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Sledding on Mount Rigi

The sled is waiting - tokamuwi  / pixelio.de

Temperatures have been below zero for almost a week now and -5 C surprisingly feels quite warm.  If you don't consider the freezing temperatures, the weather has actually been quite good here in Switzerland. Most days have been dry and sunny with some light snow in between. This means, if you wrap yourself in warm clothes, cover head, hands and face, you can actually have some great fun outside.

A Visit from Friends & a Day of Sledding

When some friends from abroad came to visit me last week, I was worried they would suffer terribly from the cold. Surprisingly, they handled it quite well and so I decided to take them up on a Swiss mountain and go sledding with them.

Since there is no sledding slope on Mount Pilatus I took them up another mountain in central Switzerland: Mount Rigi. The Queen of the Mountains, as Rigi is also called, is 1797m high and a popular destination for tourists and locals and only about an hour from Zurich by car. During the summer, people mainly go up Mount Rigi for hiking or to enjoy the great view of the alps you have from the summit. During the winter months, one can also go skiing, snowboarding or sledding.

Getting Ready for Sledding & Getting to the Mountain

I told my friends to put on several layers of warm clothes (I think we all put on at least 3 layers!), strap warm boots, put on scarfs, gloves and hats and we were ready for our Rigi adventure.

There are 3 ways to get up to the top of Rigi where the sledding slope starts:
  1. Take the cable car from Weggis and then the train to Rigi Kulm
  2. Take the cog rail train from Vitznau up to the summit
  3. Take the cog rail train from Goldau up to the summit
We decided for option #2, taking the cog rail form Vitznau. We put our car in the parking lot of the Vitznau train station, got day passes for sledding at the ticket office and took a train up to Rigi Kulm.

On a nice day you'd have an amazing view over the Vierwaldstättersee (lit. Lake of the four cantons) but we were a bit unlucky and only saw some snow covered trees and white fog.  Anyway, we made it to the icy top (about -18C up there), rented Swiss sleighs at the renting station and started the journey downward on the sledding slope. 

The Sledding Slope

The slope elegantly curves down the side of Mount Rigi with several interesting turns, descents and a great view. It takes about 20 minutes to sled down to Klösterli train station from where you can take the train up to the summit.

Our faces and feet got cold from the wind chill while sledding down but we were always able to warm up again in the train station or the heated train. Thank God for heating! We enjoyed several rides up and down Mount Rigi until we happily left central Switzerland, exhausted after a fun day out in the cold.

Other Winter Activities on Mount Rigi

While riding the trains up and down the mountain we had plenty of time to study other activities of interest on Mount Rigi:
  • Night sledding and night skiing on Friday evenings
  • Fondue in the nostalgic Rigi trains on the summit
  • Snow shoe hiking
  • Sleeping in on of the hotels or pensions on the mountain
For more information check out the Rigi Website.





© 2012 IRENE WYRSCH "A HUMOROUS GUIDE TO SWITZERLAND" ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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