First time Europe. Looking for insight.

jamesdeluxe

Administrator
Tony Crocker said:
Serre Chevalier is good example of a lesser known area in the Alps that would still swallow a couple of Vails.
Based on many extensive reports from Alpinforum, it's quite popular as a second-tier Alps resort and would easily be classified top-tier in North America.
 

ChrisC

Active member
jamesdeluxe said:
I'm booked on two trips across the pond this season. Of course, the fun is always seeing how the actual visit pans out compared to what you planned.

Central Pyrenees: Jan 28 to Feb 6
• 45,000 FF miles: AA to LHR, then British Airways to Toulouse. A long layover on the outbound flight so delayed luggage won't be an issue.
• Skiing at Luz Ardiden, Grand Tourmalet, St. Lary, Piau Engaly, and Peyragudes in France along with Baqueira and Boí Taüll in Spain.

Your Pyrenees trip sounds really interesting. A region I never researched too much. I have really only heard/looked at Baqueira - which looks quite sizeable.

Did you ever consider one of Andorra resorts?
 

jamesdeluxe

Administrator
ChrisC said:
Did you ever consider one of Andorra resorts?
I did; however, with only eight ski days available I had to decide on either the eastern or western half of the Pyrenees, so I went with the latter. The big dot in the middle of the map is Baquiera, which is as far east as I'll go on this itinerary. It's a narrow mountain range -- only 40 or so miles wide -- and according to reports not as well criss-crossed by roads as the Alps.

pyrenees pic.png
 

ChrisC

Active member
jamesdeluxe said:
ChrisC said:
Did you ever consider one of Andorra resorts?
I did; however, with only eight ski days available I had to decide on either the eastern or western half of the Pyrenees, so I went with the latter.

Got it. Hopefully, there should be fronts coming off the Atlantic to get the western Pyrenees.
 

jnelly

New member
So onto this: Accommodations; and the general sentiment on how anyone has tackled this since the consensus is to hold fast til one knows a general direction once travel gets closer. Question is, how do have you whom have been there work this? I definitely know 1/2 board is the thing, I am more worried about how far out to do any of this...and/or is having a few key locations booked the way to go and then be flexible once arrived should you want to stay longer or shorter at X, or Y place. (ie. Is walk-in mentality possible in off-season/end of Jan.) This seems almost was daunting as the skiing locations...what a noob!
Thanks again everyone for all this, you have no clue how awesome all this information is!
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
We have typically booked 3-4 days out, often with general websites like hotels.com or booking.com. We also get advice from Fraser at weather-to-ski. Availability and full week requirements do not seem to be an obstacle to this plan in the mid-January to early February timeframe than both James and I use most frequently in the Alps.

James will tell you that you won't find some of the smaller family-run places on the hotel websites. I think he does a lot of his research on local French or German language sites.
 

jamesdeluxe

Administrator
Tony Crocker said:
James will tell you that you won't find some of the smaller family-run places on the hotel websites.
True, but I tend to use booking.com the majority of the time, as do most Euros.
 

jnelly

New member
So I got to thinking about this the past few days. The issue of crossing a border in the time of CV19 and in the case of being near 3 countries and contending with entering one for a few days and then another a few days later....not to mention a border crossing ON SKIS. This is adding up to be an even bigger circus act than planning logistics of mountains and towns...and WAY less fun. Has anyone been studying up on this at all? The requirements are pretty easy to figure out for the most part, but I guess the devil is in the details, which isnt as easy to find. I am of the mind that if you want to go between say SUI, FRA and ITA, that it might be a good idea to just get a PCR test everyday after (if this is even possible depending on location), bc trying to balance the 73 hours timing going into one and out of another would drive one insane...and that brings in the issue of skiing from country into another..say over Cervina into Zermatt. How the hell does that work? Is there a check point on the mountains?
I understand the easy answer is stay to one place, but that takes some of the shine off. Definitely would love to hear your thoughts on this. #rabbithole

Follow up: After a morning of more digging and following endless links, these seems to be the best thing I found so far for entry requirements

SUI: https://travelcheck.admin.ch/check" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
France: https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/coming-to-france/coronavirus-advice-for-foreign-nationals-in-france/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
ITA(1): http://www.italia.it/en/useful-info/covid-19-updates-information-for-tourists.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
ITA(2): https://www.esteri.it/en/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

US State Dept Country Specific search: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/COVID-19-Country-Specific-Information.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

*Many things I found also suggest that filling out the EU-PLF/dPLF Passenger Locator Form https://app.euplf.eu/#/form" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

This was also something I ran across several times that was suggested to have at the ready: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/register-for-v-safe.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I hope this helps if anyone else is wading thru this. Ill def add more to it should I find more
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
On all Euro drives since 2013 there have be no border controls among the EU countries Austria, France and Italy. It's really the same as driving across state borders in the US. I also recall no border controls between Switzerland and Austria. There are a few Douanes around Geneva, but even there I don't recall being asked to stop. The upcoming March/April trip will likely be the first during which we ski all four of the major alpine countries on the same trip.

California has an online vaccination record with a QR code. I have submitted that to France already, also Chile where we will be going in 3 weeks.

From your France, Swiss and Italy links above, the California QR code seems sufficient to enter those countries. Only Italy will we enter via an airport; the rest will be by car.
 

jamesdeluxe

Administrator
Tony Crocker said:
On all Euro drives since 2013 there have be no border controls among the EU countries Austria, France and Italy. It's really the same as driving across state borders in the US. I also recall no border controls between Switzerland and Austria.
I can confirm that ^^. Not sure if we're misunderstanding JNelly's question or that he hasn't been to the EU in a while.
:lol:
Due to unexpected air itinerary changes, I've put my Pyrenees visit on the back burner again -- this will clearly have to be part of my retirement when I'm spending long periods of time there. My two ski trips to Europe this season will both use Milan as gateway airport, from which I'll drive to target regions in France and Switzerland just across the Italian border. Details soon.
 

jnelly

New member
I've never been; and not knowing has led me to skew being over prepared vs. assuming that there won't be anyone asking for documents. After all the reading and such, It seems pretty straight forward at this point, but I'm here to tell ya, Ive had more than one client of mine (as recently as a week ago) tell me a few horror stories of being hung up,( missing flights, and days of trips) for things as minor as a 72 hour "prior-to-test" being 'expired' by 2 hours. (and that was bc the layover was 3 hours. Total lack of objectivity by someone surely but the guy missed his flight nonetheless and had much hoops to jump thru bc of it. So I guess its the CYA mentality on this one.

Re: misunderstanding my question...I didn't explain it well..as I was lost in of information. What I was trying to get at was how anyone would determine WHERE YOUR COMING FROM. For example: Lets say port of entry= GVA...great, so now you want to go into Italy, well so are you entering from Switzerland? YES, but IF there was a border check...are you simply entering from SUI, or are they taking into account I have also been in USA within 14 days....which as I understand it THEY ARE taking into account per links I posted via The State Dept. website.
Now as you guys state this isn't seemingly the way it works so thats cool...bottom line, I wanna be sure I have all appropriate documentation and a plan. And I appreciate the input bc I have zero concept of how it works traversing thru EU States.
End of day CDC white-card paramount and ITA requires tests as well...easy...I got lost in the house mirrors AKA bureaucratic mumbo jumbo

Cheers!
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
I think the CYA mentality is highly appropriate with regard to the gateway airport and the COVID regulations of that country. Yes you want your CDC card and preferably an electronic vaccine record as well. And don't cut any corners on the test requirements. Get a PCR test well within the 72 hour parameters and and you may have to pay $150 to get PCR with fast turnaround.

Once you have cleared the airport in a rental car, I find it hard to believe that the EU countries will put up any road border controls. If there are any road/hotel requirements, I would guess that the CDC card/electronic vax record will satisfy them.

Of course none of this is based upon personal experience yet. Last December in Argentina we were fairly free to do as we pleased when not with our organized tour group. Chile may be more more stringent; I think it may require we download a tracking app.
 

ChrisC

Active member
Just a few thoughts on the above:

Skiing country to country (i.e Cervinia to Zermatt or vice versa), there are no checks.

Most of the time, I have had no issue driving in the Schengen zone with border stops. However, I have been stopped crossing from Switzerland to France, but most of the time been waived through with just showing a passport.

My biggest issue is getting car tags correct for tolls:
France has the traditional toll plazas, so it's no issue.
However, last year I flew to Milan and was stopped at the Swiss border via Gotthard Tunel and forced to pay a Swiss $40 tag (vignette) fee. Not sure if that was to also use the tunnel.
Same thing in Austria if you are coming from Switzerland, you need to pull over and buy a tag at a petrol station.
Just FYI there is a $70+ roundtrip fee to use the Mont Blanc tunnel between Chamonix and Courmayeur.

Use booking.com for European hotels. However, there are a number of smaller cheaper family inns that are not online. For example, in Andermatt Switzerland I had to email about 10 inns directly that were not online
 

jnelly

New member
ChrisC said:
Just a few thoughts on the above:

Skiing country to country (i.e Cervinia to Zermatt or vice versa), there are no checks.

Most of the time, I have had no issue driving in the Schengen zone with border stops. However, I have been stopped crossing from Switzerland to France, but most of the time been waived through with just showing a passport.

My biggest issue is getting car tags correct for tolls:
France has the traditional toll plazas, so it's no issue.
However, last year I flew to Milan and was stopped at the Swiss border via Gotthard Tunel and forced to pay a Swiss $40 tag (vignette) fee. Not sure if that was to also use the tunnel.
Same thing in Austria if you are coming from Switzerland, you need to pull over and buy a tag at a petrol station.
Just FYI there is a $70+ roundtrip fee to use the Mont Blanc tunnel between Chamonix and Courmayeur.


ChrisC Good stuff, thanks for all that. Forget off-piste guides, is there anywhere to hire a EU rules and regs guide? :lol:
 

ChrisC

Active member
jamesdeluxe said:
Due to unexpected air itinerary changes, I've put my Pyrenees visit on the back burner again -- this will clearly have to be part of my retirement when I'm spending long periods of time there. My two ski trips to Europe this season will both use Milan as gateway airport, from which I'll drive to target regions in France and Switzerland just across the Italian border. Details soon.

Disappointed to hear this. The Pyrenees. Couldn't you just fly to Barcelona vs. Toulouse?
 

ChrisC

Active member
Again, SEE WHERE THE SNOWN IS!!!!!! About January 5-15th. Go there! You will not have a problem finding rooms.

My solo trips rules have been:
1. A solo room less than 100 euros
2. Walk to lifts 5-10 min
3. Great breakfast - meats, pastries ..... grab for an afternoon in pack (look at reviews)
4. Dinner - Coops. I have been known to buy a baguette/cheese/meat and a glass of red wine. And work.

Again, do not get lazy. One search is NOT enough. Email places directly if you want to stay there! It's not advertised. They will ask ... full board? none of it is online..you need to ask.

Verbier...can be not horrible $$$ if applied above.

Even having a house in Telluride..... love Verbier, Val d'Isere, St. Anton, Andermatt/Engelberg.......then Chamonix, Zermatt

But any mountain in the Alps....so much terrain...so much powder.

Overall, I think the best US resorts are over-rated (Jackson, Alta, Snowbird, Squaw)..... love Europe....and love my home base in Telluride... and Telluride backcountry.
 

jamesdeluxe

Administrator
jamesdeluxe said:
Due to unexpected air itinerary changes, I've put my Pyrenees visit on the back burner again.
ChrisC said:
Disappointed to hear this. The Pyrenees. Couldn't you just fly to Barcelona vs. Toulouse?
It's an almost four-hour drive from Barcelona airport to the closest stop on my itinerary, Bacquiera. For a week-long visit, that's too much driving.
 

ChrisC

Active member
jamesdeluxe said:
jamesdeluxe said:
Due to unexpected air itinerary changes, I've put my Pyrenees visit on the back burner again.
ChrisC said:
Disappointed to hear this. The Pyrenees. Couldn't you just fly to Barcelona vs. Toulouse?
It's an almost four-hour drive from Barcelona airport to the closest stop on my itinerary, Bacquiera. For a week-long visit, that's too much driving.

That’s called a day ski from SF to Tahoe. ….weak ;)
 

jamesdeluxe

Administrator
ChrisC said:
That’s called a day ski from SF to Tahoe. ….weak ;)
You CAers are definitely made of stronger stuff in this department. I'm trying to maintain a semblance of "a relaxing vacation," which ideally means a nonstop overseas flight and capping the drive from/to the gateway airport at two hours.
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
ChrisC said:
That’s called a day ski from SF to Tahoe. ….weak :wink:
Tseeb will chime in on this one. He joined us for the past two days at Mammoth, and drove home to San Jose after 3PM via Kirkwood because Tioga and Sonora passes are already closed.

As far as James' trip is concerned, I'd look at the whole week of driving. 4 hours from the gateway airport is not so bad if you're settling in at the same place for a few days and not doing too many relocations during that week. I haven't mapped out those logistics in the Pyrenees.

Liz has some standards on road marathons. Minimize the one-night stands and she's usually happy.
 
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