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Into The Trees: A Big December in Switzerland

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It was already end of November. The sun was shining day after day and the temperatures put us more into a Coco de Rasta rather than Santa Claus feeling. The announced one-in-a-century-winter of the weathermen from the Muota Valley (Muotathal) in Switzerland was far away. It was December 16 by the time Mother Holle sent us not only a small packet, but a whole goose quill armada of the promised precipitation. There was more snowfall in the middle of December in the Valais than in the whole winter of 2010-11—joy beyond words.

However, the avalanche danger was almost as big as our joy and, for the time being, we couldn’t move in the mountains. A few days later, the situation was stable and Levi Luggen, Silvano Zeiter and I decided to go to the Obergoms. But during the train ride we heard rumors that the upper part of the valley would be closed due to the strong snowfalls. We were so close to powder heaven and still so far. A few phone calls at the train station at Geschinen later, we then decided to turn back. The risk of being caught in the valley for the next couple of days was a little too high.

Then, we noticed that the conditions further down the valley were also breathtaking. Though it continued snowing and the sun rarely appeared, it didn’t matter. The tree trunks at the “Chüehbode” forest, wrapped in snow and fern, gave us enough contrast to make our lines in hip-deep pow. Although we couldn’t ride any big faces in December, this was one of the best starts we have had in Switzerland in years.

Into the trees!

Riders: Levi Luggen and Sten Smola

Photos: Silvano Zeiter

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