the pass.

tell a friend