Cable Cars: 1
Main skiing area reached by bus, train, car or on foot.
Visitors to Oberammergau often have other things on their minds than the local ski areas - whether it be seeing the site of the Passion Play which has made the village famous, the nearby Linderhof Castle, or just the rival attractions of the picturesque cross-country skiing runs that criss-cross the valley of the area.
Yet the two areas near Oberammergau - the Kolben and the Laber - have their own individual qualities to offer the winter sports enthusiast.
The main area is the Kolben, with the long chairlift journey to the top being as slow as it is picturesque. From there an easy tree-lined run heads down through the trees to the draglifts at the bottom.
Halfway down a draglift offers the opportunity to repeat a part of the run without retracing one's steps - but the red colour of the piste on the ski map has less to do with severity and more to do with it being perhaps the hardest of some very flattering runs in this area.
Beginner skiers will be in their element here, however with a number of draglifts rising up from two base areas, both with parking and separated from the village by the road.
Mountain huts are dotted around the pistes for those in need of refreshment - or who want to admire the ski tourers in search of harder challenges above the Kolbensattel on the higher and lift-free slopes of the Zahn.
Oberammergau's other ski area - the Laber - packs a sucker punch for those lulled into a false sense of security by the Kolben. Somewhat difficult to find, it is located on the other side of the village near the swimming complex and the NATO hotel.
There is just one run (although a second ski touring route appears somewhat confusingly on the ski map). And it is left the way nature intended it - with no pisting or preparation.
Those who are used to skiing in Germany or Austria may be used to taking runs designated black with a pinch of salt. However this route is a delight in powder but can challenge the best of skiers in poor conditions.
The view from the top of the cable car (which has a longish lunch break) is superb - good preparation for the mountain experience which awaits those who have arrived with skis.
The run starts with a wide but steep face - either powder or bumps - which then funnels into a series of gullies underneath the lift-line. Just when the thighs are beginning to complain, the steepness levels out and a comfortable (and often heavy) run leads through the trees to the base of the cable car.
Jekyll and Hyde - Oberammergau offers a selection of sunny slopes designed for the beginner or timid intermediate or the option of a hard-core unpisted experience.
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