Skip to main content

Sledding on Mount Rigi

Der Schlitten wartet schon - tokamuwi  /

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

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 the great view of the alps you have from the summit. During the winter months, one can also go skiing, snowboarding or sledding.

So, 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 headed for our Rigi adventure. There are 3 ways to get up to the top of Rigi:
  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 #3. 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 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 somewhat after 4pm after a fun day out in the cold.

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.



Popular posts from this blog

How to Spot a Swiss Person

As an expat one usually spots fellow expats right away. It's not only the language or the looks of people but rather the little peculiarities of life that seem so normal at home that give us away while abroad. Obviously, it's a cliche that all people from the same place (country, city, continent) behave in the same way and I am far from making that claim. However, growing up in a certain surrounding does rub off on people's behavior and some similarities can certainly be observed.

This is also true for Swiss people. According to the Swiss stereotype, we are a clean, punctual and strictly organized people. However, there are many exceptions like my Swiss friend who is always late or my brother whose room was a total mess while growing up. Yet, although they do not fit the description of a typical Swiss person, they still have some traits that give them away as Swiss. The same is probably true for myself - if I like it or not.
10 Signs you are dealing with a Swiss Person So,…

Schätzli, Schnüggel and Müüsli - Terms of Endearment in Swiss German

If you've ever been invited to the home of a Swiss couple, you are probably familiar with the most popular Swiss German term of endearment "Schätzli" (little treasure) or one of it's many varieties like e.g. "Schatz" or "Schätzeli". Obviously, this is not the only pet name used by Swiss couples (or parents for that matter). Like many other languages, Swiss German offers a wide variety of words and phrases that you can use to address your loved one.

What most of these pet names have in common is the ending "-li" which basically turns the thing or person a word refers to into something small. For example "Haus" means house and "Hüüsli" means small house. This ending "-li" can also be added to first names as a means of endearment, e.g. Benjaminli, Estherli or Fabienneli.

I tried to come up with a collection of Swiss German pet names but realized I only know a handful. However, after combing through the interne…

10 Fun Things to do on a Rainy Day in Switzerland

The weather has been so so these last few days and will remain rainy and rather cold. No swimming in one of the many lakes of Switzerland, going on a nice bike trip or playing soccer outside unless you are willing to endure some heavy rain. :)

However, there are plenty of fun things to do in Switzerland even on rainy days. Here's the list of my current favorite rainy day activities:
Alpamare: Biggest water park of Switzerland with dozens of water slides and pools. It's open all year round since most of the baths and slides are indoors. It is perfect for a rainy day since there are usually less people than on a sunny day.Zoo Zurich: The famous zoo in Zurich features bears, elephants, monkeys, tigers and the mazoala hall (a tropical glass house). Many animals can be visited in their houses.Swiss National Museum: The Swiss National Museum in Zurich gives an overview over the cultural history of Switzerland. Swiss Museum of Transport: The Museum of Transport in Lucerne tells the h…