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Skitouring, Skating and Various Other Things

You blew off work on Monday to go skitouring with Piotr, lots of little things happened in Zürich, and you went to Pontresina for some cross country skating.

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Stockberg Skitour

What to do when Monday is the only day of the week with good weather and good snow? Bugger work and go on a skitour! The avalanch danger was quite high everywhere, with level 3 covering most areas and a small level 4 around Chur, so your options were limited. Piotr agreed to Stockberg: +/- 950 m, safe, easy, a.k.a. an ‘elderly tour’.

At the top of Stockberg looking towards Säntis

Getting to Stein SG doesn't take too long but you have to change about four times. With the addition of a broken-down bus that increased to five. There were several other groups on the bus doing the same tour, all of them over sixty. Within twenty minutes you had overtaken four other skier groups. The mountain was full of retirees.

Half way down again

It took about two hours to get to the top. The conditions were great with a perfect view of Säntis, Churfirsten and all the way back to Zürich. Furs off and down through the forest you went. The snow was deep, soft and fluffy so weaving between the pine trees was easy... until you lost balance and couldn't stand up again. The snow was perhaps too deep and too soft after all.

You managed to avoid scraping skis over rocks this time, even with taking a few shortcuts through people's backyards. The descent was over all too quickly but no one was killed in an avalanch, so you'll count it as a success.

Zürich and Such

There were a few cold days in January where Zürich saw snow. It was pretty to watch everything turn white, and even the icy ground was kinda fun to slip and slide along. Your pond almost froze over but the chill didn't last and it all melted away (in cool patterns). Come on, winter!

Melty snow patterns outside

Your penis-train has been spotted in the wild several times now between Oerlikon and Winterthur. It's still too early to put the full story online: there's still a chance you may get in trouble for packing that shape on a train.

Passing penis-train (bits not visible at high speeds)

Work is plodding along as usual with the normal level of amusement. Highlights include software functions taken out of context (‘Remove Dress-up’, ‘Reorder Children’, etc.), lubrication instructions for the motor mounting, inconvenient document line-breaks, and discovering the French made a train without specifying dimensions. Seriously, how can you make something when the dimension is ** and ‘all lengths are theoretical’ in the fine print. F'ing french.

Sunrise over Zürich Lake

Zürich Uni ran a research project asking an algorithm evaluate how beautiful you are. It sounded good until someone tried it on their holiday photo with a tent in the background, which was found to be more attractive then the bloke himself. It thought you were hot; you were pleased. You made sure to use a photo after having a haircut — things got a little unkept. There have been lots of pretty sunsets and sunrises lately too. You pond lighting, however, can only do a wifi signal at best.

A big box of stuffed animals

For lack of better snow cover, you went cross country skating in Bachtel with Guillaume +4. There was just enough to do two loops of the loipe, but come Monday it was entirely green again. You also went for a short snowshoe hike with them all in Hoch Ybrig. Nice to be outdoors all weekend, even with a traffic jam on the way home. An ambulance cleared the way for the cheeky bus driver to drive behind. The passengers applauded.

Cross-country Skiing in Pontrasina

There hadn't been any good new snow since the middle of January, so skiing options were limited. Luckily friends had booked a weekend in Pontresina in the south of Switzerland, where conditions were looking good. Following some train failures, you arrived at 22:05 after the youth hostel had already closed. The nice lady let you in anyway.

Pristine loipe and sunshine

Saturday morning being one of the first ones on the loipe was great. Conditions were near-perfect for cross country skating from Pontresina to Samedan. It was pressed clean, wide and nearly empty. Your only qualms were the snow-driving course (bloody Porsches drivers) and the airport (bloody rich people) beside the loipe being noisy smelling like kerosine.

The ice climbing area

After skating you went for a walk through Pontresina village. Over the bridge there was a ravine where some blokes with pick-axes and ice screws were doing some ice climbing. The village had a disproportionately large number of fancy hotels and too few restaurants, so you took a table in a pizza place. Really good food.

Skiing day two through the forest

The weather on day two wasn't crash-hot, so you kept it short. You skated up into the forest as snow continued to fall covering the track. Snow stuck to your skis which caused unpredictable breaking — an inconvenient phenomenon when you're already focused on coordinating you arms and legs. The way back down hill was much more fun.