Skiing in the Swiss paradise
- It wasn’t watches, chocolate, cheese and picturesque locales, but the Alps that drew us to Switzerland
Mar 30, 2015-
Although my brother and I had always wanted to go skiing, we had never gotten the opportunity to do so, despite having been born and raised in a cold snowy place like Moscow, where skiing seemed a perennial possibility. But, this was all going to change during our nine-day visit to Switzerland in February.
When one thinks of Switzerland, various things come to mind: watches, chocolate, cheese and the picture-perfect towns and villages that dot the country. But it was the Alps, which, apart from being the largest mountain range in Europe, has some of the best skiing slopes, that drew us there.
After a long drive to Bern, the Swiss capital, we checked into our hotel and enjoyed some much-needed rest. The following day— after meeting two other Nepali families with whom we were travelling—we set off for the snowy mountain of Beatenberg.
We reached a station from where we took a cable car up to the summit. The view from the cable car was picturesque. The sun shone dully over the mountain. Flakes of snow dimly glistened in the dull light. A huge blanket of white snow draped over the entire mountain. It looked like a scene straight out of a Christmas painting.
We had a nice hot meal at the summit, after which we quickly grabbed sledges and took to sliding downhill. It was a great experience, similar to being in a plummeting rollercoaster. I felt a sudden rush of adrenalin as it picked up speed—I felt unstoppable. Alas, lost in the moment, I ended up crashing into a bush. Though it was fun, I was unable to control my sledge as it gained momentum. The cold wind constantly seeped through the holes of my clothing and blew past my uncovered face.
On reaching halfway down the mountain, we decided to stop and wait for the rest of our group to catch up. 15 minutes passed, then half an hour, and, soon enough, an hour had passed without anybody showing up. Where was everybody? How could they be so slow? Clambering up the slope seemed futile. My brother and I were beginning to worry. Finally, after another gruesome half an hour of frantic waiting, they showed up. We were relieved to find out that they had decided on walking down.
The following day had been set aside for a trip to a water park in the city. There were numerous water slides, hot-water basins and other activities to enjoy. I enjoyed the open-air hot-water area the most. There was also a saline-water pool, whose wall acted as a projector screen. It was quite creative, I thought, to use the pool’s wall to screen movies.
Finally, the next day, we went skiing in the nearby Kiental. Unlike the day we had gone sledging, the sun shone bright above our heads this time around. The Alps looked majestic and beautiful under the glaze of the beaming sun.
We had hired a ski trainer for the day, since both of us had to get a grasp of skiing before setting out on our own. Learning a new sport from scratch is always a challenge. But we so wanted to ski that even before the trainer arrived, we both tried skiing ourselves. My brother got the hang of it almost immediately. And just after a couple of falls, he was skiing down a slope. However, it was a completely different story for me.
I did not have much of a problem while skiing, but I couldn’t bring myself to a stop after starting out. I had to repeatedly run into mounds of snow to procure a safe landing. And although I could balance myself while sliding down the slope, I would spiral out of control while trying to change my stance.
Soon, the trainer arrived and he taught me how to brake properly and change my stances. Skiing became much easier and enjoyable after that. I felt great speeding downhill with the wind gushing past my face. And even after the day had ended and it was time for us to leave, I longed to ski more.
Lamichhane is student at the International School of Frankfurt
Published: 30-03-2015 07:41