Raquettes… trying our luck at Chalet à Gobet…

Although I had wanted to share on our trip to Davos first, the hubby, however, thought that it would be very nice if I (or we) shared on our first raquette trip for this winter, which we did yesterday, as he was so happy that we finally got to do our very first raquette outing for this winter! hehehe …

As 2011 was not a good year for snow sports (at least not on this side of Switzerland), we only managed to do some raquettes (the French word for snowshoeing) once last year. And it was far from home … at a place called Saanenmöser which is several hours away by train. Given that there was a snowfall last week, the hubby felt that it would be safer to seize this opportunity and decided to try our luck closer to home by going to Chalet à Gobet.

Actually, it was not really a very good day for doing so … as it started to rain a little while we were making our way there … but since it did not develop into full scale rain, we decided to go ahead with the plan. And even though much of the snow had melted with the previous rains … we did get to do some raquette in some parts of the woods! Not as much as we had hoped to be able to do … but we were only trying our luck, yesterday … so we cannot complain too much lah. Even if we were not able to walk using our snowshoes for long … it was still a lovely outing in the fresh air walking on snow through the woods even without the raquettes on our feet! hehehe …

Of course, unlike me … as part of his longer weekend runs (usually either to Mauvernay  or down to the lake), the hubby had on 31 December run all the way up to Mauvernay/Chalet à Gobet and then through Bois-Clos (part of the woods of Jorat), enjoying having at times to plod (rather than run) through snow some 20 cm deep … lucky him!

Maybe … I will be luckier on our next raquette trip lah!

Us in our winter sporting gear … before going on our very first raquette trip for this winter! It was not intentional nor planned … because usually the hubby will choose himself what he wants to wear and I’ll choose mine … but yesterday, somehow the colours of our gears matched so perfectly! hehehe … 🙂

Instead of taking the métro to Croisettes, the hubby decided that we should walk up to Croisettes through Prés-de-Valmont  (in French, the meadows of Valmont) so that I could have some warm-up exercise!

Well … I do not really mind doing the 15 -20 minutes walk up to Croisettes since the view from this slope is very pretty. But since the bus runs infrequently (every 40 minutes) on Sunday from Croisettes to Chalet à Gobet, the hubby also suggested walking there if we missed the bus … uh, uh, that … I do mind!

But fortunately (for me), there was a bus due to arrive in 6 minutes when we reached Croisettes … so I was spared from having to make the long walk all the way to Chalet à Gobet! Especially as it had started to drizzle by then! phewww …

It was the first time we took a bus to go to Chalet à Gobet from Croisettes since we would usually cycle there … so it was a nice bus ride, for me. 🙂

Since the hubby suggested wearing our walking shoes for the walk to Chalet à Gobet … on the off chance that there might not be enough snow there to do some raquette … we therefore had to change into our snowshoes at the bus stop …

… when we saw that it might be possible for us to do our first raquette, after all! yahooo … !!

Making our way down towards the snow-covered plain of Mauvernay.

Chalet à Gobet, or to be more precise the large plain just next to it called plaine de Mauvernay, has been the grounds for winter sports for the Lausannois/Lausannoises for well over a century, with sledge competitions being held there in 1904 according to a digitised version of the YearBook of the Swiss Alpine Club dated that year which the hubby managed to find on the Internet.

Nowadays, the winter sports that one can do in the area, besides the ever popular sledging and also running on the snow, are ‘gentle slope skiing’ and cross-country or nordic skiing. The hubby called it ‘gentle slope skiing’ because the plain of Mauvernay does not offer more than a gentle slope some 7 m high (even if it stretches over 200 m). So to him this type of skiing cannot really be described as proper downhill skiing.

However, there is a small ski lift (see orange fence) which operates … weather permitting … on Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays and during the winter school holidays. In other words, it is meant to cater for young skiers. And given the large car park next to Mauvernay, it must be safe to assume that many a young Lausannois/e must have started their first steps on skis here!

Making our way across the snow-covered plain from the area near the bus stop to the edge of the wood on the other side. A brightly coloured sign reminds walkers to respect the cross-country ski track which had been cleared for cross-country skiers. Unlike those doing raquettes who can walk everywhere as long as there is enough snow, cross-country skiers can only ski on the allocated ski track … so we have to be mindful that we do not get into their path lah!

Leaving behind those people enjoying their fun winter activity on the slope of Mauvernay (can you spot the cross-country skier?) …

… while the hubby and I made our way further inward … hoping to find an area where there would be plenty of snow for us to start our raquettes!

After passing by this area …

… the hubby finally decided that maybe we could try to put on our raquettes and start walking with them! As usual after nearly a year of not using, it took a few minutes to re-learn how to put them on again! 🙂

It was nice to walk on the snow with them … but after walking one round on the plain, we decided to try change track and tried our luck walking on snow through the woods, instead.

But not before deciding to take a break to have a quick bite … of potato curry puffs (my favourite winter snacks!) 🙂 Since we find it hard to eat such delicacies with thick gloves on, we put them on the walking sticks so as to keep them off the ground (nothing worse than having the inside of your gloves wet)! hehehe …

The snow-covered woods of Jorat … simply beautiful and looking so different from how it had looked in summer and autumn.

Unfortunately as some parts of the woods were not well-covered with snow, the hubby suggested taking off our raquettes when walking through these parts so as not to damage the cleats on our raquettes.

See … not much snow especially here …

… or here. So it is not advisable to continue walking with our raquettes on such snow-less parts of the woods.

However, much to the hubby’s consternation … not long after we had removed our raquettes, we came upon a stretch with plenty of snow! Arghhhh …

We could have walked with our raquettes here, definitely!

However, since we had only just removed our raquettes, we decided to continue our walk without putting them back on because there were still many other stretches where the snow was quite thin.

It was still nice, nevertheless, to walk through the woods … walking on the thin layer of snow. The only problem?

We had to carry our raquettes instead of walking with them! Haizzz …

Thankfully, the hubby as usual, was kind enough to offer to carry my raquettes for me … so that I could have my hands free to do what I like doing … taking photos! hehehe … 🙂

During our long walk through the woods, we not only came across many walkers like us … (but who had the foresight not to bring their raquettes with them :)) …

… but we were also quite surprised by the number of joggers doing their run in the wood that grey afternoon. I could see the hubby looking at them with envy … and even went on to tell me that he intended to run back to Chalet à Gobet to get his fun in the woods after returning home! What can I say … he just lurveees running on snow! hehehe …

If you  notice on the picture on the left, there is a sign called Zurich parcours vita. During our walk, we came across many areas with this sign. Can you guess what they are used for?

Ok, here is the answer: they are part of a health trail. Dating from the late sixties, these trails (of which there are approximately 500 in Switzerland) were set up so as to promote outdoor activity performed as a family. The trails have 15 stopping points scattered along the course where various exercises have to be done. Above are just some of those that we came across during our walk, yesterday.

One of the stopping points nearly covered by snow and with its instruction board almost falling off … and on the far right, two boys caught reading one of the many instruction boards along the trail! More information on these trails is available here.

A log cabin that we came across, at a junction (almost 870m above sea level) … not long before we turned left to go back to the plain of Mauvernay.

Back at the plain of Mauvernay a little over 2 hours later.

There were more people at the slope by this time enjoying the snow!

The gentle slope at Mauvernay definitely made it the perfect place to do some serious sledging! And as I have been telling the hubby, several times … I would dearly lurveee to do some sledging myself! Maybe the next time we come here … for him to practise his ski de fond (nordic skiing) … I could do some sledging, in the meantime! I am pretty sure … that sledging has no age limit! hehehe … 🙂

A mother cleaning the snow off the sledge. Free brushes are provided here for cleaning gears and equipment of snow in winter … and mountain bikes in other seasons.

And while the hubby headed towards the bus stop with our raquette gears, I decided to take a few moments to have my last look …

… and also snapped a few more shots of the people still having their fun in the snow.

While other parents were busy with the sledging activity with their young ones …

… this particular father was busy making a big snowman for his son … who actually did not seem too interested in the snowman!

Talking about snowman … wonder when I will get to have mine? 🙂

Other entries related to snow-shoeing:

Related entries on Chalet à Gobet/Centre sportif de Mauvernay:


3 thoughts on “Raquettes… trying our luck at Chalet à Gobet…

  1. Les raquettes peut-être mais pas le bas en tous les cas!
    Mais revendiquer, tel un seigneur du Moyen Age, le fief de Chalet à Gobet ne serait pas pour me déplaire – l’endroit étant tellement plaisant. Mêmes les joueurs de rugby d’une équipe parisienne (le Racing-Métro 92) sont venus s’entraîner au Chalet à Gobet fin juillet/début août 2011, c’est dire que l’endroit est propice aux activités sportives!


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