Friday, January 12, 2007

A hot winter green Alps

It is just so unbelievably HOT for winter!? With my coat on inside the car, I don’t even dare turn on the heater?

Anyway, we are pressed. Pressed to make a decision to book our winter sport holiday, but with the Dutchman’s 7th sense tightly screwed in its rightful place we made the conscientious decision to wait, and wait, and further wait... Until we have come to realize that the temperatures are not really going down. They remain steady and high above 0 centigrade. Weather check in the European Alps averages around 2C in the evening and 6C by day. Instead of snow, there’s just rain – yes, even in the Alps. *miffed*

Pictures above shows snow-capped slopes and a village burried under the thick snow in Mayrhofen in the Tirolean Alps, Austria - taken by the Dutchman last year January 2006 during our ski holiday.

Foto on the left is Mayrhofen today, a stark difference from last year, it is bare and green - taken by Jeroen van Alfen, I believe a few days ago, posted in lezersfoto [reader’s photo] section. Green Alps during winter, eh?

The other week, Dutchman went to Germany with the Dutch family to enjoy a full day of skiing in the Alpin Center, the longest indoor ski runway in the world (?) - about a 640-meter jump and stretch of man-made snow. I didn’t go with them because I am saving up my vacation leaves for other days. When they arrived at the ski hall, they were received by a VERY LARGE crowd. So large they could not get in. And even if they could, just wonder what it is like skiing elbow to elbow?

Dutchman called me from work that day, “Hey baby, you didn’t miss a thing!” and told me how incredibly full and busy the Alpin Center was so they left and had coffee some place else before returning back to the Netherlands, not having skied, and in their bulky ski outfits, lol.

Maybe they should have just gone to Snow World in Zoetemeer here in Holland instead?

Back on to the Alps story...

There’s actually snow in the Alps, in the higher grounds, not lower than 1500 meters and near the glaciers, to get it and enjoy it – enjoy being the key word here. One just can’t ski everywhere like what we did last year. The snow is also not deep enough, and these high resorts will definitely be crowded, and of course quite pricey.

To begin with, for a ski beginner like me, I am a danger in crowded slopes. So that’s not even a proposal to go. Please. Just keep me off from busy slopes and everyone will be fine.

However, even with the bad snow conditions, many ski resorts, especially the lower resorts, can always fall back on to their trustful snow canons for artificial snow. The drawback to this is - after a few hours, with the brilliant sun glowing down, the snow becomes squishy, or they melt and turn hard like ice, or the slopes become a white blanket with funny weird blotches of stone, grass and earth peeking through, which damages skis and boards by the way and makes skiing very dangerous.

To top all that, snow forecast looks very poor; there is “snow crisis” in Europe. I think Sam I Am would love to add green Alps into his green eggs and ham!

As a result of this capricious weather setback, we are tempted, and are now toying at the idea of going somewhere else warm for the winter holiday instead.

I have a couple of exotic countries that come to mind. It’s not the Philippines though; we are going there this summer, just somewhere nearby the European continent, where it’s not too far away from home.

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