By Stephanie Staszko
As New Year celebrations merge into the reality of working life, something magical starts to happen to winter sports fanatics and enthusiasts all over the world. Their feet and hands start to twitch as snowflakes grace the surface of the Alps in Europe. The mountainous terrain of Europe comes to life with powder-hungry skiers and boarders of all ability levels who end a hard day on the slopes with some good old-fashioned après ski. And I’m no exception.
After a little research into weekend ski holidays, I discovered a German resort tucked away in Bavaria just on the edge of the beautiful Alps: Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
A Varied Crowd
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a popular resort on weekends with locals flocking from surrounding areas to get their powder fix. It also has quite a large American skiing community due to the fact that a U.S. army base is stationed in town. This makes for a lovely mix of local, native German speakers and a true traditional Bavarian feel to the town whilst also combining that “touristy” atmosphere which helps you get into that classic holiday spirit.
The fact that so many locals frequent the resort over the weekend shows. Saturday and Sunday had a buzzing atmosphere on the slopes and although lift queues didn’t show it, some of the lower runs back into the town were quite crowded. On Monday however, the whole resort changed and I enjoyed being selfish and having full red runs to myself in fresh powder and warming sunshine.
The Town – Not Just a Ski Resort
The town of Garmisch was not as ski-orientated as other Alpine resorts. It was very much a town where its residents went about their everyday lives, giving it a more ‘real’ German feel but also limiting nightlife somewhat.
The few places that were tourist-orientated however, had a fantastic atmosphere! I whiled away many an-hour in the Irish Pub whilst interchanging a German wheat beer (Paulaner Weisse) with a crisp cold Guinness in the midst of traditional live Irish music. I’d recommend getting in there early to get a seat.
One of my highlights was finding an Indian restaurant in town. As a lover of all things spicy I had to try and was not disappointed! Bollywood Tandoori is located just behind Pizza Hut in the town centre and it seemed like one of the busiest eateries in town. Entering through the red velvet curtain to be greeted, seated and given some deliciously tender lamb was one of my trip highlights.
A Resort Perfect for Intermediate Skiers
After learning to ski a few years ago and progressing from the snow plough to parallel turns, I am very much a fan of red runs (for skiers of an intermediate ability here in Europe). Almost all of the runs in Garmisch Classic area are red runs. It was an intermediate skier’s heaven, but there was a limited choice for beginners. However, there is the Zuggspitze glacier which is served by a direct train from Garmisch (about 90 minutes away) which is allegedly an easier skiing area (I didn’t venture there myself) offering more blue runs.
I would definitely visit Garmisch-Partenkirchen again. It was a fantastic experience and a great place to get a weekend’s skiing in for a reasonable price—we didn’t have to penny pinch. Mountain prices weren’t inflated like many other resorts I’d been to.
Have you been skiing in the European Alps? Where did you go and would you recommend it?
Stephanie Staszko is from Manchester, UK and is a blogger for SkyPark Secure, a UK-based airport parking company specialising in finding cheap deals at Britain’s major airports. She enjoys travel writing based on personal experiences and loves all the diversity available to be explored in Europe. You can follow Stephanie on Twitter @StephStaz