If you’re in search of snow this winter, you may have to travel beyond Germany.
The winter has been one of the warmest since 1881, according to the German Weather Service. Your best bet for snow is probably Austria or Switzerland.
A recent trip to Schoppernau, Austria, proved just that. Schoppernau is located in the Vorarlberg region in the Bregenzerwald (Bregenzer Forest).
According to its tourist website, the chance of snow is good because the Bregenzerwald is situated on the northern edge of the Alps. In fact, a blizzard in early January dumped four meters of snow in only four days. The Diedamskopf is the Bregenzerwald’s highest mountain at 2,090 meters and offers skiers and boarders 40 kilometers of runs.
The “Talabfahrt” run is considered the Diedamskopf’s athletic highlight. Skiers can go 10 kilometers nonstop from the mountaintop down to the valley.
“The nice thing about Schoppernau is that it offers skiing for all levels and for the entire family,” said Katharina Matt, a Schoppernau resident who also rents apartments to visitors. “Schoppernau really is considered a family-friendly ski area.”
According to Matt, free day care is available for children at “Didi’s Kinder-Erlebnisland,” or children’s adventure land, located atop the mountain. The adventure land, for children ages 3-8, offers bouncing castles, slides, climbing walls, and arts and crafts.
For freestyle and ski-jumping enthusiasts, the “Pleasure Diedamspark” is the largest snow park in the Bregenzerwald. Various fun boxes and rails are available for foot jumps and jibbing. The adjacent chill-out area offers sun beds and music for pure mountain relaxation. The Diedamskopf also features trails for snow-shoe hiking and winter tours along the mountaintop.
Schoppernau vacationers can also ski and board in five other well-known Bregenzerwald ski areas: Mellau Damüls, Faschina, Schröcken and Warth. All of them can be reached within a 30 to 45-minute drive from Schoppernau.
According to Matt, another highlight is the seven cross-country trails that lead through Schoppernau and Au along the Bregenzerwald.
“Besides the athletic factor, cross-country skiing also offers visitors the chance to enjoy the winter landscape and see many landmarks, such as baroque churches, along the way,” Matt said.
For those who didn’t get their fill during the day, the Grunholz Ski Lift in Au offers night skiing and sledding every Wednesday and Friday from 7-10 p.m.
Evening torch hiking tours and group sleigh rides are available from December through March. For detailed information, visitors should stop by the Schoppernau Tourist Information office located at Unterdorf 2.
Those in need a break from skiing can relax at the Thermal and Wellness World in Bad Reuthe. The spa offers four pools, including whirlpools filled with bubbling thermal water, as well as saunas, steam baths and massage/beauty treatments. Bad Reuthe is only 16 kilometers from Schoppernau.
Visitors can also tour Schoppernau’s Franz M. Felder “Bergkäserei,” or mountain cheese factory, to learn about cheese production and sample or purchase mountain cheeses and other local products such as pumpkin seed oil, bread and honey.
Schoppernau’s traditional Austrian village atmosphere is preserved through its many picturesque, old-fashioned farmhouses, many that rent apartments and rooms to vacationers. Whether searching for snow, an alpine experience, or simply a change in scenery, Schoppernau delivers.
For more information in English, visit
www.diedamskopf.at or www.au-schoppernau.at.