WildSnow Euro Tour – We Drive to the Jungfrau Region


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | March 23, 2008      
Swiss backcountry skiing.
So, Fritz was nice enough to lend us his Skoda for a drive over to Switzerland to reach some higher ski touring (if the weather cooperates) and visit Lisa’s relatives in the town of Frutigen (where Fritschi happens to be located).

We leave Austria and we’re immediately charging through a blizzard so bad the road signs eventually get covered, resulting in some interesting tests of family communication skills before, after, and during the creation of above photo.

Talk about driving by braille… The ice covered one-lane pass driven at night was the capper. We made it, now wishing we could buy a Skoda to replace the crashed Tacoma.

Swiss backcountry skiing.
Weather here is really unstable now, with most days getting fairly heavy snow and high avy danger everywhere but lower angled terrain that’s not threatened from above. That’s the perfect situation for terrain such as that we were enjoying in Austria, but it’s tougher to find such tours around here. Even so, we got local advice and headed yesterday for a fairly “mellow” tour to a relatively nondescript area called Christihube, south of the village of Kiental. As pictured above, we got a few turns but the backcountry skiing was mostly just a walk in a snowstorm. Pretty walk, though…

Swiss backcountry skiing.
Switzerland is beautiful and fun, but wow is this place expensive. It’s not so much the prices of things but the way you end up being charged for something unexpected every time you turn around. For example, we had to buy this highway permit for about $40 US, which we knew about, but then while driving over the past couple of days we got stuck for everything from a tunnel toll to another toll for a tiny section of road on the way to Christihube. Such makes for tricky budgeting, meaning we couldn’t do this without friends such as the folks we’re staying with here in Frutigen. Thanks to the Rytz family!

Swiss backcountry skiing.
Instead of road tolls, here is what we want to be cleaning our wallets for — the cheese shop! Isn’t that some sort of Swiss thing?

Swiss backcountry skiing.
Yep, today is Easter Sunday and we’re staying with a church pastor, so the agenda was clear. Fun to enjoy Easter service at this little mountain chapel outside of Frutigen, on the road up to Adelboden ski resort. The service was in German, which I hardly understand a word of, but the spirit was good and the music well crafted, so we were glad to be there.

Swiss backcountry skiing.
I chuckled to myself over this view out the window from our pew. The church was built back in the 1930s, and I had to wonder how many alpinists had looked up to the peaks from this very seat, and wondered how quickly they could get up there after being dismissed from the service. More likely they were farmers wondering how to find their cattle up there in the hills, but a few must have been climbers or ski mountaineers.

Swiss backcountry skiing.
For Easter dinner we drove to the historic Swiss city of Bern, where we feasted on lamb at our host’s parents then toured the city for a few hours on foot. Above photo needs explanation. The building in the background is the Swiss National Bank, which is said to go deep underground 6 or 7 more floors where tons of the world’s treasure is stored. In the foreground that’s me displaying my empty wallet and an empty pocket, along with relative Joe having a Swiss Franc plastered to his forehead. Get the picture?

That’s our host Frank on the left, his father in the middle. Nice guys.

Swiss backcountry skiing.
And yes, we now have another “Guess That Pastry,” only this time from Switzerland. This disk of sugar and pastry dough is said to be a specialty of the Frutigen area. Can anyone name it?



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Comments

6 Responses to “WildSnow Euro Tour – We Drive to the Jungfrau Region”

  1. Mark Worley March 23rd, 2008 6:13 pm

    Can’t name the pastry, but I can attest to the expense of Switzerland. I recall very mundane menu items like “special toast” costing a king’s ransom. Hope that Skoda keeps you going.

  2. Mark Worley March 23rd, 2008 6:17 pm

    P.S. My organic granola bar sounds like chaff compared to butter-saturated Europastries.

  3. colby March 25th, 2008 6:23 am

    What a great mountain place to enjoy as a family. I think I must do this someday with mine.
    And to be in that church in those mountains at Easter, that really had to be something to remember.
    Enjoy.

  4. Matus (Euro) March 25th, 2008 7:10 am

    If you want to enjoy real driving, you should come to Middle and Eastern Europe, where speed limits represent the lowest speed that some drivers drive their cars.

    BTW, how did you enjoy Skoda? I am sure it had an engine under 2.0 L which must be something ridiculous for an US driver.

  5. Lou March 25th, 2008 11:11 am

    Matus, the Skoda has some kind of torque monster diesel that is quite awesome! Not sure what the size of the engine is…

  6. Mark April 9th, 2008 5:06 pm

    I agree with Colby, what a memory to be in that little church in the mountains on Easter Sunday morning! What an experience. . . .

    It also caught my eye about enjoying lamb in Bern for Easter Sunday Dinner. What cut of lamb was it and how was it prepared? Just thinking about it makes my mouth water for some lip-smackin’ lamb!

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