On the way with snowshoes
Family, snow and cervelat sausages
The Simmental Valley is a real snowshoe paradise. After only a few hundred metres the trekkers are treated to a wonderful view across the Alps.
Prepared and signposted routes make it really easy to get started. These routes are easy to use without any experience or even a guide. Away from the secured routes we recommend using a local guide in order to be able to estimate the risks of avalanches or snow slabs.
Not too high but still with a real expedition feeling. It is always astonishing how quickly you get the feeling of free nature and wilderness in the Swiss Alps. The areas that are pastures for the cows in the summer become wilderness in the winter. Just a few metres off the hiking paths and ski slopes the Simmental Valley feels almost like deepest Lapland.
With the mountain world at your feet
The fast rewards
Wide valleys offer wonderful views across the snowy winter landscape in all directions and it only becomes uncomfortably steep or stony further up. It is like a short walk through the forest, just with snowshoes on your feet. It is not difficult to walk in snowshoes, even for beginners. Anyone who is fairly fit and good on his or her feet can go snowshoe trekking. It is practical to wear several thin layers of clothing. You must not sweat on the way up because you will freeze at the summit if you are wet or damp. So you should wear just enough on the trek so that you do not sweat.
Survival Training Light
Make a small fire on the way and enjoy the sausages you have brought along – this will be a real highlight, especially for the small and bigger boys. This will show you who can «survive in the wilderness». Just bring a few small logs so that the undergrowth can still provide protection for the animals next year.
Grill and enjoy the sausages you have brought along
You can even light a small fire in the depths of winter with just a little experience. Add a cup of hot tea from your flask and this mountain experience can be transformed in a culinary event.
A simple snowshoe
In principle it’s just like walking, except you don’t sink into the deep snow. The snowshoes usually have two settings. The fixed position, in which your heel does not leave the snowshoe, and the free position, in which your heel lifts off the snowshoe. Lifting your heels increases the freedom of movement of your foot and can be easier when you are travelling uphill. In the fixed position the snowshoe is simply an extension of your foot. This setting is a lot more practical if you are walking downhill or if you are standing in place and even want to take a step backwards. This prevents you from tripping over your own snowshoes.
Into the valley without too much effort
Airboards can be carried in your rucksack and then simply inflated with a small pump once you get to the top. Before the descent they also make a great, comfortable and insulating seat for your summit snack. The large area means you can also master slopes with fresh snow without problems. The airboard floats on the top of the snow like a boat and is great fun.
Snowshoe trekking is a wonderful outdoor experience for the whole family. If you are trekking without a guide then you hold sole responsibility for your safety. There could be a snow slab, even on normal slopes, or an avalanche at higher locations. This is why you should stay on the routes and learn how to behave in snow before setting off on longer, independent expeditions.
There are many trekking and mountain guides who are happy to set you on the right path to undertake longer tours.