Hi everyone! This is Kate, one of the winter volunteers from the USA. I’ve been having an incredible time living and working here at Our Chalet.
Some of my favorite activities happen out and around the Chalet in the beautiful Swiss alps. Besides the traditional downhill skiing, which I have been perfecting on my days off (I did my first black run on Saturday!), we can go sledding (or sledging for you UK folk), skibok-ing, and airboarding. There are lots of ways to slide down mountains!
Did you know that Adelboden has specially groomed pistes just for sledding? I’ve gone sledding at home, but the little hill at the local park is nothing compared to these mountains. One of my favorite day programs is to take a sled up Silleren mountain and sled down the piste (that’s about 5km long!). The best part is that you don’t have to walk up the hill again- just take the gondola back up to the top!
Night sledding on Tschentenalp is one of the best things I’ve done in the evenings. Every Saturday night they keep the gondola open until 9 to sled down the slopes in the dark. The Tschenten slopes are especially steep, but once you’ve done them once or twice to learn the twists and turns it’s super fun.
Sometimes you see some local kids going down the slopes on skiboks. A skibok is an Adelboden invention that is made of half an old ski with a wooden seat screwed to the top. When you ride them, you can go almost as fast as regular skiing. Of course, every time I’ve tried it I’ve just fallen over. This month I definitely want to work on my skibok-ing, though, so when I go home I can build one for myself and show off next winter!
On my day off recently I tried my hand at airboarding. An airboard is basically a bodyboard filled with air, or an air mattress with handles. You lie on it and slide down a hill. Head first (wear a helmet!). It was such an adrenaline rush! If youlove adventure then airboarding is definitely something to try.
I can’t forget to mention the awesome sledding that we do here at Our Chalet. The hill going from Baby Chalet to Main Chalet is perfect for sledding, and it’s nice not to have to go too far from home.
We have lots of different kinds of sleds at the Chalet to use. My favorite is affectionately dubbed “the little red thing” (the LTR). It actually has a handle for you to hold on to, and it has a hard plastic bottom that lets you go really fast even in the deep snow we have here!
Can you tell I love to sled? I think it’s wonderful how seriously the Swiss take their sledding. In the US, sledding is something done by children (and university students, at least at mine!). If you tried to take a sled up a ski slope people would laugh at you. But here you seepeople of all ages riding down the mountains. It’s great!
Who says you’re too old to have a little fun?
Kate Marie Kemmerer (USA)
Our Chalet Assistant – Winter 2013/14