The 24th of February was marked red in our calendars: that weekend day was picked for a one-day-trip to the Winterwelt Schmiedefeld, a regional winter sport resort. So, on that cold Saturday morning our small group of ten, consisting of CGE staff members, students from the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy and European volunteers from Erfurt based EVS host organisations (Alice from the Naturfreundejugend Thüringen, Antoine from the Thuringian state chancellery and Ondra & Fred from CGE) met in front of Erfurt main station to take part in an amazing adventure!

Our small regional train took us through the valleys and hills of Thuringia and eventually to the city of Suhl in the middle of the Thuringian Forest. From there a local bus picked us up and so we reached the petite town of Schmiedefeld.

Once there, we went directly to the tourist information office (Brunnenstraße 1, 98711 Schmiedefeld am Rennsteig), whose friendly staff gave us maps and a clear direction on how to reach the winter resort as well. As we left for skis and snow, it was time for the group to split from Ondrej, who went by cross-county skies on his own journey of discovery in the mountains and valleys of the surrounding area.

Outfitted with rented skis and more layers of clothes we were ready to conquer the hill and soon found ourselves with an extensive amount of adrenaline and a pint or two of endorphins.

For the snowboarders, the biggest challenge was the lift, which seemed rather unwilling to cooperate and let them to have some fun. Nevertheless, all of us eventually managed to get to the top of the hill. The view over the sun-bathed valley of the Thuringian Forest valley was simply spectacular and amazed us deeply. Thus inspired, we had our first go at making it downhill and, despite falling quite often, had a tremendous amount of fun.

For some of us this was actually the first experiences with winter sports, so it was quite interesting (and let’s be honest, hilarious) to see people learn and get better throughout the day. To make the breaks more pleasurable, we enjoyed hot coffee and Glühwein, and got warm from the cold and the wind in a Hütte nearby.

At the end of the day we were rejoined by Ondrej and heard about his fun experience of getting lost several times. The train ride back to Erfurt was as lively as the one to Suhl in the morning. If you would have been there with us, you would have probably seen our tired but happy faces as the results of day a very well spent.

As we said our goodbyes at the train station in Erfurt, we promised to arrange more such fun and dynamic activities!

For those, who would like to repeat out journey, here are a few tips:
Transport: Buy Thüringen-Ticket for your group, it will cover the costs of up to 5 passengers for the whole day, using any means of public transport.
Equipment: If you couldn’t lend skies or snowboards from your friends, then you might be interested in renting them from a local distributor “Cebulla” (for half a day – 10/15 euros).
Ski pass: Don’t overestimate yourself and buy daily card to use the lift at the piste, winter sports aren’t that ease-peasy business. First, try to slide/ski from the small hills nearby and only then buy the ski pass. We ordered one for 4 hours (12,50 euros) and it was more than enough to satisfy our hunger for adrenaline.

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