Snow in Stuttgart

Snow in Stuttgart

Whether you find snow a nos­tal­gic delight, a strange new expe­ri­ence, or sim­ply a both­er, it’s smart to be pre­pared. Check out our tips to ensure you’re well informed when it comes to snow in Stuttgart!

Legal responsibilities

Res­i­dents are respon­si­ble for keep­ing the side­walks adja­cent to their prop­er­ty safe and pass­able. This means clear­ing them of snow and ice and putting down sand or fine grav­el for trac­tion. Putting down road salt is pro­hib­it­ed except in the case of freez­ing rain. So, if you want to lim­it ice in advance of a freeze, put down sand or a sim­i­lar grit­ty sub­stance instead.

The side­walks should be cleared by a cer­tain time in the morn­ing. This can vary a bit by loca­tion, but gen­er­al­ly is around 7:00 AM and a bit lat­er (8:00 or 9:00) on Sun­days and hol­i­days. Side­walks are expect­ed to remain clear until around 8:00 PM. So, in the case of con­tin­u­al snow­fall, the side­walk should be swept or shov­eled peri­od­i­cal­ly, or at least before and after the work­day. Sand or a fine grav­el also needs to be applied reg­u­lar­ly any­where that could become slick or form black ice.

The side­walks should be cleared to pro­vide a path with a width of 1.2–1.5 meters (4–4.5 feet). Small paths (includ­ing unpaved ones), for exam­ple to an area with garbage bins, only need to be cleared to a width of half a meter (1.5 feet).

The snow you clear should be piled up off the side­walk unless there is no gar­den or oth­er space avail­able. It should not be moved onto the road. If there’s no oth­er option, the snow can be piled at the side of the road with­out block­ing any storm drains or dis­abil­i­ty ramps.

If you live in an apart­ment build­ing, you may already be pay­ing for a “Win­ter­di­enst” as part of your rent (or rather, your Nebenkosten). That means that the res­i­dents col­lec­tive­ly pay some­one to clear the side­walks and steps. If not, you’ll prob­a­bly find a cal­en­dar or sign-up sheet in the lob­by of your build­ing where res­i­dents can take it in turn to be respon­si­ble in case of snow. Tech­ni­cal­ly, the land­lord or prop­er­ty own­er is respon­si­ble for snow removal, but they gen­er­al­ly pass on this respon­si­bil­i­ty to their tenant(s) in the lease.

While gen­er­al­ly you won’t be fined for fail­ing to keep your side­walk cleared and scat­tered with sand, you will be held liable if any­one slips and falls due to your neglect. (Read our arti­cle about per­son­al lia­bil­i­ty insur­ance.) If you’re out of town, you can ask a neigh­bor to cov­er for you or hire an exter­nal ser­vice to take care of it instead.

Safety near home

Warm cloth­ing is easy to remem­ber, but it’s also impor­tant to invest in prop­er footwear that’s both water­proof and has excel­lent non-slip soles. Avoid walk­ing too close to the edge of sloped roofs or over­hang­ing gut­ters. Falling snow sheets and ici­cles can cause unex­pect­ed injuries. Home­own­ers are respon­si­ble for putting out signs warn­ing passers­by of such a risk. You can also keep an eye out for such signs when you are out walk­ing or run­ning errands.

If you live in a pri­vate home, be care­ful to keep your path and front steps clear and scat­tered with sand or grit to avoid slip­ping and falling. In rare cas­es, you may also need to clear your roof of snow if there is a long peri­od of heavy snow­fall or repeat­ed thaws and freezes. Be care­ful not to under­es­ti­mate the weight on your roof; a thin 1‑cm lay­er of ice has a weight sim­i­lar to 10 cm of pow­dery snow!

Play­ing with snow is lots of fun. How­ev­er, remind your chil­dren to be care­ful when snow becomes icy or hard. They should pro­tect their hands to avoid cuts and nev­er throw dense­ly packed or icy snow­balls. Also warn them nev­er to walk out on frozen water. In the Stuttgart area, bod­ies of water almost nev­er freeze to a depth safe for peo­ple to walk on. It’s bet­ter just to enjoy watch­ing the ducks do so!

Taking care on the roads

In the win­ter, it’s always a good idea to check the weath­er fore­cast and road con­di­tions before get­ting in your car. In the case of win­ter storm warn­ings, min­i­mize your dri­ving. If pos­si­ble, stay at home or con­sid­er tak­ing pub­lic trans­porta­tion.

Make sure your car is well main­tained. In par­tic­u­lar, check your brakes, coolant sys­tem, and wipers. In addi­tion to the usu­al required emer­gency kit, try to keep the fol­low­ing sup­plies in your car dur­ing the win­ter months: a snow brush, a wind­shield scraper, a shov­el, some sand, a flash­light and extra bat­ter­ies, blan­kets, and addi­tion­al warm clothing.

You need to have snow tires or all-sea­son tires on your car in win­try con­di­tions. Since these can come up quick­ly and unex­pect­ed­ly, most Ger­mans fol­low the old rule of thumb of putting win­ter tires on “from O to O” mean­ing “von Okto­ber bis Ostern”, or from Octo­ber to East­er. Rel­a­tive­ly recent leg­is­la­tion has made the stan­dards for snow tires high­er; com­pli­ant tires are marked with the shape of a snowflake inside the out­line of a three-peaked moun­tain. If you are caught dri­ving with­out snow tires dur­ing win­ter weath­er, you will be sub­ject to a fine and a point on your license, and in the case of an acci­dent in snowy con­di­tions, both the dri­ver and the vehi­cle own­er will be fined and giv­en a point.

If you’re plan­ning a trip to the moun­tains, check whether your route will include any spe­cial con­cerns. Cer­tain high moun­tain roads may require chains in the win­ter. They are marked with signs that read “Schneeket­tenpflicht”. You may also want to inform your­self about pos­si­ble detours in case of road closures.

Fun on the slopes

Stuttgart has plen­ty of hills for sled­ding. Some favorite pub­lic spots include:

Rosen­stein Park, up near the Naturkundemuseum

Vil­la Berg Park

Killes­berg Park

Slopes near the Bis­mar­ck­turm

Paths between the vine­yards in Roten­berg, Unter­turkheim, such as at Mönch­berg and Schloßberg

Hills around the Körschtal

Open areas below Schloss Soli­tude

There are sev­er­al options for ski­ing and snow­board­ing in the near­by Swabi­an Alb. Most lifts and resorts are in the south­ern part of the Black For­est. The high­est moun­tain of the Black For­est, the Feld­berg, ris­es 1493 meters (4898 feet) above sea lev­el, so under­stand­ably it offers the most impres­sive slopes. The moun­tain, town, and health & ski resort all share the name, and the ski lifts run on aver­age 100 days a year. Near­by See­bruck has a snow­board­ing fun park and, depend­ing on snow con­di­tions, some­times des­ig­nates cer­tain slopes as for snow­board­ing only. Most resorts offer a vari­ety of win­ter sports as well as lessons and children’s programs.