Very cold

It seems almost impossible that only a couple of days ago the temperature belonged more to July than January.  Today, it has been very cold.

This morning, we were away early and on Mannlichen by 9.15am. The forecast had been poor, but when we left the cable car, the sun was working its way around the mountains to fill a clear blue sky. Most skiers had taken heed of the expected poor weather and the hill was quiet.

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                                                   The sun disappears

By mid-day, the sun had disappeared and the day’s forecast was fulfilled. The skies brightened occasionally in the afternoon, but late on a few snowflakes were falling. The snow looks set to continue tomorrow.

A good day’s skiing brought 10,506 vertical metres in 22 lift rides and 56 kilometres travelled.

Busy at last

During the course of this morning, on Mannlichen, Mrs IS and I wondered more than once why a Thursday in the first working week after the new year should produce the biggest crowds of the season to date.  Okay, we had fresh snow and sunshine, but we haven’t seen so many skiers for a long time.

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                                       From Mannlichen

We progressed from queue to queue.  Mrs IS called a halt mid-afternoon.  I carried on to Scheidegg and played dodgems on Wixi as fellow skiers bounced off the large moguls. It will be quieter tomorrow probably as the forecast is nowhere near as good, but we are making an early start just in case.

A day of long waits and limited skiing time produced 6,383 vertical metres in 14 lift rides and 36 kilometres travelled.

Winter returns

When I signed off from this blog last night it was over 11 degrees on our balcony.  Tonight, it is -5 degrees.  Overnight and for much of today, it snowed.  The damage caused by the recent rain hasn’t been undone completely, but Wengen looks like a ski resort again and the pistes have improved dramatically.

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                                             Evening in Wengen

The mountain today was quiet, visibility very poor until late afternoon and a pretty good day all round. Tomorrow promises sunshine and cold temperatures.

A snowy, cold day brought 6,417 vertical metres in 14 lift rides and 37 kilometres travelled.

World Cup

In less than two week’s time, the World Cup ski circus should reach Wengen. The usual weekend time table of a combined race, the Lauberhorn downhill and a slalom, has been adjusted.  In theory, we have a Giant Slalom on the Thursday of race week (a race twice postponed from other resorts), a downhill on the Friday, the “real” Lauberhorn downhill on the Saturday and the slalom on the Sunday.

Which all sounds good.  However, in most race years, the village and the mountain are by now a hive of activity. Whilst much of the spectator infrastructure is not being built this year, there seems still a marked lack of work on the course.  There is much to do and little time left to achieve it all.

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                                            Late morning sun

Although it was colder this morning, it rained still for a few minutes this morning.  Then the sun showed up and it was a warm afternoon with moguls almost everywhere. The forecast remains that it will snow tomorrow, but just at the moment, on the balcony, it is 11.6 degrees.

Another April day in January brought 7,404 vertical metres in 17 lift rides and 43 kilometres travelled.

Bullet proof snow

The crowds were missing this morning. The Christmas holidays are over and whilst new skiers have arrived for the week, a semblance of peace has descended on the village.

So it was straight on to the cable car for a rapid journey to the top station and almost as quickly down again from there to the four man chair, helped by some icy early morning conditions.

It was colder today and some of the higher pistes remained pretty much bullet proof until mid-afternoon. Below Wengenalp, though, the snow was soft and moguls were everywhere. The finish schuss for the racecourse was as difficult as I can remember. A skier fell above me on the steepest section of the hill and tumbled past me, shedding skis, poles and sunglasses as he went and apologising all the while.

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                                         Mid-morning on Mannlichen

It is time for some new snow. Most of the forecasts suggest there will be a decent snow fall on Wednesday. We are hoping they are correct.

An icy day, with mainly grey skies, brought 8,239 vertical metres in 19 lift rides and 43 kilometres travelled.

Ski Sunday

We were both on the hill promptly this morning and had a pretty full day each. Still though we were pleased to see this evening that Ski Sunday has returned to the television screens.  It has been around since the late 1970s and we have seen our fair share of programmes.  Maybe it is not quite as good as it was in the early days, with seemingly more talk and less racing, but today’s featured event, the men’s downhill at Bormio, turned out to be a cracking race. 

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                                          Sun in Murren

In Wengen, the early sunshine disappeared by shortly after mid-day. Over at Murren, it was still bright into the afternoon. It was warm, or so Mrs IS says, but it would need to be Caribbean weather for me to notice.

A mainly grey day brought 7,393 vertical metres in 16 lift rides and 38 kilometres travelled.

New year

The new year is upon us. Last night, the fireworks echoed around the village as usual. Were people celebrating the new year, or just grateful to see the end of the old year?

Whichever it was, the village this morning was a shadow of its new year’s eve self. At 9.30am the main street was empty, the ski storage at Central Sport deserted and there was not a scintilla of a queue at the cable car.

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                                             Sun in the afternoon 

It was warm and sunny again, but the snow lasted well through the day. There were moguls on Wixi in the afternoon, but with few skiers around, they weren’t as dramatic as the last couple of days. This evening at Central Sport, a long queue to return hire skis stretched back to the entrance. There is a chance it might be quiet on the hill tomorrow.

A sunny start to the year brought 8,610 vertical metres in 21 lift rides and 48 kilometres travelled.

Still one queue

Mrs IS was away well before me this morning.  I decided to ring a U.K. energy supplier in the mistaken belief that I could sort out their inflated bill some time before the century ended.  After an hour in the seventh circle of hell which is their telephone help line, I gave up and headed up to the village to join the queue for the cable car.  It was a long queue as well, stretching past the entrance to the Central Sport ski depot. After 40 minutes or so, I was on the cable car.  

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                                      Cable car shadows

Again though, that was the only real queue of the day and by early afternoon the mountain was fairly quiet. The south facing slopes suffered in the sun once more. The Hundschopf was a series of giant moguls. After that, the run to Innerwengen was as good as ever.

Now, fairly late in the evening, the fireworks have started. Up in the village, the party will be going strong, although it is doubtful us old curmudgeons will see it through until midnight.

A shortened day brought 6,961 vertical metres in 15 lift rides and 39 kilometres travelled.

Happy new year everyone.

Only one queue

The rain stopped finally some time last night and although it was grey yet again first thing this morning, it was not long before blue sky appeared and the sun arrived as well.

With the weather looking good for the day, the queue for the cable car was intimidating. Shortly after 9.30am, it stretched almost as far as Central Sport. In fact it wasn’t too bad. The number of people in the terminal was limited to a cable car load plus one more group and the cars were running continuously. Twenty minutes was all it took to reach the top station.

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                                       Early afternoon

On the mountain, the skiers disappeared yet again and the pistes and lift stations were quiet. The skiing was good, particularly on Mannlichen in the morning. By mid-afternoon, the pistes most exposed to the sun were covered in soft moguls as if it were mid April. Honegg and Wixi were the principal culprits. The run back to Innerwengen was pretty nigh perfect though.

A typical spring day brought 8,197 vertical metres in 19 lift rides and 44 kilometres travelled. There does seem to be some prospect of winter returning next week. Fingers crossed.

Some rain fell

Well the plague of frogs didn’t show up, but they would have felt at home if they had done so. It was raining hard in the lower part of the village this morning. Early on, the snow line wasn’t that far above the village and there was some fresh snow on Mannlichen. However, as the morning progressed, the temperature rose and rain fell at all altitudes.

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                                 From Eigerletscher

There was no semblance of a queue at the cable car this morning and the cars were running at fifteen minute intervals. A few people braved the rain, but the hill became quieter with the passing of each hour. I stuck it out until mid-afternoon, by which time I was a puddle on skis. My gloves, which seemed to weigh several pounds each by the time I reached home, will dry out some time next week probably.

A very wet day brought 6,650 vertical metres in 15 lift rides and 36 kilometres travelled.

Today will not make the top one hundred of skiing days ever. It might struggle to make the top 10,000.