We are planning to visit Germany for 10 days in late December and would like to go skiing in Austria for a couple of days. We are husband and wife with 2 adult children. We will have a car, but will need to rent ski equipment. Mom is the only beginner level skier. Please send along suggestions where to stay and where to ski. Is the rental process like it is in US? Do we need to reserve ahead of time? We will be arriving in Germany on 12/23 and leaving on 1/2 and are flexible when we put the ski portion into the trip. Thanks for all your help.
It will be the busiest time of the year, but with a car, you don't have to stay right at the resorts. You might want to wait until you get to Germany and check local conditions to see which of the large number of hills to visit.
Ski rental is easy in the Alps. Lots of shops with big inventories of equipment everywhere.
Keep in mind that you will lose most of the 24th and 25th. So the most you will have is about seven days. Where have you previously skied? Skiing in Europe is a bit different and you don't find the slopes neatly divided into green, blue, and black. Also grooming is not as extensive nor snowing equipment.
Beg to differ with Frank, but grooming is quite extensive in most Alpine ski areas. In fact, every run shown on the trail map is groomed every night by fleets Kaessbohrer snow machines. Snow-making is quite extensive, as skiing is a much bigger business than in the US, and resorts cannot afford to be short of snow. Just remember, blue runs in Europe are what we call green or easy runs, red runs are what blue runs are in North America, intermediate. Black is black.
My husband has skied in Lech and St. Anton many years ago, the rest of us have never been. Are ski areas open on 12/24 and 12/25? Thanks for the information.
Yes they are open, in fact it might actually be the two busiest days of the year for them. You should understand that most people in Europe are on holiday between Christmas and New Years and kids are out of school, so this is an ideal time for a one or even two week family ski vacation. It is generally impossible to find lodging at the resort for less than a 1 week minimum. But as I said, with a car you can stay down valley and either drive or take public transportation up to the ski hills.
A much higher percentage of the population of Europe are active skiers than the US. In fact, of all the "first world" countries, the US has the lowest percentage of the population of people who ski.
Any recommendations for places to stay?
Do you have a resort in mind? Do you want to revisit St Anton or Lech? Otherwise there are many ski resorts in Tirol and it is not easy to give a recommendation. Around Christmas it is best to aim somewhere high; Ischgl would fit the bill nicely, so would Serfaus (which is perhaps more family-oriented) or Sölden (which is not particularly charming as a resort, but has great terrain).
Honestly, at this late stage, you just really need to stay where you can find a decent place. It is no exaggeration that nearly the entire country goes skiing in this period and a one-week minimum stay is the norm. Maybe get on to booking.com or look at airbnb and see what places suit you. Then come back here (or on Trip Advisor) and ask for feedback. For efficiency it is always better to rent and pay for equipment and passes ahead of time.
You might try in the "Zugspitz Arena" Ehrwald, Berwang etc. with beginners in mind. I can only second who knows the conditions, but there was snow there today and finding a place near the slopes for 2-3 days will be a challenge. You may have to dive down into private apartments checking each for availability. I like Hotel Spielmann and Hotel Witt. Serfaus, Fiss, Ladis I think would be a good choice too, but same challenge. After last year with COVID lock downs and NO ski slopes open in Germany and trepidation and controls in Austria, this year could be a packed blow out. Schifoan...