Europe: Geneva, Leysin, and Champery, Switzerland.By Kurt “How to get the mag to subsidize your dream trip” Hoy
Wax my board or sit at the computer typing? A French keyboard doesn’t make the thought any more enticing-not too mention the beer on the monitor, but here goes. Live from Europe it’s …
Been a crazy beginning, only four of twenty four days on the road and I’m already wondering what’s so special about snowboarding in North America-nothing, I guess. I started off in Geneva, Switzerland, which is only about an hour from almost every killer resort you’ve ever heard of (and a ton you’ve never heard of).
Traveling over here is super easy, the trains will get you right to the resorts for pretty cheap; but I still rented a car because I’m American. At only 650 dollars, how could I not? But then I haven’t put any gas in it yet-about four bones a gallon.
Swiss photog, Stefan Hunziker, ferried us (I’m cruising with Coloradans Jason Troth and Christian Robertson, right now.) around Geneva-the skate park, some tourist stuff-while Jason and I tried to fend off the lag du jet and waited for Christian to arrive. As a note, there are two train stations in Geneva, and in a lot of the bigger towns. I, of course, made plans to simply meet Christian at THE train station sometime on the sixth, setting the stage for a long and confusing first day. Now we know.
From Geneva, we pinned the Opel Omega to Leysin on a midnight drive-take the north road along Lake Geneva to save some time. Leysin is a cool little town, real typically Swiss. You know, quaint. Nice people everywhere and not at all hard to find those who speak English. This is especially good since our hotel, Le Grand Chalet, pretty much exhausts my French vocabulary. Jason and Christian’s French? C’mon, they’re from Colorado.
We didn’t hit Leysin too well for snow, but the huge gray rock towers and rotating Bernuese restaurant were cool to check out. When it gets good there, it’s got to be unreal. On Tuesday, it began to rain so we decided to pack up and aim for higher ground. As we checked out of Le Grand Chalet (I like saying that), we were told that all the Swiss riders stay there while in town-Gian Simmen, Berti, all those guys-we really weren’t worthy.
Champery was the first taste we got of real Europe-style riding. When buying a lift ticket, you can choose either the immediate area’s 36 lifts or the whole deal-212 lifts and all the connected villages. We were all stoked to drop into France for lunch at Avoriaz; thought that would be really international. But the weather was still raging (at least not raining anymore, though), you couldn’t see anything because there are no trees, and the lifts to Avoriaz were closed. Located a few good powder stashes, though, and settled for lunch (crepes and ham and cheese sammies) in Les Crosets, Switzerland-pretty sweet.
When the storm clears it’ll be killer, we needed the new snow over here. For now, no more making fun of people for staying on the pistes all the time-when the visibility goes on big mountains, it’s gnarly.
If there are any really unusual typos in this report, it’s the keyboard. Bad spelling? All me. Tomorrow, fumbling through Chamonix-our cast of monoidiomatic Americans live the dream on the Grand Montets and while-away the morning hours at snowboarding’s ground zero, The Cantina. Later, Kurt