Tag Archives: Nendaz

Top 10 Ways to Get Through a Low Snow Season


Here we are in the second week of March and the ski season hasn’t really started yet. Sure, it’s Snowmageddon on the East Coast, but that doesn’t help us out here. In fact, we really don’t want to know about the seven feet of snow that fell in Boston in 25 minutes. Believe me. Instead, we have our own ways of coping with a low snow season. Here’s my top ten.

1. Stop Looking at the Forecast. This one might seem counterintuitive. I’m usually a fanatical keen follower of the weather forecast. I’ve even shared my tips on how to be there for a powder day. Days, weeks and probably months of my life have been spent squinting at the forecast models, hoping to predict when the next snow storm will hit Crystal Mountain. But the persistent high pressure is getting monotonous. It’s starting to feel like a bully–pushing all of our would-be snow into God-knows-where. Not looking at the forecast can be liberating. Besides, what with all the amateur forecast/winter enthusiasts out there, it would be impossible not to hear about a storm brewing. So give the forecast models a rest. You’ll feel better.

Looking for Winter in Big Sky, Montana

Looking for Winter in Big Sky, Montana

2. Avoid Jaded Locals. This one might be easier said than done, especially if you live at a ski area. You might even be the jaded local mumbling into his beer about the bullshit, crappy lack of snow. If this sounds like you, skip down to number five. If it’s not you, avoid this guy like rain. He will only bring you down.

3. Pray to Ullr. When it comes to snow, I believe wholeheartedly in putting your mental powers to good use. I’ve been wearing (and rubbing and praying to) my Ullr pendant for months now. Obviously, I’m not doing it right. Maybe if enough of us start praying to the Norse God of Skiing, we’ll make some headway together. Here’s a great source for a beautiful Ullr medallion.

Find your happy place

Find your happy place

4. Earn Your Turns. Not to be Captain Obvious here, but when you spend most of your day hiking, and only a short time skiing, you don’t need as much snow to have fun. Plus, the upper bowls and ridges in the Cascades actually have plenty of snow, you just have to hike up to get to it.

5. Don’t be a Debbie Downer. We all know about the lack of snow. You don’t have to remind us.

6. Be Grateful for What You Have. If you haven’t been sleeping under a rock for the past decade, you probably know that gratitude is the fast track to happiness. So get out there and make some turns on the meager snow in the mountains and sing Hallelujah from the ridge tops. Either that or cue the opening scene from the Sound of Music.

7. Start a New Project. I’ll admit it. I’ve been neglecting this blog lately. Without fresh snow to talk about, it’s hard to maintain my enthusiasm (see Number 2). But I have a good excuse. I’ve been working on a novel. Every morning I look out the window at the sky. Nothing says I’ll just stay in and write 2,000 words today like drizzle on old snow.

8. Find a New Sport. Maybe this is the 43 pound tabby cat in the room. I’m not saying you should stop sliding on snow. But maybe this is the season to try a different variety. If you’re a skier, give snowboarding a try. Or snow skating (a snowy version of skateboarding, and it’s pretty sweet, and very difficult). Or mountain climbing. Or speed riding. Or skydiving. Reinvigorate those dopamine receptors by pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone.

9. Burn Your Skis. When in doubt, you can always have a raging bonfire, a keg of beer and burn some boards. Just don’t breathe any those nasty toxins.

Not a bad little spot to get away from it all. Nendaz, Switzerland.

Not a bad little spot to get away from it all. Nendaz, Switzerland.

10. Go In Search of Winter. Tried and true, this escape-hatch technique is a personal favorite. Hop on a plane, load up the camper/Subaru/Tacoma, or hitch up the trailer. It’s time to call upon those long-lost friends with a couch near some snowy hills.

Experiences Vs. Stuff


Hameau Les Cleves

Experiences are more important that things. I would rather spend my money and time on traveling to new places and meeting new people than buying the latest jeans or ski pants or even snow boots (although yes, I do have a soft spot for good snow boots–a girl needs quality footwear). That’s my story and I’m sticking with it anyway.

Last summer John and I planned a trip to the Alps for the winter. We weren’t sure on the exact location until we met some new friends–Eric and Corinne Mariethoz–who we met last summer on their trip to Seattle. They live in Nendaz, Switzerland–a ski village sitting on a terrace above the Rhone Valley overlooking Sion–and they invited us to come stay at their lodge.

Hameau Les Cleves is a mountain lodge nestled along the edge of the piste above the village of Haute Nendaz. Access from the parking lot to the chalet is inside the Haglund–a mililtary-style mix between a tank and a snow-cat (or “piste-basher” as they call it here), and once you reach your accommodation you never want to leave.

Swiss priorities

Nendaz is one of Verbier’s 4 Valleys, connected to some of the best skiing in the world. Later this week the Xtreme Verbier Freeride Tour will take place, and I can think of the perfect terrace from which to view the contest.

A few inches of new snow have freshened up the slopes and the forecast for tomorrow looks good for sun.

For the next few weeks I plan to soak in as much Fendant and Raclette Cheese and Vin du Valais as a girl can handle. There’s even a chance that we just decide to stay right here and never leave. Maybe Corinne and Eric need some help running their lodge. Perhaps the Verbier Patrouille de Ski need a non-french speaking patroller on their roster. Probably not, but a girl can dream.

I won’t be bringing back much in my suitcase in the form of souvenirs, except for maybe a bar or two of Swiss Chocolate. On the other hand, my heart will be full of new experiences and friendship.

And for that I’m most grateful.

P.S. While the words and posts for the next few weeks might be a little shy, at least the photos will be plentiful.