A Travellerspoint blog

The snow didn't fall but the confetti did.

the swiss alpes and fashnacht carnivals.

sunny 20 °C

march brought little snow, (but we caught some of the best) but what it did bring was an overwhelming amount of confetti.

some of the highlights of march were ainsie onie comes to switzy, celebrating fashnact karnival with old swiss german men in lengenthal, watching Aurélien Ducroz rip down Bec des Rosses in Verbier at the Final Round of World Freeride Tour, and then skiing one of the best lines of the year right after that...oh and not to mention all the colors of confetti ever imaginable

SOOOONGS I LIKE TODAY: Chicago Sufjan Stevens and some Pretty Lights- Finally Moving

LET'S SKI:

16 days. 4 countries. 2 glaciers. 1 continent. thousands of feet. hundreds of centimeters of powder. = 2011 ski season in europe.

There were some of the most dramatic peaks and some of the most extreme terrain. Skiing the alps was awe inspiring. from the urner alps, to the saas fee basin, to the rhone-valley alps, every weekend i marched down my block (coincidence i live on rue des alpes?) , skis in hand, and boarded the train to the next ski adventure.

Gstaad Mountain Ride
A good day, snow was falling, trees were falling (a tree literally fell in the middle of the train tracks on our way up), oh and we were failing. managed to find a perfect run at the end of the day. we thought we were going to catch one more lift up to, but we didn't even make it in time to catch the last lift up to get back down. so instead of our last run through freshies we caught a ride down with some oldies ( and by that i mean we managed to hitch a ride with some handsome old french men) not too many pics from that day .
Gstaad

Gstaad

Engelberg
ohhh boyy engelberg was tres tres magnificent or how ever that would be said in swiss german. it had some of the most stunning scenery i have seen in switzerland and that is saying a lot because everything here is ammmaazing. but beside the stunning scenery it also includes some stunning amigos in particular ainns who came all the way from prague to rendezvous is the alps. we got it on with 2 days of skiing (terrain was awesome even though the snow was only fair) and an attic hostel with 7 russian and 5 swiss german men all sleeping on the floor like sardines. man i wish i had a picture of it. and i cant leave out all naked people is the saunna :)

Leah and Ains Hike

Leah and Ains Hike


Our Igloo Slumber

Our Igloo Slumber


Engelberg

Engelberg


Ski Graphics

Ski Graphics

Saas Fee
we drove up to saas fee for the apres and promising snow report and i would say it was well worth it. The white out conditions in the afternoon made it a bit challenging to ski but then we brought it in for some apres, gluehwien, and some hot coffee alcoholic drink i cant remember the name of. there was definitely some funs to be had -we found some favorable pillows and i became physically and mentally challenged on the tbar. (oh and steambooat colorado is their sister mountain!! how dooope is thaat!!)
Cold Beer

Cold Beer


Cold Leah

Cold Leah


Maaark

Maaark


Steamboat in Switzerland!

Steamboat in Switzerland!

Verbier
verrbss is extreemme! watching the world freeride championships just across the valley from where these incredible sexy athletes were ripping huge lines was sooo sick. and the vibe from the audience was equally as fun too- there was so many steeezy skiers... for once i felt at home (like whistler steezy lb's) in europe. after we watched some good lines and good falls in the morning, we sought some good lines and powdaah for ourselves. We certainly found some... thanks to mark we shredded some awesomeness (just an open bowl that finally had some snoowy and steepness) untill it got to tracked up and a bit avi riskkay. our last run down proved to be a bit sketchy a snow loaded couloir which had been facing the sun all afternoon. but it was fun till we got to shitty snow at the bottom.
leah and i went back to verbier 2 weekends later and found ourselves on a glacier... ill save that story for when i tell my children what they will never ever do.

Verbier Extreme World Freeride Championships

Verbier Extreme World Freeride Championships


Powwdaah

Powwdaah


Leah Stomppin.

Leah Stomppin.


Verbier

Verbier


The Couloir.

The Couloir.

overall verbier deserves: 2 thummbies up. and the season i give 4 thumbs up and 2 big two nails goone.

LET'S CELEBRATE:

March in Switzerland, isn't only ski season- it's festival season too!! (In Swizzz Germany Part) Fasnacht, the Swiss version of Carnival here i is the time of year when the normally peaceful and quiet Swiss people go a bit wild, dressing in elaborate masks and costumes and parading through the streets making noise and playing music.

The Fasnacht celebrations are held at different times in various cantons, but normally take place just before or after Lent. (We took advantage of the multiple weekends of celebration of course). The origins of the festival are a mixture of Christian and pagan traditions and have been held as they are today since the 19th century. The two most famous celebrations are in Basel and Luzern, but many towns host their own Fasnacht festivities throughout Switzerland.

Luzern and Zurich
Ainslie and I ventured into Luzern on the one day the party wasn't in its full force but we still managed to find some funny people in costumes, some loud band music, and some daytime breewski. Before that we wandered around Zurich- climbing trees and googling over yummy food in the markets.

Fabric Tree.

Fabric Tree.

Hanging on Trees

Hanging on Trees

Zurich Markets

Zurich Markets

Daytime Brewski.

Daytime Brewski.


Swiss Garden Clock.

Swiss Garden Clock.

Luzern Lake Time.

Luzern Lake Time.

Junk Tree.

Junk Tree.

Zee Drummers.

Zee Drummers.

Long Exposure.

Long Exposure.

Two of my Favorite People

Two of my Favorite People

All Smiles.

All Smiles.

Engelberg
Upon our arrival to our attic hostel we were asked the question' "so did you come here to ski or party?". welll i guess unaware it was the biggest party weekend of the year in engelberg that week, out answer was to ski... but we certainly didnt disagree to the party. It included fonduing, an attack of man pouring fake blood, more bands, and drunk women dancing on tables!!

Chandelier.

Chandelier.

Fasnacht!

Fasnacht!

Fonduing. (Yes its a verb)

Fonduing. (Yes its a verb)

Let the Music Play.

Let the Music Play.

A Group of Chickens.

A Group of Chickens.

Bern/Lengenthal
Our final fasnacht celebration led us to the Swiss capital, Bern with our Erasmus group. We explored Bern and all their Bears, caught up with Albert Einstein, and went scavenger hunting. Next, we took on the small town of Lengenthal and their very festive carnival celebration which wasn't so small at all. Literally pounds of confetti, alcohol, instruments, and parades. The theme was supposed to be fire- so Cara and I got creative and dressed up as cave(wo)men (we invented firre...duh)! For the parade the next day some nice Swiss German people dressed us in some very peculiar costumes.

Dodge the Jester.

Dodge the Jester.

Clock in Berne.

Clock in Berne.

Baby Eater.

Baby Eater.

What Ya Looking At?

What Ya Looking At?

Cute Wittle (Big) Bear.

Cute Wittle (Big) Bear.

Parade Time (from Einstein's Place)

Parade Time (from Einstein's Place)

Two Kids.

Two Kids.

More Parades.

More Parades.

Cave Men.

Cave Men.

Syringe Shot.

Syringe Shot.

Celebration!

Celebration!

Day After.

Day After.

Getting Dressed.

Getting Dressed.

Check Him Out!

Check Him Out!

Confetti

Confetti

Cara.

Cara.

Errrrybody.

Errrrybody.

Parade Timeee.

Parade Timeee.

mappy to come.

Posted by jbooth 02:29 Archived in Switzerland Comments (0)

A Month of Firsts

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Finally the four weeks of nomadic lifestyle have settled down. I am back in Genève or should I say, finally arrived. It has been all too exciting, even to the point where I found myself never with enough time to write about bits and pieces of my recent adventures. I always thought to myself interesting blurbs I wanted to let everyone in on but in the midst of thing all the stories I wrote in my head somehow never made it to the internet. Even so they are not gone perhaps just a bit abridged for the sake of time and the fact that I am sure your not all that interested in reading toooons of stories.

to see more pictures of the events click on that photo and then click slide show.

My First Time in Europe:

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(pondering ancient affairs in Pompei)
... and i found myself in Rome! How cool it was to witness one of the oldest empires first. We went on a couple of free walking tours around the city which proved extremely helpful it understanding the stratification of the built city. Coming from the west of North America, (Europeans especially) don't understand my (our) fascination with the archaic nature of their landscape and history. However, growing up in a city with only a hundred years or so of accounted history and city built mostly during the Industrial period, European cities have such a vastly different character. It was so exciting to be walking down the streets of Rome thinking back on the European History lectures. I could literally see the separate eras of time all textured together- the Roman Empire, Rome as the center of the Catholic Church, The Renaissance, Fascism- as a built reaction and expression of each other. We also adventured south to Pompei to see an even more ancient civilization that was abandoned and still entirely intact. WOW! it was so big and their lives were so integrated. While it was interesting to spend four hours wandering around forsaken ruins of an ancient civilization, Rome is so distinct. It has proven itself not to be obsolete after thousands of years and continues to build character each day...

highlights: keeping one eye open in Napoli (and eating the BEST pizza there), ancient map exhibit at the Vatican museum, looking out on to Rome at dusk from the Castel S. Angelo, la via with all the vintage leather & clothes shops, and duuh eating gelatooo

My First Time Dealing with Bureaucratic Issues: (in a foreign language)

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happy me finally with my swiss visa
Bureaucratic issues are never any fun no matter the situation... now add a language you are completely incompetent at to the mix and you have got yourself a whole new ball park. I won't ramble on about the series of events that almost led me into swiss prison (okkaayy a bit of an exaggeration) but none the less it was dramatic. Lets just say getting my visa was a loooooong ordeal that included 3 countries of paperwork, panic, numerous visits to the swiss embassy, sketchy maneuvering, unsent information, language barriers, train strikes, etc, etc,.. But as you can see from the above picture MY VISA IS IN HAND... now all i have to do is give EVEN more moniiiiess to the Swiss for my residence card. No wonder Switzerland is so wealthy. Oh and I wont even go into telling you about signing a lease in French went and the complexity of opening a bank account...

My First Time Hiking a Mountain to an International Boarder: (In Skis)

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Leah at the Col du Coux Summit conquering France and Switzerland (France in the Background)
upon my arrival to the alps with snow barely enough to cover the ground there were some lessons to be learnt: number one being that i until then had never truly skied on ice. But I feel now I truly understand what people mean about skiing 'back east' ... it's a whole new ball park... especially when your riding it on powder skis. After, I felt I had conquered the ice, or to the best of my abilities Leah and I moved on to what some may consider more torturing then skiing on ice, but I believe was one of the most enjoyable days I have had yet. We talked to a guy in a ski shop who told us where there was some nice off piste, but he said 'it is no good now, why would you want to go there today' but we decided to go anyways. It wasn't for the thrill of skiing down. Yeah, it would of been a million times better if the turns down were through fresh pow instead of what seemed like a luge course, but there is no denying that after walking for four hours in skis and then finding yourself at dusk on a beautiful mountain ridge separating two countries is absolutely incredible...

My First Time Parasailing

P1020770.jpg
hey there sky
... was completely breath taking. I was expecting a huge thrill kind of like the feeling when your at the top of a mountain scoping a line that makes you feel really nervous but so stooked and excited... weeell parasailing wasnt like that and maybe it was because it was completely out of my hands... but floating in the air over mountains and house was incredible. i felt like a bird floating down a valley. it was funny because it was such not a big deal we got in a van with these french men that we could barely communicate with, drove up a mountain, got out of the car... they took a pee right there in front of us, we got in our harnesses, they told us "run!", we started running, and that was it- we were in the air, gliiiiiddiingg, no explanation, no safety instructions, no signing any forms...

My First Time Eating Swiss Food

IMG_3993.jpg
cheezzy. chheeesy. yummmay. chhheeezy.
there were so many discussion leading up to my deflowering of swiss food... how had i never had fondue? well have no fear i have now tried it and boy was it yummy. I had Raclette first then Fondue at two quaint little swiss restaurants. oh and i cant forget about the bombest onion soup and every time i hafta have some creme brulee for dessert!!

My First Time Conquering a Glacier

IMG_4078.jpg
bottom of vallee blanche - glacier coming down from aiguille du midi in chamonix. there has been massive glacial retreat over the last 100 years.
You get to a ski mountain and there is always a certain period of time you need to figure it out. It took Leah and I a good 5 days in Chamonix... mostly because it is so spread out. On our 2nd day Leah and I wanted to make our way over to the italian side of the mountain which we thought we could do by just taking a lift up, traversing to another gondola, and then riding over... turns out it is not that easy. While we waited in line for the gondola up we noticed we were the only ones not wearing a harness at minimum... most people were carrying ice picks, crampons, rope, i think you get the idea... after about 10 minutes of worrying to ourselves we decide to ask some one what the deal was... well despite what the map may look like it was not possible to simply get to the italian side by this gondola- first of all skiing at the top of aiguille du midi is super dangerous if you have no knowledge of where crevasses may be and further more the lift we were shooting to get to wasn't even open during the winter (huuuh?) Anyways, Leah and I being the adventure whores that we are decided we NEEDED to go conquer these crevasses and shredd epic glaciers so we hired a guide Pierre a little old french men who had been guiding in chamonix for 40 years (talk about skiiiii BUMMM). well boy did we rip glacier. it was surely the deepest snow we rode during our whole trip. (lucky us it snowed the night before!!) we saw amazing glacial formations (geology student heaven), arêtes, depressions, crevasses, séracs, as well as magnificent mountain views. we witnessed a helicopter rescue- someone was literally pulled up by a harness and rope into the helicopter 10 feet away from us.

highlights: our guide pierre, riding knee deep pow, walk down from the cable car on the icy exposure ridge connected to each other by rope...

NOT My First Time Partying with these People (BUT ALWAYS A GOOD TIME)

IMG_4109.jpg
flip cup night!
nothing more needs to be said...
highlights: stealing drinks from dave the aussi, bar sweeps and drinking beer with mint, getting to see pippy, teeny-tiny clubs with smaller bathrooms and lots of hooker dancers, family club dinner turned flip cup, stealing posters, 5 litre pints, and hitch hiking to almost switzerland and back...

Certainly this last month has been incredible, I feel so overindulged with all the opportunities I was given-especially since in my time spent on the train between cities I read the most amazing narrative, Infidel, written by a Somalia woman, refugee and activist who truly found her own way when she defied a forced marriage and moved to the Netherlands. This story is true independence. I can’t express how much I still feel as though I take these opportunities to travel, ski, learn, and observe the world for granted and even more so since reading this book. If anything it has made me so excited to be living in Genève, a city rich in multiculturalism, international law, and human rights activism. Infidel was such a perfect pretext to my studies here, which I more or less stumbled upon with no abundance of interest in international relations, or relations between humans and their space. However, I am ready to embrace the education I am about to receive, learning from prestigious political science professors, visiting important world organizations and participating in some of their events, meeting with significant scholars, politicians, organizers, and simply yelling with my Moroccan neighbors who shout at each other far into the night…

music on the radar these days:
Random Song That Doesn't Fit- Gabriel Stark

ohhh the places we go...

click on the map to zoom & the green dots for details of zeee trip. yeee haw.

Posted by jbooth 13:47 Archived in Switzerland Tagged mountains_travel_parties Comments (0)

Au Revoir Vancouver

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finally finished with 4 out of 5 finals. and i have to say i am relieved. GIS was beginning to take over my life.

i can't believe the term is over... every term i spend here seems to go by quicker then the next...
and the end of this term means the beginning of a wild willd adventure. here begins (well my blogging) of my travels abroad. I have to say that this process of studying abroad is a long one which began last winter as I spent christmas in mexico dreaming about spending the next winter season riding infinite amounts of powder in the alps... and NOW it is finally here and its hasn't even hit me yet in the slightest. all i know is i will be studying at Geneva International Study Program at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, i dont have a place to live yet, i speak a few sentences in French, and (here's to cliches) I am ready for an adventure, so bring on the funs...

but some good byes are definitely in order first...

good bye suushi overdose.

sushi.jpg
I am definitely going to miss the sushi overload that is available at such an economical price in vancouver. if i have ever had an addiction i am going to go ahead and say its too sushi. my room mates and i have had a recent obsession with a small place on broadway and macdonald called hooshi sushii. yum yum i will definitely miss it. (oh and them?)

good bye whiissy.

DSC06667.jpg
goood bye my favorite spot on earth- whistler winter wonderland. i would leave you for the alps, in the la nina year, the year when "meteorologists are marking colder-than-normal winter temperatures with heavier precipitation, especially across western canada". i promise whis, our full time love affair can pick right up again when i return... i have zero doubts. plus i have one last weekend with you starting tomorrow and i can't wait to ride you to pieces :)

good bye amigos.

IMG_1683.jpg
good bye van people, its been too many funs as always but i will see you soon. and even sooner to those of you coming to chamonix (KATE!!?). yaaay. to my roomies thank you for all the very lucky and amazing times we have had on the thirteenth floor. and i am sure your new roomie will be just as beautiful and charming as meee (or as smelly and funkky as kate?), either way...

on ma playlist right now: Roshambo by Keller Williams (good song for studying)

now some whistler. a french exam. pack my stuff. and home to colorrado for some christmas lovin. i'll keep you updated.
oh and since i am a geography major ill even show you where i am going. ( i had to include the last trip to whis.)

ohhh and please comment and leave me messages!!

Posted by jbooth 16:56 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

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