Sledge Ride in Heutal

Tobogganing in Heutal

On your toboggan, get set, go! An excursion to the natural toboggan run in Heutal is compulsory! 12-year-old Leonie also tries to top her personal best every year.

“Lean the upper body back, lift legs, ride into the curve at full speed. Transfer the weight to the inside of the curve, foot out to steer and then quickly pick up speed again after the curve – until the snow rises in the air and my opponents are left behind”, I think through my fastest toboggan descent last year while we set out once again in glorious weather.

Nach rund 45 Minuten treffen wir auf einer malerischen Lichtung auf Skitouren­geher und Schneeschuhwanderer, die ihre Spuren vom Sonntagshorn herunterziehen. „Hier auf dieser Alm grasen im Sommer die Kühe und verbringen so ihren Almsommer, bevor es im Herbst wieder zurück ins Tal geht“, erzählt Oma, die mit Opa hier im Heutal schon so manchen Almsommerur­laub verbracht hat. After about 45 minutes we meet ski tourers and snowshoers in a picturesque clearing who are making tracks down from the Sonntagshorn. “In the summer the cows graze and spend their alm summer here on this alm before they return to the valley in the autumn”, explains Grandma, who spent many alm summers here in Heutal with Grandpa.

To pass the rest of the time on the way up, I play our favourite game with Grandpa and Dad: guessing the tracks. We discover fresh tracks and traces of deer, stag, squirrel, fox and wild rabbit and discuss keenly who came from where and where they went. Meanwhile Mum and Grandma are deep in a mother-daughter conversation and are setting a more leisurely pace. After a short while our destination appears before us, the snack bar Hochalm at the foot of the Sonntaghorn, 1460 metres above sea-level.

Cosy stop

The sun terrace in the middle of the winter landscape is very inviting and the delicious smell of freshly-cooked hut classics emerges from “Klaus’ Hut” as the Hochalm is also called. Mum and Grandma overtake us in a best time on the last few metres to the hut and explain laughing, “We were looking forward to ‘Kasnocken’ and other local treats so much that we had a tailwind behind us.” Together we sit down on the terrace for a quick thirst quencher before we make ourselves at home around the tiled stove in the warm parlour.

We decide to order a large pan of “Kasnocken” (cheese dumplings) and as the cast-iron pan is placed in the middle of the table, Dad issues the command, “To the spoons, get set, go.” We set about the Kasnocken, everyone from their own side, and eating from one pan sometimes becomes a real battle as everyone fights for their dumpling territory. Eventually we polish off the entire pan, including the crust on the bottom.

Something sweet on the table is also essential for the finale before our toboggan run and so we order a fluffy Kaiserschmarrn with apple sauce and choose a curd strudel with vanilla sauce and a delicious apple cake from the homemade desserts. Grandpa and Dad enjoy a small rowanberry schnapps after the delicious meal and insist, “It’s good for our full stomachs and provides the right ‘Curve Spirit” for the race.”

In pursuit of personal bests

We grab our toboggans, which we had leaned against the wall of the hut when we arrived, and line up at the start of the 3.5 km long natural toboggan run. I make sure no one crosses the start line and give the command, “On your toboggans, get set, go.” After pushing off firmly with my legs a couple of times, my toboggan soon picks up speed and rushes into the bend at breakneck speed. Just as I’d already thought it out beforehand, I put one leg in the snow very briefly to steer and then I’m off rapidly into the next straight. A quick look over my shoulder shows that my pursuers have already been shaken off and are fighting further back for their places.

Bend after bend, the powdery snow rises up all around and of course I arrive in the car park first, cheering. A whole 30 seconds faster than last year and Mum, Dad, Grandma and Grandpa arrive much later, laughing. Mum and Dad seemed to have had a duel which ended with a leap into the deep snow as both of them looked like snowmen. Laughing we describe our descents and decide to hike to the Hochalm again next year. For one thing, there is a hut sandwich on the menu we absolutely must try and for another, today’s toboggan best time can certainly be improved by a couple of seconds.

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