Les Genevez, winter 2022. Foto: TES.

The New Swiss National Sport

Swiss roads and public transport have been considerably less crowded since the pandemic’s start in the winter of 2020.

The same cannot be said for the snow-covered slopes of the Jura in the cantons of Neuchâtel, Jura, Bern and Vaud. In these cantons lies Switzerland’s oldest mountain range, formed between 205 and 135 million years ago.

Although the highest peaks do not exceed 1750 metres, the area is relatively snow certain due to geographical and climatic conditions.

La Chaux-de-Fonds (Canton of Neuchâtel), the highest town in the country, is located at an altitude of almost 1 000 metres and is covered in snow practically all winter. La Brévine (canton of Neuchâtel), a village at 1 082 metres, is even the coldest place below the tree line (- 41.8 measured).

The possibilities for cross-country skiing and snow hiking are practically unlimited in the winter due to the many valleys and hundreds of kilometres of prepared cross-country skiing and snowshoe hiking trails. The skiing possibilities are, of course, more limited but still present.

For the youngest (school-age) children, it is even an excellent area to get familiar with skiing, among others in Les Bugnenets (canton of Neuchâtel), Les Genevez (canton of Jura), La Chasseral (canton of Bern) or La Vallée de Joux (canton of Vaud).

Due to the pandemic, snow hiking (Scheeschuhlaufen in German or raquette in French ) is Switzerland’s fastest-growing winter sport. You can always find a snowy valley within a short distance, with no restrictions. Switzerland is already a hiking country, nowadays also a snow hiking country.

Along the way, these hikers do not only encounter colleagues or cross-country skiers but, for example, in the Franches-Montagnes (canton of Jura), also husky- or horse-drawn sleighs, horse riders, and many horses outside the characteristic farmhouses of the Franches-Montagnes.