Chronicles of a writer abroad

10 things I learned in Saas-Fee


1. Cross-country skiing on icy terrain is very difficult, especially if said terrain is actually pretty far from level. Many bruises might be avoided by first checking whether a trail is actually safe to navigate (i.e., open), since no signs will exist to indicate this.

2. Valaisan white white soup (full of cheese, cream and…well, white wine) is one of the most delicious soups ever.

3. Sledging is very fun. I don’t know why it isn’t just called sledding (see equipment, below). It is done on a ski run, at night, using headlamps.

4. It is worth learning how to slow down/stop your sled (sledge?) properly before going sledging. Otherwise, you risk not being able to navigate a switchback and flipping headfirst over the side of the trail (this happened to a friend of ours. Not to worry; he was okay — but after that incident, the most  slow and cautious sledger of the group!).

5. Alpermakkaroni — a baked pasta dish made with Swiss cheeses, ham, potatoes, and apple sauce (oh yes) — is the perfect recovery food after you have climbed a mountain in showshoes.

6. Snowshoeing up a mountain is difficult, but the views at the top are worth it.

7. After taking two gondolas and a train through the mountain to reach the top of the 3500 meter peak which you can ski down, you will feel slightly weird from the altitude, but the views are again worth it!

8. I will always have a love-hate relationship with downhill skiing, and feel sheer panic in my first hour each season as I forget everything I ever knew, and wait for my muscle memory to slowly return.

9. You can do impromptu sledging without a sledge while downhill skiing. You may irretrievably lose a ski pole in the process.

10. Descriptions of this region are not hyperbole: it really is that beautiful.

Photo uploads have been agonizingly slow today, but if you want to see more photos, check out my Picasa album at


3 thoughts on “10 things I learned in Saas-Fee

  1. hi Kristen, your mom and I just looked at all your photos, and read your text which was as impressive as the pictures! We thought of you lots during your time there… but I didn’t realize how high you would be in the mountains, or the excitement level of your adventures there… Great… I may dream tonight that I’m sledging[?] down a steep mountain in the dark with only a headlamp! beautiful but yikes!!

  2. It’s a good thing you are a runner. At least your leg muscles are in great shape for all the activity you put them through. Spectacular scenery and interesting food experiences. Can’t say I blame you about downhill skiing; sledging sounds like fun, though I’m not sure about doing it in the dark!
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful holiday and treating us to part of this glorious country.

  3. Pingback: I’ve been coming around the mountain | Milchtoast

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