All you need to know for your holidays...
All you need to know for your holidays...
If you want to start snowshoeing, you will always first go out with a hiking guide or attend a course.
But then, for the first easy tours alone, it's best to look for something like the Hausberg loop in Reit im Winkl. An ideal practice loop for new snowshoe fans with many refreshment stops.
How well you can do the Hausberg loop depends on the current snow conditions. Most of the time, the route described is easy to walk and protected from avalanches.
Nevertheless, snow reports and weather reports should always be obtained before a snowshoe tour, as well as current information on the nature of the path, e.g. from your accommodation, the tourist information center or hiking guides who also offer guided tours.
At the time of the snowshoe hike described in this article, at the end of January 2017, the last snowfall was a few days ago, the German Weather Service regularly reported icy records with Reit im Winkl as the coldest place in Germany. This made the path very easy to hike.
You can start the tour at many places in the town center, at the parking lot at the Festsaal, for example, or by the church. The conspicuous green signs offer orientation, which not only show you the way but also an elevation profile and at which point on the entire route you are currently.
In town itself, snowshoes are rarely necessary, but as soon as we have left the last houses behind us, we stop for a few panoramic photos and put on our snowshoes.
We walk towards the Eckkapelle chapel, the path is well trodden and just wide enough for two snowshoes next to each other. Our sticks land right and left in the deeper snow and you notice: without the snowshoes we would probably sink deeply and the snow would fall into our hiking boots from above.
So it goes up in a pleasant incline on a sunny path. In summer, one of the five Reit im Winkl premium hiking trails, the Kapellensteig, runs here.
Of course, we have to take a break at the Eckkapelle chapel - to marvel at the altar in the chapel and the panorama in the other direction, to fortify ourselves with a sip of tea from the thermos and a few biscuits and to hold your face into the sun.
Because there follows a tough section of the path: it goes into the shady forest, on the wide road up to the Glapfalm, on which there is hardly any snow and you briefly consider taking off your snowshoes completely.
On the other hand - the path is quite steep and if we walk steadily we get warm despite the shade, so it is not a disadvantage that you do not have to concentrate too much on the path.
Behind the Glapfalm we come back to a hip-width path, pass a frozen lake and hear only one sound - the crunch of our snowshoes.
Silence around us. Here, on the “backside” of the local mountain, there is no car noise, no dog barking, no radio music. Again and again we stop, take a deep breath and listen to the silence.
To our left we take a glimpse of the summit of the Wetterkreuz peak, but the short, steep detour is unfortunately not accessible in winter. So we prefer to look to the right, at the bizarre ice art on the rock face.
A few steep serpentines later the forest clears, we approach the open alpine pastures of the Hutzenalm.
Our path is still clearly recognizable, but the wonderful powder snow on the Alm lets us quickly lose our way and trudge across vast, untouched areas of snow.
Flat and without the risk of falling, every beginner can gain some experiences with snowshoes and romp around!
Then, after maybe two hours in the snow, it is time to plan our snack break. Do we divide soup, main course and cake between different huts and inns? Or do we decide to take one long break?
The Hutzenalm, the Stoaner Alm and the Birkenhof hotel are located on our path - and from Birnbach it's not far to the center of town with its large selection of refreshment stops.
We've climbed 444 meters in altitude, our highest point was at 1,088 meters - now the time has come to replenish our energy stores and think back to the beautiful hike.
Stefanie Dehler works in the Tourist Information, where she is responsible for the website and online marketing, among other things.
She would much rather be out and about in the mountains around Reit im Winkl all day long, hiking and trail running, mountain biking, with skis and snowshoes and having a snack on the mountain pastures.