Zugspitze kicks off German ski season

Germany’s ski season will begin a bit early, as ample snowfall allows operators to open the slopes on country’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze, this weekend.

Zugspitze kicks off German ski season
A ski lesson on the Zugzpitze. Photo: DPA

The country’s only glacier ski area on the 2,962-metre peak near Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the Bavarian Alps will be the first resort to open this year on October 30, operator Bayerische Zugspitzbahn Bergbahn AG announced on Wednesday.

“We are very happy that we’ve been blessed again this year with white splendour and can therefore be the first to officially ring in the German winter,” spokesperson Eva-Maria Greimel said in a statement.

With already 80 centimetres of fresh snow, the first four of the ski area’s lifts will be open, providing access to some 20 kilometres of piste for winter sports lovers.

Saturday’s weather is expected to cooperate with the opening, with bright sunshine in the forecast, the mountain management said.

Last year the Zugspitze opened a week sooner on October 25 with even more snow, marking the first season opening that early in eight years.

Click here for The Local’s weather forecast.

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Four injured as WWII bomb explodes near Munich train station

Four people were injured, one of them seriously, when a World War II bomb exploded at a building site near Munich's main train station on Wednesday, emergency services said.

Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich.
Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Privat

Construction workers had been drilling into the ground when the bomb exploded, a spokesman for the fire department said in a statement.

The blast was heard several kilometres away and scattered debris hundreds of metres, according to local media reports.

Images showed a plume of smoke rising directly next to the train tracks.

Bavaria interior minister Joachim Herrmann told Bild that the whole area was being searched.

Deutsche Bahn suspended its services on the affected lines in the afternoon.

Although trains started up again from 3pm, the rail operator said there would still be delays and cancellations to long-distance and local travel in the Munich area until evening. 

According to the fire service, the explosion happened near a bridge that must be passed by all trains travelling to or from the station.

The exact cause of the explosion is unclear, police said. So far, there are no indications of a criminal act.

WWII bombs are common in Germany

Some 75 years after the war, Germany remains littered with unexploded ordnance, often uncovered during construction work.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about WWII bomb disposals in Germany

However, most bombs are defused by experts before they explode.

Last year, seven World War II bombs were found on the future location of Tesla’s first European factory, just outside Berlin.

Sizeable bombs were also defused in Cologne and Dortmund last year.

In 2017, the discovery of a 1.4-tonne bomb in Frankfurt prompted the evacuation of 65,000 people — the largest such operation since the end of the war in Europe in 1945.