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Visiting Switzerland for its skiing is a time-honored tradition. Pixabay

With a legacy of 200 years of skiing, Switzerland is a popular destination for winter aficionados seeking the pristine snow and a multitude of skiing routes. Although skiing did not begin in Switzerland, it is believed that no other country has a stronger ski pedigree. The country is also home to the FIS (International Ski Federation)- the world’s highest governing body for international winter sports.

Visiting Switzerland for its skiing is a time-honored tradition and there are plenty of reasons why this country is such a big hit with snow lovers and skiers. With countless options in a unique country with four different languages, cultural and gastronomic areas, Switzerland’s ski destinations are steeped in a deep-rooted history.


St Moritz

The world’s first recorded winter snow holiday took place at St Moritz in 1864-65. It was also the place where many of the first reported ski descents in the Alps happened in the 1880s and 1890s, including one by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (author of Sherlock Holmes) who helped popularize the sport in Switzerland.

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Known as the birthplace of alpine winter tourism, St. Moritz is touted as the ski resort “on top of the world”. The resort opened in 1864, built one of the first Swiss lifts in 1935, and has hosted the Winter Olympics twice in 1928 and 1948. Located in upper Engadine, this high-end ski destination begins at an elevation of nearly 6,000 feet and only increases as you reach the tops of its surrounding peaks. Even today hordes of international jet-setters visit St. Moritz looking for an exciting Ski experience and to enjoy a good life.

Interlaken – Jungfrau Region

A host of the legendary Lauberhorn-the highest-attended winter sports event in the world, the Jungfrau region is where the first downhill races took place. Ski tourism in this charming valley dates back to the beginning of the 19th Century and has become more popular since the advent of the Bernese Oberland Railway in 1890, followed by the world-famous Jungfrau Railway in 1912.


Adventurous mountain enthusiasts will want to experience the Haute Route. Pixabay

Serving as the cultural hub to skiers and riders seeking out the slopes accessed via Jungfraujoch (train), Interlaken is the perfect access point for the grand Eiger, Mench, and Jungfrau peaks. While the ski resorts, Grindelwald and Wengen have enjoyed plenty of modern updates, Interlaken has retained its historic charm and none so much as the 100-year-old Jungfraujoch cogwheel that transports skiers, riders, and sightseers to the top of the Jungfrau, which is Europe’s highest railway stations.

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Engelberg Titlis

Best accessed from Zurich and Lucerne, one of Switzerland’s best ski destinations, Engelberg-Titlis is also the perfect spot to start off if you plan on visiting more than one Swiss’ resort. Mount Titlis at an elevation of 3238 meters -above sea level is the ideal place to have your first ski experience! The TITLIS Ski Experience, located halfway up on Mt. Titlis, gives you the full snow experience, easily accessible and perfect to combine with other attractions. A ‘First Ski Experience’ package here includes ski equipment, a professional instructor, and a lift pass for one afternoon. Actor Ranveer Singh too received his first ski lesson here.

This impressive peak is accessed by the TITLIS ROTAIR- the world’s first rotating cable car. Skiers and sight-seers alike can enjoy these views via an interconnected gondola system which joins the village of Engelberg with Mount Titlis via three cable cars. Travelers also appreciate the charming chalets and idyllic Victorian buildings in the village that provide a welcome Old-World respite.

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Zermatt

One of the most famous Swiss icons, Zermatt is just as stunning and idyllic as one would imagine. This car-free, charming village sits beneath the majestic, breathtaking Matterhorn-the world’s most famous peak. The 360 kilometers of skiing is exceptional and well-suited to intermediates. Glacial skiing is also possible year-round at the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. Adventurous mountain enthusiasts will want to experience the Haute Route, a challenging 400-kilometer ski touring route in winters from Zermatt to Mont Blanc! (IANS)


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Indian astronomers have found an active galaxy in a very bright state with 10 times more X-ray emission than normal

Indian astronomers have found an active galaxy in a very bright state with 10 times more X-ray emission than normal, equivalent to more than 10 trillion of the sun, and located five billion light years away that could help probe how particles behave under intense gravity and acceleration to the speed of light.

It could help study the role of strong gravity and acceleration of matter in the formation, interaction and evolution of galaxies in the early universe.

Every galaxy in the universe is believed to host a supermassive black hole at its centre. In some galaxies, the black hole is actively devouring a large amount of material and shooting a jet of plasma almost at the speed of light towards us. These are called blazars.

OJ 287 belongs to a class of blazars known as BL Lacertae objects which show very rapid and large amplitude flux variations but barely discernible emission line features.

This class of sources emit in the whole electromagnetic spectrum, a rather uncommon phenomenon which requires extreme physical conditions. Hence, a study of such sources tells us about the behaviour of matter in an extreme gravitational field where it is difficult for light to escape from the vicinity of the black hole.

Astronomers at Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, have been monitoring one such black hole system named 'OJ 287' since 2015. This source shows a repeated optical brightness enhancement almost every 12 years.

"The repeated optical enhancement makes OJ 287 very intriguing as this class of sources does not show any repeating features in flux variations. The repeated optical enhancement made the researchers believe that the system hosts a binary black hole," said a release from the Ministry of Science and Technology.

In 2020, the source was very bright at optical and X-ray bands with X-ray flux more than 10 times the normal (non-active phase) flux. This flare was very different as it was not expected in models proposed for this source and thus, indicated a more complex system and physical conditions.

Investigating the extreme brightness shown by OJ 287 at optical and X-ray bands, astronomers led by Pankaj Kushwaha and Alok C. Gupta reported the source in a completely new spectral state.

The team argued that this change of state holds clues to the researcher's quest to understand how matter behaves in very strong gravity and how it accelerates the particle to almost the speed of light -- a feat that is out of the scope of even the most advanced CERN accelerator.

The research published in 'The Astrophysical Journal' tracked the details of changes in optical to the X-ray emission spectrum of the source with time from 2017 to 2020 -- after the second brightest X-ray flare of the source. It revealed how the source gradually started to change its spectral behaviour from mid-2018 to the new spectral state in 2020.

The study included data recorded by the ground-based facility operated by Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, operated Mount Abu observing facility in near infra-red bands and the space-based NASA's satellites -- the Niels Gherel Swift satellite at optical, UV and X-rays with gamma ray data from the Fermi satellite, the release added. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Science, NASA, Satellites, Black Hole, Gravity, India


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Tospread awareness about the significance of reading, Rachna Kalra, who hails from Gurugram (Haryana), started the Silent Book Club in the year 2019.

Who doesn't like reading, and that, too, reading along the company of mother nature? Well, this book club is truly a fantasy turned to reality.

As said by a regular reader at the Silent Book Club, “There is something meditative about reading. Sitting quietly with a book, without any distractions, is almost spiritual for me," this exactly is the case with many such readers.

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Ninety-eight per cent of Indian travellers say they want to stay in a sustainable accommodation in the coming year.

A Travel Sustainable badge, provides highly coveted information to travellers all over the world looking to make more sustainable travel choices. Booking.com has launched the Travel Sustainable Badge, a first of its kind in the industry, designed to be applicable to a wide range of property types, from apartments, B&Bs, and vacation homes to hotels, resorts, and even treehouses, and adaptable to local realities and considerations.

Ninety-eight per cent of Indian travellers say they want to stay in a sustainable accommodation in the coming year, and with more than 28 million listings on Booking.com, the company sees a huge opportunity to highlight more of the impactful efforts its partners are making to create more sustainable experiences, making it easier for travellers to find a sustainable way to stay.

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With 88 percent of Indian travellers indicating that they would be more likely to choose a specific accommodation that implements sustainable practices, it rewards and encourages providers to take the next steps on their individual sustainability journeys.

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