First time Europe. Looking for insight.

flyover

Member
2022 - This was not to happen!


Island Lake will defer cat skiing to 2023 if COVID restrictions prevent us from getting to Canada.

Also not Europe, but this article from January 3 reports brief shutdowns in December by two BC heli operators with mandatory vaccine and testing requirements that nonetheless experienced outbreaks (Mike Wiegele, 12/19/21 - 1/2/22; one of the CMH lodges, "earlier in December," the specific lodge and duration of the shutdown are not reported): https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/brit...ard-by-pandemic-despite-test-regime-1.6300833

It's difficult to imagine the Omicron wave won't provoke more of the same for BC's heli and cat operators. I still haven't booked flights for my late-February trip to Mustang.
 

jamesdeluxe

Administrator
Do those people say there are any changes moving between countries in the EU now?
They said that it was relatively easy. As you mentioned, the main place where you can screw up is not getting your PCR test back before flights in both directions. I'll need to fill this form out in advance for Switzerland. It requires telling them your lodging beforehand so you can't wait until late in the game to book a hotel (based on conditions), which is normally the preferred SOP.
 
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Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
Since James and I are both flying into Italy, it seems that the Swiss form can be filled just out a few days ahead, allowing for late hotel booking.

I agree flying into Geneva or Zurich might require booking lodging for a day or two farther in advance. Once your in, are you "free to move about the country" without further advance registration?
 

jnelly

Member
@jnelly, are you still going?
After a few weeks of pondering and a few emails to folks, I decided to push EU back to March 5th-15th. I am now going the way of ChrisC and going the Canada route via Kalispell with sights on Fernie and Castle or if need be Lost Trail/Disco/Whitefish kinda thing. The deciding factor was as ChrisC mentioned, the land crossing to get back is zero test. It takes away the getting stranded factor in parts unknown and being able to get back into USofA should I need to. Plus if BC/InlandNW is getting pounded with snow why not try to take advantage of it.
 

jamesdeluxe

Administrator
I decided to push EU back to March 5th-15th.
That's reasonable. I'll be there that week too. It appears that Omicron is currently much less of an issue in Europe than in the U.S.

Once you're in, are you "free to move about the country" (switzerland) without further advance registration?
That won't apply to me as I plan to stay the entire seven days at one hotel in the Aletsch region. Regardless, I'll follow up and see if I can get an answer.
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
It appears that Omicron is currently much less of an issue in Europe than in the U.S.
I don't see why you say that. Current reported new cases are an even higher multiple of the previous peak a year ago in France and Italy as in the US. I'll concede the point that US case numbers are more understated because we still don't have our act together on testing. Switzerland and Austria numbers are high but like the UK maybe past their peak.
 

jamesdeluxe

Administrator
Since James and I are both flying into Italy, it seems that the Swiss form can be filled just out a few days ahead, allowing for late hotel booking.
Virtually all lodging properties on booking.com are "no advance payment required/you can cancel without penalty up until the midnight before your arrival" so I booked a hotel (will only change last-minute if that region has awful conditions).
 
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jimk

Member
Starting the drive from Wash DC area to Utah tomorrow. My son says omicron is raging in SLC right now. He's avoided it so far, but lots of his office mates are out sick, most return to the office in about five days. It'll be about a week before I get to his house for an extended stay. I'm vaxxed and boosted, but will be bringing a few home test kits with me in case needed by either one of us.:eek:
The things we do to ski! :eusa-pray:
 
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jamesdeluxe

Administrator
Starting the drive from Wash DC area to Utah tomorrow. My son says omicron is raging in SLC right now.
From today's NY Times:

The Omicron Shift in Europe: Pandemic or Endemic?​

A number of governments have changed their approaches to the coronavirus, to one that is more like how we treat the flu. Public health experts say it’s too soon to make that call.

LONDON — In Britain, France, Spain and other countries across Europe, politicians and some public health experts are pushing a new approach to the coronavirus pandemic borne of both boldness and resignation: that the illness is becoming a fixture of daily life. Governments are seizing a moment in which their populations have experienced less severe illness, and, in some instances, a drop in new daily cases after weeks of record growth. And they are moving their mitigation policies off emergency footing.
 

jamesdeluxe

Administrator
For anyone contemplating a trip across the pond, here's the COVID red tape I did this week/took about 90 minutes to figure out the necessary steps and do them. This is specific to my upcoming trip -- flying into Italy, driving a rental car north across the Swiss border, and staying at one hotel the entire week -- so your mileage may vary.
  1. Downloaded the Docket app to generate a verifiable QR code with proof of my vaccinations. FYI, it didn't work the first time, so I called where I got my most recent shot and they recommended uninstalling the Docket app and downloading it again, which was the right advice -- it worked.
  2. Submitted the EU digital passenger locator form.
  3. Applied online for a Swiss COVID certificate (costs $32), where you have to upload JPEGs or PDFs of your passport, lodging reservations, and vaccine card. The applications take up to five business days for processing so you obviously can't do this last-minute.
Still to do:
  1. Fill out a Swiss public health entry form within 48 hours of departure to Europe.
  2. Take an antigen rapid test the morning of my departure and bring proof.
  3. Take an antigen rapid test within 24 hours of flying back to the U.S.

In short, doing all this paperwork wasn't a dealbreaker for me; however, it's considerably more effort than pre-pandemic where all you had to do is book flights and bring a valid passport. I suspect that all but the most motivated people may say "screw it, I'll ski domestically."
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
Downloaded the Docket app to generate a verifiable QR code with proof of my vaccinations.
New Jersey doesn't have a state website like California's where you can get a record with QR code?
Take an antigen rapid test the morning of my departure and bring proof.
Canada still requires PCR as Chile did in November. Canada wants you to set up an ArriveCan account before travel, sounds somewhat like Switzerland. I looked up Italy and see they give you a choice of 24 hour antigen or 48 hour PCR.
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
On Feb. 14, 2014 Liz and I missed the lift closing in Zermatt and had to hike 10 minutes up from Gant. We encountered this winch cat skiing toward Findeln.

img_5681-jpg.18800

We skied very deliberately and well clear of that winch cable.
 

jamesdeluxe

Administrator
On Feb. 14, 2014 Liz and I missed the lift closing in Zermatt and had to hike 10 minutes up from Gant. We encountered this winch cat skiing toward Findeln. We skied very deliberately and well clear of that winch cable.
Wow, how many minutes after lift closing was that, 15 or 20 -- and you didn't run into ski patrol doing sweeps?
 

Sbooker

Member
@Tony Crocker
@Weathertoski

Tony you're meant to be in Val Thorens early/mid March. I had intended on being up the valley in Les Arcs/Tignes just a bit later than that. It appears France has had a really tough January as far as snowfall is concerned. Nothing on the horizon for February either.
I'm hoping the second half of the season get's back to normal or I will be heading to Austria. Does this kind of snow drought happen often in the Alps?
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
I am at Val Thorens March 26 - April 3. Standard deviations of snowfall in the Alps are lower than in California but higher than in other North American regions. France is more volatile than Austria. When I was in La Grave in March 2008 it had not snowed in a month.

Most of the big Austrian ski complexes are much lower than the ones in France and thus not a good idea in spring. Ischgl and the areas with glaciers like Solden and Hintertux are the best bets. Val d'Isere is regarded by Fraser and others as the most reliable snow in the Alps. It's second to Zermatt in average ski altitude, probably half north facing and likely in the 300-350 inch range for snowfall at average ski altitude.
 
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