Alps 2020-21

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Alps 2020-21

Postby jamesdeluxe » Tue Jun 23, 2020 4:17 pm

Not what I need to hear but I can't really blame them:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions ... tness-yet/
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Re: Alps 2020-21

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:55 am

I agree with James about significant odds against going to the Alps next winter. Argentina for this December's eclipse is not looking so good either. The Alps have a higher dependence upon enclosed and crowded gondolas and trams than North America, which may make reopening ski areas more of a challenge than here. I'd recommend James target Montana/interior Northwest for a 2020 destination trip for maximum ski quality and minimum likely rationing restrictions. His Loveland Pass includes 3 days each at Whitefish, Schweitzer, Silver Mt., Brundage and Bogus Basin. On the way to/from Colorado it includes Powder Mt., Red Lodge and Bridger. If the Canadian border is open it includes Whitewater and Castle Mt.

While Trump deserves much blame for US COVID-19 situation, the #1 failure in the US was the CDC's arrogant attitude in February, developing its own faulty test while refusing to permit any other testing, even those used successfully at the time in Germany and South Korea.

My impression is that the Eurozone is reopening its economies similar to here. What are they doing differently now?

The US looks like two different countries. The Northeast was like Europe with an acute spike in March/April and much lower numbers now. Most of the rest of the US never had the big spike but now has ongoing cases at a similar rate as in spring. Don't assume this is a red/blue state split. Compare CA and NY.
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavir ... alifornia/
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/usa/new-york/
Currently NY and CA are seeing similar numbers of new deaths per day but CA is seeing 3x as many new cases per day. CA population is 2x NY.

For obvious reasons I've been monitoring this site for CA and FL for the past 2+ months. Florida's recent spike in new cases is stronger than CA's: similar new cases per day with half the population. Before this month the trajectory of cases and deaths per capita was very similar in CA and FL.

I have a theory about FL and AZ. In most places, people spend more time outdoors when the weather gets warm. I strongly suspect people in AZ and FL spend more time indoors in the summer than in other seasons. We are fortunate to be a 20 minute walk or 10 minute drive from the Gulf here. The midday heat is so intense here that the best time to go to the beach is during the last hour or two before sunset, and the shallow water is probably around 85F then. SoCal beaches are usually chilly near sunset with the thermal breeze blowing onshore over the 65F water. Aside from tropical storms, summer is the least windy season in Florida. There was a lot of wind the week I was here in February.
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Re: Alps 2020-21

Postby jamesdeluxe » Wed Jun 24, 2020 9:27 am

Tony Crocker wrote:The Alps have a higher dependence upon enclosed and crowded gondolas and trams than North America, which may make reopening ski areas more of a challenge than here.

The places in the Alps that I frequent usually don't have extensive gondolas or trams. Usually the only enclosed lifts are the gondolas to get me out of the base area and up to the skiable terrain, and I rarely share them with anyone. The main concern is being allowed to visit Europe period. One hopes that a presidential change with the attendant less bonkers leadership would make Euros more amenable to allowing Americans back onto the continent.

Tony Crocker wrote:I'd recommend James target Montana/interior Northwest for a 2020 destination trip for maximum ski quality and minimum likely rationing restrictions. His Loveland Pass includes 3 days each at Whitefish, Schweitzer, Silver Mt., Brundage and Bogus Basin. On the way to/from Colorado it includes Powder Mt., Red Lodge and Bridger. If the Canadian border is open it includes Whitewater and Castle Mt.

If I can't visit the Alps, those interior northwest and/or New Mexico ski areas on the Loveland pass would be fine with me. That said; I have no idea how things will look in ski season with my job vis-à-vis long-distance travel and whether I'll be working out of Denver every month so I'm not ready to buy a pass at this point. Luckily, they've pushed back the purchase deadline to December 1.
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Re: Alps 2020-21

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:16 am

jamesdeluxe wrote:Usually the only enclosed lifts are the gondolas to get me out of the base area and up to the skiable terrain

That was my main point, and is the scenario where I usually see the most congestion in the Alps. If lower terrain is unskiable, downloading at the end of the day is even worse.
The main concern is being allowed to visit Europe period. One hopes that a presidential change with the attendant less bonkers leadership would make Euros more amenable to allowing Americans back onto the continent.

I agree there is a political element. Florida quarantined NYC metro visitors during the March/April spike period. It's not an accident that the Northeast states are quarantining Florida and other Sunbelt state visitors now. In retrospect it's clear that the NYC metro spike would have been far less severe if Euro quarantining had been implemented earlier. If James is betting that Euro travel resumes on Inauguration Day 2021, that leaves plenty of ski season!

Mustang has informed us that everyone will be tested next season before being permitted to board the heli or snowcat to the lodge. Social distancing is impossible in the remote cat/heli environment. One could make the same argument about flying in a full plane. If widespread fast testing becomes available, I'd guess the airlines would be among the first to implement it.
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Re: Alps 2020-21

Postby berkshireskier » Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:33 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:
jamesdeluxe wrote:Usually the only enclosed lifts are the gondolas to get me out of the base area and up to the skiable terrain

That was my main point, and is the scenario where I usually see the most congestion in the Alps. If lower terrain is unskiable, downloading at the end of the day is even worse.
The main concern is being allowed to visit Europe period. One hopes that a presidential change with the attendant less bonkers leadership would make Euros more amenable to allowing Americans back onto the continent.

I agree there is a political element. Florida quarantined NYC metro visitors during the March/April spike period. It's not an accident that the Northeast states are quarantining Florida and other Sunbelt state visitors now. In retrospect it's clear that the NYC metro spike would have been far less severe if Euro quarantining had been implemented earlier. If James is betting that Euro travel resumes on Inauguration Day 2021, that leaves plenty of ski season!

Mustang has informed us that everyone will be tested next season before being permitted to board the heli or snowcat to the lodge. Social distancing is impossible in the remote cat/heli environment. One could make the same argument about flying in a full plane. If widespread fast testing becomes available, I'd guess the airlines would be among the first to implement it.


That assumes a high degree of accuracy with any test??
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Re: Alps 2020-21

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:24 pm

berkshireskier wrote:That assumes a high degree of accuracy with any test??

Yes it does, but I see air travel severely crippled until we reach that point, or a vaccine.

Without major progress, I see next ski season as extended road tripping into the hinterlands. I've driven from SoCal to Mustang on one month road trips twice before and I won't be surprised if we're doing that again.
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Re: Alps 2020-21

Postby tseeb » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:12 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:Mustang has informed us that everyone will be tested next season before being permitted to board the heli or snowcat to the lodge. Social distancing is impossible in the remote cat/heli environment. One could make the same argument about flying in a full plane. If widespread fast testing becomes available, I'd guess the airlines would be among the first to implement it.
Do you have more recent or detailed info than me? The email I received from Mustang said "We are also working hard on procuring adequate COVID-19 test kits for the coming winter. Because a remote backcountry lodge is an insular environment, we are an industry where pre-trip testing will be very applicable. Our hope this winter is to be able to test all guests and staff prior to them entering the lodge. We will keep you updated on this subject over the next few months."

Are they hoping to test all guests and staff and working hard on procuring test kits or will they be able to do it? What does that do to the logistics? Does it mean you no longer will be able to ski at nearby resorts on pickup day? And as others have said there have been problems with tests. So far it looks like next winter will be a good one to not plan on going anywhere that requires a flight or busy gondola.
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Re: Alps 2020-21

Postby ChrisC » Thu Aug 06, 2020 7:54 pm

My present employer HQ is in Helsinki Finland (tech acquisition) - so I have been linking a lot of European skiing to business trips in the last 2 years.

I was tentatively going to meet friends in Austria for a few days at Obergurgl and Solden (staying in Obergurgl) at Easter break (late March/early April this year). Flying in/out of Munich, I might try to add Kitzbuhel/Saalbach before and Garmisch-Partenkirchen at the end. I know it is not optimal ski times to ski these resorts - so I could swap them out for the glaciers at (Kaprun/Kitzsteinhorn, Hintertux or Stubai) and Zugspitze.

Friends might want to do Cervinia instead. If so I would add a couple days at Monterosa (Gressoney / Alagna) and fly in/out of Milan.

Fingers crossed.
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Re: Alps 2020-21

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Aug 08, 2020 5:39 pm

Obergurgl and Solden have glaciers so not unreasonable in March. Kitzbuhel and Saalbach are way past their prime and can even be losing snow cover if they didn't build a big base earlier. If you want another place in Austria in March, Ischgl would be the best option.

Chris,
Are there any lingering aftereffects from the COVID-19 you caught in Europe last March?
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Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
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Re: Alps 2020-21

Postby ChrisC » Sun Aug 09, 2020 3:14 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:Obergurgl and Solden have glaciers so not unreasonable in March. Kitzbuhel and Saalbach are way past their prime and can even be losing snow cover if they didn't build a big base earlier. If you want another place in Austria in March, Ischgl would be the best option.

Chris,
Are there any lingering aftereffects from the COVID-19 you caught in Europe last March?


My friends have gone to Obergurgl around April 1st many times (5-6x) due to family school vacations. The village is at nearly 2000m so there is always snow. They slightly prefer it to Cervinia.

I would rather go to Obergurgl / Solden since I have skied Zermatt / Cervinia 3x -- July 2004 (top cable car still open), January 2018 and April 2018.

Ischgl would be a better choice as a bookend.


COVID experience.
I never had any respiratory issues. More like fever, sore throat, aches and loss of taste for about 5-6 days. Could work from home 2-3 hours per day before retreating back to bed. Been fine since then.
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Re: Alps 2020-21

Postby ChrisC » Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:48 pm

I have couple more of bucket list Euro trips that I would like to do:

1. Eastern Austria
I have always wanted to ski/visit Kitzbuhel - my equivalent of Indy 500, Wimbledon, etc.
And would like to use that as a base to access Saalbach via Fieberbrunn, maybe Zeel Am See / Kaprun, SkiWelt, possibly Mayrhofen and Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Obviously needs to be a mid Jan - Feb trip.

2. Dolomites - Cortina & Selva
This trip will chose me - or the year I'm going. The Dolomites have horrendous snowfall variability. Would like to wait to some Cortina infrastructure is built out for the Olympics. But it would be easy to get a group of people to go skiing in Italy. I was thinking 3 days Cortina - maybe a Refugio - 3 days likely near Selva Ronda - Sass Pordio cable car. Where Tony stayed in Arabba?

I thought there was no expert terrain there.....But there are some couloirs that are world class (i.e. La Grave) - and you do not need new snow really to enjoy chalky steeps.

Was thinking a guide in Cortina one day - and another in Selva area for a day.

Some photos for what i was thinking:

Cortina goals: (Likely not to be great snow)
https://www.dolomitiskirock.com/sp/en/e ... tofana.3sp" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
https://www.dolomitiskirock.com/sp/en/e ... guides.3sp" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

But I think we can do this in Selva area:
The Vallee Blanche of Dolomites .... trekking on top for 45 min to north side.... we could do this one run alone. Val di Mezdi https://www.dolomitiskirock.com/sp/en/e ... -group.3sp" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Then just do couloir day guided:
Ideas https://www.powrock.com/sp/en/ei/steep- ... uloirs.3sp" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

https://alpsinsight.com/stories/dolomit ... r-couloir/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
(cont.)
https://www.dolomitiskirock.com/sp/en/e ... -group.3sp" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
https://www.dolomitiskirock.com/sp/en/e ... -sella.3sp" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

3. La Grave and add Alpe d'Huez and Monterosa. Likely later in the season. I got to ski powder in La Grave, but bases her only 40-50" so a bunch of routes were not open.

4. Ski Tour: Haute Route. Obviously Spring.
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Re: Alps 2020-21

Postby Roosje » Wed Aug 19, 2020 1:45 am

Snowsports will continue next season once the corona virus crisis has passed.
We will be skiing and snowboarding next winter, though it perhaps doesn’t feel like it right now.
It will be a very different landscape with some companies going bust, many individuals (from ski instructors to bar staff) falling on hard times and resorts struggling.
For people whose holidays have been cancelled by the early shut down of skiing this winter, companies are offering to move bookings to next winter.
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Re: Alps 2020-21

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:10 am

ChrisC wrote:Would like to wait to some Cortina infrastructure is built out for the Olympics.

The Cinque Torii/Falzarego sector we skied on the World War I tour is nominally part of Cortina and I think there is a lift connection proposed though connection now is by bus both ways. The connection from Falzarego to Alta Badia/Sella Ronda is tenuous, a long 3,000+ vertical piste plus the horselift in one direction but a bus ride in the opposite.

We made our 2018 decision to ski the Dolomites very last minute and it was only 4 ski days with lengthy drives in and out from Aosta and the Monterosa. So we never explored off piste options. I had a one shot powder diversion in the Selva sector which I could see as a traverse out from the lift I was riding. I agree that if you plan to ski Cortina it's a good idea to relocate there from the Sella Ronda as the road connections are very slow.

ChrisC wrote:But I think we can do this in Selva area:
The Vallee Blanche of Dolomites .... trekking on top for 45 min to north side.... we could do this one run alone. Val di Mezdi

Here's a picture of that from Colfosco on our Sella Ronda day.
Image
That looks sketchy, and we were there at a time with excellent snow conditions. But that was on piste in January, so maybe more natural accumulation was needed.

As for that Sass Pordoi tram, we never saw it as we set out west from Arabba to ski the Sella Ronda. I heard about it later when the Dolomites got a big dump in early May and I read about someone skiing a couple of laps from that tram.
PordoiOffPiste.jpg

The top tram terminal is just under the label Sass Pordoi. The Joel couloir is probably the obvious open line looker's right from there through the rocks down the front side. Note that line is due south. The shaded line going the other way is probably the Holzer Couloir. But after that shaded descent there is a long west facing runout in Val Lasties to the road, and the west side Sella Ronda lifts are on the other side of the road. Val di Mezdi descends through that notch at far upper right to the Colfosco pistes visible in that corner.

I would not advance schedule the Dolomites with expectation of skiing those off piste routes. But they would be icing on the cake if you got lucky. And I will certainly keep them in mind as a last minute call when I'm in the Alps when the conditions are right. We drove there from Geneva, so if you really want to go there from anywhere in the Alps you can with a car.
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Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: Alps 2020-21

Postby jamesdeluxe » Thu Sep 17, 2020 6:34 am

Fraser Wilkin's summary of last season in the Alps:
https://www.weathertoski.co.uk/weather- ... n-2019-20/
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Re: Alps 2020-21

Postby ChrisC » Wed Sep 23, 2020 10:00 pm

I am turning pessimistic that Americans will be skiing in the Alps this winter.
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