We were actually not sure if we wanted to share…but…


Sainte Foy – Photo credit (c) Holly Junak for Premiére Neige

…if you like everything that rimes on unspoiled alpine charme, well prepared slopes, perfect conditions for kids, a World of off pist options, total lack of lift queues and even more charm…

Here is a tip to the hidden gem Sainte-Foy Tarentaise in the French Alps. But don’t tell anyone……

In the midst of France’s Olympic ski area near Albertville, surrounded by Val d`Iséré, Tignes, Les Arcs and La Rosiere, the tiny town and its ski area is hidden. All who’ve been to Val d`Iséré or Tigne have driven through this small town – But it’s a sin not to take a closer look!

The dilemma of wanting to share and at the same time keeping it our own little secret…


We visited Saint-Foy Tarentaise  for the first time last year (2 days at Easter time) and was left with nothing but an urge to come back. Why? It’s a relaxed friendly gem with both alpine charm and traditional Savoyard architecture (which is not always easy to find in the French Alps)… and it’s perfect for families with its direct ski-in-ski-out slopes and super nice accommodation – we will come back to that.

How different levels, perfect lunches and skiing with a view go hand-in-hand

We travel with 3 children (3,9,13) and the reality of very different ski/snowboard levels, but at no time during our stay were the differences a challenge. Situated on a North-Westerly bearing , the ski area of Sainte-Foy offers high quality powder snow which is renowned amongst all ski experts. In short the area is ideal for all levels; from beginner to the expert.

The ski slopes are well maintained and have a variation in level of 1000m. You have a lot of slopes with challenging “off piste” tree tracks that the more experienced skier can play at while the beginner can stay at the slopes. This was a big hit and made it possible for us to have a lot of time together instead of splitting us up in groups…But it´s not just for families…For the real pro off-piste rider, the area is a true adventure (but bring a guide!) and known to be the place where ski instructors and guides go to on their day off… and they all talk about the ungroomed black runs of “Crystal dark”, “Morion” and “Crêt Serru du Haut”.


Our youngest, aged 3, had her real debut on the skies (we did take a few 1 day trips already and she had a taster last year)… and what a hit. Ok, admitted… the perfect conditions made it easy to create a succes: clear blue sky, sun, fresh snow and lots of hot chocolate breaks…plus she met the nicest ski instructor who within less than an hour, got her basics in place….

And off to the slopes she went…

On the 30km of marked slopes you find an array of beautiful mountain chalets and hamlets…. not to mention the option to have really nice, well-prepared lunches and the joy of a spectacular view of the Mont-Blanc and the Haute-Tarentaise Valley. Both the restaurants Les Brevettes and Les Marquises are recommendable.

An alternative is to make a picnic on the side of the slopes…If you don´t want to bring the food your self, Les Marquises has a nice and cool “drive in” where you simply just pick up your food – and it´s made of nice quality ingredients!!

Picnic in the sun, photo credit (c) Holly Junak for Premiére Neige

Once you tried a chalet like this, it will be hard to go back…

Imagine coming down from the slopes, entering at nice cosy chalet where the fireplace is lit and someone has prepared afternoon tea/coffee and even baked a cake….and then… while the nicest and talented chef is preparing your dinner…you jump in to the hot tub on the balcony and watch the sun set over the mountains…

Sounds like a used phrase in a travel magazine (and you can almost see the toothpaste smile on the models sitting in the tub)….. but that is what our accommodation in Sainte-Foy was like… and here is our smile:-)

We have tried various types of accommodation on our past ski holidays. In Sainte-Foy you have everything: Hotels, appartements and chalets…but we have to say that nothing has ever been so well organized, convenient, service oriented and characterized by friendly staff as during this experience.

We stayed in a catered chalet called South Face, operated by the ski Chalet company, Premiére Neige. Conveniently located in the resort, and with easy access to the pistes and resort centre, the stunning 5 bedroom chalet delivered the ultimate in catered ski holiday luxury and relaxation. The view from the chalet was just…fantastic…Look at this morning sky… and then imagine how beautiful this view is all year around as the scenery changes…. Premiere Neige offers a number of different chalets in the resort and you can find a full list here


We shared our chalet with two other partys – each had their own floor with private bathrooms – and in the morning and evening we all had dinner together at a long table in the shared living room. A wonderful experience with fantastic food, really nice people and the most helpfull staff. Thanks to Chef Chris for involving a very curious 9-year-old boy in your cooking….. we still talk about that cheese cake:-)…and the chocolate cake and…

So….Is Saint-Foy then only a ski destination?

Not if you ask us! The area offers a lot of adventures for cyclists and hikers during spring and summer…and we are already looking at dates for our return. That is what Saint Foy does to you…

Hiking routes setting of from the center of Sainte Foy

You can learn more about the summer adventures  here and also find valuable information at the Tourists office´s website here

Cold facts, insider tips and usable links:


Sainte Foy is known only to the privileged few… You are now among us… so please keep the secret:-)… We will be back…

5 Ways West – Photo Credit (c) Holly Junak for Premiére Neige

1 year in Switzerland…What an adventure!


One year ago on exactly this day, we got the key to our new home and so began our Swiss adventure.

Leaving Denmark behind was hard, but it has been a journey with so many fantastic experiences and learnings all summing up to a year we will never forget!! We are not flying around on pink clouds every day, but close to, and that underlines that we made a right choice. You can read about why we moved here.

New job-New School-New Languages-New Home-New Triathlon Club-New Friends-New (fantastic!!) Running Trails-Founding 5 Ways West-70 Days of Visits from back home-Exploring Switzerland-Travels to Italy, France, Spain, Denmark-Many days of Hiking, Skiing and Climbing…Living in the middle of Europe is an adventure.

Pictures say more than words, so here is a gallery of what our first year has been all about….

December: Turning an empty loft in to a home….Christmas, New Years and our first visitors from Denmark.


In January, real life began – and so did our Skiing season. For a Dane it’s simply fantastic to have so easy access to the mountains….

Winter turned in to Spring….. and almost every weekend was used to explore Switzerland or a neighboring country….You can read a little more about that here

The summer came later than we had expected …. but we kick-started it with a weekend at Ibiza celebrating our dear friends magical wedding, had several visits from friends and family, traveled to our favorit place in Denmark (Skagen) and France (Duniere-sur-Eyrieux), enjoyed the summer-liveliness of our own town (Solothurn – where one of us got a new haircut:-)) and rounded everything off by participating in our first up-hill mountain race. You can read about that here:

After a September with Indian Summer, Fall came….. and together with this, the most beautiful change of scenery on our hiking trips. You can see it here. Before we knew it, a year had passed and winter came back:

New adventures are waiting around the corner. First Christmas and New Year here in Switzerland, then a long weekend in Sainte-Foy-Tarenstaise (France) in January and La Santa (Lanzarote, Spain) in February.

Anna og Elli_We travel because

Thank you so much for following our adventure.

Lots of love



From the flat landscape of Denmark to the most beautiful Swiss nature… The contrast of our lives….



Oeschinensee – The breathtaking view you are rewarded with when you climb the mountain…

Last week our family was scattered over three locations as most of us went back to Denmark for a visit. It was so nice to see family and  friends, so nice to bike around in “our” Copenhagen, but at the same time so funny to realise how much you miss the mountains, when you are not surrounded by them. So… naturally our weekend should be spend in them….. The luxery you have when you live in Switzerland:-)

Early yesterday morning we drove to Oeshinensee, which is about 1 h from where we live. We went to the lake for the first time back in early July…. So we looked very much forward to see the scenery with all the Autumn colors. Even the drive going there, is breathtaking.



Oeschinensee is a lake in the Bernese Oberland, Switzerland, 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) east of Kandersteg in the Oeschinen valley. At an elevation of 1,578 metres (5,177 ft), it has a surface area of 1.1147 square kilometres (0.4304 sq mi). Its maximum depth is 56 metres (184 ft). Since 2007 the lake is part of the JungfrauAletschBietschhorn UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The lake is popular…. Which is not hard to understand. It is easy to access via the cable car, but if you, like us, like to hike (and avoid the crowds!! of tourists) there is the most beautiful trail from valley to the top. We sat off at 10:00 AM in minus -1 C, with clear blue sky….

The climb takes you through the most fantastic nature….

…..and after 2h, 5 km and an elevation of 500m we reached the lake… in perfect time to make a fire and lunch. We were completely alone on the trail up and down…and if you turn left upon arrival to the lake (away from the two restaurants) it is almost as if you were alone on the planet………..


Besides offering perfect hiking trails, the lake also has a Mountain Coaster placed with a view over a crazy scenery of mountain peaks. So much fun for the kids… and Jim:-)….and for the one who was looking after the bags while the others were playing:-)

We are totally in love with the Kandersteg area and at some point we have to spend more days here…. There are so many great trails to try – both for hiking and running and Oeschinensee also offers a smaller skiing area during wintertime….Looks great for a one-day trip…So we are absolutely coming back……

A perfcet day wellspent including 12 km of hiking up and down….

Summer (Check!) – Autumn (Check!) – Winter (to come….)….

Check out Oeschinensee’s website for more info: http://www.oeschinensee.ch/english/



The advantage of living among the World’s biggest chocolate consumers…..


Lac Léman, Switzerland, on a very early morning in May 2016 as we were heading to Italy

…and how this relates to a weekend’s Getaway in Asti, Italy

Switzerland is famous for soaring mountains, clear lakes, watches, punctual trains – and legendary chocolate. Did you know that Swiss people are the World’s biggest chocolate consumers? Every year, the average Swiss person eats just under 10 kg of chocolate.

We love chocolate!!! But that is not why we moved here.

Switzerland is one of those countries you often hear about, but very few people have ever had a chance to visit let alone consider living there….and like every where in the World, the country has its advantages and disadvantages. We will not go deeper in to the pro’s and con’s as there are many excellent articles written about this topic, but we will share a story that underlines one of the major drivers that brought us here. Situated in the middle of Europe, Switzerland is simply the perfect location if you, like us, are an active outdoor-lover cloned with an adventurer who loves to travel and discover.

There are so many beautiful and interesting destinations within reach…. and we promised ourselves that we would exploit this, once we moved here. In our former life we had little… or actually no…space  to be impulsive. Further, we lived in Denmark (and let us just underline that Denmark has a lot to offer – but NO mountains:-)) which meant that we often had to travel many hours to get somewhere… resulting in travels being planned and booked months in advance. Not that that is bad – but it, weather you like it or not, inhibits the ability to be spontaneous. You can learn more about why and how we travel here

Since our relocation to Switzerland in late December last year we have had so many great adventures…. and our weekendtrip to Asti, Italy, a few weeks back, was no exception.

Asti is located in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy and a 4 h drive from our home in Solothurn. We booked our accommodation 9 days in advance at the most fantastic and authentic Agriturismo (Tre Tigli located 10 km from Asti)  – Italy’s best-kept accommodation secret! If you are not familiar with the concept learn more here.


Travel & sports

When we travel we always think about how we can incorporate physical activity as a companion, not an obstacle, no matter where we go. We are a family with quit differentiated ages and levels, but fortunately practice the same type of sports: Running, swimming, biking and hiking.

Besides training for an uphill mountain run , our stay also served as a kick-start of our test of the newly developed wearable technology  SHFT – The world’s most intelligent virtual running coach. Learn more here.


We decided to start in Asti as we knew that we had more travels in the calendar and wanted to learn what it’s like to work with the coach in different environments (hot, cold, rainy, hilly, mountains, flat etc) . Emagine having your personal running coach with you on every run – no matter where you are in the World? A coach that follows every step you take, and along the way makes you both run faster, more efficiently and with a reduced risk of injuries?! We are currently compiling our experiences and will share soon – stay tuned!

The countryside in the Piedmont Region is very diversified: from the rugged peaks of the massifs of Monte Rosa and of Gran Paradiso, to the damp rice paddies of Vercelli and Novara. 7.6% of the entire territory is considered protected area and there are 56 different national or regional parks. Piedmont is BEAUTIFUL…Perfect for running and biking…. Besides, the agriturismo had a pool which suited our boys, who are currently working hard on becoming better swimmers (they are both training towards a triathlon in August) and our very own pool diva was also thrilled about the facilities….


We spent 3 nights at Tre Tigli and had time to visit the city of Asti, swim… and not the least run along the BEAUTIFUL wine fields…which was perfect and absolutely needed as our “mama” at Tre Tigli indeed made sure that we did not go to bed hungry…. and at all times were loaded with carbs:-)…..

We are planning to go back in the beginning of the fall as we have always dreamed of helping with the harvest of the grapes… and with a host like we had, this might soon no longer be a dream – Thank you, Stefano….








Why move to Switzerland when you already live among the happiest people in the World?

The question is totally fair and has been posed to us in various ways since we startet the journey with our blog 5 Ways West only a few weeks back. We are truly grateful for those of you who are following along and your curiosity is humbly appreciated….. Thank you so much for the questions.

We had a good life in Denmark…. a very good life indeed!

Villa Anna…. Our home in Denmark is an old lady from the 1920’s. We bought a wreck and restored it carefully… “She” is something special. 

A house by the sea near Copenhagen, two very good jobs, friends and family relatively close by…. and now you would expect a “but”…. Fact is, there is not but! Fact is that we could have stayed…. Fact is also, that our life had one very significant challenge that our new life in Switzerland has allowed us to battle: Lack of time! Time to be impulsive, to go more on adventure, time to do nothing…… time to just be and be together! Time to do what we want… not what everyone wants us to do.

We managed so many things in our Danish lives… and like a hamster running in a wheel, you just keep on running once you are in there… if not… you fall! And before that became a reality…. we decided to dig deep and find out where we, being a family of 5 with a great variety of ages, interest etc., could lead a life that was more in sync with our values and the dreams that we have in our current life fase. We always kept coming back to Switzerland……

And then… Last summer during a vacation in Lucerne, the initial plan for our Swiss Adventure was grounded. Being the active family we are, Switzerland has always attracted us….and in the middle of our “existential search” Jim was offered a very interesting job that has allowed us to turn everything upside down….. We relocated in late december 2015 and in April 2016 5 Ways West was grounded.

We were very fortunate! And we are fully aware that that is what we are….

Making a choice like we have done, is not something you just do…. and it is especially not something you just do when 3 children are a part of the equation…. (and here comes the “but”)…but we believe that this adventure will contribute to their development and add valuable learning, that will benefit them through out life. Here is their reaction, when they were told about the relocation….It is in Danish, but the look in their faces say more than words….

So why didn’t we just sell our house… quit our jobs….move in to something smaller in the outskirts of Denmark? We could have.. and we though about it many times…but our aim has always been to dream big, work hard and to expand our horizon. Not to sit in the middle of nowhere….a let life pass by…. #neverstopexploring

You can learn more about us by following our account on Instagram. Under the tag #5wayswestportrait you can see who we are.

Thank you for taking part in our adventure!!!

PS: In 2016 Denmark ranked no. 1 in The World Happiness Report.




Some women get flowers…other women get race numbers!

…. and then there are those who are fortunate to get both:-).

A couple of weeks back I got a very nice and very challenging present: a race number for the “Weissensteinlauf” here in Switzerland. The race literally takes place more or less in front of our door by the end of August 2016.

It’s a beautiful mountain race that leads you through the mysterious scenery in the St. Verena ravine over the vista point at the top of the race, the “Röti”, to the finishing line at the Hotel Weissenstein. Sounds nice, right?

But then you looked at the course route…. and realized that it is not just a “walk in the park”. Maybe if you are Swiss with mountain blood in your veins… I am Danish… from a land flat as a pancake.

But that is no excuse! So challenge taken… and yesterday my very own supporters agreed to go on a hike with me, to check out the route.

We had the most fantastic trip! But let me put it this way: I will need a liiiiittle time to prepare, I am truly humble and quit satisfied with the fact, that August is not to morrow:-)

Feel free to come and join us… Switzerland is fantastic, there are plenty of spaces left in the race and the city of Solothurn is so beautiful:-)



How do you actually sleep when you are travelling?

Tips and insights on how to stay balanced by keeping your sleep efficiency and maintaining physical activity during your travels!!


Billede_teaser til socialmedia

Truth be told…We all face the challenge of a good night’s sleep when we are away from home. Everyone who travels knows that the combination of transporting yourself to another location and having many things on your agenda can be hard, even exhausting and have an effect on your wellbeing. Further, many people find themselves tossing and turning in hotel beds when away from the comforts of home, but how much is our sleep actually affected?! And what can you do to avoid spending days on or after your travel feeling like a zombie?!

We decided to find out! Welcome to our project……

Quantifying data is nothing new to us. We have both a private and a professional interest in wearable technologies and believe that adding insight  to our lifestyle through technologies and data helps us to confirm if we are making the right choices.

9 days of travelling – 6 different beds! –way too little physical activity!

A few weeks back we had a fantastic and very intensive trip back to Denmark. It was our first visit back since our relocation to Switzerland in late December 2015 hence why we had a fully booked calendar and many hugs to deliver.

Time for  hugs, family, walks by the sea and a lot of hours spend in the car…..

Our travel:

  • Duration: 9 days
  • Type of transportation: Car (We drove 2700km in total)
  • Type of accommodation: 3 different hotels and 2 different private homes
  • Type of beds: Everything from very good to very poor mattresses

From Denmark to Switzerland:

We had booked a hotel in Göttingen, Germany, situated approximately half way between Switzerland and Denmark. The hotel was chosen because of its easy access from the highway and because it had a nice gym enabling us to exercise before getting back on the road again. We arrived at the hotel at 00:30 PM (had a minor technical problem with our GPS, but that is a separate story:-)) and drove from the hotel next morning at 10 AM. That left us with a disturbed bedtime already from day 1.

From Denmark to Switzerland:

On the way back to Switzerland we took a “car train” from Hamburg to Lörrach (South Germany) as we assumed that this would give everyone of us a full nights sleep and the benefit of having someone else driving us.


In Denmark we stayed with family (2 different places) and in two different hotels. One of the nights was a “Couples Get Away” (the kids stayed an extra night with their Grandparents) at the charming Niels Bugges Kro og Hotel which is placed in some of the most beautiful nature in Denmark with perfect conditions for mountainbiking and running. A fantastic place that we hope to visit again! 


How do we measure our sleep?

Before leaving, everyone except our daughter (age 3), were equipped with a device that measures physical activity and sleep 24 h/day. The tool is clinically validated (7 years<) and used in research projects all over the World. This is of course not research, but never the less, we find it important to work with validity as a factor. That said, there are many other technologies available, even apps, that enables you to message and get an understanding of your sleep pattern + amount of physical activity. In a later blog post we will come back to this!

We collected a lot of data and our objective was to find out:

  1. How sleep quality was effected
  2. How physical activity was effected

Prior to the travel we made a benchmark data collection a home.

So….What did we learn?! 

Basically, that if you are to optimistic and try to fit in to much, the result of your travel is Poor Sleep Quality and too little physical activity!


  • Our Sleep Efficiency (SE) dropped with up to 15% compared to a normal week at home
  • Our Sleep Duration dropped with up to 2 h 30 min (pr. night) compared to a normal week at home
  • Taking the car-train did not at all give any of us the benefits that we had hoped for. This night was the worst for all of us! The train had a lot of stops hence why we had many, many periods without sleep.

Research suggest that sleep deprivation increases levels of stress hormone, cortisol. Sleep deprivation has also been seen to decrease production of glycogen and carbohydrates that are stored for energy use during physical activity.

In short, less sleep increases the possibility of fatigue, low energy and poor focus at game time! The need for sleep vary across ages and are especially impacted by lifestyle and health, but the results below show, that all of us were affected during this travel!

Next time we go back, we will minimize the amount of “location shifts”. Prior to leaving, we knew that these shifts would affect us, but not how much…. We wanted to see as many people as possible, but lesson learned. We were extremely tired the first two days after returning to Switzerland and this just tells us, that we were way to optimistic when we initially planned our travel.

Data of our sleep

Physical Activity 

  • Steps/day dropped for all of us!! The biggest “step looser” had an avg. decrease of 3659 steps/day.
  • Our children had a higher intensity in their movement, which is interesting and probably a result of more “free play time” than when they, in a normal week, are in school.
  • Besides a reduces amount of steps/day, adults have a much harder time keeping up the intensity of their activity.

Clearly it is easier for children than adults to maintain their normal physical activity level when you are travelling like we did…. Maybe it would be a good idea if we as adults played a bit more:-). We knew that if would be difficult to fit training in to our crazy travel plan! But we were honestly not aware, that it would be such a challenge. Had it not been for the “Couple Get away” where we had time to both run and bike, our physical activity data would have been scandalous.

Being inactive can disturb sleep and affect your mood – we know that this is a fact in our family. Next time we go back to Denmark we will make sure to leave much more spaces open for physical activity – LESSON LEARNED!

Data of our Physical ActivityLuckily we did not cross any timezones, but the effect of that would in it self be interesting to investigate….Next project in the making:-)

You can learn more about our thoughts about sleep here. Further you can find valuable information  here – And what about you? Maybe it would be a good idea to test yourself – How well do you sleep when you are travelling?!

Sleep Ballet London

 Source Do you know Yann Le Meur? If not got take a look at his incredible infographics – They are very educational. We are big fans! 

How well do you sleep?!

Sleep is the new black and if more of us realized the importance of sleep as a precondition to performance, not to mention health, we would get a lot more done and feel a whole lot better doing it! This goes for everyone – active or inactive!

Many of the world’s greatest athletes eat, sleep, breathe, and live for their sport. But did you know that in addition to physical conditioning and conscious eating, sleep plays a major role in athletic performance and competitive results? The quality and amount of sleep athletes get is often the key to winning. REM sleep (rapid eye movement REM sleep is associated with dreaming), in particular provides energy to both the brain and body. If sleep is cut short, the body doesn’t have time to repair memory, consolidate memory, and release hormones….. this goes for all; athlete or not!

Sleep by 5wayswest_bedroomposter

Losing as little as one and a half hours for just one night reduces daytime alertness by about one-third. Excessive daytime sleepiness impairs memory and the ability to think and process information. Sleep deprivation also leads to mood alterations, attention deficits, slower reaction times, and increased risk for accidents – Sleep is important!

The past years, Anna has worked with sleep and wearable technology in a professional perspective and have, among the many projects that she has been involved in, had a special affinity for athletes and improving their sleep. If you are Danish speaking you can get a little intro here

Sleep also plays an extremely important role in our family of five.

Getting enough sleep in your daily life can be a challenge – we know!

Let’s face it –electronics are a part of life in the 21 st century. Pros and cons to our increasing connectivity certainly exist; we are able to stay engaged with the world from the privacy of our own homes late into the evening. However, in doing so we are exposed to the light that our devices emit; and both mental activity and light exposure promote wakefulness. Living in our 24/7 society, there is a loss of the evening reduction in light that has traditionally cued our brains to “wind down” for sleep. More about that if you click here

If getting enough sleep in you daily life is a challenge, how does it look when you travel?!

Stay tuned and find out how much our sleep was affected the last time we were on the road! We collected data of our sleep and physical activity as we travelled through Denmark a couple of weeks back… and the finding are a very big eye opener!