Tag Archives: skiing

To ski or not to ski: that is the question

4 Feb

Apologies to William Shakespeare but my question is a little less philosophical. Now that the snow has fallen this is the question that has been starting to bug me. I realise that there are a lot of people who would give their right arm to come and ski in the Swiss Alps. But for one reason or another, they never end up doing it.

Let’s not put too fine a point on it but the main reason is money. It is fair more expensive to come skiing in Switzerland than it is in the nearby Austria, France, Italy or Germany. For example, a ski pass for a day in Austria will cost you around 35 Euros and this could possibly be valid for several neighbouring ski resorts. In Switzerland, you are talking more around an average of 70 SFr. which equates to about 65 Euros or 55 GBP. This is before you even think about money for hiring equipment as well as money for food, refreshments and hotels.

Because of this reason, I always seem to find myself being guilt tripped in going. For me, although a weekend skiing is expensive, it is comparatively cheaper than it would be if I lived in the UK. So far, I have avoided this guilt trip.

One thing that is nagging at me is that I invested in ski boots at the end of last year. Invested is a grandiose word. I bought them second hand from someone who advertised them on Facebook. They  had been used less than a handful of times and I paid a fraction of the price that they would have been new. Everytime I go down to the basement, it’s like the boots are looking at me and telling me that they want to go outside and up the mountains to feel the fresh air and the powdery snow.

The thing is that I am just not into it like other people are. I have friends who go skiing every weekend once the snow has arrived and they can’t get enough of it. I am not like that. Not with skiing. I am very much a fair weather skier – I am not afraid to admit it. I love the feeling of coming down the mountain and seeing the blue sky and feeling the sun on my face. It can’t possibly not put you in a good mood. The snow blizzards, the poor visibility, the freezing cold: No, thanks! You can find me in a ski chalet nursing a Kaffee Schnapps instead.

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Another issue is most of my friends are better than me. I end up not enjoying myself because I put pressure on myself to ski faster and to take risks that I don’t want to take. I’m more than happy to potter around on my own doing my own thing but I always seem to get persuaded into doing runs that are too hard for my liking and that’s when I end up frustrated, tired and wishing I was back at home with my feet up.

Having said all this, I do have a date penciled in to go skiing in March. Whether I go or not depends on the weather, visibility and where I can get a good Kaffee Schnapps!

Finally!

3 Jan

Finally, the snow has arrived! Of course, it was too much to ask for the snow to come between Christmas and New Year, when we were all sat at home with our feet up. Instead the snow decided to fall on the evening before everyone goes back to work. It’s been freezing for weeks with not a sniff of snow in the air and all of sudden it comes when you would really prefer it not to. But the day before the alarm clock goes off at 5.30am, the snow makes an appearance.

There was actually quite a lot of it. I only realised it had snowed last night when I was checking the weather app on my phone to see what the weather would be like on the first day back to work (and by that I really mean, how cold it would be so that I could already start to calculate how many layers I would need in the morning.) When I checked the app, it said that it was snowing. Even though it was dark , I checked outside and it was!

Back in England, I would have been tempted to work from home or just phone to say I wasn’t coming in because it was too dangerous to drive. That doesn’t work here. Last night they were already clearing the paths and gritting the roads and the pavements so that people would be able to get to work with as little stress as possible. At home, a light dusting covering the road surfaces will have people stressed out to the max or, even worse, driving on the road like a complete idiot.

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Brits complain every year that the country is ill-prepared for snow and winter weather but nothing ever seems to improve or even change just a little bit in the right direction. Un-gritted pathways can have you doing your best impression of Bambi on ice before you have even left the bus stop.

The good thing about having snow in the city is that it means that there has to be more snow up in the mountains. Good news. Many of the ski resorts are open but not completely and they can’t even produce “fake” snow to supplement the real stuff because it is too warm on the mountains for the snow to stay there and not melt. Not to mention professional skiing competitions that I have seen on TV where they seem to have piled all the available snow on the path that the skiers go down, with noticeable patches of green grass on either side.

Although I am not the greatest, nor the keenest, of skiers, I can imagine it is extremely frustrating for skiers and businesses alike who have been waiting for the last 9 months for ski season to start again. If more snow keeps coming (and it is forecast to do so), I might make the effort to head up the mountains and to put myself through the embarrassment and shame of my woeful skiing. Which I am only willing to endure because of the aprés ski!