Dwight Peck's personal website

Our first really good snowshoe of the winter season, as spring breaks

Winter 2006-2007 spent waiting around for winter

So far this winter, Switzerland has been 3°C above average, and there is 1/3 the normal amount of snow in the mountains. In fact, in the Lake Geneva region, it's been like eternal springtime.

Which isn't at all bad in itself. In fact, it's wonderful. But it's not winter.

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

So when finally a good wet snowstorm hits, on 24-25 February 2007, Dean Pirri is more than happy to get stuck on top of another stone wall in the Jura. Given the rain squalls down by Lake Geneva, we expected some real entertainment up here by this point, but the weather seems briefly to have settled down.

We're taking advantage of the "bad weather" to walk on out southwestward along the upper cross-country ski trails from the carpark at Fontaine Froide behind the Col du Marchairuz. This is beautiful countryside, but ordinarily we avoid it because of the multitudes of cross-country skiers. Here, 3 or 4 kilometres out, Dean Pirri is scrutinizing a rough-hewn map of the ski du fond trails looking for the "Vous êtes ici" or You Are Here.

Our arbitrary destination is the La Neuve farm today, and Dean Pirri abandons the ski track regions for the unknown.

A brief look down from wherever we are at this point into the Combe des Amburnex, near the Trois Chalets region on the far side, and France on the horizon.

Dean Pirri frets over leaping this tiny stone wall and gazes up at our destination somewhere in the upper left. All day, Dean Pirri has been gazing longingly up at the cliffs above us on the left, yearning for some steep fun in the forests, but so far we've kept him focused on the task at hand.

As the sun breaks through and nearly destroys our hopes for a right snowstorm, Dean Pirri persists upwards towards La Neuve.

Looking back, like Lot's wife. We'll be passing back this way (unlike Lot's wife) a little later in the day.

Ominous patches of blue sky

As the sun breaks through for real, at least we can start working on our tans.

A lovely strong wind from the west, chilly but not bitter, keeps the surface snow swirling in little whirlwinds.

That's the narrator there, trusting Dean Pirri for the moment not to drop his little FujiPix camera in the snow.

Dean Pirri ascending into the Light again. Towards La Neuve.

This may look like another of Dr Pirri's angel epiphanies, but it's actually just the sun up above the ridge, and lots of blue sky. Some snowstorm!

1387m. La Neuve is just a few hundred metres up to the left. The day continues more or less sunny, but with some promising signs of decline.

But some of us are thinking about turning back now.

As we're retracing our steps, we're marveling at the natural beauty and consoling each other about the loss of our snowstorm.

But then the sun goes away. And the wind comes up. And the sky darkens. And we may finally get our snowstorm.

Into the woods again

Dean Pirri is happy at last.

There is nothing like a really good snowstorm, especially (like this one) with booming thunder through the mountains, to make you feel really happy and bolt for the car.

Some of us bolt faster than others, of course.

We were just thinking that we should have brought some lunch, or chocolate, or anchovies, or something, but Dean Pirri is having too much fun to stop for anything now.

The Jura at its best. This is why we're here, I think.

Five or six kilometres in mucky snow passes virtually in an instant, for . . .

. . . there is little in this world that Dean Pirri enjoys more than a good, wet snowstorm.

Back to the car just before dark, and just in time for the BBC World news as we motor homeward over the Col du Marchairuz and get back into reception range of WRG-FM in Geneva. The USA is in the news again!! Ka-boom, ka-boom!

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 26 February 2007, revised 9 October 2008, 3 September 2014.

Jura snowshoeing

Snow camping