WOUB-HD to Broadcast ‘Real Rail Adventures: Swiss Winter Magic’ Nov. 16< < Back to
There are few things as stunning as the endless, mirroring landscapes of snow that make up a portion of Switzerland throughout the winter months. Earlier this year, Athens’ own Jeff Wilson journeyed throughout the sophisticated Swiss Rail System to record Small World Productions/KCTS Seattle’s Real Rail Adventures: Swiss Winter Magic.
The resulting 60-minute documentary will air on WOUB-HD Thursday, November 16 at 9 p.m. Throughout the adventure, Wilson, a veteran traveler (to put it lightly,) navigates the user-friendly and dependably sustainable railways that connect the incredibly diverse cities and villages of Switzerland. In the process, he samples interesting local chow, cross country skis, bobsleds, fat-tire bikes, and much more.
“When we shoot, we’re usually up early and out late,” said Wilson, who has been a host on hundreds of episodes of various HGTV and DIY Network programs throughout his career. This special in particular is the latest in a three-part series of programs produced by Small World Productions and KCTS Seattle that explores the Swiss rail system.
Some of the places Wilson visits throughout the program include the village of Reckingen in Goms Valley for world-class cross-country skiing; the romantic and combustion-engine-free village of Zermatt that sits in the shadow of the Matterhorn; the luxurious and ritzy Gstaad where Wilson tries fat-tire biking and checks out the Alpina Hotel, an over-the-top resort frequented by the likes of Madonna and Quentin Tarantino; and a cogwheel train perched at the top of Rigi Kulm.
Wilson said that getting the entire crew of the show, as well as all of their equipment, onto the rail system, was, at times, difficult. When they just couldn’t swing it, a support van would be utilized to get the crew and the equipment from one location to the next.
“Each day that we shoot is filled with activities, lots of active things,” said Wilson, detailing the whirlwind production pace of the show. “I get to meet a lot of people, and while the show itself is relatively scripted, we do work in a lot of those really interesting side conversations that just come up.”
As mentioned before, Wilson is a lifelong traveler. Born in Columbus, Wilson has lived all over the country, doing everything from writing country music songs for a Nashville-based publishing company to doing voiceovers to hosting numerous television programs. It’s worth noting that as a young couple, Wilson and his wife quit their jobs and travelled the country for a year, backpacking, driving a small Toyota truck and depending on the kindness of acquaintances and friends-of-friends.
“I’ve been all over Europe before; my parents travelled a lot when I was a kid, although not as much as I travel now. I actually went to Switzerland with my wife and kids after we shot the show to show them all the things that I had gotten to experience,” said Wilson, who said he and his family typical car camps while in Europe. “That way, when we travel, we actually get to interact with the Swiss people, instead of just ending up in a place where we are just surrounded by other American tourists.”
Overall, Real Rail Adventures: Swiss Winter Magic is intended to give American audiences a feel for the ease and reliability, not to mention the eco-friendly nature of, a rail system.
“The Swiss are very focused on sustainability. People get around by walking and public transportation, mostly, which keeps the streets and the cities very pedestrian friendly,” he said. “Being a place of snow and water and mountains, a lot of their electricity comes from hydropower – it’s a very green place to be.”