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The best sledging and toboggan runs in Europe for kids

Forget the skiing and get set for a day of family sledging fun at one of these great, child-friendly destinations around Europe

By Kate Solomon
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Leysin-Les-Mosses, Tobogganing
Leysin-Les-Mosses, Tobogganing

A Swiss sledging dream: Tobogganing Park, Leysin, Switzerland

Every winter, former Olympic medallist and world bobsleigh champion Silvio Giobellina creates a tobogganist’s dream in the mountains of Switzerland. Not far from Leysin Ski Resort, he carves out brand new runs each year, starting small in the dedicated kids’ section and working his way up to the intimidatingly steep twisting mega-run that culminates in a jump on to an airbag.

Mountains in La Clusaz, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France
Mountains in La Clusaz, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France
Photo: David Machet

Bragging rights in the Alps: La Clusaz, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

A 400ft-long run sounds like a lot for little ones to handle, but put those mittens on because this gentle but lengthy route is more chill than it sounds. In the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of south-eastern France, La Clusaz has some more advanced sledging opportunities for bigger kids and a host of other winter sports on offer – as well as France’s coveted ‘Famille Plus’ award that confirms it as a good time for all the family.

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Korketrekkeren, Oslo
Korketrekkeren, Oslo
Photo: Silje R.Kampesaeter/Aktiv I Oslo.no/Flickr

A rollercoaster for big kids in Norway: Korketrekkeren toboggan run, Oslo, Norway

The midwinter needn’t be bleak for bigger kids and fearless grown-ups, who should brave Korketrekkeren in Oslo. Its literal translation – ‘the corkscrew’ – should give you some idea of what to expect from this former Olympic bobsleigh trail. On days when the white stuff is in plentiful supply, you can bring your own sledge to hurtle along the 2km run or rent your very own Rosebud from a local vendor.

The 'snake gliss' on Savoie Mont Blanc, France
The 'snake gliss' on Savoie Mont Blanc, France

Get in formation in the French Alps

Why sled alone when you can do it as part of a fast-moving snake, slithering its way from the top to the bottom of a mountain? Suitable for seven years and up, these bright orange sleds snap together to form a train, and the further back you sit, the wilder the ride. Don’t worry about steering – a specially trained guide will take the wheel, so all you have to do is sit back and try not to fall out.

Resorts across France – more info at www.snake-gliss.com.

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Portes du Soleil, France
Portes du Soleil, France
Photo: Martin Weinhardt/Flickr

Freestyle at Portes du Soleil in France

Kids can grab a sled and freestyle down an open slope in the children’s tobogganing area at Portes du Soleil in the French Alps. For a more structured slip ’n’ slide they can hit one of the resort’s themed trails or head to the play area once sledding has lost its allure.

Sledging in Val Thorens, France
Sledging in Val Thorens, France
Photo: Thibaut Loubere

Sleigh it on Europe’s longest run: Val Thorens, France

To avoid schlepping back up the slope to go ‘Again, again... and again!’, consider taking the kids to the longest toboggan run in Europe, which you’ll find at Val Thorens in France. Suitable for everyone over five, you’ll spend 45 minutes sledging your way through twists, turns and thrilling views in a natural valley. Surely after 45 minutes they won’t want another go? Not for at least ten minutes, anyway.  

Best London Christmas activities for children

Kids

December is never more exciting than when you’re littler than Santa’s elves. Luckily, there’s loads of wintery fun to be had in London for kids, from ice rinks to Santa’s grottos and Christmas lights to festive theatre shows.

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