When you open your tent in the morning, the first thing that comes into view is Garmisch-Partenkirchen's landmark – the ski jumping hill. That's what the place is known for: nordic and alpine sports, ski jumping and down hill skiing, world championships and Olympic Winter games. So what are 150 tents doing at the foot of the jumping hill in summer? They are there for the AlpenTestival 2015. It's the fourth year of the event and once again, numerous participants spend the night at the camp in the Olympic ski stadium. "People come to test new things," explains Katharina Neuner, project manager of the AlpenTestival presented by Garmisch-Partenkirchen Tourismus. Visitors can test the newest products outdoor suppliers have to offer on guided hiking, climbing and mountain-bike tours. They can also discover Garmisch-Partenkirchen and its surrounding region as a summer destination.
More than a ski resort
"Garmisch-Partenkirchen has a lot of great things to offer in summer," Katharina Neuner tells us. In order to present the full scope of exciting things to do to people, the entire team of Garmisch-Partenkirchen Tourismus works hands-on at the AlpenTestival. The accountant makes sure the lavatories are clean, while the tourism director's secretary guides the sunrise hike. "Our tourism director Peter Nagel is quite lonely when he comes to the office in those three days: The entire team is at the AlpenTestival," smiles Neuner. It was Nagel's idea to attract visitors to the Garmisch-Partenkirchen region with the Testival in summer. The region is undoubtedly a hot spot for winter tourism. Not only large professional sports events bring thousands of guests to the town; 60 kilometres of downhill ski slopes, 28 kilometres cross-country skiing trails, toboggan runs, and ski tours on untouched mountain tops also attract recreational athletes from all over the world.
Summer, sun and GaPaLand
The mountains are just as gorgeous in summer. "My favourite spot in summer is the summit at the Eckbauer aerial lift. The view is just breathtaking," Neuner shares. The vista at 1236 metres above sea level is indeed marvellous – the summits of Zugspitze, Alpspitze and Karwendel are in full view. The two glaciers Schneeferner and Höllentalferner seem a stone's throw away. For all those in need of refreshment after a long climb to the top, a cool surprise awaits in the Partnachklamm. Here, along a length of 700 metres, the Partnach torrent has carved its way up to 80m deep into the Reintal valley. If the single-digit temperatures of the wild stream are too fresh for you, try one of the beautiful lakes in the vicinity: Riessersee, Ferchensee, Lautersee, Geroldsee. Or go take a dinghy rowing tour on Loisach river!
Evenings at the Schanze
In the evening, all the AlpenTestival visitors return from the many mountains and lakes and settle down at the foot of the great ski jumping hill. Bonfires and live music await them and they can relax and share the day's adventures with their fellow campers. Before going to sleep in your tent, catch one last glance of the legendary ski jumping hill – Garmisch-Partenkirchen as we all know it. But also in a new light.