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Having a Ball...

Explore Switzerland // By WRS // Nov. 8, 2016

For every action there’s a reaction. WRS Breakfast Show host Mark Butcher shares the secret of seasonal inaction while the team reveal their winter favourites. 

Whitepod Having a Ball...

WRS Presenter Katt Cullen swaps the Mid- Morning Mix for a snowboard and a vin chaud

In winter we strap planks of wood to our feet and slide down cold and wet white stuff. Sometimes we slide on said planks, occasionally on unmentionable body parts. I'm not sure why we do this. It is a winter ritual. I arrived here after chasing the sun for three years - and literally hadn't seen a winter in 36 months. I was terrified. My boyfriend bought me a snowboard and tried to nurture some excitement at getting frost-bitten ears. It totally worked! Now I can just about make it down a red run. I put the tunes on loud in my pocket - I'm that person with the pumping music because it helps me stay positive when I fall over. If that doesn't work, a vin chaud will do the job. Favourite slopes? It has to be Les Portes du Soleil.

WRS Director and Presenter Mark Butcher on beer and staying safe on the sofa

While others tramp around in the snow and ice pretending to have a good time I like to think that I’ve found the safest solution to winter – an afternoon on the couch with a box-set and a beer. This of course soon becomes an evening on the couch with several beers, but hey, it’s cold out there. Best beers? I recommend Hobgoblin, perfect for winter nights and an Asahi Japanese beer also goes down well – both from the incredible beer aisle at Aligro in Geneva. Note to self: Sofas not as safe as they look. Broke my wrist falling off one not so long back. 

WRS Gadget Guru Paul Bristow is careful not to wake the locals when he heads for the hills on snowshoes

As winter weekends approach I watch the weather forecast carefully. I'm looking for the perfect snowshoeing day at Col de La Faucille. I want it cold, but sunny; ideally just after a fresh fall of snow. Armed with my Italian snowshoes - which are a lot more sophisticated than the "tennis rackets” my English friends imagine that I wear - I head out on the marked paths. Hiking up to the top of the Mont Rond is a lot harder in snowshoes than it is in summer, but having a snowy picnic en route is fabulous. Just stay on the paths - there are lots of animals hibernating and waking them up could be harmful (to them ...). And if you do make it to the top, there’s a restaurant serving tartiflette, plus a cable car to sweep you back down. 

WRS Business Development Manager Sian Sibley has her mind on higher things

When I’ve had enough of cold mountain air and sporty types, I take myself off for something more calming and contemplative. Lausanne has a number of great museums but my most recent find is the wonderful photography museum, the Musée d’Elysée. Set in a 19th century house with incredible Lake views, the museum presents changing photographic exhibitions of a high international standard, plus early photographs from their own Vaud collection. It’s fascinating to see what Lausanne looked like over a hundred years ago. Look out too for more contemporary images from the winners of their annual competition the Prix d’Elysée - and there’s a photography bookshop that’s to die for.

Combine a visit with a hot chocolate at the port in Ouchy and let others take the pain of winter. 

WRS Presenter Hansine Johnston discovers the joys of going UP the mountains

You have to admit that any sport that actually sounds like skinny must have a future! Skinning, or peau de phoque, is basically walking uphill on skis. I came to it having lost the bottle for downhill skiing. Also, being in the mountain air for more than five seconds definitely creates cravings for fondue and copious amounts of wine - and as abominable snowman ski- chic has sadly failed to catch on, skinning was calling to me! There I am - checking out the amazing scenery, getting the heart rate going and still fairly chilled. There are, of course, many sporty skinners (like my husband) who take it seriously and speed up the mountain in the latest Lycra kit strapped with heart rate monitors. But trust me, you don’t have to do that! To try skinning or rent equipment.

WRS Commercial Director Ian Smith rises above his dislike of snow and ice

Cocooned in the comfort of middle-age, I love spectacular winter scenery but don’t want to spend too much time exposed to the raw elements, risking life and limb on the side of a mountain. So in my opinion there is no better way to take in the breath-taking views of the Bernese and Valais Alps than from a plane at 30,000 feet. Flying from Geneva to Lugano (in just 40 minutes!) must be one of the world’s most panoramic trips – and Lake Lugano is particular atmospheric in winter. Resist the boutiques on the Via Nassa and head for what makes life in Lugano especially sweet ... Ironically, it’s a lot like snow - a delicious ice cream from the popular La Gelateria di Lugano!

WRS Business Development Manager Megan Lawler finds a winter de-stress... in an igloo

One of the best hidden gems of Switzerland is nestled away in the Valais. It's where I like to go to escape it all. These igloo-like pods offer stunning views day and night. In the mornings you can take a guided snowshoe tour through the trails, but if time allows I’ll sneak away to the sauna. (And if I'm really treating myself then it’s a massage too). At night, followed by a dinner of fondue of course, there’s nothing like cosying up to a wood-burning  fire - with a cup of tea of course - followed by a touch of stargazing from your bed. It's a unique experience and the perfect winter getaway.

WRS Publication Manager Isabelle Cornet enjoys a warm winter fix of wellbeing

Megève may be famous for its skiing and fantastic scenery but I really enjoy visiting the Spa des Sports by Pure Altitude. It’s a pleasure to be in the mountains and at the Spa you have the Alpine environment – but stay warm and relaxed whatever the weather! And the prices are very reasonable considering the level of service. For example, with a two hour pass you can indulge in a sauna, hammam, Jacuzzi, relaxation pool and an invigorating tonic shower. It’s also possible to book a massage or a treatment based on natural plant extracts from the exclusive Pure Altitude range. These are luxurious products and are shared with Megève’s other Pure Altitude Spa, the more expensive alternative at five- star hotel Les Fermes de Marie.

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