It’s winter in Germany. Especially in the Alps, there’s a lot of snow up there and the temperatures are freezing. And yet, the nature revealed by the season is spectacular and with the right paddling equipment you are totally fine. Winter paddling is an experience like no other!
Anja Moerk from Girls On SUPs tells us about her latest adventure in Bavaria, Germany:
Stand up Paddling Winter Wonderland: The German Alps
Tourists are passing by as I unpack my Fanatic inflatable paddle board in the parking area next to Lake Eibsee in Bavaria. Some people are smiling and asking questions. Others stare and shake their heads. Still others just ignore me, most probably because they think I’m totally nuts.
Stand up paddling in winter is not for everyone. For me however, in the German Alps, it is a wonderful thing.
Lake Eibsee, Germany: a perfect winter wonderland
I’m trying not to slip on the icy ground as I carry my board along the lakefront to the little spot where I can access the lake. Lake Eibsee is in front of me like a huge mirror. My heart is jumping when I do my first paddle strokes along the shoreline. It’s the perfect winter wonderland with ice crystals on the rocks, beautiful old fir trees covered with snow and the sun slowly crawling up behind Germany’s highest mountain, Zugspitze. My breath is visible in the ice-cold air.
A view worth every stoke
I paddle about half mile before I turn around for the first time. The view is stunning. It takes my breath away. The massive mountain, the lake shore with the trees blanketed by snow – all are perfectly mirrored in the glassy lake. While so many people would never go Stand Up Paddling in freezing temperatures – even for a lot of money – I just feel so blessed to be able to explore my passion in the winter as well.
Winter paddling: Know Before You Go
If you want to try paddling this winter, there are several items you need to consider. The appropriate outfit is a Drysuit with layers of functional clothing underneath, including waterproof socks and thick neoprene boots. You also need a scarf to warm your neck, a beanie for your noggin and maybe waterproof gloves. It is best to also wear a personal flotation device you can inflate if you somehow get separated from your board. I think it’s best to always consider the worst case scenario when preparing a trip.
What would happen if I fall? Will I be able to get back on my board within seconds? Am I able to reach a warm spot (like the car) quickly? Most importantly, never overestimate yourself. You should be fit, an experienced paddler and a good swimmer. I never paddle alone in winter to make sure somebody is there to help me the unpredictable happens – and I recommend the same to you.
Wear a leash, so you don’t lose your board if you fall. Take some warm tea and something to eat with you on board. If you realize, you didn’t dress warmly enough and you start to feel cold, get back on land and come back for another tour with the right outfit. Do not put yourself in danger at any time.
Stand up paddling brings you a new perspective
I know, this is a lot to think of, but it’s definitely worth the journey. From your paddle board, will see things most people will never see in their entire lives. You will experience a peace and freedom beyond anything else. And finally you will see so many funny faces when you come back with a big smile on your face, trying to roll up your frozen inflatable sup board after your trip. Winter paddling – yes or no?
Oh hell, YES!
Anja Moerk is a German Sup blogger (www.suplife.blog). She lives in Munich, Germany and paddles the waters in Bavaria and around the globe with her friend Julia. See more pictures on Instagram: @girls_on_sups