Still winter

It was snowing at breakfast time and has continued to do so all day.  The threatened warmer weather and heavy rain still dominate the forecast for tomorrow, but just at the moment, it is difficult to imagine that happening. The weather around here can change in the blink of an eye and definitely in the course of a night, so we will see in the morning.

This morning’s cable car was well populated, with 25 people on board according to the digital counter at the entrance to the platform.  They all disappeared quickly and it was another exceptionally quiet day on the mountain.

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                                                   At the top of the Innerwengen chair

On the way back to Wengen, I made a quick diversion on to the Slalom course. The steep pitch half way down hardly ever seems to have much snow on it, being scraped and icy on the best of days. Today, it was powder snow all the way.

A day of heavy snow brought 5,426 vertical metres in 13 lift rides and 38 kilometres travelled.

Cold enough?

It was cold today, could enough for just about anybody. Meteo Swiss were on the mark again, with temperatures on the mountain falling below minus ten degrees centigrade.

The forecaster’s accuracy makes the promise of rain on Thursday all the more disappointing. The reality might be different, but probably won’t be, and a month of real winter seems about to end for a while at least.

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  From Tschuggen at midday 

Few people beat a path to Wengen today.  The cable car this morning contained the usual faces and hardly any new ones at all.  The mountain was more or less empty of skiers. The small number of businesses which are open in the village are not even ticking over, just marking time at best. 

Of course, for those few of us here, the fantastic snow and empty pistes make for great skiing and today was as good as it gets.  

A bitterly cold day, with sunshine and occasional snow flurries brought 10,538 vertical metres in 20 lift rides and 57 kilometres travelled.

 

The gods of snow

Sometime yesterday evening it began to snow again and it has done so throughout today.   The gods of snow have been smiling again on Wengen.  Once in a while, the sun made a token effort to break through the clouds, but that effort never lasted for very long.

The gods like to play with us mortals. The weather forecast for this week seems to change by the hour.  It is supposed to rain later in the week, but Meteo Swiss predicts that it will be minus 13 degrees at Scheidegg tomorrow.  Is it possible to ski wearing a duvet?  I may be able to report on that in my next blog.  Will the weather change so quickly after that?  It seems hard to believe.  

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                                                           A brief sight of the sun

The Idle Skiers were on a cable car shortly after 10.00am today. There were ten or so other skiers, mostly familiar faces. Some long runs below the tree line, with powder snow on the pistes again, made the day memorable. In the afternoon, Scheidegg seemed to have been abandoned and the run to Innerwengen was empty of skiers once more.

A day of more than generous snow brought 6,125 vertical metres in 13 lift rides and 36 kilometres travelled.

Narrow horizons

Back in the U.K. the nation is tied to home by government edict. Here in Wengen, we are luckier and have more freedom. People come and go from the village, the hotels at least are open and the skiing sets us all free.

Still though, we seem to have narrowed our horizons. Our daily routine takes in the walk to the ski room at Central Sport, the Mannlichen-Scheidegg ski circuit and the two supermarkets. The world has been reduced to a few square kilometres.

By this stage of the season, we would have been normally to Murren a couple of time at least and, as the days lengthen, a trip to Furst would be in the offing. I cannot say we have made a decision consciously not to make those trips, but they haven’t happened, or been planned even, and that seems likely to be the case for a while at least.

The wide, wide world beyond Wengen

The sun shone again today in our small world. As yesterday, I met Mrs. IS at the top of the Mannlichen chair a little after 10.00am and we skied the Mannlichen pistes. It was busier than it has been for a while, but as midday came and went, it quietened as always. As now seems the case everyday, the run to Innerwengen in the afternoon was more or less deserted.

Another sunny day in Wengen brought 10,350 vertical metres in 23 lift rides and 55 kilometres travelled.

Super Saturday

It turned out to be a fantastic day today. Some fresh snow had fallen overnight, but the weather cleared quickly in the morning. On Mannlichen early in the day and later in the afternoon on Scheidegg, the sun shone through some light clouds. The usual Saturday crowds stayed away again. The Wengen ski club was back on the slopes, almost alone amongst the Interlaken area clubs.

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                                                                  Afternoon sun 

On Wixi at 3.00pm it seemed the good weather had gone for the day. The light went flat and the skiers headed for home. The sun rallied, however, to give a good ski to Innerwengen.

There might be some more snow tonight, perhaps just a dusting, but always welcome. Tomorrow seems set fair.

An unexpectedly good day brought 10,358 vertical metres in 22 lift rides and 53 kilometres travelled.

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.