Skiing is believing

matterhorn-gornergrat_pano

The shot above is a pano taken by The Kid with my iPhone, which isn’t good for much else here in Switzerland. (Click here or on the shot to see the original, including larger sizes.) On the left is the Matterhorn, which may be the most impressive mountain on Earth. It’s hard to imagine more glorious ski slopes than those surrounding Zermatt, all of which either face the Matterhorn or occupy its flanks.

Skiing was good on the upper runs, but icy on the lower ones. The four inches of fresh powder yesterday, plus fresh artificial snow in places, was a big help. But the heavy rains on Christmas day are still preserved in a layer of ice.

Near the end of the day, the kid and I took a wrong turn and had to navigate our way down runs that were a bit advanced, at least for me. (I’m an intermediate skier at best.) I fell more times than I bothered to count, though not on the steepest sections. I think I just wore out. So we’re taking a day or two off from skiing and doing less strenuous things.

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4 comments

  1. Steven Tulsky’s avatar

    On a foggy night in the middle of a 10-week backpacking trip through Europe when I was 25, my brother and I found our way up to Zermatt on an old cog railway and then by foot to the town’s youth hostel. The streets seemed to be those of a quaint but unexceptional European town. We bedded down in one of the hostel’s dorms, and when we were awakened by the next morning’s clear sunlit sky, we discovered the stunning Matterhorn perfectly framed by our bedroom’s window. Spectacular!

  2. DC Stultz’s avatar

    As a Francophile, I like Chamonix – Mt Blanc. The cable cars up, then across the glacier and then down the Italian side are awesome. (And, that coming from a guy who doesn’t really like cable cars) LOL

  3. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Hey Steve! Great to see you here. (We should do the Real Thing one of these weeks or weekends.)

    The new train is this one. It’s electric, and narrow-guage, but very smooth as it glides up this long alpine valley. Scary in many places if you look down. I think it has cogs for a few spots, but on the whole it’s a big trolley making its way up a long 3% grade.

    Zermatt has become a busy (mostly rich) tour and ski destination — much more than it was when we were here the first time, 15 years ago. There is still a youth hostel, and our two-star hotel (priced like a four-star in most other places) handles relative-bargain travelers such as ourselves. One big plus is that the smoking has been mostly pushed outside. “Nicht Rauschen” say the doors of restaurants. Nice. There is still smoking in some bars, though.

    If it weren’t for that one rain and a hard freeze afterwards, the skiing would be perfect. Given my trouble with the ice yesterday, I’m not sure we’ll ski again unless we get a good snow, which doesn’t appear likely.

  4. Doc Searls’s avatar

    DC, we’re francophiles too, and Mt. Blanc is high on my list of places I wish to go.

    Curious, are the cable cars funiculars? A small difference. They have them here in Zermatt too, at Sunnega. All indoors, in a tunnel angled at about 30¬į. Not very charming.

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