Archive for January, 2010

Adventures in the Alps

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

We have both been keeping busy with work since Christmas, but have also been doing our best to maximize our weekends to explore the majestic mountains in the area. We are currently hanging out together in Saas Fee, which is a beautiful town in the south of Switzerland surrounded by 18 or so 4,000 metre peaks. We have decided that it is the Swiss equivalent of Aspen, Colorado, and have been enjoying exploring the town deciding who has the most skintight ski bunny suit! We wanted to upload some of the pictures we have from the last few weeks of mountain adventures, both separately and together. Here in Saas Fee, we rented an apartment for the weekend, with the intentions of exploring the over 200 km. of pistes in the ski area, but when we arrived and saw the temperature forecast (-48 with windchill!!!!) we quickly revised our plan and spent the time cross country skiing on the valley floor, walking around and looking at the views, and cooking delicious meals. It has been a really wonderful weekend, but we are looking forward to skiing together in March, when the temperatures will be more humane.
dscf3742_907×680.jpg The updated weather report showing only -41C

p1310095resized.JPG Claire on the balcony of our room.

p1300090resized.JPGdscf3738_907×680.jpg Some photos from around Saas Fee

dscf3736_907×680.jpg Breakfast.  That’s fresh squeezed blood orang juice!

pano3.jpg A panorama of the end of the Saas Fee Valley

p1310102resized.JPG Claire on the cross-country ski track

Seth here, I have spent the last couple of weekends checking out the skiing in eastern Alps, spending one day in Davos at Persenn and one day with friends in Lichtenstein at Malbun. Below are some photos from those trips

daniel-and-lucy-in-liechtensteinresized.JPG My friends Lucy and Daniel at Malbun

davos_parsenn2.jpg A view from the lift at Parsenn.

davos-longest-gondola-ever-30-min-ride.JPG The longest gondola EVER at Parsenn. The ride was more than 20 min!

And now it’s Claire, and I am sharing some pictures I have from exploring some of the local Grenoble massifs with two of my roommates. I have moved into a new apartment with 5 French people, and have been really enjoying learning french cooking with them (we all cook and eat together most nights, around 10pm or later!). Luckily, they all like to ski, and Oliver 1, Olivier 2, and me explored an area in the Belledonne range. We hiked up the mountain, took the skins off our skis, and then proceeded to have one of the funniest descents I have ever experienced. It came to light at the top that while one of the Oliviers loved the mountains and was an avid snowshoer, he had only ever skied once. Needless to say, the descent was slow and comical, as he tried to learn to snowplow for the first time in knee-deep power.

2 weeks of glorious holiday!

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

I find that the regular routine always starts up again so sharply after Christmas break. One minute you are stuffing yourself with delicious pie, sleeping in every day, and seeing friends and family, and the next moment you find yourself with a full inbox and late for work. This first week back for me was a little hectic as I started a new tutoring position, worked my first afternoon as a snowboard instructor (which I realize now is just a glorified name for professional nose-wiper and mitten-finder) and resumed my hours at the high school. It is nice to be back, but Seth and I sure had a wonderful two weeks of holiday together.

First Seth returned to Grenoble, where we spent Christmas in my new apartment. We made a wonderful Christmas dinner that included an apple pie made with a cream-red wine caramel sauce (all my favorite things in the same sauce!) and a whole trout, which Seth lovingly plucked the bones out of.
We also had the chance to go for a hike, because the weather was unseasonably warm and lovely. We started by checking out the excellent map so we wouldn’t get lost,dscf3668_907×680.jpg and then started on our way. Almost immediately we found a little dog who appeared to be starving, and called the number on its collar. It was so cute that we ended up giving it a good portion of our lunch before the owners arrived, and were quite surprised to find out that he had not been lost for long. We were very concerned by the number of his ribs we could see, but in the end we were told that he is a hunting dog and just runs a lot. I still think he could use some more food. We did feel a little bit uneasy after that moment, since his owners were hunting wild boar in the same forest that we were hiking, and we were dressed completely in boarish-brown and taupe colours!dscf3676_907×680.jpg

We also got the chance to check out one of the ski stations nearby, Deux Alpes, and had a truly excellent day ranging from sun and powder to ice and sleet in our faces. dscf3678_907×680.jpg

For New Years we were able to meet up with our friends Patrick and Elaine in Marseille, where we spent 4 days being tourists, walking around checking stuff out and going for a hike along the ocean.dscf3684_907×680.jpgdscf3692_907×680.jpgdscf3693_907×680.jpgimg_1361_958×1277.jpgimg_1363_1277×958.jpgimg_1391_1277×958.jpgimg_1406_1277×958.jpg

We celebrated New Years in our hostel, on the streets, and in a pub, and you can track how much fun we were having by the state of the ‘flare’ on my head…

With the wonders of the French school system, I now have 5 weeks left of work before my next 2 week break, where Seth will be taking some time off of work and we plan on going to Holland and doing some more skiing together in Switzerland.