As mentioned in my previous TR, I was reasonably sure that Friday at Lenzerheide was going to be the one and only day on this trip with full sunshine, and that unfortunately turned out to be the case. Northeastern Switzerland's mammoth storm cycle continued through the last three days of my visit. As Weather to Ski's Fraser Wilkin wrote:
Sunday: Yet more snow has fallen across many northern parts of the Alps in the last 24 hours. The heaviest falls have been in the northeastern Swiss Alps where 20-40cm has fallen quite widely, with as much as 60cm (2 feet) of new snow very locally in some resorts to the east of Zurich. Monday: Snow conditions across the northern Alps are simply incredible right now with masses of fresh snow even to low levels. It is difficult to highlight any particular area, but it is probably the smaller resorts of the northeastern Swiss Alps (e.g. Amden, Flumserberg, Mythen) that have seen the most snowfall, with 1 meter (3+ feet) or more of new snow in the last few days.
On that note: we Americans (at least those who post on ski forums) generally have no issues going skiing in the midst of serious snowstorms because the majority of our lift-served mountains east and west have trees even to high elevation that help you through tough visibility. This is not necessarily the case in the Alps, where so many ski areas are mostly above treeline and during serious weather you're often brailling your way downhill through a thick cloud bank. That in a nutshell was Saturday at Pizol, a beautiful ski area an hour east of Zurich right alongside a major autobahn (kinda the equivalent of an I-70 resort in Colorado), which normally looks like this; however, I spent much of five hours there staring five feet ahead of me trying to get my bearings and fighting vertigo:
Of course, there were trees on the lower mountain, where I had a bunch of great thigh-deep runs, but I really should've chosen a lower-elevation ski area completely in the trees. The storm continued through the night and early Sunday morning Toggenburg's website reported 70cm/28 inches of new precip, so that sealed it for me. My car at 7 am conveniently lit by the snowplow out of frame to the right:
The drive down to the valley from my hotel in Amden just above the Walensee, a beautiful fjord-like lake:
Toggenburg was only 12 miles as the crow flies from my hotel, but getting there required a circuitous drive of almost an hour. I arrived around 9:30 to one of the three base areas, Unterwasser, featuring an old-school funicular:
Stretching three miles wide with 4,100 vertical feet, Toggenburg has trees 2/3 of the way up the mountain and is crowned by some incredible rock formations. The three terrain sections are connected but require a bit of poling and/or skating in places, not optimal for boarders.
It snowed through the early afternoon. While conditions were fantastic, it was a drag to realise that I wouldn't be enjoying the incredible views I'd seen in dozens of trip reports, like this and this. The top of the mountain was socked in so they weren't operating the cable car to the Chäserrugg peak in the middle; however, there was a platter lift to Gamserugg on the looker's left:
Upper mountain, much more impressive in person:
Digging trenches in the offpiste:
Little kid skis off the trail and face plants. Dad ain't helping him out of it.
A guy enjoying powdery turns alongside a groomer:
Heading into the woods:
As you're aware, a clause in my contract with NY Ski Blog compels me to post photos of teleskiers (especially when they're women) whenever available -- here are a couple on the lower mountain:
Stopping for lunch at the Stöfeli restaurant -- looks like a mountain hideout during WWII: the Big One.
Early afternoon, visibility got better for maybe an hour:
Lots of snow right down to the valley:
So there you go: Toggenburg on a snowy day. Very impressive, I'll be back in the region in mid-March with my wife when we'll hopefully ski it in the sun.