Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Just 2 more days of Winter

Our adopted country, that is Switzerland; is famed for it's Ski resorts which by definition need SNOW.

This year 2016, it has been patchy or rather erratic to say the least.  In our big home town of Lausanne :-) I've counted but 3 days of winter and snow so far!

But wait, we just found another two:

Feb 12- Attack of the Snow

Agata told me that snow was predicted for noon.  I did't believe it, so I insisted that we walk the few Km at lunchtime down to our local piscine.

Er, but after swimming

 Okay, wife was right (again!)

In just 4 or so hours, everything was truly covered in Snow.  We walk out and around Lausanne to check.   As usual the roads are clear due to stereotypical Swiss efficiency.

That night, because it's still fun to me,  I cleared a path in 40 cm deep snow from the garage to let cars in and out and along all our entraces.  Took me over 1 hour of shovelling!

Day 2, Saturday Feb 13
Snowshoeing Mont Chevreuil

Getting into the spirit of things we ventured up from home (at 700 metres) upto Lecherette (1300 metres).   The plan was to snow shoe to Mont Chevreuil with a stop for lunch ..

Being super chicken, because some online weather maps insisted that weather conditions on the main road require today snow chains by law, and we don't have any, we took an alternate route (chain free) up the mountain.  Then we parked baby Audi and took a bus for the last 10Km.

Marcus never wears snow shoes!  I wear water resistant Salomon Speedcross running shoes and gaiters upto the knees. But the guide refused to start our journey unless I rented some.  Hmm.  Let me see how they work.

 So we had deep, I mean 80 cm plus deep powder snow.  And there is no doubt that snow shoes help a little.  Meaning?

- If you are first in line, you need to make the path
- The one that everybody following you will just tread into
- So with every step you sort of shovel snow upwards
- Anybody behind you has a relatively easy time
- Marcus walked a separate track in snowshoes to check.  Yes, hard work. (By the way I'd left my own snowshoes in the car, but the car was 10K away).
- At a break I took off my rental snowshoes.  Rest of walk without them, as a test

- Turns out that without snowshoes you can develop a technique to enter the snow with your foot pointed down and replicate this when taking your foot out
- This is very efficient and does not create a path but also does not use so much energy (as snowshoes)
- But the technique only works if you sink upto your knees and no further!  Luckily this was the case
- At knee sinking depth, shoes and gaiters instead of snow shoes was more work that snowshoes.
- But at a lesser sinking snow depth, say 40cm, it was more efficient without snowshoes
- Also don't forget that on any downhill, just shoes and gaiters (not show shoes) means you can run, if you have the energy.

So, as you can see, I'm still not totally sold on show shoes. ALSO, for me, with pretty weak ankles, snow shoes on uneven terrain force your ankles with much more movement than shoes (into snow).  The result is that for me after more than 90 minutes of snow shoeing my ankles were pretty deaded / painful.   Another minus for snow shoes IMHO.

 We stopped for a Fondue lunch.   Delicious.

Mid fondue, the Sun came out.   It totally transformed the day.

Mont Chevreuil.  we made it. It may not look it, but at the crest it was almost knock over windy.  Only time for a photo and then to descent.

On the way back to Lecherette we were chased by Piste machines, they are getting ready a path to the Chalet because there is a special Valentines Eve meal event there.

Day 3- Valentines Day
All Snow gone!

And so, to Sunday and after a heavy night's  rain on Saturday the snow melts.  Yes, almost no trace whatsoever

Roads are so clear we spent time waiting to catch motorists in the speed camera.

 Still no snow.

 Secret Santa yes, snow no.

A local allotment.  No snow!

So there you have it.   We got another 2 days of snow, 1 of which was in the mountains.  So far Winter has been bypassed in Canton Vaud, Switzerland for 2016.