Tuesday, January 17, 2012

January 17, 2012 – Arosa Part 2 – Sledging


Do you remember going sledding as a child?  The thrill of the snow; the excitement of riding down the hill; the fun of falling off the sled and landing in the snow; the dread of walking back up the hill dragging your sled?  I remember all of those things and was excited for the chance to relive some of that over the weekend.

We actually went down two different sledge runs.  First let me explain that a sledge is pretty much like the old wooden sleds we used as children, except that they only way you can steer the thing is to plant your feet in the snow and drag one foot more than the other to turn.  Oh and it is absolutely necessary that you be able to turn these things.

The 1st L had done the prior year on a work retreat…. In the DARK.  I emphasize that because we went down the run in broad daylight at the 1st turn I misjudged and took a header into the snow bank.  After that I managed to stay upright on this trail and I even recognized the sign that warned riders to slow down.  Which pretty much means jam your feet into the snow and pray.

I’m still dumbfounded that L and her company made this ride in the dark.  I couldn’t complete it in broad daylight.

The second run was further up the mountain, we took the ski light to the middle station and got off.  Here’s what you need to imagine; the sledge run starts at the same point as some of the ski runs.  In fact, you cross one of the ski runs to get to the entrance of the sledge run.  This one was pretty cool it starts off with a decent incline and your going a fun rate of speed, feet in the snow controlling turns and speed.  The you take a sharp right hand turn and wham…. OMG THERE IS A STEEP DOWNHILL.  I didn’t really have too much time to think about potential injuries since the only word flying through my head was: “shitshitshitshitshitshitshitshitshitshitshitshitshitshitshitshitshitshitshitshitshitshitshitshit”

Somehow I didn’t recall the terror associated with hurtling down the side of a mountain on a wooden sled that’s not equipped with any safety devices, no airbags, nothing.  Oh and sure after I came to a stop and two smallish children flew past me giggling like they were having the time of their lives I was thinking.  Come on how dangerous could this really be?  So of course I rode down the tail a second time.  I mean, I knew what to expect this time, I had already been through it.  I had better control the second time around, that is until I hit that steep section and quite frankly it was an exact replica if the 1st time around.  Sheer terror, expletives and this time I took L’s advice and in addition to dragging my feet on the ground trying to gain some control and slow myself down I dragged one hand in the snow as well.  Let me just say, the dragging the hand thing, not very effective, in fact the only thing it seems to do is freeze your mitten to the point that your hand goes numb.

Would I do this again?  Yes definitely, but it might take me another year to build up the courage (or to forget the terror) to hurtle down another alp.

 Sunrise Ski Lift

Sunday morning we also go up early to take the 1st lift up to the very top of the mountain to see the sunrise.  It was beautiful.  We were joined by one or two other people who took the ride to see the sunrise but otherwise everyone else could be classified as ski nuts who wanted to get up the mountain in time for the very 1st run of the day.  Crazy people.

This is one of the ski runs at the very top of the mountain but I didn't see anyone go down this one, they were going down the otherside that was marked with a red tag.  I'm guessing "black = scary"

On our hike Saturday down from the middle station we spotted this sign:  I have no idea what it means.  Is it a warning that there are low flying handle bar mustache’s in the area? 

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  1. Gorgeous sunrise pictures. I can't even begin to decipher that handlebar mustache sign. Maybe the hill is steep enough to blow off your mustache.

  2. Flying mustache = a reference to the Dali scene from Spellbound? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzxlbgPkxHE