Foehn wind, again

The Idle Skier was off bright and early this morning and Mrs IS wasn’t far behind. We met up at the top of the Mannlichen chair.  The snow was good and there was some sunshine, although the foehn wind blew yet again.

We thought the wind had closed the Lager chair, but instead that seems to have been broken.  The usual foehn cloud hung over the Eiger.  The new electronic information boards, installed this season at all the lifts, showed Honegg and Wixi to be closed, with the Lauberhorn chair joining them in the late morning.

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                                                                 #      Foehn clouds

Mrs IS took the cable car down at lunchtime, but I stuck around on Mannlichen enjoying an afternoon of pale sunshine and quiet pistes. At Scheidegg later on, the weather had improved, but on Wixi at the end of the day, the wind was Herculean.

A breezy day brought 8,635 vertical metres in 19 lift rides and 58 kilometres travelled.

Squally weather

On Mannlichen this morning, it was like a squally day at the seaside. There was sunshine, but also passing cloud and a chilly wind which whipped up the snow on the ridge at Lager.

For a change though, the wind wasn’t strong enough to close down the mountain. The only lift not running was Honegg, which didn’t make much difference to a mountain again empty of skiers.

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                                                                   On Wixi 

This weekend should see the Inferno races in Murren. They are hugely popular. The main race, normally on Saturday, takes several hours for all the skiers to pass beyond the start gate. Inevitably, it has been cancelled. Not only the races have been abandoned, the ski area at Murren is closed partly as well, with Birg and the Schilthorn open only at weekends, such is the dearth of customers.

A breezy, sunny day brought 10,355 vertical metres in 22 lift rides and 59 kilometres travelled.

Blackrock

The incredibly good skiing conditions continued today. The sun shone, it was warmer than it has been for a while (though that might not be a good thing) and the snow was in great condition again.

The run to Grund below the Tschuggen T bar didn’t open at all last season and maybe not the season before that. It is a while since I have been there, possibly longer than two seasons, but today a couple of trips down to the Eiger Express (happily now on Skiline) reminded me how good that route to the Grindelwald is really.

Below Tschuggen, on the way to Grund

The Eiger Express takes skiers to Blackrock, another piste which has not been open for a while. A run which is always quiet, today was more or less deserted. Second time around, I had the piste to myself.

The forecast for tomorrow is that the wind will blow strongly. It has been a while since it turned up, but it will not be any more welcome for that.

A day of long runs and quick lift rides brought 10,990 vertical metres in 18 lift rides and 65 kilometres travelled.


Distelboden

The sun shone again today and in the afternoon it was warmer than it has been for several weeks. There were more people on the cable car this morning and the gondola from Grindelwald had some passengers for the first time in a while.

It occurred to me yesterday, on my way along Berharg for the first time this season, that Piste Distelboden would be open also. So it proved to be and this morning, I returned to this excellent but also under used piste. 

The Eiger in the mid afternoon

The cable car occupants, that happy few, had dispersed early on and this afternoon was still quieter than the last few days, which seems almost impossible. It is a sign of the times that the snowman, standing just along the road from us and built by a neighbour, is wearing a face mask.

Another great day’s skiing brought 11,026 vertical metres in 25 lift rides and 58 kilometres travelled.

Berharg

Today, Berharg, the run from the top of the Gummi chair to the Tschuggen lift, opened for the first time this season. It was a welcome return for this little used piste.

When the Idle Skiers sat down to breakfast this morning, it was still cloudy and snowing here in the lower part of the village. By the time I made it to the cable car, the sky was clearing a little. At Mannlichen, the sun had returned.

Mannlichen early in the day

After yesterday’s great skiing, it was another day of the same ilk. The pistes were as good as possible, squeaking under the skis in the continued cold weather. There were few people to enjoy the day. The ski schools were absent completely.

In the village, all shops but the supermarkets and the baker are closed. This week would see normally the slow dismantling of the infrastructure for the Lauberhorn and people arriving for the Inferno in Murren. Instead, the streets are empty of people.

A great ski day, eerily quiet though it was, brought 10,413 vertical metres in 22 lift rides and 56 kilometres travelled.


The best skiing

It snowed during the night and all day.  The clouds were low and, at times, the snow fell so heavily as to resemble a solid mass. 

First thing, Mannlichen was lost in gloom and I made the rare decision to take the train to Scheidegg.  The light didn’t seem much better there, although Arven and Lauberhorn offered some visibility. Eigernordwand was fog bound. 

Bumps

In the afternoon, Wixi was silky smooth, but the best skiing of the day was on the way home. Bumps was a powder field, with the trees giving perspective to the dark afternoon. Even better was the run to Innerwengen, with the bow wave of snow from my skis reaching shin height.

It wasn’t an easy, high mileage day, but it was the best skiing we have had this season. Deep snow brought 5,346 vertical metres in 25 lift rides and 41 kilometres travelled.

Saturday in the sun

The sun came out this morning. It was welcome. It’s impossible not to be pleased when it snows in a ski resort, but the ankle height cloud of the last few days was beginning to grate a little.

Today, with fantastic snow, sun on the hill and cloud below us, it might have been a bumper Saturday. However, these remain abnormal times and many of the usual weekend suspects, the local ski clubs in particular, were missing.

Cloud in the Lauterbrunnen valley

Skiline has been having a difficult few days; probably clogged with snow. It has missed more than one lift ride and, today, omitted the Mannlichen cable car of all things. I therefore seem to have started my ski day, as if by magic, in the middle of the mountain.

A sunny day brought 8,871 vertical metres in 20 lift rides and 43 kilometres travelled. It is forecast to snow again tomorrow.

Still more snow

The cable car was busy today, all eight of us waiting for 9.45am departure.  The railway from Wengen to Scheidegg was closed by avalanche risk, so that probably accounted for the extra skiers.   It had snowed through the night and has continued to do so all day.

Visibility was marginally better at Mannlichen than yesterday, although the the cloud came and went.  At times, it seemed as if the day might clear but, mid morning, Bigfoot on a snowboard might have passed me and I wouldn’t have noticed. 

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                                                         On the way to Grund 

I had the bright idea of heading for Grund, with a long ski in better light. I had just enough time to catch the next train back to Scheidegg. As it turned out, the snow was poor below Holenstein, much as it had been when I last headed that way three weeks or more ago. To add insult to injury, the train I was aiming for was cancelled.

Lunch was eaten standing in the car park at Grund. It was the gilded side of skiing so often written about in the Sunday newspaper colour supplements.

A day of great snow, give or take a run to Grund, and otherwise indifferent conditions brought 4,601 vertical metres in 11 lift rides and 30 kilometres travelled.

Some snowfall

This morning, the Idle Skiers called into the virus testing centre and received the all clear.  I headed for the cable car straight afterwards, and was pretty much alone. Three of us made the trip to Mannlichen. Not many more seemed to join us on the hill.

Overnight and all today, it has snowed heavily.  The visibility was measurable in inches. The snow conditions were fantastic however.  From the bottom of the Mannlichen chair to the mid station at Holenstein was the best skiing of the season.  Higher up, the snow was equally good, but the going was grim.

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                                                                   A break in the clouds 

I almost always ski home. The run to Innerwengen is at the top of my favourites list. Early on though the Gummi lift linking Mannlichen to Scheidegg was closed and in the afternoon, when open, it was lost in cloud and snow. I took the cable car back to Wengen and, apart from the driver, was on my own.

A tricky day on the hill brought 3,480 vertical metres in nine lift rides on and 24 kilometres travelled. Tomorrow, there is more snow forecast.

Grey is the only colour

The skiing continues for the moment here in Wengen, thankfully, but today few people seemed to know about it.  My cable car this morning had seven other people on board and not many others turned up for the rest of the day. 

It wasn’t the best of weather, to be fair.  There had been a decent snowfall overnight, but this morning it was grey and pretty unwelcoming.  Even with so few skiers, the fresh snow soon achieved that slight roller coaster effect which, combined with poor light, makes for an interesting day. 

There was more snow forecast for the afternoon, but the wind at Scheidegg kept that at bay. We have the odd situation of good pistes and pockets of powder off piste in sheltered gullies, but windswept ridges and peaks. 

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The forecast promises a big snowfall tonight. As usual, we will see. At the very least, the wind might drop a little.

A grey old day, with some good skiing to be had, brought 6,956 vertical metres in 16 lift rides and 38 kilometres travelled.