Today I scored one of my all-time best powder days! More on that below.
Anyhow, six and a half years after climbing via ferrate routes around Cortina d’ Ampezzo and the Dolomites in the summertime, I have returned… this time for winter! Yesterday I took a tram up to the Refugio d’ Faloria, a plush hut situated on the edge of a huge cliff about 900m (3000 ft.) above the town of Cortina. I spent the night up there, enjoying not only a primo view of Cortina, but also a slopeside location to kick off the ski area’s opening day on Saturday.
Sunrise on Monte Cristallo. Though it was dumping snow all day on Friday, Saturday brought bluebird skies.
Moon over the town of Engelberg, Switzerland. This town is situated in a deep flat valley with steep rugged peaks soaring over 6,000 vertical feet above. The slopes around town are still green and winter doesn’t seem to have set in around here too much yet, at least compared to what I’ve seen at Andermatt or Zermatt this last week.
UPDATE: My Swiss recon trip was a success… I found a sweet studio apartment to rent in Engelberg! I will have it from January through April. I am very relieved to have gotten this sorted out, since I was constantly thinking/worrying about where would be the best place to live and whether or not I’d be able to find an apartment, which is not easy this time of year. And after one week in Switzerland I knew that simply traveling around all winter would not be a viable or affordable option. As always, there is never a “perfect” place so it was just a matter of finding somewhere that felt right. And best of all, Engelberg is pretty much the closest ski area to Claudia in Freiburg – 3 hours by train. Now that the recon and rental search is over, I am free to enjoy the rest of November and December without worries!
After my time in Zermatt, I caught a train to Andermatt, a tiny Swiss town surrounded by very skiable-looking mountains in all directions. This place has been high on my list of bases for the winter, so I wanted to check it out asap.
Just to state the obvious, this is one of the most awesome peaks in the world. I’ve seen thousands of photos of it, but photos don’t do it justice. It’s one of those mountains that blows your mind when you see it in person.
The last few days I’ve been enjoying my first days on the snowboard this season in Zermatt, Switzerland… and powder days no less! Above is a view from the ski area looking down at the town far down below in the valley.
On Sunday I arrived in Freiburg, in southern Germany. The next day Claudia took me on a hike in the hills above town. I was surprised and delighted to see the amazing autumn colors in the forest there! Absolutely beautiful!
On Sunday I’ll be in Europe! On tap: a winter in the Swiss Alps and the Black Forest in southern Germany. See some drool-inducing pics I harvested from the internet, below the fold. Wish me luck, and stay tuned for lots of [hopefully very snowy] blog posts from the Alps!