Corduroy ahoy Switzerland!
Author - Janina Kuzma
Date - 5/4/2008
Corduroy ahoy Switzerland!
By Janina Kuzma
Early January this year I had the pleasure to travel to Switzerland with pro skier Mike Hopkins and pro snow boarder Murray Hodgson to check out what Southern Switzerland Alps had to offer filming with The Ride Guide. We traveled together with camera man Cory Horton with Switzerland Tourism putting us up for a 14 day fun filled ski trip.
Arriving in Geneva we packed up all our gear into a van and headed south to the Sion Region to our first stop. And what a stop Anzere would be! The first thing I noticed being in the Swiss Alps was how big the mountains are. The view from my balcony overlooked the Rhone Valley with a panoramic view of the Valaisan Alps where 12 peaks are over 4'000m high, extending from Bitschhorn to Mont-Blanc.
We had been traveling for a couple of days so we all had itchy feet and couldn’t wait to get back on our boards. We had a great guide showing us around with Head of Park Crew, Jake Cornish, showing us a good time and getting to know the local Billabong/ VonZipper skiers. Murray and Mike threw down in the park, showing the locals how it was done.
Peter Pan bar was the place to be on Tuesday night for Karaoke and it went off. We were lucky enough for Anzere Tourism to put us up for a day of paragliding. What an experience getting to glide over the Sion Valley.
Next stop brought us to Zermatt. The Ride Guide crew took a train to the mountain village as it is the world without no internal combustion cars, only electric cars and the magnificent Matterhorn. This mountain was ENORMOUS. Zerrmatt is so big that there are three resorts surrounding the main resort Zermatt which are Rothorn Paradise Resort, Gornergrat Bahn and Breuil-Cervinia / Valtournenche (Italy).
Our day skiing in Zermatt was amazing with a clear blue sky’s and an expert local guide showing us around. We were lucky enough to ski a glacier and got to walk through a really remarkable ice cave. It was obvious after skiing down the glacier that global warming is taking place and it’s crucial that we think about what we are doing to the environment!
Our third stop took us to Saas Fee. This is where we encountered our first extreme white out and vertigo kicking in. Saas Fee has the highest metro alpine train which takes you 3500m. You can see the 'Dom' in Saas Fee which is the highest mountain that lies on Swiss grounds standing at 4545m . We got to hit up the park which made up for the whiteout. They had an average pipe and a few good kickers.
Our final ski stop in Switzerland was Leukerbad and what a way to end the trip with carnival just starting and finally getting to ski some decent powder. The hill is smaller than others in Switzerland but sill massive compared to what we ski back home in Canada. Leukerbad is renowned for having Europe’s largest hot spring so it was great to end the day with an enjoyable soak. Their terrain park is huge littered with only natural hits and a few rails and boxes. Carnival was impressive with the whole local community young and old getting together and celebrating. Face paint, masks and costumes where necessities for people take on a new identity while they paraded through the streets, playing musical instruments.
Switzerland is home to some of the most spectacular ski resorts in the Alps, and there is something for everyone to enjoy there for their winter holiday. The scenery is breath taking with some of the biggest, highest and roughest terrain in the Alps.
Skiing out of bounds in the Swiss Alps can be sketch so unless you know where you are doing, have a certified guide since a lot of terrain is not patrolled and can be very dangerous due to avalanches and crevasses on the glacier. You’re always going to get some fresh turns in Switzerland where ever you go since a lot of the Europe scene loves to ski the corduroy and stick to the groomed runs…that’s fine with me! Also if you’re driving around Switzerland I recommend getting a GPS – They will get you form Point A to point B ten times quicker!