Sunday, July 5, 2015

Zurich Parcoursvita

The Zurich Insurance Company started an initiative called Parcoursvita in 1968 to encourage outdoor recreational sports and promote a healthy lifestyle, quality family time and contact with nature. Today there are 500 trails all over Switzerland, sponsored by Zurich and maintained by the local communes. These trails 'borrow' 2-3km of forest trails with an easy, medium or difficult rating, and each course has 15 stations for stretching and strength work.

Map of Switzerland with the Parcoursvita routes marked
Blue = easy; red = medium; black = difficult

We first learnt about these trails at the welcome dinner for new residents in Aubonne as our village maintains a Parcoursvita near the Arboretum. The course is 2.1km and has a medium ranking, and the whole trail is in the shade of the forest, next to the Aubonne River.

We love this trail so much we decided to explore some of the other routes in our area. We went back to Montricher (which is an access point for Mont Tendre) to test out the 2.6km course there. It is a difficult course and there is a lot more climbing and less shade than Aubonne.

We also checked out the Parcoursvita in Apples, which is more similar to Aubonne -  2.2km and medium. It was a very nice shady course and we'll definitely go back to keep fit.

I checked out the Parcoursivita at Ravoire while Daniel did a training session in the Alps. This one was 2.4km and had a black rating - lots of climbs! Unfortunately it wasn't very well sign-posted and I got pretty lost. This meant I had more climbing to do than anticipated, but I got to enjoy some pretty great views while I was out.

The route coincided with parts of a trail called 'Les fours à pains de Ravoire' which goes past the 13 communal bread ovens which were built in the 1850s to serve the 20 hamlets in the area and were still used into the 1950s. According to the website, "Ravoire has the largest concentration of bread ovens in Valais, and possibly in Switzerland. An association for safeguarding this heritage is being formed." How's that for a claim to fame?

While Daniel completed a 55km race in the mountains around Les Diablerets, I completed the 2.5km parcoursvita. This is the best one I've seen so far - lots of green mossy rocks and trees along the wood chip trail, magic toadstools popping up here and there, and the beautiful Grande Eau river on the side. This one is a moderate difficulty route.

No comments: