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Beyond Garmisch: 6 more ski resorts offer higher elevations

By JOSHUA L. DEMOTTS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 29, 2012

When it comes to skiing and snowboarding, most Americans living in Germany probably have heard of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, home of the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort, known for its breathtaking location near the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain. And while outdoor activities in the area abound, most Americans looking to have fun in the snow might not know that just around the corner from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, on the Austrian side of the Zugspitze, are six more small ski resorts that offer slightly higher elevations and enough varied terrain to satisfy every skier and snowboarder from beginners to advanced.

Ehrwalder Alm is one of them, and it’s worth taking the 20-minute trip from Garmisch to check out. With smaller crowds and a pleasant variety of ski runs, it makes a great destination for groups or families. Nestled about 3½ miles west of the mighty Zugspitze, in the Zugspitz Arena area in the Tyrol region of Austria, Ehrwalder is a picturesque resort that captures the imagination and makes mountain lovers feel right at home with views of the entire region.

“In my experience, you take the time to drive the 20 minutes to Austria because of their location,” said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Smith, who works in Garmisch at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies.

“With a little higher altitude, they have slightly better snow conditions. It can be raining here in Garmisch, but it’ll be snowing just around the corner in Austria.”

Ehrwalder Alm has 16.5 miles of marked runs, with a majority of those in the easy-to-intermediate range, but there are opportunities for experienced powder hounds to get off piste and make turns through the trees as well. Ehrwalder Alm has seven ski lifts, one gondola, three chairlifts and three T-bars.

There are also five quaint and cozy alms and huts around the resort where visitors can warm up with some food and drink or simply take a break from the elements. The resort does provide a rental shop (equipment rental is also available from Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities) and has a ski school, as well as a designated area for beginners and children.

For those looking to get outdoors and have fun during the winter months, the Zugspitz Arena is a fantastic place to go with an awesome assortment of skiing and snowboarding opportunities for all.

“Edelweiss Lodge is a great base station, but don’t overlook the places that are right around the corner,” Smith said. “The local areas are great and they satisfy the needs of most people, but if you’re looking for a little more advanced and varied terrain, it’s nice to know that there are more options just 20 minutes away.”

Directions

Ehrwalder Alm ski resort is about 20 minutes from the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort. From Edelweiss, turn left onto Zugspitzstasse and stay on that road crossing into Austria for about 12 miles. Cross under a stone arch bridge and turn left onto Garmischer Strasse and follow the signs through town that lead to Ehrwalder Alm.

Times

Ehrwalder Alm ski resort is open 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily.

Costs

An adult day pass is 37 euros, ages 16 to 18 is 34 euros, ages 6 to 15 is 21.50 euros, and for children 5 and under is 11.50 euros.

Food

There are five places strategically located around the resort.

Information

Ehrwald has a web page available in English on the Zugspitz Arena website: www.zugspitzarena.com.

A skier takes a run with a spectacular view from the top of Ehrwalder Alm ski resort.
JOSHUA L. DEMOTTS/STARS AND STRIPES

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