Monday, January 23, 2012

Skiing With 17 People in Switzerland is like Herding Cats

Louisa and Eiger
Snowboarding on Day 5 - Eiger and Louisa

Louisa and Louisa in Kleine Scheidegg
Louisa and Louisa having a break from some epic skiing - great minds think alike... chocolate time!

short video of 1/2 of the girls - hard to get everyone on the same lift let-alone the same photo

Kleine Scheidegg
Swiss skiers are fast - Friends of Mike's ripping up the mtn

Cindy and Sam
Sam and Cindy waiting for me... always waiting for the snowboarder

Kleine Scheidegg
Kleine Scheidegg in the sun and clouds

Mikey and LouLou
Skiers and Snowboarders can get along - Kleine Scheidegg

Kleine Scheidegg Powder snow
Freshies mid-day

Kleine Scheidegg Ski Lift
Skiing Switzerland

Friday, January 20, 2012

Murren Männlichen to Grinderwad Schilthorn Skiing Switzerland - Day Four

Skiing in Switzerland with 7 Friends, two areas and one coffee stop

Murren / Männlichen to Grinderwad / Schilthorn
Got up at 6AM to make the bus and train up to Lauterbrunnen to meet Mike and Sean at the gondola / train station. After putting on ski boots and hiding my boot bag at the train station, the 5 of us were off to Wengen to ski together. I meet Mike and Sean one year ago today. We don't like to spend too much time together so we only see each other one day a year!

Murren / Männlichen to Grinderwad / Schilthorn
Sean and friends of theirs from Lauterbrunnen on the train from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen to ski!

Murren / Männlichen to Grinderwad / Schilthorn
At the top of Mannlichen lift - we have a little weather coming in and looks like snow is on it's way.

Murren / Männlichen to Grinderwad / Schilthorn
LouLou, fog and Eiger - Skiing with some very fast skier today (well, everyday). Skied outside my comfort zone down "oh god" run

Murren / Männlichen to Grinderwad / Schilthorn
Sean and Daniel skiing in the Murren area

Murren / Männlichen to Grinderwad / Schilthorn
Half-day we took the train back to Grinderwald and met up with Sean and Mike's friends Daniel and Mattie. On the train ride over, we had a little picnic with an epic view of the valley and some beautiful waterfalls

Murren / Männlichen to Grinderwad / Schilthorn
I was told this is how skiers 'rest'- Wengen

Murren / Männlichen to Grinderwad / Schilthorn
I was able to get on this lift - just made it

Murren / Männlichen to Grinderwad / Schilthorn
Later that night in Lauterbrunnen, we went to the camp ground to visit their friends and family and have a big beer with the local older men.

Raclette Ad Fine Cooking - Copy
Not my photo: See The Alpine Culinary Dish
For dinner, we stopped at the house were Mike is staying and had Raclette with all the fixings! With the little pan, you create a mix of warm cheese and meat to eat with potatoes, gherkins, pickled onions, pickled small corn, olives - really great on a very cold night. Big Thanks!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ski and Paraglide Schiltgrat Mürren

Taking the gondola up from Stechelberg with a fast transfer in Gimmelwald to the last exit at Murren. The wooden things in the snow are avalanche control tripods - they line the area to control snow fall. While in the Lauterbrunnen valley, I was lucky to see three natural avalanches. I guess it's common in the area and no one really made notice. The avalanches were very loud and exciting to see live!

Also out the gondola window, you can see BASE jumpers flying down the cliffs into the Lauterbrunnen Valley. It's a beautiful sport and I wish to try it some day... someday.

Denise and I on the gondola and lucky it wasn't that packed today - Tuesday. It was much, much warmer on this side of the mountains than that in Grinderwald. If you do not like the cold, come to this side of the mountains and stay warm in the sunshine. We had sunshine until 3:50 on this day.

Ski lift names - Gimmeln, Schiltgrat, Murren

I don't recall the name of this Après-Ski Bar, but it was right off the Schiltgrat lift. You could sit, enjoy something to drink or eat, and watch the paraglider's running and jumping off the mountain.

Just look at all that snow!!!

Guys paragliding in front of our apres ski bar - see video above

Not sure what this is called, but it could be Skiing+Paragliding or Ski-Gliding, or Speed Flying and Speed Riding? I've also heard Speed flying is when you para-glide and ski at the same time. I could see some guys and gals flying and skiing from the top of Schilthorn Ski Resort down the mountain and flying by us, then skiing again. It looks really fun and scary at the same time.

Afterwards we stopped in Lauterbrunnen Valley at AirTime Cafe for their famous soup, carrot cake and a large coffee. If you are in the are, stop by and say hello to Danielle (owner). This is was a big sky dive, BASE jump hang-out with free WiFi with purchase of something to drink or eat, computers, books, laundry facilities, and art for sale.

Mürren - Schilthorn Ski Resort

The Three Tells - 2 for 1 fish and chip night
For dinner Denise and I went into Interlaken to have something warm and cheap to eat. We found an Irish pub called The Three Tells about a block from Balmers Interlaken Hostel. Tuesday nights is their 2 for 1 fish & chips deal. The fish was perfect; not too much batter and lots of yummy white fish on top of perfectly fried chips.  Total for two 18 CHF  

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lauberhorn Ski Race Switzerland, Kleine Scheidegg Ski

Skiing with Friends in grindelwald switzerland at -11 degrees mid day. It was very cold, but the views were epic.
Skiing with Sander, Jay and Michel and 4 others on a blue bird day. Skied hard from top to bottom. Some of the longest runs. Afterwards we stopped in a restaurant to have pizza and a coffee. It was called Restaurant Grund Grindelwald - if you are in the area, please eat here. More affordable (mac and cheese was 24 swiss franks) than the huts and really good food.

With no snow in Lake Tahoe, California or anywhere in the US, it was awesome to ski snow for the first time all Winter. I got my first run today Jan. 15, 2012... sad really. Not just for skiing, but for the local economy in the Tahoe area.

Start Bar is at the start of the 82nd International Lauberhorn Race in Wengan, Switzerland. Ski ticket from the day was about 70 US dollars.

I don't have a lot of photos from Saturday's Party up in Wangan, but people were dressed-up, made-up and in full swing by the time we arrived at 4PM. We got to bar hop in Wangen at the Rocks Bar and then Crystal bar before heading to the party tent in the World Cup Village. Of course after watching Bode Miller get the 5th place award at the ceremony that is... The band played all night but we hit the train back to Interlaken at 1:30AM.

-- Don't forget to write about the snowboard team on the flight from DC to Zurich

-- Map of mtn in Kleine Scheidegg, Grindelwald First, Murren Schilthorn area:

-- Map with lift names and location of lifts in Kleine Scheildegg

-- Things we do not have in the US: Sledging and walking Walking lifts

Condition for Sunday Jan. 15, 2012
Kleine Scheidegg - Männlichen

sunny Temperature
-5 °

New snow
0 cm

Snow height
115 cm

Snow (powder)

Number of lifts 24 Transport

15 Valley runs

4 Fun

8 Sledging

6 Walking

Next Day Monday, January 16, 2012

View from Cindy's house
Wake-up in Bönigen at Cindy's with a beautiful view of the Brienzersee Lake - Last year this time, Cindy and I swam in this lake. We must do a repeat swim this year.

Mannlichenbahn Lift to to the Top
We had to drive through a valley on the way to Kleine Scheidegg - This valley receives only 40 minutes of sunshine a day.  Here in the parking lot at the Mannlichenbahn Lift its 1PM, the sun is out and still no sunshine. These mountains are massive. The temperature was -11 C or about 12 F

The white stuff you see is snow from three days ago. It's so cold here, the snow is very dry

Eiger and kisses
We are very lucky to have such blue sky. Even in summer, it's always overcast or raining. VERY good weather here at the top near the Start Bar

View at the top of the Mannlichenbahn lift

Ski Lift
Cindy and I lost each other on our third run, but somehow found each other again at the top of sesselbahn gummi lift

cool photo
Time for a bar break at Chris's bar - cool ski sticker Paudi's race Team

Chris at the Arbengaden Hut
Chris and her bar - The Arbengarten Bar. She made us two koffee cocktails with whip cream!
Her daughter came for a two month visit to SF and I got to meet up with here on a friday night and show her some good San Francisco fun!

Cindy and Louisa at the Arbengaden Hut
Louisa and Cindy enjoying our koffee and the views of the Eiger

Eiger and picnic
Everyone love the Eiger - at the bar for a picnic, or drink or to warm up since it was so cold.

Cindy with GoPro
Cindy with GoPro!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ice Climbing Sugar Bowl's Waterfall Run

Ice Climbing Sugar Bowl Jan 2012
When there is no snow in Lake Tahoe for over 40 days and no snow in the 15 day forecast, what should you do? Don't sit at home on the couch watching ski porn and reading blogs about how this is the driest winter since 1879. (I'm addicted to Miles' post and Unofficial Squaw). However, doing the snow dance and weekly sacrifices might help in these exceptional times.

OR go climb a rock. In this case a frozen waterfall at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort in Northern California. Call up Alpine Skills International (ASI) for rates and scheduling - these guys are the real deal. Ask for Bela.

We drove up on a Tuesday, got our gear, skied up two lifts, short ski and side step to a flat area where we left our ski gear. From there we hiked about 15 minutes up to the base of the frozen waterfall.

Ice Climbing Sugar Bowl Jan 2012
We put on our crampons and climbing harness - all the gear was supplied by ASI.

Ice Climbing Sugar Bowl Jan 2012
Ice Axes - I use these all the time at home ;-)

Ice Climbing Sugar Bowl Jan 2012
Top rope climbing on IW2 fall - Super fun for a beginner climber like myself.

Ice Climbing Sugar Bowl Jan 2012
What a beautiful day to be at Sugar Bowl - I normal ski Squaw Valley, but today I rekindled my love for this mountain.

Ice Climbing Sugar Bowl Jan 2012
My turn to give it a go. This is my second time climbing. First time was in Switzerland in June of 2011.

Ice Climbing Sugar Bowl Jan 2012
Father and son team, Bela is a great instructor. Can't wait to go again, but I hope we get some snow soon!!!

Thanks to Miles Clark at Unofficial Squaw

Check this out:
-- Alpine Skills International
-- SF Try Ice Climbing at Sugar Bowl

My YouTube attempt at climbing. Enjoy and Happy New Year!!!