The Swiss Machine
It has been a good start into January and the New Year here at KISC with one of the busiest weekends since the beginning of Autumn!
It all began on the weekend from the 6th to 8th January and the annual Ice Climbing Festival here in Kandersteg. Although the conditions were not the best ones with only little amounts of ice on the various rockfaces around the village, many ice climbers attended the festival and brought extreme sports atmosphere to the village. A lot of climbers were staying at the Centre, arriving up until late on Friday evening, ready to take part in the climbing competitions over the course of Saturday. Saturday evening saw a presentation by ice climbing greats Tim Emmett and Will Gadd talking about their experiences with spray ice at Helmcken Falls in Canada, attended by half the Staff team. The real highlight though was the talk of Swiss mountaineering legend Ueli Steck who broke the speed record of climbing the Eiger north face in literally running up to the summit (with crampons on!) in 2 hours and 47 minutes! And not only did several of us Pinkies listen to Ueli's talk, but some even managed to meet with him at the ice climbing party after the finals of the competition, had a little chat with him and got a photo taken with the legend himself. This definitely made this successful weekend for us!
And as it calmed down at the Centre again the week after the Ice Climbing Festival, we met up with the girls of Our Chalet (the WAGGGS World Centre in Adelboden) here at KISC on Thursday to have the traditional snow afternoon together with them! After a few ice breakers at the Centre to get to know each other, we all left for Oeschinensee to go sledding on the village run there! The conditions for this were perfect with a little layer of fresh snow from the weekend on a mainly icy run that allowed for adrenaline-pumping speeds! After everyone made it down covered in snow, but safe and sound, we returned to the Centre for a Chalet Tour for the girl guides and a Swiss fondue dinner afterwards - KISC fondue rules included! The afternoon was rounded up with a game and film night afterwards. From what we heard, the Our Chalet Staff enjoyed the afternoon a lot and are preparing a similar meet-up over in Adelboden for the beginning of February!
In line with our Health & Safety regulations here at KISC, a two-day first aid course was held for all Long Term Staff who needed a refreshment of their first responders' knowledge. Great fun for all and a nice change from normal work, especially in the more practical accident scenarios, all attending Staff passed the test and received their first aid certificate, now ready for all the usual incidents that can occur in an environment with a lot of scouts around. Some of the scenarios seemed that real that some hikers walking by outside of the Centre were asking if they could do something to help out with the staged car / bike crash that we were being trained on - sorry for that. At this place a big thank you to Rosmarie who was leading the course for the Swiss Samaritans with a lot of enthusiasm and commitment!
After an exciting week, an even more exciting weekend awaited the Centre: The annual Klondike weekend of the Transatlantic Council of the Boy Scouts of America took place! This meant that over 350 guests - American scouts stationed on military bases all over Europe - completely filled every accomodation we have to offer, be it the New and Old Chalet, Kander-Lodge or the Tower. It was also because of the entire Staff team's dedication and great amount of work outside of normal hours in all the different areas of the Centre that the scouts really enjoyed their time here! To keep them busy on their Hawaiian-themed weekend, the Centre had organized a lot of different snow activities on Saturday for the TAC with a lot of Staff running some kind of a Ski Patrol for the many guests skiing down the slopes at Oeschinensee. But not only downhill skiing was well asked for, also sledding, cross country skiing and snowshoeing were really popular and fully booked. The entire camp was rounded off nicely by a campfire in the snow on Saturday evening, including the world famous Staff skit in the freezing cold. On a more funny side, it is also always interesting to see how much candy a bunch of scouts can buy from the Centre Shop in just one weekend - quite some restocking had to be done after the weekend. It is also amazing that so many different scout groups come to KISC from everywhere in Europe for just one single weekend, it is really satisfying to see that our work here is appreciated that much!
But now that Klondike is over, it doesn't mean that it is getting any less busy at KISC. Lots of Staff used several of their days of this week to relax after Klondike, but also to take a deep breath to be ready for this weekend when we are awaiting Pack 130 with almost 180 scouts, mainly cubs, and Troop 56 who are staying with us for a week with about 20 guests. Also this weekend will bring the annual dog sledding race to Kandersteg, the race track passing the Centre and Kander-Lodge. We are looking forward to a lot of great photos of this unique event!
We also said hi to two new Helpers these last few days: For once we have Antoine (FR) with us, the French contingent leader for the Roverway in Finland this Summer who is staying with us for a month to gain international experience (and who you might have already know through his Smile of the Week blog). We also welcome back Kike (ES), High Adventure Assistant this past Summer, staying with us for a month as well and who claims he brought the fresh snow we got the day before with him from Spain...we have our doubts about that though.
Finally, it is time to advertise a bit in our own matters, as usual. We finally got time to evaluate the over 120 photos that were sent to us for the KISC Photo Competition and selected a winner: João Campos Bão with his photo of hking scouts helping each other on a steep hill. Congratulations again to him! The winning phot as well as the honorable mentions can be seen in our corresponding facebook album as well in our "Previously at KISC" photo gallery. The PR Team at KISC, composed of Short and Long Term Staff, has decided as well to run another Photo Competition at the end of Winter / beginning of Spring, so if you're coming to Kandersteg during the next few weeks, get ready to take good pictures for this reason, or sort the ones out you already have at home! Stay tuned for more infos on this!
It took us some time, with ski guides being away on the slopes and Staff members still on holiday, but we now have the Current Staff Gallery finally online! In case you haven't looked at the team of Pinkies yet and want to know who's running the Centre until the middle of March, click here to get forwarded to the gallery!
We also want to point out that there's still beds available for several weeks in Winter, including Ski Week 8 which coincides with half term in the UK and several other countries! If you are interested in doing a last minute booking to experience Swiss Winter from its best side, please fill in our Online Booking Form or contact Reception via e-mail.
Also check our Photo Gallery to not only read, but also see in photos what has been happening at KISC!
Pol Felten (LU)21.01.2012
PR & Marketing Assistant