Switzerland: Snow Fun on Jungfraujoch,Top of Europe

Travel Period : 16-20 July 2013

Location:  Jungfraujoch, Switzerland 

{ Previous: To Top of Europe- Jungfraujoch! }

Day 4- Morning to Afternoon

“Next Stop: Jungfraujoch” Said the display on the Jungfraubahn as we approached the peak of our train journey, which had been exhilarating and full of anticipation so far.

Reaching the station, almost everybody rushed down the train, eager to find out what were in store for them at the Top of Europe. When we alighted, most of the crowd had already dispersed, much to our delight.

The first amenity that we passed by was actually the souvenir shop. We made a mental note as we might need to visit it later to get our souvenirs. There were signs pointing to the Sphinx, a viewing gallery which is situated 3,571m above sea level and we followed it.

Before we proceeded further, we passed by a statue of Adolf Guyer-Zeller, the engineer who constructed the Jungfrau Railway and took a picture. Thanks to him, we were able to come up here to magnificent scenery. Dar is probably aspiring to be like him since he likes train so much!

Day4_JungfraujochEngineer

A large panel of glass windows showed the surrounding white scenery as we stood in the main hall. For those who could not go outdoors, they could still view the scenery. For us, of course we couldn’t wait to go out!

Day4_JungfraujochLookingthrough

Sphinx Observatory

We headed out to the terraces, a fenced but opening area surrounding the Sphinx Observatory building. What awaited us was the grand Aletsch glacier, directly at the foot of this observation platform. At 22km in length, this is the longest glacier in the Alps and the surroundings were so beautiful with unobstructed views all around us! We could actually overlook the neighbouring countries of France, Germany and Italy too but there was no way we could differentiate which was which. ^^|

Despite being at such a high altitude, the sun was still shining brightly upon us so we didn’t really feel much coldness unless strong winds were blowing; so much for worrying that our clothing would be insufficient for the Alps’ climate. ^^

Day4_JungfraujochSphinxScenery

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The only downside at the terrace was the crowd, who was as excited over the gorgeous scenery as us, so it wasn’t easy to find good photography spots void of ‘distractions’ lingering at the sides or background. Still, we enjoyed getting in the open surrounded by the Alps, especially when this was the first time we were in such an environment!

[CAT]: While walking through the long hallway to outside, it was cold and we hastily put on gloves and hat/scarf for Dar. Outside, there was cool wind blowing too despite the sunny sky.

Day4_JungfraujochSphinx
‘Poles’ were stuck in our body/head everywhere we turned; BAD photography.

Just as we thought this was already the best part of our trip on Jungfraujoch, our next destination blew our minds even further!

Jungfraujoch Snow Exploration!

Winter sports in the summer – crazy, but possible in the Snow Fun Park up on the everlasting snow at Jungfraujoch! In fact, this area is only usually opened between the months of May and September so we were really lucky to have arrived at this time of the year!

As we stepped through the exit into a vast, open area of snow, we were so in awe we couldn’t believe our eyes! I had not expected myself to be able to step onto the icy grounds of the Alps, as I had thought the closest I could get to the snow was from the Sphinx!

Day4_JungfraujochSnow

A lady stood on the steel cable over crevasses above us while some others playfully threw snowballs at her. That triggered me to start making snowballs for the first time too (reminds me of scooping ice cream from a tub) and gently throwing a small one onto Dar’s feet. He laughed and we had fun chasing around in the snowfield, though we soon found moving around difficult. Our feet were sinking into the snow and we had some wet sensation on our feet as moisture started to seep in through our shoes and socks.

Day4_JungfraujochSnowLayer

[CAT]: It was hard to walk in the snow with our non-waterproof track shoes and I stumbled a few times, holding on to Dar’s hand to walk. The snow layer was slippery and thick so we had to walk very carefully. The beautiful white all around us made us stop to take photographs at every angle. It was our first time being in a winter wonderland (though in summer), so we were excited. ^_^  There were not many tourists walking out at that time so we were able to take some photographs without them in the background by finding angles or waiting for them to move away. I noticed some tourists stopped at the entrance due to not having proper shoes or attire. I was not going to miss this despite knowing my feet would be soaked!

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One of the many nice photographs we took. With the vast Mountain Backdrops, it’s hard to take ugly ones!

The reflection on the snow from the sun rays was glaring at times, and we regretted not buying any sunglasses for this trip. Fortunately, our eyes could still get used to the brightness and at times when it got too blinding, we just closed our eyes to rest them a while. (Tip: Don’t spoil your eyes…Please wear sunglasses!)

Skiing and snowboarding activities were available at the park but snow sledding was the one that caught our attention, since it is much more suitable for families with young children like us.

Snow Sledding Fun!

Day4_JungfraujochSnowSliding

As we walked towards the sledding park, we noticed many of the visitors there had wrist bands on, and showed them to the staff to be issued a snow sledge. “Hmm… I don’t recall seeing any ticket counter earlier…”

Approaching the staff, I asked him how I could get a snow sledge too, and we didn’t wish to go back into the building (which was already a distance away and having to walk through the snow would make the trip back even more time consuming). He quoted a price of CHF15 and we gladly handed him the money in exchange of a wrist band. Expensive but it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity!

I then picked up a snow sledge from him and Dar was as enthusiastic as me to make our début snow sledging attempts!

And so, we watched how others did it and were confident to do it on our own. Cat and I were after all experienced cyclists and ice-skaters, so maintaining balance while gliding down the snowy slope shouldn’t be much of a problem to us, we thought.

I positioned myself slightly nearer to the rear of the sledge and sat down, with Dar sitting on the sledge in front of me, just between my thighs. This would make the sledge more stable and balanced in weight distribution. I could also have Dar in my view and react accordingly if anything goes wrong (e.g. hold him tight if he was to fall out). There was also a short rope in front which Dar could hold on to for support.

Day4_JungfraujochSnowSlidingFun

“Ready… 1… 2… 3!!!” We counted down together and began our maiden descent down the slope. For safety reasons, I slowed down the sledge mid-way by putting down my feet against the snow, as we felt the sledge accelerating and Dar was feeling a little frightened. We then made it successfully to the bottom of the slope!

“Whoa, that was fun!” Both of us exclaimed excitedly.

Our feet were wet due to moisture from the snow sipping in through our shoes and socks but that didn’t bother us anymore. We made our way to the travellator at the side (thank God for that, so we wouldn’t need to climb back up the long slope ourselves) and rested while it brought us back up to the starting point. It took quite a while to get back up on the travellator though, so sometimes we would walk on it to reach the top quicker. Also, the travellator stopped occasionally due to snow getting stuck under it so we either had to wait for the staff to restart it or walk up while pulling the sledge ourselves.

Day4_JungfraujochSnowSlidingFun02

It was Cat’s turn next as we passed her the snow sledge. After watching us glide down earlier, she felt more confident and had a lot of fun gliding down herself!

[CAT]: My first time, I was almost falling off and had to pushed my legs hard into the snow to stop sledding! Check out the video below… It was quite a scary experience since the slope was bumpy and quite steep. It didn’t help that I saw someone tumbled and rolled over into the snow. However, it was still quite a thrilling and fun experience!

Many times, I couldn’t prevent veering off to the left side where there was a small slope waiting for me to ‘fly’ off, causing me to land with a thud and risk of falling over. It was alright to fall but I didn’t want to get all wet or have the risk of being run over by people sledding behind me. Still, I got better in subsequent slides and gradually managed to sled without putting my feet down in the snow most of the time! My feet ended up very wet though due to ploughing in the snow to stop it when it was too fast.

HERE’S THE VIDEO For the action:

*NOTE: There’s background music.

We kept on going for tens of rounds, getting more daring and increasing the speed of our descent as long as we were comfortable with it. We didn’t feel cold at all due to our perspiration and the sun rays shining down on us. In fact, I had to take off my jacket at some point.

With all feeling satisfied (well, Dar still wanted more despite already gliding so many times ^^|), we were finally ready to leave this Snow Fun Park (yes, it’s really FUN as its name implies!) after returning the sledge to the staff. We had started at 12:50 pm and finished at 1:53 pm after an hour of snow sledding! Our stomachs were growling as we set off to look for lunch.

I wouldn’t have expected ourselves to have so much snow fun on a Summer! This would only be possible here and so we were really glad to have made the correct decision to come up to Jungfraujoch today!

This was really an unforgettable experience and probably the climax of our Europe holiday! Yeah!!

{ Next Post: At Jungfraujoch Part 2 – Alpine Sensation and Ice Palace }

  1. Tommy May 17, 2014 at 10:57 am

    Hi Cat,

    Looks like you guys had real fun! 🙂

    We did not go to Jungfrau when we went to Switzerland in 2008 as we were a bit concerned on the breathing difficulties due to the high altitude.

    We went to Schilthorn instead, which was a bit lower ;p

    1. Cat May 19, 2014 at 12:05 pm

      Hello! I heard Schilthorn is quite nice and popular too!
      I didn’t think of the altitude problem and we didn’t experience any discomfort. You reminded me to take note next time and check on this before we go high mountains.

  2. GGeorge November 24, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Hi Cat ,

    Thanks for sharing your experiences @ Jungfraujoch .You all had so much fun !! . your article helped us a lot in planning our Jungfraujoch trip for June 2016 .However , I am a bit curious as to did you buy snowshoes /ankle-high boots for the snow park .Can i use my sneakers /sports shoes in the snow park or is there any risk of slipping ?

    1. Vin November 24, 2015 at 1:44 pm

      Hi GGeorge,

      Glad you enjoyed reading our experiences!

      No, we did not specially buy shoes for the snow park. We were wearing sports shoes/boots and there was little risk of slipping as the snow was quite thick and our feet would submerge into the snow with every step.

      There was more of the issue of our socks and feet getting wet and cold due to the snow though. So if you are fine with this, you should be able to go ahead with your normal shoes.

      Hope this helps!

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