Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Skiing in Switzerland.

Feb. 21
The drive to Switzerland was a little over 3 hours and we left just before noon time on Tuesday to get here.  The snow was crazy deep through the pass, and less so in the valleys.  But there was basically snow everywhere.  In fact the little town we are staying in looks like it's Christmas time not the end of February.   We had dinner at this lovely little Chalet  I had a delicious tomato soup, something not found in Italy oddly and a pasta dish that was only okay, not because we were not in Italy but because the soup had been so wonderful the follow up was bound to fail.  Meek had a salad with an amazing house dressing followed by chicken cordon blue again bound for failure for the same reasons.  We called it an early night so that we'd be able to get a good jump on the day tomorrow. 

Swiss border crossing, we had to get a special sticker for the car to be able to drive here.

Snow at least 4 feet deep, probably deeper.
At least the Swiss know how to plow all that snow!
Almost to Tasch where our hotel is.

Tasch, or at least the mountains around it.

Feb. 22
We woke early had a quick breakfast and hopped on the train to Zermatt. The short train ride over to Zermatt was beautiful!   
Michele on the train to Zermatt.

Both of us on the train to Zermatt.

Beautiful river along the train route.

The sun light peaking through the mountains.

 We couldn’t have booked Meek’s ski rentals at a more convenient location, it was right outside the station.  However, we were about 40 minutes behind schedule at this point.  We went in while Meek got fitted for his skis I had my tuned up.  At 9 am the time Meek was supposed to start his lesson we were trying to find our way.  The rental place claimed they had no idea where we needed to go.  So we called and got some rough directions but 30 minutes latter we were at the base-station and Meek was whisked off to have his lesson.  I went and bought my 2-day lift ticket and headed down the tunnel to the tram to get up the mountain.   
Getting his binding sized to fit the boots.

All of the sudden I head my name, looked around and there was Meek with his instructor Will.  I went over and waited for the tram with them. When it arrived everyone piled in, it was worse than any train during rush hour that I’ve even been in.  Just when we thought no one else could squeeze in, on came a German woman and her twin two-year olds who where whining and crying.  Oh joy.  After about 5 minutes in screaming tired toddler land we arrived at the top.  Will pointed me towards a good warm up run while he and Meek headed to Wolli land to start his lessons. I walked out of the tunnel and saw this... 
The Matterhorn!

I had to stop and take my favorite kind of photo with the Matterhorn in the distance!

The first run was a very, very easy blue and a short one for the Alps.  But it was a great run to test out my ski legs.  After I headed to a different trail that was longer than any that I have ever been on in the USA.  I kept wondering when would this trail end so I can take a break.  I finally made it to the bottom of the trail and hopped onto an old school chair lift and headed up the mountain a bit higher than I had been before.  Since the trail I’d just finished was a red and a bit steeper than I’d have liked I stuck to the blues after that.   
Wolli land where Meek started his day.

A great little learners area, where those beyond beginner don't want to go.

Taking a bathroom and water break.

About 2 hours later and 8 or so runs in I got a text from Meek about where and when to meet for lunch.  No sooner had I read the text then I looked up the mountain to see check for on coming traffic and I was him!  He was off the Walli hill and onto the blues and doing great!  I called out to him and followed he and Will down the trail.  I passed them a time or two and skied a head to take pictures, what else would I do!  At just before 1 we stopped to have some lunch we asked Will to join us.  After lunch we headed to do a few more runs before heading in for the day.   
That's Meek with the orange bandana, he's doing better than great for a first time skier!

Waiting at the bottom for Meek and Will I took another short of the Matterhorn.

Here they come!

I am so thrilled he like skiing!
Most of the trails and lifts close by 4 at the latest.  No night skiing here. We headed down this long blue that Meek had been doing with Will.  We got 2/3 of the way down and Meek fell.  He got right back not problem and continued on.  He only made it a tiny bit further and he was down again, this time he didn’t get up quite so easily.  Once on his feet he looked at me and said, I think I’m done.  I was more than happy to call it day as my legs were burning and tired.
View of the Matterhorn from Zermatt.

Meek and the Matterhorn while waiting for the bus.

We went back to our hotel shower and changed then headed back into Zermatt to shop a little and eventually meet up with Micheal and his family who are visiting from the States for a wonderful dinner, before calling it a night.

Feb. 23
When we awoke Meek looked at me and said, I don’t think I can ski today, the fall from yesterday have my whole body hurting.  So we got up and had some breakfast.  Meek took the train over with me to Zermatt and I went to ski the Matterhorn Glacier!   He was going to return his rentals and get some ginger ale and pickles to take back to Italy with us.

I took the bus to the glacier lift.  This was not like the first lift yesterday; it was a mini gondola and went up several lengths of the mountain all the way to the top.  It probably took about 15-20 minutes to get to the top.  Once there, it was reds to get to blues.  

But this is the Matterhorn and I was finally here!  I went down 2 gondola stops without falling, but it was a long, long way and my legs we getting tired very quickly.  I spotted the next spot to get back on the gondola and go back down.  I was nearly there when splat!  I was down.  To be honest I was hardly moving in fact I was in the process of stopping so much like yesterday it was rather hysterical way to fall.  I got back up not problem and skied to the gondola got back in and headed down.  

 I had a gondola all to my self on the way back down. It was nearly 12:30 by the time I go back down but I’d skied the glacier!

View from the gondola.
On the train ride back to our car.
I met up with Meek who had my street clothes and gold Uggs, I changed in the train station restroom and we headed for the car.  We decided to make a stop in one of the cities we would drive through to do one last run for ginger ale and a few other Swiss items like cheddar cheese, tomato soup and syrup.
Everything is still frozen in this area.  Fortunately this is not the case back in Milan!

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