Discover Germany, Issue 47, February 2017

Page 44

Discover Germany  |  Travel Feature  |  Adrenaline-fuelled Snow Experiences

The longest sledge run in west Switzerland in La Tzoumaz, canton Valais. Photo: © Valais Wallis Promotion / Christian Perret

Off the skis and into the snow My first fall comes on the day’s first tight downhill corner and ends with an ungracious tumble into the deeper snow at the side of the trail. I am relieved to discover that snow is a very friendly landing pad and I shrug off the fall as nothing but a gentle bump. The guide, however, warns me to watch out for ice. TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE

“People love fat biking here,” says fellow fat biker Phil Gale from high-end Swiss cycling apparel company ASSOS. “It really gives you the opportunity to experience the landscape in a unique way.” Cyclists have always aspired to break the mould and fat biking on snow has become the latest addiction. “It’s like when mountain biking first got big in the 1990s. It’s giving 44  |  Issue 47  |  February 2017

a new lease of excitement to the industry. And it’s suitable for all abilities.” I raise my eyebrows. At first glance, the pristine Swiss scenery looks a bit daunting for a beginner, but as we keep pedalling along the steep side of the valley, cutting the gradient, our guide assures us that first-timers are welcomed and well catered

for in Switzerland, where they put meticulous care and attention into the winter sports’ provisions. Beyond just chairlifts, they also tend to networks of well-marked and nicely matted trails for all manner of skiing alternatives. Growing up in the UK, Switzerland is often seen as the preserve of neon-clad thrill seekers on the pursuit of fresh powder, helicopter runs and raucous après ski. But it is short sighted to assume that there are no more alternatives out there. In a bid to reclaim the ski season, Discover Germany has rounded up a selection of more unconventional winter sport breaks.

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