Not Just For Winter – The Alps
I am a snowboarder. I am addicted to the rush of cold air that carries me down a mountain. I am a thrill seeker on snow, searching high and low for the perfect powder, pushing my limits so I am faster, stronger, better. Sometimes I fall, sometimes I hurt but always there are the mountains that I love and can’t resist and for ten years one mountain range in particular have been calling my name. The Alps in Europe.
I have snowboarded in Austria, France and Italy surveying and judging and comparing their corners of the Alps, but for some reason I’ve never snowboarded in the Swiss Alps… so why exactly was I headed there in the middle of summer?
Because the Alps are beautiful in the summer so why not tick off a corner of my favourite mountain range during the warmer months. They are as worthy of a visit in summer as they are in winter, perhaps even more so because quite frankly if you’re not a snow sports enthusiast – and I understand well that it’s not for everyone – the Alps remain a haven for holiday opportunities all against a stunning backdrop. So when my boyfriend embarked on an epic road trip from one temporary home in the south of France to our next in the capital of cool, Berlin, we knew we’d have to make a stop somewhere on the way.
We climbed up and up and up mountain roads, which meandered their way to Laax where we stayed in Rocks Resort, a collection of smart, designer apartments a shuffle of salopettes away from the ski lift. Despite it being the end of August and we began our journey in blistering heat, the mountain air and scenic journey we encountered felt like we were travelling across time towards winter as much as we were crossing countries in Europe.
There followed three days of adjusting to our new and unfamiliar surroundings. The clouds never left our side, the temperature was nearly 20 degrees cooler than the south of France and I delighted in being surrounded by alpine style hotels, buildings and of course, the food. Our apartment served us well – comfortable, sleek, modern – I would be lying if I said we didn’t discuss coming back in winter, it was all too easy to think about enjoying the steam room in our apartment or cooking up a feast to be shared after a day on the slopes.
Instead we had a range of summer activities we could have enjoyed – hiking, mountain and downhill biking, paragliding and climbing. We are snow bunnies at heart so aside from a few brisk walks up steep hills and a few too many hours in the nearby hotel’s spa, we spent our days watching the clouds gather and dreaming about snow fall.
So in this awkward two month period before the skis season starts as some of us itch to layer up, wax down (my snowboard) and pick out a new woolly hat, don’t forget that the Alps deserve your love in the summer and all seasons as much as they do in winter, and if these photos are anything to go by they have a lot of love to give you too.