Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Thanks, 2009, for all the great times

Greetings and happy 2010!
Thank you Laurie for this photo above!

After a long pause, I (this is Becky) think it is time to share some brief highlights of our life in Switzerland in 2009. Better late than never, right?!

It was quite a busy year, with my new job and both of us working 110%+, all the while balancing it with all our activities and interests and getting together with friends, plus continuing to learn German and more about the Swiss life and things going on around us... As always, we feel very fortunate to have these opportunities, so we are constantly trying to make the most of them!

As they say, "A picture tells a thousand words", so I guess I don't need to add many more than that - I will let the pictures tell the story of the year. Here we go...

The year started off with some nice fresh snow, perfect for skiing and backcountry touring, especially with blue skies to go with it...

We were fortunate to have been given VIP tickets to the World Cup Ski Races in Adelboden - our first experience watching ski racing in person. Being in the VIP section meant we had front-row seats! And the weather was wunderschön...
The tickets were a Christmas gift from our friend Martina's parents, whom we call sMuP (it's a German thing) - Danke schön!
We had such a fun time, we decided to check out the races the next week at Lauberhorn in Wengen, this time with the Alphorns. Other fans seemed convinced we were Swiss - at least until we started talking :)
In Wengen I almost got run over by a parade of traditional Swiss cow bell players as I took their photo...
There were a lot of good snowstorms in early 2009, followed by sunny days on the weekend - a perfect combination, so we made the most of it nearly every weekend with skiing either at resorts or backcountry...

There was even enough fresh snow for Jeff to get his snowboard out and remember how to "surf" the powder.....dude...
And can't forget the après-ski - warm Jaegertee and that lively Austrian music, ja ja ja....
During après-ski can be a great time to come up with new ideas for future adventures (!) So we decided that on the next full moon night, we would ski up a nearby mountain in the moonlight. When that night came, it felt like an especially crazy idea to me, since it was snowing quite hard as we got started. But it was great fun, and we had fresh powder all to ourselves on the way down, and didn't even need our headlamps since the moonlight was so bright reflecting off the snow.
Thanks, Dave, for lugging your tripod all the way up the mountain just for this picture - We appreciate it!
In general we tend to do a lot of "uphill skiing" - It's quite a good workout...
...plus you have the added advantage of staying warm even in the cold weather, from all the exertion. After this climb, Jeff celebrated at the top with a short Alphorn concert.
On Easter weekend we skied to the top of the Wildstrubel.... Lots of good places to hide Easter eggs up there under all the snow....
SMuP and family treated us like family too with everything including a traditional Easter brunch...
Later in April we did a different kind of race called the Oetzi Alpin Marathon, made up of mountain biking (uphill), then trail running (more uphill, to the snowline), and then skiing up to the finish. I did it as a relay with Team Abenteuer (adventure) gals Kate and Kat, while Jeff did the whole thing... It was unusual to see the racers wearing shorts along with their ski boots!
Soon after, I travelled back to the U.S. to visit friends and family, and our little dog Brandy who was sick and not doing very well. She was 16 years old so we were afraid this would be the last time I would see her... although she seemed quite energetic while I was there with her. So we took her on a short hike on a beautiful spring day (she is just about to sit down in this picture, really!)
Turns out she really was near the end while I was there - Just a few weeks after I left, she was too sick to go on. It was very hard to say goodbye. But I am happy that we had 16 happy years together, filled with lots of smiles...
We miss you, Brandy, but I'm sure you are enjoying running off your endless energy in doggie heaven now.

When I got back to Switzerland it was already May, which means..... Cycling season!! We kicked off a summer of epic hill-seeking with a ride in nearby Liechtenstein (probably the only place in the world with even better roads for cycling than Switzerland)...
Then Jeff's parents came out to visit and we made a side-trip to beautiful Venice...
Then it was time to start up the Thursday Night Ride again, with all the usual suspects...
Thank you, Howard, for the picture above!

In July we were fortunate to get a spot to ride in the Maratona dles Dolomites - what a beautiful place...
It was great riding with our friends Chris and Heather, and celebrating afterward!
Thanks to you both for a great day, and for the pictures too!

The next weekend was my birthday - What better way to spend it than by riding my bike up beautiful hills with great friends?
We were very happy to have two very special friends Laurie and Roger out to stay with us for a whole week of fun-filled adventures, both on the bike and off. Laurie is amazing at taking pictures during these adventures, and never does anything without her camera (except maybe when she is eating chocolate like below!). It was this hike when the tradition of jumping at the tops of mountains started... Yahoo!
Thanks for this picture too Howard! It was a fun day we will never forget.

Laurie has a really great blog, and there she documented their visit with some incredible pictures and stories - Check it out: My Life on a Bike.

Later in the month we headed to Davos for Jeff to do the alpine marathon, while I did some biking and hiking on the numerous Wanderwegs...
On August 1st it is "Swiss National Day" in Switzerland, like July 4th in the U.S. I spent the day hiking with some friends - a very appropriate Swiss activity. Although the Swiss have many alternative options too - Notice in this picture below the cable car on the bottom left - It takes people to the top of the trail we were hiking, and then they can still hike around on the top.
Like every good Swiss mountain there is also a restaurant at the top. We participated fully in celebrating Swiss Day with some traditional Alpenmacaroni and Panaché (beer mixed with lemonade)...mmmm......
Good thing we work off all these calories with the hikes and bike rides! There were many more Thursday night rides...
...and some epic weekend rides too...

In August while Jeff was running around Mt Blanc (see previous posts for further details), I went on a run of my own from Chamonix (only about one millionth of the distance as his though!) with our friend Kate. She is not known for taking breaks but the weather was just so great we did have to take a jumping break...
The practice of jumping at the tops of mountains became quite contagious this year! When my cousin Tiffany and her husband Derek came to visit they got into the act as well...
And Jeff too... Who says Alphorns are just for music playing...
But we do take some calm moments to appreciate the nature and scenery as well...
Now back to jumping! When we went to the U.S. to visit family, they all got into it...
Well not my parents yet, but next time we will get them into it too! It was really great to see everybody. And we had some really nice autumn weather with sunny skies and changing leaves to enjoy while we were there.
Back to Europe, it was time to run my first marathon since 1999 - This time in Florence, Italy. A beautiful place to run through, and of course some great pre- and post-race food too!
Back in Switzerland, and time for skiing again... We kicked off the season with a nighttime uphill ski race called the Night Attack, with a few of our crazy comrades...
Then it was Christmastime already! We were fortunate for the opportunity to spend it with our "Swiss family" - Here they are celebrating the holiday in a traditional way - involving snow, skis, and going uphill, of course...
The Christmas tree is first put out on December 24th. That way it is fresh - which is good since REAL candles are placed on the tree and lighted. It is surprising to see the real flames on the candles balancing on the tree branches, but it is also very beautiful and peaceful.
We are very thankful to have had so many great times in 2009. Of course there was a lot of work and other responsibilities inbetween, but we are happy to have balanced it out with some fun adventures with great friends.

We wish you all a very happy 2010 - May it be filled with happiness and new adventures!
Cheers,
Becky and Jeff

Special thanks to the friends mentioned above who provided some of the photos!

7 comments:

chocolate girl said...

What a great recap of a great year! We were honored to be a part of it:-)
Thanks for sharing!

T T Niranjan said...

Great picture stories, but the jumping scenes are the most telling!

Sandy B said...

Becky...Becky..oh yes, I remember her! Nice getting caught up with you and Jeff:-) Hugs...

Martina said...

Jump jump jump, happy happy happy! Oh, and can someone get Laurie in from the balcony please?

Will said...

great photos .... congrats on really enjoying life .... ( a few pics looked familiar).

happy new year and all the best for 2010

Anonymous said...

Thanks Beck for sharing your busy year's activities! We enjoyed your visits!! Brandy is resting well 'though we miss her a lot (you too, of course)!!

Dad

zbsports said...

You have a great time in there...great journey that was cool!!!