It’s officially my first season skiing, and after seven solid trips on the Bavarian bunny slopes, I decided to join the big leagues with a trip to the Swiss Alps. (Seems logical enough …)
Jeff and Todd accompanied Jeremy and myself on the open road as we drove to Basel, Switzerland. First stop: Jeff 2 and Simone’s house for some raclette, which can only be described as heaven in dairy form. It’s sort of the Swiss version of fondue, except in this case you place various slices of cheese on mini skillets, cook on a special heating device until bubbly and pour over special "raclette" potatoes. Enjoy with meat product and various sides. Pair with white wine. Yum.
We were joined by Tom, who was in from the states, and J.R. (technically Jeff 3) who made the trip from Paris. We had a grand slumber party and tucked ourselves that night dreaming of ski slopes made of Swiss cheese.
The following morning we drove another hour or so (each still with a brick of cheese in our stomach) to the town of Grindelwald at the base of the Alps. The hourlong tram to the very top was breathtaking, revealing snow-capped mountains in every direction along with an intricate network of ski slopes.
I should explain I was the dead weight of the group. Jeff 2, Tom, J.R. and Todd skied with ease, Jeremy shredded on the snowboard and even though Jeff is only in his second year of skiing, he is phenomenally better than I am – in fact he taught me how to ski.
I should also explain that the “blue” hills of the Alps are far more death defying than the “red” hills of lower Bavaria.
Here’s me at our favorite local ski joint:
Here’s how I looked most of the time in the Alps.
Regardless, I managed to finish the first blue hill, battered and bruised and was still somehow talked into trying a red run next. (Achem, Todd!)
Notable aside: Red runs in the Alps are equivalent to black runs in the states, and that day it was icy.
Halfway down this fateful run, I stood at the top of an incredibly steep hill wondering how I was going to finish without serious injury. And you may not believe this next part, but I swear it to be true. On the red runs of the Alps, flesh eating monsters attack you. They rise out of the hill with sharp snowy ice fangs and literally try to eat you. I mean, no wonder I cried! I cried my way down the flesh eating monster hill and lived to tell about it. Triumphant indeed. (Achem, Todd!)
Our last run of the day was slow and steady with no flesh eating monsters and took us through various towns as we made our way to the bottom. It was surreal skiing on a patch of snow passing dirt-covered land, farms, cows and residential living on each side.
The next day Jeremy and I opted out of skiing to nurse parallel injuries and explored the town of Interlaken. In a word, it’s cute. In two words, it’s damn cute.
Overall, it was a awesome trip filled with great company, good beer and “scratch off the list” adventure.
On the drive home, Jeff, Todd, Jeremy and I made vows for our triumphant return to the Alps. Jeff is determined to practice his skiing technique as to not get his ass kicked next time; I vowed not the cry upon my return; Todd vowed not the make me cry (Achem, Todd!); and Jeremy vowed not to eat so much cheese. The latter being the most selfless act of all.