Tuesday, March 01, 2011

SkiWeek 2011 - Skiing, Skating and ???

Our last Ski Week in Switzerland. :(

Not to say that we won't come back and ski - for a week even. However, this is the last "official" Sportfereien (sport holiday aka Ski Week) during attendance at school in Switzerland. I've mentioned in years past that this is a regular school holiday in Switzerland (local schools have 2 weeks off, Int'l school takes 1 week). Have I said how much I will miss the school schedule here? I WILL MISS the school schedule here.

I may put sad faces on things we miss but there is much anticipation and excitement about returning to our home country too. There are happy faces coming too. And you get to come along on our up and down ride.

We chose to return to Wengen to spend our week. Tired of it yet? We're not. If it made ANY sense, I'd be looking to buy a little apartment or something here. But it doesn't right now. We are moving to the wrong Coast.

I love how the buildings at Kleine Scheidegg mimick the peak of the Eiger: Bart was able to come up with us at the beginning of our week. Since you have to park in Lauterbrunnen and put all your stuff on the train up - 2 ski bags, 2 boot bags, 3 suitcases and 4 backpacks - he comes in very, very handy!

Here they are at the top of the Maennlichen Bahn and ready to take off on a beautiful day:
There had been no significant snowfall for approximately 2-3 weeks so the pistes were pretty much hard packed and icy in spots. Great learning experience for all during the week. The girls learned how to read the pistes/run's really well, stay on top of their skiis on the ice and, well, with no snow coming - we had some awesome weather. Sunscreen was in order. If you've been watching any WorldCup Ski Events in Europe lately, you'll notice how there's often snow on the runs only. We were a little luckier than than - a little.
There is something for everyone in the Jungfrau Region - skiing, ice skating, snow shoeing, sledging (Crazy!!!), cross-country, hiking, curling: Yes, curling. A riveting sport (joke) and the curling rink is always busy in Wengen (not a joke). I refuse to go sledging based on the number of people I see take flight face-first off of them. Oh, and you use your legs/feet as brakes. I don't think so. I think the wooden sledges are a nice ornament. That's it.

We opted for no Ski School this year either. That gave the girls and I a lot of flexibility - to sleep in and hit the slopes whenever we felt like it. OK - not quite that dramatic. They both ski well and we wanted to explore and have fun so that's what we did. We skiied all over the mountains and there was no rush to catch the Ski School train, pick them up, listen to them be tired and not want to ski with me - We had a great time.
Our first day getting back was interesting. The apartment we rented worked best (meaning we didn't have to take skiis off and hike through town at all) if we went up the Maennlichen Bahn, skiied around the back of the mountain and returned by skiing down from Kleine Scheidegg (the 4 km run - WhooHoo!). But the lack of snow had forced a closure of certain parts of the trail.
We found ourselves crisscrossing the mountain by way of skiing from one chairlift to the other to the Lauberhorn lift (Lauberhorn as in THE downhill run - World Cup - bells and all) and bypassing the race route to the portion of the Wengen run to town. Then we hit the gates that cut our trail off. So I'm proud to say that my girlies have skiied the bottom portion of the Lauberhorn Race piste. To another chairlift that eventually got us back on route. They actually started moving snow via trucks so that the Kleine Scheidegg to Wengen route was more easily accessible. :)
One of my girlies is very intuitive and just seems to get stuff. She surprises us all the time with her sense of humor and innate intelligence. Where did she come from?

There she is playing in the snow:
WHAT????????
Yes, Where did she come from??????
None of us are ice skaters. But the girls love to get out there and circle around and practice whatever tricks they feel competent at. Rachel does pretty good out there. They have ice skating at the local outdoor rink for PE during the winter for a couple of weeks. The girls love to push each other (and mom & dad) around in these chairs.
I keep thinking there are more stories to share but I don't think we have all that much time and space. Guess I'm slightly addicted to the view:
This was a quiet day - Wednesday. Due to weather, a lot of people took a break. Speaking of quiet - our Break fell a week earlier than most of the UK's half term and the Netherlands and most of Switzerlands. So it was not crowded at all! Last year was crazy and we enjoyed the change that came with this year's trip.
At Kleine Scheidegg - meeting point of trains coming up from Lauterbrunnen/Wengen and Grindelwald as well as the starting point for the train up to the Jungfraujoch. Everyone catches the train up and then heads out to their favorite runs. Note: see them crossing the bare tracks on skiis. Not a good idea if the tracks are warm from the trains.....think about what it does to the wax. Not that it's ever happened to me...................... (ski instructor in red below - carrying his skiis!)
One of the highlights of the skiing was just one run - similar to skiing the bottom of the Lauberhorn - the Eigernorwand piste. Unfortunately, Rachel was back at the apartment with a fever and Kendra and I did this our last day. It's been open for just over a year and I didn't make it last year because 1) I was skiing alone a bit and 2) my knee was really bothering me last year. This lift has 3 black expert and 1 red intermediate run that then join another run that turns into blue beginner. Kendra and I picked red. She did awesome. I forgot my camera!!! :( But we took the big, orange bubble lift and happy to say we did.
Here it is from the train looking up - at the right of the top lift station is the Eiger Hotel. We saw the lift stantions being installed during summer hiking trips so it was cool to ride and ski the finished product.
We enjoyed our week and believe it or not - I have more to share. There's eating and animals. Animals? Yes. Animals.
I will say we miss Bart when he has to go home to work. And when kids get sick and I pack everything up and head down the hill myself - minus one suitcase. I don't get much sympathy considering the 'whole circumstances' but a girl can try?

1 comment:

ladyfi said...

Wow - fabulous pictures of a fairy tale place!

Your daughter with her head in the snow... too funny!

Where is the home that you are returning to? I bet you'll miss all that lovely scenery!