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Inviting Lake Constance in winter
Lake Constance is 63 km long, up to 14 km wide and up to 250 m deep. With an area of 536 km², it covers an area three times larger than the neighbouring Principality of Liechtenstein. The amount of water collected in it gives the lake a noticeable influence on the climate surrounding it. Above all, it has a moderating effect on the temperature peaks of the respective seasons.
At the same time, the varied landscape around the lake is always full of surprising impressions: The unspoilt reed and moorland areas as well as the carefully cultivated fields and trees give a foggy day its very special charm. Thanks to the carefully maintained and signposted hiking and cycle paths, visitors can enjoy the natural beauty all year round. In the communities around the lake, hospitable, mostly owner-managed smaller hotels and guesthouses as well as inviting restaurants guarantee comfortable accommodation and meals.
The mountain ranges surrounding the lake at a manageable distance, especially in Austria and Switzerland, also provide excellent winter conditions for alpine ski slopes of several hundred metres in height. Provided there is always enough snow, even lower altitudes offer a wide range of winter sports opportunities. Even towns and municipalities directly on the lake offer winter pleasures, from specially equipped skating rinks to guided hiking routes and events adapted to the season such as Christmas markets, curling competitions and special trips on Lake Constance ships with a winter culinary focus.
Winter sports on Lake Constance
Skiing / Snowboarding
Vorarlberg in Austria offers a comprehensive selection with eleven ski resorts for classic downhill runs from up to 1,785 m altitude. The ski resorts maintain slopes in up to three difficulty levels between 1.5 and 27 km total length. Differences in altitude of over 600 m can be found on the Pfänder near Bregenz, on particularly wide and sunny descents in Laterns (25 km to Bregenz) with the traditional Gapfohl ski area and in Schwarzenberg am Bödele (19 km to Bregenz), where several ski lifts await you.
Snowboarding can be practised optimally in additional areas of your own, called fun parks, such as in Laterns/Gapfohl. The Pfänder region is also suitable for snowboarders. The "halfpipes" made of snow and ice for snowboarders with tiller cutters on their snow groomers can be found for example in Scheidegg / West-Allgäu, 18 km from Lindau. About 22 km further on, snowboarders are also welcome on the 40 km of machine-maintained pistes with a total of 28 lifts from Oberstaufen.
On the Swiss side of Lake Constance, Ebenalp/Schwende in the Säntis area, approx. 40 km from Rorschach and at 1,640 m above sea level, has appropriate facilities. The fun park there will be covered with snow from December. A total of 4 km of pistes with different levels of difficulty await you. The Pizol area near Bad Ragaz, about 70 km away, not only entices skiers to descend over 1,700 metres above sea level, but also offers a spectacular view of Lake Constance, Liechtenstein and the other Swiss mountains. Slopes with a total length of 40 km are prepared for you there.
Most of the descents described extend your skiing day with floodlights into the evening, whereby this night skiing service in the individual resorts is of very different duration.
The ski areas around Lake Constance, which are mostly not too high, are also ideal for touring skiers, skiers who want to move outside the prepared pistes and often also the existing lifts, if the snow conditions are suitable. For beginners, courses are offered in Dornbirn and Bregenz, which can then also be put into practice in the nearby, extensive Bregenzerwald, such as Bödele.
Skiing on even terrain: cross-country skiing in an attractive Lake Constance environment
Traced cross-country trails and a harmonious landscape are the ideal conditions for health-promoting cross-country skiing on skis. Many of the winter sports resorts near Lake Constance offer this alternative to pure downhill skiing. Scheidegg in the Westallgäu has 5 cross-country trails between 4 and 50 kilometres on the super cross-country trail Waldsee-Alpsee as well as very different altitude distances.
In the surroundings of Bregenz and Dornbirn you will find extensive cross-country trails, for example 23 km in the Mellau-Damüls ski area or the Grenzland trail over 50 km near Hittisau. The Gais cross-country skiing centre in Appenzell offers a 30 km cross-country ski run, about 29 km away from Rorschach, and about 7 km further on, in Gonten, you will find 35 tracked kilometres of snow in a magnificent winter backdrop.
Many of these cross-country tracks are designed for both the classic cross-country method and the modern skating technique, some of which are of different lengths, which enables faster progress.
On skids through the snow: tobogganing and sledging on Lake Constance
The toboggan, which is steered by shifting the weight, can also be used for lower snow heights than those required for skiing. This means that more areas are suitable for "tobogganing", as this type of locomotion in the snow is called in Swiss German, than for skiing.
There is a separate toboggan run very close to Bregenz in the Pfänder area on the Fluh. In Damüls there is a 2.5 km long natural toboggan run. Since not only children but also adults enjoy tobogganing, floodlights extend the tobogganing day into the evening hours. In the Westallgäu, Oberstaufen (36 km to Lindau) has a 2 km toboggan run with medium difficulty. You can also toboggan on the Säntis in Switzerland. On the 7 km long run from Kronberg to Jakobsbad near St. Gallen, not only the toboggan run takes your breath away, but also the view of the Säntis. The nearby Pizol area with a 7 km long, permanently groomed runway, whereby the last 3.5 km are reserved for experienced skiers, offers a similarly outstanding view of Lake Constance. The night sledging there gets a special accent with the fondue on the mountain.
On foot in the snow - snowshoe hiking
Of course, winter hikes are possible with all suitable weatherproof boots and boots, but the modern special snowshoes with a large contact surface prevent the foot from sinking too deep into the snow. While skis and snowshoes occasionally meant the same thing in earlier decades, modern designs in the 90s of the last century established a trend sport for which the region around Lake Constance with its hilly to mountainous surface is ideally suited. In addition, a snow depth of 15 cm is sufficient.
Almost all winter sports resorts offer guided tours, especially for groups, as this type of locomotion in snow-covered terrain is especially fun together. Depending on the terrain and your own speed, snowshoeing can be practised as a purely leisure activity or as a competitive sport. Nordic Snowshoeing" also opens up a year-round training opportunity for Nordic Walking enthusiasts. Examples are the 30 km of cleared and daily maintained winter hiking trails on the Pfänderrücken in Vorarlberg and the 4 km of groomed panorama circular hiking trail with magnificent views in the Swiss Pizol winter sports resort.
Family-friendly winter magic on Lake Constance
Children love their "magic carpets", conveyor belts that bring them on their skis to the right height for children. A number of winter sports resorts around Lake Constance offer childcare to ease the burden on parents on "their" slopes.
Supplementary courses for children and parents and children are offered, for example, in the Pizol region of Switzerland. In the children's area of the Gapfohl family ski area near Bregenz, very young children are looked after free of charge. In Sinswang near Oberstaufen, the kids can expect their own varied course with a "rocket lift", which means a special transport experience.
Ice skating and winter swimming on the lake
Since children love variety, they also enjoy winter offers without snow. Ice rinks are ideal for this, as they attract families to the Überlingen landing area between the end of November and the beginning of January to do their rounds or take part in curling. There is also a similar attraction in Friedrichshafen as part of the Christmas market.
Winter swimming also occasionally takes place in the lake itself, but it is much more relaxing to visit one of the thermal baths near the shore. The Bodensee-Therme in Konstanz, the Meersburg Therme and the Bodensee-Therme Überlingen, for example, also include a sauna landscape and a children's adventure world directly on the lake. Eight different saunas in the sauna oasis Radolfzell are a great place to relax. The amusement park in Schaffhausen offers well-groomed swimming and saunas, while in Bludenz, 55 km behind Bregenz, an Alpine adventure pool right next to the ski slopes awaits you.
Feel good all around on Lake Constance even in winter
The numerous winter sports resorts and the special winter offers directly on the shore attract more and more visitors, even in the cold season, directly to Lake Constance. At the same time, the wholesome, varied and tasty cuisine around Lake Constance also contributes decisively to the well-being of visitors in winter, especially as many restaurateurs tailor their menus to this season and the needs of winter tourists. They are thus an ideal complement to the classic après-ski offer in huts and kiosks. The Christmas markets in all major Lake Constance municipalities also offer seasonal culinary incentives. Thus the Lake Constance region is an attractive and worth considering alternative to the direct stay in the winter sports resort not only for families.
In December, numerous Christmas markets and events await visitors.