In the Swiss Alps, life gradually moves indoors with the first snowfall of the season. Winter is a time to cocoon, be with friends, and indulge in hearty foods. This Switzerland Winter Style Guide highlights all the must-haves that make this season so enjoyable.
The Swiss have a centuries-old tradition of sheltering amid an unpredictable nature. In the Swiss Alps, avalanches, rock slides, and other natural disasters are commonplace. While the outdoors cannot be tamed, the Swiss have naturally focused on making their homes a refuge.
Natural materials such as woods, fabrics, and furs have been key to surviving winter. These materials provide essential heat and comfort to the alpine settlers while a blizzard might be isolating them from the outside world.
Still today, these materials are essential when it comes to the typical Switzerland winter style. Be it for interior decoration or winter wardrobes, felts, furs, and woods are the key ingredients to many of the most iconic winter-style items. And with today's Swiss being among the wealthiest on this planet, it makes sense why they would enjoy luxurious goods.
How to adopt Switzerland winter style into your own life:
Turn your apartment into a mountain chalet
In Switzerland, the ultimate expression of country living involves a wooden chalet somewhere in the mountains. The indoor spaces would feature lots of bright wood, thick curtains to keep the cold air from entering, a cowhide carpet, knit blankets, and the occasional antler.
By adopting some of these features into your own apartment, you can make it feel more like a ski chalet. Some expert advice: on your TV, play an endless 4K loop of a crackling fireplace...
Roasted chestnuts made at home
One of my Swiss winter obsessions revolves around roasted chestnuts. On a brisk day in the city, my instant cure for some warmth (and energy) is a bagful of roasted chestnuts.
For home roasting of chestnuts, they sell electric tabletop ovens here in Switzerland. I have not found any such products abroad, so your best bet will be a special chestnut roasting pan like the below, available on Amazon. Use it on your own fire pit or indoor fireplace. What better way to spread a typical Swiss winter scent in your own home?
Larch wood scents
The smells of winter would not be complete without the scent of natural larch wood. My throw pillow filled with shavings of larch tree wood remind me of the Engadine. There, traditional homes are built with this type of local wood, and this scent instantly takes me back to an idyllic hotel somewhere in the Swiss Alps.
Swiss winter scents, continued: a must-have raclette grill.
What would Swiss winter be without the smell of melted cheese? For a quick fix, the Swiss like to set up their raclette grills. And while we only used to melt cheese in the past, contemporary raclette recipes offer countless options.
We recommend this raclette grill for eight persons, available on Amazon. It not only has a sleek design but also a non-stick grill surface for vegetables and sausages.
Original Swiss Army blankets
There is nothing like curling up under a warm wool blanket on a cold winter night. Those who have served in the Swiss Army will naturally be familiar with the iconic blanket. But the original Swiss Army blankets are also a staple in many mountain lodges or typically Swiss hotels. And in recent years, the blankets are finding their way into private homes where they add an instant touch of Swissness.
The grey Swiss Army blankets with their red and white elements are made of a blend containing 75 percent Swiss sheep wool. The natural fibers give each blanket a unique look and feel.
The online retailer SwissMadeDirect sells a variety of decorative articles made of original, mint Swiss Army blankets. Given the vintage materials, the pillows and bags are limited in supply. What a way to introduce a typical Switzerland winter style into a home...
High-tech Swiss skis by Anavon
With snow comes winter sports, and Switzerland is a mecca for skiers. In Disentis, there is a small but specialized firm producing some of the finest skiing equipment currently available. A signature feature of Anavon skis is that they are available in all the colors of the rainbow. The core of these skis is made of local pinewood, giving them an unprecedented softness on the snow.
For those wanting to make their own pair of skis, Anavon offers a one-day ski-building workshop that I can highly recommend.
All-in-one ski helmets from cp fashionatsports
In recent years, skis have become ever faster, making a helmet an essential item on the slopes. The all-in-one ski helmets of cp fashionatsports are made of high-tech materials, including carbon outer shells.
The look of these helmets with their attached visors is attention-grabbing. And most importantly, they are extremely comfortable to wear. (I have owned such a helmet since 2015 and will never go back.)
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Protective skiing masks from Swiss Mask Force
During this winter with the pandemic still wreaking havoc, it will be mandatory to wear a face mask in public facilities. With a few exceptions, a mask will be required in ski lift waiting areas, shared cable cars, mountain railways, and mountain restaurants.
Three Swiss start-ups have collaborated on the ultimate protective mask for skiers and snowboarders. The Livipro face masks are produced in Switzerland and exceed all the requirements by the Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force. Thanks to three separate layers, the masks filter 99 percent of harmful aerosols. Knowing that this level of protection is akin to the FFP1 standard, I cannot wait to wear one on the slopes this winter!
Warm hands courtesy of Snowlife
While skiing or crisscrossing the wintry landscapes, protecting your hands from the cold is key to preventing dryness. A lot can be said for a nice pair of gloves to warm your hands.
Placing lots of importance on the quality of the materials, the folks at Snowlife have designed many beautiful gloves. The Swiss Shephard Glove has a touch of Swissness, and the palm is covered with only the softest sheep leather:
Warm feet thanks to lambskin slippers
On a cold winter day, I love slipping out of bed and into my pair of lambskin houseshoes. Wollbetten lambskin slippers are handmade in Kriens, Switzerland. The Swiss craftsmanship, precision, and passion result in healthy and warm houseshoes with a warranty of up to 12 years.
These utterly warm companions are available in various sizes - from baby sizes to adult sizes: