Misty Mountain High

Mountain High
Having seen many people so sozzled they can hardly stand up, before they don skis or snowboard to make the last run home (Think Crazy Kangaruh in St Anton or the Hennu Stall in Zermatt), I was interested to read that the upstanding ski lift operators of Colorado have reminded visitors of the dangers of getting high.

Of course I don’t mean altitude, I mean indulging in something the state has reputedly made legal – but the reality is somewhat short of liberation. Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado are handing out reminders to their guests that cannabis is still illegal to consume in public and is banned from Federal premises. Ok, unless it’s been purchased as a pet-care thing, according to the post at https://swellcbd.com/product-category/pet-health/.  I’m not sure about Mountain High resort in California, but the rule probably applies there too, rather sadly.

Dutch skiers who visit my Dutch language ski site may well visit their local coffeeshop before travelling down to the Alps, and they will be gratified to know that Switzerland is pretty cool about the whole thing. Dope is not legal but the Swiss smoke openly and the police are indifferent as long as you are not behaving badly. Similarly it is fine to walk down the street in Switzerland clutching a beer, or to crack open a bottle of wine on a train on your way to the piste. Not something I recommend you doing in the land of the free.

Plus the skiing and snowboarding is better. Natch!

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Late-season Skiing & Snowboarding

Ski Sunday abandons the season in February, the FIS World Cup season climaxes in March (this season at Lenzerheide, on 20th March) and most of the continent stows away skis and snowboards after Easter. So what for those who want to prolong the season? is there decent skiing anywhere through April and May?

The simple answer is yes. For many freeriders this is the best time of the year to tour, and for those who prefer to stick to the pistes or use lifts to get off-piste, there is still fresh snow. Essentially the very best places are high, so resorts with lifts to about 3000m are promising. The Aletsch Arena, Belalp, Val D’Annivers, and Lauchernalp are not well known but passes are relatively cheap, they are rarely crowded and make good destinations for families, beginners and for weekend escapes. All you have to do is get on the best site for sports gear on the internet, get the appurtenances, and start right away. Val D’Annivers is a little known gem, with Zinal in that area offering the most challenging off-piste and Chandolin the best pistes. Samnaun gives access to the huge Silvretta Arena which has all but the valley runs over 2000m and consistently has good snow conditions throughout April. The Jungfrau stays open until after Easter with good pistes still available down to Wengen, Mürren, Kleine Scheidegg and Holenstein through until mid-afternoon. Diovolezza in the Engadin, near Pontresina, is the highest valley run in Switzerland, with a bottom station above 2000m and lifts open until late May. Davos and Klosters should offer good skiing on the higher runs on the Parsenn until the lifts close on 1st May. The 4 Vallées (centred on Verbier), Flims/Laax and Les Diablerets have glaciers and stay open until early May this year, and Engelberg will stay open until the end of May – although I doubt the valley run will last quite that long. St Moritz, Saas-Fee and Zermatt offer the very best late season skiing, with Saas-Fee and Zermatt providing some limited glacier skiing right through the year. Once you decide on the place you are going, make sure you capture all the exciting moments. The best way to do that is using a drone. Don’t forget about radio, check this comparison to decide which one is better for you.

There are other things to do in the tail-end of the winter sports season in Switzerland. Over the week ending 20th March are the FIS World Cup at Lenzerheide, the Zinal Freeride contest and the Nissan Freeride World Tour 2010 in Verbier (on the Bec de Rosses). On 19th March the longest torch-lit downhill skiing procession in the world takes place down the 2000m, 12 km descent from Titlis to Engelberg – meeting point is at the Valley Station at 6pm with dinner on Mt Titlis at 9.30 pm.

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