Most of my memories of skiing when I was young growing up on the East Coast of the USA are associated with scraping and sliding down ice-covered slopes in blistering, extremity-numbing cold and counting the minutes until I could risk asking my Dad for a hot chocolate break. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE skiing. It’s one of my favorite things to do of all time. But comparing the ice and cold to THIS?
Well, how can I even compare the two? Note the amount of green at the bottom of the mountain in the above picture. That’s because it was 50 degrees Fahrenheit down there and even warm enough at the top for a few afternoon runs with nothing but a t-shirt. Rockin! That trip was with my flatmates the first weekend of April. Good times.
This second picture is from a trip in early March with a friend of mine from ye olde Juba days. In case the electronic sign in the pic is too small to read, it says “Closed due to danger of avalanches.” (!)
You can go skiing in Austria with only a 3 hour train ride and everything is MUCH cheaper there than in Switzerland, from food and beverages to lodging to lift tickets. The next picture pretty much sums up the theme of the trip.
Besides the incredible weather and snow conditions, the other main difference in skiing here compared to the US is that it is hard to miss is the amount of alcohol being consumed. There are lodges set up all over the mountain – top, middle and bottom – and people stop in for a beer or a Gluwein (pronounced GLUE-vine, mulled red wine with jagermeister) every few runs. A far more civilized way to ski, in my opinion (in moderation, of course!). Plus, it’s fun to watch the tipsy people slowly making their way down the slopes at dusk. From a safe distance, that is.
I have completely fallen in love with skiing once again. I forgot how much I adore throwing myself down the slopes and playing around with how fast to go. Such a rush. I guess it turns out that I’m an adrenaline junkie after all, I’m even looking forward to the winter! It helps that you can’t throw a stone in Switzerland without hitting some sort of ski resort. Maybe I’ll even try to get better at snowboarding. I managed to sort of teach myself awhile ago, but since I haven’t been to the slopes very often in the past bunch of years (East Africa, St. Louis, London, and DC) are not exactly prime destinations for skiing) I always decided I’d rather be cruising down the mountain instead of spending most of my time falling down. All 4 of my flatmates snowboard, so that may change over the next couple winters.
Where’s the best place you’ve ever gone skiing or snowboarding?