Summer Skiing Swiss Style


Jungfraujoch, Switzerland, Aug. 9, 2000--Summer in Europe calls up images of outdoor cafes and houses trimmed with bright flower boxes. But, for me, summer in Europe also means glacier skiing.

Not more than two weeks ago I found my self trekking through the Swiss Alps with my mom to enjoy wildflower-filled hikes, panoramic vistas, and the unique mixture of German, French, and Italian culture that permeates the Swiss boarders.

The day after our arrival, as if on cue, the mass of heavy, wet weather that had sat over central Europe cleared, leaving fresh snow high in the Alps. Here was my opportunity to summer ski the fabled mountains. Plus, I could tally up July, as my 20th straight month of skiing. For my mom, it was a chance to experience the novelty of summertime skiing.

The blue skies and a recent snowfall beckoned to us. From Interlaken, we took three trains past spectacular scenery and several charming villages that would be worth a visit in their own right. Our goal was Jungfraujoch, a snow capped peak 11,333 feet above sea level and 9,473 feet above Interlaken.

The sun shined warmly and softened up the recently groomed new snow for our mid-day arrival. We rented skis, boots, and poles at small hut a short distance from the highest train station in Europe. From then on we shushed down a football-sized slope with just enough pitch and scenic beauty to give thrills to a fanatic skier and tame enough for the mother of one.