Sometimes the weather just doesn’t want to cooperate. The jagged tooth of the Matterhorn that towers over this Swiss mountain resort was not to be found this morning, with high winds closing the glacier.
Zermatt has a great reputation for good conditions, but there are those days when you just have to surrender and make the most of a day off.
So instead of hitting the slopes, it’s a lay day. Another day to check the gear, do some dryland training. Take advantage of an opening in the program to inspect the beautiful Mattertal. Do a hike. And catch up on sleep to push away the jet-lag.
The past three days have been productive. Visits to the factory and reps to organize gear for testing. A reconnaissance visit to Davos, host of the 2018 FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships.
Fresh off the plane on Thursday, first stop was with Fischer. A chance to connect, discuss testing of equipment to date. Lots of good work to prepare gear to test for this session on-snow.
Then we were off to Davos, to familiarize with the town and slopes in advance of the 2018 World Juniors. The race venue is centered on the Jakobshorn, which towers over the south side of the resort. The speed track starts from the peak, descending to an alpine plateau that sits some 500 metres above the town. The tech track is immediately adjacent to speed track, so with a common finish area it’s a compact race arena.
As the downhill is 450 metres vertical, unique to this Championship will be a two-run downhill for the men. We checked out both tech and speed venues with an early morning hike from valley floor to peak.
Then it was on to Zermatt for a week of equipment testing. The Canadian Junior/Devo Group headed to Les Deux Alpes for their first on-snow session.
So what does one do when the mountain is closed for the day? In Zermatt, you have a rich choice of hiking in every direction. Even without the signature peaks framing the backdrop, the Mattertal is one beautiful spot.
This afternoon I had a ‘walk up memory lane’, hiking the Gornergrat. This was the first time up in 42 years. My last visit was November, 1975 for our final training camp prior to the opening of the World Cup season. A tremendous tune-up, as the race in Val d’Isere two weeks later proved to be a memorable one for the Crazy Canucks.
In the mountain environment we are held hostage to the elements. The Klein Matterhorn top station is at 3,883 metres, so wind and weather dictate our access to the snow. Fingers crossed for more of those epic days where the images from the Matterhorngletscher take your breath away.