Thursday, 24 January 2013

getting around

We've been getting around.  There's been plenty of skiing, ski racing, ski touring and snowshoeing going on here.  We had an early start to the ski season, so early that Jeff had already logged 35 days on snow before he had to return to Ontario 3 weeks ago.  He comes back home on Sunday and will no doubt re-start the tally that afternoon.

Graydon, Esmée and I (Eli was sick so he stayed home) went with some great friends to see the Men's World Cup Slalom in Adelboden a couple of weeks ago.  

on our way over to Adelboden from Lenk
We drove to Lenk and from there, skied over into Adelboden, arriving just as the first few racers took on what is said to be one of the most difficult slalom races on the circuit.  The course is long, very steep and rock hard.  There is something so incredibly exciting and inspiring about seeing the best in the world do their thing, no matter what it is.  But, this being Switzerland and the thing being ski racing, the vibe was awesome, the whole place was fired up.  We watched the first run from just below the start where we could see the racers live and then turn to the jumbotron to watch them finish the bottom section of the course.
In between runs, we were groupies.  Outside the athletes' tent, we saw the Canadian men with their coaches huddled in a post race de-brief.  It had been a rough morning for our men, with no one advancing to the second run.  We (sort-of) respectfully hovered until we saw an opportune moment to barge in, say hello and ask for autographs.  The kids planted themselves in front of the tent, wanting to see who else would show up and it was well worth the standing around. Graydon was so excited to get this picture, I thought he might explode.
Ivica Kostelic with Graydon + Esmée 
graydon, alex + harrison in adelboden

The last time I went ski touring, it was a beautifully snowy day.  We climbed the Walliser Wispile above Lauenen and skied thigh-deep powder all the way back down.  Once we hit the snow covered road, we skied it, occasionally having to call out "car coming".  Suddenly, our guide, Hansueli, veered off to the left and stopped.  Claiming that we were at the barn of the best alpkäse (alpine cheese) in the region, he took off his skis and asked "who wants to go shopping"?    ME!

Who doesn't love a shopping opportunity, especially an unexpected one that involves cheese?
park your skis here and shop
a self serve, honour system -
the fridge is full of various ages of alpkäse

My back has been very sore so I'm taking a break from skiing, but have managed to do some gentle walking and snowshoeing.  Just outside the door of our chalet, there are hundreds of (marked) trails and summer roads (not cleared in the winter) to explore.  A couple of the coolest things I've seen...

I never tire of seeing a Swiss woodpile - I swear to god, they are all this neat and tidy.

I came upon this colourful collection of bee houses.  Bee colonies have been devastated in Switzerland and it's estimated that up to 50% of the bees here didn't survive last winter.  I've been thinking a lot about bees lately and much to Jeff's disbelief, I have been threatening to become a bee keeper when we get back to Ontario.  Clearview Bee Farm has a nice ring to it, no?