Until 2 weeks ago the winter weather in Zurich as been no different to Ireland, grey and damp but very little snow or sub-zero temperatures. Things have changed dramatically though and since then its been between -10° and -15°C with a thin coating of snow everywhere and huge lakes frozen solid. It might look pretty but at that temperature everything hurts, I have a 20 minute ride to work through the city and by the time I get home my fingers won’t open the door!
On Saturday I decided I ought to toughen up and get out for a ride. Half an hour to get dressed and 19 items of clothing seemed a lot of hassle but it was worth it for my sanity. I set off with hot water in my bottles and within half an hour it was frozen solid, but at least it’s a dry cold and in true Swiss style the roads are kept meticulously clear so its very safe to ride. I was actually shedding layers before the top of the hill too. Sharing the snowy trails with skiers and sledges made things interesting – snow is surprisingly grippy when you’re forced to ride sideways at high speed to avoid hitting people!
Yesterday I gave in and abandoned my snow-sport boycott – I think there’s a lot of fun to be had and I don’t want to miss out. Einseideln is pretty area of rolling snowy hills and frozen lakes a short train ride from Zurich, which is perfect for cross country skiing. The main advantage to xc skiing is that it’s great training, you get a full body workout and I’m aching in all kinds of funny places today. It might not have the same adrenaline buzz as downhill but there is more of a sense of adventure since you can really get away from the crowds and explore the countryside instead of following everyone like a herd of sheep down the hill. I’ve done a couple of days before so know the basics but my technique could improve a lot – hopefully I look like a lost mountain biker rather than a a ski-goober!