Monday, January 27, 2014

I Survived (sort of) Skiing The Alps (sort of)

In theory the main point of our Zurich trip was for Mary to attend her company Christmas party, though in reality we were most looking forward to our alpine adventure.

We flew in on Friday and spent the late afternoon wandering the old town. We had hoped to see the Chagall windows in one of the city's churches, but just missed their closing time. We did make it into the Grossmunster though, and they had several windows that were impressive in their own right. Several were heavily influenced by contemporary art, and a few were formed from sliced geodes. All around it was a pleasant surprise.

I stayed in Friday night to try to recover a bit more from my cold, and by Saturday morning I was feeling much improved.

Several of Mary's coworkers went into the alps with us, including two who had stayed out until two am the night before. Hardcore considering that we took an eight AM train.

The train ride along the Wallensee was gorgeous. As we entered the alps, mountains sprang up around us and seemed to grow straight up from the sea. Early during the trip we worried that there might not be snow, but altitude came through for us in the end.

A short bus trip from the train brought us to be base of the mountain, and a short gondola ride to the top.

The gondolas were modestly-sized, eight person affairs and reminded us a lot of old James Bond movies. We giggled over the fact that they needed a trap door in the ceiling and that I should photoshop myself on top of one with a machine gun, though who knows what the Swiss Germans in the car thought of us (a surprising number of folks in Zurich and at the ski resort didn't speak English.)

Having never gone skiing outdoors before, we really had no idea what to expect. The first thing that struck us was that skiing was all about lines. The line for lift tickets. The line for gondola tickets. The line for rentals. Things did move pretty quickly though and we soon realized that it was just a snow themed amusement park. This we could get our minds around.

Sadly our first ski almost ended our ski careers before they began. We had asked at the rental place where was a good place for beginners to start, and ended up with our first run being beyond our capability. We fumbled and stumbled our way down, both of us spending plenty of time on our butts. I am pretty sure that I was one helmet shy of a severe concussion after a particularly bad fall, but we eventually got back to solid ground.

Thankfully we made our way to the real beginners area shortly thereafter and got a bit more practice in with the Swiss toddlers (and a few adults taking beginners lessons). By the end of the day I was feeling confident enough to try a blue (beginner) run again, and this time made it down entirely on my skis!

Having managed to recover from the bad start, we agreed that this is probably a hobby we will stick with, at least casually. We have a year until the next Christmas party, so hopefully by then we will have learned enough to not have anybody fall off the T-bar lift. Baby steps!

1 comment:

Josue Feliciano said...

Bill, I had this exact experience the one and only time I went snow boarding in Colorado. Accidentally went down some double black diamond run. 4 hours and several contusions later, I made it down the mountain.