Cable Cars: 2
Main skiing area reached by cog train or cable car.
Skiing on the Zugspitze is an impressive experience. Even the journey to Germany's highest mountain will provide unique memories of the trip - whether it is the train journey, travelling through the tunnels bored into the heart of the mountains before emerging on the ski area, or the view from the Eibsee cable car down to the deep blue of the mountain lake below.
Of course, on days when the snow is perfect and the sun is shining, it's easy to forget how long the train journey is and how uncomfortable the seats can be, or the queues for the cable car in busy periods when the snow is poor at a lower elevation.
The train to the Zugspitze leaves from just behind the main railway station and calls at the base of the other ski areas (see Garmisch Skiing) and the village of Grainau before the Eibsee lake. The cogs then engage for the steeper parts of the journey up inside the mountain.
The alternate way to the top is to drive (or take the bus) to the Eibsee and take the cable car to the Zugspitze top station. Locals claim that it is possible to see four countries from the top on a good day, before taking the linking cable car down onto the ski slopes.
The runs themselves are surprisingly extensive for what is billed as "Germany's only glacier ski area".
For the nervous and beginner skiers, the draglifts which start from the exit point of the train and the cablecar provide a gentle introduction to the area.
The rest of the runs are red or intermediate standard and are interesting but not intimidating.
Keen skiers should try the slope from the top of the Wetterwandeck lifts to the bottom of the Brunntal lift. The run is a lengthy one for a glacier area and the altitude will have a few skiers gasping for breath at the end of it.
The main runs to the side of the Brunntal and Weisses Tal lifts even provide some bumps at busy periods and short stretches of powder skiing are also possible in the right conditions.
The Zugspitze is a "must-ski" for those taking a break in Garmisch - but only in the right conditions. As a high mountain area, the bowl can be extremely inhospitable in conditions of poor visibility or snow and wind. On a good day however, the spectacular scenery and normally excellent snow quality will make up for the long journey and sometimes crowded lifts.