With the recent snowfalls I decided to check out Lodge Sax’s home mountain, Disentis. Crazy to think that this was my first foray out the back door, mainly to see the state of things. An afternoon of pleasant surprises. More new snow than I expected (or recorded on our snow report). Hardly a breath of wind on a reportedly very blustery day in the passes. Some shy sunbeams casting a lovely honeyed light through the fog banks.
Except for the short practice T-bar, the lifts above the cable car remained officially closed. I managed to snag a lift up the lower detachable quad after I promised to go touring and not do laps. I mentioned to the liftee that the mountain truly looked just one snowfall away from opening, and he said that if next week’s forecast snow arrives, Disentis will open for the season on Saturday. Great news.
I set an uptrack beneath the upper quad, carefully avoiding some large wind-loaded pillows, and arrived at the top just under an hour later. Nobody else about. After a leisurely turnaround beside the deserted lift station I started down tentatively, dodging some rocks and icy bits and heading for low-lying ground. To my amazement I was soon making effortless turns in about 20 cm of nice powder over a smooth base. My best turns since arriving in Switzerland nearly a month ago.
The run beneath the lower chair had less snow, but the piste had been rough-groomed and with two snowfalls overtop of it, it skied just fine. One more snowfall and it will be great skiing.
From the Caischavedra cablecar terminal on down was definitely rockier, but I wanted to check out some of the forested slopes where quite a bit of tree-thinning has been done. I drooled at the incredible lines through old-growth forest dropping right from the piste, imagining pounding storm laps. Hopefully later this month!
Where the road exited the forest, I turned onto the last steeper meadow above the Sax field and made a dozen delicious turns in nice powder over smooth grass. Yes, it had a bit of the feel of November turns, not a third of the way through January, but it was still an incredible difference from a week ago.
So, for all of you agonizing over whether to commit to a January or early February visit, I would say this: if the coming week’s snowfall is decent, Disentis will be skiable from peak to valley, and Sedrun/Andermatt will be phenomenal. We’re soooo close now.