Wish You Were Here: Europe

Associate Editor Mike Rogge sends in a scattered dispatch from a Swiss chairlift

Words and photos by Mike Rogge

Time is defining the winter of 2011-2012. Whether it’s waiting patiently for snow to drop, watching it disappear with rain, or enjoying a half-day of a few, minuscule inches, we’re all hoping for more and making the best of less. When it comes to skiing this winter, timing has been everything.

Unless you’re in Europe, where we’re having the time of our lives. I’m based in Laax, Switzerland, for the next few days, skiing 3 p.m. fresh pow, eating German-sounding dishes (“I’ll have the apfelstrudel please.”), and lapping this place’s sunshine-filled park. Life is goo…

Jérémy Prévost makes a turn for the camera. And for fun because skiing is fun.

…sorry. I meant to say, “Life is good” but I just had to take another lap. Did I mention I’m writing this on my phone from a chairlift? I simply couldn’t find time between skiing ze piste, ze trees, and ze powder to type on a computer. Plus, you know the whole “spirit in the mountains” thing has really gotten into me. Wie macht Spaß!

The Swiss Alps, more specifically Laax, has seen 40+ inches of snow in the two days we’ve been here. Europe was in the midst of a cold front so the snow is as light, fluffy, and fresh as the pastries in the cafe. Mmm. Today the sun is shining, there is not a cloud in the sky, and everything might be perfect. I’m not sure… Hold on. Tips up.

These fresh tracks were followed by fresh snacks of Swiss meats and cheeses. And beer. Hurray beer!

…sorry. Another lap. Actually, I’m not sorry. This place is perfect. It’s just like paradise. And cue the music.

By now you’re likely saying, “Alright jerk. Enough with the bragging. What’s going on over there?” Now, now. Don’t call me a jerk. You could always sell the truck and move here. In fact, you should. As for me, I’m here with J.P. Auclair, Phil Casabon and European big mountain slayer (seriously, he loves heavy metal) Jérémy Prévost. If you don’t know him, watch this.

Like I said, he’s bad ass. We’ve been skiing all sorts of terrain the last few days and soaking in the fresh mountain air that feels a bit cleaner in the Alps. It’s just so…

Phil Casabon uses the roof of this shack as a take off. How resourceful!

…and another lap. Wow, this sure is a high-speed quad. What was I talking about again? Oh yes, the air. It’s very clean. Another thing I love about Europe are the people. Some are friendly. Some are amazing skiers. All of them have good style. From one pieces to headbands to stretch pants, Europe takes fashion to a new level. People watching from the chair is all time. In fact, I’m almost certain I saw an endangered species around a woman’s neck this morning. In the States, that’s a PETA nightmare waiting to happen. In Switzerland, it’s chic.

Happiness. Drink it in.

And speaking of the visually appealing, have you ever been so happy that everything you look at is incredibly beautiful? That’s where I am, right here, right now. The mountains are pristine and full of snow. I sincerely wish you were here. You’d be having the time of your life. Perhaps the best way to sum up what’s happening in Europe right now, and this winter, is by what the woman below said to me as I exited the gondola.

“It is beautiful and wonderful here.” Yes, mam. It certainly it is.

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