skiing

IMG_1193Ok, I figured that it is about time that I told you a few things of my 5 days of skiing in Switzerland Since we arrived here. The first day (Sunday January 20) was actually only a half day of skiing in a smaller skifield (that’s what the Swiss call them) in Alpthal. It was a perfect place to get the legs, skis, and skiboots warmed up. It was great fun to ski with Peter, Monika, and Lucas. For those of you that were in Fort Collins or came to visit us, yes, it is Peter Molnar. Peter and Darcy live here since 12 years with their three kids (Monika, Lukas, and Maja). After a few hours, Peter’s legs were hurting a bit too much and he decided to go see where Aimee was hanging out. Aimee had chosen to go for a walk in the snow instead of skiing. Once daddy left, Monika and Lukas were ready for some real flying down the mountain; I gladly joined. It was quite a warm day and the view was stunning!

After that warm up in Alpthal, I was ready for some more challenging skiing and went by myself to Engelberg on Wednesday the 23rd. But before being able to get there, I had to figure out the “snow-rail” deal. It is just fantastic! So, you just buy one ticket for the train and the skipass and you effectively get dropped off right at the bottom of the gondola. So, no hassle with traffic or anything; just take your skis, get on the tram, train, bus and you are ready for a whole day of skiing! And best of all, it all costs less than a single skipass in the US! Anyway, once I arrived there, I was all excited because the mountain looked fantastic and the weather was just beautiful. The views from the Gondola were astonishing; you have to realize that the top of the mountain, called Titlis (>3000m), is one of the higher points in the region and the last Gondola up is what they call a “rotair”, meaning that the Gondola turns around while going up. So, you a get a 360 degree view of the mountains while going up; just splendid! And I did take that rotair quite a few times because I spent the whole day just going up and down, run after run, except for one Apfel Punch in the bar and for a little sandwich in the restaurant. The time alone gave me the opportunity to reflect on all kinds of things while doing some real intensive skiing; I felt that my skiing was at the same level as my best ever by the middle of the day. By the end of the day, though, my legs were burning, but I was very satisfied. And then just a nice and restful train ride back home…

Engelberg4

View from Titlis…

Having reached my personal top level of skiing at Engelberg, I was ready to see some improvements on the slopes of Flumserberg on Friday. Luckily, I was skiing with some excellent skiers from the labgroup of one of my future colleagues at ETH. It was great to see some examples of how one is supposed to go elegantly but at great speed down the hill. With some trial and error, I felt that I was making some progress. The weather was not the best, but that did not stop us from skiing the whole day and end it with a nice gluhwein at the Apres-ski. Again, the train ride back was appreciated and enjoyed…

Pizol 9After my three days of skiing without Aimee and Aimee sweating for a whole week in German classes, it was time for the two of us to go for a 2-day ski trip to Pizol on Sunday. After less than a two hour train ride and a gondola up, we arrived at Alpina Hotel, located in the middle of the slopes of Pizol. We dropped our bags, got our skiboots on and took the chairlift up for a first run down. It was a very sunny day and the slopes were full of kids skiing (Pizol is known as a family place), and quite a few of them skiing better than Aimee and I. Man, there are some of these 10 year old boys that just take the hugest jumps; if I would try that, I am sure I would break a leg! Aimee had not skied for 10 years, but she picked up on it very fast and so we explored the whole mountain in that first day…Alpina Hotel was not only a very cousy and well-located hotel, but it has also excellent jagertee (rum and tea) and fabulous dinner for a very cheap price! During the night, we were presented with a good snowstorm and so when we woke up, a nice new white blanket covered the slopes! The unfortunate part was, that the clouds were still there and so the snowing continued off and on the whole day. It did, however, not stop me to be one of the first on the slopes to do some lovely deep snow skiing while Aimee was still enjoying her coffee. After the coffee, Aimee joined me and we went exploring the lower parts of the mountain because the clouds were less thick there. With the hotel being so centrally located, it was easy to take once in a while a break to have a warm drink. The weather forecast predicted that there would be sun at 3 pm, it was hard to believe that this would be true, but indeed at 2:45 pm, the sun was there and stayed with us for about an hour. Just long enough to have some excellent runs down before heading back home. It was a great weekend of activity and relaxing…

So, Aimee and I are thinking that we will be hitting the slopes on a regular basis (Aimee probably a bit less than me, especially once Coquetta arrives) because the “snow-train” is just a very relaxing deal! And we can’t wait to share the experience with any of you that comes to visit us!

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