Travel

French and Swiss Alps Trip

Friend and long time San Franciscan Rachel Roll embarked on a 10 journey to the French and Swiss Alps to explore the famed ski towns of Chamonix and Zermatt. Here are her highlights: Parker Dusseau Urban Cycling Apparel San Francisco Functional Menswear Essentials Work Shirts French Alps MatterhornThe city of Zurich is absolutely gorgeous, with waterways running straight through. I was lucky to get a sunny day when the forecast called for rain, which is typical during the winter. I have coffee and breakfast before taking the train to the Flughafen for a quick 1 hour flight to Geneva. Parker Dusseau Urban Cycling Apparel San Francisco Functional Menswear Essentials Work Shirts French AlpsThe closest city to Chamonix, Geneva is packed with ski shuttles waiting to take people on the hour and a half drive up to the mountains. Parker Dusseau Urban Cycling Apparel San Francisco Functional Menswear Essentials Work ShirtsThe views while skiing are insane as the mountains in Europe are much more craggy and extreme than in the U.S.  We find out they have not had fresh snow in weeks and we feel unlucky in that regard, especially considering back home Lake Tahoe has been buried.Parker Dusseau Urban Cycling Apparel San Francisco Functional Menswear Essentials Work Shirts French AlpsWeak snow cover limits the off piste terrain we hoped to ski so after 2 hours we jump on a bus to another mountain, Flegere. This mountain has much better coverage and terrain, as well as an inter-mountain cable car allowing us to get to Brevent to ski as well.  We hit 3 mountains in one day, all in France.Parker Dusseau Urban Cycling Apparel San Francisco Functional Menswear Essentials Work ShirtsA much needed snow storm finally rolled into Chamonix.  Visibility was incredibly limited and the mountains are closed as the snow is coming down. This is disappointing in that it cuts a ski day out, but hoping it means good things for Zermatt in the upcoming days.

I take the train with approx. 4 hours of travel time and 3 transfers to get from Chamonix to Zermatt and arrive feeling relieved to have gotten the transfers right, not knowing any French. In Switzerland there are 4 prominent languages depending on which area of the country you are in: French, German, Italian, and Romansh, of which I speak none.

Parker Dusseau Urban Cycling Apparel San Francisco Functional Menswear Essentials Work ShirtsToday is the first sunny day following two straight days of snowfall.  The conditions are good considering they needed this refresher badly. When I first lay eyes on the Matterhorn it took my my breath away. It is the highlight of the Zermatt skyline and the locals are incredibly proud of the mountain.

Last ski day of this trip and I wish I'd planned more days here. It is incredible. I love the village and the friendly people and the lack of cars. Garages here only have bike racks and the motor transport is limited to funny golf cart style mini-trucks. I ski until 3:30, have an apres beer (x2) at the well-known Hennu Stall, and then pack up shop to head to the train station by 6:15 for the train back to Zurich.