Hello snow, goodbye cows

 

30th October 2012

Winter has come to our valley.  The flaming autumnal shades of the alpine forests have been quieted by a generous sprinkling of the white stuff, the comforting smell of burning wood fills the air at dusk as home-fires are lit, hands have disappeared into gloves or pockets, and the valley is suddenly extraordinary quiet. For most of the cows are gone. The melodious/incessant clanging of their gigantic brass bells (because you either love this sound or it drives you mad) has ceased as local farmers made the decision this past weekend to put their precious livestock away. I can’t help but feel sorry for these bovine beasts that get the very best of the Swiss spring, summer and autumn grazing their way down the lush mountainside, but are interned in barns for the full length of the winter.

As the snow fell purposefully on Sunday and farmers coerced their cattle off the land, I, and several thousand other runners, braved the elements and battled our way down the course of the Lausanne half-marathon from Vevey to Lausanne, following the footsteps of the marathon runners, who were on their return journey. With the temperature peaking at 1 degree Celsius, gusty winds whipping off Lac Leman, intermittent blocs of snowfall, and the resulting small crowd support, it was a tough and unseasonably cold race. Temperatures at this time of year are usually pegged at 11 degrees. I’m so grateful for merino wool.

As I trudged through small villages and past frosty vineyards, friends back in Valais wasted no time in dusting off their skis and touring boots and took to the pristine hills. While the lower slopes are obviously still pretty thinly spread, one can’t help but get excited that this appears to be the beginning of a base,  at least up high. And weather conditions are staying cold for the foreseeable future. TeleVerbier have announced that the ski lifts will be turning this weekend. There’s no doubting that the ski season is suddenly, excitingly, upon us. It’s time to swop out those running shoes for skis as our winter playground reveals itself. I have to say, I’m glad I’m not a cow.

Bramble Ski only has a handful of properties left for Christmas and New Year. If you’re thinking about a white festive season contact Bramble Ski urgently to secure your luxury holiday.

Photographs by Barry Cox.

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