If you’ve had enough of skiing and want to try something a bit different, Switzerland has it all: ice diving, heliskiing, snowkiting and Europe’s longest sledge. And have you tried airboarding yet?
Photo by Ottawas
Europe’s longest sledge run
Bussalp in Grindelwald, in the Bernese Alps (near Bern), has Europe’s longest sledge run – an impressive 15 kilometres from the top of the Faulhorn (at 2 681 metres height) to the bottom of the run in Grindelwald. The ride is surrounded by incredible views of the three mountains the region is famous for: Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.
Experienced scuba divers can try ice diving in the Lake Lioson in Les Mosses, Switzerland’s only ice diving spot. Three holes are cut in the ice in the beginning of the season, and the site is well maintained and open for experienced divers during the winter months between December and April. You’ll need to bring your diving certificate to be allowed to dive, and divers have to take responsibility for their own safety.
Airboarding is a Swiss invention: you lie on top of an inflatable body board and steer it down the slope by shifting your own weight. Airboards is not allowed on ski slopes but they are allowed on some sledge runs, and there are also slopes specifically made for airboarding. Filzbach in Glaris, near Lake Walenstadt (Walensee) has good airboarding facilities and rents boards too. You’ll also need to wear helmets and knee protection, and good footwear.
Grab hold of a kite and fly over ice and snow on your skis or on your snowboard: snowkiting is a little like kitesurfing. One of the best places for snowkiting in Switzerland is said to be the Berninapass in Graubünden, where you can also take lessons in snowkiting and hire equipment. If you want to see what snowkiting looks like before you try it, the Swiss Snowkite Championship is held at Lake Silvaplana from 3 to 5 March 2011.
The Olympia Bob Run
A true thrill for those who like speed, the Olympia Bob Run from St. Moritz to Celerina is the world’s only natural ice bobsleigh run. You’ll get into a bobsleigh together with two professional drivers and cover a distance of around 1600 metres in about one minute. The minimum age for participants is 18. The starting point for the bob run is behind Hotel Bären in St. Moritz.
Hotel Deals in Bern
Hotel Ambassador & Spa, Bern
This 4-star business and wellness hotel in Berne, in a quiet location between the Aare River and the Gurten Mountain.
Hotel Continental, Bern
This luxury hotel is located in Bern, close to Clock Tower, Theater am Zytglogge, and Zahringerbrunnen. Also nearby are Bundeshaus and Berner Munster.