von Nicolas Lair
March 29, 2023
Welcome to the Winterwanderland
What do you do if you don't feel like strapping on your skis in winter, but still want to experience something? What do you do if you really want to become one with nature? In Seefeld, there is a winter activity that has been a tradition here for over 60 years and has the perfect answer to these questions.
It is quiet. So quiet that you can hear the winter. The snow on the Seefeld plateau crunches promisingly under the soles of my shoes. A stream gurgles softly beneath the delicate ice cover, from which a small floe occasionally breaks away with a crackle. At this moment, I think to myself, this is 100 per cent enjoyment of nature! You don't need a lift ticket or skis under your feet. If it's up to me, the new trend for active holidaymakers looking for relaxation should be winter hiking. You can slow down, actively relax and do something good for yourself here without any stress or top sporting performance. The decisive fact for me: the extended tours through the snow lift the mood and reduce stress. Another fact: the 142 kilometres of groomed hiking trails on the Seefeld plateau provide a very special feeling of being alone with the beautiful natural surroundings.
Winter hiking to combat the blues of the dark season
Similar to forest bathing in summer, the scent of the forest also has a soothing and calming effect in winter. Scientific studies have shown that a longer stay in the forest in winter also lowers blood pressure and strengthens the body's defences. Exercise also increases physical fitness, the fresh air keeps the airways clear and the sunlight replenishes vitamin D stores. Klaus Erber, Chairman of the German Hiking Institute, tells me that winter hiking is trendy and healthy: "Exercise in the fresh air boosts serotonin production and circulation. Even when the sky is grey and cloudy." So hiking in winter takes the wind out of the sails of the winter blues. Even better: winter hiking is a natural antidepressant.
Whether big or small: a sport for everyone
Easy to get started, low risk of injury, hardly any alpine risks and suitable for all age groups. In short: anyone can go winter hiking. The low costs are also convincing for me. Expensive equipment and lift passes are superfluous here. Every hiker actually has warm functional clothing and a rucksack in their wardrobe. The rest is a matter of common sense. Choose the right route length, check the weather forecast, wear multiple layers of clothing and don't forget your hat, gloves and sun cream. Then you're almost ready to set off. If there is no catered hut on the way, we recommend taking a thermos flask of hot tea and a snack as provisions. Hiking expert Klaus Erber also recommends telescopic poles and Grödel poles. The latter work like snow chains for mountain boots. With their spikes, they provide grip on frozen or icy ground.
Pure peace and nature experience
During my winter hiking research on the Seefeld plateau, I sought advice from a real expert. "The extensive plateau character of the Seefeld region and the gentle hills, forests and alpine pastures offer ideal terrain for winter hikes," winter hiking guide Marion Rottmoser from the Biohotel Leutascherhof tells me. What are her guests looking for? "Peace and quiet and an experience of nature." And there is plenty of that in the 16-kilometre-long Leutasch Valley at over 1,100 metres above sea level or in the Wildmoos nature reserve. Only interrupted by hamlets and rustic huts, often consisting of just a few houses, which offer hungry hikers a warm stop and a refreshing meal.
An emotional journey in the "eternal" snow
What does a winter hike in the Seefeld region really feel like? I'll take you into my emotional world. I set off early in the morning and first see the delicate veils of mist still hovering over the snowfields. The sun is already slowly making its way over the surrounding mountain peaks. Step by step, I make my way through the beautiful white solitude. Glistening snow crystals adorn the wooden bridge railings. Instead of racing down the slopes, as a winter hiker today I am intensely aware of every detail around me. The sight of the snow-covered forests, mountain pastures and meadows gives me a great feeling of happiness. The conditions seem perfect, which, according to hiking guide Marion, is not uncommon: "The interplay of various geographical and climatic factors means that we always get a lot of snow," says hiking guide Marion Rottmoser. With these words in my ear, I set off for my second breakfast cappuccino. The well-signposted winter hiking trails have led me from the public transport stop onto the hiking trail and are now guiding me to the next hut. I followed the tips from Marion: "A relaxed breakfast suits many guests. They enjoy the time that they often don't have in everyday life. In the morning they go winter hiking or cross-country skiing, at lunchtime they go to the hut, maybe go tobogganing and then relax in the wellness area in the late afternoon."
And if the weather does not play along?
Of course, I also wanted to know whether I could set off in heavy snowfall. "That's also part of the magic of winter hiking," says Marion and takes me on a journey with her words: "There's something very special about hiking in snow flurries." Trees line the edge of the path like shadows, piles of wood or shelters rise out of the white. Snowflakes melt merrily on the tip of your nose and the tingling sensation is reminiscent of carefree childhood days. The fresh snow even muffles the crunching of mountain boots. A marvellous mind game that is so easy to put into practice. At this moment, I ask myself what I would do if there was little or no snow. But Marion can reassure me here too. Winter hiking doesn't lose its charm if there isn't a thick blanket of snow on the fields and trees. On the contrary: this is exactly what makes winter hiking so special. With the right clothing, you can enjoy winter hiking all season long - regardless of whether there is much or little snow.
In any kind of weather
Whether it's fog, snowfall or blue skies, a winter hike in the Seefeld region is always worthwhile.
Travelling to the Seefeld region by public transport is just as relaxed as winter hiking itself. The highest ICE railway station in the Alps, which is open all year round, makes travelling to Seefeld easy - from near and far. From there, you can reach Weidach, Leutasch or all other parts of the region in around 20 minutes by bus. Bus transport to the starting points and return journeys from the hikes are included in the guest card. Arriving by car is also always possible without any problems, as there is more than enough parking space.
The next level: long-distance hiking in winter
If a normal winter hike is not enough for you, you should try out the XL-variant "long-distance hiking". Anyone who believes that this multi-day nature experience can only be enjoyed in summer has not yet been to the Leutasch Valley in winter. This is because people there have long since realised that long-distance hiking also has its very own appeal in the cold season and have been carving out a 54-kilometre circular trail in the snow for several years now. Over the course of four days, you will travel from hut to hut, through snow-covered forests, past mountain lakes glistening with hoarfrost and up to perfectly situated mountain pastures. By the way: you don't have to worry about your overnight luggage - the luggage service takes care of that.
Long-distance hiking around Seefeld
For four days in a row, you can trudge through the white paradise between Leutasch, Mösern and Seefeld.
Tour suggestions in the Seefeld region
Winter circular hike Mösern - Wildmoos
Idyllic winter tour through the snow-covered forests around the Brunschkopf.
Start and end point: Seefeld village square
Elevation gain: 247 metres
Walking time: 4 h
Refreshment stop: yes
Winter circular hike through the Mösern Valley
Leisurely snow walk from Seekirchl through the Möserer Tal valley and back.
Start and end point: Seekirchl Seefeld
Altitude metres: 11 m
Walking time: 1 h
Refreshment stop: at the end of the hike
Winter circular hike through the Katzenloch
A picturesque circular tour for all ages.
Start and end point: Rödlach car park in Moos
Elevation gain: 142 metres
Walking time: 2h 30m
Refreshment stop: yes
Winter circular hike on the Wiesenweg
Wonderful tour across snow-covered meadows and through sparse larch forests.
Start and end point: Kirchplatzl Leutasch
Metres in altitude: 61m
Walking time: 1h 45m
Refreshment stop: yes
All other winter hiking routes in the Seefeld region can be found here.
You could describe Nicolas as a real adrenaline junkie. In winter, he's either on his downhill skis or up to his waist in deep snow. In summer, he either throws himself off high cliffs or into the next football adventure. But his quests for a good life in precarious times can also include a backpack and a camera. Although the most important thing for him is the thrill of the unknown. You can always tempt Nicolas with good food and even better music, all best shared with his friends. Nicolas ist ein echter Adrenalinjunkie. Im Winter steht er entweder am Abfahrts-Ski oder bis zur Hüfte im Tiefschnee. Im Sommer schmeißt er sich entweder von hohen Klippen oder ins nächste Football-Abenteuer. Auf seine Abenteuer dürfen aber auch mal Berg-Rucksack und Kamera mitkommen. Hauptsache es gibt etwas zu erleben! Mit gutem Essen und besserer Musik kann man Nicolas immer ködern, mit Freunden geteilt schmecken ihm alle genannten Dinge am besten.