Our 1st winter coliving season: ski, work and community at its best!

Even if the Winter is far from being over, we did sooooo much already that I felt like taking a step back and writing about our 1st winter season at Alpiness coliving. What a BLAST!

Photo of author

When we opened Alpiness coliving in September, we did expect to have some fun during winter as there are so many things to do in our valley when the snow comes. But gosh we didn’t expect to have such a BLAST! I know it’s not even the end of February when I write these lines, but it feels like a full winter season already as we did so much with so many cool people!

From powder ski mornings to ski touring, ice climbing, nordic skiing and even costumed parties during our local carnival… we sometimes had to make tough choices to still getting things done on the work side 😉 . But when I look back on the last 2 months, I can only be grateful for having such a life that I share with all these amazing people.

It even started before winter season 😉

This year (or last year I should say), the snow came early as we’ve been gifted with some good snow falls beginning of November already. At that time, the larch trees were still bright orange which created the perfect settings for magical snowshoe hikes! Soon after, there was enough snow for our 1st ski touring adventure of the season as the ski lifts weren’t even opened yet!

Starting the new year with fresh snow

After closing the coliving for 2 weeks to take some well deserved time off and spending Christmas with our families, we welcomed our first guests of the winter just before new year. On New Year’s Eve, we even got a lot of fresh snow which set the stage for a really good party with the coliving crew (some of us even woke up to shred the powder the next morning… and no one got injured 😉 ).

By the end of the 1st week of January, our house was full with a great crew of people ready to enjoy what winter has to offer!

How does a typical winter week at Alpiness coliving looks like?

Well, we didn’t really know what to expect as it’s our 1st winter season at Alpiness coliving… But hey, I have to say a typical week at Alpiness coliving during winter is pretty damn active! When the conditions are good (and they were amazing in January), we had people going skiing to the closest ski resorts (Arolla 20 min with the bus and Evolène 5 min with the car) almost every day for a couple of hours.

So during the week (Monday to Friday), our days looked a bit like this:

  • Mornings: Of course everyone has different schedule (no one can go skiing every day lol) but we often went skiing a couple of hours before lunch. We are quite spoiled here has we just need to take the 8:30 or 9:30 bus (which is free for colivers as everyone pays the tourist tax) in front of the coliving to be on the slopes of Arolla 20 minutes later. We would in general be back after a few runs for lunch at the coliving.
  • Afternoons: Work – work – work! Usually that’s when our workspace was the most busy (between 1-7pm)… But everyone will agree that we are just much more productive after a few good runs in the morning 🙂
  • Evenings: We all have dinner together around 7:30pm (as explained here, we have shared dinners from monday to friday) and then some/all of us would share some time in the living room together just chatting, playing games, watching a movie, having skillshares, doing crafts, having a drink at the neighbouring pub and so on… Of course everything is always optional but so far we really had an amazing crew in the house always up for almost everything.

What about Weekends?

Well it turns out a lot of people in the house bought the Magic Pass… So what happened quite often during weekends is that people would all go together discover some other ski resorts included in the magic pass such as Saas Fee, Zinal – Grimentz, Anzère, Nax, Saint-Luc… These places are located a bit further away from the coliving but it’s perfect for a day trip during the week-end.

Moreover, even if we don’t plan common dinners on Saturdays and Sundays, we ended up doing a lot of things together anyways like eating out, party at the carnival together and so on.

So is it all about skiing? Not at all 😉

We thought it would be mainly about skiing / snowboarding during winter season but I have to say our colivers have been really creative 🙂 . Not everyone knows how / wants / likes to ski and that’s all right! So here is a non exhaustive list of other things people have been doing during winter:

  • Nordic skiing: You might know Theo if you’ve been to community focused coliving spaces in the last 4-5 years… Well this guy has been nordic skiing almost everyday since he arrived at Alpiness. He even did a skillshare about skating on a weekend! (thanks Theo) As we have a 20kms nordic ski track just next to the coliving, it’s easy to go for an hour at lunch time for exemple. You can actually read about his nordic skiing winter at Alpiness coliving here.
  • Running: We were not expecting people to go running that much during winter… but we were wrong! We actually had at least 4-5 colivers that would go running several times a week along the road or on the nordic ski track and the cold temperatures didn’t seem to scare them… So yes it’s totally possible to keep running at Alpiness in winter (people already asked us this question a few times per email).
  • Ice climbing: Our valley is a prime destination for ice climbing and thanks to our dear Austris, we have been able to try this crazy outdoor activity a few times now. Let’s say it’s a character building sport but you might enjoy it as well 😉
  • Indoor / Outdoor climbing: When the weather wasn’t great or when spring arrived early in February (we had 2 weeks of really warm weather in February), we just went outdoor climbing down the valley or to our local gym.
  • Hiking / Snowshoeing: Depending on the snow conditions, we can start snowshoeing directly from the coliving… and when the snow melts, well it’s the perfect time to start hiking again 😉
  • Ski touring: I think it’s now my favorite winter activity but it’s not really beginner friendly as it requires a lot of gear, knowledge and technique… But guess what, some colivers really got into it and Robert even bought his own ski touring gear now! If you want to know more about ski touring but don’t know where to start, I also wrote a comprehensive guide about this here.
  • Thermal bath: There is a really nice Spa in Hérémence (20min away from the coliving) and one of our neighbouring hotel has a sauna + jacuzzi that can be privatized. Perfect to relax after ski or work.
  • Cold dips: Some people prefer to go for VERY cold dips in frozen lake before going to work… Apparently it’s super good for your body 😉
  • Indoor training in our home gym: We have a room that’s dedicated to fitness training in the house with mats, weights, dumbbells, kettlebells, blocks and so on (and this spring will build a much bigger gym in our basement)… and I’m always surprised by how many people are using it!

Fun fact, we had so many Strava users in the house already that we just decided to create our own coliving Strava club.

Our local carnival in Evolène

One last thing that is really special about our valley is that we have a very traditional mountain carnival which is also the longest in Switzerland (from the 6th of January to fat Tuesday… so around 6 weeks this year). There is so much to say about our local carnival that we will write a dedicated post about it. But let’s say it’s something quite unique and you really need to experience it by yourself to get the hang of it.

It was our first carnival in the valley and we went out quite a lot, trying to participate as much as we could. To give you an idea, here are a few pictures of what our carnival looks like:

It’s also about work

I know this might look a bit like a sports camp in the swiss alps… But I promised it’s not… we just don’t take pictures of ourselves working in the workspace lol. But obviously what allows all of us to live this crazy life is that we all manage to be productive as well on the work side. So believe it or not but we also work a fair share of our time here.

So I’m really grateful for this 1st winter season so far!

I’m grateful for the amazing people we met, for all the adventures, for this sometimes messy-intense-beautiful-memorable life we share, for all the good food, the laughter, the runs in the powder snow / slopes, for having so many “Yes people” in the house… It’s just amazing to share winter with all of you.

By the way, if you want to experience it for yourself, we still have 2 rooms available from mid-March to mid-April (slopes in our local ski resort are open till mid-April #Justsaying). So come join us from some mountain adventures and book now.

P.S. A special thanks to Holly & Carmen for being the most amazing volunteers and helping us so much for everything in the coliving!

Leave a Comment