We decided to try Oberstdorf for a relaxing, post Christmas/New Year ski holiday. We chose it as
1) we like exploring Germany and know it is not noted for ski areas but looking at the piste maps, we saw there were numerous areas to ski for intermediates like us.
2) My partner speaks German and I know enough to get by in restaurants/bars and we prefer going to places where we do not hear many English voices and can practice our German.
3) There was a good supply of self catering accommodation
4) It was easy to get to/from Munich Airport where Easyjet deposited us with the Bayern Ticket.
5) There were other options for days when the weather was not fantastic
We stayed in Michelar’s Haus, http://www.erholung-oberstdorf.de/ where our hostess, Rosi was very welcoming, even trying English as her first words to us. Our studio apartment was very clean, comfortable and had everything we needed. It was very central, only 10 mins walk to the station and buses. Rosi went out each morning and bought us fresh bread for breakfast. My partner had numerous German conversations with Rosi and she was very helpful.
As we arrived in a snow storm, our first day was a winter hike. There are plenty of trails in the area and maps are available from Tourist Info where English was spoken. Obersdorf is a big centre for cross country skiing as another option for when the weather is bad up the mountains.
During our week, we ventured out to
Soellereck – Free bus from Oberstdorf, 10 minute journey. There is a magic carpet to take you from the car park area up the short hill to the ticket office and cable car. This is a small resort but great for families. From the top of the cable car there is a really good blue back down for the novices with a nice diversion into the woods for a bit of fun, let the children spot the animals. There are 2 rolling, cruising reds down though only way back is a long T-bar. Some of the short blues accessed at the top were borderline reds.
Fellhorn/Kanzelwand – Free bus to Fellhorn. This was the best area for us re amount of terrain. Lots of intermediate runs. The long red back to Fellhorn is much better than the one back to Kanzelwand which is just a forest road. There were a few areas where more intrepid skiers could venture. Going up chair 28 on the Kanzelwand, there was a bowl to the left that many good skiers were venturing into and we saw plenty of evidence of tracks off piste where very ‘skilled’ skiers/boarders had been (especially from the Kanzelwand cable car)
Ifen – To go over the Austrian border meant we had to pay for the bus, so 8 euros return each. This had lots of promise but we were disappointed. The piste map has lots of red. There is an exceeding slow, 2 person chair to take you up the first part, then either another 2 person chair (with a big queue) or a T bar to take you to the top. The runs from the top are over undulating terrain, so little skill involved except get your speed up on the downhill for the uphill to come. It did however offer a black back to base which we decided to try since the reds were so easy. It was nothing we could not handle, but reasonable challenging for us with 2 steep pitches. We only stayed half a day here and decided to stop off at Soellereck on the way back for our other half day.
We did try to get to the Nebelhorn but the day we chose, only 1 run was open due to avalanche threats. I was also apprehensive about this area as the middle section was black and therefore unsure whether I would have the bottle to be able to ski from top to bottom. We turned round and went to Soellereck which was fully open with no avalanche issues.
All the ski areas were covered by the one multiday ticket.
The town had more to it that some places we have been in Austria/France and it was cheaper. There are plenty of shops, places to eat and drink. We enjoyed the Brewery by the station, the food was excellent though getting a table could prove difficult.
Obersdorf ticked the boxes for what we wanted from our week away but it is for the more adventurous English speaking visitor.
We would go back and also in summer where it promises good hiking.