While Germany might not have towering peaks like the Alps, it holds a place in the evolution of skiing, boasting the largest number of active skiers in Europe and offering diverse skiing experiences across its southern provinces. Let’s delve into the history of skiing in Germany and examine its skiing culture.

Germany’s contribution to downhill skiing

Even though downhill skiing, as we know it today, didn’t start in Germany, the country did play a part in making the sport popular. In the 18th century, it was the Norwegian and Swedish armies who first experimented with downhill skiing, organizing competitions and improving their skills. This marked the beginning of skiing becoming a commercial activity, with advancements in ski design like pointed and curved tips. However, in 1936, it was the first time that downhill skiing was included as a sport in the Winter Olympics, held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, which helped spread the sport’s popularity across Europe. In the following years, chair lifts and ski resorts were built in the 1950s and 60s, turning skiing into a beloved recreational activity.
Winter Olympics 1936

The skiing landscape

Today, Germany has approximately 500 ski areas, catering to a large skiing community of over 14 million enthusiasts. While some of these areas are served by just one ski lift, the primary resorts are situated in the southern regions of the country, close to the Black Forest and the Bavarian Alps. Skiing destinations like the Harz Mountains, Black Forest, Bavarian Forest, and Thuringian Forest offer diverse terrain, featuring elevations of up to 1,500 meters above sea level, with the Zugspitze claiming the highest peak. Among these, Garmisch-Partenkirchen stands out as one of Germany’s most popular ski resorts, renowned for its annual New Year’s ski jumping competition and an extensive trail network that extends into Austria. Since many Germans prefer destinations with consistent snow conditions, resorts have made significant investments in snowmaking technology. As a result, these resorts attract approximately 7 million skiers each year, with about 10% coming from other countries. Still, with several skiing options available within the country, many Germans travel to ski resorts abroad, particularly in Austria, where they constitute the largest group of international visitors.
Skiing in germany

Exploring the potential of indoor skiing in Germany

With an 18% participation rate, skiing is incredibly popular among Germans. Still, there are only a few indoor ski centers with treadmills in the country even though these centers offer a solution for dealing with uncertainties of snowfall and long distances to ski resorts in Austria. As Germany has yet to fully realize the potential of indoor skiing, this presents a great opportunity for more indoor ski centers to be developed. For example, Germany has over 14 million skiers, the highest number in Europe, but only 2 indoor ski centers equipped with treadmill ski slopes. In contrast, the Netherlands, with about 2 million skiers, has over 50 successful indoor ski centers with treadmill ski slopes. This significant difference underscores the untapped potential for indoor ski centers in Germany’s skiing industry.

Skiing potential in germany

Contact SkiMachine

With 100+ endless ski slopes installed worldwide, numerous positive reactions from clients, and over 25 years of experience, SkiMachine has created wealth and know-how in manufacturing the highest quality indoor simulators in the industry. We are happy to provide you with professional input at any time!
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