Traverse of the Black Forest
Another cross country skiers paradise! The 'Grand Ski Traverse' of the German Black Forest is a classic 115km point-to-point journey located near the borders of France and Switzerland lies north of Freiburg and Basel. The skiing is 'classic' style or 'langlauf' cross country skiing all on prepared trails.
The Black Forest extends from 150m above sea level to the upper reaches of the Rhine River to more than 1400m above sea level in the highest mountains of the southern Black Forest. An extensive network of long-distance cross-country skiing trails and local cross-country skiing trails makes it possible to cross the length and breadth of the Black Forest.
We traverse this diverse landscape of the Upper Black Forest staying in charming guest houses and inns enjoying German hospitality along the way. The 5-day ski journey, between the villages of Schonach in the north and Belchen in the south, climbs in total about 2300m and keeps to an altitude of 1,000m most of the way. Alternate skiing through deep valleys, forests and farming communities. Each day we aim to ski approximately 20km whilst carrying just a day pack - when we arrive at our guest house we find our luggage waiting for us!
- Make a continuous 5-day ski journey
- No ski pass required
- Benefit from the tourist 'Guest Card' benefits
- Climb the highest peak in the Black Forest - Feldberg at 1493m
- Step off the trail and enjoy hotels & traditional guest houses
- We are one of the few operators offering this classic ski journey
- All luggage transported for you
This traverse is designed for those that can confidently get on their skis and go! We grade this trip as an intermediate. On our first day we will spend time to find our ski legs but we do expect participants to be able ski a variety of terrain and journeys of 18-28km in length. Participants should have good travelling techniques, ski at a good pace and have mastered a controlled snow plough for both undulating and any steeper descents. You should be at a very good fitness level and be able to ski up to 4-6 hours per day.
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View Traverse of the High Black Forest in a larger map
Bespoke Black Forest Tours
This trip can also be organised as a bespoke holiday where the itinerary can be changed to suit the quantity of days, ski locations and distances to suit the requirements of your group. Contact us for more information.
Day 1 Meeting in the Schwarzwald
We start this trip by meeting in or near Triberg, a typical Schwarzwald town, close to the start of our ski traverse. This charming market town is home to the Black Forest Musuem and Germany's highest waterfalls. Please ask the hotel to benefit from reduced entrance fees with your 'Guest Card'. Our hotel, like many of the others, it is equipped with a sauna and swimming pool - so don't forget your swim suit! Depending on accommodation availability for some weeks we are able to stay by the trail head in Schonach, a short bus ride away from Triberg.
Your guide will meet you at your accommodation to organise ski hire, to brief you on the days ahead and answer any questions.
Day 2 Schonach to Brend - 20km
We start our tour in the village of Schonach, at 875m, a short distance from Triberg and home to the one of world's largest cuckoo clocks. We have time to find our ski legs and then the trail steadily rises to 1000m onto the plateau of Wittenbach first through woodland and farmland, then descends into the valley of Schwarzenbach, 940m. The trail then passes through dense forests then to wide open spaces across typical Nordic rolling terrain with some fun steady and short steeper descents along the way! We pass by the village of Shonwald and the towns huge Olympic ski jump and climb again to the delightful chapel at Martinskapelle. We have time to stop for refreshments at the inn here and can take a short diversion to visit the spring which is one of the sources of the Danube. A final short climb takes us up to Brend (1149m) and is known as the highest peak in the 'holiday region' of the northern Black Forest. On a clear day you can see across to Feldberg, the Swiss Alps and Vosges mountain ranges. Up here we sleep the night. Ascent: 865m Descent: 600m.
Day 3 Brend to Waldau - 25km
We begin today with an easy downhill which allows us to enjoy the scenery passing traditional farm houses with their large draping roofs. We continue on rolling terrain down to 980m at Neueck and enter the woods to rise a little to reach the Inn at 1020m at Kalte Herberge where we stop for lunch. We complete our day by skiing to the peaceful and picturesque village of Waldau where the first Black Forest clock was made in 1664. If we arrive in good time you may wish to go further a field and explore the local trails or simply sample the local brew or seek out the sauna. Ascent: 500m Descent: 660m.
Day 4 Waldau to Hinterzarten - 25km
Our morning ski is a gentle trail to Thurner. After a break here we rise to our high point for the day at Weisstannenhöhe (1190m) where we can be again rewarded with superb views of the Feldberg summit (1493m). We then enjoy a fun ski down through pine forests interspersed with vast open landscapes and traditional farming communities. On our way we can stop for a hot lunch then our final ski joins the well maintained trails around the charming village of Hinterzarten (880m) known as the 'Pearl of the Black Forest' where we sleep the night. Ascent: 685m Descent: 760m.
Day 5 Hinterzarten - Feldberg - Notschrei - 28km
Today is our big day in both length and height on our traverse. We leave Hinterzarten (880m) and over 10km gradually ski up to Rinken (1195m) and soon see our days obective. We continue winding our way through the woods before making the final climb (of which a short section in the woods can be with skis on our packs) onto the Feldberg summit itself. At 1493m and the highest point of the Black Forest we are rewarded with fabulous 360 degree panoramic views. The Alps in the south and the Vosges in France in the north. We can enjoy a long descent to the Todtnauer Hütte (1321m) where we can stop for a celebratory hot chocolate and strudel! Our day continues on and mainly down through the forests towards Notschrei sliding and gliding with ease down to 1120m. Ascent: 1000m Descent: 820m.
Day 6 Notschrei to Belchen - 17km
Our final day to complete our Grand Traverse is a much easier day. Our trail gently rolls 9km to Wiedener Eck (1034m) and then on to the small ski resort of Multen/Belchen where we finish our journey. To make transfers simpler for the following day tonight we will stay in the town of Schonau. We end with a final celebratory meal together. Ascent: 640m Descent: 780m.
Day 7 Departure Day
Today is departure day and the trip finishes after breakfast. With your tourist card trains and buses leaving the area will be free to airports and main railway stations.
Included: The price includes half-board accommodation, based on two people sharing (twins or doubles) in mainly 3 star hotels and guest houses for 6 nights including local taxes. Single rooms can be arranged in advance which will incur an additional fee (please ask if you like this option when booking). Luggage transfers (1 bag per person), free local public transport with the local tourist card, and the fees of a qualified BASI Nordic Ski Instructor/International Mountain Leader and their expenses are also all included.
Not included: Ski hire (95 Euros), insurance, flights and arrival transfers, drinks, lunches and the evening meal on the first night.
If in the event of a poor winter season it could be that the complete traverse is not possible and that we are required to ski in different locations each day using a vehicle to transfer us along the lower sections (for more details see the bad weather options section below). Depending on the group size this may or may not incur an additional fee. However, previously when we use a vehicle back up it has not cost our clients any more.
This trip requires a minimum of 4 clients to run. We take a maximum of 8 clients.
Please note that you must have the appropriate insurance for your chosen activity. You must be covered for helicopter rescue, repatriation and medical costs. With regard to this please be sure you have read the insurance section in our Terms and Conditions.
Cross country skiing equipment, which includes fishscale classic skis (not skates or waxables), Salomon (or similar) boots and bindings, and poles, can be hired locally at the start of the traverse in Schonach. The total ski hire for the week is 95 Euros per person (this includes the cost of returning the equipment to the hire shop at the end of the trip). You will make your payment directly to the guide (cash only). All equipment hire must be arranged in advance, as it will be necessary to pre-order correct sizes. Please make note of your equipment hire on our booking form. We will need to know your height, weight, normal shoe size (you must give us your everyday shoe size and not your personal adjustment for wearing boots) and the measurement of your height up to your armpits (for ski pole hire). The guide will accompany clients to the hire shop and at the end of the traverse, will collect any hire equipment and organise its return.
Upon booking a full list of the necessary suitable clothing will be provided. Enjoy skiing carrying only a lightweight day pack whilst your luggage is transported for you by taxi. Maps of the route are possible to buy on the first day for 5 Euros.
The Black Forest is easily reached from other European and worldwide destinations by road, rail, coach or plane.
The closest airports to this area are Stuttgart (Germany), Strasbourg (France), Zurich and Basel/Bale (Switzerland).
Trains to the start and finish from the Swiss Airports are the most convenient taking approximately 2.5 hours to Triberg.
Your visitors 'Guest Card' will give you reductions on many attractions (museums, cable cars, swimming pools etc) and free bus and train travel during your stay and return journey back to the airport (n.b: this is not valid until you arrive at your hotel so will not include your travel to your first hotel).
Train connections can be sourced using www.sbb.ch for Swiss connections and Deutsche Bahn for German connections. Searches should be made using: Basel Euro Airport or Stuttgart Flughaven/Messe (which is on the S bahn) to: 'Triberg' and departing from: Sparkasse Schönau im Schwarzwald' both of which are in Germany. Please note that timetables are normally only available 3 months in advance. We will send our more detailed trip joining information 4 weeks prior to the trip start date when we will be able to suggest more detailed train connections.
Alternatively you may wish to travel entirely by rail or coach in which case many high speed trains link into these cities from other European cities. For more suggested travel links please refer to our Booking & Information pages for further details.
It is possible to arrange a taxi back to the start of the traverse from Belchen to Schonach/Triberg for about 150 Euros taking 1-4 people.
Accommodation Arrangements & Bad Weather Options
The complete Black Forest traverse is approximately 100km which means we will ski anything from between 15-25km per day. The accommodation available is varied in its facilities and due to availability we do not always use exactly the same places so it could mean the daily distances on the day to day itinerary vary by a few km. Please note that your guide will try to fulfil the stated itinerary, but this is dependent on weather/snow and track conditions at the time.
Lunches will normally be picnics bought from either our accommodation, bakeries or in cafes when we pass them - please feel free to bring additional hill snacks from home.
We run our Black Forest traverse at a time of year when the snow is most reliable and the tracks are well maintained. However, in the event of poor snow conditions, we will offer an alternative ski itinerary visiting the highest Nordic ski areas both regionally and on the traverse with the aim to offer the same distance skied per day.
As our niche trips such as the Traverse of the Black Forest are of a specialised nature we work with our partner companies to attract sufficient clients to reach the minimum number of participants to allow these trips to go ahead, meaning you are more likely to have your chosen holiday 'guaranteed'. If you have any queries with regard to this please contact us