04 January 2009

New Years YSA Conference 2008-2009 in Elm, Switzerland

I met up with these guys in Zollikofen to drive to Elm.

We requested Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up" (Daniel was the DJ) and all sung along:

I was so excited to see Alexa there, and it was so nice of her to bring her skis for me (she wears the same size shoe). Here we are getting ready to hit the slopes on Saturday!

Here's Alexa a few minutes later praying to the ski gods to let Michelle get better at skiing or at least to keep moving. I don't know what happened, but I suddenly became intimidated by this mountain and was almost paralyzed most of the time. Shameful. It also didn't help that I was stuck with gloves that soaked through with water and then froze into blocks of ice. Very pleasing, especially when my thumb was so cold that it hurt when I tried to warm it up.

At least I had lots of opportunities to take beautiful pictures as I sat down along the way. Seeing mountains again seriously warmed my heart.

That evening, before the dance, we had fun writing and drawing all over the message board. I even added the music to "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

On Sunday, we had sacrament meeting on a snowy hill.

This was the view:

An area seventy, Elder Weidmann, gave a great fireside which was more like a discussion on the conference's theme scripture, which also happens to be my favorite scripture: Jacob 6:12. I love Jacob. As I'm fond of saying, he's totally underrated.

I decided to do some snowshoeing on Monday. Totally worth it.

We were so warm at the top and the view was so amazing that no one minded eating sandwiches in the freezing cold.

Wow. So this is what happens when you don't have snowshoes on--you start sinking, surrounded by beauty.

This guy just suddenly decided to stand beside me. If I were a little more warmly dressed like he is, I might be able to claim that I was at the Everest base camp or something.

Just one more picture with the beautiful mountains in the background, followed by two videos.

Family night was followed by a dance that was pajama-party-themed. I loved having people ask me who "Reed" was (I had on my family reunion t-shirt).

We played Werewolves and Dippity, Dippity, Dip with a big group of people. We decided to invite the French-speaking YSAs to join us. It was hilarious to hear them trying to say "Dippity." Sometimes it was "Deepity" and sometimes it was "Beebeedee." The girl and three boys on the further side of the circle are the French-speaking ones:

Tuesday, I hit the slopes again and was glad I'd done it. I was able to ski a lot faster. Vera and I made a good skiing pair because we skied at about the same speed and cautiousness. Plus, I had "borrowed" warm, waterproof gloves from the shelf outside of our room. The best adventure was when we went to the very top of the mountain and discovered it was a very steep hill. Vera didn't want to do it though I thought we could schaff it, so we didn't get out of the lift. The whole lift stopped for us to get out, so we had to explain that we didn't want to get out. Then at the bottom, there was no where to get out, so we just had to somehow jump out. I skied straight into a cupboard and she into some cement steps, which made loud noises and sent the men shoveling snow running to stop the lift. Ha ha.

So much dancing and skiing gave my feet some lovely and thankfully painless blisters. Unfortunately, not everyone had dirndls for the Älpler dance, but we still looked pretty good.

I found a lot of the Austrian boys quite good-looking, polite, and interesting. I tried on my friend Michael's Älpler hat. The winner of the Älpler contest was a friend from Leipzig!

The next day, Alexa and I had hardcore colds that left us constantly needing tissues and gave me back my intense sore throat. We were also some of the last ones to get off the slopes to get ready for the New Year's Eve ball and found this crazy sign along the way.

Instead of having showering parties like some girls, Alexa and I both avoided crowds in the showers like the plague. I'm getting better at the public showering thing. I just don't think about it and don't make eye contact with people. Unlike some girls, Alexa and I were able to get spiced up pretty quickly. I convinced her to try some of my bronzer and I think it looked really great on her.

I loved the pig decorations (they're good luck, like the peppermint pig I used to smash with my family) and even found a boyfriend to replace the smoker guy. Say hi to Schwänli.

This makes me think of that book Pigs in Hiding.

The food was pretty good. Tin foil decorations were entertaining.

I just had to have a picture with my friend David who looks like Clark Kent.

Each night when we got ready for bed, we laughed at mascara and eyeliner smears and crazy hair. We stopped laughing once we couldn't sleep because people were snoring and sleeping through their cell phone alarms that went off every couple of minutes. (Seriously, how do they do that? I woke up one girl four or five times to tell her to turn off her cell phone. She always asked, "Whose cell phone?")

Each day, Alexa's bruises from snowboarding down the icy sledding path got bluer. As she put it, "I have dead people knees."

Although the weather wasn't as warm as the other days, the amazing amount of snow that fell from midnight til morning gave Thursday fabulous powder that allowed me to ski from the highest slope, which was thoughtfully decked with hammocks to give your knees a rest before the long fall. Also, a tip from a Swiss friend the previous day helped me to ski a lot faster and more confidently.

In the evening, though my knees were completely done and I could have slept twelve hours right then, we took a lift to the top of the nearest mountain and sledded down to the bottom. There were amazing stars and we laughed and screamed the entire time. While waiting in line, I told Alexa about Amy's sledding fiasco, which would be ironic in the hours to come . . .

During the second round, we had to stop in the middle (of course this was only possible at one spot where it wasn't so steep or icy). I was such a horrible driver because I had ice frozen on my eyes and couldn't see anything. It was sooooo cold and sooooo amazingly hard to brake.

And the rest of the story tomorrow or Tuesday. If you can believe it, it gets even more exciting . . .


  1. Michelle! That sounds like crazy fun! I am so jealous you got to go on the slopes! Anxiously awaiting part 2...

  2. I can't wait to hear the rest! I want to know the Swiss guy's skiing tip....

  3. Susan, you'll just laugh at the tip of my Swiss friend, because I'm such a beginner. She told me to stop using my knees on the turns and to straighten my legs. Because I was busy saying to myself "up" and "down" (in German, of course), I wasn't busy worrying about how steep or icy the slopes were, so I could keep going. Plus, it made so my knees weren't so tired.