Lötschental

MID JANUARY 2016

HOI

Lötschental, Switzerland

February 14, 2016

Lötschental, Switzerland

Four days before ‘our’ weekend the first big snow storm of the year is brewing. Not only in the Northeast, but also from the West there should be interesting amounts of snow. But on top there will also be lots of wind. And the forecasted avalanche situation is pretty sketchy. Where to go?

The Northeast has no proper base-layer, and we’re afraid that the West will receive so much snow that we might get shut down…

But finally it’s a weather situation that allows us to head for Lötschental! This valley is a little bit ’of to the side’, but we’ve had our eye on it for years, and it’s just never come together. Accomodation is quickly found, but mountain guides are harder to find. Not many operate in Lötschental, and the few that do are on the road. With a little help from locals we end up finding the right people.

Getting there is half the fun, at Kandersteg you drive your car onto a train that crosses right through the mountain. Exiting the train, alsmost all cars go to the right in to the Rhone Valley down to Sion. We are the only ones taking a left and heading up the valley through the strong snowfall. In Kippel we find a pretty untypically Swiss village, no fancy or expensive hotels, hardly any restaurants, and only a small supermarket. As a slight consolation there are walls of snow lining the streets however! And also very friendly locals, that confide in us that they don’t like it when there’s too much going on in their town.

Warm-up day happens under blue skies, freezing cold and a relentless wind. We cruise around the area, find small rumns that are mostly untracked and return to the hotel with a big smile on our faces.

Overnight it starts snowing again, on the top of the mountain no less than 30 centimeters. And even the visibility starts improving over the day. To say it’s an amazing powder day is an understatement! We poach small lines that are pretty close to the pistes. With this kind of snow you don’t need to hike anywhere. Some of the groups carry on all the way until 16:30 and return with very tired legs but also stoke dripping of their faces. The raclette in the hotel is just what the doctor ordered!

The last day, the weather gods seem to have less good intentions. They’ve provided us with another layer of new snow, but with lots of wind and clouds on top. Including windchill factor on top of the hill the thermometer points at minus 32 degrees! Every other run we go for a quick coffee break, and also lunch gets dragged on a little longer than strictly necessary. Nevertheless, everyone is enjoying themselves on a day like this. The treeruns lower on the hill provide enough terrain today.

We end the day with happy looks on our faces and a solid promiss to ourselves to return to this small magical and beautiful valley!