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My dreams of Switzerland after so many years

Posted: Thu May 10, 2018 11:09 pm
by Woodserson
As some of you know, I was born in French-speaking Switzerland to a Swiss-French mother (and American father). Though I primarily grew up Stateside (both were working full time in the States) I kept very close ties to Switzerland. I learned to ski there and skied there every winter until I was 18. I actually never skied in America until my sophomore year in high school. The best I can remember the last year I skied in Switzerland was 1999-- all my visits since have been in the other three seasons. I made a one-day nordic tour a few years ago, but downhill for the past 19 years was solely in America.

This year the DYNAMIC DUO (DYNAMIC TRI when the fantastic YOUNG ZEUS joins!) ventured East into the sun and CHUCK FLANNEL skied Switzerland again! The son returns to his mother, son patrie!

First, we need to eat breakfast. The mug speaks truth to me, about me.

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This was JOHNNY LIGHTNING's first time on the Continent and so I was the designated tour guide on both the cultural and ski level. It's important to get Johnny acquainted with the local flavors both human and liquid:

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We arrived about a week after the ski area closed, and had it perfectly timed to hit the savage springtime wet slide season. All my great exciting ideas were puking their guts out onto the slopes below. This relegated us to intermediate skiing with nothing above us. In the Alps there's not much of this terrain. There's no surviving these avalanches. As my Swiss neighbor (the bearded dude above) said, "you might see them and be able to move out of the way but if they get you, you are going to die."

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That being the way of the world, we spent a lot of time cruising the closed ski areas on slopes that I was familiar with, which did not have any overhanging terrain that would crush us. We saw avalanches every day. In this picture you can see the lifts in the background and compare the size of the slides with the machinery. It's fun! House size blocks? Check.

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BUT SKIING IS SKIING DAMMIT. I love skiing! Do you love skiing? Who gives a crap that we're skiing rotten melted snow on intermediate resort slopes! We're skiing! Skiing is where I am at my happiest, my holiest, my cleanest. This is me, the skiing is me, I am the skiing. There is no spoon!


Re: My dreams of Switzerland after so many years

Posted: Thu May 10, 2018 11:48 pm
by Woodserson
So what happened was several days of skiing in the morning on old groomed slopes or moderate slopes on smaller mountains. It was fine skinning and skiing but it wasn't anything I would call EPIC or CORE or EXTREME. We definitely got exercise and we had fun skiing. I had on particularly frustrating day in unconsolidated corn and I ate shit over and over. It was a humbling moment. Here I am skinning this old trail I used to ski everyday as a kid! Memories!

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In the afternoons I brought JOHNNY around for some hikes and other fun things, like climbing cliffs and stuff on via ferrata a kind of cheap-out mountain climbing style on iron rungs pounded into the cliff. I enjoy these immensely.
They are common in the Alps. My brother and I do them in the summer and fall.

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Finally one day the weather just opened up real real nice. One of those great stationary high pressure days. We decided to spend some money and head over to GLACIER 3000. This place is awesome. It's a "small" ski area by Alps standards but in late April it was one of the last open and what more do you need than a couple of telepheriques (cable cars) and a bajillion vertical and a glacier? Here's a corporate slick commercial video showing some uber-rich couple from Gstaaaaaad not skiing with some skiing and then more not-skiing (only watch this if you're really interested!)



Regardless, I love Glacier 3000. The skiing is like, totally sick, and the view is sick, and did I mention the telepheriques? I love telepheriques. I have a toy one still from my childhood. It takes two of these to get to the summit of Glacier 3000! Yes! Sick!

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It turned out that coming to Glacier 3000 was the best decision we made the whole trip. We skied trails that were 8km long and dropped 1700meters. We skied the glacier, we skied corn, we skied with les Alpes Valaisannes laid out at our feet. We ate tart at 10,000 feet, we met people, we hooted, we hollered, we ate more tart, had some beers and goddammit we skied our hearts out!

The Valais Alps at my fingertips. Le Grand Combin is over my left elbow, the Matterhorn far left with La Dent Blanche.

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MANGEONS, BUVONS, DANSONS, CAR DEMAIN NOUS MOURRONS. Mont Blanc behind us in the distance.

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A closer look of Mont Blanc over my tools of the trade:

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The Glacier:

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OK OK enough of all this, let's go skiing! JOHNNY LIGHTNING GO! GO MAN! GO! Into the beyond!



CHUCK FLANNEL is JAMES BOND! (if you turn it up you can hear my kind of freaking out to myself... oh god! ooooh!)



JOHNNY LIGHTING CLAIMS HIS BIRTHRIGHT! DELERIUM!



Schmeary tracks on schmeary snow, OH the PLEASURE

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Re: My dreams of Switzerland after so many years

Posted: Fri May 11, 2018 12:10 am
by Woodserson
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This was the day. The whole week was worth this one day. We skied, we met fellow skiers and made friends (shout out to http://buttnerskis.com/ !!!) and crushed it hard. We went through a month's worth of sunblock. Johnny got the full on Alps ski experience. I went home and returned. The estranged son came back and he SKIED the mountains of his dreams. They have haunted me and they will continue to haunt me. I close my eyes and see my lines. Bring it. The drought is broken.

C'est monts recueillie dans leur grave attitude ecoute un mystere divin que l'homme n'entends pas.

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(All this is skiable, btw. Lift accessed slack-country kind of stuff. Sick, like I said!)

I just want to add that a trip like this was possible because a lot of people here on this forum supported me and helped me learn THE TURN and recover from grievous injuries and be able to ski again, albeit with a free heel. I couldn't have done it without the advice, encouragement, material support, and general stokage of the TTalk Community. Ya'll know who you are, if you're wondering if you were part of it, you were.

Thank you!

Re: My dreams of Switzerland after so many years

Posted: Fri May 11, 2018 10:42 am
by lilcliffy
Wicked stuff Woods- thank you for taking the time to share this with us.
Gonna give us a review of those new boards?
Gareth

Re: My dreams of Switzerland after so many years

Posted: Fri May 11, 2018 1:11 pm
by lowangle al
It looks like you had a great time, and that's what matters. Plus you got to revisit a special place from your past, it sounds like it was money well spent. I never knew you had such deep roots over there.

Re: My dreams of Switzerland after so many years

Posted: Sat May 12, 2018 2:20 pm
by Rock_Doc
Awesome trip report for what looked like a fabulous trip -- Thanks for posting!

8-)

cheers,
JT

Re: My dreams of Switzerland after so many years

Posted: Tue May 22, 2018 5:47 am
by Rodbelan
Your pictures make me envious... Du sacré bon ski! When was that exactly?

Re: My dreams of Switzerland after so many years

Posted: Thu May 24, 2018 11:41 am
by Woodserson
Rodbelan wrote:Your pictures make me envious... Du sacré bon ski! When was that exactly?


This April! Just a few weeks ago.

Re: My dreams of Switzerland after so many years

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:10 pm
by fisheater
Woods, I am happy that you were able to return to such a magnificent place. I can imagine how such a place would beckon to you. The photos and videos were a pleasure to see, thank you for sharing. Johnny Lighting made a great co-star, I look forward to more adventures with Chuck Flannel.