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Skiing Today... 9-19-06

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
It wasn't exactly pretty, but it WAS fun.

I skied today on the glacier at Plateau Rosa on the Klein Matterhorn at Zermatt, Switzerland. This was our third day here and it's pretty much rained every day.

Yesterday, they had the skiing closed due to lack of visibility. Today they opened, so up I went. If the vis was acceptable today, I would have absolutely hated to be there yesterday. :

We rode a gondola and two trams to get to the top of the skiing area at an elevation of 3,883 meters, which I think is close to 12,000 feet. Here's what the visibility looked like while riding the tram to the top...



Once we got to the top, we were treated with a view roughly equivalent to looking through a glass of milk. Here's a photo Ruth took as I geared up to head off into the great unknown...



I found three boarders who were heading off into the soup, so I followed them. I learned a valuable lesson very shortly; when you're in the Alps for the first time and you're above timberline in a cloud and you have no idea where you're going, don't necessarily follow the first three boarders who go by you. After a bit of nice cruising on good groomers through the fog, I suddenly watched the one in front of me disappear off a jump. It turns out they had led me into the terrain park! I luckily survived that little mishap and eventually found the bottom of the t-bars.

There were a lot of ski racers up there doing training, so I was able to watch some pretty great skiing. Most were practicing Super G and a few were running slalom gates. The guy on the right in this photo is supposedly Ivica Kostelic, the great Croatian slalom racer...



The sun did peek through a couple of times and I was able to get at least a little bit of feel for how spectacular the scenery must be here:




and one all-too-brief, semi-sunny moment:



So this was month 108 of my consecutive skiing. Nine years. What a good time.

Full trip report to follow sometime in the next week or so.

And finally, here's a look at some national team speed skis. We rode down the tram with a full car of racers and here's what some of the skis looked like:

post #2 of 15
cheers to that report. It sure beats the typhoon that just passed through here.
post #3 of 15
Bob, when I grow up I wanna be you!
post #4 of 15
You suck.
post #5 of 15
Great pics, even with limited or no visibility, and congrats on month 108, you should have no trouble extending that record. I think it is easy to get into trouble in soup above tree line no matter where you are whether you know the terrain or not !! SCARY.
post #6 of 15
Wow! I'm jealous! And I have to wait until Thanksgiving to go to Wolf Creek! That sure looks great!
post #7 of 15
You thought visibility was tough for you, imagine practicing Super-G in that soup? :
post #8 of 15
skiing in Sept. Haven't seen so much activity in Sept in years - Timberline powder reports, Utah, Colorady, Canada, Euro not to mention NZ and Las Lenas right now.

Unreal.
post #9 of 15
yeah - how's that global warming working out for ya now? Hopefully this pattern will entrench itself somehow ....
post #10 of 15
This is the view you can get at the top of Klein Matterhorn

http://rt0010i9.eresmas.net/Panorama...te%20route.jpg

Salu2
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 

Unbelievable Sight - No Pics

We're back from Europe now and I'm starting to catch up on things.

I just wanted to add something to my little Klein Matterhorn report. The day after I skied, we were treated to a sight that I still can't believe.

Of COURSE, the next day after I skied turned out to be a totally blue-sky, gorgeous day. We did a big hike and ended up late in the day at the Schwarzsee Hut, which is on a rocky bench just below the main climbing route on the Matterhorn.

So there we are, drinking a beer on this beautiful sunny deck and just enjoying the late afternoon. All of a sudden, a fighter jet screams across the ridge just to our left. I doubt that he was more than two or three hundred feet off the ground.

As we watched dumbstruck, he flew straight at the east face of the Matterhorn. Now, if you've never been to the Matterhorn, you gotta trust me that this thing sticks STRAIGHT up out of the rest of the mountain. So, in about three seconds it looks like he's going to crash right into the wall.

Suddenly, he raises the nose, hits the afterburners, and streaks right straight up the east wall of the Matterhorn. Never more than about two hundred feet away from the rock.

As he gets just below the summit, he snaps the jet into a half-roll and goes over the peak and down the other side INVERTED. :

All this happened in about twenty seconds and my camera just sat idly on the deck table. I never even thought about taking a photo until he was a tiny speck on the other side of the mountain.

I've never seen anything like it.

WAY cool.

Here's what the east face looks like from that hut. It's the very obvious wall slightly behind the cloud. He went straight up from that glacier with the little bit of sun on it:




Yippee-ki-yay!
post #12 of 15
Show off pilot! Reminds me of an experience sitting on the Knife Edge between Pamola and Katahdin once while a fighter jet screamed up the East Basin beneath our feet and suddenly pulled up over the headwall above our heads. Not exactly the Matterhorn though. Wow!
post #13 of 15
Bob,
I'll be watching for your trip reports!
post #14 of 15
Wow..unbelievable. It is my dream at go skiing on the Matterhorn. Your streak is quite indeed impressive.
post #15 of 15
Quote:
...So there we are, drinking a beer on this beautiful sunny deck and just enjoying the late afternoon. All of a sudden, a fighter jet screams across the ridge just to our left. I doubt that he was more than two or three hundred feet off the ground.

As we watched dumbstruck, he flew straight at the east face of the Matterhorn. Now, if you've never been to the Matterhorn, you gotta trust me that this thing sticks STRAIGHT up out of the rest of the mountain. So, in about three seconds it looks like he's going to crash right into the wall.

Suddenly, he raises the nose, hits the afterburners, and streaks right straight up the east wall of the Matterhorn. Never more than about two hundred feet away from the rock.

As he gets just below the summit, he snaps the jet into a half-roll and goes over the peak and down the other side INVERTED. :

Bob, it’s pretty common practice this jet thing…it’s their method of avalanche control…
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