Day 177 – Saturday – Off to Zermatt
We took a noon flight to Geneva to catch the 3:20pm train to Zermatt. The plane arrived early enough that we were able to catch the 2:20 train. That was a plus as it would give us time to rent skis at night, which would save us time before the kids early ski lessons in the morning. The downside was we did not have enough time to buy lunch for the family. The trip is 4 hours with one change over and all we had were two sliced apples that I cut in the morning and 4 clementines. While enjoying the views, we finished what we had. On the change over we found a vending machine and got 4 Belgian style waffles and 4 bags of chips. Hey, it’s better than starving.
The second train started heading deep into the mountains with insane views in every direction. Josh and Jonah high on their sugar energy did not sit the whole ride.
When we arrived in Zermatt, our hotel picked us up in an electric small box car. Electric box vehicles are all that are allowed in Zermatt. After checking into our rooms, we went to a sushi restaurant that was packed with apres skiing and lots of drinking. Luckily for us, our table was downstairs in a private room. The meal was great. We also got our first introduction to the ridiculously expensive prices of food in Zermatt. Makes food in any ski resort I have been to out West look cheap.
Day 178 – First Day of Skiing – The Missed Lunch (Sunday)
Our hotel was right across from the Sunnega “lift.” Which in fact was a train that was underground and went 1.5 miles up the mountain. It felt like we were going in a rocket ship. It goes up at a 90 degree angle in what feels like 700mph and lasts for 4 minutes. The ski school met at the top and, as a result, I had to take the kids up solo as Kelli was not skiing. She helped bring the kids to the entrance of the lift and I took them up the rocket.
School started at 9am each day, which was quite a feat to get there on time between getting kids up, getting dressed, eating breakfast in the hotel, and taking the lift up. And Josh and I are the only early risers in our family. We arrived a few minutes late, but I was able to get all 3 kids settled into their groups. I had the next 3 hours to ski the slopes myself.
My first Swiss skiing experience was taking the gondola up and meeting some Americans (lots of them there btw) who were then taking the cable car up to the tippy top (about 10,500 feet) of the mountain. I decided to follow their lead. I got in the huge cable car that fit 150 people and we were off. It was very high and very scenic.
The next 3 hours of skiing were great. Met the kids at 12 and I decided to only get them snacks, as we were meeting Kelli and two other families at a restaurant on the mountain at 2:15. We realized that the only way to get to that mountain from ours was to go to the bottom, take a bus to the other side, take a chairlift up and ski to the restaurant. Suffice to say, at 2pm when we tried to make this happen, all three kids were hungry, tired, and just wanted to go back to the hotel when we got to the bottom.
After much whining, including Josh screaming at me “I hate you” on the bus, we were almost there. As we got off the bus, we realized that Jonah had left his helmet and goggles on his seat. That was the final straw. I felt like I was being pulled in too many directions and we ended up heading back to the room. Meanwhile, I heard from Kel and the crew that lunch was amazing between the food, the wine and the views. Oh well! On another note, Kel did a 35 minute hike up the mountain trail and back to get to and from lunch. She was proud of herself.
We got back to the hotel, ordered food in the lobby, and got our next lesson on the costs of food here. A $32 burger for Joshua! The kids went into the pool for hours, and Josh and Jonah ate lunch in their robes, happy as can be. I looked at Josh and said, you remember when you said, you hate me an hour ago? He looked at me, smiled, and said, “not any more.”
As Kelli headed back from lunch, I ended up meeting her for an Apres Ski drink and left the kids in the room. We then went for a quick walk around Zermatt. What a cute, high-end town, filled with character. Towards the end, we saw a pizza place and brought back dinner for the kids and us.
What a full first ski day!
Day 179 – Kel’s Ski Lesson (maybe her last one, but it’s all good) (Monday)
I took all 3 kids up the underground train lift for their 9am lesson with Kel’s help once again. Afterwards I was able to meet up with some of our friends and their kids to ski in the morning. They were good. I mean really good. It was fun to once again be in a ski crew with aggressive, fast skiers. It reminded me of my childhood.
At 12pm, I picked up the kids, and Kelli met us as her lesson was at 1pm. We had a quick lunch, and Kel was honest that she was once again petrified to ski. She admitted she was doing it more for our kids than for herself and she was already ready to give up. It was a familiar scene, as we went through the same experience on our ski trip last year.
Finally, she built up the courage to ski, and I skied with the 3 kids. Towards the end, Leila was so exhausted and was not happy with how fast the boys were going on the hills. We got back to the food area and met Kelli for an end of day snack. She did a great job skiing, but she just felt at the end of the day, it is not for her. She doesn’t want it enough, to deal with the stress and anxiety she feels from it. I get it.
That night we had a quadruple date with 3 other couples from Barcelona who were in town. We got a local babysitter who was also a ski instructor. It was great to see the kids interviewing her with non-stop questions about her life when we left, and fast asleep when we got home.
Day 180 – The Amazing Lunch (Tuesday)
Leila decided to take the day off from skiing, so I took the boys solo to their lessons at 9am. Josh was a bit nervous as he was moving from the red group to the black group. Kel took Leila for a walk and then to the town ice skating rink with two friends and their daughters. At 2:30pm there was another planned lunch with our friends on the mountain, and at first I opted out based on how it went the first day. However, after skiing alone with the boys for a bit, I knew it would be the perfect family thing to do, as it would be a nice break for the day. Kelli and Leila, and the other moms and daughters took the train up and then did a 30 minute hike down to the restaurant.
When I got there, we had to go down to the restaurant from the trail and then all of a sudden, I realized why. It was situated perfectly with a view of the Matterhorn. The weather was gorgeous without a cloud in the sky, the food was delicious, and the wine was flowing. It was amazing.
Afterwards, I skied down with Jonah and he wiped me out when I tried to stop him from falling. I bruised my hip badly. At least I had some wine in me…..
That night we all needed a break. Kids ordered pasta to the room and we ate quickly at the salad bar at the restaurant downstairs.
Day 181 – The Storm (Wednesday)
Jonah woke up and was exhausted from the day before and could not get his little body to go skiing. I took Leila and Josh on the bus to the other side of the mountain which is where their lessons were for the next 3 days. It was also much colder than it has been and it was snowing and windy.
It was a lucky thing for Kelli because she was supposed to go on a snowshoe hike on the top of the mountain with three other women. They said because of the storm and the winds, it was unbearable. Josh and Leila were frozen on the mountain. To be honest, so was I. I kept coming in for breaks as my fingers were numb. I saw a lot of ski schools inside too. I guess everyone was feeling it.
When the lessons were over, Leila and Josh were in agreement for once. They were done. Frozen to the bone. We headed back to the hotel and decided to have a family lunch. Josh and I ate alone, and Kel, Jonah and Leila ate together. Long story short, Josh did not have patience for everyone else, and as a result, Kelli did not have patience for him. So we seperated.
Later in the day, Kel ended up going to the ice skating rink with Leila and Jonah, and Josh and I hung at the hotel. Suffice to say, Josh was not happy when he heard that. This time, he hated Kelli. We had an early reservation at a hibachi place for dinner that hit the spot for us all.
Day 182 – The View from 12,700 Feet (Thursday)
Leila took the day off. My plan was to either ski with Jonah and Josh to Italy for the day, or if the gondola on top was closed due to high winds, they would take a lesson and we would ski afterwards. It was closed in the morning, so I dropped them off and went off for my solo morning of skiing.
Within an hour, it re-opened and I decided to go to the top of the mountain. It was worth the experience. The top is a glacier, there are no trees anywhere, just openness. It was such a cool feeling. It was a bit windy and cloudy, and I was in full gear. I took the elevator to the observation deck and then walked the rickety stairs the rest of the way. I felt like I was climbing to the top of Everest. Also, on the way down, the views were spectacular. I just could not get over it.
After her lesson, Leila decided to hang with Kelli. I skied with Jonah and Josh in the afternoon for a few hours and then we headed back to the hotel. We had an early dinner at an Italian restaurant. Once again the food hit the spot, and the kids were very happy with their nutella pizza for dessert.
By the way, the town of Zermatt itself is just lovely. Walking in town each night to and from dinner was half the fun.
Day 183 – Hitting the Slopes Hard with Josh (Friday)
For the last day of skiing, Leila and Jonah were already tapped out and wanted to take the final day off. So I took Josh for his lesson. I decided to find the toughest terrain I could and ski hard. I found off trail snow in the trees that was great, as well as a few hidden bump runs. Josh, had a great final lesson, and I was told by his instructor he was the strongest in his group. This was huge for him, as this was the highest level for his age group. He was super proud, and so was I. In the afternoon, we skied a bunch of runs fast. Josh followed in my tracks close behind, which is a great way to learn. By 1:30pm, he was famished and we luckily found the cutest restaurant in the middle of the mountain that had one table left.
After lunch, I took Josh down a steep mogul run and showed him some “secrets” on how to get down safely, and to make it more fun. The key is when going down the hill, you come to an almost complete stop on each turn you make, then you plant your pole on the top of the bump in front of you and ski down to the next one. You rinse and repeat the whole way down. He watched and then followed me down. He did not miss a beat. I was super proud of how much he transformed as a skier the past two months. That was the only day I was able to ski alone with him that week and it was so fun.
Kelli had a great day with Jonah and Leila, taking them on a long hike into the mountains. Maybe she wished Jonah did not keep climbing up the icy hills off the trail, but besides that, she said the scenery and the views were unbelievable.
We all met at the ice skating rink at the end of the day. We had promised Josh he would have a turn on the rink before the end of the week. I then went to the supermarket to get snacks for the train ride back, as we did not want to get stuck in the same situation as on the way here.
What a full full full week!
Day 184 – Back to Barcelona (Saturday)
Doesn’t going home always feel so much longer than getting there? Well it certainly did for us. It started off with the four hour beautiful train ride to get to the airport. This time we learned our lesson and brought $45 worth of snacks, which were gone by the time the train ride ended. Then two hours at the airport for lunch/dinner and a one hour flight back to Barcelona. One hour waiting for baggage. 30 minute cab ride.
But finally, we were back to our apartment! Thanks for joining us on our journey this week.