The year 2019 was like the Prätschalp-cross-country skiing trail in Arosa

Difficult. Very difficult. It was one of the most demanding cross-country trails in my life.

The year 2019 reminds me of my cross-country skiing trip in Arosa on 31 December 2019. I have been to Arosa a few times and I have also been cross-country skiing there before. On New Year’s Noon I decided to go cross-country skiing. I could not motivate anyone else to do so. Never mind. The day was wonderful, the sun was shining as if it was a competition of brightness. The snow conditions were good.

So, I went to the sports shop Carmenna, on instruction, to borrow the equipment. They had everything I needed for cross-country skiing – skis, poles and boots. I was very happy. Shop assistent wanted to know my name and where I live in Arosa. I didn’t even know what it was called there, as I had stayed with friends. Then he said that he needed at least my phone number and I gave it to him. I asked where I should pay, and he answered that I can pay the equipment when I return it at the end of the day. Wow – I was quite surprised. So much trust in one’s fellow men (especially strangers), that has a rarity value today. I appreciated it but at the same time it felt like a big commitment. I asked where the bus station was that would take me to the cross-country skiing area and he described the way there. It was easy, go outside and then, across the street.

I went out of the shop fully equipped and saw some other people with cross country skiing equipment waiting at the bus station. I joined them and it didn’t take long for the bus to arrive. We drove up the hill a few stops and suddenly all the cross-country skiers were getting ready to get off. I was insecure, because the locals recommended me not to go cross-country skiing in the area “Golfplatz”, but in Isel. But there were signs that said “Golfplatz”. I asked the bus driver and in fact, I had landed in the wrong place. But the sun was shining so beautifully, and I thought it couldn’t be that worse. I got off the bus and put on my equipment. What I did not find was a board with the route description. Never mind, I thought. I started and enjoyed the sunshine on my face and the beautiful view. After a few meters I discovered a board which said, that the route is 8 km long. 8 km flat, you can easily do that in an hour, I thought. It was a little after 1 o’clock in the afternoon. Exactly the right time for me. I turned off and after a very short time there was a warning sign – “very difficult descent”. This didn’t scare me off, but as I didn’t know the place, I asked an elderly gentleman, who wanted to turn off in the other flat direction, how difficult the trail was. He said: “not too hard” and it did not sound as if it was very demanding. “What is the difference in altitude?”, I asked him, and he answered that it should be a little more than 50 m. I thought I could do that easily and drove off.

The descent was very steep and very long. I didn’t mind that. I am a skilled skier and a “hill” does not knock me down that fast. On the contrary, I enjoyed the long descent and was surprised that it was so long. So, there I was, in the middle of the forest and the sun could be sensed but not felt. It became dark and scary somehow. After that an ascent began. But what an ascent!!! 215 meters altitude in the middle of the forest. I guess something about 4 kilometers. I’m not 20 years old anymore, but my fitness should take 4 kilometers of ascent. But to manage this ascent as a season start on cross country skis – skating – brought me to the edge of my strength. I was only passed twice – the rest of the time I was all alone. I had to admit to myself that this chosen route exceeded my physical abilities as a season start. But I was somewhere at the end of the 4 kilometers and giving up and coming back made no sense at all (even though I didn’t know what to expect after this). I was sweaty from head to toe, red in the face from exertion and I was about to give up, get off the skis and go somewhere flatter and less demanding. But that was a wish that would not come true. You can’t take off your skis in the middle of the forest in a track that isn’t made for hiking, and just walk the rest of the way. The base is much too soft, and you will most likely sink in the snow. Walking would then be even more demanding than cross-country skiing into a steep slope. Apart from that, it is forbidden because it would destroy the trail. I gritted my teeth and continued. It needed a few breathers but somehow I managed to reach the highest point at 1970 m altitude, just before Prätschalp with a phenomenal view. I enjoyed it and was proud of myself. My reward was a sensational descent back to the bus station. And finally there, I discovered the board.

Now everything was clear. I had indeed chosen the most impossible route as a start and because of my ambition, I needed less time for the route than the time indicated. But now I was quite knocked out and I didn’t feel like doing any easier sections.

This cross-country track Prätschalp in Arosa, describes my year 2019 quite good. It started out funny and spectacular, became more and more difficult and demanding and took all my strength. Towards the end, it became more amusing and there were more fun factors, but the middle distance was simply too much. But I would not walk away (apart from that, it’s not the approach that comes into question for me in difficult situations).

I thought after this exercise I will be useless for anything by 10 o’clock in the evening at the latest and experience the coming of the year 2020 in my sleep. Surprisingly, cross-country skiing gave me additional energy and i spent the night dancing. I experienced the countdown with many unknown people outside at the lake in the centre of the village with music and fireworks. It was wonderful.

The year 2019 is dead now, long live the year 2020 and may it be better!

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