Rigi, CH 03/10/16

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Jamesdeluxe Jamesdeluxe
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Rigi, CH 03/10/16

For my second to last day of this trip, I drove 20 minutes to a major tourist attraction called Rigi (REE-ghee) that I’ve been looking forward to checking out. Nicknamed “Queen of the Mountains,” it’s geologically both a massive and a peninsula: almost completely surrounded by three different lakes. Moreover, Rigi was home to the very first cog railway in Europe, built in 1871. There are two different railways that provide access from the valley floor, so that was a big draw for me.




I parked in the village of Goldau, where you catch hourly departures. Here's a family with their wooden sleds, which are hugely popular in German-speaking regions; in fact, they're a major profit center for ski areas.



For those who've never seen a cog railway (I hadn't), here's what it looks like. A wheel with teeth pulls the train up the steep terrain.



Dogs are NOT left at home for family outings:



The regional ski pass that I bought includes the Rigi Railway, which was a nice bonus. Our train arriving:



Sleds get their own car:



Here's what the dashboard looks like -- the steering wheel is for controlling the speed.



In addition to staring at the incredible surroundings, during winter you can also go snowshoeing, sledding, sleigh riding, and skating, along with cross-country and alpine skiing. There are three separate small downhill skiing sectors. I was warned by locals not to get too excited about them; that Rigi’s a place you go not for challenging or extensive terrain; rather, to ski through a stunning landscape.

40 minutes later, we arrived at the summit sector called Rigi Kulm. BTW, Wikipedia mentions that in Abraham Cahan's 1917 novel "The Rise of David Levinsky," there’s a resort in the Catskills called Rigi Kulm. How do you like that?





Getting off the train and picking up our skis:





Several hundred very chic, prosperous-looking Chinese university students -- all dressed like movie stars in training -- were already up there on what looked like a class excursion. What would Donald Trump have said?





One of the mountaintop views:



From there, I clicked into my skis and headed downhill to the trails.





You're always interacting with the trains and tracks/skiing alongside or crossing them:







You have to be careful not to be too distracted by the views just to your right. This is the smallest of the three lakes surrounding Rigi:



The vertical in this sector is only 1,300 feet and most of the trails were easy blues, but conditions were spectacular, with the blazing sun warming up the snow to a perfect buttery consistency in the cold temps:





Here's a headscratcher for Americans -- there are no signs (or a crossing guard?) alerting you that you're skiing across active train tracks. You're supposed to know better. An interesting sensation: to be treated like an adult:



The bottom of a north-facing section with soft chop from the storm three days ago:



I lapped this ungroomed slope about ten times along with this guy:



Yep, the snow was cold and dry:



Gorgeous groomers:



And more jaw-dropping views:



I went around a corner and here was this guy lounging in the sun:






Look at those tracks up top (everything's lift-served):



Last run: racing downhill to catch this train back to the valley:





campgottagopee campgottagopee
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Re: Rigi, CH 03/10/16

FKNA
Marcski Marcski
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Re: Rigi, CH 03/10/16

What spectacular views!!!  It seems you have hit a bulls eye with this trip.
Adk Jeff Adk Jeff
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Re: Rigi, CH 03/10/16

In reply to this post by Jamesdeluxe
Jamesdeluxe wrote
Here's a headscratcher for Americans -- there are no signs (or a crossing guard?) alerting you that you're skiing across active train tracks. You're supposed to know better. An interesting sensation: to be treated like an adult:
Looks like that T-bar is about 5 feet away from the tracks.  Good incentive for not falling off!

Hope you stayed out of trouble with the local gendarmerie this time.

Besides the very cool cog railway, it looks like there's some sort of ferry system connecting villages or landings along the lake.
Hudsonhiker Hudsonhiker
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Re: Rigi, CH 03/10/16

You should do a power point show talk presentation at Tannery Pond for all us snow staved folks around here. Love your pictures and captions Keep up the nice work.
Harvey Harvey
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Re: Rigi, CH 03/10/16

James continues his domination of the TR forum.

Hudsonhiker wrote
You should do a power point show talk presentation at Tannery Pond
That is a really cool idea.
"You just need to go at that shit wide open, hang on, and own it." —Camp
nepa nepa
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Re: Rigi, CH 03/10/16

Awesome.    

All of them... you should write a book.
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