• Camilla

Col de la Givrine | St-Cergue (VD)

Updated: Mar 13, 2020

So much fun at 1,041 metres and facing the whole alpine chain as far as Mont Blanc. Walking and sledging on the menu!

Col de la Givrine & St-Cergue (Vaud) - Walk Genolière and sledge - Swiss Family Blog

I don’t know about you, but we were getting rather itchy feet after a week of being indoors a lot and eating too much food over Christmas week so we were really keen to get out into the fresh air on Sunday to get a bit of exercise.

We’ve rather lost the knack for getting everyone bundled up over the summer months and it seemed to take us forever to round up all of our snow gear but eventually we were all clad in our thermals and ready to set off.


Walk to la Genolière

We were heading to the Col de la Givrine and managed to park the car in the small parking area at the start of the walk but when we left we decided that the road parking opposite is probably easier. The car park was like an ice rink and cars were pushing up into the already full car park making it hard for us to get out when it came time to leave.

We started Alba off in the baby carrier as she’s very much a dawdler at the moment and we wanted to get a decent bit of the path behind us before we unleashed her affections on the local dog population.

Col de la Givrine & St-Cergue (Vaud) - Walk Genolière and sledge - Swiss Family Blog

The first part of the walk was pretty slippery as it’s used a lot of sledging and skis so we stuck to the sides for this bit. It’s a gentle uphill walk on the way to La Genolière restaurant which was our target, and we saw lots of people on snowshoes which must help but with the snow fairly compacted along the path, we didn’t need them.

We were lucky to have a beautiful sunny day which set off the surroundings to magnificent effect, with sparkling snow and blue skies. It got quite warm with Alba on my back and I was relieved when the path took us into a forest area which offered a bit more cover from the sun.

Col de la Givrine & St-Cergue (Vaud) - Walk Genolière and sledge - Swiss Family Blog

It appeared that lots of people had the same idea as us and the path was very busy but we were happy to trundle along with Jude exploring the deeper drifts of snow which surrounded us. Closer to our destination we let Alba walk a bit and it was really funny to watch her scampering about. She liked to hurl herself into the snow before selecting a chunk of ice to nibble on so we spent a lot of the time inspecting her chosen snacks to make sure they weren't yellow 🙀. She was convinced that she was part of the film “Frozen” (yes that’s still a big thing in our house) and was singing and re-enacting parts of the film.

Elio did a pretty good job of managing this walk. We bought him lots of new kit for this winter including a balaclava which we thought might help to protect his little cheeks from the wind, and his first pair of proper winter shoes which we could put his orthopedic boots inside. This made a big difference and he was nice and warm and even slept for a small portion of the walk!

Col de la Givrine & St-Cergue (Vaud) - Walk Genolière and sledge - Swiss Family Blog

After a little while we reached the end of our walk which is the restaurant La Genolière where we paused for a drink and a snack before heading back down. It was very busy so I think it would be a good idea to book if you are planning to stop for lunch.

Col de la Givrine & St-Cergue (Vaud) - Walk Genolière and sledge - Swiss Family Blog
La Genolière Buvette

Again I started off with Alba on my back and this time Jude needed some cajoling. He had done so well in the way up without too much complaint but his little legs were getting tired on the way down so we kept him chatting and discussed the other fun things we could do during the holidays and that seemed to help.

We released Alba again for the last few hundred metres so that she and a Jude could have a snowball fight and mess about a bit before we got back to the car.

Col de la Givrine & St-Cergue (Vaud) - Walk Genolière and sledge - Swiss Family Blog

It did us the world of good to be outside and the added bonus of the sunshine made it even more special.

Now we just need to focus on fine-tuning our snowy walk prep!

Sledge La Trélasse

We had such a great time during our walk on Sunday that we went back again on Tuesday to explore the other side of the path at the Col de la Givrine. This time we parked along the side of the road and were armed with out sledges including a new one for Elio we thought we would try.

Col de la Givrine & St-Cergue (Vaud) - Walk Genolière and sledge - Swiss Family Blog

Our plan was to pull the children on their sledges so that we could enjoy the scenery and they would be happy with the novel mode of transport, and I have to say that this walk will go down as one of my all time favourites.

We set off from the car across the snow with Elio snugly installed in his new sledge, feeling rather nervous about whether or not he would like it but we needn’t have worried - he was soon chuckling to himself and it was so nice to be able to pull him alongside his siblings.

Col de la Givrine & St-Cergue (Vaud) - Walk Genolière and sledge - Swiss Family Blog

The sun was shining on us as we joined a lovely path which would take us on a beautiful walk through the most incredible snowy landscape. It was perfect for the sledges as it wasn’t too steep for us to pull the children uphill but there was enough of a gradient for them to enjoy going down. The scenery around us was beautiful and there weren’t too many people about so we could appreciate the tranquility of it.

We did quite a long walk before giving the children time for some proper sledding on a hill at the end. It’s amazing how much more confident Jude is this year and alarming how confident Alba is. She was trying to go down head first...OMG!

Col de la Givrine & St-Cergue (Vaud) - Walk Genolière and sledge - Swiss Family Blog

Our little Elio actually managed to fall asleep for a large amount of the time and we had to wake him up to get him into the car.

It’s such a beautiful place to walk and the hugely heartwarming highlight for us was that it was so wonderful to have an activity that Elio could participate in as well. We didn’t imagine that sledging would be an option for him at this point but the one we found in Decathlon has a raised back to the seat and a proper harness as well as a pulling strap which can be used for pulling from the front or steadying at the back. Thoroughly recommend this for smaller sledgers.


We can’t wait to go back!

Information

Parking : Yes

Toilets : No

Accessibility : depending on your equipment


Col de la Givrine

Map


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