THE BLOG

Alone With God in St. Moritz of the Swiss Alps

12/05/2012 12:02 pm ET | Updated Feb 04, 2013

Shortly after my Congressional race, I traveled with my wife to the wedding of a close friend in Milan, Italy. Wanting to clear my head and be in the outdoors away from it all, we got there a few days early and traveled to St. Moritz for some early season skiing. It was heavenly (and not just because we were up in the clouds). St. Moritz can be expensive but in the pre-season it fits neatly into a budget. The city was mostly empty as the serious skiers get there in mid to late December. Hotels were half their normal rates. Ski passes were offered in conjunction with lodging. The ski lifts were still open and I had the mountain almost to myself.

There are few things in life as beautiful as the Swiss Alps, especially from the vistas offered by St. Moritz, and few things to make you forget everyday cares like being fully immersed in the wilds of mountain scenery.

Storms gathered while I was there and the Swiss were thrilled because the snow came down in piles. I didn't mind either as it gave the air a surreal quality. Blindingly white everywhere, it was breathtakingly beautiful. The snow around me made me feel isolated and alone, like nothing existed except me and the mountains. It was cathartic and rejuvenating.

The staff on the mountain were helpful and friendly, perhaps because they thought that, with my beard turning white, I was Santa Claus. Every few minutes the staff skied over and asked me if I was OK. I told them that as long as I was still there it meant that I had not inadvertently skied off the mountain.

I had been to St. Moritz only once before, about fifteen years ago, when I lived in the UK. A friend had an apartment and we stayed for a few days. On that occasion, the end of the season, was likewise empty of the crowds.

But nothing beat being there in such solitude, like on this occasion.

St. Moritz once had a kosher hotel, which I understand is no more. But my wife and easily found a self-catering apartment and made our own kosher meals (OK, she made them, I ate them. But my wife was merely implementing my recipes).

I have long believed, and written, that modern men and women do not spend enough time outdoors. Immersed as we are in our electronic universe, we accept virtual experiences in the place of real ones. We forego the purity of the countryside for the noise of an on-line life. But there is nothing as cleansing as nature and few things as healing as fresh mountain air. And there is nothing as uplifting and inspiring as the craggy, snow-capped tops of some of the world's most beautiful mountains.

Switzerland, which I have visited rarely since returning to the U.S. from our 11 years in the UK, is a place of unspoiled beauty without compare. And, as we discovered, at the right time and right place, it's affordable and you can get away from the crowds.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, America's Rabbi whom The Washington Post calls "the most famous Rabbi in America," is the international best-selling author of 29 books, an award-winning TV and radio host, and is currently writing a new book on relationships entitled Kosher Lust. Next month he will publish The Fed-Up Man of Faith: Challenging God in the Face of Tragedy and Suffering. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.