It was a slow start to the day. Yesterday’s wind had turned into a fair old storm overnight and when we woke this morning, our north facing windows were covered with snow. The trees outside the chalet were bending in the wind still.
I was expecting the cable car to be closed and so it was. However, the staff were optimistic about opening, apparently justifiably, as I was on the first car out of the station after only twenty minutes or so. For a few seconds, all seemed well with the world. Five minutes to Mannlichen and probably empty slopes.
The cable car climbed ten metres, then stopped. It climbed another two metres and stopped again. It then returned to the platform. It seemed the doors were not closed properly. After a bit of maintenance work from the staff, we were off again, for another ten metres. This time when we returned to the platform, we were asked to leave the car whilst some complex engineering work was undertaken. Firstly, an extendable tape measure was used to chip away at some ice at the top of the doors. Secondly, a broom was brought out and used to sweep the bottom runners.
All to no avail. The cable car was declared broken and the train was the only option. The queue at Wengen station for the Scheidegg train was impressive, but somehow we all made it on board. The train was only nine minutes late at Scheidegg, which meant that two hours forty five minutes after I left home, my skis hit the snow.
The wind was still strong, blowing hard at the top of Honegg and Eigernordwand, and it remained gusty for another couple of hours. However, the pistes had survived their overnight scouring and the large number of skiers who decanted from the train with me at Scheidegg disappeared I know not where. There was great skiing to be had on empty slopes.
A thankfully fantastic afternoon brought 9,117 vertical metres in 19 lift rides and 44 kilometres travelled.