Text and photo: Marietta Kobald, luaga.ch
There's nothing better than taking the path to the Bodähütte on a cold but starry winter evening. Step by step, we crunch our way along the pleasantly levelled winter hiking trail through the snow-covered landscape towards our destination. Candlelight shines warmly in front of the venerable old hut and shows the guests the way. The banging on the stable bridge in front of the hut, caused by the heavy stomping of the guests to remove the snow from their winter boots, summons the landlady Dorli Roffler more reliably than any doorbell. "Ja guätä Abet, siider scho da!", she states, greets everyone warmly and leads the group of six into the warm Maiensässhütte. Hans Roffler, Dorli's husband, is standing at the wood stove, pushing a log onto the red-hot coals in the wood stove. Two caquelons are ready, filled to the top with the already delicious smelling cheese mass. It only needs to be heated well and stirred thoroughly. In the meantime, the guests are getting rid of their winter clothes, because in the small, cozy dining room, too, a fireplace stove is roaring and exudes a pleasant warmth. Hot tea is ready on the laid table and finds grateful takers before the obligatory white wine.
Show all 5 images
As is well known, many roads lead to Rome. Thus, the Bodähütte can also be reached on various paths. From St. Antönien on the wonderfully laid out winter hiking trail it takes about 2 hours, starting at the Pany ski lift it takes about 1.5 hours. Ski tourers, snowshoe trekkers, but also families with small children like to use this cozy mountain inn for a stop. For the way home, in good snow conditions, sledges or, in the local language, the Walser dialect, gögels are available.
The Roffler couple is now in their 11th winter season up here in their Maiensäss. Every year from December 26th to January 6th it is open continuously and then during the day on weekends. In the evenings and on weekdays, you have to make an appointment if you want to stop in and enjoy the fine homemade barley soup with house sausage or this delicious shepherd's fondue, made at "Bärgpur", a store in Küblis known for its regional specialties. Hans is usually not here in the evenings, has enough work on the farm in Luzein below with his 40 head of cattle in the stable. So Dorli hosts up to 15 guests on her own, and this is also the reason why there are only two warm offerings on the menu. But on weekends, Hans is in the kitchen, preparing the coveted "Bodäplättli", cutting alpine cheese, Salsiz, bacon and Mostbröckli from their own animals. "Paloma, Norberta and Lindi had their turn this year," says the farmer. Well, whether all guests would like to receive this information remains to be seen. But at least it shows that they still know where the meat comes from.
The highlight after the fondue
The hike through the cold winter night has made us hungry, and so six hands simultaneously reach into the two baskets of bread cubes, as Dorli calls from the kitchen: "Are you ready, the fondue is coming!" Fork after fork of bread is now dipped into this liquid cheese dish, everyone is full of praise. After half an hour the caquelons are empty, some still try to lift the cheese crust from the floor, fish up pieces of garlic and ask for a "Schleipfägaffi", a coffee with special schnapps and cream.
But then the guests move on to the highlight of the evening, the horse-drawn sleigh ride. Quiet ringing can already be heard as the guests wrap up warmly again. Until a few decades ago, the wood cut in late autumn was hauled down to the valley by horseback in winter, when there was enough snow. This has now given rise to a slightly modified offer for guests. Schleipfer Otto Gurt harnesses his horse in front of the Bocker, the wooden sledge on which two smaller tree trunks connected by cross braces rest. However, the guests do not sit on these, but on sagex blocks lashed to them. On the one hand, these warm the backs of the six people who now make themselves comfortable on them and hold on to the straps on Otto's instruction, and on the other hand, they weigh almost nothing. At Otto's soft call, the horse starts moving, snorting. Accompanied by the tinkling of the bells on the halter, the horse goes back the same way. But then the horse turns left into a snow channel, similar to a bobsled run and slowly getting steeper. The steeper the faster it goes downhill, the whooping of the passengers increases. The brakes are applied in the traditional way, with a chain that Otto pushes under the runners after a short stop. The snow falls beautifully around the tips of the guests' noses, glittering stars twinkle out from between the snow-covered tops of the fir trees. The village of Pany is in sight, the 30 minutes have passed far too quickly. As a consolation, everyone receives a good sip of genuine Prättigauer Röteli from Otto!
18.11.2020: Unfortunately, since the winter of 2019/2020, horse-drawn sleigh rides from the Bodähütte are no longer offered (pt).
Bodähütte - how?
The Bodähütte is open continuously from the end of December until the beginning of January and then during the day on weekends until mid-March. In the evening and on weekdays you have to book. Fondue is only available to order.
Halfway along the panoramic winter hiking trail from St.Antönien to Pany (total duration 3h), it is the ideal place for a refreshment in the winter sun. Or from Pany you can reach the hut in about 1h 15min (it is best to park at the ski lift Pany).