As I exited the gondola, laughter and joyful screams peppered the crisp mountain air. I was about to have the most fun I’ve had in ages, I just didn’t realize it yet. I sat on my wooden toboggan, dug my feet into the snow to propel myself forward. “Dig your right foot in to turn right,” instructed J.P. my German parnter at the time. I dug my right foot in and started turning right towards the steep cliff right off the toboggan run. “Dig your left foot in,” J.P. instructed a little more frantically. “HOW DO I STOP?” I wailed. “DIG BOTH FEET IN…HARDER….HARDER,” J.P. said as I narrowly adverted crashing into the toboggan ahead of me. Between cliffs and other tobogganers, it’s a lot to concentrate on at once!
The first collision avoided I stopped to observe the other tobogganers flying past me noting that no else seemed to need impromptu tobogganing lessons. But then I hadn’t gone tobogganing since…well it was so long ago that I couldn’t remember.
After one run on the Wallberg in Rottach-Egern near the Tegernsee in the Bavarian Alps, that’s about to change. The 6.5 km long toboggan run is the longest natural toboggan run in Germany and takes 30 minutes to descend for a total vertical distance of 825m!
I soon joined in on the laughing and screaming as I worked my way down the steep toboggan run with pure joy running through my veins. Five minutes in and I was already a tobogganing convert! For a unique experience I also highly recommend night sledding which you can do in Wilder Kaiser in Austria.
Visitors have two options to ascend: the Wallberg tram which costs €10 and takes just minutes, or the good old fashioned way – hiking to the top which takes about 2 1/2 hours. We choose the former. Visitors can bring their own sleds or rent one there for €5. We rented our sleds, but waited in line for 90 minutes. Tobogganing on the weekend is a popular activity so arrive early. The toboggan rental and the Wallberg tram both open at 8:45. Another option would be to go on a weekday.
The first part of the toboggan run was steep and bumpy. I learned the hard way that when you go over a bump, you’re supposed to lift your bum up off your sled to reduce the impact. Still, I swooped down the run at top speed, eager to add “Professional Tobogganer” to my existing self-titled “Professional Gondola Operator” designation – or perhaps not. “Where have you been? We’ve been waiting almost 5 minutes,” J.P. impatiently inquired, anxious to continue. “Ummm…taking pictures, yeah that’s it, I stopped to take some pictures along the way….” Regardless of my debatable “top speed” I had a perma-grin on my face, only letting out the occasional profanity when I forgot to lift my bum over a bump. I unconvincing told myself that surely German children didn’t know bad words in English. My apologies to the German parents of those children if I was mistaken.
Two huts await visitors at the top serving typical Bavarian dishes and there’s also a hut half way down the toboggan run offering Glühwein (mulled wine) and schnapps should you need a shot of liquid courage on the way down. I was high on adrenalin and my mulled wine went down in a few gulps. I passed on the schnapps not wanting to wreck my perfect track record of zero crashes.
The second half of the toboggan run wasn’t as steep, nor as bumpy, but still fun and I purposely picked up my speed, swooshing like a pro around the turns. Trees be damned! This was fun!
For more info see the Wallberg Rottach-Egern official website.
Disclaimer: I received two complimentary tickets in exchange for writing about the toboggan run, but as always, all opinions expressed are my own.