David spent another weekend on the slopes recently, this time returning to where he honed his skiing skills over 10 years ago, to Garmisch-Parkenkirchen or GAP as it’s known to locals…
GAP is Germany’s most popular ski resort and home to the country’s tallest peak, the Zupitze Glacier. It’s also an incredibly popular sporting resort in the summer too – it’s ideal for mountain hiking, mountain biking, paragliding, swimming and stand up paddle boarding. Actually if you ever do have the chance to visit in the summer, you will be surprised to find accommodation is harder to come by than during the winter months. It’s a busy spot and with good reason, if you haven’t got a trip booked up for Spring Break, then give GAP some serious consideration!
We drove up on a Friday afternoon and after negotiating the terrible traffic around Munich finally arrived in time for dinner and an early night. We stayed in a beautiful sports hotel in Grainau-Hammersbach, which is right on the line for the cog wheel train to the top of Zugspitze. Very convenient. For dinner on Friday we drove into Garmisch and ate at a very lively and inexpensive Italian called La Baita. Booking is essential, we didn’t but got really lucky. It was jam packed!
I should also add that I am in training for the London Marathon at the end of April, so before I started my day of skiing, I hit some rather lovely and snowy trails from our hotel into Garmisch town. And back! It’s a great way to start the day and a beautiful place to run.
We choose to hit the glacier on Saturday as the weather looked good. It can be tricky to manage up so high if you get a bit of cloud, but we had yellow circles on the weather app so made our move. There is a brand new seilbahn (cable car) at the base of Zugsptize in Eibsee. It’s actually the biggest in Europe, so we decided to test it out as our route to the top.
The ski runs on Zugspitze, like most glaciers, can be a little limited but there is a good enough selection to play with and we were lucky to having amazing snow conditions, gorgeous blue skies, glorious sunshine and very few people! We’re a pretty decent group of skiers, so we had rinsed all of the runs by lunchtime but it was lovely to enjoy the view and then a nice lunch in the self-service restaurant before doing the rounds again!
We found really nice restaurant for dinner on Saturday night (and I really recommend pre-booking restaurants in Garmisch because the the town is usually so busy) called Braustuberl. It was a traditional Bavarian restaurant serving delicious local food – we all loved our grub! It’s a little out of the way so you may need to look it up to find it. But it’s well worth the effort. For a really lively Bavarian night out book the Frauendorfer – this is a very well known spot!
On Sunday we skied the Garmisch Classic area, driving to the bottom of the Kandahar run and taking the Alpspitzbahn to the top of Osterfeldkopf There is a gondola – the Kreuzeckbahn – that leaves from the same carpark but it takes you to a different peak (which is not quite as high) so we tend to do that a lot after we have worn out the higher peaks first.
From Osterfeldkopf there is a really scenic route to ski down to Kreuzeck where you can join the famous Kandahar world cup run. It’s a lovely long and challenging black run which doesn’t have too many people on it. The conditions were pretty good apart from a very icy patch which took a few people out on the way down. There is also a much kinder red run down to the same spot if the Kandahar is a little too intimidating.
This Kreuzeck area is where we then spent the rest of our day – largely on the world cup run but also skiing down to Hausberg. Here we avoided the main learners slope and associated lift, which as usual was packed. There are a couple of really nice black and red slopes right down to the bottom of the Hausbergbahn and also a lovely and quiet ski route too. It was really great to have conditions that were good enough to experience these runs – it’s a rare treat and makes Hausberg a lovely mountain. Without these runs it’s a pretty compact learners area to be avoided if possible.
Well that was our super quick getaway to ski two days in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It’s a beautiful traditional Bavarian town that is well used to tourists, so you get the best of all worlds. It certainly holds some lovely memories for me of learning to ski here years ago. I think I won’t leave it quite so long before I go back!