From the Alps to the Black Forest, Germany offers some of the best ski resorts and winter sports opportunities in all of Europe. The country features miles of slopes on mountains reaching heights of 1,600 feet. From lightning-fast downhill runs to leisurely cross-country skiing in a stunning snow-covered landscape, German ski resorts are the ideal winter destination and can be quite affordable too.
You can explore world-famous Germany's ski resorts at Garmisch-Partenkirchen and its epic Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany, or skim over the snow-topped ridges of the Black Forest. The German ski season can start as early as October and last all the way until April. If you're traveling during the summertime, many of these ski resorts are also great locations to go hiking and climbing.
For the 1936 Winter Olympics, the two German ski resorts Garmisch and Partenkirchen joined forces and became the most famous ski resort in the country. You can fly into Munich or Innsbruck, Austria, both of which are an hour's drive away from the resort.
In the foothills of the German Alps, skiers can enjoy 47 miles of downhill runs and 7 miles of cross-country skiing. This includes the famous Kandahar and Olympic slopes, which are frequently used in competition. The Olympiaschanze, or Olympic ski jumping hill, is well worth seeing. This local landmark was built in 1923 and is still in operation for a New Year's Ski Jumping every year.
Not too far south of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the Zugspitze, Germany's highest peak, stands at 9,700 feet high. Sitting on the border of Germany and Austria, you'll find fantastic glacier skiing here with 13 miles of downhill runs, a snowboard park, and all-around spectacular panoramic views. Near the summit, there's a restaurant, sundeck, ski slopes for all grades, and a half-pipe for snowboarders. Because the resort sits at such a high elevation, you can usually find snow on the mountain from November until May.
Well-known for its tradition of wood-carving style and the Oberammergau Passion Play, this little village in the German Alps turns into a paradise for cross-country skiers every winter. One hour and 20 minutes southwest of Munich, this trip will take you through a beautiful Bavarian landscape, dotted with monasteries, castles, and churches. At the resort, you'll have over 60 trails to explore on skis, snowshoe, or toboggan.
The many resorts located in Germany's Black Forest, a four-hour drive south of Frankfurt, make up the biggest ski resort area in Germany outside of the Alps. The Black Forest is also home to Germany’s oldest ski club Feldberg, which dates back to 1895. The Black Forest’s vast expanse of hills, valleys, and forests center on Freiburg and stretch from the posh spa town Baden Baden to the French and Swiss border, covering an area of 4,600 square miles. Beginners can start on Vogelskopf and work their way up to its highest peak at Feldberg Mountain which reaches a majestic 5,000 feet with a scenic cable car.
Near the Austrian border, Nebelhorn has approximately 7 miles of snow trails and six lifts with elevations up to 2,224 meters. These trails are topped with a 400-peak panoramic view of the surrounding mountains, which has been called the "grandstand of the Alps". It is generally open from December until the first weekend in May and is a two-and-a-half-hour drive southwest of Munich.
The ultra-modern Arber ski resort is near the border of the Czech Republic and within the Bavarian Forest. The resort is family-friendly has over 6 miles of downhill skiing trails, eight pistes, and six ski lifts. Because the altitude is much lower than what you'd find in the Alps, the season is fairly short. However, Arber is still the tallest mountain in the area, earning the title "King of the Bavarian Forest." From Regensburg, the drive to the resort takes about 90 minutes.
In Saxony, Fichtelberg is a lovely place to go skiing on a budget. In the town of Oberwiesenthal, you'll find a ski resort that offers about 10 miles of slopes and terrain. The slopes are easy and family-friendly, making it a great place for beginners to learn. The resort has six magic carpets, a terrain park with easy obstacles, and a ski carousel for kids. The resort is a two-hour drive southwest of Dresden, across the border from the Czech Republic.