learning to ski in germany in the harz mountains

Skizentrum Sankt Andreasberg, Skiing for Beginners

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!

We hit up the slopes with these crazy kids – Bhawesh and Shruti.  Photo courtesy of Bhawesh S.
ski lift in sankt andreasberg, germany
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.
Has anyone else seen “Rat Race”? Just imagine Rowan Atkinson exclaiming, “It’s a race! I’m winning!”
skizentrum matthias schmidt berg in germany
The Harz Mountains may not be as big as the Alps, but they’re still beautiful, particularly on a dark, wintry day.
Travis breezes past as if he were born to it. Not bad for his second time on downhill skis!
Bhawesh is killin’ it! You’d never know it’s this guy’s first time on skis.
Thanks to our day at Sankt Andreasberg, I now officially know how to not only slow down and stop, but TURN! It’s a pretty useful thing to know when you’re skiing.
happy after our second time skiing
We’re pretty stoked at what we’ve learned after just one day at Sankt Andreasberg, a ski area with gentle slopes suited for beginners.
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.

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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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