February 08, 2009
Ski Day in Klosters (next to Davos)On Friday evening, David returned from a week of business travel 6,000 miles and 9 hours' time zone away, and already the next morning he was ready to take the family on our second ski day! I was so thankful that he suggested it, as I am eager to explore the different nearby resorts and make the most of our new location so close to the Swiss Alps. You can see more of our Klosters ski photos here.
We packed up our rental skis, boots, poles, and all our ski gear, some water and snacks, and
headed out at about 9:30am towards Davos/Klosters. You know, Davos in Graubünden, where they hold the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum - this year's was just last weekend. Did you know I once worked as a secretary/gopher for a few weeks one summer at the WEF in Geneva? I got good at typing the word "international" really fast :-)
On the 1 hour and 35 minute drive there (and on the way back), we saw license plates from 25 of the 26 Swiss cantons (only missing Valais, VS), along with 15 foreign countries (B, CZ, D, F, FL, GB, GR, H, I, L, LT, LV, NL, P, PL). It helped to keep David (the driver) awake, I figure, enlisting his help spotting these. :-)
We drove through five Swiss cantons (Zürich, Schwyz, Glarus, Sankt Gallen, and Graubünden), and 14 different tunnels.
We ended up trying out the Madrisa area of Klosters, which is right next to Davos. Nice, plenty of soft snow, hardly any other people, hence no lines at all - just ski right up and get on the lift every time. Also, warm - we skied part of the time with our jackets open. No hand warmers considered (though I had them in my pocket in case, having experienced a great need for them at Engelberg last time we skied, on January 10th). It was peaceful. The kids enjoyed more T-bars. They got so comfy on T-bars together that Jason started them slaloming back and forth and stuff. I opted for David and me to go in front the next time, so I didn't have to watch and foolishly/fruitlessly worry anymore! Ha.
When we arrived, it was nice and sunny, but then various sets of big puffy clouds floated over and around us, so part of the time we were in total whiteout. As in, we couldn't see where the slope ended and the fog began, or anything else. And with no one in front of us, we couldn't see when the slope suddenly got very steep. Exciting. Emily and I were on our own part of the time, while the boys skied higher up, and I was so thankful for the fluorescent orange poles marking the trail every so often, with even more useful arrows on them saying which SIDE of the pole we should stay on. Because there would have been no way of telling. Occasionally another (faster) skier would emerge from the fog above us and then just as rapidly disappear into the fog below. We made it just fine to the chairlift at the bottom, but it did remind me of the time as a child that my family got lost in a snowstorm skiing. My dad truly did fall off a cliff and land okay on his skis, and shouted up to us not to follow him. My brother led us another way down.
After that seriously foggy episode, Emily was getting exceedingly tired and thirsty, and had a cough, so we headed to a restaurant to eat some late lunch and let her rest. Jason had a great time doing his first solo skiing, while the other three of us got something to eat (he wasn't hungry and was enjoying the slopes, and he's 14 now and very responsible, as well as a good, confident skier). Emily drank some water, took off her ski boots, and promptly lay down on the bench seat and fell asleep for almost 2 hours, right in the middle of the noisy restaurant. David and I enjoyed some Saucisse de Veau, Alpenmaccheroni (hard to Google for; many different spellings; macaroni, diced potatoes & toasty cheese), applesauce, and lettuce with corn & beets and a French dressing. Jason joined us later and happily tasted some of everything. Then the boys skied some more together, while I hung out with the sleeping sick girl and looked at the view, prayed, and tried unsuccessfully to get the internet access working on my iPhone. David later showed me how to reboot it (which fixed the problem).
Thankfully, Emily didn't need to ski any more, as we could just take the cable car down the base village of Klosters. Anyway, it was too warm to ski any lower on the mountain - getting slushy. We got back in the car, and as soon as we turned out of the parking lot onto the main road (one narrowish lane each direction), we noticed the cars going farther up the mountain were stopped dead. We merrily drove downhill, and soon saw that the traffic on the other side of the road must have been stopped for quite some time, as there were plenty of people out of their cars (smoking, chatting at other car windows, walking upwards to investigate, getting water out of their trunks), and others reading at the steering wheel. We got the benefit of seeing a lot of license plates (many from Germany, Liechstenstein, Netherlands, France...), and started to pray for the stopped cars...because the traffic went on, seriously, for 17 kilometres (that's 10.5 miles). I felt so sorry for any cars with young kids in them, or people who might need to use a toilet soon...or might even run out of gas eventually (though of course people's motors were off). We never figured out what was the cause of this most impressively long traffic jam ever.
Later on during the drive home, as Emily slept (glad we brought those pillows) and Jason fine-tuned his Humanities essay on whether the WWII atomic bombs were a good idea or not (with arguments for both sides), we passed within five minutes of Liechstenstein (and about 19 minutes from Austria). David promised me he will take me to this new country (FL) some other time, when Emily is not ill, and we have all our passports in hand. After all, it's only an hour and five minutes from home (1h20 to Austria). He's wise.
My favorite town name that we saw on the trip: LACHEN. This, in German, means "Laughter."
February 8, 2009 | Permalink
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What a fine storyteller you are, Katherine! I almost lived the day with you through your clear telling of the day! Sounds like a lot of fun for all! David is such a good sport! Love to all!
Posted by: Patricia Taylor | Feb 8, 2009 8:26:47 PM
Breath taking shots. Gorgeous.
Posted by: Helen | Feb 8, 2009 10:46:17 PM