Travel Life Europe 21/22 - Planning, General short TRs, Travel and covid

sli1

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I think @Skifahrer would be able to give a good answer for Austria being a regular seasonal skier there. When I go it is more often from mid March and fingers crossed this will be the case again this year. Once the school holidays are done in February the main crowds do drop off with just another short peak over Easter. Snow conditions in Austria in March and into April are still very good, less frequent powder, but normally still good coverage form earlier season snowmaking.

I quite enjoy spring skiing in Austria. Much less crowded, good weather so you can sit outside at the huts for lunch. You will do more of your skiing higher up but most areas will try and make sure they have a skiable valley run (Talabfahrt). It is a relaxed atmosphere.

Obviously with Covid crowds will be much less than usual which @blueandwhite reports confirm. Suspect even in school holidays there won't be quite as many German families visiting.
Thanks Heinz. There are some conflicting factors this year with crowds. Right now I expect things to be very quiet. However, we are now seeing Covid cases start to plummet in the UK and I expect we will see the same in Europe very shortly with significant pent-up demand to go skiing suddenly being released! having said that, maybe there are plenty of europeans who've already written it off as an option this year.
 

sli1

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French half term school holidays 6 Feb 2022 to 6 Mar 2022, with the peak being 13 Feb - 27 Feb. After that French resorts will be quiet.
In the Tarentaise there will be plenty of snow cover in March. Places like Tignes & Val D'Isere are open into May.
One of the best days powder skiing I'ver ever had was in the Espace Killy (Tignes/Val D'Isere) on 30th March 2006.
Thanks @Kenzie, yes, the altitude of the French mega-resorts probably means I am less concerned about spring ski conditions there than if we went to Austria. Although looking at the forecast, there is quite the January snow drought going on in the Tarentaise at the moment!
 

Skifahrer

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Can anyone comment if there is much difference in crowds between the first week of March and the second week of March in say France and Austria?
Yes, as already written, it will be much emptier everywhere after the "Faschingsferien", so from 06 March. If you start in mid-February, you can't avoid the crowds.

In the higher areas in Austria, like Ischgl, Sölden or Arlberg, there will still be enough snow.
I always go to Ischgl in mid-April. Even at this time, all the valley slopes are open.
I would therefore recommend the second week of March. There may well still be powder, as on 6/7 March 2020. Maybe I'll find some powder pics and post it later on.
 

Kenzie

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Thanks @Kenzie, yes, the altitude of the French mega-resorts probably means I am less concerned about spring ski conditions there than if we went to Austria. Although looking at the forecast, there is quite the January snow drought going on in the Tarentaise at the moment!
There are snow-droughts every season, just as there are unsettled, snowy periods. It's the accumulated depth that counts. From doing seasons in Meribel & Tignes the maximum depth in the Tarentaise tends to be in March and/or April - depends on resort height, orientation & when the snow arrives.
Of those resorts I know Tignes (and hence Espace Killy) the better. Spring conditions don't usually start there until the end of March/start of April, with the maximum snow depth being achieved during April.
Tignes currently has 110cm depth at 2100m (the height that most of the accommodation is).
 
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sli1

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Yes, as already written, it will be much emptier everywhere after the "Faschingsferien", so from 06 March. If you start in mid-February, you can't avoid the crowds.

In the higher areas in Austria, like Ischgl, Sölden or Arlberg, there will still be enough snow.
I always go to Ischgl in mid-April. Even at this time, all the valley slopes are open.
I would therefore recommend the second week of March. There may well still be powder, as on 6/7 March 2020. Maybe I'll find some powder pics and post it later on.
Thank-you. Decided. The two weeks from March 7 with few extra days to allow for travel.
 

sli1

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@sli1: where are you going?
I'll book flights to Zurich or Munich (perhaps both) but nothing else until our necessary PCR or RAT is passed in the window before departing Australia. Its just my wife and I travelling. Once we pass the test I'll know we are not blocked. Plan is to rent a car and book the first few days to a week's accommodation. As for where, I'll let the snow conditions and what sort of accommodation we can get decide. It could be Austria or the Maurienne Valley in France.

Previously we skied at Kuhtai, Axamer Lizum, Schlick 2000, Goetzens, Maryhofen and Ski Cirrcus in Austria. I have many more places I would like to ski there than time available. I'd like to Ski at Pitztal Glacier and Bad Gastein (particularly Sport Gastein) and would love to go back to Ski Circus but am worried I would be disappointed because my last trip to Austria was in Jan 2019 if you remember that Nordstau snowmaggedon event.

Obviously I would like to go to the Arlberg region but........... I like avoiding crowds. I keep thumbing through my wePowder guide to the Alps

Any suggestions?
 

Zeroz

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So far Europe is treating us ok. We had good luck skiing new snow in Arosa last week, and decent snowfall forecast for Fri-Sat where we are going, next (but not if you are south like Italy which is very dry this year). Went hunting for fresh tracks today.

Up the Diavolezza cable car to tour & ski 12k on the Morteratsch Glacier, the biggest (and fastest shrinking) ice blob in eastern Switzerland. With a Swiss mountain guide since I'm not an idiot. Piz Bernina, right, the highest mountain in the Eastern Alps,
1642540753037.png


Glacier depth is about 200m, impressive crevasses, roped up, -10c, which is unusually warm for January on the glacier.
1642541119866.png


Top part alternated between nice powder, crunchy snow and yikes this is hard to ski breakable crust.
Watching guides cruise through it is always a good reality check of where I actually sit on the skiing skills ladder.
1642541372622.png


Moraine. The instruction through here was 'watch out for the stones'. By which he means big f-ing boulders. Yeah, i see them.
1642541229211.png


150 years ago the glacier was 300m higher and extended 3km further.
1642542158868.png


The run out has regular signs showing where the glacier was- this is just in 2015. It's 300m up the hill now.
1642542594051.png
 
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davekinkead

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Looking at a trip to basically anywhere in the Alps or about 2.5 weeks and entering through Zürich or Munich airports and renting a car. I have the flexibility of this trip to start anywhere between Mid Feb and March 6. I understand there are no guarantees at all when it comes to weather and am looking for advice on a sweet spot (best compromise) between likely snow conditions and crowds.

I've looked at the school holidays in France, Germany, UK the Netherlands and Austria and they are staggered all over the place but the last school holidays are over by March 6.

I've never taken my overseas ski trip beyond February and I'm conscious that it is not as though we have a deep snowpack (as yet) this season in the Alps so I have a tension between going a little early to get more winter like conditions or hanging on until school holidays are over to be assured of less people.

Can anyone comment if there is much difference in crowds between the first week of March and the second week of March in say France and Austria?

Austria after 6 Mar (Dutch hols) will be much less chaotic. Same for France. One week later wont change the snow but will make your trip MUC more enjoyable.
 
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sli1

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Austria after 6 Mar (Dutch hols) will be much less chaotic. Same for France. One week later wont change the snow but will make your trip MUC more enjoyable.
Good to know because we have just booked flights landing in Zurich on March 5th until March 20!
Was able to use QFF going to Zurich but Munich was harder
 
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Zeroz

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We all agree that the one thing this site needs is way more Luge News.

As the official luge correspondent for ski.com.au I viewed today's World Cup finals in St. Moritz, which is, as we Lugeheads know,
the final luge event before the Beijing Olympics. It was a tight finish with (spoiler alert!) Wolfgang Kindl from Austria leading.

No mere numbers for each corner, the St. Moritz Celerina track has creative names for each turn. Including 'Tree' and 'Nameless'.
1642797959551.png



Arturs Darzneiks from Latvia assumes the position. Which appears to be rigor mortis from the neck down.
1642798351498.png


Even with my vast knowledge of luge, it's amazing these guys get to 145 kph, which is hauling bananas any way you measure it.
 
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sli1

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Did this just scoot under everyone's radar?
Just reduced the governance risk of Covid a little more on an OS trip and certainly makes it cheaper:

Pre-departure testing

Please note these changes come into effect 1.00am Sunday 23rd January 2022.

All inbound passengers must provide a negative accepted COVID-19 test result. These tests can be either:

  • A nucleic acid amplification (NAA) test, such as:
    • polymerase chain reaction (PCR, or RT-PCR) test
    • Transcription mediated amplification
    • Loop-mediated isothermal amplification; or a
  • A rapid antigen test (RAT) (also described in some countries as a lateral flow antigen detection test or similar). This must not be confused with a lateral flow antibody detection test. For the purposes of pre-departure testing it must be an antigen test.
Serology tests are not accepted.

The NAA test must be done within 3 days before the day of the flight’s scheduled departure.

The RAT must be done within 24 hours of the flight’s scheduled departure time.

 

sli1

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Good to know because we have just booked flights landing in Zurich on March 5th until March 20!
Was able to use QFF going to Zurich but Munich was harder
Just changed flights to Munich. I just wasn't looking hard enough at the QFF options. Have decided we will commit to Austria for this one. France maybe for the next.
 
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Apiraclubby

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I see Australia has been added to the EU level 4 high level risk list.
2 weeks til fly out day. Now we wait and see which countries if not all, will ban us Aussies from travelling
 

sara777

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I see Australia has been added to the EU level 4 high level risk list.
2 weeks til fly out day. Now we wait and see which countries if not all, will ban us Aussies from travelling
I am cross-posting from another thread but I think that: each country would have different requirements and I anticipate that 'outright ban' will not be adopted by many. Testing requirements & quarantine maybe. I also think this will be short-lived.
 

Sbooker

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I see Australia has been added to the EU level 4 high level risk list.
2 weeks til fly out day. Now we wait and see which countries if not all, will ban us Aussies from travelling
If you look at France for example. We are on the green list. We may be moved to orange or red but it doesn’t really change anything for a vaccinated traveller. The US for example is on the red list but Americans can go to France as tourists as long as they’re vaxxed and produce a negative test prior to departure for France.
It’s not as if there’s no Omicron in Europe…..
 

Apiraclubby

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I am cross-posting from another thread but I think that: each country would have different requirements and I anticipate that 'outright ban' will not be adopted by many. Testing requirements & quarantine maybe. I also think this will be short-lived.
If you look at France for example. We are on the green list. We may be moved to orange or red but it doesn’t really change anything for a vaccinated traveller. The US for example is on the red list but Americans can go to France as tourists as long as they’re vaxxed and produce a negative test prior to departure for France.
It’s not as if there’s no Omicron in Europe…..
Ok that makes me feel a bit more at ease. And more interesting is that the EU come out with this information after the peak wave.
 

Hyst

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So here we are in Peisey Nancroix after crossing 3 boarders and 1600 km driving without any kind of checks. No passport nor covid pass was ever shown or stop of car.
However some people like (@davekinkead ) have been here before and used up the snow to ski down to the village.
Great chalet - and great people. No pictures of my stylish outfit. @elSpike !

High up the snow is ok, but there will be no powder just very packed snow.

Only one of our skifriends from UK could make it, but the Japanese, Norwegian, the haafu, and two Danes enjoy the stay with the French English host , together with him!
Just some breakfast before skiing after dumping our stuff.
20220123_090151.jpg
 
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davekinkead

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So here we are in Peisey Nancroix after crossing 3 boarders and 1600 km driving without any kind of checks. No passport nor covid pass was ever shown or stop of car.
However some people like (@davekinkead ) have been here before and used up the snow to ski down to the village.
Great chalet - and great people. No pictures of my stylish outfit. @elSpike !

High up the snow is ok, but there will be no powder just very packed snow.

Only one of our skifriends from UK could make it, but the Japanese, Norwegian, the haafu, and two Danes enjoy the stay with the French English host , together with him!
Just some breakfast before skiing after dumping our stuff.
20220123_090151.jpg

I still need to p-tex my skis after my a decent 2 weeks ago. I'd pop by to say hello but I got the 'rona last week. Off to the hospital now to get the all clear (hopefully).
 

Hyst

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I still need to p-tex my skis after my a decent 2 weeks ago. I'd pop by to say hello but I got the 'rona last week. Off to the hospital now to get the all clear (hopefully).
Hope all will be ok .
Will dinne at Dave and cas(?)s, in the end of the valley on Friday and try all of his beers.
I am shure he supplies transport as well.
 

Hyst

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Challenge accepted! In the spirit of the ski.com.au 'where is this', you were here:
1643069506479.png

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Pity you or your friend is blocking Blanc in the pic though ;)
I guess the new ski kindergarden for the beginner we have along.
Found a other place but this time it was difficult to hide.
20220125_151035.jpg

After wondering about the mountain we found some from the other side of the world who were kind to take our group picture.
20220125_125741.jpg

They called us for teletopies.

Sun sun sun - but no snow to come!
:clap::cry_ubb:
 

Kletterer

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Sun sun sun - but no snow to come!
:clap::cry_ubb:

I guess the new ski kindergarden for the beginner we have along.
Found a other place but this time it was difficult to hide.
20220125_151035.jpg

After wondering about the mountain we found some from the other side of the world who were kind to take our group picture.
20220125_125741.jpg

They called us for teletopies.

Sun sun sun - but no snow to come!
:clap::cry_ubb:
Perfect weather for ski touring
 
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Zeroz

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@Hyst if you can be wait a week then the snow situation should change.

This season the place for snowfall has been Austria and to a lesser extent Switzerland. Poor season in France and Italy so far.
Nearly everywhere you can still cruise around on the pistes as it's been cold. Need to be more selective for off-piste action .

But next week the forecast is for +1m of the stuff to drop across a wide range of the Alps (except much of Italy, again).
It's still too early to be certain but snowfall forecasts are impressive in many ski areas in France, Switzerland and Austria.
 

Hyst

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:cry:@Hyst if you can be wait a week then the snow situation should change.

This season the place for snowfall has been Austria and to a lesser extent Switzerland. Poor season in France and Italy so far.
Nearly everywhere you can still cruise around on the pistes as it's been cold. Need to be more selective for off-piste action .

But next week the forecast is for +1m of the stuff to drop across a wide range of the Alps (except much of Italy, again).
It's still too early to be certain but snowfall forecasts are impressive in many ski areas in France, Switzerland and Austria.
I will be gone by then! :cry: 1600 km more north with no snow.
 

Jacko4650

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I've been enjoying this youtube channel recently. Well produced vids that totally capture the Austrian vibe. Getting psyched for some Feb riding.


She goes pretty good.
Watched about 4 of her vids and despite only comprehending about 5%, the overviews of different ski areas were quite good. Some very big ski areas there!
 

DVP

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Still “waiting and seeing” before booking my week in March. Austria currently the front runner, with a shed load of snow coming this week.
Unless things change in a hurry I think Austria will remain your winner.... from a great start to the season there has been practically nothing in the north and west! A mate just got back from 2 weeks in Saas Fee and said it was wall to wall sunshine with warm temps. The forecast for Pila looks pretty grim for our trip there... we have canned our heli drop as it just doesn't seem worth the money with the conditions :-(
 
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smitty484

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Unless things change in a hurry I think Austria will remain your winner.... from a great start to the season there has been practically nothing in the north and west! A mate just got back from 2 weeks in Saas Fee and said it was wall to wall sunshine with warm temps. The forecast for Pila looks pretty grim for our trip there... we have canned our heli drop as it just doesn't seem worth the money with the conditions :-(
Yeah I was realllyyyyyy hoping to get back to Italy. I love it there. But as you say, looks to be Austria’s year this year

Fingers crossed something pops up in the forecast for your trip!
 
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