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Lower Saxony may be pretty, but I gotta say – the mountains are mere mole hills. Moving to central Germany from Switzerland is like having your parents replace your Halloween candy with broccoli; it’s harder to enjoy the healthy stuff after feasting on a steady diet of world-class alpine sports. The good news for us is that we switched from snowboarding to skiing when we moved to Europe, so we’re still beginners. As soon as fresh powder hit the slopes in January, we followed a friend’s recommendation and headed to Skizentrum Sankt Andreasberg, a small ski area in central Germany. Skiing in the Harz Mountains is a great option for newbs and budget-savvy shoppers. And as we quickly discovered, it’s easier to learn to ski when the mountains are mere mole hills!

Lifts at Skizentrum St Andreasberg for skiing in the Harz Mountains

The lifts at Skizentrum Sankt Andreasberg overlook the town of Sankt (Saint) Andreasberg, a village in the Harz Mountains that dates from the 15th century.

Skiing with friends at Skizentrum Sankt Andreasberg

We hit the slopes with our friends from Nepal, Bhawesh and Shruti, for their first skiing experience.

Our first time skiing in Germany, Harz Mountains

Has anyone else seen “Rat Race?” Just imagine Rowan Atkinson exclaiming, “It’s a race! I’m winning!”

The Harz Mountains may not be as big as the Alps, but skiing in the Harz is still beautiful, particularly on a dark, wintry day.

Want to go skiing in the Harz Mountains in Germany? Check out our travel tips for Skizentrum Sankt Andreasberg before planning your trip!Click to Tweet

Travis breezes past as if he were born to it. Not bad for his second time on downhill skis!

Skiing in Germany for the first time

Bhawesh is killin’ it! You’d never know it’s this guy’s first time on skis.

And don’t forget that Sankt Andreasberg is in Germany, which means bratwurst, pommes frites, and Glühwein after a “tough” day skiing!

In an attempt to further confuse non-locals, the ski area goes by both “Skizentrum Matthias-Schmidt Berg” and “Skizentrum Sankt Andreasberg”, not to be confused with the Sankt Andreasberg Sonnenberg ski area just up the road.

Let us know in the comments below if you’ve been skiing in the Harz.  Did you love it?  Hate it?  Can you recommend a better place for beginners?

Interested in other budget ski areas in Europe?  Give Charmey in Switzerland a try.  Don’t let those blue runs fool ya though!

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Know Before You Go
  • Skizentrum Sankt Andreasberg (Matthias Schmidt Berg) is located less than an hour by car from Goettingen on the B27.
  • The similarly named Sankt Andreasberg Sonnenberg is another ski area further north on the same highway.
  • Parking is available for free on site, but come early on weekends – spots fill up fast.  If the upper lot next to the highway is full, turn right off the main highway, continue past the upper lot, and curve right downhill to a second parking area.
  • Downhill skis (€20), cross-country skis (€15), and snowboards (€25) are available for rent on site.  The price includes poles and boots.  Helmets and goggles cost extra.
  • If you have your own skis or boots, plan to rent the entire package from them anyway as they don’t rent the gear separately (or at least refused to do so for us when we brought our own skis).
  • An adult lift ticket for the day is €27, which is overpriced IMO, considering the modest facilities.  However, you can also purchase lift tickets for individual downhill runs for just €2.50 apiece, which is what we opted to do.
  • This is a small ski area with limited runs (5-8 km depending on which website you believe), and most are designated for beginners.  It’s a good place to learn to ski or snowboard, but more skilled “downhillers” will likely find the runs lacking in length and difficulty.
  • In summer, the ski area is popular with mountain bikers and also features a 1/2 km toboggan run.
  • Website for Skizentrum Sankt Andreasberg (EN, DE, IT, FR, NL)
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