The first (and last!) time I tried snow sledding – Zermatt, Switzerland

Pink sunset over the Swiss Alps covered in snow in winter in Switzerland after snow sleddingLet’s get something straight, before I harp on about how beautiful the Swiss Alps are… because let’s be honest, I’m going to by the end of this post (cos they’re awesome!).

I AM TERRIBLE AT SNOW SLEDDING.

Dog sledding; nailed it. Sky diving; no worries. Zip lining; walk in the park. But snow sledding, my god, I nearly killed myself twice.

View of the Matterhorn at night with low-rise hotels lit up in the foreground with snow-covered ground

View of the Matterhorn from my hostel

Okay so, back to the beginning. I went back to Switzerland just before Christmas in 2014, because I’ve visited in the summer time and it’s one of my favourite destinations. Plus there’s snow; my latest obsession. I’d done all the touristy things like Christmas Markets and beautiful Jungfrau Mountain (which also nearly killed me…Switzerland! I want to live in you, why are you doing this to me?!). Anyway, it was time to hit the slopes…and hit them hard I did.

Beautiful snow covered Matterhorn in the distance against a blue winter sky while snow sledding

Matterhorn while snow sledding

I’m not too crash hot at snowboarding (pun intended), so I thought snow sledding would be a safer option as you’re basically already on the ground. I hired a sled and headed up the mountain.
– Cue pretty scenery statement – Literally, the weather could not have been more perfect. It was freezing cold, but a brilliant blue sky fell as a spectacular backdrop to the majestic Matterhorn (aka Toblerone Mountain!).

View from the train while looking down over the snow-covered Swiss Alps on a blue sky winter day above the clouds

High above the clouds

A plane flies overhead with the snow-covered Matterhorn in the distance while snow sleddingThe red train stopped at the train station that takes you up to the starting point for snow sledding

At the top of the snow sled run were heaps of children, and I (wrongly) assumed this was the easy track. I mean, if 6 year olds can do it, surely a 25 year old can manage…right? Wrong. In hindsight I wish I’d pressed record on my GoPro on the first run because it was a spectacular disaster. I waited for everyone to start down the mountain, and before the next train ride of people arrived, I stepped up to the mark. It started off easy, but sure enough the bends became sharper, and of course there’s no safety fences because, you know, who needs safety when you’re flying down a mountain on a plank of wood…

Colourful skiers and snow sledders standing ready to go down the mountain with the Matterhorn in the background against a blue sky winter day in SwitzerlandView from the train while looking down over the snow-covered Swiss Alps on a blue sky winter day above the clouds

As young children flew past me, head first, I struggled to keep on the track. Before long, death trap numero uno was upon me. Nothing particularly special about this one, just that I was going too ‘fast’ for the sharp bend, and rather than take a flying lesson, I jumped off my sled at the last second, almost collecting two other people.

Arms and legs frantically grabbing hold of the white snow while falling of the snow sled in Switzerland in winter

Limbs everywhere! Trying to grab hold to anything to not go over the edge…

Back on the metaphorical horse and off I went again, taking in the scenery as I slid down the mountain. Before long, the finale was ahead of me; a steep hill to the finish line, with a really inconvenient bend at the bottom. Turns out it’s fairly hard to turn at the last minute after going down a hill, who knew?! Oh, and there was a lovely plastic safety fence waiting for me this time. I ploughed straight into that fence, feet first, conveniently getting one foot stuck inside a plastic hole, followed by projecting myself into a hot mess of fluro orange plastic rope, freezing snow, and expensive electronics…none of which recorded my ridiculousness!

Too fast!

THAT fence…

You know what’s coming!

Derr… stupid stop sign…

I hyper-extended my left ankle and hobbled sheepishly towards the exit, not before missing the path and falling knee deep into half a metre of powder snow…
I was fairly defeated at this point and decided to call my Mum back in Australia. Although Mum wasn’t overly impressed at my injury, only 3 days into my month long solo adventure on the other side of the planet, I convinced her I needed to try again… because “no one would believe me if I didn’t have GoPro footage!”.

I successfully made it down the slope two more times, albeit a lot slower, and managed not to fly off the cliff, or take out any more fences. Two people I’d made friends with on the train were not so lucky… that same turn I nearly went off saw them dive off at the last second as well…but neither held onto the sled. Needless to say, that sled was a goner!

After my fun in Zermatt, I think I’ll go back to being shit at snow boarding instead. That hurt slightly less…

xxbry

Do you have a disaster snow experience? Have you ever tried snow sledding before?

Beautiful snow covered Matterhorn in the distance against a blue winter sky while snow sleddingPink sunset over the Swiss Alps covered in snow in winter in Switzerland after snow sleddingBeautiful little church covered in snow with candles lit up inside and the orange and pink sunset in the background surrounded by snow

6 Comments

  1. November 20, 2015 / 1:20 am

    One time, I confidently started to go down a mountain when I came to the unfortunate realization that they entire thing was ice. I decided the best thing to do was go down on my butt and slide down the rest of the way. I basically screamed the entire way down but I did make it through in one piece. Skiing can be pretty treacherous….

    • January 2, 2016 / 6:17 pm

      Oh no! I had to do that one time I was snow boarding…terrible >.< I guess the more you practice, the better you get. Lucky the surroundings are pretty! 🙂

  2. Liz
    January 16, 2017 / 2:08 am

    Yup. I was planning to go sledding in Zermatt, but I think I may not now. Even if I do, I’ll go for the super beginner’s slop if there is any. I mean, the last time I experienced snow was about 20 years ago. So one can imagine how horrible I’d be doing it. Thank you for the warning.. this post may have saved my life, or myself from embarrassment and pain. 🙂

    • January 21, 2017 / 1:02 pm

      Haha it was still a lot of fun, but yes, just take it easy. Actually a couple months ago I went snow boarding in New Zealand, and completely winded myself when I face-planted… I think I’ll stick to photography in the snow…haha. Have fun Liz! 🙂

Leave a Reply