Leysin Village to Solacyre Trail – Tips for winter mountain runs

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kellysnow1 I love this photo. I had this feeling, I’m sure you know it, when you are just loving your run and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I only did a shortish loop from lower Leysin village (Switzerland), up to Solyacyre at 1848m and back down, I’m guessing about 7 miles. The weather was average as there was a storm coming in. Still, running alone in the mountains can be great fun.

leysin run

Basic tips for winter mountain runs
– The weather in the mountains can change very quickly. Unless you’re staying close to home, always take a wind and waterproof jacket, even if its just a light shell.
– Layering is key. Merino wool is my favourite. Bare in mind that whilst base layers are breathable, a 100% waterproof jacket is not. Keep warm but don’t let yourself get too hot. If you start sweating it will be trapped inside your jacket and you’ll be in for a cold run home.
– Try and take gloves and a buff or hat with you.
– If you carry poles, are prone to faff around with your phone/garmin/camera or just get cold hands, take wind proof gloves. Even better, take gloves with a windproof overlay so that you can slip them on when you get to an exposed area.
– Try and run with a slightly stiffer trail shoe, possibly with some ankle support, if you are running in changeable snow. If you suddenly break through the crust it’s nice to have that support. I don’t like Gore Tex trainers normally as they don’t let your feet breath but they are perfect for cold, snowy conditions.
– Even in dull weather, miles of snow can be hard work on your eyes. Take sunglasses.
– Run like you would downhill, looking 3-4 steps ahead and keeping an eye on the terrain coming up.
– Equally, be observant of the area around you. Keep an eye out for poles or fencing which have been partly snowed over.
– Stop every once in a while and enjoy the view!

2 Replies to “Leysin Village to Solacyre Trail – Tips for winter mountain runs”

  1. A few things….basic mountain safety for non mountaineers!

    If you don’t know the area, plan and know the route and check the weather. Carry a phone, and take appropriate extra clothes if needed, just one layer. Carry a little food just in case – just a bar of choc or better energy bar.. Tell someone where you are going and when you should be back.

    If you are going further, higher or longer – take light snow shoes (super fast MSR ones etc) and if using poles put snow cradles on them. On high paths with steep drops in winter, you must take walking axe and crampons of some sort. Two silly Brits dead this week, one an 11 year old child… it can go wrong for anyone, but at least take the basic precautions, which they did not.

    Speak to people you pass if you have the language and get an idea of the conditions higher/further. Most folks speak English these days

    Be aware of your level of experience in the mountains, and underachieve until you know what you’re doing! Try to go out with locals wherever possible to learn the local conditions and methods. They normally work

    1. Great advice, thank you for posting.

      Running in the mountains, just being in them generally, always carries risks so it’s always good to be prepared as possible. I’m pretty strict on always carrying my phone, even just around the block!

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