Switzerland December attire advice for Antipodeans

Switzerland December attire advice for Antipodeans

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austcochon
austcochon
30 posts
active member
Apr 20, 2017 - 5:29 AM

We would appreciate suggestions for clothing and footwear for non-skiers staying in Zermatt and Grindelwald in late December and early January. We intend to do train and cable car trips to upper areas where possible.

Thanks

austcochon

Lucas
Lucas
8915 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 20, 2017 - 6:02 AM in reply to austcochon

Hi austcochon,

Dress warmly! temperatures in the winter in those towns will easily be around 0 degrees to -10....the mountains tops can be much colder. I would dress like a skier :) Wear layers and waterproof coats at least (pants as well if you plan to do much walking/hiking).

myswissalps.com/ weather

Lucas

Last modified on Apr 20, 2017 - 5:50 PM by Arno
austcochon
austcochon
30 posts
active member
Apr 20, 2017 - 6:15 AM in reply to Lucas

Thank you very much Lucas.

Cheers

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5009 posts
expert
Apr 22, 2017 - 1:06 AM in reply to austcochon

G'day austcochon -

Don't forget the boots!

And, keep in mind that altitude is a substantial determinant of temperature.

At least, it will give you a break from Summer weather down under.

Slowpoke

austcochon
austcochon
30 posts
active member
Apr 25, 2017 - 1:16 AM

Thank you very much Slowpoke. As you pointed out temperature in Swiss December will be a far cry from ours!

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Apr 26, 2017 - 4:59 AM in reply to austcochon

Hi austcochon,

I'm Australian too, and a non-skier. I have spent time in the Swiss Alps during winter on three occasions so far - twice in late December and once in February. February is colder, and there is more snow about.

At Christmas last year in Wengen, Grindelwald and Mürren, there was no snow in the villages, although it was still cold. There was snow on the surrounding mountains though.

Any mountain tops you are likely to visit will have heated indoor areas - restaurants, shops and viewing areas. However, it is good to be suitably dressed in order to enjoy spending time outdoors and making the most of the mountain-top experience.

Here are details of the sort of clothing I wear in winter in the Swiss Alps, in which I have remained warm and comfortable for long periods outdoors.

1. Thermal tops and leggings. I like the Heattech range available in UNIQLO stores. They are warm, very comfortable and inexpensive, and I much prefer them to the expensive thermal wear you get in bushwalking stores. They have "warm" and "extra warm" styles.

2. Polar fleece jacket with full length zip. I like the Altica 200 range from Kathmandu stores - they provide just the right level of warmth for me. Full-length zips enable you to open the jacket if you are feeling a bit too warm. They have zipped outside pockets and some inside pockets as well.

3. Down-filled jacket, from bushwalking/outdoor shops such as Kathmandu. Mine is 80% goose down. I prefer styles with zips that open from the bottom as well as the top, with removable hoods and zipped pockets. They are OK for short periods in falling snow, but are not waterproof enough for rainy conditions. In rain, I wear an inexpensive lightweight waterproof jacket over the top of the down jacket. Ski jackets are waterproof, but I find them too bulky and heavy for travelling around.

4. Heavyweight pure-wool hiking socks. I like Icebreaker.

5. Gore-Tex lined waterproof hiking shoes. I like the Scarpa Stratos GTX shoe, which has good traction, but is also suitable for everyday wear when travelling. I have also worn them in the tropics (Kakadu), so they are a good all-rounder shoe. I am currently into my second pair, and always keep a spare pair on hand in case they stop making them. That's how much I like them!!

6. Cap, scarf and gloves of course. I prefer polar fleece to wool for these, but have some fine woollen glove liners for particularly cold days. I also wear ankle and wrist warmers in extra-cold conditions.

I hope this gives you a few ideas for deciding what will be right for you. If you need to buy any winter wear, I would do so in the next few months, as the range of available styles, sizes etc will be greatly reduced once the winter months are over. You may already know that the bushwalking stores have regular sales, so I would keep an eye out for these to help keep costs down.

Alpenrose

austcochon
austcochon
30 posts
active member
Apr 26, 2017 - 5:35 AM

Alpenrose, I could not ask for more. Such a detailed list of advice which I can assure you I will follow. We have spent some time in snow in Europe, being in Paris when the Eurostar was stopped and we got the last Thalys to Amsterdam before it too was stopped. However we have not experienced the winter Alps so your advice is invaluable!

Bit disappointed no snow in Grindelwald as we are staying there as well as Zermatt and were looking forward to a snowy Christmas.

Many Thanks

austcochon

Last modified on Apr 26, 2017 - 5:36 AM by austcochon
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Apr 26, 2017 - 10:31 AM in reply to austcochon

>> Bit disappointed no snow in Grindelwald as we are staying there as well as Zermatt and were looking forward to a snowy Christmas.

We had been hoping for a "white Christmas" in Wengen last year too, and were rather disappointed that there was no snow in the villages, or even up at Kleine Scheidegg. We still had a wonderful time though.

Here's hoping you are luckier this year with the snow!

Alpenrose

AlanPrice
AlanPrice
194 posts
active member
Apr 27, 2017 - 8:59 PM

Hi austcochon,

Just a couple of more tips. The things you notice getting cold will be your extremities, toes, nose, ears and fingers, and they won't just be cold, they will be really painful, so look after those bits carefully. I used to wear my Walkman headphones unplugged (age showing here) just for the extra insulation, and remember, temperature falls 1 degree for every 100 mtrs you climb, so it will be a lot colder up the Jungfrau/Klein Matterhorn than it will be in the village.

Keeping the wind out is really important. It can be really still a lot of the time in the Alps, but if the wind picks up, the apparent temperature will fall through the floor, so a good rain jacket or wind stopper is vital. To test how water/windproof something is, hold the sleeve against your mouth and try to blow through it. If you can't, then it's good.

Finally, be careful of sunburn at altitude like at the Jungfraujoch. A combination of thinner air and reflected light from the snow means you'll burn quite badly without blockout. And dont forget your sunnies.

Regardless of the potential lack of snow (snow at Christmas in the valleys is only a 50/50 chance) you're going to have a great trip. Going from summer in Oz (I'm in Sydney) to an Alpine winter is a real experience.

Have a great trip,

Alan

austcochon
austcochon
30 posts
active member
Apr 28, 2017 - 10:12 PM in reply to AlanPrice

Thank you AlanPrice,all these tips are much appreciated, as are your good wishes. With the advice we are getting from myswissalps how could we not have a wonderful trip. What an incredible forum it is!

austcochon

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