An Amazing Experience in the Swiss Alps

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It is difficult to put into words the amazing experiences that I have had at Our Chalet. I am a simple Nepali girl and have always been passionate about scouting and guiding. Traveling to Europe was something I had always dreamed of. Now that I am finally living my dream, I am reluctant to wake up.

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How it began?

My journey began with an application, an application to volunteer at ‘Our Chalet’, the first World Centre of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). After a couple of months, I received an email from Our Chalet with news that I had been selected to work as an Our Chalet Assistant for Spring 2018 and there was no boundary for my happiness as my application was accepted.

Swiss Experience

My first ever visit to Switzerland became challenging as I landed at night and had to get into different trains to reach Adelboden. Nepalese people do not have good experiences with trains since there are no railways in Nepal. This was also a little bit worrying as I was traveling alone. Getting into different trains on time and changing platforms with my luggage was not easy, however it was worth it when I finally arrived at Our Chalet. I experienced snowfall for the first time in my life and it was exactly how I imagined it to be- STUPENDOUS! I have had so many wonderful experiences such as building an igloo, making my first snowman, sledding, skiing and snowshoeing which I had never done before in Nepal. I have now travelled to many places in Switzerland and the beauty is just mesmerizing.

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Our Chalet Experience

I am the first staff member from Nepal in this 86 year old establishment. Everyone in Our Chalet (be it guests or the staff) love to find out about Nepal, its culture and scouting there. I have been learning more about WAGGGS and different projects run by WAGGGS during my time here. I have taken the lead in several programs which are conducted for guests. I have been carrying out the role of lead volunteer several times where I manage and allocate tasks for all the volunteers. I really enjoy interacting with guests as there is so much to learn from them. Since most of them are from different corners of the world, it is interesting to know about their guiding stories, memories and about the adventures they have had in their life. My experience at Our Chalet has helped me grow and become more independent, confident and push myself outside my comfort zone.

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Swechchha, Nepal – Our Chalet Assistant Spring 2018

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Mountain Perspectives

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In this post I want to help you have a clearer idea of what the mountains are like here in Adelboden, Switzerland and the different ways you can explore them at Our Chalet when you visit. People from around the world hold different perceptions of mountains depending on what they’re used to, before you come it’s nice to have an idea of the scale of these mountains.

Firstly, if I asked you to draw me a mountain right now, 93 times out of 100 you will draw something that looks like this:

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Spiky and angular.

However that is not always the reality.

The stunning Wildstrubel dominates the skyline over Adelboden. Would you have drawn me a flat mountain like this?

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So, what is a mountain?

The truth is mountains come in all shapes and sizes big and small, flat and pointy, dipped and curved, rocky and grassy, steep and steady – perhaps all at once.

In the UK, a mountain is usually defined as any summit of at least 610 m (or 2000 feet) high, but official definitions vary across the globe.

The highest point you will find in the Netherlands reaches a mighty 322 m (1056 feet) so there are no mountains there. Compare that to the highest point in Nepal which reaches a whopping 8848 m (29,029 feet) and you’ve got a bit of a difference. Therefore, what may seem high to a Dutch Guide may seem like a small bump to a Guide from Nepal.

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Left of the photo: Bunderspitz, lit up in the winter sun, overlooking the Our Chalet grounds

What kind of mountains will you find when you come to Our Chalet?

Well, there certainly is a variety. The highest and longest hike we offer at Our Chalet is to the tip of Bunderspitz to see the sunrise, it’s only possible in summer. Once up there, you stand at 2546 m (8353 feet) above sea level. Since Switzerland is a mountainous landlocked country, you begin the hike not from sea level but from Our Chalet’s front door which is 1353 m (4439 feet) high, meaning that on that hike you climb a height gain of 1193 m (3914 feet) in total. That’s four Eiffel Towers high!! From the top you can see over into our neighbouring valley of Kandersteg and on a good day you can see the Eiger and the Jungfrau, some of Switzerland’s tallest and most famous peaks.
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Above: Sunrise on Bunderspitz in the summer looking west over the Adelboden valley.

Below: The badge you earn for completing this special hike

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This hike is for those who really wish to challenge themselves!

Our winter walks often head across and through the mountainous valley as opposed to walking to the top of the peaks, often with a gondola ride at the end to ensure the high mountain views are still reached at the end of the day. The walk to Engstligenalp is a lovely meandering horizontal hike to the second largest waterfall in Switzerland and is suitable for everyone who is up for walking for two hours.

There are also leisurely walks in the spring tailored to smaller children or those less able to undertake long distances, which allow guests to explore the valley extending behind Our Chalet to the beautiful Bunderfalls that cascade down the Lohner mountains.

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Altitude Chart comparison of Programme Hikes

We have a variety of other hikes throughout the year too which change from season to season to adapt to the annual changing weather conditions. Check out our events page to find the right walks for you.

If you’re really into hiking, perhaps our Walking Week in autumn would be for you.

Whether you’re new to the mountains, or a weathered mountain lover, the peaks of Adelboden will always hold opportunities for you to explore them at your level.

Written by Emma, UK – Winter/Spring Marketing and Communications Intern