Category Archives: Bayern

Ski Touring near Munich at the Teufelstättkopf

Ski touring near Munich is not hard to find. In recent years its been a little less-than-spectacular due to the low snowfall we’ve had. This year is different! The snow has fallen deep. We’re looking better in December than the last  five years!

With all that snowfall though – come other problems. Snow doesn’t grow from the ground up, it falls from the sky. Today was an example, with light snowfall, but hurricane-force winds up high to go with it. Wind is the builder of avalanches. It transports the snow to low-lying spots. Loading it up in deep drifts just waiting for a skier to disturb their deadly balance.

Markus and I were looking for a route that didn’t take us into the high alpine, and had some shelter. The Bavarian weather service had issued a storm warning. Trees were the theme of the day. Good thing too! The Bavarian mountains are filled with good tree runs,  offering some of the best ski touring near Munich. You just gotta know to zig when everybody else zags.

We met at the trailhead at eight AM. Not so early, but not late either. We were some of the first on trail, parking at the lot of the little ski lift in Unterammergau, right above the Schleifmühle, a great place for a bite to eat, by the way. High clouds were moving by at a moderate pace – but we didn’t feel the wind on our faces – yet…

My hands were cold. I kept my hoods up, and didn’t use my poles to generate more heat.  I started spinning my arms at the shoulders to take advantage of centrifugal force to force the blood in.  Marcus asked me if I wanted to stop and do a little yoga. (he was kidding – BTW. These days, you can’t be sure…)

There is a fork in the road before long. Following to the right will put you on a ridge. Not exposed, but if its windy, it can get uncomfortable. We bore to the left, and stayed in the drainage until later. This is the way to the Pürschlingshäuser, a few huts a ridge over to our goal, but we would traverse and stay comfy.  Both of these spots are great places for ski touring near Munich. Both offer lots of variations in how to climb, and to descend. A nice plus. Marcus comes here a lot.

Making the ridge above the huts was a treat. Unfortunately – they are closed this winter for some maintenance, but in other years, you can get a bite to eat or a beer here. Very nice. The view was rad!

If you follow the ridge up above the houses, you’ll make the Teufelstättkopf. It was here that we began to feel the wind and man was it blowing! Hoods went up, and I even got out my facemask for this one! The wind was howling and moving a lot of snow over the ridge. At the rate it was going – it was clear that dangerous drifts could pile up in minutes – not hours.

We skipped the scramble to the top of the Teufelstättkopf, and decided to ski down the skiers left of the rock peak, into the Teufelstättkar. This was sheltered down low, and as the “alternate” route, it usually has less tracks. We zigged where everyone else zagged – and got rewarded well. Ski touring near Munich can be jammed with people. Knowing an alternative or two can make a huge difference in the quality of the skiing. This is one of those.

We ripped the skins and got out of the wind, forgoing the customary tee and biscuits routine. We carefully threaded the wind-loaded and steep entry. Following proper protocol, we single skied it gingerly until we got into the gut, where the angle goes softer and the wind hadn’t loaded it up so much. There were only a few tracks, so everybody got their own line – and what a line it was! Well up over boot-top with a creamy and easy to ski consistency! We smashed those crystals and met at the bottom of the slope all smiles!

Another climb was in order and we made the three-hundred meter re-tour in quick time. We both thought about lapping – but it was clear that the weather was getting worse. We continued back to the base of the peak and stuffed the skins into our jackets for the last time. Soon, we were tracking the slopes to right side of its ledges.

Here, there was even more snow, and with each turn, it was billowing up to hip level. The terrain here is  rolling, so we both got some hang time. I thought briefly about another run up,  but we could feel the wind. It was time to go!

The way out meanders through well-spaced trees and is not steep. The snow is so good right now, skiing on both sides of the track is possible too. We saw lots of people coming up. Strange, as this is usually the way down. I felt sorry for them that they were walking into a maelstrom. We hit the forest road and made zero turns all the way to the car!

If you are looking for an day trip to go ski touring near Munich, and if you are looking to stay in the trees because of poor visibility or wind – a tour to the Teufelstättkopf might be just the thing.

A trip report is also available from Marcus here at Marcus gets around, so you’ll want to follow him for good tips in and around Garmisch.


Parking Lot at the Ski Lift in Unterammergau: Liftweg 1, 82497 Unterammergau, Germany


Between one and a half hours for the experienced, and up to three for inexpirienced


The route is not danger-free – particularly some of the highest slopes near the ridges have both the angle and the loading to cause an avalanche. Be aware!

Live near Munich and want early season pow all to yourself? Have a job and think its impossible? Keep reading

Quikie Tour up the Schönberg, near Lenggries, Germany
My buddy Martin, a part-time ski instructor, husband, father and stand-up guy has got time to run up mountains and see if its any fun to slide down them – it won’t stay that way, but for now, he’ll take it. He called me up to see if I’d like to join, and, seeing as how I am fairly certain sliding down snow-covered mountains is pretty close to a game of Go-Fish with Jesus in the fun department, but not one-hundred percent certain, I thought I might have to go and make sure.
Both Martin and I have to get the kids out of the house, and unlike Martin, I am (still) gainfully employed in a decidedly non-slavish arrangement. We started at eight-thirty in the city and rode out towards Lenggries – about an hour away and near Bad Tolz. The objective for the day was the Schönberg – an eight-hundred to nine-hundred meter climb on a small mountain heavily wooded at the bottom, but open near the top and well-frequented in general. Things looked pretty good – not a lot of snow down low – but much more than I would have expected at this time of the year. We started out.
The snow covered the road, mostly, and we followed for what seemed like quite a while, just happy to be out in the sun. It didn’t look like most of the surrounding forest was skiable…there was enough snow to run, but it hadn’t covered up the undergrowth and fallen logs. I was thinking that the only way back down this low would be the icy rutted road we were on, and, I was right.
After taking a left turn up a steeper and smaller road, with some encouraging uphill tracks on it, I thought we’d soon make the ridge. The road got smaller, the track got less “determined” and before long both of us were asking if the guys who set it knew where they were.
Of course – getting too upset wasn’t possible. Neither of us brought a map, and the last time I was touring here was more than five years ago. We blindly followed tracks. How stupid is that?
We stuck the meandering and unsteady course….and….it dumped us back out onto the main road that we had been following a felt hour later. All’s well that ends well, and we slogged onwards and upwards, finally breaking into to some high meadows that looked a dream to ski.
All in the shade and milky. By now – we’d come higher, and the snow was positively deep. What our unknown trailbreakers lacked in route-finding skills, they made up for with quality skin-tracking – so the way up was fairly easy, asthetic and appreciated.
While it was not a long way up – this tour was a long way around! I kept thinking that soon, very soon, we’d bust out onto a ridge or the peak in the sun and it would be all girls and cold-liquor drinks. Nope. Nope. and Nope. Still the ghost trees were cool and I was dreaming of the lines I would cut in the not-so-pristine but still baggable powder.
Eventually we made it. Meeting the three retirees who set that trail on the way off the peak. Nice guys.
Now – it occurs to me that people who do what they like to do, and do it into old age, don’t generally get curmudgeonly. These guys were smiling – and if I can keep doing this,  perhaps I’ll not only be a smiling retiree, but a smiling husband, father and employee.
The peak was windy, but it was great to look over the clouds and imagine Munich in the soup. Martin and I ripped the fur off and made sweet euro-wiggle turns down the gut of the open glades, never hitting bottom and having quite a bit of fun. It wasn’t as light as we had hoped, but it was still great!
Things got dicey with a couple a creek crossings, which will be covered when the next snow hits, but we managed to pick our way through the lower, less-shacked woods without too much trouble, and hit the forest road which provided a long, easy and underbrush free route back to the car. Even got to make powder elevens over a big flat meadow near the bottom.
All in all – a great tour, and we were back in town for an appointment just after lunch! For anyone looking for a candidate for dawn runs – if you hit the trail at seven AM you could be back by 11 AM no sweat. Less if you are a spandex weirdo.
As always – I’d love to see you all on the trail sometime and hope you’ll subscribe to my blog for silly ramblings about this sport, tips on how to stop sucking at it, and reports about places you can go to do it!