When I was a kid, my mum showed me some photos from the 70s of her and my dad in the Swiss Alps. I remember being captivated by the picturesque snowy mountains and promised myself I would one day plant my footprints in the snow over there.

Coincidentally, I had a friend who recently moved back to his hometown of Wangs, a small village right at the foot of the Swiss Alps, just over an hour out of Zurich. Of course I had to pay Christoph a visit. On a train I went, from Geneva to Zurich, where Chris was waiting for me in the wintery cold with a giant bear hug. I was glad to see him after couchsurfing for months.

It was very cold, and as Chris led me to the car, I fought off giant balls of ice pelting painfully at my face.

Note #1: It’s a very good idea to bring a woolly hat and gloves if you plan to go somewhere in winter. They don’t take up much space and can be squished into the dead corners of your backpack. When you are done with them, donate them to another traveller if you’re sure you won’t be needing them anymore.

I was very fortunate that Chris was not only a fantastic friend, but also an accomplished snowboarder and instructor. After a good night’s rest, the next day we got down to business. From one of his many snowboarding friends, I managed to borrow a snowboard, pants, jacket, and even shoes, which was great as gear is very expensive to buy/rent.

We made the ten-minute walk to the foot of Pizol Mountain, paid for our passes, and took the lift up to the top. I must admit I was more excited about the views than the actual snowboarding. Everywhere I turned the mountains were stunning. I was also distracting myself, as I was a very nervous first-time snowboarder.

Being a petite person, I was surprised at how heavy all the gear was after I put them on. After a few fumbled attempts and falls, I managed to move the board around without any assistance. It was very fun and falling down wasn’t that bad as the snow was quite soft.

Note #2: A car is essential if you want to explore the surroundings more intimately. There are so many spots to stop and admire the countless vistas and breathtaking views. If you have skates you can even go skating on the frozen lakes! (Check for safety first though!).

After a fulfilling day of learning how to snowboard, the next day Chris took me sight-seeing around the villages. Words cannot properly describe the sights I saw, I was amazed by the beauty in this magnificent place.

This article was originally published on Art of Solo Travel.

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