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At the time of writing this post (Januar 2021 – mid-pandemic chaos), many people flocking to snow-filled areas. The police have now cordoned off Winterberg and people are no longer permitted entry. Police are patrolling areas where there is snow, fearful that people will congregate in between slides down the hill and snowball fights. However, the current lockdown is, hopefully, only temporary measures, which won’t last forever. And if you’re just itching to get out and embrace the winter, well then hopefully this post will inspire you to go somewhere a little more remote.
The snow will fall regardless, you can still admire the beauty of it all from the safety of your car, and when the restrictions are lifted, the space is yours to explore.
So where does one find snow around Düsseldorf?
As a Canadian, living in Düsseldorf I never thought the day would come when I would truly miss snow. Perhaps, it has something to do with the lockdown that I find myself missing aspects of my past, or things that I just took for granted. As kids, we would get up in the morning, run to the window to see how much snow had fallen overnight. Great big cheers of joy would erupt, as we scrambled to get into our snowsuits and drag out the sleds from the garage.
Of course, I don’t miss the five layers of wool I had to wear as I braved a Canadian winter, nor the back-breaking hours spent shoveling snow in -10 degree weather. What I miss is the whiteness, the stillness, the crunch of the snow under your heels as you wander through the woods forming a path of your own winter wonderland. The air is cold as you inhale it, but you feel alive and ready, time to get your winter boots on and head on a hunt for the snow!
Why doesn’t it snow in Düsseldorf?
Düsseldorf has not seen a heavy dump of snow since the winter of 2010. I know because I remember it well. My son played in the garden for hours making snow forts. Nevertheless, don’t dismay, there are places not too far where you can get your snow fix, thrill your child with a sled ride, and even take a chance on skis. The closest regions within a 1 to 2-hour car journey are located in NRW (east of Cologne), The Eifel, and Sauerland.
What to wear when prepping for the snow?
- Waterproof jacket
- Boots with treads (otherwise you will fall)
- Ski pants or any waterproof trousers
- Cotton or merino wool is best closest to the skin
- Gloves (preferable – ski gloves)
Bergisches Land (NRW)
About one hour from Dusseldorf, 40 km east of Cologne you can find the lovely area of Bergisches Land. A hugely popular area for residents of Cologne who want to escape the city and experience nature.
Blockhaus is one of the 106 small villages which make up the area of Reichshof. In winter, the enthusiastic winter sportsman can try the toboggan slope, the long-distance cross-country ski run, or a race downhill on one of their three slopes. The highest hill has an elevation of 463 meters and one ski lift. Trails are from beginner to more advanced, with equipment rentals available at a low cost.
For more information check out the website: www.wintersport-im-bergischen.de
Less than a 10-minute car drive from Blockhaus you will find Hahn, which is also part of the 106 villages making up the area of Reichshof. Be careful! There are other areas in Germany called “Hahn” as well. It has one ski lift and an elevation from 385 meters to 417 meters which could be enticing for mountain climbing enthusiasts. A small country village offering winter activities and breathtaking views. This area is also the proud owner of the oldest go-kart track.
The Eifel is known as one of Germany’s best-kept secrets. The region covers the entire area from Aachen to Trier and goes as far as Luxembourg and Belgium. Famous for its nature, endless hiking paths, picturesque villages and medieval castles. Set at a higher elevation ( 747meters), you are almost guaranteed to find snow. But always check the webcam beforehand, just to be sure.
An insider tip told me about the quaint village of Blankenheim, located in the Eifel, just over an hour from Düsseldorf. Famous for its castle/Schloss Bad Blankenheim which has now been converted into a youth hostel and seminar center. Park your car in the parking area in front of the building and you are ready to go. Take a leisurely walk through the village or wander through the many paths adjacent to the castle. On your way out, keep your eyes peeled for cars parked on the side of the road, this tells you that a hill for sliding and sledding is nearby. Sorry, no GPS for those hills.
Just past the National Park in the Eifel, about 1.5hrs driving (120km) from Düsseldorf you can find the area called Hallenthal. A popular place to ski, as well as toboggan. The website will tell you which trails have been groomed and the general snow conditions.
Hollerath & Udenbreth
Just a few km south of Hellenthal, you can find Hollerath and Udenbreth. According to their website, both areas have snow trails signposted and are easily accessible by sled.
For many years Sauerland has been popular for summer and winter holidaymakers. Located just two hours from Düsseldorf, there are many great hidden gems for travelers who love hiking, skiing, and mountain climbing. Since the highest elevation is Langenberg (845m) and Kahler Asten (846m) mountains, you are almost guaranteed to find some cold white magic snow. Many spots in Sauerland are also quite easy to access by train, so that might be worth checking into as well!
Check out the Sauerland Winter Wonderland Guide on Life in Düsseldorf!
Winterberg is located in the Sauerland and has 27 km of ski slopes with 26 lifts. Located about two hours by car (172 km) from Düsseldorf. A very popular place for Germans and Dutch people. If you have never tried skiing and fancy a try on the slopes, this is a great place to start. Ski schools are available for all levels and even lessons for your kids. However, if you are not a ski enthusiast, then you can wander the many trails or give tobogganing a try.
Check out the Winterberg Skiing Guide on Life in Düsseldorf!
Located not far from Winterberg, about 35 minutes by car (29 kms) you will find the area of Willingen, famous for hosting international ski jumping competitions. According to their website, the next big jump should take place between January 29th to 31st.
Another insider tip told me about this tiny village which is a great place for walking or hiking either in the winter or summer months. Located about eight minutes from Willingen (5.9 km). A car park is located in the village of Usseln, just a short walk to the top of Graf Stolberg Hütte which is a must for a traditional Sauerland meal.
Anywhere else worth checking out for snow?
Not always, but sometimes in the cold winter months, you might also spot some snow around Monschau, Wuppertal, Brilon, or Roetgen. Or perhaps just head on over to the Skihalle in Neuss or go for a little skate in Düsseldorf.
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