Skiing in Winterberg. Always a bit tricky. Since Winterberg is not a ‘real’ mountain. And although the skikarussell mostly guarantees snow, you can only ski well in ‘real’ snow. So that you can feel the snow crackling under your skis. For the third time in a row we booked a short ski and until the day of departure it is exciting: there is hardly any snow in Winterberg, only a few slopes are open and it is warm. All the snow is melting … But the weather forecast promises freezing temperatures and snow. So we take our chances. And the day after our arrival we wake up in a white carpet. Talk about ‘Glück’.
Winterberg, from green to white overnight …
Winterberg, situated in Sauerland, is about 350 km from Brussels. After a 3.5 hour drive we arrive in a wooded hilly landscape …. green. Apart from 4 neatly maintained ski slopes, there is no snow to be seen. A passer-by remarks: ‘You can also walk’. Yes, but that is not the intention, is it? But look. In the evening, the snow falls in buckets. And by the next morning, everything turns white.
We rent the material and head towards the slopes.
Bremberg. Poppenberg. Sürenberg. Kappe. Schneewittchen.
Bremberg. Poppenberg. Sürenberg. And then there is Kappe. Between these ‘mountains’ run 27.5 km of ski slopes – blue, red and black – accessed by 29 modern lifts. Well, ‘mountains’ is a big word. The Bremberg is about 810 metres, followed by Sürenberg (790 m), Kappe (776 m) and Poppenberg (746 m). But from these ‘peaks’ you have a beautiful view over Winterberg and the surrounding area. And the wintery snowy landscape makes it all the more specialr.
At ‘mountain’ station Poppenberg, close to our lodging, you can take lift number 10 up the Bremberg. Almost all the slopes are blue on this side: wide, beautiful and ‘long’, with a nice short red slope called “Panorama slope” at the top of the lift to Kappe. Kappe, on the other hand, offers pleasant skiing fun through the woods, in blue, red or black, something for everyone. On Bremberg there is also a red slope (no. 8), which, via Poppenberg, connects with almost all “red on the other side”, up to Sürenberg. Short and longer slopes connect and offer varied skiing pleasure throughout the day.
On day one barely 5 lifts are open, causing long queues. On day 2 and 3 it goes a lot smoother: almost all slopes and lifts are open and there is a lot of fresh snow.
Winterberg also offers floodlight ski in the evenings. Between 6.30 pm and 10 pm you can ski in artificial light on certain slopes – for an additional fee. An ideal moment to ski, in particular when there is fresh snow.
Our favourite slopes?
Our favourites with moderate to good skiers:
- lifts 10 + 25 + 15 + 14 (Brembergkopf I, Panoramabaan, Kappe, Schneewittchen): blue slopes in a beautiful landscape complemented by short and wide red. Take lift no. 10 up the Bremberg and then blue ‘Schneewittchen’ down. Just before the lift to the top, take the panorama lift no. 15 and ski down to Kappe, either via a forest path or a wider alternative. At the top of Kappe you then take the wide ‘red’ panorama lane. Ideal to start in the morning. Until 10 o’clock there are usually not many people at the lifts 15 and 14.
- Lift no. 8 (Büre Bremberg X-Press): from the Bremberg via a long blue (or red) piste down. Ideal with fresh snow. Just a pity that there are often a lot of people queuing.
- Lift no. 3 (Quick Jet): a pleasant red slope. Nice to do and usually few people..
A short-ski in Winterberg is relatively cheap compared to a ski adventure in the Alps. Of course, much depends on the price of your accommodation.
We paid about 1500 € for a 3 day stay with 6 persons, ski passes, rent and accommodation included.
- Ski rentall Brinkmann (3 days): 205 € (46 € per adult, 30 € per child -14 years, 10 % reduction if you stay in the youth hostel or book online.
- Skipass (3 days): 414 € (81 € per adult, 63 € per child). Floodlight ski has an additional cost.
- 3 meals a day. A meal in one of the ski huts in the ski area (Bremberg Klause) is about 200 € (spaghetti: 6.90 €, frikandel with fries: 5.80 €, Schnitzel with fries: 9.20 €, soda: 3 €)
- Accomodation (Hostel Erlebnisberg Kappe): 620 € (family room, half board incl. linen)
Hostel Erlebnisberg Kappe in Winterberg. Although very basic and not our usual type of accommodation, this hostel has many advantages for a short-ski in Winterberg. The most important one is its location combined with a ski rental next door. So, no driving around with a ski bus or your car.
- 250 meters away from the Poppenberg lift, your gateway to the entire ski area
- Ski rental ‘Brinkmann’ is next door and on top offers a 10 % discount. Online bookings are also possible.
- drying room and a separate room to store your boots and skis at night
- free parking
- different types of rooms, ranging from a double to family rooms with on suite bathrooms
- cheap (28 € per night/adult and 16 € per night/child (up to 15 years) in a family room
- hot showers (even for 6 people in one room)
- possibility to book linen (4 € per person)
- breakfast included. In the period it is mandatory to book half board (i.e. a hot meal in the evening – 13.50 € per adult). Breakfast is buffet style. It is a fixed menu, set daily. Don’t expect ‘haute cuisine’ (fish with potatoes and spinach; hamburger with peas and carrots and mashed potatoes; chicken with vegetables in sweet and sour sauce and rice).
- free WIFI
- free water to refill your drinking bottles
- friendly welcome
- pleasant common area (TV corner, sitting area, …)
- possibility to cafree cancellation up to 14 days in advance … quite important in case there is really no winter weather coming
Our stay in Winterberg: conclusion and tips
We find Winterberg ideal for a short ski (1-3 days) close to home for beginners and advanced skiers at an affordable price.
On the plus side? Winterberg offers many blue and red slopes and even the black ones are doable. The infrastructure is very modern: comfortable chair lifts for 4 to 8 people, covered or uncovered, well-maintained slopes and dozens of snow cannons to artificially snow the slopes. With fresh snow, the slopes are ideal and you can ski in a beautiful snow landscape. A bite to eat in the cozy ski huts also contributes to the real skiing atmosphere. And in terms of accommodation, you are spoiled for choice.
On the down side? The slope are short and the queues are sometimes very long (especially if only a few lifts are open). In addition, there are many ‘inexperienced’ skiers. Those who, as an experienced skier, want to enjoy long ski tours have nothing to do in Winterberg, unless as a ‘warm-up’ for the Alps afterwards. Just go then on a weekday or weekend outside the school holidays, then it might be less busy.
Some tips ?
- Keep an eye on the weather forecast. Fresh snow is a must. The information on the official website is very accurate.
- In the peak season (in particular the holidays) and with fresh snow, accommodation fills up quicky. . Keep this in mind when booking.
- Choose for a (free) cancellation of your booking. 14 days is realistic, afterwards you may pay costs.
- Check the location of your accommodation and the parking possibilities. A number of accommodations are far from the slopes or in the ski village, so you need a car. Children certainly do not like to always carry their ski equipment.
- Check the ski rental when booking and whether it is possible to store your skis and let them dry. There are many rental offices in Winterberg, whether or not in the immediate vicinity of the slopes and with the option of booking online (with a discount).
- Don’t forget a ski box on your car should you take all the material along from home
Interested in some more winter adventures up in the north? Then read my blog ‘5 fantastic things to do in Levi, Lapland’.