As we rolled through the holidays into 2013, I’ve been having daydreams of the Swiss Alps. A few years ago I took my family there in the summer and found the most extraordinary playground on the slopes of the Matterhorn. We spent a blissful day picnicking, hiking, and watching the kids enjoy the slides, swings, ropes, and other playground paraphernalia, all beneath a backdrop of that amazing mountain.
More recently I hiked with friends in the Jungfrau region, basing ourselves in Mürren on the flank of the Lauterbrunnen Valley, what has to be one of the most scenic settings on earth. At other times I’ve explored Geneva, Lausanne, Luzern, St. Moritz, Gindelwald, Appenzell, Chur, and other places, but I’ve never been there in winter.
Well, I was once in Chamonix on the French side, and stayed in the village of Argentiere near the railway tunnel into Switzerland. I skied with friends there for several days, but never crossed the border, so that doesn’t count.
Twice I’ve been to the Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Europe, in summer, looking down the mind-boggling Aletsch Glacier and up at the Jungfrau and Mönch. The excursion train to the Jungfraujoch — the Jungfraubahn — begins in Kleine Scheidegg. Even in summer it’s clear that the slopes here would offer superb skiing.
Naturally, right now the Swiss Alps are covered in snow. A quick look at ski reports shows a 2-foot base and 6 feet on the upper slopes of the Matterhorn, and similar stories at Verbier and Mürren-Schilthorn.
Snow has been falling in California and throughout the American West. It’d be cheaper and easier to go to Lake Tahoe, to Mammoth Mountain, or to Sun Valley, Idaho or Park City, Utah for that matter, but where do I really want to go?
I think my daydreams are telling me where.