Toggenburg, CH: 12/17/17

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Toggenburg, CH: 12/17/17

Postby jamesdeluxe » Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:15 pm

Utards: if you're wondering where all your snow has gone, it's over here in the Alps -- and I've been skiing it! \:D/ Per Weather to Ski's Fraser Wilkin, I seem to be in the crosshairs of the biggest recent accumulations:

Sunday: Yet more snow has fallen across many northern parts of the Alps in the last 24 hours. The heaviest falls have been in the northeastern Swiss Alps where 20-40cm has fallen quite widely, with as much as 60cm of new snow very locally in some resorts to the east of Zurich. Monday: Snow conditions across the northern Alps are simply incredible right now with masses of fresh snow even to low levels. It is difficult to highlight any particular area, but it is probably the smaller resorts of the northeastern Swiss Alps (e.g. Amden, Flumserberg, Mythen) that have seen the most snowfall, with 1 meter (3+ feet) or more of new snow in the last few days.

As mentioned in my previous TR, I was reasonably sure that Friday at Lenzerheide was going to be the one and only day on this trip with full sunshine, and that unfortunately turned out to be the case. Saturday at Pizol, a beautiful ski area an hour east of Zurich right alongside a major autobahn (kinda the equivalent of an I-70 resort in Colorado) normally looks like this; however, I spent much of five hours there staring five feet ahead of me trying to get my bearings:
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Of course, there were trees on the lower mountain where I had a bunch of great knee- to thigh-deep runs, but I really should've chosen a lower ski area completely in the trees. The storm continued through the night and early Sunday morning Toggenburg's website reported 70cm/28 inches of new precip, so that sealed it for me. My car at 7 am conveniently lit by the snowplow out of frame to the right:
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The drive down to the valley from my hotel in Amden took me past the Walensee, a beautiful fjord-like lake:
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Toggenburg was only 12 miles as the crow flies from my hotel, but getting there required a circuitous drive of almost an hour. I arrived around 9:30 to one of the three base areas, Unterwasser, featuring an old-school funicular:
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Stretching three miles wide with 4,100 feet of vertical drop, Toggenburg has trees 2/3 of the way up the mountain and is crowned by some incredible rock formations. The three terrain sections are connected but require a bit of poling and/or skating in spots, not optimal for boarders.
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The snow continued through the early afternoon. While conditions were fantastic, it was a drag to realise that I wouldn't be enjoying the incredible views I'd seen in dozens of trip reports, like this and this. The top of the mountain was socked in so they weren't operating the cable car to the Chäserrugg peak in the middle; however, there was a platter lift to Gamserugg on the looker's left:
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Upper mountain valley, much more impressive in person:
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Digging trenches in the offpiste:
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Little kid skis off the trail and face plants. Dad ain't helping him out of it.
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A guy enjoying easy turns alongside a groomer:
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Heading into the woods:
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Teleskier on lower mountain:
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Stopping for lunch at the Stöfeli restaurant -- looks like a mountain hideout during WWII: the Big One.
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When I came back outside, we got maybe an hour of almost clearing:
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Lots of snow right down to the valley:
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So there you go: Toggenburg on a snowy day. I'll be back in the region in mid-March with my wife, when we'll hopefully get the sunny version.
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