Skiing in the German Mountains: The Odyssey

Well, friends… I am alive after a day of skiing in the German mountains!


… But barely ;) Today I learned that German “easy” slopes = triple black diamond slopes back home.


The day started innocently enough. After getting our equipment (including awesome helmets lined with fur — safety first, kids!), we headed off to the gondola to take us way up into the clouds.


The view along the way:


It sure was beautiful up there! We were VERY high, but after the gondola, we headed off to another area to take us even higher up the mountain! This time we took these lifts: 009

Sidenote — the first time I rode up on this and got off I totally took out a girl with my ski pole… lol. Oops! This is what happens when I’m not allowed to practice skiing on the bunny slopes first before heading up the mountain. ;)


And then it was time to ski! I’ve only been skiing 3 or 4 times before (a couple times with friends in Maryland/Pennsylvania and once in the Czech Republic in 2009 when I was living in Prague teaching English), so I’m still pretty much a beginner. It was scary at first, especially since even though this was an “easy” slope it was still pretty steep!


But after a couple runs I started getting a bit more confident and was able to go down more quickly and with nice turning vs. flailing ;)  


Three successful hours of skiing later, we all decided to call it quits and head back to our hotel for some lunch. This is when things got really dicey. Apparently to get down to the very bottom of the mountain… you have to go down the really hard scary slopes?! Wtf, right? How the heck does anyone learn to ski here??

And so began my 1 hour long journey to make it down the mountain. Yes, it took me a whole hour. (Allegedly the lower slopes were “medium” hardness, but we’ve all learned by now that in Europe this means quadruple black diamond. Plus, they were seriously miles long.)

Gah — steeper than it looks:


Here’s about how things went:

  • Skid maniacally one way down the insanely steep slope, trying not to take out any small children.
  • Come to a screeching stop and/or fall down.
  • Stand still sideways for about 10 minutes, staring down the scary steep slope and contemplating whether I will make it off this mountain alive.
  • Decide I might not make it off this mountain alive.
  • Utter some profanities.
  • Watch a 12 year old whizz past me.
  • Dammit, I’m not letting a 12 year old beat me.
  • Commence skidding the other way, flailing around again and going approximately 389 kilometers (we are in Europe, after all) per hour.
  • Nearly fall off the cliff on the other side of the slope.
  • Fall down instead so I don’t fall off the cliff.
  • Wait another 10 minutes to try to get up the nerve to careen down the mountain again going the other direction.
  • More profanity.
  • Another small child passes, this time doing back-flips on his skis. (Okay fine, maybe I’m exaggerating a little.)
  • Fall down.
  • A German man feels sorry for me and helps me up.
  • Stand for another few minutes thinking about how maybe I should have written my will before going skiing in Europe.
  • Take a deep breath and skid the other way again. This slope has to be a 90 degree angle. Wtf?

And so on. At one point, I may or may not have taken off my skis and slid down a couple of the really crazy insanely steep slopes. (It was actually really fun.)


And then — finally — SUCCESS!!!!!!!!!!! I had made it down alive.


And then, when I finally rejoined our group, one of my dad’s friends said: “You know, you could have just taken the Gondola back down. That’s what I did.”


We’ll meet again, mountain. But next time, I’m ending my day on the Gondola. ;)


  1. 1

    Um yes. haha

    I’m convinced that Germans are born skiing right out of the womb. When we hit those same slopes, it was so icy! I usually don’t snowboard with a helmet, but I kept hitting my head so much, we went inside to buy me a helmet. I didn’t need any brain damage since I was in grad school! haha. Then, I just got sick of falling and hurting myself that I decided to drink the afternoon away with one my friends while the hubs and his friend tore up the slopes. Not a bad deal! Glad you had fun!

  2. 2

    Well done, Anne. Looks like you earned at least one Pils! Enjoy –

  3. 3
    Amanda Graham says

    My eyes would have been frozen shut from my tears!! Im glad you made it out alive, the pictures are so beautiful!! Happy New Year!

  4. 4
    Jen Robinson says

    I still remember fondly the days when we left you behind with Steve’s dad on the bunny slopes learning how to ski *wipes away tear* oh the memories….

  5. 6

    Hahaha! That is hilarious!! I can’t believe we’re both in the EU and not meeting up! Boooooo! But yay for missing the gondola – that’s exactly the sort of thing I would have done! Love you xxx

  6. 8

    I would have a time like that too. Or likely worse since I have never been skiing before. Still looks beautiful and fun though!

  7. 9

    Haha I just went skiing too for the first time in five years. It was certainly an experience! I would love the chance to ski in Europe!

  8. 10

    haha I love it! What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.. ;) Nice work, way to use the skills!!! I also ski with a helmet, I love it :) Keeps you safe AND keeps your head warm! Double win! My brother Adam also went to Europe to ski (he is an expert snowboarder in the US) and was dumbfounded by the slope arrangements as well, and the freaky abilities of small, reckless but extremely talented children. Glad you made it safely! I’ll catch up on the blog in 2 weeks when I’m back from NZ! Mwah!

  9. 12

    Ha! Just think of this way. Your long struggle down the hill made for a MUCH more memorable experience than a gondola would have. And for a better read for us, as well. Ending your post with ‘and then I rode the gondola back to the bottom’ is much less dramatic. :)

  10. 14

    Hahaha, that sounds just like me…except I’m Norwegian, so everyone expects me to be really good at skiing! Thanks for the inspiration, I signed up for ski classes this winter and this post got me excited about it.

  11. 15

    Beautiful pictures! I am so jealous of your skiing adventures!
    Sorry to hear you had such a difficult time with the last part but I’m sure you’ll never forget this trip because of that! haha. Even funnier about how you could have taken the gondola. I probably would have done the same as you and not realize! heh

  12. 16

    First of all, I looove that you and your family still do family vacations – they are the best. :) I have an annual one with my family and I look forward to it so much!

    I have also totally been there on a really steep mountain in Vermont and just standing sideways contemplating either the end of my life or sucking it up and braving it. Glad you made it down in one piece! Germany looks so beautiful, I’m jealous!

  13. 17

    Those pictures look so fun! I’m so jealous – I would love to board in Europe.

  14. 18

    Looks absolutely gorgeous! I am terrified of skiing (I tried it a few years back and let’s just say it wasn’t pretty) but it’s one of those things that I so wish I like/was good at :)

  15. 19

    haha… skiing looks so scary! But I’d like to try snowboarding one day :)

  16. 20

    THIS is why I don’t ski. I’ve never actually been skiing, but I went snowboarding once, and the friggen bunny slope was too steep for me. Never again!

  17. 21

    Wow! Thats AWESOME you are in Germany. One of my friends is right now and my sis jus got back from traveling all of Europe!
    Beilive it or not, I have never gone skiing before, nor do I have much of a desire to! Looks like you had lots of fun though!

  18. 22

    LOL such a funny post! That being said…I’m glad you made it down that slope alive :)

  19. 23

    I’ve been there! It was actually around this time, last year. We went up to the Zugspitze, and it was my first time skiing! My aunt and uncle live in Munich (my uncle is a German) and they ski all the time, so they sort of stuck me up at the top and made me learn! So much fun!!! I hope you’re having a good time – Germany is such a wonderful country!

  20. 24

    OMG! I am soo happy you are alive!! I hope tomm goes better!

  21. 25

    Yikes that sounds like a crazy hour! Skiing is so much better for young children. No fears, closer to the ground, no mortgages to pay, etc. I used to like the clothes and a run or two, but the bruises on my shins and schlepping the gear was exhausting!

  22. 26

    So where was the entourage when you need them?

  23. 27

    Your list of how things went was hilarious. I laughed out loud and got stared at.

  24. 28

    I am TERRIFIED of skiing. Flying down a hill at high speeds with nothing to protect me besides my snow gear is not my idea of fun. Your experience here actually sounds EXACTLY like my experience on a slop in Colorado last January. I’d “ski” for a brief distance and fall because I felt out of control. Freak out & take forever to get back up. Repeat multiple times. And I too took off my skis and slid on my butt for awhile! Thank god one of my best friends ever was with me and so patient with me. Needless to say, it was my last slope ever. lol

    Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  25. 29

    Wow, even though it sounds like quite the experience, you had me laughing. ;)

    Looks like an amazing time and those views are to die for! :)

  26. 30

    Looks amazing! Minus the trip down and the profanities. I would have been the exact same way. I’m sure you’ll be a pro by the end ;)

  27. 31
    Donna Porter says

    We spent 4 years living in Germany and I remember the area you are in fondly. Enjoy!!!

  28. 32

    I love you, and this post! AMAZING! Sounds like me on the green slopes here in WA :) Glad you are having a great time, hello to everyone from me!

  29. 33

    SO FUNNY! Glad you survived! I would LOVE to ski in Europe. I’m a fairly experienced skier though- I grew up going 1-2 times a week from the time I was about 8 years old. Still, I’m sure European mountains are way harder than anything I skied on in New England. I applaud you for tackling that mountain with only 3-4 experiences ever skiing before. Great job!

  30. 34

    Oh man, that’s ridiculous! I know what you mean when you just stand there and wonder how bad you really want to get off the mountain. Sometimes, standing there for a really long time sounds better than attempting to ski your way down.

  31. 35

    I found my way to your blog about a month ago, but haven’t commented yet (though I did email Laura Igoe, who I know from grad school, when I saw her pop up on here last week!).

    My husband and I spent a month backpacking through Germany a couple summers ago, and ended up in Garmisch for three or four days – what a fantastic town! We obviously didn’t do any skiing while we were there, but we summited Mount Zugspitze one morning, and it was incredible. I can only imagine how impressive it is with snow. Enjoy your time there!

    • 36

      Turner (aka Laura) told me about that! How fun. That’s awesome you summited Mount Zugspitze – that’s on our list of things to do while here!

  32. 37

    The hot chocolate at the top is worth the hike up :-)

  33. 38

    I’m tripping down memory lane. I actually got up at 1AM and am still wide awake. I hate it when that happens. Oh, well, I going back in time and rereading some of your wonderful journeys. Some people read to get sleepy. I sit in front of my computer until my husband comes and turns it off and tells me he needs attention. A mommies day is never done. teehee.


  1. […] skiing adventure was much preferable to the other day because the slopes were easier and almost empty! We were there at the end of the day, so it was […]

  2. […] with the family (and Matt!) here in Garmisch, Germany! This morning’s adventure: a rematch with the mountain that dominated me on our first day of […]

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