St. Moritz - Corviglia, Switzerland: March 13, 2020

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St. Moritz - Corviglia, Switzerland: March 13, 2020

Postby ChrisC » Sun Nov 15, 2020 9:26 am

My final day in St. Moritz was spent spring skiing on the local south-facing hill of Corviglia. Wanted this just to be a fun piste ski day on softening groomers. The off-piste was not accessible at this point - it was either frozen or unconsolidated mush. No worries. Spring skiing. I would have to leave by 230pm.

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I started the ski day from the Signalbahn base and proceeded to ski the west side of the mountain. This sector of he mountain was mostly high speed groomers. Funky neon yellow bubble covers on chairlifts.

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Piz Nair summit. Note wet slides on south facing chutes.
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Funicular from St Moritz Dorf.
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Traditional Swiss Lodge / Hotel Salastrains - located halfway up the mountain
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Summit of Piz Nair
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View to Corvatsch
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East side of Corviglia. Notice the wet slides off the Gluna chairlift - left side in the next photo. Think Tony was skiing powder there a year ago.
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Celerina base village
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I finished before 2pm and took off to the Milan Malpensa airport. An incredibly weird, wild and scary experience. I had to negotiate with the Italian army to be let into a locked-down Italy - tried to explain it was 'essential' travel because I was just trying to get back to the USA before the border from Europe completely closed.

In Milan, the Hertz employees were kind enough to give me a mask and hand sanitizer. Inside the terminal there were 2 flights after 4pm. Weird walking around a major international airport with everything shutdown. Checking in - there were quite a few stranded ski groups just trying to get home via Munich on Lufthansa.

After a night in Munich, the only flight I could get via points (I did not want to use cash because of unclear refund policies) was to Toronto on Air Canada. In Toronto US citizens clear US customs and immigration in Canada - however there was pure chaos there as new travel rules/bans went into effect. They dumped 100s (easily 500+) of US citizens coming from Europe into the tiniest room and could not process any of us since policies were unclear - and only 8 US airports were allowing international flights at that point. The US agents just gave up and Air Canada graciously gave everyone an overnight in Toronto. However, I now needed to clear Canadian customs/immigration. Canada already was banning travelers from Italy but luckily my flights were on different airlines - Lufthansa and Air Canada - on different days so no one could tell my actual Italian origination.

The following day when I did clear US customs/immigration, I again did not want to admit I was coming from Italy. Luckily my agent was not too bright and did not know international airport codes - so I just claimed Munich. My itinerary was a bit crazy to understand anyways SFO-Helsinki(work)-Milan(ski)-Munich-SFO. Finally made it on a plane home and put myself in quarantine upon arrival.
Last edited by ChrisC on Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Corviglia, Switzerland: March 13, 2020

Postby jamesdeluxe » Sun Nov 15, 2020 1:56 pm

ChrisC wrote:They dumped 100s (easily 500+) of US citizens coming from Europe into the tiniest room and could not process any of us since policies were unclear - and only 8 US airports were allowing international flights at that point.

What a nightmare -- is the tiny room at YYZ where you likely caught the virus?

As mentioned in my report, the only delay on my flight was that our crew had timed out due to flying EWR to ZRH and then having to turn around and work the return flight to the states, so we had to stop for 90 minutes at a military base in Bangor, Maine to get a new crew for the final hour to Newark.
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Re: Corviglia, Switzerland: March 13, 2020

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Nov 15, 2020 4:20 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:What a nightmare -- is the tiny room at YYZ where you likely caught the virus?

Not a bad guess.

YYZ is where Liz and I change planes on Dec. 10 on the way to Argentina. Yes it's Air Canada. We got a deal with United mileage (wanted to use mileage in case there's a last minute screwup) and return via United through Houston. Evidently the Houston flights are not every day and we have to arrive Buenos Aires exactly on Dec. 11 to join AstroTrails' "travel bubble."

I've scored well with Delta mileage to Europe and the Far East, but SkyTeam is a distant third for eligible flights to the Southern Hemisphere.

ChrisC wrote:Think Tony was skiing powder there a year ago.

Not really powder, but soft chalk. That face is SE facing but the towering rocks looker's left keep it in the shade most of the day in January, sort of like Broken Arrow at Squaw. In March the sun rises more direct east and gets higher fast, so no surprise it takes a beating then.
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Re: St. Moritz - Corviglia, Switzerland: March 13, 2020

Postby ChrisC » Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:48 am

The Milan Malpensa Airport was relatively was a ghost town - maybe 200 passengers for 2 flights and supporting staff - at a huge international airport. Never seen such a large airport nearly shuttered. I almost by default had to practice social distancing rolling a giant 6ft ski bag around. And I did not get the virus when I landed a week earlier when activity was still semi-normal. But you never know. Infection rates were very high when I passed through and growing logarithmically - so while last week was OK, this week might not be.

Toronto was a nightmare with no distancing, masks, etc. Hours and hours. But not everyone there was coming from a Covid impacted area.

My flight was packed too. Air Canada could not cancel that their flight or else the airline would have stranded a Canadian hockey team that was playing in Europe. That would have been a national sin.

Anyways, I still play by the rules today - even though I have antibodies to the virus.
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