Disentis opened officially today, at long last, and we were bright and early on an 8:45 am cable car after gliding along the path from Lodge Sax. With heavily-laden trees, a thick snowfall and obvious top-to-bottom powder, the lift terminals at any number of famous resorts would have been jam-packed with testosterone-engorged freeriders, the line stretching out the door and the stress levels rising as people contemplated making maybe the 500th track of the day despite lining up early.
We often say Disentis is a hidden gem, but those often seem like just words until you show up at the cable car on an unbelievable powder morning, and you not only stroll through a near-empty building and only a 90-passenger cabin with barely 20 people in it — but 17 of the 20 (i.e., everyone but you, your sweetheart and Hotel Sax owner Jan Pfister) are clutching skis that come barely to their chests and are barely wider than their own wrists.
Needless to say, we decided to put first tracks right down the still-officially closed main piste, lined by towering old-growth trees. Skis drop onto the snow at the terminal door, a few arm-strokes of poling to a horizon line, the world tilts and…INSTANT FACE SHOTS. Thigh-deep blower! And, finally, an actual base underneath.
It was great skiing right into the valley. No rocks underfoot, and light snow the entire way.
The lower quad chairlift’s main piste was groomed to silky perfection, lined by thigh-high walls of powder that one could just slice through and step back into powdery bliss. The boom of avalanche control sounded from the murk above, and the upper lifts remained closed.
But no matter. Lap after lap below treeline was like snowcat skiing in British Columbia. One more snowfall and the really steep treed slopes dropping away from the piste will be skiable. Then again, as soon as the weather breaks, the alpine terrain will be unbelievable.
We will keep you posted. Count on it.