How about sledging under the stars, gliding along in the airy heights or maybe just strolling through the snow-covered landscape?
Even if you do not have the time to go on a real skiing vacation, you can still savour that authentic "winter holiday feeling" for a shorter period. The diverse scenery around the Swiss capital affords numerous opportunities for you to make the most of all the snow.
Cross-country skiing in the Emmental
The magnificent expanses of the Emmental are home to several trails suitable for skating or classic cross-country skiing. A good slope for beginners is the route that starts at the Bumbach schoolhouse and closely follows the Emme River before ending up at the Hotel Kemmeriboden-Bad. In the cosy dining area of this typical Emmental hotel you can treat yourself to a Kemmeriboden Merängge – or if you are really hungry, to a serving of the renowned Bernese platter. emmental.ch kemmeriboden.ch (German)
Snowshoeing on Mont Soleil
There are many snowshoeing trails that take you up Mont Soleil. These afford a range of views and are of varying degrees of difficulty. If you are looking for a brief but intense experience, take the funicular from St. Imier directly up Mont Soleil (you can hire snowshoes at the valley station). Once you are at the mountain station, put on your shoes and follow the well-signposted trail over to Mont Crosin. This two-hour route takes you across the ridge from which, when the weather is fine, you can enjoy the stunning views of the gently rolling hills below. There are two restaurants on Mont Crosin, the elegant Vert Bois, and the Chalet Mont Crosin with its delightful ambience. jurabernois.ch
Go flying through the air in Grindelwald
For several years now, zip riding has been very popular in America yet it is still an insider tip in Switzerland. In Bern, however, the locals are very lucky because Europe’s only such facility is located at First near Grindelwald and is open all year round. Courageous groups of up to 4 people sit on a type of paraglider seating and zoom at 84 kilometres an hour on an 800-metre long zip line and down into the valley below. Although you are not going to notice very much of the renowned Bernese Oberland scenery, when you reach the finish you will know why so many people think that a trip on the First Flyer is even better than flying. jungfrau.ch
Winter hiking at Lake Lauenen
On glorious winter days, the landscape around the magical Lake Lauenen sparkles like a gem-studded necklace. The lake itself is hidden under a thick layer of snow, the branches of the leafless trees are weighed down by the snow, and the peaks of the Bernese Alps surround this idyllic scene as though to protect this winter wonderland against the wind and the weather. To get a close-up view of this stunning spectacle, come for a hike along the 8-kilometre trail around the lake and – to prolong the enjoyment – stop for a break at the warm and welcoming Restaurant Mattestübli. gstaad.ch
Starlight tobogganing on the Niederhorn
Now here’s a tip for those who are so busy that they can’t even find one whole free day to devote to winter! This romantic adventure, on offer each Friday and Saturday evening, kicks off at the valley station for the Niederhornbahn. Take a twilight gondola ride up Beatenberg’s local mountain, 1,963 metres above sea level. Before you set off on your toboggan, fortify yourself with a fondue at the Berghaus Niederhorn. Later, when you reach the Bärgrestaurant Vorsass, you can warm up again with a glass of mulled wine. interlaken.ch
Snowtubing on the Engstligenalp
Snowtubing is a recreational activity in which people go sliding down a slope on an oversized swimming ring. This usually takes place on specially-prepared pistes that enable the best possible line management. Although this type of sliding fun is widely available, snowtubing on the Engstligenalp has an advantage in that there are several routes to choose from, allowing quite differing rates of speed. So now dad can take the children on their first snowtubing rides and make sure they are quite safe, and mum can go and enjoy a high-speed ride down a steeper slope. engstligenalp.ch (German)