Friday, April 06, 2007

February 2007 - Zermatt, Switzerland - Skiing, Skating & Snowball Fights

A very kind English woman took this picture for us and it is one of our best. We're standing at the lookout at the Rothorn Paradise. Look at those big smiles, we had no idea a trail of moguls was the only way down.
There is Casandra with the Matterhorn and the Swiss flag waving in the background.We clearly enjoyed snapping pictures of the Matterhorn from every angle. Rothorn Paradise provided the best views of the famous peak and we were lucky to get up there on a sunny day.As we prepare for our descent, Casandra gets one more picture of Kenny looking like a Super G champion, in front of the Matterhorn. Don't tell Casandra the easy slope has been closed without warning and the remaining slopes range between deadly and suicidal.Kenny takes a picture of himself oh so proud to have conquered the moguls. Look in the distance for Casandra laying on the ground twisted like a pretzel. Lucky for us, we had pre-booked massages at the Mirabella Resort.After a rather rough day of skiing, we really enjoyed the Suneega Paradise which also offers beautiful views of the Matterhorn and about 30 other 4000+meter peaks.Casandra loves the escalator that takes her up to the bunny slope.Here is Casandra looking satisfied with her performance on Zermatt's least-challenging slope.After an expert run on the bunny slope, we were ready for something a little more difficult so we took the lift up to the top of Suneega Paradise.We stopped midway down the slope to take this great picture of the snow-covered mountains and the incredibly blue sky.
Casandra is ready to take-off down the mountain. She had this slope mastered.
And she's off . . . look her legs are almost parallel . . . no more plowing for her!
Tired after a full day of skiing, Kenny posed for one more great picture before we headed back to Zermatt for some apres-skiing.

We skiied the Gornergratt area on 2 separate days and we enjoyed both the beginner-friendly skiing and the scenic train ride to the slopes. Look at the snow-covered Zermatt captured from the window of the train.
Once in Gornergrat, we stopped at Europe's highest shopping mall. Not surprisingly, nearly all of the stores sold watches and the mall was packed with Japanese tourists.
So we headed to the lifts for some serious skiing. The Gornergrat area has an incredibly fast and covered chair lift that really maximized our time on the slopes.
As you can see, the weather up at the Gornergrat was a bit snowy and gray, but the skiing was amazing. We had never seen this much powder. Casandra says it was like falling in a cloud and she should know because she experienced several acrobatic falls. One time she even took 2 other skiiers down with her. She hit one behind the knees with her flailing pole and nailed another one with her airborne ski. No one was seriously injured and Kenny apologized profusely when he went to retrieve her ski equipment.
After a couple rough tumbles, we hit the Igloo Bar for some warm wine and cider. The Bar is warm and toasty and smells of cinammon and apples. After a little alcohol, we were ready to ski the rest of the way down. Casandra actually looked a little more coordinated.
From the Gornergrat area there are connections to the Schwarzsee Paradise via a line of really cool cable cars which offer amazing views of Zermatt and the small towns in the valley.

We skiied a little at Schwarzsee Paradise but the weather was down right miserable. The avalanche warning signs were posted on all the slopes and after 2 runs, we returned to the Gornergrat, but not before . . .
Kenny took this scary picture of himself in full ski gear. You can see there is very little visibility as the high speed winds were blowing the snow in every direction.We were so happy to be back in the warm cars of the Rifelberg Express. We took a break from skiing to try our luck with some other winter sports. We went down to the ice rink in the center of Zermatt and put on quite the skating performance. Here is Casandra warming up with the weighted penguin. Look for the 5-year she stole it from in the background.Kenny didn't need to warm up. He launched right into a combo of speed skating and ice dancing. I'm not sure if he is going to take off or do a pirouette.
Casandra got the hang of it and in no time she was speeding around the rink. Mother's watch out for your children!!!
Kenny picked up quite a bit of speed and used it to zip by the 12-year old girls practicing their triple luxes.
Look at this display of skill and grace.
And now for the grand finale (thank God for the camera's self-timer, could you imagine asking someone to take this picture). Then we waited for our scores from the judges . . . and the Murena - Perez team receives a perfect 10!

We spent one day just walking around Zermatt and snapping pictures of the Matterhorn. As we strolled we discovered a small park covered in about 4 ft of snow. Well, I don't know who started the snow ball fight, but I know who ended it. Scroll down.
We started off with small, not well-packed snowballs, we're from Miami after all.

But the snowballs got bigger . . .
and bigger . . .
and BIGGER . . .
and this fight became an all out WAR!!!
Kenny got unusually competitive, and . . .
nailed Casandra with this snowball. It hit her big Cuban asset and no damage was done, but Kenny won the snowball fight.
On our last day in Zermatt we explored a slope that descended from Rifelberg into the town of Zermatt. The trail and the forest around it were piled high with at least 5 ft of snow.
Kenny couldn't help diving in.
But getting up from that much snow isn't easy.
The only solution - kick off your skis and make some serious snow angels.
What better way to say good-bye to Europe's snowiest ski resort.

Then we headed for the sunny, green hills of Tuscany.

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