Gentle hilly landscapes framed by the Chiemgau Alps. Lakes combined with snow-white plains and quiet forest areas. Perfectly traced cross-country ski trails, which also excite cross-country and biathlon professionals at the mere sight, coupled with idyllic views that remind you of Canada. An infrastructure that is fully committed to winter lovers on two skis. An arena in which the love for biathlon is felt by top athletes every year and which drives them to peak performances. Ruhpolding, the Mecca of cross-country skiing in Germany, is all of that. So, what does this place offer that others do not and that no cross-country skier should miss out on?
1: Exceptional snow sports schools and biathlon crash courses
Because we all start somewhere. In Chiemgau, top athletes such as Andi Birnbacher, Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle and Tobi Angerer already learned to cross-country ski from scratch. Ruhpolding’s snow sports schools know how to make newcomers feel more confident on the shaky narrow skis. Fritz Fischer, a former Olympic biathlon champion and national trainer, even conveys the sport of biathlon to those interested, combining shooting and cross-country training. Hitting the target after a cross-country trek really isn’t easy. ‘With your pulse racing at 160 you need to catch your movements. Stop your breath, take the shot. It’s all in the feeling and training,’ explains the pro and excitedly carries on: ‘Anyone can try!’
2: 130 kilometres of cross-country ski trails for all levels of difficulty
While cross-country skiing is rather a side show in other places, Ruhpolding focuses all its energy on it. So, if you are longing for sports, nature, deceleration and safety, this is the place for you. Because cross-country skiing combines it all. In Ruhpolding there are not only cross-country trails between three and 15 kilometres long, there are also specially created practice meadows for your first glide across the snow. Some of the trails start right in town. In the Chiemgau Arena, the groomed tracks even entice you to practice in the evening floodlights.
3: IBU Biathlon World Cup
Speaking of Chiemgau Arena: Every year the peaceful town in Bavaria is transformed into a biathlon Mecca. Biathlon is a combination of cross-country skiing and shooting. Whenever the BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon pitches its tents, Ruhpolding enters a state of emergency. Up to 25,000 fans make their way to the arena every day and experience exciting head-to-head races on cross-country skis, shots that hit the mark and emotional award ceremonies spread across five days. Insider tip: You can also look behind the scenes during the World Cup and follow the footsteps of the professionals starting in February.
4: The cross-country trail of 3 lakes: Magical attraction for winter sports enthusiasts
The 3-Lakes cross-country trail is Ruhpolding’s hallmark. The starting point is the Seehaus hiking car park in Ruhpolding. The sticks crunch when kicking-off in the snow. You then discover your own rhythm after a few minutes. The mountain slopes rise to each side of your path. You enter nature on a near-even track along the valley. After a few metres, you can see the sun reflecting on the crystal-clear Lake Förchen. A small taste of things to come. The white frost hangs like crystals in the trees and bushes that protrude from the snowy carpet. Small breath clouds rise into the crystal-clear air. Apart from you, there is no other sound. Even just spending a brief moment in nature lowers your pulse and your blood pressure. And suddenly the valley opens up. The three lakes Lödensee, Mittersee and Weitsee and their azure blue, crystal clear water are truly amazing. The snow-covered mountains are reflected on the smooth surface, framed by ice at the edge of the lakes. Your track back leads you through the snow-covered paths in the forest. Small climbs and descents provide a bit of a variety and before you know it, you’ve already completed the twelve kilometres. Too bad, actually!
Every cross-country skier needs to master Chiemgau at least once. The location offers not only the most beautiful natural experiences, Ruhpolding is also easy to reach and has guaranteed snow. Everyone can explore nature at their own pace, whether top athletes or beginners. What they all have in common is that they will share memories of the perfect cross-country skiing holiday in Bavaria.
Would you rather prefer hiking than skiing through the forest? Several kilometres of winter hiking trails, but also some signposted snowshoe trails lead across snow-covered meadows, through light forests and to rustic cabins such as the Haar Alm. The Chiemgau Arena and the three Ruhpolding ski resorts at Unternberg, Westernberg and Maiergschwendt also contribute to this Bavarian winter feeling.
Traditionally different: Even more inspiration for your Bavarian winter holiday
All forests in Bavaria have stories to tell. You can also experience exciting winter adventures in other regions of Bavaria: Toboggan runs for all age groups, winter hikes through the Bavarian Forest, animal encounters during wildlife feeding, winter survival camps and of course powdery snow slopes.
More stories and personal tips are told by people from Bavaria in ‘traditionally different’ stories.
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