Friday, December 30, 2011

On the Swiss slopes

Considering all things cliche about Switzerland, we have done a pretty good job checking things off the list: had lots of fondue and cheese, and admired vast displays of luxury watches and happily grazing cows.  The one thing missing thus far from this Swiss story has been winter fun.  We took the opportunity the other day to make up for this oversight, and went skiing in Villars-Gryon on season opening day.

Right off the bat, our adventures began in this mountain village when our car (along with 10 others) got stuck on ice and snow on a particularly steep street.  With tires spinning, and car sliding sideways and backwards, we came to rest on a sidewalk.  Our ski instructor was waiting for us at the resort and on the clock, so we felt our spirits dampened at this situation -naturally- until I got out of the car, and realized that we broke down literally in front of a mom-and-pop auto shop.  Ten minutes later we had the right size chains in hand, and twenty minutes later we were on our way to the train station to catch the cog wheel to the top.

J removing the chains -end of the day
We arrived late and exhausted but Snowboard Dude did not seem to mind.  All kids except Small Fish were on boards today, with Big Fish and Small Moose taking lessons with Snowboard Dude.
The kids with Snowboard Dude

The truth is, the weather was quite wretched. We had whiteout conditions, strong winds and snow fall, and couldn't see the surroundings. However, Big Fish had a successful first time on snowboard, and after and hour of instruction, Snowboard Dude took her on a Blue Diamond trail. Small Moose did great as well. Big Moose has been snowboarding for a few years so he was on his own.

J and Small Fish: Ski buddies

We had great fondue lunch with Snowboard Dude. He leads an enchanted life divided between that of a ski /snowboard instructor in winter, and of a cycling guide on wine tasting tours in the terraced vineyards of Lavaux during summers. Yes, really.

Big Moose in big snow
Back in Villars

All in all, a good trip measured in no broken bones and a safe return home.

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