A Skier's Guide to Switzerland

The Pros and Cons of Swiss Travel

Published in POWDER Magazine (44.2) | October 2015 | Written by Julie Brown and Matt Hansen


Pro: Cheese! Bread! Chocolate! More cheese!

Con: Constipation!

 

Pro: The Swiss have made stacking firewood into
 an art form.

Con: Do not touch the woodpile. Seriously, don’t touch it. I know you just want to help, but it’s all under control. Are you dumb? What’s wrong with you, man? Lay off the woodpile!

 

Pro: At many ski areas in Switzerland, you can BASE-jump, speed-fly, and ski anywhere you please, providing a sense of freedom that Americans lost long ago to litigators and insurance companies.

Con: Just use the safety bar on the chairlift or they’ll shut the whole operation down.

 

Pro: Shots of Appenzeller, the dark Swiss liquor that tastes way better than Jäger.

Con: The morning after taking too many shots of Appenzeller.

 

Pro: A lunch break from noon to 1 p.m. every day is mandatory. Dogs are permitted in restaurants. The Swiss laws, customs, and rules can be very progressive.

Con: No riding bikes downhill on small streets. No hanging clothes to dry on Sundays. Avoid flushing the toilet in the middle of the night, and definitely no playing chess in a mountain hut past 10 p.m.—there are a lot of laws, customs, and rules to follow. 

 

Pro: Don’t worry if you can’t speak the language. The Swiss speak English, French, German, Italian, Romansch, and probably Spanish, too.

Con: The girl at the bar definitely didn’t get your joke about what a bear does in the woods. Humor doesn’t translate. 

 

Pro: The rösti is a traditional Swiss mountain dish consisting of twice-fried potatoes, onions, gruyère, bacon or ham, topped with a fried egg. It might be the most delicious thing ever created. 

Con: You will gain 10 pounds.

 

Pro: Alpen macaroni is often referred to as “Swiss hut food” and is comprised of macaroni, gruyère, potatoes, onions, and ham, served with a side dish of apple sauce as dressing. It might be the second most delicious thing ever created.

Con: You will gain 10 pounds.

 

Pro: The Swiss can be quite casual when negotiating steep terrain and will respond to your nervous inquiries about said terrain by saying, “It’s fine, no problem.”

Con: What he really means to say is, “It’s actually pretty fuckin’ sketchy, so don’t fall.”

 

Pro: You can do Switzerland on the cheap. Lift tickets are about 50 Swiss francs. And the hostels can be a good deal, providing free breakfast, which can also turn into a tasty pocket sandwich. 

 

Con: You might be sharing a bunkroom with a bunch of frat boys who just graduated from San Diego State, or a large German named Olaf dressed only in his tighty whities. That’s one scary marble bag.