This week I’m back in Switzerland; in fact I’ve been here a bit more than a week and am not leaving until Sunday. I figured I’d be in need of a good holiday after a busy term and the Institute of Physics Spring Meeting (see previous post) so I booked myself 10 days skiing in Zermatt, the famous little town just below the Matterhorn.
On piste at the Klein Horn
The snow is fine both on- and off-piste, if a bit icy in the mornings and a bit slushy in the afternoons (I quite like variable conditions).The Ski Club of Great Britain are here in force with two different reps and I’ve been doing plenty of skiing with them on off-piste days. Such a joy to ski with experienced skiers, thanks Alaistair and Chris! (For ski bores out there: I’m trying the K2 Public Enemy twin-tip skis and find them superb for the variable snow, although the plume they kick up in spring snow drives some people nuts). I like the way free-ride technology can work it’s way into the mainstream…
Off-piste at the Stockhorn
Zermatt itself is drop-dead gorgeous, the archetypal Swiss ski resort, with superb restaurants, no cars and unbelievable views. Did I mention the world’s best apres-ski, rockin to an outdoor live band in the serious sun half way up the Matterhorn?
It snowed all night on Wednesday. Snow conditions were excellent on Thursday, but visibility was poor. Today, the sun came out and the conditions were fantastic. Best powder I’ve ever experienced, particularly off-piste. In fact possibly the best skiing I’ve ever had, despite witnessing the best skier of our group take a serious tumble on hidden ice off-piste at Stockhorn – no less than six somersaults on the way to the bottom. Happily, no serious injury resulted…photos to follow!
More ski cronies are arriving late tonight – the Frankfurt Ski Club are due in at midnight on their ski bus (if past trips are anything to go by, most of them will be hammered before they even get off the bus). I have some very good friends in this club; although the actual skiing can be a bit chaotic due to varying levels, the craic is mighty.The Frankfurters are staying until Monday, but yours truly has to finally return to Ireland on Sunday. Ah well, I expect some serious partying on Saturday, my last night in Zer…
And then it’s back to a hysterical week at WIT. The last week of term for the students (and all that entails) + Prof Joan Centrella of NASA’s Goddard Space Centre is giving a talk on Black Hole formation and gravitational waves on Wednesday + Peter Woit of NOT EVEN WRONG is arriving in Ireland on Friday. Jesus. I need a beer…