Garmisch, Germany: Skiers on the Zugspitze will enjoy a new, high-speed, heated lift

By MATT MILLHAM | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 31, 2012

More vert. Longer runs. Warmer behind.

That’s what skiers and snowboarders can expect now that Germany’s snowiest mountain has upgraded its mountaintop drag lifts with a high-speed, bubble-enclosed, six-passenger chair with heated seats. That’s roughly the equivalent of trading in a horse and sleigh and going home with a turbo-powered Sno-Cat.

The Army’s Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, about a five-minute drive from the famed slopes and former Olympic venue, is hoping would-be snow bums will book soon to experience it for themselves.

The resort has scheduled 15 weeks of winter sports instruction beginning Dec. 10, during which it will turn its cadre of U.S.-certified ski and snowboard instructors loose to teach winterland neophytes how to get down the hill in one piece and advanced winterphiles the true meaning of “huck” and “hoho.”

The resort offers a 25 percent discount to resort guests for two of its four-day ski programs, which include four hours of daily instruction, equipment and lift tickets. It also has a January ski special in which visitors can book three nights and get the fourth free along with a free lift pass.

“It’s a one-stop shop,” said Brad Hays, the resort’s marketing director. “You come to Edelweiss, you get your room, and then you can buy your lift tickets from us, you can get your ski and snowboard equipment from us, you can get an instructor from us.”

Then you can hit the slopes and take advantage of the Zugspitze’s new lift, the Wetterwandeckbahn, which is about 400 meters longer than its predecessors and can speed about 2,200 people an hour to the top of Wetterwandeck, site of the mountain’s terrain park.

If that sounds too ambitious, the resort has its own on-site bunny slope for beginners at its Hausberg Lodge, where “mom and dad can enjoy a beer” by the fire while the kids learn how to ski, said Hays.

The best deal is the resort’s five-day instruction programs for $425 for adults and $335 for children — less than half what similar programs outside the resort cost, Hays said.

“What’s nice about the five-day is that you’re with the same instructor the entire time,” he said. “So he’s really getting to know your weaknesses, your strengths, and I think you can really get better quicker when you’re working with the same instructor.”

The resort offers a raft of massage and body treatments to soothe your aches when you discover muscles you didn’t know you had after a long day on the slopes. A 60-minute Swedish massage runs $65, as does a 50-minute sport massage.

The best time to book is January through March, Hays said.

“That’s when the best snow’s here, it’s when the conditions are guaranteed, because Garmisch has got a very robust snow-making capability so that the valley runs are always white.”


Twitter: @mattmillham

Germany's snowiest mountain has upgraded its mountaintop lifts with a high-speed, bubble-enclosed, six-passenger chair with heated seats. The new lift on the Zugspitze mountain in Garmisch-Partenkirchen is called the Wetterwandeckbahn.


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