When the wind blows

I think most people in Wengen woke this morning, turned over, pulled the duvet tighter and went back to sleep.  Making an early start, I saw a couple of dog walkers as I went through town and that was it.

I missed the 8.30am cable car by a whisker.  That at least did seem reasonably full as it pulled out of the lift station, leaving me on the platform. The 8.45am version had only eight customers.

Maybe those who slept in were the sensible ones.  Everything seemed fine when I reached the top station, although it was a bit blustery again.  The light was good; there was even a suggestion that the sun might show up.

It was downhill in more ways than one after that.  As I headed towards Gummi, I realised it was closed.  From the piste, I could see that Honegg and Eigernordwand were also shut.

When the wind blows around here they are quick to shut the lifts.  Quicker still since a dreadful accident on Falboden a few years ago around new year, when the cable came off the rollers in a high wind and a couple of people were killed.

Today followed the usual pattern.  Scheidegg closed and the wind soon picked up on Mannlichen as well.  The risk then is that the cable car shuts too and the way home is via Grindelwald and Zweilutschinen.  That was a diversion I didn’t have time for, with a ‘plane to catch this evening.

I skied on and hoped for the best, but the snow on Mannlichen started blowing in little flurries, like dust devils. The chances of having to meet Mrs IS at Zweilutschinen in order to swap my skis for my passport seemed to be increasing by the minute.

In a rare outbreak of common sense, I headed for the cable car. As I waited for it to leave, the car buffeted gently against the station barriers as the wind picked up further. In Wengen the sun was shining and the only indication that things were a bit more lively on the hill was the foehn cloud in the distance.

Foehn cloud above Wengen

It seems common sense saved the day.  My train has just gone through Zweilutschinen and the platform there was crowded with skiers returning to Wengen.  The chances are that almost  everything is closed now, with perhaps Inner Wengen still running.

At least the pub will be busy for the England v France rugby match.

A wind hampered day brought 3,388 vertical metres (taking into account a 900 metre loss for the trip down in the cable car) in 10 lift rides and 25 kilometres travelled.

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