At the end of March 2024, the Flums mountains in the canton of St. Gallen are threatening to get loud again. “Alpenknattern” is the name of the event that will bring fans of vintage snowmobiles together for a not entirely serious race. They are reviving Europe’s first race with snowmobiles, which took place in Graubünden more than 50 years ago. The enthusiastic hobbyists and collectors who are in love with the old vehicles will be forgiven by the authorities and local residents for the fact that the noise of the engines will shatter the silence of the wintry forest for a whole weekend.
Apart from this exception, snowmobiles do not have an easy time of it in this country. They are mainly accepted as winter sports equipment in open, wide and sparsely populated regions such as North America and Scandinavia. There is not enough space for them in the Alps. And that is why snowmobiles are reserved for those who need them for work, such as hut keepers, ski resort employees and mountain rescuers. There are only a few exceptions for pure fun, such as on the Turracher Höhe in Carinthia or on the south side of the Splügen and Lukmanier passes. There, however, the Swiss Alpine Club is up in arms against the pleasure-seeking snowmobile fans. The accusation: they disturb wildlife and winter holidaymakers seeking peace and quiet and, on top of that, kill young trees with their runners.
Exhaust-free winter air: electric snowmobiles
Luckily, there is an alternative that no one should have anything against: On the Triebsee above Engelberg in central Switzerland, which is frozen over in winter, the TITLIS SnowXpark awaits action fans in the middle of the ski area who want to step on the gas with a clear conscience. The highlight: the snowmobiles and MoonBikes that can be hired there are electric. There are various circuits of up to one kilometer in length to choose from, which are reminiscent of a snow-covered go-kart track. According to the operators, this is unique in Switzerland and probably in the entire Alpine region. Anyone who sees how young and old test their limits when drifting and chase the electric cars around the tight bends with a lot of physical effort will find it hard to resist trying it out for themselves. Ice-cold driving fun is guaranteed. And the best thing about it: the healthy winter air is not clouded by exhaust fumes, as the speedsters are fully powered and do not need a petrol engine.
World first MoonBike
The MoonBikes are even a world first. Thanks to their low weight and center of gravity, they are easy to handle and still allow lightning starts thanks to the extremely powerful electric motor. The only restriction: The pilots must be at least 160 centimeters tall and be 16 years old. However, anyone who literally “slips through the bottom” doesn’t have to be sad. Because the e-snowmobiles parked right next door can be switched to the throttled junior mode with just one click – and then even kids aged twelve and over can accelerate unaccompanied.
Prices, season and opening times: The TITLIS SnowXpark can best be compared to a go-kart track. There are various circuits on which you can drive the e-Snowmobiles and MoonBikes yourself. The longest lap is about one kilometer long. Opening times: Between December 16th and April 7th daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Prices: 25 minutes cost 65 CHF including instructions and battery replacement
Click tip for the region: www.titlis.ch