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Der_Bomber


Guest
Skiing Germany's Non Alpine Resorts?
Date Posted: 12.59hrs on Fri 26 Aug 11
Hi Folks.

I moved to Hessen in Germany a few months back and have just recived my equipment as family drove over the other day.

Naturally I've been sat here staring at my skis and have started planning for the winter. I'll probably take a few long weekends at short notice (my work is freelance) in the Alps, but checking the web suggests that there are several resorts around a similar size as the Scottish resorts I'm used to.

Does anyone know much about them, or even better has skied any of them? Particularly the following which all look ideally placed on the map for 1 1/2 - 3 days skiing?

Ettelsberg
Schotten Beunesheim (at two beginner and two intermediate runs looks a little dull)
Bad Neustadt an der Saale
Silbersattel (the very little I know seems promising)
Winterberg
Willingen Upland
Bischofsheim as der Rhon
Baiersbronn

I'm aware that some of them are fairly low level (often with snowmaking) but little else, mostly surface lifts with the odd Gondola/Chair in a few places so I'm generally expecting similar to Scotland in both number and size.

Anyone help / advise on which to hit first?


RobC


Guest
Re: Skiing Germany's Non Alpine Resorts?
Date Posted: 19.40hrs on Mon 3 Oct 11
Hi,

Ahhhh a trip down memory lane... I grew up skiing in Sauerland & loved it. Folks lived in Holland in the late 80s/early 90s and left a caravan on the Diemelsee during the winter and we used to scoot across nearly every weekend on a Friday night. Winterberg & Willingen are the primary ski-towns in this area but there are many small 2 or 3 lift operations in the locality that are well worth a visit.

Winterberg has invested heavily in snow making with the majority of runs covered and some chair lifts and Willingen now has a gondola again with snow making. The vertical is pretty limited in the area - tops 850, bases 600m typical. Skiing in general is not very challenging at all with runs generally coming off the sides of rounded tree lined hills BUT very family friendly. Can get very busy with the influx of Dutch on the weekends. XC very popular and plenty of marked trails.

Other places to look out for in the vicinity... Altastenberg, Neuastenberg, Zueshcen, Hunau.

Also skiied in the Harz once or twice. Higher mountains with some more challenging terrain.

There is also a lift or two in Rhineland Pfalz on the way from Kaiserslautern to Frankfurt Hahn airport but can't rememeber the name.

Further south there is plenty of great skiing in the Schwarzwald in and around Feldberg approx 1450-900m . FIS world cup Giant Slalom run here.

Overall a very different experience to Scotland but one well worth enjoying:
- Tree lined, rounded hills
- Not much wind!
- Good snow making at the larger areas
- Lots of shortish beginner - intermediate runs
- very family friendly
- snow chains required in the winter

Hope this helps,
Rob.


Der_Bomber


Guest
Re: Skiing Germany's Non Alpine Resorts?
Date Posted: 12.29hrs on Wed 12 Oct 11
Cheers Rob, thats a great help!

Unfortunately I keep getting conflicting reports as to the distance of some of these places from Frankfurt. I've now been told that a drive to Feldberg will take about the same amount of time as to Willingen/Winterberg, so I will probably hit those three areas up first and see which suits the most.

Ktown/ Hahn/ Trier area is interesting as I have a couple of friends out that way. I think the days of driving 2 hours or so specifically for a single lift are over (I spent too much time struggling down the roads near Yad Moss!) but an afternoon on the way back may be an option - if you remember the names of the places do post in here!!!!
Mike_w


Guest
Re: Skiing Germany's Non Alpine Resorts?
Date Posted: 22.16hrs on Tue 18 Oct 11
Do a search on snowheads.com, someone is bound to have visited one of them.
nikkiblondebean


Guest
Re: Skiing Germany's Non Alpine Resorts?
Date Posted: 21.23hrs on Sat 25 Feb 12
In hee days when there was still an nasty electric fence and look out posts along the border I once spent a weekend skiing in the Harz Mountains. I think there was one, possibly 2 lifts serving all the runs. Nothing very challenging.
Owen


Guest
Re: Skiing Germany's Non Alpine Resorts?
Date Posted: 10.34hrs on Mon 27 Feb 12
The Harz Mountains, I was stationed there back in the 80's. There's down hill skiing at St. Andresberg (about 4 T-bars) and Sonnenberg near Torfhaus (2 T-bars). The best place was Hahnenklee with about 6 chairs and a gondola. This may well be hopelessly out or date by now.
The areas main attraction is the cross-country skiing, there are miles of cut tracks in the forrest.
Der_Bomber


Guest
Re: Skiing Germany's Non Alpine Resorts?
Date Posted: 21.12hrs on Mon 19 Mar 12
So judging by the last weekends slush and high temperatures (I look like a lobster) I think the season is just about over for me here and I thought I'd report back.

I've done a couple of trips to the Wasserkuppe here in Hesse, plus a quick trip up to Willingen and two 'long weekends' skipping around the resorts near Feldberg as Rob C suggested.

I'd actually disagree with RobC that its a very different experience from Scotland - there are some striking similarities when it comes to the lay out - a lot of surface lifts (almost all t-bars) serving short runs (with the bigger areas having a chair or two as their 'main' lift - and the people who visit (locals and then substitute 'English' in Scotlands case for 'Dutch' in Germanys). The big differences are in number of places to eat or rent on the hills, plus of course the tree cover. The snow itself doesn't seem all that different after the weather has affected it, in Scotland regular snowfalls are blown away by the wind, here the rain or heat is the enemy - powder heaven it certainly aint.

The biggest surprise was realising just how much work the 'lower level' employees in Scotland do compared to their German counterparts. I don't think I've seen a piste basher move during daylight all season, and the T-Bars are usually staffed by a liftie at each end - although for them to actually do or say anything is a complete rarity. The amount of cash wasted on snowmaking is horrific - even the small (1-6 lifts) places seem to have large numbers of quality guns sat around idle even when conditions are perfect, and they often don't keep the ones permenantly situated in ready to start up conditions.

Most of the areas - even the single lift places - have wireless barrier entry systems which allow for two types of payment - either the standard day/week pass or purchasing 'points' which you can use at any time - a short lift will set you back 1-3 points, the longest around 6 points.


The biggest difference by far is in the input of the local communities and authorities, and standard of accomodation. We paid around 240 for a beautiful 3 bedroom apartment this past weekend (3 nights over the weekend in off peak season), which included a 4 day pass which would access every lift in the Black Forest, plus every bus and a fair few other atttractions ( swimming baths, ice rinks etc), all set up (and subsidised no doubt) by the local government. I reckon Scotland could triple its visitors from South of the border with a similar outlook, and in the process see a huge rise in cash spent in mountain communities.

As for my reccomendation for best area, I'd go with a place called Todtnauberg in the Black Forest. 5 lifts (4 x t-bar, 1x rope tow) serving around 17 winding red runs. Enough terrain to keep a daytripper more than happy and most punters tend to head twenty minutes down the road to the much larger Feldberg, so even at peak times there is never large crowds.
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