Walking in a Winter Wonderland in the German Alps

snowshoeing in a winter wonderland in Bavaria, Germany
It was snowing heavily and was a wet snow, the kind that soaks through everything no matter how many layers you have on.  This was not good news since we had a 2 hour snowshoe steep ahead of us to Lenngrieser Hütte – and our sleeping bags in our backpack.  I prayed that somehow they would miraculously stay dry and instead focused on the soothing sounds of the running creek, not yet frozen.
snowshoeing in a winter wonderland in Bavaria, Germany
We were alone, just our group of nine.  It was New Years Eve and we were spending it communing with nature, as we huffed and puffed up the snow covered switchbacks.  I was using muscles that I hadn’t used since last year when we were Snowshoeing in Schruns, the trip which abruptly ended our  snowshoeing season and resulted in me having knee surgery and a dose of Culture Shock in a German Hospital thrown in for good measure.

winter hut in Bavaria, Germany

I saw the blue and white proudly flapping Bavarian flag before I saw the hut, leaving no doubt that this winter wonderland, was definitely in Bavaria.  We reached the hut, soaked to the bone from the wet snow, but too out of breath to notice.  I opened the door to the hut, expecting it to be empty except for the owners but was greeted by a nauseating smell of sweaty jackets and hiking boots set out to dry.  The cause became apparent rather quickly as I counted the other 43 sweat  soaked cross-country skiers and snowshoers who were also celebrating New Years Eve at the hut.  Did I mention that there were no showers?  All part of communing with nature I guess!  The look of disgust on my face soon disappeared  though as I took my sleeping bag out of the backpack – it was miraculously dry!  It was time to start celebrating!


Laurel Robbins is the founder of Monkeys and Mountains, an adventure travel blog and company that helps people plan their active holidays in a sustainable way. Although Canadian, she lives in Germany. You can find her in the mountains on most weekends.


  1. Lori January 20, 2012 at 1:50 am - Reply

    I love your posts, but you are waaay too energetic for me! This does NOT sound like my idea of a good time, but I’m glad you did this so you could describe the scene for us and send us the pictures! I lived in Germany for four years in the 50s, so I’m very familiar with the smell you describe. It was in every elevator; I absolutely dreaded having to use elevators.

  2. Leigh January 20, 2012 at 3:31 am - Reply

    We used to ski to back country huts in Colorado many times every winter – though the snow was the fluffy, dry stuff. This stuff sounds like Vancouver snow – which I don’t miss a bit. Sounds like a good time was still had at the hut, despite the smells. You get used to them after a bit.

    Hope you continue having so many delightful winter adventures.

  3. Cathy Sweeney January 20, 2012 at 4:26 am - Reply

    I’d love to try snowshoeing — great exercise especially in the Alps. I know that smell of a lot of sweat-soaked skiers in an enclosed building. But I guess it’s the price we pay for these great winter experiences.

  4. Mette Christensen January 20, 2012 at 8:10 am - Reply

    I’m not much of a snow person, but these photos look lovely.

  5. Brian Driggs January 20, 2012 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    Those first pictures took me right back to 7th grade, doing outdoor education at Hinterbrand Lodge in Berchtesgaden. 40 or so kids up before dawn, running through a Bavarian winter wonderland, coming upon a creek like that one, stripping down to swimming gear, and getting fully soaked before continuing our run.

    Good times. Wish I could get back more often.

  6. Sophie January 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    Lovely photos, Laurel. Actually, looking through my window as I write this, it looks quite similar, except there are a few more houses here. Winter may be cold, but it certainly is beautiful!

  7. Jenna January 22, 2012 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    Looks like a lovely way to spend the day. As Sophie said, winter may be cold but it is definitely beautiful!

  8. Barry January 23, 2012 at 1:40 am - Reply

    Very nice photos. Highly reminiscent of conditions here in Kananaskis Country and west. Typical winter with lots of chinooks. Ice is fat. Glad you found a unique and memorable way to experience the New Year.

  9. Turkey's For Life January 23, 2012 at 7:14 am - Reply

    Glad your sleeping bag managed to stay dry Laurel. Nothing worse than damp / wet camping gear, is there?! 🙂

  10. Laurel January 24, 2012 at 4:26 pm - Reply

    @Lori – Thanks! I haven’t noticed it in elevators, but I have noticed it in buses 🙂

    @Leigh – Yes, I think it’s similar to Vancouver snow, it’s definitely not the dry fluffy stuff I’m used to in Calgary. Lots more winter adventures planned 🙂

    @Cathy – The next time you come to Bavaria, I’ll take you. It’s so much fun!

    @Mette – It was fairly warm so the best of both worlds.

    @Sophie – Agreed, I think winter is one of the most beautiful seasons – when there’s snow at least.

    @Jenna – For us it was the perfect way to say goodbye to the old year and bring in the new year.

    @Barry – The scenery is typical to that of Kananaskis but the snow is much wetter, more like a spring snow. I don’t miss the migraines that chinooks gave me, although I always welcomed the warmer weather.

    @Julia – Very few things 🙂

  11. Jeff Titelius January 24, 2012 at 11:47 pm - Reply

    Beautiful and snowy. I know all about the winter wonderland of Bavaria and your pics take me back! Very lovely i might add.

  12. Alaska Cruise Advisor January 26, 2012 at 3:30 am - Reply

    Beautiful photos; I love a winter forest more than almost any other natural scene. I wish the PNW looked like that during winter, instead of just a grey soggy mess. Watch out though, because When it’s cold, and when it’s dark… the freezing moon can obsess you.

  13. eileen ludwig January 27, 2012 at 10:28 am - Reply

    Love reading your website – you are so adventurous – it is fun to see the pictures and read your stories

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