For some reason every time I try to say “cross-country skiing” it comes out as “cross crunchy screaming”, and it’s starting to get old. Today I went out on an exploratory run with my dad, and it was awesome. We found the one rental place in Ischgl for cross-country skis, and hit the trail. We ended up on a great groomed trail that runs through a valley, and stopped in Mathon for our lunch coffee and hot chocolate. This is when we decided that the only people who live in this town work in the resorts or on the mountain, as we only found one open restaurant, and no one was walking around anywhere…except us!
Map of cross-country ski trails
All in all, it was a great work out. I had some awesome pictures, but of course my camera is not cooperating, and decided the memory card was no longer formatted correctly, so I’ve got nothing. Since we’re heading out again tomorrow on a 10.5 km jaunt, I should be able to shoot some new ones. I’m also mad because I had some sweet shots of Galtur from our day skiing over there. It was a really nice mountain, although far smaller than Ischgl/Samnaun. And a lot colder, with a bitter wind blowing the snow and creating some icy spots that were hard to identify.
Sister all tuckered out after a hard day of boarding. And eating steak.
We had an awesome dinner at a restaurant in town, and enjoyed some traditional wienershnitzle and steaks. I followed mine with some deeeelish white and dark chocolate mousse. It was a great end to an excellent day. Tomorrow we’re going tobogganing at night, which I can’t wait to do. Last time me and sister rode the same sled, and have some pretty hilarious memories. We’re looking for a repeat performance. Then Friday I’m going to bite the bullet and follow the experts (Sister and Dan Erickson) as they leave their signatures in some of the gorgeous pow that’s still on the mountain, 4 days after the last snowfall. I’m a little nervous considering Sarah has been dragging Dan around the mountain all week and today he hit a jump and cracked his ski all the way through and pulled his hip flexor. And he’s a ski racer. Just think what she’s going to do to a rookie like me…
On a side note I just got accepted into CUNY’s PhD program, with a full scholarship, health insurance and a living stipend. I’m so smart!
Arriving in Zurich was fairly uneventful. I’ve always had a decent time on Swiss Air, and I love how the individual movie screens transform me from a neurotic flyer into a slightly less neurotic one. The Blind Side was great, I highly recommend it.
After getting the first stamp put in my new patriotic passport and meeting up with Sister Sarah in Zurich we hit the road for a 3 hour bus ride. Upon arriving at The Hotel Elisabeth we found that all the travel was completely worth it, because one of the three main gondolas that take you up the mountain is located literally across the street. And there is another one half a block away. It’s pretty nice to wake up and walk across the street to go snowboarding on some alps. Plus we don’t have to worry about catching a bus and coordinating travel with a group of 25, which always adds 10 minutes to the simplest of tasks.
The first day of boarding was awesome, particularly considering that I pretty much hate most winter sports, especially skiing and snowboarding, so I am a very hard person to please. There was fresh powder from the previous night’s snowfall, no wind, and even though it was Sunday (the busiest day on the mountain), there was plenty of room to ski without worrying about crashing into anyone. This mountain is huge, with a high percentage of intermediate slopes, which I enjoy. There are also amazing off-piste peaks and bowls to challenge the more advanced skiers/boarders (like my sister, the board bum based out of Crested Butte), and an excellent beginners area where people like my dad, with his fake hip, can practice turns without worrying about trails becoming suddenly steep or icy. Literally fun for the whole family.
I loved the fact that I could go back and forth between Austria (Ischgl) and Switzerland (Samnaun), and the fact that they have both hot chocolate and whipped cream machines at the mountain restaurants, so I can enjoy my favorite skiing treat. What else? That I’ve been boarding for two days, and I still haven’t seen the whole mountain, and I actually want to explore more of it!
The conditions on day two were also very nice, but a little more chewed up. Still far superior to the best days on the East Coast US ski circuit. I think tomorrow we’re going to head over to Galtur, the highest peak in this area at 1584 meters. Then I’m going to need a few days off to rest my tired legs, and check out some of the sights. Hopefully I’ll get to head into Salzburg, and maybe somewhere else. I also want to try some alpine hiking and snowshoeing, which is probably the only thing I actually always love doing in the snow. Thankfully I convinced my mom to buy some Internet access, which wasn’t too hard since she is obsessed with Farmville and had to harvest her crops. Oh wait, that reminds me, I’ve got something I need to do…