02 January 2014

Sledding near Zurich

sledding with a view of the Einsiedeln Kloster

No snow in Zurich? Don't worry. There are plenty of nearby sledding spots at a higher elevation. Below are a few I can recommend, including Einsiedeln, Uetliberg (Felsenegg & Albispass), and Amden-Arvenbüel.

Do you have any local sledding spots you'd like to share?


View sledding with kids in a larger map


Einsiedeln

This is a small charming town about a 45 min drive south of Zurich. The main attraction is a big monastery, aka Kloster, which is nice to visit any time of year. Immediately behind the Kloster is a small ski area with a big sledding hill. Park in the metered lot next to the cemetery, just a minute east of the Kloster as you drive out of town. On busy days, additional parking is available on the snow next to the paved lot. An attendant will collect a 5CHF parking fee for the day.

walking along the cemetery wall to the hill

To reach the sledding hill, walk west along the cemetery wall (shown above), past the small ski lift and snow garden, until you see the big hill with lots of sledders.  You can't miss it. We particularly like that it is a graduated slope (ranging from very mild to very steep), suiting sledders of all ages. It also ends in a very long flat section, so you don't end up hitting a tree, building or sliding off a cliff or onto a road. The only hazard is other sledders, so watch carefully and don't idly sit with your back to other sledders - you will get hit!

very little kids sledding alone on the gentle slope

gentle slope on the right, steep and fast on the left

If you tire of sledding, there are two small ski lifts, not covered by the same ticket. The first ski lift is near the parking lot. There is also a small tow and very gentle slope near that. The ski area next to the sledding hill has one tow rope on a small hill appropriate for absolute beginners. It costs 6CHF/hour or 10CHF/half day or 16CHF/full day, a good, affordable option for beginners that won't last all day. They offer drop-in ski lessons (www.skischule-einsiedeln.ch), group lessons with a minimum of 4 participants. The adjacent snow garden offers ski lessons for children 3+, which start at 12:30, lasts one hour, costs 28CHF and requires at least 3 participants.

snow garden with tow rope and a variety of obstacles

the small ski hill with tow rope

I haven't tried it yet, but there are also winter walking trails and a cross-country skiing course next to the sledding area. See www.loipe-bolzberg.ch for more info. You can also ice skate at Eispark Einsiedeln near the Schoolhouse Brüel.


Uetliberg

If the snow has recently melted in Zurich but there's still snow on Uetliberg, you can sled on various locations along the Uetliberg range. With lots of snow, you can sled on a trail from the top of Uetliberg all the way down. I've never done it myself but I've heard it's fun, if a little scary.

For regular sledding, drive or take a bus to Hinter-Albis, on Albisstrasse near Langau am Albis (5 mins south of Adliswil), about a 15min drive from Zürich. There's a big parking lot and a big sledding hill. There are no services but it's free. On busy days, the landowner sells wurst.

sledding down the trail near the Felsenegg restaurant

As pictured above, you can do a little sledding on the Buchenegg-Felsenegg trail, which can be reached by the Felsenegg cable car in Adliswill or by car to the Buchenegg pass near Langnau am Albis. This is a loop trail that starts along the ridge, then dips down through a couple farms before joining back up to ridge. There isn't a sledding hill per se, but with lots of snow, you can pull the kids on the sled as you walk then sled down any parts of the trail that go down hill. Near the Felsenegg restaurant (about a 5 min walk from the Felsenegg cable car), there's a long stretch of road that people sled down and we've spent a fun hour there. The restaurant is cosy and has tasty traditional fare, but rather expensive. You can drive up to Buchenegg (about 15 mins from Zurich) and walk north along the ridge. Or you can take the Felsenegg cable car up to the ridge and start your walk there. The Felsenegg cable car is a short walk from the Adliswill train station, making it the best option with public transportation.


Amden-Arvenbüel

Amden is a small local ski resort, about a 45 min drive southeast from Zurich, near the Walensee. It is easy to access with public transportation with a train to Weesen, then a bus up to Amden. On busy days, the resort offers a free shuttle from Weesen (see website for details).


We like Amden because sledders can use the ski lift and the same hill as the skiers (sledders take a slightly different path down the hill as noted by the signs). You can see in the above photo that the sled is attached to the side of the lift. While my husband skied with my 6yr old, I sledded down the same hill with my 3yr old. We could kinda stay together as a family and see each other as we passed each other on the hill. Plus, I didn't have to drag my sled up and down the hill; I could just take the lift up (requires a paid lift pass). You can also see in the photo that even though they had very little snow, they kept the ski run covered and we had a very fun day just on this one little run.

Amden has several lifts. The one I'm referring to here is at Arvenbüel, near the parking lot. We had to pay cash for our lift ticket at the bottom of the chair lift. The lift passes are relatively inexpensive and they offer a morning or afternoon half-day pass as well as a family pass (2 adults, 3 kids 88CHF). See the website for current information.
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