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Visitors to the Hausberg ski area in Garmisch, Germany, will be able to make more runs this year, thanks to a new lift that carries three times as many skiers as the old one.

The entrance to the new Hausbergbahn has also been brought down the mountain by about 100 yards, so skiers don’t have to climb a hill just to go skiing.

“It’s a big improvement to the ski area; it was a real inconvenience before, especially for kids and beginners, anyone who was new in ski boots,” said Dave Chaffin, manager of the Hausberg facilities, which are operated by Armed Forces Recreation Centers and its hotel, the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort.

The ski season starts in earnest after Thanksgiving, with AFRC Ski Weeks vacations beginning Dec. 10.

Ski-week packages are available every week through March 4. Most are for five or four days, though some two-day programs are also available. The packages include rental equipment, daylong lessons and lift tickets.

The old Hausbergbahn lift, which transported skiers up and down the Hausberg ski area, had two gondolas, each the size of an average living room that packed in up to 65 skiers. It took off once every 10 minutes for the 1¼-mile ride up the side of the mountain.

The new Hausbergbahn will feature eight-person cabins and will continuously transport up to 2,400 skiers per hour, compared with the previous rate of 800 each hour, according to Eva- Maria Greimel, communications manager for Bayerische Zugspitzbahn Bergbahn AG, which operates the lifts at Garmisch.

Chaffin said that the AFRC Ski Weeks are a good way for beginners and novices to learn how to ski.

“We’ll take them through their first buckling of the boots and putting on skies to hopefully all the way to parallel turns by the end of the week,” Chaffin said.

The resort also offers a Ski Kids program for children ages 5 and up, where parents can drop off their children in the morning for scaled-down lessons, while the grown-ups play higher up the mountain.

“It’s a great way for parents to not worry what their kids are doing today,” Chaffin said. “We keep (the children) moving, and at the end of the day it’s not uncommon for the parents to come inside and the kids are watching videos, while some have already fallen asleep on the floor.”

For those who want to forgo Ski Weeks and just go skiing, the Hausberg Lodge, about one mile from the Edelweiss, rents equipment for both downhill and cross-country skiing and snowboarding.

The Hausberg also rents sleds for rides down the mountain, including under-the-lights sledding until 8 p.m. The sled rides are long, up to 20 minutes each, Chaffin said.

Hausberg employees can direct skiers to about 20 miles of groomed cross-country trails in the area, and other trails a short drive away in Seefeld, Austria.

The Zugspitze ski area is also nearby and features Germany’s highest peak at 9,718 feet.

Chaffin said the skiing is expected to get even better. The Alpine World Skiing Championships are scheduled for Garmisch in 2011, and as a result the resort’s operators next year will begin adding snowmaking equipment.

“Skiers will see additional runs to the valley for greater lengths of time,” Chaffin said.

Ski Week prices¶ Ski or Snowboard Week: Adults $329, Youth $259, Ski Kids $259

¶ Four-day programs: Adults $269, Youth $215, Ski Kids $215

¶ Two-day programs: Adult $139, Youth $115, Ski Kids $115

Price includes: professional instruction, lift pass for appropriate slope (based on conditions and ability), and ski or snowboard rental equipment.

InformationGo to the Web at www.edelweisslodgeandresort.com. Click on “Activities,” then “Recreation Programs,” and then “Snow Sports.”

SOURCE: Edelweiss Lodge and Resort

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