When my sister first suggested a day trip for “snowshoeing,” I was immediately skeptical. It was mid-March and I was already done with winter. My warmest jackets, hats, and scarves packed away. But then she mentioned “fondue” and my interest was piqued.
Just outside of Geneva, a short train ride away, the city of Saint-Cergue offers an easy excursion for those looking for winter snow activities. A last-minute winter special: for just 35 CHF per person, you get all the things you need for snowshoeing plus an included lunch of fondue! Win-win.
Now, I generally love trying new things. But more often than not, before I’ll do it, I’ll make sure to research the hell out of it. So in the days leading up to our snowshoeing adventure, I googled all I could google about snowshoeing. I didn’t quite understand how it works or why it exists or even why people enjoy doing it. To me, it seemed cold and wet.
There were step-by-step guides online about “how to snowshoe” and “where to snowshoe,” things to avoid, what to look out for. It was all a bit overwhelming.
But then, Saturday came. It was like every other day in Geneva in March: grey and a little cool. We set out on the train with no snow in the sky or on the ground. But within an hour we were in Saint-Cergue going through snow-covered mountains. The way the temperature changes so drastically as you climb altitude—from the shores of Lake Geneva to the Swiss Alps—it’s impressive and overpowering. Cue the first instance on this day trip that reminded me how much fun nature is.
Once in Saint-Cergue, finding the tourist office was easy and the short intro on where to go and how to get our free fondue—easy. I could do this!
Thankfully I was with others who had snowshoed before—and they came prepared (with ski goggles, even!). At the edge of the small town on the border to the forested mountain, we put on our shoes and all those earlier worries about HOW to snowshoe were gone.
It’s easy. It’s fun. It’s a little bit silly.
We spent a little over two hours following a trail of pink ribbons across the mountain, eventually circling back to Saint-Cergue. Up and down hills, through some wide open fields and through the woods (plus at least rolling down one hill for the fun of it). We got wet; it was cold. But it was so much fun!
And bonus: by the time we got back to Saint-Cergue, we were h-u-n-g-r-y and had fondue practically waiting for us at a cozy restaurant. We upgraded our meal with some wine and other snacks—because duh. And while we had been snowshoeing for nearly two hours, we spent almost the same amount of time eating fondue and drinking wine.
That’s my kind of outdoor activity!
Here’s the thing about snowshoeing, though: you have to slow down. Even though we were at the tail end of winter here, there was still plenty of snow on the ground (and it snowed for most of the last half of the hike). Big, wide steps. And there’s no room for using a phone. First of all, there wasn’t much reception up on the snow-covered mountain. Second, it was very, very wet outside.
You’re sort of forced to just exist in nature—out there for a walk. We started to notice the animal tracks in the snow, the different types of trees along the trail. There was a calmness—just our voices while we wandered through the area. It was peaceful and the perfect way to disconnect, even if for just a few hours. By the time we made it to the fondue restaurant, I’d forgotten to even bother check my social media.
Snowshoeing was so, so cool. 10 out of 10 would do it again!
It’s recommended to book in advance. Contact the Saint-Cergue tourism office to reserve snowshoes on the day you plan to visit. More information and travel tips for Switzerland available here.