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Switzerland - Grindelwald Winter - Tobogganing

 

 

Tobogganing (***) is a serious sport for residents of Grindelwald.  They have tobogganing runs that are the longest in the world, as much as 15 km.  

 

As our friend Ruth explains,  each area of Switzerland has a different toboggan style.  The region of origin is proudly stamped on the toboggan.  In her hometown of Grindelwald, where Tobogganing is an especially well regarded and serious sports, the toboggan is a very simple design - basically a seat with nothing for steering or speed control.

 

The "controls" are your feet and hands.  The basic maneuvers are learned in 10 minutes.

 

Here are the basics.  (But be sure to also get a hands-on lesson from a resident expert (as we did!)).

  • Lie back for maximum speed; keep feet up in the air

  • Lower left (right) foot lightly into snow to steer left (right).   Alternate left-right foot action to stay on trail

  • Powder slows you down.... aim to packed snow or ice for maximum speed.

  • Raise front to slow or stop (this maneuver has to be demonstrated to you.)

There is one other detail:  stop and take a break at the wine huts along the way down.  There is no better way to survive a 10 km toboggan run.

 

The ski rental shops in the village also rent toboggans.  They have a variety of styles - the basic Grindelwald and others. 

 

(2005)

 

 

Ruth towing her toboggan to the starting point.  The start of a 10 km toboggan trail.

 

 

A beginner's (Ron) first run down.  The photo on the right shows the foot action needed to correct course to left (with left foot down).

 

Here is how a pro (Ruth) does it....