The Spatial Experience – Oberalp Pass, Switzerland

Sten Smola shares the second trip of his environmentally conscious alpine endeavor, The Spatial Experience, this time riding the rails to Switzerland’s Oberalp Pass where Smola and friends discovered a fondness for Canada’s take on the Swiss national dish, and learned once a again that persistence and a drive to climb higher wins out against lackluster conditions.

Smola provides some insight on the trip and recent dry spell in the Alps:

“[The season] began very promising and with lots of snow last November, but in the meanwhile, it leaves a lot to be desired: what a lousy winter. The Swiss Alps are drying up and remind me more and more of the Sahara. I feel like a Bedouin who is searching for wa-ter. There is one good recipe to cope with such a desolate dry spell: Fondue, fun and moun-tain magic! When Jurek Ruppen and his Canadian friend Bernard Kowalski surprised me in my chalet with a kilogram of cheese, I knew that this would end up in a funny affair. Since this evening I am in doubt about the fact that Fondue is a Swiss national dish… If you meas-ure the amount of cheese that Bernard ate that evening, I would rather go for a Canadian dish. Apart from the cheese, we all contained ourselves when it got to Kirsch and white wine, cause we wanted to get up for powder-hunting the next day.

“The following morning, Raffi Schmid and Seb Bumann joined us on our promising mission and we all took the first train in the direction of Oberalppass. What a luxury: a train that brings you up on an altitude of 2000m. But, unfortunately, the look out of the window was not that remarkable. All hillsides around us seemed to be blown off and dark clouds pulled up from the south. However, we assumed [there would be] powder some hundred me-ters difference in altitude higher. That’s why we began to hike up to the peak despite the up-coming fog and the frosty wind in our faces. In our luggage we not only had our snowboard stuff but we had a big portion of uncertainty, because we did not know if our trip would end up successful. True to the motto: Nothing ventured, nothing gained! Against our doubts we were rewarded for our endurance and staying power. As ordered we were welcomed in the peak slope of our trip destination with finest powder and a sunshine loop in the cloudy sky. What a magic bowl! Sadly, such lucky conditions are not thick on the ground. That’s why we now wait patiently for Mother Holle’s mercy and that she sends us a huge packet from the sky!”


Photos: Raffi Schmid


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