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Best toboggan runs in the Alps

Best Toboggan Runs in the Alps

| | Family Ski Holidays

There are literally hundreds of fantastic toboggan runs in the Alps, ranging in length from a couple of kilometres to well over 10km, and ranging in steepness from gentle, family-friendly tracks to the quite plainly suicidal! We've collected a list of the best toboggan runs in the Alps, so if you plan to visit one of the resorts below make sure you get sliding!

Whether it is on a French-style, plastic sit-in sledge or on an old-fashioned, wooden Swiss toboggan with steel-clad runners, tobogganing is a lot of fun (especially at night, with the heightened sensation of speed) and, within reason, it’s suitable for all ages.

How to Steer a Toboggan

Most people think that you cannot steer a toboggan and are merely at the mercy of the path of least resistance! However, if you control your speed and remain sensible, steering a toboggan is not actually that difficult.

If you are in a plastic, sit-in sledge, you may as well forget the little steering handles, as these are pretty ineffective. The best option is to either brake by pressing a foot into the snow or drag a hand behind you. If you stick one of your right-hand limbs into the snow, this will turn the toboggan to the right. To go left, do the opposite. For obvious reasons, good strong shoes and gloves are recommended for this dragging/braking technique.

If you are sitting on a Swiss-style wooden toboggan, then you need a whole different league of skills to steer your craft. Firstly, you will pick up a lot more speed on the older style toboggan so be prepared for that! The best technique is to lean right back and grip the front cord in both hands for support whilst hooking your left and right foot around the outside of the runner ends. By squeezing in against the runners with your calf muscles and pulling with your hand you can bend the runner out of shape, allowing it to carve on an arc. Much like carving your skis on their edges, bending the runner allows the toboggan to change direction without losing any of its speed.

This is the main difference between the plastic sledge and the wooden toboggan. The former turns without much control and loses a lot of energy in the process, and the latter carving its turns with maximum efficiency and speed. However, it is our advice that whichever type of toboggan you are riding that you stay controlled at all times. If your speed increases too much no amount of steering technique will get you around a dangerous corner! If you find yourself in the situation where you are going too fast, our advice is to bail out before anyone gets hurt.

Now that you know the perfect sledging technique, you're ready to hit the slopes! Here are the best places to go:

Val Thorens, France

Most snow-sure

Val Thorens is the highest resort in Europe and now has one of the longest and most snow-sure toboggan runs in the Alps. Once you’re all set with your plastic tray and helmet, take the Gondola up to 3,000 metres to the start of the toboggan run. This 6km run drops 700 vertical metres during the course, so if you’ve got the confidence to take your foot off the breaks, you can get some serious speed up. Dare-devils could get to the bottom in just 10 minutes, but the more timid tobogganner could take up to 45 minutes. For an extra thrill, try it in the dark during the evening sledging sessions. Check out our hotels in Val Thorens and our chalet holidays in Val Thorens.

St Moritz, Switzerland

Most scenic

This is Switzerland’s first floodlit toboggan run, extending from the village of Preda down to the village of Bergün, around 6km away. The start of the track is accessed by scenic mountain train from St. Moritz, leaving every half an hour and arriving in Preda 20 minutes later. The train journey is an adventure in itself, riding up the mountainside, crossing the 90m high Solis viaduct and passing through the helical tunnel of the Albula valley! Pick up your wooden toboggan at the Preda train station and ride down to Bergün, taking in the breathtaking views of the Swiss mountains on the way. The floodlighting allows for the thrill-seekers to enjoy this amazing toboggan run at night - the track stays open until 9.30pm. Check out all our hotels in St Moritz.

Ellmau, Austria

Most tree-lined

The Wilder Kaiser region is well known for its tobogganing; it has a total of 16km of runs. The Ellmau to Going toboggan run is one of the best, at 4.5 km long and a vertical drop of just over 550 metres. The toboggan run can be accessed by the Astbergbahn Going which takes you to to the start of the toboggan run at 1,258m high. All the toboggan runs in the Wilder Kaiser region are floodlit, making them a great option for a fun evening activity!

St Anton, Austria

Best for apres

St Anton is the capital of apres ski fun in Austria! The St Anton toboggan run starts on the Gampen Mountain and is 4km long. This scenic run leads partly through the woods, taking on numerous tricky turns as it winds down the valley to reach the Rodelstall in the Nasserein area of town. The course has a vertical drop of 500 metres and has an estimated running time of 15 minutes (depending on how many times you crash!). Toboggan rental is available at most of the equipment rental shops in town. On certain days of the week, the course is illuminated and stays open for night-time tobogganing until 9:30 pm. See all our chalet holidays in St Anton

Morzine, France

Most family-friendly

Alongside the dedicated sledging areas at the base of Pleney and Chavannes (Les Gets), specifically for Morzine offers a unique night sledging experience. You can join a small group, and armed with just a head-torch and toboggan, your guide will lead you down Piste B on the edge of Pleney, back down to the town. All you need to bring is a valid lift pass, and the rest is free of charge. Guided tours take place most evenings, and last for 1 hour. See our chalet ski holidays in Morzine.