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Spring cleaning in Switzerland: when the snow melts...

Spring cleaning in the Swiss Alps is a little different from airing out the bedding and mopping the floors. When the snow melts in the spring, everything left behind over the winter comes to the surface in a sometimes disgusting display.


Since Switzerland has a reputation (possibly deserved) for extreme neatness, that's a matter of concern, and many Swiss resorts stage spring cleaning days to pick up the mess. The towns add a little tourism promotion by inviting skiers to return in the summer to help. 


In one town, Saas-Fee in Valais Canton, it's been going on for five years, according to an article in The first time, over a ton of rubbish was collected, and it became an annual event. This year, 50-80 volunteers are expected on June 17 to clean the slopes and then take part in a thank-you barbecue. 


Among the things that turn up are not just the expectable cigarette butts and soda bottles; they've also included ovens, old shoes and even more exotic stuff. The cleanup is not just a beauty bit; many of the areas affected are farm and grazing land in the summer and the cleanup helps keep crops and animals safe.


Photo: Summit Foundation

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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