Often overlooked by Austria and France, Germany is a fantastic place to ski with a charm all of their own.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen - Germany's grand old dame of ski towns. Despite the upstart pretensions of rivals such as Oberstdorf, Garmisch - with history and sporting achievement on its side - easily maintains its position as the country's number one ski resort.
The town boasts an Olympic history - having held the winter games in the 1930s - and is the venue for one of downhill skiing's traditional downhill races on the vicious Kandahar course.
The two areas - Garmisch and Partenkirchen - were joined (reluctantly) at the time of the Olympics and the tourist development since then has been dramatic.
Bavaria's first cable-car was built in 1929 on the Kreuzeck and the cog railway to the Zugspitz glacier followed four years later.
Nowadays there are nearly 9,000 beds and around 1,2 million overnight stays
The town of around 30,000 inhabitants is also host to a US Army Recreation Area, with dedicated hotels, facilities and sports instruction.
The main ski area is above the town on the Hausberg, Kreuzeck and Osterfelder runs. The Zugspitz glacier area is separated from the lower pistes and further away and higher in the Wetterstein range. The main town runs are easily accessible by bus, train, or even by foot from nearby accommodation - while the glacier needs the train or a combination of car or bus and cable car.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is easily reached from the rest of Germany with the motorway south from Munich and the improved connections between the end of the motorway (at Eschenlohe) and Garmisch. A good road from the south leads into Germany from Austria via Seefeld and Mittenwald. A regular train service operates from the main Munich railway station.
The most convenient airport is possibly Innsbruck Airport which is just under an hours drive away in good weather. Munich Airport, although further away, has better road connections. Salzburg is also a viable option with the good motorway connections. Car hire is available at all airports.
Thanks to Ski Germany
Oberstdorf rivals Garmisch-Partenkirchen for the honour of being the top ski resort in Germany.
Oberstdorf is a cosmopolitan ski resort with attractions outside the sport of alpine skiing. Both resorts also have a worldwide reputation for their ski-jumping competitions and are offer a full range of accommodation options.
The town is conveniently located between Munich, Stuttgart and Lake Constance. And while larger Austrian resorts to the south may be close as the crow flies, reaching them by car or train involves a circuitous journey around the mountain ranges in between.
Oberstdorf is also well-known as a "Kur" resort in the summer, and a number of hotels specialise in wellness facilities.
The skiing itself is extensive, especially for Germany, and is split into three main areas, the two largest and most popular of which are described here.
The principal ski area is the Fellhorn/Kleinwalsertal, located a few kilometres outside the town. The runs head from a high bowl on the German side over into the Austrian valley. The Kleinwalsertal is a geographical oddity - a part of Austria that can only be reached from Germany - and those with cars may be tempted to seek out some of the other smaller areas further along the valley.
The closer, but smaller, area is the Nebelhorn, which is reached from a cable car on the outskirts of the town. Skiing at the top is in a single bowl and runs down to the bottom are possible in good snow conditions.
Oberstdorf can be reached fairly easily from Munich and the north via Kempten or Kreuzlingen or from the west via Immenstadt. The roads after the end of the motorway can be busy in holiday periods. The routes from Austria and the south are generally on smaller roads and the routes via Reutte and Bregenz are probably the easiest ones to take. A regular train service operates into the railway station in the centre of the town.
Most visitors would probably arrive through Munich airport, further away than Innsbruck but with distinctly better motorway connections. Innsbruck airport is closer but the roads are more liable to be closed in case of heavy snow and are less pleasurable to drive in poor weather. The smaller Friedrichshafen airport is closer than both its bigger rivals and has become a real option with the flights offered by the budget airlines. Car hire is available at all airports.
Credit to Ski Germany
With a ski resort on the edge of the Berchtesgaden National Park, and with a history entwined with some of Europe's darkest days, the Berchtesgaden area is a mix of beautiful scenery and disturbing memories.
Not far from the Austrian cultural centre of Salzburg and relatively easily accessible by motorway, the area lies on the edge of the Berchtesgaden National Park, a region of outstanding natural beauty in summer and winter.
But also visible from the ski area is the infamous "Eagle's Nest" - Hitler's mountain refuge in the Second World War and today a destination for tour groups and sightseers.
An important source of prosperity in the past were the salt mines (opened in the 16th century and still operating today).
Nowadays the salt mines, the Königssee lake and the Adlerhorst ("Eagle's Nest") and Obersalzberg, and the close proximity of Salzburg all make the town a perfect destination for a holiday combining skiing with sightseeing.
The Jenner ski area just outside Schönau is the best known and largest of the small areas in the vicinity of Berchtesgaden and is easily reached by car or ski bus.
Berchtesgaden can be approached from the north on the German Alpine Road or via Salzburg and the motorway. A regular train service operates from the main Munich railway station.
Berchtesgaden accommodation is both in the town and in some of the surrounding countryside. An efficient ski bus services connects the towns of the area to one another and to the Jenner ski area.
The most convenient airport is Salzburg Airport which is only 20km away from the town. Munich airport is just under 200km in distance. Car hire is available at both airports.