Cross country skiing is big news in Germany, and one of the best places to sample it is the Black Forest: a ridiculously photogenic jumble of hills, lakes and forest, crowned by the 1,493m Feldberg – the highest mountain in Germany outside of the Alps. Bordering France and Switzerland in the far southwest corner of the country, this region seems tailor made for slow travel, and with over 17,000km of cross country ski tracks, winter is a pretty good time for a meander, with days spent gliding through deep, dark pine forests and wide open valleys.
Our Germany cross country skiing trip is all about discovering new landscapes and exploring a new region on skis. It lasts for a week, with five full days of cross country skiing through the snow covered loveliness of the Black Forest in the company of a qualified guide. You’ll need some previous experience on skis to make the most of this trip, but your instructor will be able to give you tuition if you need to brush up on your skills.
This vacation is a mix of wilderness and creature comforts. Days are spent out exploring the landscape, skiing between 20 and 25km a day, on a mixture of flat and up and down tracks, with breaks for hot drinks and picnic lunches included, as well as the odd gateau stop. Nights are spent in small towns and villages where there’s even more time to sample the local food and drink.
It’s a point to point tour which means you’ll ski from accommodation to accomodation, with your luggage transferred for you. This means that you won’t have to carry anything other than a small personal backpack, for your picnic, thermos and any other personal items. As with all our cross country ski trips, it’s a small group vacation, so you’ll be traveling with up to 14 others – bringing some essential camaraderie to the highs and lows of the trails.
How hard is cross country skiing?
While you do need some skiing experience, you don’t need to have been on a point to point tour before, and you certainly don't need to be a winter sports expert. Being fit and healthy is a prerequisite, however, as you’ll spend long hours out on the snow. Each day you’ll ski along prepared tracks from one village to another, with some uphill and downhill sections and a few, more challenging, off-track diversions.
What’s the Black Forest like?
As the setting for plentiful Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales, the Black Forest is a popular tourist draw and if you’re looking for all the traditional trappings – cuckoo clocks, half-timbered farmhouses, rich gâteaux, thick, dark, evergreen forest straight out of Hansel and Gretel – you’ll find them here. All of this tourist catnip means that you won’t have this stunning region all to yourself, but it’s still easy to escape the crowds – especially when you're on your skis. Highlights include the elegant resort town of Hinterzarten, and the chance to traverse the highest mountain in the Black Forest, the Feldberg.
Where will I sleep?
Accommodation will be in mixture of family run hotels and gasthofs (a German style B&B). They’re all set in small towns and villages and offer a traditional warm German welcome, as well as additional perks such as indoor pools, so pack your swim things. One of the highlights of a visit to this region is the food and drink, best described as hearty; this isn’t the place to visit if you’re on a diet. Locally brewed beer, hefty pork dishes and a dazzling array of baked goods all feature heavily on the menus around these parts, so you’d do best to dig in – and then work it all off on the trails.
When to go cross country skiing in the Black Forest
January to mid-March is the best time to go cross country skiing in southwest Germany, with snow still on higher ground. February in particular can be beautiful, with soft snow, bright blue skies and very little cloud. Daytime high temperatures are around 2-3°C and once the sun goes down it can get very cold, with -4 or -5°C the norm.
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