Universiteit Leiden

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Jasper's day

Jasper Knoester is the dean of the Faculty of Science. How is he doing, what exactly does he do and what does his day look like? In each newsletter, Jasper gives an insight into his life.

Tuesday 28 February

‘I wake up before 6:30 a.m., which is standard when I'm on a winter sports vacation. We're in the ski resort of Ischgl (Austria) with our family and that of my eldest sister. I love skiing, for me it's the perfect way to unwind completely. Life is simple: you ski, eat regularly, play some games or read a book and then you go to sleep. Ischgl is my favourite ski resort, beautifully located and with many slopes of all degrees of difficulty. A bonus is a ski connection over the mountains to the Swiss town of Samnaun. The living space where we stay is one that we rent annually and feels like our second home. 

I get up and like every day I prepare the breakfast table. The fresh-bread service has done a perfect job again and I can't restrain myself from already eating something in advance. One by one the others get out of bed and breakfast can really begin. After this, it is time to quickly put on the ski clothes and drive to the big ski elevator that will take us up to above 2300 meters. It is turning out to be a beautiful day, the sky is bright blue, perfect. The past few days we have had a lot of cloud cover, making visibility on the slopes poor, but the rest of the week promises to be bliss. Apparently, many people have been waiting for this: the queue at the elevator is long. But once at the top that crowd will quickly spread out over the large area. 

At the top, we enjoy a wonderful day on skis and snowboards. After lunch, I sneak off with Xuefei and cousin Lotte. We ski down to the valley, always a wonderful long descent, which is also wonderfully quiet in the middle of the day. Our mission is to buy a cake for Jasmijn, whose birthday is tomorrow. We choose a beautiful “Sachertorte”, which we hide in the car for the rest of the day. Satisfied, we go back to the top and enjoy the afternoon in the snow. The final descent of the day is more challenging that the one after lunch. Many people had the same plan as us and it is quite a challenge to avoid collisions in this anthill. 

We get home at 5 p.m, just in time for a video call with the chairman of the National Committee on Sector Plans. One last fray in the national plans for the beta domain needs attention. We come to a joint conclusion about the way forward. In the evening I catch up with Pieter Schipper, who is also on vacation, and I hope we can indeed devote the rest of the week entirely to our vacations. 

After dinner, our game fanatics choose ‘Stone Age’ as the main game for the evening. We always take this game with us on vacation. It has been played in many countries. It turns out to be a fun evening, with all the players finishing surprisingly close together. It seems meant to be the eventual winner is tomorrow's birthday girl. 

After a few other smaller games to conclude, it is time to go to sleep and give the leg muscles a chance to recover. The weather forecast for tomorrow is still very sunny and I already know that before 6:30 the natural alarm clock goes off again for another beautiful and sporty day. With, of course, a festively decorated breakfast table.’ 

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