Winter Olympics for everyone

Some winter Olympic disciplines are also on offer to amateurs. Part 2: ski jumping, biathlon, ice skating.

Ski jumping

Amateur ski jumpers can test their mettle at Hohenbogen in the Bavarian Forest. Once they have been securely attached to two ropes with hooks, a relatively steep in-run ensures they have enough momentum to float up to 150 metres through the air before reaching the ground. A harness brakes their fall, guaranteeing a soft landing. At a workshop on the youth ski jump in Oberstdorf in the Allgäu region, experienced skiers can even attempt an unsecured jump.


A “Biathlon for Everyone” is held twice a week in winter at the Fritz Fischer Biathlon Camp near Ruhpolding. At the Chiemgau Arena world cup venue, visitors can experience for themselves just how difficult it is to combine cross-country skiing with rifle shooting. A team of expert trainers is on hand to help them polish their skating technique and to teach them how to handle the small-bore biathlon rifle.

Ice skating

The Zeche Zollverein ice rink is set against what may well be the most unusual backdrop – with skaters gliding past huge industrial chimneys, impressive coking furnaces and rusty red pipes. For four weeks every winter, ice skaters can whizz their way around 1,800 square metres of ice that is smooth as glass at the Zollverein coal mine, a UNESCO World Heritage site. When darkness falls, the industrial architecture is illuminated by a light installation created by Jonathan Speirs and Mark Major.