Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ski Weekend in Gstaad

The whole month of February is basically Ski Month in Europe (the kids have vacation from school) - so if you want to rent a cute little Ski Chalet in Switzerland we found out you better do it at least a year in advance! Unfortunately, we didn't even know we were going to be living in Switzerland a year ago, so that was a bit of a challenge when we started looking for a place our ski weekend last weekend. We really wanted to go to Zermatt, but after inquiring about a place and finding out it was $65,000 for the week we decided to explore other options:). I say we, but actually our friends Sarah and Zann did all the work (thanks guys!).

They eventually found a cute place in Château-d'Oex about a 20 minute train ride outside Gstaad. The only problem was it was a 4 person condo and we had 6 people. We were desperate though as they had been searching for weeks, so we decided we would bring along sleeping bags and "figure it out" when we got there. (I did feel like a college kid trying to fit too many people at a spring break place but hey - keeps us young - right?) Anyway, when Zann first found the place he asked the owner if it could fit 6, when she said no Zann said okay - we will only have 4 then.:) I'm guessing she found this a little suspicious because Zann spent the next two weeks convincing her it was only 4 including an email the night before we got there! The owner actually lived in England though, so we thought we were safe!

Pan forward to our arrival in Château-d'Oex. (Just so it will make it easier to understand - the place we were staying was a converted hotel into individual condo units. There was a grounds keeper (for lack of a better word), Mia, who lived across the street from the building and checked in every guest.) We were supposed to meet Mia when we got there so she could show us around the place, etc. Since she knew it was only supposed to be 4 - Nathan and Sarah were to stay back at the train station until we called them. However, the process was taking FOREVER and then she decided to stay in her office located right next to the front door to "do some work". It was 9 o'clock on a Friday night - I think she knew we were up to something:) Eventually, Sarah and Nathan were freezing and sick of waiting outside so they decided to try their luck and BAM - right into Mia'a arms! "Are you checking in" "Oh no, we are just visiting friends in room 42." "We don't have a room 42. Who are you meeting?" "Zann Hawkins" "Hmmm, okay" And that was the beginning of a renegade weekend! We spent the rest of the time trying to go downstairs and leave at different times so she wouldn't see us all together!

But the view from our place made all the shenanigans worth it that next morning. This is what we woke up to - so beautiful!

Hello Chateau d'Oex!

The owner of the condo had actually sent us some pretty awesome information on where to rent skis, different places to ski, where to go, etc. And although there was a ski lift right in Château-d'Oex, after reviewing all the slopes, we decided to train to Schönried to ski "Sector 1" which had the largest number of connected slopes.

Gstaad was so beautiful and it was great to be back on the slopes for the first time in more than 2 years! We had a lot of fun skiing "off piste" - off the groomed trail - especially Nathan. There was a few times I didn't think he was going to get back to us:)!

Chillaxin' at lunch
My question is - how the hell did he get over there?
There is nothing flattering about ski clothes so try to focus on the mountains in the back:)
The second day we decided to head up to the Glacier 3000! A completely different skiing experience. It was just blue skies and white snow for what seemed miles. The slopes were wide and smooth -amazing!

After skiing all the slopes at the top, Nathan, Zann, Jeff and I decided to take the black diamond to Reusch. Sarah and her sister decided to take the gondola down - I'm not sure which was a better choice:) It was an amazing run though! We started at the top of the Glacier and skiied all the way back onto the mountain and through the trees - one of the most breathtaking scences I have ever witnessed. I wish I could have taken a picture of the winter wonderland of snow and ice covered trees, but it was at a relatively flat place and I didn't want to lose my momentum!:)

Self portrait right before we took the plunge straight down! The end of the slope is all the way in the distance!

We did it! Yeah!!!
The only bummer part was when on the fourth very steep downhill slope I completely bit it! HARD! Thank god I was wearing a helmet! And although all four of us took a spill at one point or another during our ride down, I was so pissed at myself for this fall because I have NO IDEA how it happened! I was completely taken off guard:( Jeff was skiing right behind me and said he couldn't figure out what happened either! I was fine but I kept asking if my face was bleeding. I kept tasting blood and my face felt wet, but the guys assured me my face was fine. By the time we got to Reusch I looked like a chipmunk on the right side of my face and I finally looked INSIDE my mouth and that was where all the blood was!:( I guess I should have been happy that I still had all my teeth! My favorite "strap a set on" motto might not be such a good idea after age 30:)

The Glacier 3000 will never be the same!

I took this to try to see what I did to my face - the outside didn't look that bad and it hadn't really started swelling - yet!
Monday morning (after getting caught by Mia and Zann getting lectured - good times!) we headed to Gruyère to visit the cheese making facility of La Maison du Gruyère. Yummmmm! We now know more about the making of gruyere cheese than I think we wanted to:) We also visited the cute little town before heading home!
It wasn't so easy to get back to Zurich from their (who knows why) and with all of our stuff it made for an exhausting ride home, but an AMAZING weekend in Gstaad! I highly recommend it if you are in Switzerland!

Now we are off to the Zurich Carnival in Oerlikon - more on that tommorrow!

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