Tough ski conditions in Adelboden

Adelboden from Chuenisbärgli

Adelboden was in the news recently with the undiplomatic outburst from the US Ambassador to Switzerland, but last weekend the town got a different reception when over 30,000 raucous Swiss watched the FIS Slalom on the Chuenisbärgli.

This is one of the toughest races on the circuit at the best of times, with a steep bottom section that catches out even the best racers. Conditions were particularly challenging however with temperatures as high as 15 degrees, the rain falling and thick cloud enveloping the course. This didn’t prevent Austrian Marcel Hirscher extending his lead in the Slalom standings; the guy really is at the top of his game. Frenchman Alex Pinturault (with “Je Suis Charlie” on his helmet) came second, and Henrik Kristoffersen from Norway came third.
Marcel Hirscher during the Giant Slalom© Alexis Boichard/Agence Zoom
For skiers in the Alps, things are looking up as we head into next weekend with temperatures dropping and the precipitation falling as snow over the next few days. However lower runs are still pitifully light on snow with lots of icy patches and off-piste is tough. The SLF reports that considerable avalanche danger will be encountered in some regions and snow drifts require caution. At the weekend, Sunday looks the more promising day to see some sunshine, particularly in the more Southern resorts.

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Oey in Diplomatic Storm

The US Ambassador to Switzerland, Suzi LeVine, has kicked off a diplomatic incident by suggesting the Swiss don’t know how to respect lift queues. The story, published in Blick, quotes the Ambassador on her Facebook page as saying that “chaos” and “inefficiency” prevailed at the Swiss ski lifts. More diplomatically she tweeted “I had a great day of skiing @ Adelboden & am looking forward 2 more there & across the country. Simply seeking advice on the experience.”

I am almost certain her experiences were at the Oey lift. I have heard so many horror stories about the queues at this lift that I avoid Adelboden at busy weekends and public holidays. Mid-week it is fine, but it is a bottleneck the lift operators need to review.

The Swiss in my opinion don’t treat queues the way the British or the Americans do, and in supermarkets or getting on trains will edge forward to gain advantage, particularly at the expense of people distracted by small children or whatever. The Swiss are probably no worse than other Europeans, but the orderliness of the country and the apparent respect for standing in line may cause surprise to somebody who suddenly finds a smartly dressed gentleman or well-heeled middle aged lady has surreptitiously barged in front of them.

As for Madame Ambassador, hardly a diplomatic way to start a new assignment. It ain’t Kansas.

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