Half term holiday in February = our annual Ski trip.
This year, being our last Winter in Europe, we wanted to go somewhere spectacular, and Phil chose well.
Zermatt, in Switzerland in the nearest town to the Matterhorn, and is near the border with Italy. Our apartment had a great view of the Matterhorn and right in the middle of town.
The town of Zermatt looked like a town of gingerbread houses covered in icing sugar!
There was heaps of snow, and the skiing was fantastic. We had blue skies for 3 days, and cloudy conditions and then heaps of fresh snow for the rest.
On the train to Gornergrat....
The half term break happens to be the busiest week of the season (so we found out, when we tried to book ski lessons), and there were no ski lessons available at any of the ski schools. We found out that even one month in advance most of the schools are fully booked for this week.
*Note to anyone who is planning a trip to Zermatt, book ski lessons in advance!*
There were a few spaces left in an advanced technical class, so we decided to book Phil into those, which meant Phil was up early and off to 'class' 4 mornings of our week.
It worked out really well. In the mornings Phil would head off to the top of the mountain for ski lessons for 3 hours. Alexander, Cameron and Nicole had a leisurely breakfast at the hotel and then went up the mountain to ski blue runs and red runs together. We would all meet up for a few runs together and then have lunch. Nicole would head back into town to relax, while Phil, Alexander and Cameron skiied the afternoon on more difficult runs. Then we would meet up later.
On one of the runs was this great igloo! Fantastic view of the Matterhorn as well!!!
A quick rest as we get back to the top of the run on the chair lift..
Wednesday was a free day, and Phil had decided to take the kids over the top of the Kleine Matterhorn into Italy. Unfortunately the weather turned, and the winds picked up, and many of the ski lifts were closed for the day. Instead they did lots of runs in other parts of the mountain areas and managed to ski 44 kilometres that day!
The kids love to go off piste, and play in the moguls.
Our ski passes were great. Phil found out about the Zermatt website where you can find out how many kilometres we skiied each day. You type in the number on your ski pass, ans it brings up how many vertical metres you skiied each day, and how many kilometres...it was great to check them out each evening before dinner!
Here are our totals....
Phil, skiied 213 kilometres, and skiied 31,360 vertical metres.
Nicole skiied 95 kilometres and skiied 12,471 vertical metres
Alexander & Cameron skiied 164 kilometres and skiied 25,138 vertical metres.
On Friday afternoon all the lifts were running throughout Italy, so Phil took the kids skiing over the border. It was a quick visit as we were not sure how long the ski lifts would be running. If they got stuck in Italy, it would be a 300 euro taxi ride back, or an overnight stay somewhere in Italy!
Skiing in Italy....scenery kind of looks the same doesn't it! There was about 20cm of fresh snow on the pistes and the boys had a great time.
On the way back Phil and the boys made it over the border and had to ski back across the glacier in white-out conditions. Skiing from one pole on the side of the piste to the next is not the best fun, according to the boys! However, the boys had been hanging out to ski over the border and were really happy to have achieved it. They were only upset to learn that the ski measurements from the ski passes don't register their Italian distances, only their Swiss ones!
In the gondala up the mountain again...
After we took all the ski hire gear back, we went for a walk through the town. A Swiss Bobsled was in the middle of town...after watching bobsled on TV of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, we think we will stick to skiing!
We had such a fantastic ski trip....none of us wanted to go back home...we would like to stay one more week!!!