Archive for March, 2010

Time between Claire’s holidays

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

As you are all aware, Claire gets so much holiday that she feels guilty about it.  That’s a lot of holiday!  However, this post is just so that she doesn’t feel quite so bad, showing what I have gotten up to in the time between her last couple of holiday breaks :)

In the last month I have made a bit of a habit of going night skiing with my friends Daniel and Lucie.  Night skiing hasn’t always been my cup of tea, but with limited time it seems to be a great way to hit the slopes at least once a week and still have your days free to do other things…like work.

The closest night skiing to us is in Wildhaus in the Toggenberg valley about an hour away.  This is on the northern edge of the Swiss Alps and provides lots of the talent that we saw kick butt in the Winter Olympics.

The mountain is small and has a bar right at the bottom of the lift.  After their first win in ski jumping, the Swiss started to really get excited and on the next weekend they had set up a full-on party at the bottom of the lift, with an ice bar, bratwurst stand, big screen TV and local television coverage.

p2200104.JPG The Swiss showing some pride after their first win.

partypano.jpg The party at the bottom of the ski run, the dome is the bar, and they set up a huge TV to watch the show.

I have also been seeing the inside of a climbing gym pretty regularly.  Winterthur has one of the best publicly subsidized sports facilities I’ve ever seen.  They have a pool (actually make that 3 pools: outdoor and indoor Olympic size pools and a 30deg C, adjustable depth, 25 m warm-up pool with a water slide), an indoor sand volleyball court, an indoor skate park, and of course, a climbing wall.  All of this is accessible for less than $50/mo and if you can commit to a 1 year membership it’s more like $30/mo.  Pretty sweet.

Climbing here was kind of funny at first.  You go in and pay your fee, sign a release and they hand you a rope, and harness and say ‘viel Spass’!  No instruction, no talk about edict, nothing.  Then the real shock…this is a lead-climb only gym!  There are no top ropes, so you just have to sack up and lead the climb if you want to do it.  And it gets better, they provide all the gear, minus a belay device.  So not only is it lead only, but you have to belay with a Munter hitch!  These guys are hardcore.

p3090164-large.JPG Hardcore food at the climbing wall.  This Coke and…well…hot dog-dick can be yours for only CDN$ 8.50!

As Claire pointed out to me the other day, doing things I like has lead to finding more friends.  I met Daniel and Lucie by going skiing and then, in the same way, I met my friend Tim. I went with the Coop Ski Express to Davos, and as a telemarker was one of the first people back to the bus. The only other person at the bus was also a telemarker (go figure) and we shared some beers and got to talking. Tim has since become my weekly climbing and skiing partner.

As a group of fun people Daniel, Lucie, Tim and I had a pretty good time last weekend doing the Winterthur ethnic bar crawl, starting at the rasta bar and ending at the surprisingly authentic Thai karaoke bar where the local Thai population gathers to sing love songs in their native language and drink Chang beer.

I think that the Vancouverites will know that the weather has been pretty screwy this year.  In Winterthur we got basically the opposite of Vancouver.  January was frigging freezing and even now it continues to be pretty cold.  That said, last week was a glimpse of spring.  The mercury hit 10deg C and with longer days it was making me ready for summer.  However there was one last push at winter waiting for me this weekend…

Saturday was a total snow day here and thankfully I had gone out on a limb in the warm weather last week and planned on skiing.  Good idea.  Sunday was one of the best in-resort powder days I’ve had in years.  Off-piste isn’t a European specialty and Daniel, Tim and I were able to rip up some sweet powder right off the lift!

daniel-parsenn-large.JPG Daniel in the pow.  That is the lift at the top of the photo and this was at almost 10am…

sethandtim.jpg Me and Tim about to hit the sicknar.

tim-daniel-seth-lucie-lunch-parsenn-large.jpg Tim, Daniel, me and Lucie at lunch.

seth-davos.jpg  sethoncat-large.jpg Planning my 007 escape.

lucie-tim-daniel-seth-waiting-for-bus-2-large.jpg Beers in the parking lot waiting for the bus.  Now a regular event – and legal here.

view-from-bus-from-parsenn-large.jpg View from the bus on the way home.

I haven’t ever talked much about work because it isn’t really the point of this blog.  However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun in its own way.  The people that I work with are a good group. The tribology and polymers groups are6 full time engineers and 2 interns (including me).  We sit on the 4th floor and generally have quite a bit of fun. Below are some photos.

p2220124-large.JPG Zimmer ski day at Pizol.  Daniel in the middle with my boss Thorsten on the right in the blue and red jacket.

p2220123-large.JPG Look at that!  Only 8,300 km home!

p2220128-large.JPGMy colleagues Eik and Christine on the way back down to Pizol.

p3090160-large.JPG Making my American colleague feel at home during his visit by building him a cubicle (we don’t have them here).

dscn2257-large.JPG Maria (the other intern) and me doing Zimmer’s dirty work.  Literally.