Last weekend, I met some friends from Belgium in Crans Montana, Switzerland. They were lucky enough to vacation there for a week and I crashed with them for a couple of nights.
Their apartment had an insane view. I can’t imagine waking up to a sunrise over mountains like this every morning.
Although I’ve been to Swiss ski towns (Grindelwald, Zermatt) and skied in France (Contaimines, Clusaz) and Italy (Courmayeur), it was my first time skiing (and renting skis) in Switzerland. Typically, it runs about 18 Euros ($24). When I rented skis at Crans Montana, I gasped at the price. It was 64 CHF ($69) for one day! You would think that I would be used to Swiss prices by now. They haven’t lost their ability to shock me.
English: Lac de la Moubra in Crans-Montana. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I guess I should have expected it, Crans Montana is a tony town where wealthy Russians, private bankers and the occasional celebrity (Roger Moore, the Sarkozys, Celine Dion, Princess Caroline) congregate. In addition to skiing, it is known for its golf course (redesigned in 1999 by Seve Ballesteros), meeting facilities and hotel school.
Crans Montana is on the north side of the valley in the Valais region of Switzerland, the sunniest part in all of Switzerland. It was a glorious sunny day, with plenty of snow and stunning views of the Swiss Alps on the other side of the valley. It’s snowed in Geneva, but the mountains have received even more of it. The snow report: lots of it.
These guys were brave enough to go off piste and look good doing it. Seriously, they were hopping around like little bunnies. I was just happy to just not fall (on piste) and embarrass myself even more than I did.
Once again, I was (by far) the worst skier in the group. Thankfully, everyone was very patient and encouraging. I gathered my courage and tried a black run for the first time over here.
At the top of the run, notice the pole with the black in the background
The good news is that it was tons of fun and I made it down in one piece. The bad news is that I was incredibly slow and slid about 40 feet down on my back, head first).
I slid down like the panda in this photo from Arkive.org
On second thought, that panda doesn’t look sufficiently panicked. He looks like he is enjoying himself and isn’t worried about the possibility of death or serious injury. Good thing I wear a helmet.