Snowshoe || Oberalppass to Andermatt || Switzerland

Passing the Oberalpsee (Lake) to our left, completely snow covered and beautiful.

Passing the Oberalpsee (Lake) to our left, completely snow covered and beautiful.

Read all the way to the bottom for the hiking map and height profile.

This snowshoe took place in the heart of the Swiss Alps - Andermatt. Jay and I took part in our company’s Snow Day, where the company charters a bus, and we get a free ride to and from Andermatt.

Most people going were skiing, but we are not skiers! We took this opportunity to plan a snowshoe hike from Oberalppass to Andermatt. We had not yet been hiking in this area, so we took a cautious route. The pass valley had some pretty steep sides which can lead to avalanches. We checked SLF, the Swiss avalanche bulletin before we left, the danger was in Moderate range.

We did not wear avalanche gear but also we were walking along the train tracks, if there had been too much danger the trains would not have been running either.

Our bus arrived in Andermatt late, so we missed the train up to Oberalppass. We had to wait another 45 minutes for the next train. Waiting is not a bad thing, we watched people, played with our gear and stayed warm on the train.

When you take the train from Andermatt to Oberalppass make sure to sit on the right-hand side facing the direction of travel to get the best views during the ride.

The train only takes 20 minutes to Oberalppass. Once we arrived, everyone else went towards the station, we turned to go back the way we just came. It takes only a few minutes to get all of our gear on and start walking.

The snow was pretty high and had been pushed off of the tracks making the sides even higher. We found a spot to get off the tracks was a touring skier had passed through. We followed the touring skiers’ tracks for quite some distance.

To our left was the Oberalpsee, a lake wholly frozen and covered with snow. We could have walked on this, but I'm terribly afraid of frozen lakes. The snow was not at all fluffy. This is really helpful to keep us up on top of the snow instead of sinking in. The snowshoes also help to avoid sinking, but if the snow is really soft and fresh, you can still sink up to your knees. When you drop so much, it makes hiking in the snow super tiring.

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

It was a beautiful, sunny day with blue skies. In the sun it was warm despite the temperature being only 5C (41F). However, we hiked for a bit in the shadow of Rossbodenstock (2837m), it was so cold that my fingertips started to hurt!

There was hardly any noise besides the sound of our own snowshoes on the crunchy snow. When we stopped, it was silent, even if a train was coming the noise was absorbed by all the snow. This is one of the reasons we prefer snowshoeing over skiing or sledding. It seems like most snowshoers are more into nature and value moving slowly and taking in the beauty.

This snowshoe hike is not strenuous. We started at the highest point and walked down. This is a great route to take new-to-snowshoeing friends to see how they fair. It's also above the tree line, and although it's beautiful and comfortable, it was not the most exciting hike we've ever done. The key factors why we like this hike are; it's easy to access, it's easy to hike, you can't get lost, no one was around us.

We had intended to hike down from Nätschen after having lunch, but we looked at the way down and decided against it. The way down we would have to share with sledders, walkers, and skiers. We had a lovely lunch at the Alp-Hittä.

We took the train back down to Andermatt where we enjoyed hot cocoa and waited for all the others to arrive.

It was a great day, and we highly recommend this as a snowshoe hike.