TRAINING IN SWITZERLAND

30/03/15

TRAINING IN SWITZERLAND

So what do you do if you are given the option of working for a year in Switzerland?

Obvious... You accept the job offer, take as much kit as possible and be determined to cram in as many adventures as you can!

On my first day in my new Swiss home I decided to see if I could make it to the top of the snowy summit I could see from window. After about 3 hrs of plodding uphill, through the forest, then finding the snow line, then climbing higher than the ski lifts, I was there! The next summit (Madone) loomed ahead but had way too much snow on it for me to explore further, I'm saving that for a big ridge run in the summer.

The climbs are really tough, relentlessly zig zagging up the mountainside, often at an angle that means that I really should be running but I just don't have enough strength in my legs, yet. My aim is that by summer I'll be able to jog all the way up them.

The conditions for exploring are brilliant, sunny, lots of powder snow and very, very cold. My essential kit has changed from my UK approach of primarily waterproofs to my lightweight down jacket, running crampons, lightweight trekking poles, shades and sunscreen.

I've found that another bonus of training over here is the mountain refuges. Carefully studying of the local maps means that you can plan your routes so they include a visit to a mountain top refuge for a hot chocolate (or pizza!).

Cycling to the Snowline

Barbara Snowshoeing

After seeing the locals out on their snow shoes I decided to see what all the fuss was about. My first snow shoe outing was in the midst of Saint Bernadino massive. From the village we turned our backs on the busy ski pistes and instead snaked our way though a forest, easily floating through knee deep power snow. It was so quiet,such a contrast to the nearby busy ski runs. We climbed out of the forest onto a vast open plain surrounded by big mountains. It was such a surprise to find how easy it was to cover the ground, I'm definitely going to buy myself a set. There are many options for exploring on snowshoes, from following waymarked pistes to packing your map to putting on your avalanche transponders and all the safety kit.

Some of my favourite Swiss things:

  • Sunshine
  • The mountains
  • The local outdoor hotpool (I'm there after every run/cycle)
  • The mountains
  • The outdoor gyms/fitness parks (free!)
  • The cakes
  • The mountains

My first race is next weekend and is a 'survival race' described as 'the craziest race in Switzerland' . How tough can it be? I'm from Yorkshire!!