To embark on a ski safari means leaving the familiar terrain. Discovering new things, enjoying the different rides and slopes, as well as the fascination of the wintry White Mountains in the foreground.
What happens off the slopes, at the entrance to the Eastern summit of the Rothorn and at the sight of untouched nature, is the following: The eyes are astonished, and at the same time, the emotions are exulting. Although the ski safari isn’t a trip to the Big Five in Southern Africa, Karen Blixens, the author of the afterlife in Africa, said aptly, "There is something on a safari that will make you forget all the worries and make you feel like you drank half a bottle of champagne; a feeling that overflows with heartfelt gratitude...”
What follows is a speedy ride through a white virgin snow slope with the pleasure of making the first tracks. Through the headwaters of the Plessur, past the snow-covered Älplisee, it goes down to Arosa. In the past, the ski safari was the only way to go back and forth between the ski areas of Lenzerheide and Arosa. Since the season of 2013/14, the Urdenbahn connects the two ski areas. As a result, the winter sports arena Arosa Lenzerheide built 225 kilometers of slopes and 43 facilities, the largest in the Canton. Hemmi adds, "However, the attractiveness of the ski safari has by no means suffered." How true: the comfort of using the infrastructure of the ski resort to effortlessly climb up again and then drive far away from the slope is a pleasure.
In no time at all the three skiers are on the side of Arosa, high on the Hörnli. From where you drive through the wildly romantic Urdental with the impressive Spirit Slope. Spirit Slope? In fact, the area around this hillside is legendary. Once, it is said, a Senn lived here at Urder Augstberg. A devious character: He handed poisoned milk to passing traders and hikers to mug them afterwards. Legend says that he murdered his mother to acquire her property. Nature took corrective action, devouring the Alp and leaving the Urdensee in its place. But the Senn is said to be up to ghostly mischief, even nowadays. The locals report spooky sightings of Senn repeatedly, who is accompanied by a red cow on the Spirit Slope.
The safari singers, however, could not see him, but they indeed saw some chamois high up on a wind-swept piece of meadow. It is important to respect the resting areas of the animals, says Hemmi. That is one of the reasons why it is advisable to rely on the experience of a ski instructor who knows the area well. In addition, the danger of avalanches prevails on some slopes. Hemmi knows exactly which corners of the area should be avoided. He has never been caught in an avalanche during his 30-year career as a ski instructor. On the contrary, during the ski safari, he gladly passes on his profound knowledge, explains the snow conditions and the correct behavior, and at the same time explains the mountains. He seems to know every peak as well as the animal kingdom because he is also a passionate hunter.
After a busy day, the group reaches Parpan and says goodbye to each other. A successful day is over. The memories however will last a lifetime and the thought that its worthwhile leaving the familiar terrain every now and then - even during everyday life.