Savognin, CH: 03/09/19

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Savognin, CH: 03/09/19

Postby jamesdeluxe » Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:03 pm

For Day 2, I drove an hour south to Savognin (SAH VOHN YEN), which is in a part of Switzerland where the fourth official language of the country, Romanisch, is spoken by approximately 36,000 people. Moreover, to add to the complexity, there are apparently five variations of Romanisch. According to Wikipedia, it's a "descendant of spoken Latin languages of the Roman Empire and has also been strongly influenced by German in vocabulary." You often see it in signage alongside German, for example in the greeting at the entrance to the ski area ("Bavegna"):

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Or by itself on a construction sign. You can see elements of Italian and German:
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Here's something you don't see very often in Switzerland, free parking at a ski area:
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They usually charge $5 per car and not exactly for the reason you expect. In the U.S., free parking at a ski area is considered an entitlement because we're already paying a lot for lift tickets and the only places that charge for parking (e.g. Vail) are doing it to be greedy or they make you take a long, crowded bus ride from a free satellite lot. As I understand it: in Switzerland, with public parking lots owned by the municipalities rather than the ski areas and buses or trains operating virtually everywhere, they don't feel that people taking public transport should subsidise free parking for those arriving in cars. Makes sense.

At the lift ticket counter -- I like these old-school circular ski racks:
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A clever advertisement that I saw a year ago in this region: "Trends change; good taste remains"
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Savognin is considered a small ski area around here; however, it's a full three miles across and including the valley runs the T2B vertical is 5,000 feet. That said; the true ski area is the upper 3,600 verts and it's vast.
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Skier's right from the sub-summit -- there were occasional sunny breaks, but it was a shame that the high clouds never completely dissipated. Still, visibility was fine:
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Looking up at the peak on far skier's right, you can see the T-bar that serves this sector. There's so much extensive terrain beyond the perimeter that if they wanted to, the ski area could be significantly expanded.
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A warm-up run on a groomer:
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Then some tracked-up offpiste that skied well:
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Reverse shot:
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Leading to a big field of lightly tracked further down -- that was the SOP the entire day and it was midwinter soft:
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There are three old t-bars that serve the upper mountain:
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Here's something I've only seen previously in France -- a surface lift with a 90-degree turn. The sign says "Curve: letting go of the t-bar is forbidden!"
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On the far skier's right, you take two separate drag lifts up 3,000 vertical feet, which takes a lot out of your things after a few runs. Still, better than walking. Here's the top of the lower one; the word "Crap" in Romanisch means rock or boulder:
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T-bar overpass:
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Heading in for lunch -- plenty of elbow room for a Saturday:
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You know you're in Switzerland when you see a lot of these skis:
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A pauper's lunch (barley soup and a weissbeer) to save room for the large economy-sized strudel.
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Plenty for two people but I manned up and finished it:
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Looking over this entrance before dropping in:
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Reverse shot: a beautiful line through those rocks/the snow was perfect:
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Mid-afternoon coffee break here:
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By 3:30, I headed down the entire 5,000 verts to the valley. Below mid-mountain, the snow turned into silky spring sugar:
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Then quasi corn and finally spring mush toward the bottom.
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In short: a great day that would've only been better with clear skies like in this TR. Savognin would be a Top 10 for most regions in the U.S. Here, it's just another ski area that people outside an hour's radius have never heard of.

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Re: Savognin, CH: 03/09/19

Postby EMSC » Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:05 am

jamesdeluxe wrote:Here's something I've only seen previously in France -- a surface lift with a 90-degree turn. The sign says "Curve: letting go of the t-bar is forbidden!"


Hmmm.... does that mean falling off is forbidden?

As for t-Bars with turns, Breck's t-Bar has a turn, but no where near 90-degrees, probably 30-Degrees or so.

And I learned at a place (no longer in existence) that had a poma lift with a 90 degree turn. The lifts at that place were the bane of my existence for a few years. A poma with a 90-degree turn and a t-Bar that started up at full speed (in the days before more complex electronics were in use), and a rope tow on a shockingly steep beginner hill. Many trips were fail's and I'd have to ski down and try again.

Of course many, many chair lifts had or have turns or angle stations.
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Re: Savognin, CH: 03/09/19

Postby jamesdeluxe » Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:27 am

jamesdeluxe wrote:Here's something I've only seen previously in France -- a surface lift with a 90-degree turn. The sign says "Curve: letting go of the t-bar is forbidden!"
EMSC wrote:Hmmm.... does that mean falling off is forbidden?

I missed EMSC's half-serious question. I suspect that the concern of letting go of the t-bar at the right-angle turn may be two-fold: a) the t-bar snapping back to the looker's right into someone skiing on the nearby groomed run, or b) someone leaving the t-bar and colliding with skiers coming down the same groomed run? That's a danger of virtually any t-bar, straight or with a curve; however, the 90-degree angle increases the likelihood of an accident.

To underscore what I mentioned above -- if anyone here finds themselves driving from Zurich to St. Moritz, absolutely stop at Savognin/literally right along the main road, as is Bivio 20 minutes south.
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Re: Savognin, CH: 03/09/19

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Apr 29, 2019 10:22 am

EMSC wrote:As for t-Bars with turns, Breck's t-Bar has a turn, but no where near 90-degrees, probably 30-Degrees or so.

I was with a group that started a powder day with 5 laps on that T-bar. I fell off it halfway up on the third ride and got out of synch with the group. It turned out to my advantage because after the 5th run they moved on, passing the still closed Imperial lift. When I left 10 minutes later Imperial had opened so I scored more powder there.

jamesdeluxe wrote:if anyone here finds themselves driving from Zurich to St. Moritz, absolutely stop at Savognin/literally right along the main road

That might have been better call for us on our first day Jan. 18 on the way to St. Moritz. We were tired after the travel marathon (two flights and a 4+ drive across Switzerland) and I was sick at Arosa/Lenzerheide. I made some navigation errors after noon trying to cover too much ground at a larger and more spread out complex. I'm sure Savognin would have had the same powder we enjoyed in the morning at Arosa.
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Re: Savognin, CH: 03/09/19

Postby jamesdeluxe » Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:47 am

Tony Crocker wrote:We were tired after the travel marathon (two flights and a 4+ drive across Switzerland)

The ability to tolerate travel marathons like that must be a muscle you've developed from your long drives throughout the west.
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Re: Savognin, CH: 03/09/19

Postby EMSC » Mon Apr 29, 2019 2:04 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:EMSC's half-serious question.


Indeed, it is a half-serious question. Based on growing up with a nightmare 90 degree turn poma lift. The # of people (adults too) that crash at such surface lift turns is very high. The result is the same or worse as someone who simply lets go of the t-bar at that spot.
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Re: Savognin, CH: 03/09/19

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:16 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:
Tony Crocker wrote:We were tired after the travel marathon (two flights and a 4+ drive across Switzerland)

The ability to tolerate travel marathons like that must be a muscle you've developed from your long drives throughout the west.


Yes after numerous western road trips, it seems obvious that you can get anywhere in the Alps in a day from Zurich or Geneva. It's only burdensome when you're doing it immediately after 12+ hours of air travel with a 9-hour time change. In 2018 the drive to Aosta was shorter than the drive in 2019 to Chur, and the first day ski area Pila was much smaller than Arosa-Lenzerheide. In total there was more driving in 2018 as the Dolomites are considerably farther from Geneva than St. Moritz.

Both of the above itineraries are child's play compared to Tseeb's road trips from San Jose to Revelstoke/Mustang, then often home via Big Sky, Jackson and/or Utah. And most of Tseeb's driving is solo while Liz and I share that job. I've driven to Revelstoke/Mustang myself twice, but both trips were 5 weeks while most of Tseeb's have been around 3 weeks.
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Re: Savognin, CH: 03/09/19

Postby jamesdeluxe » Tue Apr 30, 2019 7:11 am

Tony Crocker wrote:It's only burdensome when you're doing it immediately after 12+ hours of air travel with a 9-hour time change. In 2018 the drive to Aosta was shorter than the drive in 2019 to Chur.

During my time out west, I did several roundtrips by car from Central NY: twice to Boulder and once to Albuquerque, along with a roundtrip from Chicago to Quebec's Gaspe Peninsula -- thus, I know what it's like to be on a major road trip. I'm just far less tolerant of it at my current station in life. That's why I'm impressed with how Tony, Liz, and Tseeb can suck it up and go on death marches like that, especially after a long-haul flight from LAX.

When you mentioned the drive to Chur above -- I've gone through there a few times in the past couple years (on my way to Arosa/Lenzerheide, Tschiertschen, and St. Moritz/all on separate visits) and the travel time was approx 80 minutes from Zurich airport. Then I remembered that you drove there from Geneva, ugh.
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