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Groomed toboggan runs in Switzerland are waiting to be taken under the skids.
Close your eyes and start dreaming… Fresh snow has fallen and transformed the landscape into a dream world. The trees wear a thick coat of snow that trickles gently from the branches like sugar. An animal trace is lost in the forest. Mountain peaks gleam like crystals in the distance under a stark blue sky…
Don't you just want to hop on a sled and zip through this dreamy winter wonderland?
Switzerland is a paradise for sledders. Officially, there are approximately 150 toboggan runs but in actuality, there are many more. Every mountain village has roads that are shared by sledders and mountain vehicles. Oh the fun we had riding the sled to school. The snowplough operator always left one side of the road without sand so the kids could sled uninterrupted the community roads. Of course, a lot has changed since then. Not only is there way more traffic (and often less snow), nowadays children get picked up by the school bus.
So, if you are heading to the Alps in winter and want to know where all the fun takes place, I've compiled a list with the most exciting and longest toboggan runs in Switzerland.
Weather is a fickle thing, so if you want to make sure that there's enough snow for sledding, plan your visit anywhere between mid-January to mid-March.
You can rent a sled in all these locations, either hourly, for half or an entire day, or even longer if you wish. Prices start at approximately CHF 8. Also, ask at the hotel you are staying if they provide sleds for their guests - that might be cheaper or even free of charge.
Most toboggan runs offer some kind of transportation that brings you up to the top - prices depend of the mode of transportation. Often, you receive a discount with one of the Swiss Travel Passes. Bergün/Bravuogn (Graubünden) is a particularly fun run for the whole family and the only one that involves a ride with the regular local train.
There are still a few 'old fashioned' toboggan runs where you have to pull the sled uphill for about an hour or so. Exercise at its best in fresh alpine air! Of course, you can hike up uphills on other toboggan runs too - free of charge ;-)
Some location offer full moon and night tobogganing adventures with or without extra offers, such as fondues, torch light rides etc. For more information ask the village tourist office where you are staying (or your hotel).
Dress warm. You can get wet and therefore Jeans are not exactly ideal. Water repellent fabric is best. Don't forget the gloves, caps and sunglasses. For steeper runs I recommend wearing a helmet (you can rent that too). We have a saying: "Kluge Köpfe schützen sich", meaning "Smart people protect themselves". And above all - wear sturdy, waterproof winter boots with a good profile - after all, they are your 'brake pedals'.
Some toboggan runs are steeper than others, but pretty much manageable for all. It's up to you how fast you want to go. If you have small kids, don't let them have their own sleds on these steeper runs, rather take them on your sled. However, if sledding is new to you, try first a less steeper hill to get aquainted with the slde.
Let faster drivers go first or let them pass easily. Do not sled on your stomach with your head in front. You might think that this is a silly remark, but believe me, there are many just doing that. And if you are not used to high speed, this is very dangerous. My l'ill brother crushed his fingers badly this way. He was lucky not to hit his head at the wall.
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