Around Lausanne, in the Pre-Alps and Jura, there are several breath-taking locations for winter activities combined with traditional restaurants where you can enjoy the local fare. Park your sled outside the restaurant and enjoy a classic fondue while admiring the Swiss mountains.
Sledding and snowshoeing in the cold winter air is something genuinely alpine. A leisure activity that can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of age, we’ve compiled three different wintry playgrounds within an hour from Lausanne that will make anyone relish this season. No previous experience is required nor is the purchase of equipment necessary (apart from the warm clothes needed for the usual Swiss winter). The required gear can be rented either in Lausanne, Montreux or sometimes in close proximity to the spots themselves. Snowshoes are easy to rent in most sports stores around Switzerland: Intersport, Bächli, SportXX, and it’s advisable to reserve in advance. Truly dedicated sledders can purchase one of many models according to their taste (there are almost too many sleds to choose from).
© Les Mazots
Take the cable car up and enjoy a long sweet 7km run down with traditional wooden sleds (pre-book the sled at the Funpark shop at the bottom of the lift). The restaurant Les Mazots lies at 1700m and the slope down usually provides a thick and soft snow blanket to ride down on. If you have one, then it is best to bring a strong head-torch for the run down or rent one together with the sled. Open selected days only so check and book in advance.
Vallée de Joux
© Switzerland Mobility
Between Lausanne and Geneva lies the charming Val de Joux, known for its cold winters and rolling pine forests. Often neglected in favor of the bigger Alps, the Jura region has an authentic and mellow atmosphere. For sledding, head to the Marchairuz pass, which has a long slope down on the north side and a few smaller ones that face the Lac Leman. Easily reachable from La Côte; by car or by bus from Allaman. The hotel bearing the name of the pass, Hotel Marchairuz, is located at the top of the slope and offers local cuisine to thirsty and hungry adventurers.
Sitting just above Vevey, conveniently accessible by the MOB train from the Vevey railway station. Les Pléiades is a favorite for the inhabitants of the Riviera vaudoise. In addition to sledding and snowshoeing, there is a magical event taking place every Saturday in January and February. The “Chemin de Lanternes” is an evening snowshoe walk along a lantern-lit path, as you could probably have guessed, followed by a fondue. Book the full package in advance, which includes a train ticket, snowshoes, and dinner.
TLG Tip: The best time to go is when the weather is cold, the sky is clear and the snow is fresh. Keep an eye on the forecast and go when the time is right. Remember to take the downslope with some caution, enjoying the ride but also making sure all your bones are intact for the trip home. Profiter bien la neige.