Ready, steady, snow

Khursheed Dinshaw | Updated on January 09, 2020 Published on January 09, 2020

On the top of the world: The peak walk at Glacier 3000 is a suspension bridge that connects Scex Rouge and View Point   -  REUTERS/ DENIS BALIBOUSE

It’s always winter at Switzerland’s Glacier 3000 — a place that makes you fall in love with ice crystals

Walking between two peaks at 3,000 metres, riding the world’s highest alpine coaster, getting a woof of approval from huskies and cross-country skiing could be some of the high points of your visit to Glacier 3000, a vast area dotted with glaciers and ski slopes in Switzerland’s Lake Geneva region.

It’s always winter at Glacier 3000, which straddles the pass road between Gstaad and Les Diablerets, both ski resort towns, and has sensational views of the mountainous region.

Start the Glacier 3000 adventure with the peak walk, set up by Tissot, the Swiss watchmaker. You traverse a 107-m steel suspension bridge that connects two peaks — Scex Rouge and View Point. Weather permitting, you can see Jungfrau, Matterhorn and Mont Blanc from View Point. The glacier, covered in snow through the year, is more easily visible in summer. While the lofty peaks loom on one side, on the other are smaller mountains with green slopes and lakes.

Up next, try the alpine coaster, which is also the world’s highest bobsleigh track. This roller coaster comes with an accelerator and brakes, so you can control the speed of the bob along the many curves. The popular verdict is that the controls make it more fun. And it’s also true that many tourists overcome fear of heights and/or speed once the thrill of controlling the bob kicks in.

There is no restriction on the number of rides you can take, and each bobsleigh can be operated solo after a demonstration by an instructor. Children below the age of 3 are not allowed on the coaster and those up to the age of 8 can ride with an older person in a two-seater.

The souvenir shop sells everything from fridge magnets, soft cuddly toys to macho Swiss army knives and casual hoodies. It even has a chic Tissot watch collection. If you didn’t come prepared for the changing weather at the glacier, warm clothes are available on rent. Walk from the shop to the ski lift, which accommodates four people at a time. You can enjoy the views of Glacier Diablerets as you ride down to the blanket of snow to begin hiking, walking or riding.

Sink your boots in a fresh carpet of snow or scoop some of it in your hands. Soon, you will be directed to the snow bus waiting to take you on a glacier ride that lasts 15 minutes.

Glacier 3000 also lets you get into James Bond mode with ski mobiles. Another attraction — for the less adventurous, that is — is the Ice Express, which is a chairlift that takes you to the Fun Park. The park has marked trails for a walk in the snow and slopes for you to slide down with the help of plastic plates. The hour-long glacier walk wins hands-down in terms of popularity and experience. In the high-altitude terrain, the weather is at its most capricious. It’s sunny and dazzling one moment; the very next is enveloped in thick fog.

Dog sleds are available on request. Glide on the snow as you bond with a pack of huskies. Six or eight dogs are assigned to a sled and their energy and playfulness are sure to rub off on you.

The added charm of Glacier 3000 — despite its popularity among tourists — is the time and space it allows for each activity. Even at peak season, you are unlikely to be caught in a queue for anything. Or run the risk of your sled running into another while zooming down a slope.

It is important to reward yourself at the end of a day at Glacier 3000 — the activities here require a certain level of fitness and stamina. You can fortify yourself with a meal at Restaurant Botta — which offers wines, hot beverages, cheeses, crudités and meat platters among other things. We are told that it also offers Indian cuisine, but when at Glacier 3000, just go Swiss.

Khursheed Dinshaw is a Pune-based travel writer

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Published on January 09, 2020
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