Zermatt / Saas Fee / Switzerland
In awe / viewing the sunrise from the top of Zermatt
So I'm finally writing about September. It's November. But whatever, at least it's happening. We took off for Switzerland from home (Oregon, for me) at the beginning of September, and headed straight to Zermatt. I've never skied in Zermatt before, so I was pumped to check out a new spot. Although, I must say, I was very skeptical about glacial skiing in the fall, as it has always been absolute madness in the past.
This (above) is what I'm talking about. It's definitely something about the European culture, because you would never get trampled in line to go ski on ice in the States. It just wouldn't happen. Perhaps if it snowed a meter, and you were in line for the tram in Jackson Hole, you would maybe get shoved. But I often feel, training on glaciers in Europe in the fall, like I could literally be trampled to death in those lines. My personal space bubble, although I shrink it due to special circumstances, is popped so often, I loose my cool and yell profanities at small children. I deliberately hold my skis across the entrance to the tram, blocking any ass holes who think they can just pass whoever they want because....well, I don't even know why they think that, or who they think they are. How do you not understand how a line works?!? You get in one, remember who you're behind, maybe who you're in front of, and stay in that order. There's no reason to shove, push, or even touch the people in front of you, beside you, behind you. You don't get to pass people, like it's a freaking free-for-all. We aren't herding cattle here. We are human beings. CIVILIZED HUMAN BEINGS.
Just went on a bit of a rant there, and I want to apologize, but I feel what I said above is accurate, and I still believe that European glacial skiing in the fall can be miserable if you let those animals get to you. So I had to post a scenic picture of a European ski town (Zermatt) to remind myself that I really do love it. Because I do. The pros outweigh the cons. the pros outweigh the cons. they do they do they do. phew.
Stacey and I hiked up to the Edelweiss hotel on our last day in Zermatt after skiing. The views were gorgeous--it was wonderful to see the town of Zermatt from a different angle. Speaking of different angles... we got to fly down from the hill in a helicopter one day, which was really spectacular. It also helped to not have to shove our way DOWN from the hill. Yes, people even shove on the way down. Whoa.
Okay, moving on from that topic.
(helicopters are neat!)
Luckily the training in Zermatt was spectacular. We were skiing a minute-and-a-half long Super-G, on varying terrain, with a sustained, steep pitch. The women's Austrian and Swiss World Cup teams were training with us, so there were plenty of fast ladies on the hill. We got a few nearly perfect days of Downhill and a few more of Super-G. The conditions basically could not have been better. They more than made up for the 2 hours we spent commuting to and from the glacier each day.
happy girls in the mountains and sun
photo cred: Mike Arzt // The Public Works
spectacular views, gorgeous training -- photo cred: Mike Arzt // The Public Works
arcing some Super-G turns -- photo cred: Mike Arzt // The Public Works
On the tram ride up to the glacier each morning we spotted some cavernous canyons that enticed our adventurous sides. So after skiing one day we went exploring through Gorner Gorge, a deep ravine with water running through it, green moss in abundance, and stairways/walkways along the cliff's walls.
so nonchalant, so steep, so gaping
After training in Zermatt for 10 days, we headed down to Thun for a few days off. It was wonderful to explore such a historic city, and to actually take some time away from the mountains to soak up some Swiss culture. The city was celebrating their 750th anniversary....which is almost unfathomable to a North American.... WOW. I thought my 86-year-old house was ancient. Hah....
Thun Lake on a very windy day
After visiting Thun for a few days, we headed back up into the mountains to train in Saas Fee. We skied a bit more GS there, but got to train a few days of speed on the bottom. It was a great speed hill to work on technique on....not to steep, some good terrain, a bit of speed, and an opening of about 10 sweeping Super-G turns. So fun!
All in all, the camp turned out to be incredibly productive. We were much luckier with the weather than we were in New Zealand this year. And now I'm in Copper, Colorado, where it's finally dumping outside :) YAY
When we arrived here in Copper there was almost no snow to be seen from the base of the hill. Now they've blown enough snow to ski to the bottom of the public slope (Main Vein), and there are 4 different runs with training possibilities...when we got here there were only two. It has been a bit of a fight, trying to get on snow and compete with hundreds of other racers for spots on the snow. But the "arctic blast" is moving in (says the local news channel), and we're finally getting natural snow. In years past it has almost always been freezing-ass cold here, so I always come prepared for training early in the morning in 5 degree weather. I think this arctic blast is just something we used to call winter. Unfortunately the whole global warming thing is really throwing things off. It's progressing slowly, but it is noticeable and is sadly changing our sport for the worse. BUT soon we'll be able to train full-length Super-G and Downhill! Yahoo.
That's it for now. I have some film photographs that I've been shooting over the last couple of months that I will post soon. Hopefully you're enjoying the snow somewhere.....
so fast. so smiley. so corduroy.
adventures to and from, here and there, home and away, around the world--through my eyes, lens, and mind