I Love Winter

Obertauern, Austria

After turning down a year long project in Mexico and Sao Paolo, I have continued on with my client on a week to week basis supporting the program manager with various tasks including spending quite a bit of time in Mexico since October. It was a difficult decision to say no for various reasons but in the end, and with a nudge from my boss and friends, I was reminded of my priorities and decided to spin the wheel again to try for something in Europe so I could be home on weekends at least.

Nothing happened for awhile and it looked like I would be having some time off after this trip to Mexico, having decided that it would be my last. This week, however, two opportunities came up and I am now confirmed to start a project in another week in Germany. Not in Munich, but a 3 hour train ride away. There are not too many details so far but through a series of events over the last year and a half it turns out I will be working with a number of my former client colleagues from Basel. Small world but in this time of limited opportunity, those references got me the job and it will be good to see most of them again.

Anyhow, enough about work. Where I am going with this is that I am ecstatic to have my weekends in Munich this winter. Especially because Munich is close to the Austrian Alps. That means lots and lots of skiing!

I have made two trips already this winter. The first was to Obertauern with my sis and her boyfriend in December. It was wickedly cold and snowy but good fun nonetheless. They did great compared to my first time skiing in the Alps when I spent most of the day faceplanting and holding back tears at my lack of skill. Maybe I set the bar low though.

I went again last weekend with two new friends who are actually snowboarders. For the first time I went via bus from the Munich Hauptbahnhof and can highly recommend that to fellow Müncheners. For 54 Euros you get the ride to and from, a much giggled butterbrezen and coffee breakfast, a newspaper, a ski pass and glühwein on the trip home. The bus left at 6.50 and we were at the mountain at 8.50.

One of my friends, who I have adopted as my little brother, is 21 and has no fear despite being new at boarding, earning him the nickname Gumby for the day. My other friend is a bit more experienced boarder so we had a good time laughing at little bro's misadventures. The day went well with no major incidents and we decided to knock off a bit early as the slopes were steep and our legs were getting too tired to do much more. A quick run down to the bus and then a weißbier were the plan until we took a wrong turn.

We came to the only option down - a trail marked with a red diamond. We weren't sure what that meant but decided we should be able to manage if we took it easy. Ooops!! We reached a sign once we hit the point of no return that said 'Just For Experts'. We took a look at each other, thought about how we spent most of the day on the intermediate trails, and said, We're experts, right?

We did not know it but we had just signed ourselves up to go down a series of stomach-in-throat inducing ice cliffs separated only be slightly less dizzying icy slopes. Section by section we made our way down, thighs, calves and butts screaming from the effort. What I found most amazing was that a couple of years ago, I would not have been able to do it. Not that I am much better of a skiier now, but mentally I would have just frozen. It had happened on much easier slopes before. While none of us really enjoyed the experience, it was achievable and bonding. We all get a giggle now if someone says, For Experts Only, thinking of our sorry selves struggling down the mountain.

Posted from Queretaro, Mexico


Expat Traveler said...

Wow Michelle, just love all of those snow pics! I'm overly excited for you, possibly how you felt knowing you'd be in Munich and Germany. That is so awesome! Congrats...

I'm jealous as I'm going on my 5th year and still haven't gone skiing once in Canada due to many many reasons...

Can't wait to see more pics! ;=)

CanadianSwiss said...

OMG. I think I would have frozen mentally AND physically for sure at the sight of that slope! I just started snowboarding last winter at 43 yrs old(!) and the last time I had skis on before that, I was about 18 - and it did not go very well back then, either! LOL

Congrats to your new projects :)

vailian said...

Great pictures (also the ones from Mexico!)
I was in Munich over Xmas, but I had to squeeze it in between concerts, so there was no time to go skiing, I am very jealous.

Next time!