A lot of times when we ski, our goals are about the superlatives. What's the most verticle we can get in a day? What's the fastest I can get up the mountian in order to get back down the fastest? Do I need fattest skis in order to shred the deepest powder? Why do a one day traverse when I could do a four day traverse? If I'm doing that, perhaps I need the lighest bag.
I know I definitely get caught up in the superlative hype so it's nice when I get to go somehwere new and slow things down. Amongst the mountains of Engelberg are several gondolas that are owned and operated by local farmers. They aren't the newest gondolas nor are they the fastest. What they are is some of the quirkiest gondolas I have ever ridden.
A few weeks ago my roomate Sarah took Lee and I on a wonderful tour in the Bannalp area. A 30 minute drive out of Engelberg brings you to the base station of the Bannalp Gondola.
After a 700m lift the gondola deposits you at nearly 1,600m with amazing views of the the Bannalpsee and the Walenstöcke range.
Our route took us under the Chaiserstühl. We spent the first hour of the day on north facing slopes and had a wonderful ride down in the shade. It was so good that I forgot to even take my camera out of my bag and take a photo. You'll have to take my word for it, it was awesome.
The whole skin up we kept spotting our lines and looking for others that we wanted to come back and ride. By the time we started our descent it was warm, Really warm. So warm in fact that it was a challenge not going over the handle bars every 5 meters or so. That still didn't stop us from having a good descent.
The view was certainly nothing to sneeze at and made us forget how sticky the snow was. Alright, it wasn;t tha good. If you forget to lean back you would've doen a nose dive in seconds.
After our descent we ended up at a small farm. A small farm with a gondola. The famrer was working in the yard and showed absolutely no surprise when three brightly dressed skiers showed up speaking English in his back yard. In fact, he looked excited to see us.
This is also when I realised that my German was definitely not of this area. Sarah and the gondola owner spoke strictly Swiss German, most likely Nidwalden Swiss German, and I was a fish out fo water. A language within a language.
I'd like to thank the best roomate in Switzerland, Sarah, for showing Lee and I an awesome time on Bannalp. I hope we get to do it again some time!