Winter Wonderland Lenzerheide

Oh man, this was my first long weekend off in a VERY long time and I loved it. Most of you know my love for the Swiss mountains, but due to COVID, I wasnโ€™t able to organize tours or train in Grison. Thus, this weekend back in Switzerland was very special to me and I fell in love with everything & everyone all over again. I really missed this and still have happy tears in my eyes. ๐Ÿ—ป๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿฅบ

Some might argue how irresponsible of me, traveling to a high risk country. But seriously, I am fully vaccinated, regularly test myself and I was mostly outdoors. The risk of getting buried underneath an avalanche was so much higher than getting or transmitting any virus. So please, we all need to take a break for two or three days every once in a while and simply breathe.

Snowshoeing or Winter Hiking in Lenzerheide

I initially wanted to hike and climb up to the Rothorn. Well, that plan didnโ€™t really work out. ๐Ÿ™ˆ On day one it was snowing like crazy. Even with snowshoes you would have sunk into deep snow, it was freezing cold and there were moments when you couldnโ€™t see much. Hence, we decided to simply do a different tour and would try again the next day.

On Sunday the weather forecast was very promising: blue skies and lots of fresh powder. ๐Ÿ˜ However, avalanche risk levels 3 and 4. Our initial route was closed, but we wanted to see how far we could go. So, we put on our three to four layers, packed our gear and went up to 7th heaven. Up to Scharmoin, everything was easygoing. Majestic views, gorgeous mountain ranges, inhaling fresh, cold mountain air. For me, this was pure wellness. ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ˜Œ

But off-piste the avalanche risk was very high. Even the snowshoe panorama trail was closed.

Avalanche Risk Level 4

We already checked the avalanche report beforehand and I always use the app โ€œWhite Riskโ€ so that we knew that we might not be able to climb up to the top.

The under layers in the snow were weak and on top of that a lot of snow has fallen, often in combination with a lot of wind. This makes the chance of triggering avalanches very high. Also at a distance. We knew that if we were going off-piste, we needed to stay far away from slopes of 30ยฐ or steeper.

Staying on the open skiruns or trails was our best bet. But this also meant that we had to cross three slopes. Crossing them on a sunny Sunday was like crossing a German highway during rush hour. Not cool at all. Watch, sink into deep snow, get out of your snow hole and run as fast as you can to the other side of the slope.

Rothorn Lenzerheide

We would have needed to hike up another 400 m to reach the summit, going off-piste. But at around noon, dark clouds were rising, accompanied by a strong gusty wind. Even if we took the cable car at Motta, we wouldnโ€™t have managed it. With avalanche risk level 4 we decided to be better safe than sorry.

So, no, we didnโ€™t reach the mountain peak of the Parpaner Rothorn (2,899 m), but that is alright. We have no regrets and still enjoyed ourselves with these gorgeous views. That is the thing with Mother Nature: you need to go with the flow, always check the risk factors and put safety first.

Maybe next time. ๐Ÿ—ป๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญโ„๏ธ๐Ÿ˜Œ

Total elevation gain: 1,237 m, 36,7 km.

Unwinding at the Zauberwald

In between our snow adventure, we visited the Zauberwald. It still is my favorite Christmas market.๐ŸŒฒ ๐ŸŽ…๐Ÿฝ And especially in crazy times like these I wanna support the locals and be grateful for moments like these, cherishing the little things in life. My heart goes out to all local farmers, wood workers, local mountain huts, craftsmen and any other local supplier. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ’—

Check out this yearโ€™s impressions.

I hope you all get to rest over the holidays – at least for a few days. And remember: stay healthy & happy and always be kind to each other.

xoxo

Winter Tour on Thanksgiving Weekend: Stolzenberg & Rosskopf at Lake Spitzingsee

Man, this is the best Thanksgiving gift ever: lots of snow and the mountain trails all to myself. ๐Ÿ—ป๐Ÿ’—

You can take different routes on this tour, none of them is particularly difficult. However, there are some pretty steep passages, which makes the route I took more suitable to endurance hikers. For those who are not used to mountain tours in snowy conditions, I recommend hiking poles. Spikes are a must on this tour.

Though it was mostly cloudy and it was snowing all day long, I had a blast. Snow is just my element. I could have it all year round. ๐ŸŒฒ๐Ÿ—ป๐Ÿ˜Œ

Afterwards, I simply relaxed at the Arabella mountain Spa at lake Switzerland and fully enjoyed my first Sunday off in a very long time. ๐Ÿ’— And in two weeks, I will even have a whole long weekend off, going back to Switzerland. ๐Ÿ˜Œ

xoxo

photo credits ๐Ÿ“ท: Munich Mountain Rebel, Arabella Alpenhotel Spitzingsee

Video

How To Survive an Avalanche

Each year in the Alps between 90 and 110 people are killed by avalanches. Most of these accidents occur in France, Switzerland, Italy and Austria. Suffocation is the number one cause of death. Trauma, or injuries suffered in the avalanche, is the second leading cause of death. (source: SLF)

I love to go off-piste, being out there all alone, mostly by myself. But over the years I have become more careful, no longer take unnecessary risks. From December 30th till January 5th I will be back in Davos, enjoying the great powder in the Swiss mountains always making sure to check the weather and snow conditions before going on my tours and at the same time taking along my avalanche safety kit as well as my BCA slope meter.

No matter how adventurous you are, safety comes first. Just check out the story by Travis Rice. He was darn lucky, but not all trips like this have a happy ending…. So please, make sure to take the necessary precautions before heading out to the backcountry.

Buy and always wear an avalanche beacon, a small radio that will transmit your location to rescue crews. Never leave without it.

What to do when you see an avalanche

If you ever see an avalanche, make sure to follow these five steps:

  1. Never try to outrun it. Move to the side and if you can, grab something sturdy.
  2. Try to stay on top it. Some people say, you need to swim, but actually you need to fight light hell to stay on top, if you don’t have one of these airbags in your backpack.
  3. Keep one arm above your head as the avalanche tosses you around.
  4. Make sure to cover your mouth and nose with one hand to get a little space of air. As soon as you stop moving, quickly work to open a space in front of your face. Not only will this pocket give you room to breathe, it will give you space to spit. Note where gravity carries your spit, then dig in the opposite direction. This can save your life.
  5. BREATHE calmly. The natural instinct for anyone buried by an avalanche is to get pretty nervous, but if you can keep your head, you can stay alive. In most cases, victims have a 15-minute window in which they can carve out areas to breathe under the snow.

When chasing another adrenaline rush off-piste, always check the local weather and avalanche reports to know what to expect.

So, stay safe, everyone and enjoy this magical powder season.

xoxo