BootsnAll Travel Network

Josh’s European Adventure: Day 14 – Belalp, Switzerland (Swiss Alps)

Last night the three of us decided to wake up at 9AM and get the day started.  I thought that we should have woken up earlier, but I wasn’t going to fight them on this one.  I got up around 830AM, took a nice hot shower, and then got dressed for skiing by putting on my special underarmor underwear and long johns.  I put on several tops including a sweater I had brought, my fleece jacket and then my heavy north face  I wasn’t about to mess around with the cold up on the top of the mountain.  Even though the forecast predicted only about 25-30F, I figured that I would rather be too warm than too cold, because being too cold sucks especially when you are skiing.

The girls and I headed out the door around 930AM and walked down the snow filled roads to the ski shop.  There Linda and I got some skis and I needed boats.  After the guy at the shop  made fun of me in German regarding my small feet, I got the boots and skis fit.  They felt fine and then afterwards it was time to ski.  We put our skis on and skied down to the chairlift to buy our lift ticket for the day.  Afterwards we backed up on our skis and headed up the mountain.  Sarah said that I needed to ride on the bunny slope at least once before we went to the big boy slopes.  I said “no problem” because I wanted to make sure I got my balance before heading up to the big stuff.

The first run went off without a hitch.  I was turning well and felt good.  Even though I haven’t skied a lot in my life, I am self-taught and have a pretty good idea of how to ski.  My form is not technically sound in any way, shape or form, but it gets the job done.  Once we got to the bottom of the bunny slope it was time to head all the way up the mountain.  We took one chairlift to another that looked like a bubble.  Once the restraint comes down an outside bubble comes down after.  It was a very unique chairlift and one I had never been on before.  It appears that the bubble is there to protect one from the wind and cold while traveling up the mountain.  From the bubble like chairlift we then had to continue up the mountain using another very unique device, but apparently common in Europe.  It is a rope attached to a piece of plastic.  You grab the rope and stick the plastic behind your butt and while standing up straight it pulls you up the mountain.  The first time I used such a thing I went with Linda and when she gave me the rope I tried to sit down and then she started to say “don’t sit, stand up.”  So I did and lucky for us just in the nick of time because any longer and I probably would have caused us both to fall.  See while on this ropey thing you are skiing up the mountain, being pulled by the rope so if you cross your skis and fall it is not good.

Once at the top we skied through a tunnel, which took us to another side of the mountain (really cool) and then snapped a few photos and headed down.  I ended up slightly falling once, but nothing like a wipeout (where your skis, polls and everything goes flying).  My edge simply caught and I kind of landed on my side, nothing serious.  The run was definitely challenging as we started at 3112 meters or about 10500+ feet high.  It was the highest mountain I had personally skied and it was crazy.

The rest of the day would go well.  I ended up falling like two more times but again it was my skis more than my ability to ski.  My left boot kept coming out of my binding and it would cause me to fall, but all in all was a great day.  After we got lunch and skied until about 330PM it was time for Apri Ski.  Apri Ski is translated from German to mean “party after ski.”  This is where you go to one of the many restaurants on the mountain and drinks.  So we did and had a great time until about 530PM when we had to ski down to the bread shop so we had bread for our dinner.  Dinner was going to be authentic Swiss Fondue.

The Swiss Fondue was very good but the cheese which includes wine is very strong and eventually I had to give up and then Sarah made me a sandwich.  The sandwich included very special dried Swiss meat which is approximately $40 per pound!  I was honored to eat the meat and it was damn good.

Since we skied all day I was very tired and after playing some Mario Kart and Golden Eye I passed out around 1130PM.  Tomorrow the plan was to ski half the day and then make our way back to Sugiez and then the night train to Prague.


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