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  1. #1
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    St. Mo The Side Trip

    St. Moritz is kind of like fried pork skins. You don't want to even admit you've tried them,
    let alone that you like them.

    So, after the merry wad of miscreants and ne'er do wells had disbanded and left the love and
    madness of https://www.mt-lodge.com/ , vendul was kind and crazy enough to drive us to Lenzerheide for a
    day of gray slated skies and ominous pendings en route to St. Mo.

    Lenzerheide is, per Euro usual, massive. We skied part of the treed western side which would be
    awesome in storm. That's kind of rare for most big Eurozone locales IME. We stuck mostly to groimers
    with a few sections of old pow and crust. Cool spot, I'd go back.

    By 4:00 we were rolling in venduls van South through Bivio and up over the gorgeous Julier Pass
    and down into the Engadin.

    For Tgapp and jackattack:



    I'd found a small hotel in one of the St. Mo villages, Celerina, with
    reasonable rates, less than $150/night for a single with ensuite about 6 blocks from the Marguns
    gondy. If staying in any of the greater St. Mo hotels, one gets a lift ticket for the 4 major areas,
    Corviglia, Corvatsch, Diavolezza and Lagalb for 47chf, about $50US, including the local trains and
    busses. Put that in your Alterra pipe and smoke it.





    As we disgorged from venduls sled and bid him adieu among cavalcades of thanks, flakes began to swirl.
    The hotel had a small restaurant where we ate. Bed came early.

    A chalet near the train station:



    Morning opened in storm. A thick storm of obscuring flakes and wind, so Swerve and I headed out and
    up the Corviglia Marguns gondy. We couldn't see the ground from 50 feet up. I groped through the day
    in utter white out. There are very few trees on Corviglia. Snow was douching down at better than 2
    inches an hour. With the upper mountain closed, swerve and I Ray Charlesed our way out to the furthest
    West reaches of midmountain lifts, teetering from vertigo in the snow and wind. Eventually after
    murking around the mountain, including several laps on the upper funicular, we settled on lapping the
    lower mountain under the Marguns gondy.


    By 3 it was boot top+ with drifts up to the knees. It was a day of the best whiteout powder skiing ever.
    Swerve is a massively understated, ripping skier.



    Skiing back down the streets to the hotel:



    Hotel Dining room 500 year old cabinetry:



    That Sunday the hotels restaurant was closed, so in the spirit of the since departed lindenle, we sought
    out donar kebab. We hopped a bus into the guts of the beast, downtown St. Moritz Dorf.

    Now Downtown St. Mo is what every upscale beancounter at Vail or Alterra would like their resorts to be.
    Seething luxury. Prada, Armani, Hermes, Gucci, Vuitton, Dior, Chopard, Dolce and Gabbana, Cartier, ad
    infinitum. It's not the kind of locale in which I'm comfortable with a beer and a toke. I don't even
    know what the fuck a foulard is anyway. But we found the donar and it was good and filling and only cost
    me about $12. The place was run by stoners too! Trundling back to Celerina, we crashed out early again,
    storm continuing to pound.



    TBC
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    Last edited by Buster Highmen; 03-21-2024 at 02:10 PM.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  2. #2
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    Monday broke blue and after some kerfuffling about busses, we headed to North facing Corvatsch across
    the valley from South facing Corviglia. We walked on the lower tram at 9:00 am. On. A. Bluebird. Powder. Day.

    At midstation, we found the upper tram had yet to open. The rockgarden under the upper part of the lower
    tram held fun terrain that was hardly skied, so we pounded that. Lots of the treeskiing in CH is hemmed in
    by "wildschutz", zones that are forbidden to skiers and enforced by hefty fines and Swiss seriousness. So of
    course we had to push the limits. Someplace in there, Djongo was railing through and decided to commit some
    demolition gardening on a branch the thickness of my calf. I came upon the scene with a crumpled Djongo and
    leg sized busted off branch in the snow obscured by pines boughs. I was relieved to see him get up with
    minor grumping and regroup.

    Shortly thereafter, the upper tram opened. I think we hd to wait one car. ON arriving on top, I could see
    the Northwest couloir was open, so I beelined for that.


    At Corvatsch, the NW couloir is a 100 foot long sideslip jumpturn affair before it opens up into a complex of
    different options. It's huDge.

    Skiers left, under the cliff:



    We lapped it twice before exploring the skiers right of the upper tramline,
    scoring untracked steep skiing at 1:00 in the afternoon.

    Skiers' right, summit entrance slot in middle horizon saddle:





    We omitted the long sidecountry run down Val Roseg we had done 5 years before.



    One of the areas I'd wanted to explore was the Hahnensee, a run that starts at the top of the Giand'Alva chair
    and loops along a Noth facing ridge all the way down to St. Moritz Bad where one can access the Signal cable
    car back up to Corviglia. So we did and sliced through several miles of untouched meadow skip powder at 2:00
    in the afternoon. It's gorgeous.

    Giand'Alva pow at 2:30 in the afternoon:



    Julier Pass from Giand'Alva:


    Crossing the road to get to the Signal cable car, we next went up to the Piz Nair cable car at 3:30 and capped
    the day setting off sloughs down the Northeast summit couloirs after being checked out by an Italian speaking
    patroller.

    Looking up Piz Nair at 3:30:



    Looking back at the Piz Nair couloirs at 4:00 in the afternoon:



    TBC
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    Last edited by Buster Highmen; 03-23-2024 at 12:22 PM.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  3. #3
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    I love seeing these pictures from a side trip! Looks like a fun place to explore and you got lucky with the conditions.

  4. #4
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    I had more dreams to check out: Diavolezza and Lagalb up the Bernina Pass. Each area is more or less North
    facing and served by massive, Gucci adorned trams. The sidecountry is legendary with Val d'Arlas off Diavolezza
    and La Motta off the Italian side of Lagalb. Not to mention the enormous glaciated terrain above Diavolezza on
    Piz Palu and Piz Bernina or the serious consequential couloirs off the NW side of Lagalb.

    So we rode the bus up from Celerina through Pontresina to Diavolezza and plundered the pow.





    It was nuts, skiing a kilometer of meadowskip pow and only crossing 2 tracks 2 days after the storm. So much
    unskied pow.



    After a couple of inbounds laps off the upper chair and the Gucci tram, we headed over to Val d'Arlas.

    Entrance to Val d'Arlas, East of the summit chair:



    Classically, it got completely socked in once we dropped and skied down 1000 vertical meters of virgin pow to the longest tragic carpet I've ever seen. It crosses under the highway.



    Glaciers of Piz Palu and Piz Bernina peeking out from the clouds:



    Then on to Lagalb.

    OK, yeah, so it's only 800m/2600 vertical feet but the tram runs every 10 minutes and there's never a wait serving a perfect slumped ice cream scoop of 30 degree rollers and gullies. I beat the shit out of myself yoyoing this.



    Pow was slayed there too until I was too wasted to stand. So we partied in the bus on the way back to Celerina.



    I've skied a few places in the Alps, but St. Mo took the cake for the hectares and hectares of unskied or lightly tracked pow days after a storm. St. Anton lift served is tracked out within a day. Not so in the Engadin.

    Cost for 4 nights lodging, 4 days lift tickets, breakfast, 3 dinners including drinks was 990chf, $1100US or about $275/day all in at a complex that can swallow more than 4 Whistler/Blackcombs serving untracked pow days after the storm.
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    Last edited by Buster Highmen; 03-21-2024 at 02:18 PM.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buster Highmen View Post



    I've skied a few places in the Alps, but St. Mo took the cake for the hectares and hectares of unskied or lightly tracked pow days after a storm. St. Anton lift served is tracked out within a day. Not so in the Engadin.

    Cost for 4 nights lodging, 4 days lift tickets, breakfast, 3 dinners including drinks was 990chf, $1100US or about $275/day all in at a complex that can swallow more than 4 Whistler/Blackcombs serving untracked pow days after the storm.
    Dude. Dude! Hey dudes! Great work, sweet pics, FOMO level 11.
    “I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.”
    ― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

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  6. #6
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    What a couple of days that must have been. NICE!
    “How does it feel to be the greatest guitarist in the world? I don’t know, go ask Rory Gallagher”. — Jimi Hendrix

  7. #7
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    Great post op read last night [Gimp central, JONG].

    Maybe I'm old school but the board needs more old-school one-off TRs.

  8. #8
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    Fan-fucking-tastic

  9. #9
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    Looks amazing.
    But i just can't fathom how these places can survive charging so little for lift tickets. Government supplements? Sorry if this is a dumb question.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by nortonwhis View Post
    Looks amazing.
    But i just can't fathom how these places can survive charging so little for lift tickets. Government supplements? Sorry if this is a dumb question.
    One thing I noticed skiing in Switzerland was the lack of ski patrolers. I think I saw three patrolers in five days. I compare this to Big Sky where they are everywhere. Maybe not having to pay an army of people to do control work and keep the mountain safe helps keep costs down? It also seems like there are a LOT of ski resorts in the Alps so they have to stay competitive.

    St. Moritz looks great Buster.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by nortonwhis View Post
    Looks amazing.
    But i just can't fathom how these places can survive charging so little for lift tickets. Government supplements? Sorry if this is a dumb question.
    Their liability laws are completely different and contributes to the affordability.

    Also, they don't make a fuck ton of snow like East Coast US resorts have to. That shit's expensive.

  12. #12
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    Well done! That area was a highlight a few years back. Looks like you laid it down proper. I’d like to pick your brain one day for my trip there with Mrs Cascade.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MyNameIsAugustWest View Post
    Their liability laws are completely different and contributes to the affordability.

    Also, they don't make a fuck ton of snow like East Coast US resorts have to. That shit's expensive.
    Most of 'em probably don't have a bunch of highly paid executives and shareholders either.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by nortonwhis View Post
    Looks amazing.
    But i just can't fathom how these places can survive charging so little for lift tickets. Government supplements? Sorry if this is a dumb question.
    Subtle plague can correct me but in addition to things already stated:
    Grooming - way less. There's a few main trails done ( granted they're wide) but way less grooming.

    Smaller hills are definitely subsidized by govt.

    Leaner operating/management staff for the hill itself

    Many of the restaurants existing at these hills aren't owned by the ski area.

    The management of ski areas don't seem as driven by corporate greed. Ski culture is inherent in the psyche of these folks as opposed to the need to keep shareholder dividends high at the cost of everything else.
    There's a few things I'm thinking.
    “I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.”
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  15. #15
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    I would call the San Mo leg more the dessert, than a side trip.
    It was hard to leave the comfort and crew at the Mt. Lodge, but after 9 days we moved on.

    Vendul chose to rent another van and hauled about a dozen or so of us over to Lenzerheide to ski for a while. It is en route to St. Mo via the Julier Pass.
    That was an awesome drive in and of itself and we had a fucking Parnelli Jones chauffeur so it was rally time in the TDI AWD VW van.

    Lenzerheide was hudge and appealing but a Saturday scene and a genuinely amazing number of kooks in the way, sent me out after a few hours.
    The others trickled in soon and we booked it to St. Mo.
    They dropped us off and we were once again cast adrift in the sea of swiss.

    The Arturo hotel is closing this week after decades in the lodging biz. I think they were ready to be done.
    The Lady/Pirate who helped us the most was both funny and annoying, useful yet useless and accommodating but not really. All with a raspy smoker's cackle to let you know she was fucking witcha.
    In the first 3 minutes.

    The rooms were comfy and I had a nice view of the blizzard from my third floor window.
    Breakfast was typical and pleasant, nice to slow down and argue about bus options and visibility concerns.
    Buster and Swerve went and skied the blizzard all damn day. I was impressed. I draw the line at zero visibility. Or even 20%.
    but when it's soft, it's soft.
    On his way back from the base, Buster lost his roomkey in the snow. We went and looked for it but no luck. I did run into a banker guy and his future wilson mom daughter from Teton pines; About 10 miles from my rezzie.
    Old hotel owner lady was obvi irritated. Grrrr.
    We tried to drink at the bar, but they seemed disinclined to sell more than a drink or two.

    Next am broke partly cloudy and with a smooth palette of snow, we hopped on a bus 2 blox away and rode for about 25 minutes over into St. Mo and right to the base of the Corvatsch tram station. Loaded right up and went skiing.

    Mostly sunny, about 23*f and I'd say 12-20" of frsh. Not blower, kinda dense but dry enough to cut into but stiff enough to land almost anything and it would hold ya cutting across a steep fall line without shearing off. Very little fracturing.
    We found ourselves on a particularly varied pitch with lots of fresh lines and patches to be turned.
    I'd say we lapped that 12-15 times. I had 2 solid wrecks in the first 5 runs. The game was on and it was time to charge.
    The first time I hit a 6 ft hump to air offa the side of the second hump and augured in good.
    The second one was me taking the less traveled doorway beneath the tree branches and getting tossed by the unseen branch. It broke, I wheezed, got up and skied on. didn't hurt for a coupla hours.
    Swerve and I had been putting down laps while Buster and Carvehard were hunting freshies.
    About 2pm we decided to split via the Hahnensee but it looked closed to us. Those guys went and got it anyway. Strong work, junior explorers.

    Highlight of the day was catching the NW couloir just opening. Not the fastest by any means, I just ducked the rope when a clog began at the entryway. They all caught me but Buster, Carve, Swerve, then I went in. Not sure if Buster was first trax or not.
    A 10 foot slip of about 195cm wide before letting the tips slide into the fall line and promptly throwing a turn into about 18" of buttery soft slough and having the next 10 feel the same. From don't tumble to hero snow in about 30'.
    I was trolling wider than my 3 leaders and cutting sloughage enough to actually have to dodge it for a few turns. Just enough to tumble you but not enough to race to a safety zone either.
    Big rollers of untracked for another mile or so before more chairs and some lunch.

  16. #16
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    FKNA gents, now I'm sitting here with FOMO.

    Great writeup and amazing pics. Well done, well done, well done!

    Sent from my Pixel 8 Pro using Tapatalk

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by nortonwhis View Post
    Looks amazing.
    But i just can't fathom how these places can survive charging so little for lift tickets. Government supplements? Sorry if this is a dumb question.
    It’s a loss leader for the businesses in town. insane amounts of money floating around there. “But a maybach” “polo on snow” “here’s hundreds of biz jets” money.

    sounds a glorious engaging excursion.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Djongo Unchained View Post
    Strong work, junior explorers.
    Hey!

    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  19. #19
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    Rosterei!!

    You dudes nailed it. Next time, 3 weeks!

  20. #20
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    If you were going to choose one for a week--Andermatt, Klosters, St. Moritz?

  21. #21
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    IMHO. Andermatt (area), staying at Venduls. By a large margin for many reasons.
    “I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.”
    ― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

    www.mymountaincoop.ca

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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by garyfromterrace View Post
    IMHO. Andermatt (area), staying at Venduls. By a large margin for many reasons.
    +100

    Sent from my Pixel 8 Pro using Tapatalk

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buster Highmen View Post
    Hey!

    Like a warm embrace, from an old Friend.
    I am luckier for your friendship now, more than ever.

    We've had a few top shelf times in the last few years.
    This trip was a blast and I'll not soon forget it.
    Thanks Buster.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    We need to catalog yer internal/external dialogue still... mmmf, ehnnn, uhmmm. (translation: where's that fuckin key? )

  24. #24
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    Well, y'know, wobbling around the wide weird world it sure seems like there's a lot of blank stares and missed handshakes.
    Lots of whooshes.

    So, I'm grateful to have made a connection with you, Dj, as well as a bunch of you other weirdos and misfits. It assuages a sharp isolation.
    God, St. Mo was such a gas, we hit the sweetness.

    The Book of Err is in process.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beder View Post
    If you were going to choose one for a week--Andermatt, Klosters, St. Moritz?
    Andermatt-Disentis has been my favorite for a while now. I think on average, they get the snow and they for sure have the gnarly terrain and killer touring options.
    Kliosters is the sleeper, so much great terrain, especially if you're willing to skin or walk just a smidge. Similarly with St. Mo, but St. Mo does not have the snow surety of Am@ or Klosters.

    The kicker is the love, work and madness at https://www.mt-lodge.com/ . vendul and S work their butts off with so much great heart and take us to places like Splugen and Lenzerheide while offering such great food and nice quiet, comfy beds.

    If you can, do 2 weeks and hit them all. 4/4/4.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

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