Laax: Take 3

Inspired by my friend Jill, I have decided to begin work on this Blog. I can’t think of a better event to start with than this weekend–it’s been my favorite, by far, for several reasons. First, I had been held captive in the holiday house for 5 days already and was ready for reprieve. Secondly, Jill was kind enough to spend her free weekend at another family’s house with three restless kids (I was certain that no sane au pair would agree to do this). Lastly, Sunday afforded us the most incredible day of skiing.

I knew from previous visits to the house that I would need to bring reinforcements in order to prevent death by boredom. I brought plenty of books (including the Kindle) and thankfully there is Internet so I would able to occupy myself with embarrassingly large amounts of time on Facebook and ch131.com. After 5 days of willing 10:00 to come around so I could go to bed without feeling like one of the kids, I was ready for action. Shortly after Jill arrived on Friday night we made our way through the woods on the beaten path to “town” for a few drinks. Mind you, the last time I did this walk I was solo and carrying a flashlight large enough to light up all of Laax– I think I was just shy of hitting sticks together to ward off any creatures lurking in the trees. Going to the bar was much more pleasant with an accomplice. Upon arriving we were reminded how painfully shy most Swiss men are. Thus, the only people who approached us were 5 British guys in Liederhoesen. They were recent University grads out for a night of heavy drinking. Being characters ourselves, Jill and I decided to adopt alter-egos. I was Dionne, a dolphin trainer from Vancouver, Canada (the most obvious location for dolphins). Jill was a motivational speaker named Cher. These gentlefellows were awed by our newfound professions. Clearly we were the life of the party. How they didn’t even once question our identities is beyond me. Dionne and Cher, really?

It was decided earlier in the week that I would have Saturday off in order to hit the slopes. We can’t always predict the weather, however, and it ended up being so snowy and windy that they closed a majority of the slopes. Jill and I had to make do with walking around town and occupying ourselves with planning an upcoming excursion to Spain. We came back to the house only to be assaulted by the three children on my supposed “day off.” We hightailed it to the bars shortly after dinner only to be accompanied by two of the dullest blokes in Laax. We tried a new scenario with me as a recording artist (hold your laughter) named Natazia and Jill as my chauffeur named Brandi but they were definitely not drunk enough and were actually interested in the details of our professions. We got bored of the lie and the night ended most excitedly with Jill and I climbing all over a snow machine at the bottom of the slope as if it were a Jungle Jim.

We were handsomely rewarded on Sunday with the most incredible day of skiing. After loading up on equipment and rentals we headed up to Crap Sogn Gion(St. John’s Rock). The best part about skiing with Jill is that we are the approximate same level and have no qualms about expressing our ineptitude. I have skied three times since being in Switzerland and before that it had been twelve years since I tore up a mountain. Being from Minnesota she is more inclined to cross-country ski. Therefore, we operated at the same level, which was fabulous for our self-esteem. We managed to shred run after run and had a blast doing it. The weather could not have been more perfect and the slopes weren’t overcrowded. After lunch at the self-service we decided to journey up to Vorab to take a long run down and finish out the day. We went down #43 in order to get there. I have only taken a lift previously and hadn’t attempted this run. Halfway down we discovered the remainder of the trail was closed and we would be forced to find our way down on a red (the second level). Let me pause to explain that unless the Dad is leading me down the mountain I stay away from reds like they are contagious. I am much more comfortable on blues (level 1) where I can pretend I know what I’m doing.

Returning to our predicament, after a solid 5 minutes of me laying in the snow replaying how we got ourselves into this mess we resigned ourselves to attacking this run. We take off down the hill, only to discover about 1/4 the way down that there are moguls; life-size moguls. So life-size, in fact, that Jill got stuck in one. As I am maneuvering myself down the mountain at a frustratingly low speed Jill says, “Are you ready to feel really bad about yourself?” I turn to see a child, not a day older than 7, whizz by me on skis. I’m pretty sure as he was turning the corner he did a spontaneous flip to congratulate himself on making me hate myself. Despite many a scowl from snowboarders who decided we had no business on this run (we didn’t!) we managed to make it safely down the hill.  Not a single wipeout the whole day! We imbibed in a well-deserved apres-ski treat at Crap Sogn Gion and drank in the view one last time. All in all, it was a successful trip that reminded me how much I truly enjoy skiing. I am getting closer and closer to the elusive status of “Snow Bunny.”

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4 thoughts on “Laax: Take 3

  1. Haha! Kristina I’m so happy you’re doing this! I can’t wait to hear more about your adventures! It’s making me sooo excited. I’m looking forward to a blog about your trip to Spain!! 🙂

  2. What a fun weekend! The skiing reminds me of a similar situation that found Vince and I on black diamond. Moguls can be frightening and humiliating as the rest of the world is flying by you. Vince went down on his butt. I managed to stay in an upright position.

    My favorite part was the flashlight. How about Mace? Are there animals in the woods? It all sounds so wonderful even with the down side of job responsibility. So Croatia & Greece and then Spain.Kee us posted.

  3. I enjoyed reading your post, found it entertaining and insightful. I was particularly intrigued by your description of most Swiss men as being painfully shy. I live in the states and while working at a large international bank a Swiss guy caught my eye and unbeknownst to me for quite some time I apparently caught his eye. Needless to say a quiet flirtation ensued akin to fireflys dancing around a light bulb. I’d previously made a very discreet inquiry about him approx. 3 mos. prior and he was described as being nice and quite shy. Well, I tend toward the shy side when I’m attracted to a guy. Now I’m a very realistic/practical person not living in a fantasy world. But in my heart I know if my contract hadn’t come to an end just as we were both beginning to step up our flirtation, that we would have hung out with one another outside of the office. Whenever we got in close proximity, he’d always manage a hearty hello, while his face flushed red and I too would blush. On the 3 occasions that I worked up the nerve to initiate conversation he was extremely receptive and smiling profusely as I was a nervous wreck attempting to look calm.
    Keeping in mind that I didn’t want to cross any boundaries at work. Upon the ending of my contract I took a passive aggressive i.e. cowardly approach and decided to send him a note with my contact info., later followed up with a brief email suggesting meeting for coffee on an upcoming weekend (putting the onus on him). Some of my male friends say if he’s that shy even this will not prompt him to call, but that I should make at least one direct contact via phone before throwing in the towel. The irony is that I’ve observed him conduct meetings with high level officials in finance on a daily basis as well as interacting with his female/male colleagues with ease. He will even watch me if i pass by the glass conference room when he’s in meetings (to be sure I happen by on a few occasions out of necessity). Lastly prior to his going on vacation to Switzerland, we had a brief conversation…upon his return I noticed he was passing by my desk frequently, and this was definitely odd as he had never used that entrance since I’d been relocated to that side of the office 2 mos. prior. He would walk by quickly usually I would only happen to look up and catch a fleeting glimpse of his back (no complaints as the view is stellar). This is a basic summation and since you have experience with Swiss culture/men in Switzerland I’m hoping to garner some insight from you. Sidebar: he’s Swiss-German and I am American black etc.

    • Wow! What a romance! While my factual knowledge is limited, I can say I’ve made many an observation on the behaviors of Swiss men. As I previously stated, they come across, to me, as very shy. Part of this, I learned, has to do with (warning: generalization!) many Swiss women being perceived as “rude” or “cold.” Some men aren’t ready to put themselves out there in order to be shot down or ignored. True story: some of my American girl friends were at a bar swaying to the beat of the music, and an outgoing Swiss guy approached them and said, “You know how we know you aren’t Swiss? You’re dancing.” I also found by living with a Swiss family, that not as much emphasis is put on talking about feelings and “sharing” in Switzerland as is in the States. We are much more open with our emotions, while they seem far more cool and controlled.

      That being said, I think you are making all the right moves with being a little “forward” with this fellow. It would appear he needs a little encouragement, for perhaps he is not used to being sought after. I think you were right to take the initiative and see where this could possibly go. I’m not sure if you are already home for good or have plans to return, but I hope you have a chance to see where this possible relationship could go. There’s something incredibly exciting about finding romance abroad 🙂

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