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Winter Sports

Skiing in the German Uplands

Charming skiing hotspots in Germany

Skiing German Uplands - Skier going downhill.Photo: Rolf van de Wal, pixabay.

Fun on the slopes doesn’t necessarily mean going up high. The high summits in the Alps are, without doubt, fascinating but the Black Forest and other mountains in Germany also have a lot to offer. Tatonka provides you with an overview on skiing hot spots in the German Uplands.

When you want to enjoy the slopes’ charm, the German Uplands are a great alternative to the usual skiing regions. They offer great skiing conditions and there are several of them. All German mountain ranges are classified as uplands – except for the Alps, of course. You can find 44 of these uplands in Germany.

Uplands are elevations that stay below a certain altitudinal limit. This limit differentiates them from high mountains. Europe has defined this limit at approx. 1,500-1,800 m. Also, uplands have a certain relief intensity, i.e. the foothill and summit have to be in specific range to one another. This distance ranges, depending on the region, between 200 and 500 m. Uplands always are below the timber line. The only exception in Germany are the Harz Mountains; here you can find alpine vegetation in the summit area of the “Brocken”.

Also interesting: The Different Types of Cross-Country Skiing – A short explanation of the classic and the skating style

German Upland Regions – easy to reach

The German upland regions are easy to reach from any of the 16 German federal states as there are many of these regions all over the country. This way, a spontaneous weekend skiing trip can be undertaken just like that. But their proximity isn’t their only advantage.

Skiing German Uplands -Boy skiing.
Photo: pexels, pixabay.

The prices there are more reasonable than in the alpine skiing regions and the slopes are less crowded which makes them more appealing to families teaching their children how to ski. Well, for the real pros the German Uplands aren’t a challenge per se but they do offer enough fun for every skier and also for the whole family.

Germany’s best skiing regions and highest uplands are the Harz Mountains, the Ore Mountains, the Bavarian Forest, the Swabian Jura and the Black Forest. Tatonka has compiled an overview over these regions.

The Harz Mountains: Skiing region for beginners

If you don’t take indoor skiing centres into account, the Harz Mountains are the most northern winter sports region in Germany, hence attracting mostly skiers from Berlin, Hamburg and Hanover. In the Harz Mountains the incline is smoother, the slopes reach a height of 980 m. The hot spots there are the towns of “Braunlage”, “Sankt Andreasberg” and “Hahnenklee” where you can find floodlit slopes and snow machines.

The Ore Mountains: Tradition in Saxony

A very popular skiing resort in the Ore Mountains is “Oberwiesenthal”. The home town of ski jumper and Olympic champion Jens Weißflog is located near the German-Czech border and is the core of the Ore Mountains’ skiing region. “Oberwiesenthal” impresses with a total of 15 km of slopes and an altitude of 1,215 m. The slopes are covered with artificial snow, have six lifts including the traditional cableway and a modern chairlift.

Snow-covered Panorama hotel in Oberwiesenthal in the Ore Mountains.
Snow-covered panorama hotel in Oberwiesenthal in the Ore Mountains. Photo: clareich, pixabay.

The Bavarian Forest: Guaranteed snow on Germany’s highest upland slopes

You can find the highest of all upland slopes of Germany on 1,456 m on the Great Arber Mountain. Additionally to its altitude the stable weather conditions help giving you an alpine feeling: There’s usually more snow in the Bavarian Forest than there is in the German alpine region – although their altitudes are about the same. And there’s even enough exciting skiing fun for pros. There are many challenging slopes – the women’s alpine skiing world cup regularly takes place here. Smaller skiing regions are the “Schneeloch” mountain and the town of “Mitterfirmiansreut”.

The Swabian Jura: A paradise for beginners and advanced skiers

Beginners as well as advanced skiers can find up to 80 ski lifts in the Swabian Jura. The slopes in the middle of Baden-Wuerttemberg reach an altitude of 450 to 1,000 m and this results in different levels of difficulty. Many hillsides are equipped with floodlights to provide skiing fun for everyone after a day at work or for those who rather ski in the evenings.

The Black Forest: The biggest connected skiing region in the German Uplands

The highest elevation of the Black Forest, the “Feldberg”, is a true paradise for skiers and snowboarders alike. All around the Feldberg with 30 km of slopes is the biggest connected skiing region of the German Uplands. The lifts reach an altitude of up to 1,445 m. Many slopes in the Black Forest are maintained with floodlights and snow machines in order to keep the skiing fun up during winters with little snow or early nightfall.

Skiing German Uplands - Little girl with a yellow helmet and pink-purple jacket skiing on a practice course in the Black Forest.
The Black Forest offers ideal conditions for children to learn how to ski. Photo: PIRO4D, pixabay.