Cable Cars: 4
Main skiing area reached by bus, train, car or on foot.
Garmisch skiing in based on four main areas. The Kreuzeck, Osterfelder and Hausberg areas are connected to one another on the south side of the town. The Zugspitze area, under Germany's highest mountain, is reached by cable car or by mountain railway and is dealt with in Ski Germany's special Zugspitze skiing section.
The Hausberg cable car is the closest to the town and to most accommodation. Although it is convenient, there can be a wait at the bottom in busy periods - a system of separate lines keeps things orderly but masks the actual length of wait.
Those with the option may prefer to travel a little further and to start with either the Kreuzeck or the Alpspitz cable cars, where the distance and the fact that there are two options normally makes the wait more bearable.
The Alpspitz leads up to the highest runs on the "town" slopes at 2050m. The Bernadein run is a great warm-up for the day ahead and normally offers spectacular mountain scenery and good snow conditions (due to its shady position).
A trail leads around to the bottom of the Hochalm cable car and Längenfelder chairlift with some short intermediate runs and a restaurant near the base of the cable car.
The Kreuzeck is reached via a short rope tow and this provides access to the main ski areas as well as the runs down to the town. The Hexenkessel chairlift is short and relatively uninteresting and most skiers using this side will prefer to do circuits on the Kreuzeck cable car.
There are two options on the return to the valley floor - the Olympia and the famous Kandahar black run. Both are long exhilarating runs through the trees - the lower sections of the Kandahar can sometimes be icy moguls covered with skiers of all abilities.
Access to both runs is made via a long traverse from the Kreuzeck towards the Hausberg. Along the way the steep and bumpy start of the Kandahar is crossed, giving even the most timid of skiers an insight into what a traditional black run looks like. The Kreuzjoch chairlift and Olympia drag are also situated in this area.
The Hausberg side of the ski area houses most of the easy runs and ski school groups. The full traverse from the Kreuzeck can be something of a push in heavy snow or strong winds.
Apart from the baby lifts, the main lift in use here is the Kreuzwankl chairlift - in full view of the mountain restaurants in the area. A less-used alternative is the Adamswiesen draglift, which can also provide some excellent powder skiing in the right conditions.
The two runs down to the town - the Kochelberg (red) and the Horn (black) are again attractive and varied tree-lined descents with excellent views of the town below.
Garmisch has a tremendous variety of skiing for a relatively small ski area. Its pride and joy - outside the Zugspitze - are the four or five runs to the town which are long, enjoyable and, in the right conditions, comparable to most resorts in the Alps.