History of the Schneefernerhaus

From Germany's highest hotel to a modern research station

The Environmental Research Station Schneefernerhaus is located at 2650 m just below the summit of Germany's highest peak the Zugspitze, and is hence Germany's highest reserach station.

Started as hotel

The Schneefernerhaus was built in the thirties as hotel and terminus of the newly built rackrailway, and was frequently visited by tourists and skiers. After the openning in 1986 of 'Sonnalpin' in a more convenient location, the numer of visitors at Schneefernerhaus continuiesly decreased. Hence in the eraly ninties the hotel had to close. In the following years the State of Bavaria modified the hotel into a environmental research station, that was reopened in 1999.

Organization of the Environmental Research Station Schneefernerhaus as GmbH

Recently there are nine well-known research institutions permanently conducting scientific studies at the Schneefernerhaus and are forming together with the State of Bavaria the 'Members of the Consortium' of the station. There are using building with its 12 floors and terraces for the measurement of different parameters in order to solve recent and innovative research questions. They are interdisciplinary working on topics such as atmosphere, biosphere, hydrology, cryospher and medizine. But the Schneefernerhaus is not only open for the Members of the Consortium. Every scientific institution has the possibilty to submit its research idea (see research partners) and to conduct its study at the station. Hence, since 2007 there were over 50 additional teams carrying out their projects here.



Since 2007 the operational company of the UFS GmbH (BG UFS GmbH) is responsible for the station. There are around ten employees with educational background in science, engineering, event management and public relations who are at the station during daytime. The team is acting as service partner of the scientists and are taking care of high-alpine buidling's infrastructure. The main focus thereby is the support of the research teams and visitors, the organization of overnight guests as well as the maintenance of sientific instruments and devices.

The office of the UFS GmbH is at the bifa environmental institute in Augsburg. Since 2007 all belongings concerning the administration of the Schneefernerhaus are carried out by the three  employees at this institute. They are also available for all questions concerning the operational management.

Shareholder of the UFS GmbH are the State of Bavaria (represented by the Bavarian Ministry of the Environment and Consumer Protection as well as the Bavarian State of Finance), the community of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the distrcit of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and the community Grainau.

During the last years the UFS GmbH also started to conduct, in cooperation with its scientific partners, its own scientific projects in order to enhance the research possibilities for the scientists.

Picture credits

Münchner Haus: © Sonnweber;
historic leaflets: © Stiftung Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin, Hist. Archiv