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 for a year. 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 our local slopes in January, we followed a friend’s recommendation and headed to Skizentrum Sankt Andreasberg, a small ski area in Germany’s Harz Mountains. As we quickly discovered, it’s a lot easier to learn to ski when the mountain’s a mere mole hill!
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)