I recently spent a weekend skiing in Garmisch in Germany - well actually I went there for the Eurotest but more on that later. I have never skied in Germany before, and the skiing in Bavaria tends to be overshadowed by the resorts in the Austrian Tirol just a few kilometers away. However I was very pleasantly surprised by the region - the towns are picturesque, the scenery is spectacular, the people are friendly and the beer is both good and cheap.
There are actually two ski areas accessible from the town of Garmisch. Germany's highest mountain - the Zugspitze - offers a small but varied area of glacier skiing which is reached either by a cog driven train which winds its way through a tunnel inside the mountain, or by a tiny cable car. Either way it feels like a trip back to the pioneering days of ski resorts, and there is actually an exhibition at the top station dedicated to the history of the ski area and to the workers who dug the tunnel back in the early thirties.
The second and larger ski area is the Garmisch classic area, which starts right at the edge of the town and consists mainly of pleasant tree lined slopes. As we were there for the Eurotest (the race test which forms part of the top level ski instructor exams in Europe - see previous entries in this blog for more info) we did not actually get to see very much of the ski areas.
The race was scheduled to be held on the Zugspitze, so we had a warm up day on Saturday getting to know the race piste and doing some light skiing. The Sunday race was postponed due to bad weather - too much snow and poor visibility. Everybody else on the mountain seemed to be having a lot of fun in waist deep powder whilst the racers hung around waiting for a descision to be made. The race was finally moved to the Garmisch classic area and held on the Monday in cold sunny conditions. I skied a bad race and was several seconds off the target time. I had another try this week at Alp D'Huez and missed by 1.26 seconds, so I'm getting closer.
The picture was taken from the bottom lift station first thing Monday morning, whilst queueing for a lift pass with the other 80 or so Eurotesters.