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2011, Features, Travel // September 30, 2011 // By


Ski Canada’s first-ever readers’ trip
headed to Switzerland’s Grindelwald
and the Jungfrau.

BY IAIN MACMILLAN    PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARTY MCLENNAN

Before Martin Schürmann, our BASE-jumping mountain guide from the Mürren Ski School, hucked his short, muscly body with a parachute-stuffed backpack off a cliff about 900-metres to the valley floor below, I tried to think of something intelligent to ask. I eventually blurted out a real award-winner: “So, what’d you have for breakfast?”

Schürmann paused briefly at my interruption of his thoughts and smiled in response, “Coffee.”

I glanced back at my new buddies Joe Leung and Lyndon Kanashiro, who’d come to ski Switzerland with 40 other Ski Canada readers last January, and all three of us simultaneously gulped what little saliva was still in our throats.

A few seconds later, Schürmann in his flying-squirrel outfit, delicately but purposefully stepped out onto the “exit” (a home-made steel platform that resembled a diving board), turned to his slack-jawed trio of fans and said unceremoniously, “One, two, three—bye!” and down he dropped, disappearing into the abyss—a most surreal scene.

Lyndon, Joe and I each gripped a little tighter to the spindly branches that were helping to keep our quivering bodies stuck to the steep mountainside’s melting snow and wet grass and not follow the waterfall-like momentum that Schürmann’s disappearing body had made. We were in agreement that there are lots of exciting things we’d still like to do on our bucket lists, but BASE-jumping isn’t one.

Later that night, the hair on our necks was still standing up as the three of us giddily told our audience about the experience (with significantly more important personal roles) around the bar at our Jungfrau Lodge base camp. It was only later we learned that someone died jumping from the same exit three days earlier, bringing the death count last January to three.

 

I’d only met Schürmann a day earlier with
another reader on the Ski Canada trip, ski model
Brian Callow, and Technical Editor/shutterbug
Marty McLennan. We’d initially been a bit
disappointed to learn our guide for the day was
an employee of the ski school. This vocation
often means he or she will come with restrictions
on where a group can be taken off-piste. And
Mürren’s off-piste rep is, if not legendary,
excellent. I laughingly brought up this earlier
concern to Schürmann as we white-knuckled it
like goats in ski boots along a narrow ridge that
dropped away on both sides to certain death. He
stopped and with a big smile said, “That’s okay,
when I heard I had to show some writers around
today, I was expecting you to be like the rest
and couldn’t ski beyond the intermediate runs.”

At one point, Schürmann offered some
prudent advice for accomplished skiers who
aren’t used to a resort that’s shared with thrill-seeking,
sometimes truly extreme, individuals.
Pointing up to two pairs of ski tracks that led
into what some (from up top anyway) might
mistake for a tasty little north-facing, powder-
filled couloir, he said, “See, this is why you
should never follow someone’s tracks if you don’t
know where you’re going.” Both sets abruptly
ended at a rollover—just before a 150-metre
vertical cliff.

“ See, this is why you should never
follow someone’s tracks if you don’t
know where you’re going.”

We realized then how tracks from a skier and
those of a “ski-flyer” look the same because,
well, they are. It’s just the guy who leaves the
latter also has a small parasail on his back;
so when the going gets hairy, he just lifts up
his legs in a very dreamy setting and soars off
down the mountainside dodging rock features,
glacial crevasses, avalanches, trees and hopefully
everything nasty that gets in the way. Search
“ski flying Grindelwald” on YouTube—any bets
you’ll find stuff eerily close to a lot of your flying
dreams.

Mürren, and its delightful little car-free village
clinging to the edge of a vertical rock face, has
one of the nuttier reputations in the Alps for
extreme sports. The other ski resorts that make
up the expansive Jungfrau ski region, and all on
the same pass, include: Wengen, with its longest
downhill course on the World Cup circuit; First,
with its excellent reputation for touring and
off-piste skiing as well as wide, open groomed
boulevards; and, of course, lovely, hard-to-rival
Grindelwald, in the shadow of the Eiger’s north
face, that’s attracted tourists as famous as Julius
Caesar and Adolf Hitler.

Despite our trip coinciding with one of the
driest winters on record (one expects plenty
of sun while on a Europe ski holiday, but
our seven days of sunshine in January was
exceptional), a 10-minute hike with Martin
led us several times to untracked powder and
even more spectacular views. While enjoying a
backpack snack in a snowbank, looking up at
our tracks behind us and a trio of famous peaks
in the foreground, we chatted about the area’s
outstanding climbing history with a man who’s
been up the north face of the Eiger more than
once (where 65 climbers have died) and indeed
skied down most of the west side (with the help
of a helicopter pilot who delivered the skis).

“Here you can easily see the Eiger, or young
man, to the left; the Jungfrau, or virgin,
to the right; and in the middle, the Mönch
or Monk watching over her,” Schürmann
explained to us while adding more chewing
tobacco under his lip.

“It’s 2011, Martin,” I said mockingly, “isn’t
the Monk more interested in the Eiger than the
virgin?”

After a short delay while the humour
translated, a roar of laughter belched forth.

Around the dinner table back at our cozy
Jungfrau Lodge in Grindelwald that night,
others in the group told us about their tandem
gleitschirmfliegen, or paragliding, adventure
and ziplining that day at First, a ski centre a
minute or two by bus beyond Grindelwald’s
village centre. (Getting to Mürren, on the other
hand, involved a bus, two trains and two cable
cars. And in the case of Marty and Brian, also a
speeding taxi, after they learned the hard way
that Swiss trains always run on time—and the
conductors give no “All aboard!” warning, even
if all your gear is on the train and you’re just
standing by the door snapping a photo.)

Thanks to our tour operator Vacation Station,
which picked up the tab, it was in First where
our merry band of Ski Canada readers enjoyed
one of many classic Alps scenarios. A mountain
hut outside-lunch of soup, wursts, salad and
sauerkraut was perfect to quaff pilsners under a
warm winter sun—such a simple yet orthodox
part of skiing in Europe. While teammate Ron
Dagilis had earlier claimed he joined the trip for
the free Swatch that doubled as an electronic
lift pass and wife, Marjorie, countered the Frey
chocolate swag bag was a better bonus, both
agreed lunches outside made great memories.

Earlier that day in First, I was skiing along
what in Swiss understatement might be called
a “runout” (a cat track that meanders for
kilometres down through the staggeringly
beautiful alpine scenery collecting skiers and
eventually funnelling them back to an arsenal
of lifts, or sends them farther down into the
valley and village) when I passed by a trim,
well-dressed elderly couple with straight backs
and apple-doll faces. Slowly but determinedly
hiking uphill in the brilliant sunshine, Grandpa
was pulling a classic little wooden sledge
behind him (very Grindelwald), while beside
him Grandma chatted quietly. Both looked
up in acknowledgement as I whistled past
offering a standard Swiss greeting “Grüezi.” I
briefly thought about my senior mum hiking
above timberline to put in a little morning
tobogganing. Umm, probably not.

Near the end of the day, I took in a similar
Swiss fairy-tale scenario. As the late sun
started changing the colour of the Eiger a
warm golden-grey, school children were hoofing
it back up to their chalet homes and farms
above the town with backpacks of homework
and empty lunch bags, dragging their little
luges behind them. I couldn’t help think how
much easier life could be for my family every
morning. If you go to school by toboggan, how
could you possibly be late?

Marty and I and our merry band of 40 readers
graciously accepted an offer one night as
guests of the Jungfrau Region tourist board and
Switzerland Tourism for an evening of fondue
high above Grindelwald at the Bussalp Alpine
Hut, followed by an impromptu 20-minute
sledge race back down. In the dark. No lights.
No lawyers. And plenty of speed. Thankfully,
we’d become a very loud group and no one was
lost for long.

Most of the roster on the Swiss adventure
signed up as singles and couples, with everyone
politely getting to know each other in Jungfrau
Lodge’s dining room. But within a day or two,
as the mealtime noise level exponentially grew
with chatter, story-telling and laughter, the
few other hotel guests not in our group chose
tables farther and farther away.

With our passport’s DOB’s ranging from the
1930s to the 1990s, the Ski Canada gang was
so typically Canadian: friendly, welcoming,
boisterous and actually better skiers than
they claimed to be at après ski. As suspected,
it was hard to get Western Canadian skiers
to look beyond their wintry backdoors and
join up, despite a minimal airfare add-on
from points beyond Toronto, Montreal and
Ottawa. Other than Lionel and Jack from
Saskatchewan, and Patti and Brian from
Alberta, the entire gang hailed from Ontario
and Quebec.

With Catherine on her ninth visit to Grindelwald holding a Q&A court at one table, Lyndon and roomie Stan fiddling on the iPad with the day’s photos and helmet cam video clips at another table, I plunked down to an empty place setting at the noisiest table just as Bill was loudly offering his younger snowboarding cousin some worldly advice about their impending visit to the town’s impressive spa. “Remember, Scottie, we’re in Europe, everyone’s going to be walking around the sauna buck naked,” he explained to his now red-faced, goofy-smiled, 20-something relative. “And it’s a mixed sauna—so don’t be
looking around too much and pull a boner.”

No surprises that our troop had more men
than women (how many groups of skiers
don’t?), but probably the fastest way to speed
up the getting-to-know-one-another routine is
the simplest. Taking meals in the hotel dining
room instead of in your condo or wandering
around looking for a restaurant agreeable to
everyone is refreshingly old school and makes
me always wonder why the half-board option is
almost unheard of in North America.

Knowing how loud we could get in our hotel
dining room, I was expecting to hear that
someone in our gang would be meeting the
town’s constabulary on the last night—one
that involved the discovery of a Peterborough,
Ontario, native playing bass in a local band—
and instigator Rob’s insistence on the entire
Eiger Bar dancing to the requested “The Hockey
Song.” The next morning at breakfast, Rob
gleefully retold the end of the evening, which
could only happen in Switzerland. “We got
shushed!” he said incredulously. “The police
were waiting for us when the bar closed and
everyone poured out onto the street. But
instead of a paddy wagon or Tasers, three
officers had their fingers to their lips saying,
“Shhhhhh!—ze town ize aschleep!”

How very Swiss. ❄

WHO SAID SWITZERLAND WAS EXPENSIVE?

The Canadian dollar may not be as strong as
it was a winter or two ago, but there are still
plenty of deals to be had. For 770 Swiss Francs
(less than C$1,000 at press time), the three-star
Hotel Jungfrau Lodge offered Ski Canada
readers a seven-night stay (double occupancy)
including daily buffet breakfast, four-course
dinner, six-day Jungfrau skipass (which
includes all valley trains to Interlaken and so
on) as well as daily Sport Centre entrance for
swimming and skating—and all taxes.

GETTING THERE

Swiss flies daily from Montreal direct to Geneva
and Zurich with code-sharing from other major
cities in Canada and Europe. Train or bus transfers
between Zurich and Grindelwald are about two
hours. www.swiss.com

SKIS FOR RENT

» Some in the Ski Canada readers’ group chose to rent skis from Europe’s most ubiquitous ski shop, Intersport Rent, rather than schlep their own from Canada (and pay the airline’s second-bag charge). What most didn’t realize was that the rental rate included unlimited equipment changes as well as daily tunes. And typical of the Swiss, they know how to tune a ski better than anyone else. Top-end Stöcklis (made in Switzerland) were ready for the racecourse, silky smooth and razor sharp. Rentals have come a long way.

There are 12 locations of Intersport Rent in Grindelwald and the Jungfrau region, so if you feel like skiing powder in the morning in Grindelwald, head out with some wide boys. But after lunch, if you’ve noticed conditions have coaxed you up and over into Wengen and you want to put in some time on the Lauberhorn downhill (won by Ken Read, Toni Sailer, Klammer, the Hermanator, Schifferer, Bode…), you’re welcome to swap at any shop for some on-piste cruisers for an afternoon of hardpack.

» Or…let Intersport Rent help you sneak away from the madding crowd. We traded in our equipment one day for complete touring gear, bought some lunch at the supermarket and met up with mountain guide Ralph Näf from Grindelwald Sports. It’s always surprising how in such a crowded part of the world you can so easily find such incredible solace. (And all the nice powder that comes with it.) Even if you’ve never used skins, as long as you’re competent skiing ungroomed slopes and are capable of walking (not running) uphill, you couldn’t be under better care than a Swiss mountain guide.

Groups up to six can share in the cost (it’ll add $100 or more to your lift ticket but since lift tickets are 60 per cent of the price of some North American resorts, it’s not hard to justify the cost—and the rewards are well worth it). Soft-spoken Ralph offered mountaineering stories, material on Swiss culture and history, town gossip and several good suggestions for non-ski activities. An outstanding day.

SPECIAL THANKS

www.myswitzerland.com
www.myjungfrau.ch
www.chocolatfrey.ch
www.jungfraulodge.ch
www.swatch.com
www.graf-sportrent.ch

Information on the 2012 Ski Canada Swiss Trip 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2011, Features, Travel // // By


Ski Canada’s first-ever readers’ trip
headed to Switzerland’s Grindelwald
and the Jungfrau.

BY IAIN MACMILLAN    PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARTY MCLENNAN

Before Martin Schürmann, our BASE-jumping mountain guide from the Mürren Ski School, hucked his short, muscly body with a parachute-stuffed backpack off a cliff about 900-metres to the valley floor below, I tried to think of something intelligent to ask. I eventually blurted out a real award-winner: “So, what’d you have for breakfast?”

Schürmann paused briefly at my interruption of his thoughts and smiled in response, “Coffee.”

I glanced back at my new buddies Joe Leung and Lyndon Kanashiro, who’d come to ski Switzerland with 40 other Ski Canada readers last January, and all three of us simultaneously gulped what little saliva was still in our throats.

A few seconds later, Schürmann in his flying-squirrel outfit, delicately but purposefully stepped out onto the “exit” (a home-made steel platform that resembled a diving board), turned to his slack-jawed trio of fans and said unceremoniously, “One, two, three—bye!” and down he dropped, disappearing into the abyss—a most surreal scene.

Lyndon, Joe and I each gripped a little tighter to the spindly branches that were helping to keep our quivering bodies stuck to the steep mountainside’s melting snow and wet grass and not follow the waterfall-like momentum that Schürmann’s disappearing body had made. We were in agreement that there are lots of exciting things we’d still like to do on our bucket lists, but BASE-jumping isn’t one.

Later that night, the hair on our necks was still standing up as the three of us giddily told our audience about the experience (with significantly more important personal roles) around the bar at our Jungfrau Lodge base camp. It was only later we learned that someone died jumping from the same exit three days earlier, bringing the death count last January to three.

 

I’d only met Schürmann a day earlier with
another reader on the Ski Canada trip, ski model
Brian Callow, and Technical Editor/shutterbug
Marty McLennan. We’d initially been a bit
disappointed to learn our guide for the day was
an employee of the ski school. This vocation
often means he or she will come with restrictions
on where a group can be taken off-piste. And
Mürren’s off-piste rep is, if not legendary,
excellent. I laughingly brought up this earlier
concern to Schürmann as we white-knuckled it
like goats in ski boots along a narrow ridge that
dropped away on both sides to certain death. He
stopped and with a big smile said, “That’s okay,
when I heard I had to show some writers around
today, I was expecting you to be like the rest
and couldn’t ski beyond the intermediate runs.”

At one point, Schürmann offered some
prudent advice for accomplished skiers who
aren’t used to a resort that’s shared with thrill-seeking,
sometimes truly extreme, individuals.
Pointing up to two pairs of ski tracks that led
into what some (from up top anyway) might
mistake for a tasty little north-facing, powder-
filled couloir, he said, “See, this is why you
should never follow someone’s tracks if you don’t
know where you’re going.” Both sets abruptly
ended at a rollover—just before a 150-metre
vertical cliff.

“ See, this is why you should never
follow someone’s tracks if you don’t
know where you’re going.”

We realized then how tracks from a skier and
those of a “ski-flyer” look the same because,
well, they are. It’s just the guy who leaves the
latter also has a small parasail on his back;
so when the going gets hairy, he just lifts up
his legs in a very dreamy setting and soars off
down the mountainside dodging rock features,
glacial crevasses, avalanches, trees and hopefully
everything nasty that gets in the way. Search
“ski flying Grindelwald” on YouTube—any bets
you’ll find stuff eerily close to a lot of your flying
dreams.

Mürren, and its delightful little car-free village
clinging to the edge of a vertical rock face, has
one of the nuttier reputations in the Alps for
extreme sports. The other ski resorts that make
up the expansive Jungfrau ski region, and all on
the same pass, include: Wengen, with its longest
downhill course on the World Cup circuit; First,
with its excellent reputation for touring and
off-piste skiing as well as wide, open groomed
boulevards; and, of course, lovely, hard-to-rival
Grindelwald, in the shadow of the Eiger’s north
face, that’s attracted tourists as famous as Julius
Caesar and Adolf Hitler.

Despite our trip coinciding with one of the
driest winters on record (one expects plenty
of sun while on a Europe ski holiday, but
our seven days of sunshine in January was
exceptional), a 10-minute hike with Martin
led us several times to untracked powder and
even more spectacular views. While enjoying a
backpack snack in a snowbank, looking up at
our tracks behind us and a trio of famous peaks
in the foreground, we chatted about the area’s
outstanding climbing history with a man who’s
been up the north face of the Eiger more than
once (where 65 climbers have died) and indeed
skied down most of the west side (with the help
of a helicopter pilot who delivered the skis).

“Here you can easily see the Eiger, or young
man, to the left; the Jungfrau, or virgin,
to the right; and in the middle, the Mönch
or Monk watching over her,” Schürmann
explained to us while adding more chewing
tobacco under his lip.

“It’s 2011, Martin,” I said mockingly, “isn’t
the Monk more interested in the Eiger than the
virgin?”

After a short delay while the humour
translated, a roar of laughter belched forth.

Around the dinner table back at our cozy
Jungfrau Lodge in Grindelwald that night,
others in the group told us about their tandem
gleitschirmfliegen, or paragliding, adventure
and ziplining that day at First, a ski centre a
minute or two by bus beyond Grindelwald’s
village centre. (Getting to Mürren, on the other
hand, involved a bus, two trains and two cable
cars. And in the case of Marty and Brian, also a
speeding taxi, after they learned the hard way
that Swiss trains always run on time—and the
conductors give no “All aboard!” warning, even
if all your gear is on the train and you’re just
standing by the door snapping a photo.)

Thanks to our tour operator Vacation Station,
which picked up the tab, it was in First where
our merry band of Ski Canada readers enjoyed
one of many classic Alps scenarios. A mountain
hut outside-lunch of soup, wursts, salad and
sauerkraut was perfect to quaff pilsners under a
warm winter sun—such a simple yet orthodox
part of skiing in Europe. While teammate Ron
Dagilis had earlier claimed he joined the trip for
the free Swatch that doubled as an electronic
lift pass and wife, Marjorie, countered the Frey
chocolate swag bag was a better bonus, both
agreed lunches outside made great memories.

Earlier that day in First, I was skiing along
what in Swiss understatement might be called
a “runout” (a cat track that meanders for
kilometres down through the staggeringly
beautiful alpine scenery collecting skiers and
eventually funnelling them back to an arsenal
of lifts, or sends them farther down into the
valley and village) when I passed by a trim,
well-dressed elderly couple with straight backs
and apple-doll faces. Slowly but determinedly
hiking uphill in the brilliant sunshine, Grandpa
was pulling a classic little wooden sledge
behind him (very Grindelwald), while beside
him Grandma chatted quietly. Both looked
up in acknowledgement as I whistled past
offering a standard Swiss greeting “Grüezi.” I
briefly thought about my senior mum hiking
above timberline to put in a little morning
tobogganing. Umm, probably not.

Near the end of the day, I took in a similar
Swiss fairy-tale scenario. As the late sun
started changing the colour of the Eiger a
warm golden-grey, school children were hoofing
it back up to their chalet homes and farms
above the town with backpacks of homework
and empty lunch bags, dragging their little
luges behind them. I couldn’t help think how
much easier life could be for my family every
morning. If you go to school by toboggan, how
could you possibly be late?

Marty and I and our merry band of 40 readers
graciously accepted an offer one night as
guests of the Jungfrau Region tourist board and
Switzerland Tourism for an evening of fondue
high above Grindelwald at the Bussalp Alpine
Hut, followed by an impromptu 20-minute
sledge race back down. In the dark. No lights.
No lawyers. And plenty of speed. Thankfully,
we’d become a very loud group and no one was
lost for long.

Most of the roster on the Swiss adventure
signed up as singles and couples, with everyone
politely getting to know each other in Jungfrau
Lodge’s dining room. But within a day or two,
as the mealtime noise level exponentially grew
with chatter, story-telling and laughter, the
few other hotel guests not in our group chose
tables farther and farther away.

With our passport’s DOB’s ranging from the
1930s to the 1990s, the Ski Canada gang was
so typically Canadian: friendly, welcoming,
boisterous and actually better skiers than
they claimed to be at après ski. As suspected,
it was hard to get Western Canadian skiers
to look beyond their wintry backdoors and
join up, despite a minimal airfare add-on
from points beyond Toronto, Montreal and
Ottawa. Other than Lionel and Jack from
Saskatchewan, and Patti and Brian from
Alberta, the entire gang hailed from Ontario
and Quebec.

With Catherine on her ninth visit to Grindelwald holding a Q&A court at one table, Lyndon and roomie Stan fiddling on the iPad with the day’s photos and helmet cam video clips at another table, I plunked down to an empty place setting at the noisiest table just as Bill was loudly offering his younger snowboarding cousin some worldly advice about their impending visit to the town’s impressive spa. “Remember, Scottie, we’re in Europe, everyone’s going to be walking around the sauna buck naked,” he explained to his now red-faced, goofy-smiled, 20-something relative. “And it’s a mixed sauna—so don’t be
looking around too much and pull a boner.”

No surprises that our troop had more men
than women (how many groups of skiers
don’t?), but probably the fastest way to speed
up the getting-to-know-one-another routine is
the simplest. Taking meals in the hotel dining
room instead of in your condo or wandering
around looking for a restaurant agreeable to
everyone is refreshingly old school and makes
me always wonder why the half-board option is
almost unheard of in North America.

Knowing how loud we could get in our hotel
dining room, I was expecting to hear that
someone in our gang would be meeting the
town’s constabulary on the last night—one
that involved the discovery of a Peterborough,
Ontario, native playing bass in a local band—
and instigator Rob’s insistence on the entire
Eiger Bar dancing to the requested “The Hockey
Song.” The next morning at breakfast, Rob
gleefully retold the end of the evening, which
could only happen in Switzerland. “We got
shushed!” he said incredulously. “The police
were waiting for us when the bar closed and
everyone poured out onto the street. But
instead of a paddy wagon or Tasers, three
officers had their fingers to their lips saying,
“Shhhhhh!—ze town ize aschleep!”

How very Swiss. ❄

WHO SAID SWITZERLAND WAS EXPENSIVE?

The Canadian dollar may not be as strong as
it was a winter or two ago, but there are still
plenty of deals to be had. For 770 Swiss Francs
(less than C$1,000 at press time), the three-star
Hotel Jungfrau Lodge offered Ski Canada
readers a seven-night stay (double occupancy)
including daily buffet breakfast, four-course
dinner, six-day Jungfrau skipass (which
includes all valley trains to Interlaken and so
on) as well as daily Sport Centre entrance for
swimming and skating—and all taxes.

GETTING THERE

Swiss flies daily from Montreal direct to Geneva
and Zurich with code-sharing from other major
cities in Canada and Europe. Train or bus transfers
between Zurich and Grindelwald are about two
hours. www.swiss.com

SKIS FOR RENT

» Some in the Ski Canada readers’ group chose to rent skis from Europe’s most ubiquitous ski shop, Intersport Rent, rather than schlep their own from Canada (and pay the airline’s second-bag charge). What most didn’t realize was that the rental rate included unlimited equipment changes as well as daily tunes. And typical of the Swiss, they know how to tune a ski better than anyone else. Top-end Stöcklis (made in Switzerland) were ready for the racecourse, silky smooth and razor sharp. Rentals have come a long way.

There are 12 locations of Intersport Rent in Grindelwald and the Jungfrau region, so if you feel like skiing powder in the morning in Grindelwald, head out with some wide boys. But after lunch, if you’ve noticed conditions have coaxed you up and over into Wengen and you want to put in some time on the Lauberhorn downhill (won by Ken Read, Toni Sailer, Klammer, the Hermanator, Schifferer, Bode…), you’re welcome to swap at any shop for some on-piste cruisers for an afternoon of hardpack.

» Or…let Intersport Rent help you sneak away from the madding crowd. We traded in our equipment one day for complete touring gear, bought some lunch at the supermarket and met up with mountain guide Ralph Näf from Grindelwald Sports. It’s always surprising how in such a crowded part of the world you can so easily find such incredible solace. (And all the nice powder that comes with it.) Even if you’ve never used skins, as long as you’re competent skiing ungroomed slopes and are capable of walking (not running) uphill, you couldn’t be under better care than a Swiss mountain guide.

Groups up to six can share in the cost (it’ll add $100 or more to your lift ticket but since lift tickets are 60 per cent of the price of some North American resorts, it’s not hard to justify the cost—and the rewards are well worth it). Soft-spoken Ralph offered mountaineering stories, material on Swiss culture and history, town gossip and several good suggestions for non-ski activities. An outstanding day.

SPECIAL THANKS

www.myswitzerland.com
www.myjungfrau.ch
www.chocolatfrey.ch
www.jungfraulodge.ch
www.swatch.com
www.graf-sportrent.ch

Information on the 2012 Ski Canada Swiss Trip 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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