I documented this trip with a lot of detail after it occurred in my spring GTL semester, mostly because it was the most ridiculous, problematic trip, but it also one of the best memories of my life.
St. Moritz in a nutshell is a pretty crazy place. It’s in a valley surrounded by peaks. with a giant snow-covered lake, and it really is just the definition of a magical winter wonderland. The downtown area has only the nicest stores, many fancy car dealers, cashmere – that kind of thing. The neighborhoods around it are so freaking cute. Each house had such a charm to it, so many little details and nice bits. The people are very nice and seem to be able to speak every language on Earth.
Traveling there was a whirlwind from the get-go: almost lost a bag, got separated multiple times, almost missed an important train, but when we got off at our stop, it was snowing so lightly that it felt like a little blessing from the world telling us we had made it. Everything felt worth it. We immediately commenced a snowball fight, right on the train tracks. I am awful at throwing so I wasn’t useful, but it was so carefree and fun. The snow was perfect for snowballs.
Upon arriving to our friend Brando’s family chalet, my good buddy Dom immediately cut his finger on a cigar cutter of course, and it bled for about 16 straight hours. At one point we designed a tourniquet for his finger out of my hairband, and it really wouldn’t stop. Morgan’s parents asked her about his finger every few hours the entire time we were there and afterwards.
Skiing ended up being really tough, but not because of lack of snow: we got waaaay too much. There was nearly zero visibility, and I mean zero – I could see clearly just about 10-20 feet in front of me. After that there was absolutely nothing but snowstorm. Because of this, not only could we not see each other, but we couldn’t see what the terrain was directly under us, and so we basically fell down the mountain. There was so much powder that if you weren’t grazing right over it then you were stuck (who knew too much powder could be a problem). It was so much work just to get back to the mountain cafeteria that we were exhausted, and it had only been half a day. We sat and ate some expensive brats for a bit, and by then it had cleared up a good deal. We could actually almost see the mountain range around us!
After a bit of that I wanted to do some off-trail stuff, so Brando and I went over to this frozen lake and skied down from it. However, before this happened we caused (and by we I mean I) a small avalanche- the steep side of a trail to get down to the lake had about 2 feet of fresh snow on it, and when I skidded to a stop to see Brando below me a whole sheet of snow came off. It was beautiful, but then I realized what was happening and looked down to see Brando being carried down by the snow underneath him. It took all the snow down in that area and we got yelled at by some German dude on the lift. (Sorry man!)
As we came down from the lake it was all powder of course so I fell a decent bit but we made it back to the mountain restaurant fine. We reconvened with the rest of the group, just sitting down when Shan asked me where the GoPro was (I’d had his GoPro on my helmet mount), so I picked up my helmet, and it wasn’t there. My stomach dropped immediately. I had lost a 3 foot long metal pole and couldn’t find it anywhere in the powder that I had fallen into, there was just no way I was going to find this small GoPro. I was already thinking about how I was going to pay for it, but for Shan’s sake Brando and I went back to the lake to look for it. I had done the most strenuous kind of skiing TWICE now, and was starting to really feel the exhaustion set in. We finally got to the part where I tumbled the most, Brando skied down and looked inside and literally just plucked the GoPro from the mass of snow. It was absolutely ridiculous. Before this point, our friends had kept saying we were invincible because of all the almost-L’s, but when this happened I truly believed it.
Everyone was dumbfounded when we came back with it, and Shan was ecstatic. I nearly cried out of joy; we would’ve lost so much footage. After that day we have always been super extra careful with the GoPro (so no more stupid head mounts)!