More Swiss Stoke

Post by blogger | April 3, 2008      

FYI, it’s snowing like crazy in much of the Alps, super high avy danger and the rest of the drill. We got some human powered vert today here in Austria, but we’re not able to do the classic tours. Things are still going well, however, as the total cultural experience is what we were after and this has been delivered — huge.

Sort of a closing TR from the Swiss portion of our trip, story in the captions.

Dynafit backcountry skiing.
So, we got shut down by weather and avy danger midway through our days in Switzerland, so we did a classic “pasture” tour that climbed up through a bunch of farms to a high saddle. It’s funny, as skiing on a ranch in the States would sound ridiculous. But the ranches here have 40 degree pitches and even avalanche danger. Above, Louie does some snow ranching. We’ll have to try some of that in Colorado.

Dynafit backcountry skiing.
At the top of the pastures. You can imagine the farm kids taking skipping work and going for a quick jaunt to the summit. No wonder they’ve got so many good climbers.

Dynafit backcountry skiing.
The nice thing about this tour was the good view of the Engstligenalp cable car and more, the part of Adelboden where we’d done a whiteout tour a few days ago, and were hoping to return to in better conditions.

Dynafit backcountry skiing.
This was one of the smaller avalanches we heard and watched pour of the Engtligenalp cliffs. Some were quite loud and made a good squeeze on the adrenals.

Dynafit backcountry skiing.
With high hopes for the next day, we hit the cheese. Fondu, baby.

Dynafit backcountry skiing.
Another moderate goal, the Amertenspitz would today finally be ours! Funny how weather makes the small goals seem big. Relativity, I guess. We actually tried to do two tours this day. After climbing and skiing the Amertenspitz, and after a break at the gasthaus for late lunch, we skinned up the piste with the idea of reaching another summit that’s above the resort slopes. The sun started setting and the wind blasted, so we didn’t make that one but got in some extra vert to help burn off some more cheese. Dairy burning vertical is always a plus when you’re in Switzerland, unless you want to blow the buttons off your pants when you fly back home.

Dynafit backcountry skiing.
Yours truly at the top. The north side held an amazing 4,000 vertical foot freeride style descent that was an obvious line — and obviously ready for a nice big slab avalanche. So we stuck to the south facing, where the new snow had bonded well to a corn crust. Those are the Dynafti Manaslus, which have been a good ski choice for this trip because they’re forgiving floaters that easily handle all sorts of euromank.

Dynafit backcountry skiing.
Louie and Lisa enjoy the view to ever higher Alps.

Dynafit backcountry skiing.
Louie gits sum (that’s a ranching term) on one of our only decent weather days. A few other people had the same idea. Didn’t mind that at all. Then back down the cable car in time for some raclette from our gracious Swiss hosts.


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6 Responses to “More Swiss Stoke”

  1. Ken Gross April 3rd, 2008 11:18 am

    Some Quality pictures! Looks like an awesome time!

  2. Mark Burggraff April 3rd, 2008 9:02 pm

    Great trip log Lou. I appreciate the apparent openess of the country. By that I mean it appears that their doesn’t appear to be private/public access conflict that often occurs here in the states. I don’t know much about european land access but I’m guessing that much of the “farm land” you’re skiing on is public and leased by the farmers. Or is the land actually privately held and it is just accepted that people will cross on to it to access the goods? Another question is that a pair of tele skis I see in the one of the pictures. Your not converting are you?

  3. Lou April 3rd, 2008 11:34 pm

    Mark, there is some sort of “right of passage” for the farmland, from historical use. It’s cool.

    There was a lone proud and brave telemarker up there that day, but we were on our AT gear as usual.

  4. Mike FEnnelly April 4th, 2008 5:45 am

    This has been one of the best vicarious trips I’ve ever taken. Thanks Lou,.

    I was introduced to raclette in the Valais on a Haute-Route trip in 1983. Many thanks for bringing up those memories. Now off to ski some eastern-mank, here in New England. I think I am still burning off those calories!

  5. MIke April 4th, 2008 1:17 pm

    I don’t often get to visit other sites but I must say I really appreciate your focus , layout & content.

    Due to nerve damage in both my feet “earning my turns” is limited to Tioga Pass, car camping – easy access day hikes during the late spring.

    NIce representation of your passion ( Thanks )


    “There is no off Season “

  6. riderpitts April 5th, 2008 1:54 pm

    terrific summary – u do realize this is first real season we have had in the alps for the past 4 years.

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