I went skiing with Ammar at Engelberg, and it was the best skiing all year. The snow (on piste) was surprisingly good; indeed, one might even call it perfect for the skis I own. I was flying down the slopes at speeds that seemed better suited to my motorcycle than to skis. The only difficult part was that it was too warm for goggles and I brought the wrong sunglasses, so I kept crying into the right glass and the tears kept freezing over!
Beautiful weather though. Instead of driving up out of the clouds as often happens, the clouds simply… stopped 10 km or so before we started our ascent up the mountain. Very odd, but they later rolled in and covered the valley run, making for a fairly miserable route down at the end of the day. 😉
Today we visited Andermatt again. This time we hit the Sedrun peak rather than Gemstock, and it was much more docile. Although Ammar and Jenny gave me a ride in their car, you can’t actually get to Sedrun quickly without hopping a train; to get to the town by combination of car and train takes 90 minutes, to get to the town purely by car would mean driving all the way up through Chur and back, resulting in something like 2.5 hours.
I’m not going to post any pictures at the moment, but I did manage to get my goggles tested at 68 kph. Still working on getting some real speed – I won’t be happy till I’m in the 80-90 kph range!
Today we hit Hoch-Ybrig. Although I wasn’t that much of a fan last time, Florian wanted to try it out today, so he, Simon and I hopped in the car and headed over. Though it was pouring rain when we left Zürich, an hour later we were at the gondola with cloudy skies, and when we got to the top the clouds disappeared (perhaps one of the best parts of winter in Switzerland). By and large the skiing wasn’t great (the temperature never dipped below zero, so what wasn’t ice quickly turned to slush), but the warmth and the blue skies made it well worthwhile all the same.
Still, the absolute best part of the trip was trying out the new goggles Steph gave me for Christmas. With GPS and similar goodies built-in, it shows you some great real-time stats including speed, distance skied, altitude, temperature, etc. It also does an amazing job of calculating when you’re on a lift, when one run ends and another begins, and more. The photochromic lenses are pretty great too – the tint changes based on ambient light, so you can see well regardless of whether it’s sunny or cloudy that day.
When I plugged the goggles in afterwards, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they already knew the name of the resort I was at. I was able to review my runs, add highlights, and on some resorts (unfortunately not this one) tie them to a piste map so that I can show only blues, reds or blacks. I could also export a google earth file to make the runs available to anyone with Google Earth installed. For now, I just exported a screenshot of the application, but maybe in the future I’ll make the full interactive map available here.
What’s there to say? Another trip to Flumserberg, this time with Matus and his 7-month-pregnant girlfriend. I haven’t seen them in about half a year, so that was a surprise of epic proportions, no doubt. She sunbathed while we hit the slopes pretty hard. Aside from our missed train (by 20 seconds! after running there in my ski boots!), it was a pretty ordinary day. While fully overcast in Zürich, the gondola brought us above the cloudline and into flawless blue skies for the day – what a new year’s eve!
Matus has dessert
Later that day, Steph and I opened Christmas gifts (yes, a few days late). She got me a pair of Transcend GPS ski goggles by Zeal Optics. The first ski goggles in the world – to my knowledge – to integrate GPS, they include a small heads-up display that shows your speed, altitude, distance travelled and more. Since all those stats can later be uploaded to your computer, I expect that future posts will include some extracts.