2021-22 Season Plans & Delta Variant

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2021-22 Season Plans & Delta Variant

Postby ChrisC » Thu Aug 19, 2021 10:17 am

Does anyone think increased COVID cases due to the Delta Variant will impact this winter?

I just put a bunch of deposits down on a Powder Highway trip to Canada in late January, and I hope the border does not close again. :shock: :-k ](*,)

It's substantial since we will be cat/heli-skiing - the same group I went to Japan with. Of course, we could not get into any of the multi-day lodges, so it will be a road trip with a bunch of single days at various operations.

Big Red Cat Skiing 1/22/2022
Valhalla Cat Skiing 1/23/2022
Eagle Pass Heli Skiing 1/25/2022
K3 Cat Skiing 1/26/2022
Stellar Heli Skiing 1/28/2022

We will be adding some days at Whitewater and Revelstoke. I could not convince them to ski Red Mountain where none of them have been :roll:
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Re: 2021-22 Season Plans & Delta Variant

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Aug 19, 2021 5:39 pm

You're going to be quite proficient at transceiver drills after doing 5 of them in a week. For that reason don't expect to ski much more than 10K per day in the cat or 15K in the heli. Red Mt. is substantially less reliable for snow than Whitewater or the upper two lifts at Revelstoke. Nonetheless Red's terrain is impressive so you should build in some flexibility to ski there if it's good.

We have made significant commitments to the 2021-22 season as well.

Liz and I will catski at Island Lake Feb. 21-23 while my son Adam and his fiancee Alexa will ski Mustang during my usual time slot a couple of days earlier. They can use Tseeb's seat as well as mine because he wants to be in Aspen that entire week in 2022.

Our big trip will be to Europe Mar. 20 - Apr. 29. We are joining friends on a guided tour of Albania, Montenegro, Croatia and Slovenia Apr. 17-27. I wanted to use my Club Med Val Thorens credit from 2020 so we will do that from March 27 - April 3. That package includes 6 days of skiing, 5 of them with guides. The rest of the trip will be in our usual mode of chasing current conditions. Given the time of year Zermatt/Saas Fee is the heavy favorite for the week after Val Thorens. And by mid-April there are many non-ski tourism options in northern Italy.

We are flying in and out of Venice because that's where the Adriatic tour ends. We paid 70K miles in lieu of about $1,150 in airfare. That's not a great deal, but it's often tough to use miles at all these days for desired dates/locations. So I've lowered my standards to 1.5 cents per mile from my historic objective of 2 cents.

Any Euro plans for James yet?

I'm moderately confident that both Canada and Europe will remain open to tourists with proof of vaccination. Liz is still working on getting an electronic copy of her first shot in Florida in February. Walmart is working on that. Our more immediate travel concern is Chile in December. Chile is currently closed but COVID cases there have dropped a lot since the April - June peak and their level of vaccination is pretty good.
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Re: 2021-22 Season Plans & Delta Variant

Postby jamesdeluxe » Fri Aug 20, 2021 7:18 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:Any Euro plans for James yet?

I've instinctively been waiting for a FF-award sale; however, that may not happen as the airlines try to avoid further losses. The goal this season is to go to the Alps at least once/hopefully twice and/or an Indy Pass visit to central Idaho.
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Re: 2021-22 Season Plans & Delta Variant

Postby ChrisC » Sat Aug 21, 2021 6:03 am

Tony Crocker wrote:You're going to be quite proficient at transceiver drills after doing 5 of them in a week. For that reason don't expect to ski much more than 10K per day in the cat or 15K in the heli.


:rotfl: We will be teaching them by the end of the week!

I didn't really consider that - the sacrifice of intro/training into ski time - and we should consider doubling up at an operation to maximize ski time. Since we are moving around so much and it was already difficult to find availability in June/July, it is what it is. And I have not been to most of the areas, so I'm excited to try them out - especially Valhallah and Stellar. Been to Big Red Cats and Eagle Heli. Also, some of the guys do not really care - they are happy just doing a few powder runs and not really into maximizing $ per run.

Red Mt. is substantially less reliable for snow than Whitewater or the upper two lifts at Revelstoke. Nonetheless Red's terrain is impressive so you should build in some flexibility to ski there if it's good.


Yeah, I really like the terrain at Red. Been there 2x now and finally know my way around. Maybe the best tree skiing in NA? It's a choice between a day at Red or Whitewater.


I wanted to use my Club Med Val Thorens credit from 2020 so we will do that from March 27 - April 3. That package includes 6 days of skiing, 5 of them with guides. The rest of the trip will be in our usual mode of chasing current conditions. Given the time of year Zermatt/Saas Fee is the heavy favorite for the week after Val Thorens.


That Club Med in Val Thorens looks like a really nice facility. Saw it in April 2018 while at Val Thorens after Zermatt. The daily guiding is a nice bonus!

You might want to consider adding on a day at Les Arcs or La Plagne. I did a one-day Paradiski ticket. I would not want to commit significant time to either but you are in the neighborhood... Arc 2000/1950 preserves snow really well, nice bowl, and is quite likable as a home base. La Plagne is a funky, horrific throwback to 1960s architecture - Bellecote base is attractive enough and La Plagne Center is the futuristic nightmare. La Plagne has very large front and back sides - plus the high Bellecote glacier. Liked both more than I thought I would. La Plagne is definitely the epitome of James's "factory skiing".
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Re: 2021-22 Season Plans & Delta Variant

Postby ChrisC » Sat Aug 21, 2021 6:06 am

jamesdeluxe wrote:
Tony Crocker wrote:Any Euro plans for James yet?

I've instinctively been waiting for a FF-award sale; however, that may not happen as the airlines try to avoid further losses. The goal this season is to go to the Alps at least once/hopefully twice and/or an Indy Pass visit to central Idaho.


Any specific region/resorts of the Alps?
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Re: 2021-22 Season Plans & Delta Variant

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Aug 21, 2021 12:54 pm

ChrisC wrote:You might want to consider adding on a day at Les Arcs or La Plagne.

If we take the first full day to drive from NE Italy to the Tatentaise, we'll have 4 days before we start at Val Thorens. Les Arcs and La Plagne would be two of those. The connection between them is a transport tram like Brevant to Flegere or Arosa to Lenzerheide so I think it makes sense to ski Les Arcs and La Plagne on separate days given the scale of both. La Rosiere/La Thuile is also easily accessible, not to mention an encore at Val d'Isere.

Starting the trip from Venice, an encore at the Dolomites would be tempting if the Sass Pordoi off piste is worth skiing. And there's time to hang around the Tarantaise after Val Thorens if we want.

ChrisC wrote:[Red Mt.]: Maybe the best tree skiing in NA?

Undoubtedly at ChrisC's ski ability level. At mine the snow conditions need to be excellent.
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Re: 2021-22 Season Plans & Delta Variant

Postby ChrisC » Mon Aug 30, 2021 7:41 am

E.U. Set to Propose Travel Restrictions on U.S. Visitors

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/29/worl ... tions.html

:-k ](*,)
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Re: 2021-22 Season Plans & Delta Variant

Postby jamesdeluxe » Mon Aug 30, 2021 8:23 am

I'd forgotten about this, from the article:
While American tourists were able to travel to Europe this summer, the United States has remained closed to Europeans, drawing anger from Europeans and their leaders, who have expressed frustration at the lack of reciprocity.

Odd as my organisation has had delegations from Africa over the past three months.
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Re: 2021-22 Season Plans & Delta Variant

Postby Marc_C » Mon Aug 30, 2021 8:55 am

jamesdeluxe wrote:I'd forgotten about this, from the article:
While American tourists were able to travel to Europe this summer, the United States has remained closed to Europeans, drawing anger from Europeans and their leaders, who have expressed frustration at the lack of reciprocity.

Odd as my organisation has had delegations from Africa over the past three months.

The travel restrictions are for tourism/non-essential travel. And the countries in Africa aren't European.
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Re: 2021-22 Season Plans & Delta Variant

Postby ChrisC » Wed Sep 01, 2021 3:53 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:
ChrisC wrote:You might want to consider adding on a day at Les Arcs or La Plagne.

If we take the first full day to drive from NE Italy to the Tatentaise, we'll have 4 days before we start at Val Thorens. Les Arcs and La Plagne would be two of those. The connection between them is a transport tram like Brevant to Flegere or Arosa to Lenzerheide so I think it makes sense to ski Les Arcs and La Plagne on separate days given the scale of both. La Rosiere/La Thuile is also easily accessible, not to mention an encore at Val d'Isere.

Starting the trip from Venice, an encore at the Dolomites would be tempting if the Sass Pordoi off piste is worth skiing. And there's time to hang around the Tarantaise after Val Thorens if we want.


There is another resort in Tatenaise that I have not skied, but hear good things about - Ste. Foy - especially for uncrowded off-piste. I never had the chance since I was car-less while visiting Val d'Isere, Meribel and La Grave in 2006, and my stays in Val d'Isere and Val Thorens in 2018 were too short. My London-based friend who spent a season in Val d'Isere in 1996 highly recommended it. So does Fraser https://www.weathertoski.co.uk/top-10s/ ... ns-europe/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Someday I want to do the Dolomites - a Cortina/Val Gardena trip. I purchased this book to familiarize myself with all the off-piste possibilities https://www.versantesud.it/en/prodotto/ ... mites-2ed/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; Really great book. The couloirs off the Passo Pordoi cable car look great!

Re: Saas Fee. What an incredibly istuated town! Has a better alpine setting than Zermatt. The glaciers are in your face. The skiing and off piste is not extensive due to the massive crevasses and can be done easily in a day. Similar to skiing Vallee Blanche almost. I did a long day trip over from Zermatt, but would try to spend a night or two here.
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Re: 2021-22 Season Plans & Delta Variant

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Sep 02, 2021 6:50 pm

Yes Fraser has recommended St. Foy. I still recommend Arabba as the Dolomite base. It's between Passo Pordoi and Marmolada, the two most promising off piste zones. We did not get to Cortina as we were only 3 nights/4 ski days in the Dolomites. If you want to ski Cortina you need to move your lodging base there as the roads are very tedious and there's no direct lift connection from Cortina into the Sella Ronda areas yet.
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Re: 2021-22 Season Plans & Delta Variant

Postby ChrisC » Fri Sep 03, 2021 12:35 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:I still recommend Arabba as the Dolomite base. It's between Passo Pordoi and Marmolada, the two most promising off piste zones. We did not get to Cortina as we were only 3 nights/4 ski days in the Dolomites. If you want to ski Cortina you need to move your lodging base there as the roads are very tedious and there's no direct lift connection from Cortina into the Sella Ronda areas yet.


Yes - you're right. I should definitely use Arabba as a base for its location in the Sella Ronda circuit. Likely it would break down as half a week in Arabba and half in Cortina. Guiding is not outrageously expensive in Italy - so am apt to spring for a day or two. https://www.powrock.com/sp/en/ei/steep- ... uloirs.3sp

One interesting unique Dolomite option might be to spend a night in one of the rifugios while transferring between Cortina and Arabba. This article provided inspiration https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/25/trav ... pe=Article
An option perhaps
https://www.rifugioaverau.it/en/sleep/

Waiting for a year when there is a decent base by November/December....the WePowder Guide seems to indicate the best Dolomites winters have an early storm cycle. https://wepowder.com/en/forum/topic/277624

Interesting that Dolomiti Superski is now on the Ikon Pass (as well as Kitzbuhel).
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Re: 2021-22 Season Plans & Delta Variant

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Sep 03, 2021 1:59 pm

The Passo Pordoi has definitely caught my eye. That Powrock guide service wants you at the cable car at 8AM, so that means you're taking a cab not skiing there even from Arabba or Canazei.

The couloir descriptions sound a bit above Liz' comfort zone and perhaps some variations are above mine:
Forcella is a straightforward descent directly back to the Passo Pordoi cable car, but it's south facing, which leads me to believe it might burn off during long dry spells. The other descents are north facing and very sheltered, so I'm relatively optimistic about coverage by spring. The ones mentioned by Powrock end up in Val Lasties but sound like technical entries. I'd have to ask what the easiest way into Val Lasties is. Powrock does not mention Val Mezdi, which ends in Colfosco. I don't think Val Mezdi is that technical but it requires a 45-minute skin/traverse from the Sass Pordoi upper station to its entry near Refugio Boe.

Refugio Averau is near the Cinque Torii, between the Sella Ronda and Cortina. These are mesmerizing rock formations which we passed by in strong winds on the Grand Guerra circuit.
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Re: 2021-22 Season Plans & Delta Variant

Postby q » Tue Sep 07, 2021 6:34 am

My plans are exactly like 2021. I will not be skiing in the US.

Border still closed means even contemplating booking anything is impossible, I can't even begin to think about booking time off work if I can't reasonably expect to travel as the thought of 5 weeks sitting at home in March on holiday has zero appeal. It's clear that the border opening is drifting along meaning even a chance of it opening will not happen early enough to book the time off work and get a reasonably priced flight.

Even if by some miracle it opened tomorrow and I could find a flight until the nonsense of testing before you fly, before returning home to the UK and after arrival home make it absolutely impossible for me to contemplate a trip. It would be bad enough testing positive before leaving the UK and loosing my holiday time and ££ spent on it but even finding somewhere to do a test in Montana would be tough enough and likely expensive but failing the test would be catastrophic and likely end any chance of my company allowing me such a long vacation in the future.

Basically until the border opens and I am free to travel to the USA without testing(even if it is with some covid passport) I won't be back. Although clearly not directed at anyone here I think it is an absolute f&*king disgrace that US citizens have been free to visit the UK/EU for many months yet we cannot visit the USA since I was there in March 2020. The UK should quite rightly have told the USA where to poke it and demanded equality.
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Re: 2021-22 Season Plans & Delta Variant

Postby ChrisC » Tue Sep 07, 2021 8:52 am

Tony Crocker wrote:
The couloir descriptions sound a bit above Liz' comfort zone and perhaps some variations are above mine:
Forcella is a straightforward descent directly back to the Passo Pordoi cable car, but it's south facing, which leads me to believe it might burn off during long dry spells. The other descents are north facing and very sheltered, so I'm relatively optimistic about coverage by spring. The ones mentioned by Powrock end up in Val Lasties but sound like technical entries. I'd have to ask what the easiest way into Val Lasties is. Powrock does not mention Val Mezdi, which ends in Colfosco. I don't think Val Mezdi is that technical but it requires a 45-minute skin/traverse from the Sass Pordoi upper station to its entry near Refugio Boe.
Image


Looking at the Dolomiti Freeride paper guide, a potentially enjoyable day for Liz might be:
Forcella Pordoi - right under the cable car, no hike, but south facing
Val Lasties - big rock-walled bowl that starts on north-facing terrain then curves around, no hike, use lifts to get back to cable car, it's entry does not look too difficult
https://fatmap.com/routeid/782077/Val_L ... ,satellite
Val Mezdi - Dolomites freeride center-piece. Outside the summit traverse and slightly narrow entry - does not look too bad.
https://www.dolomitiskirock.com/sp/it/e ... -sella.3sp

The above almost seem similar to the Laub at Engelberg in that they are popular off-piste routes, not overly treacherous, and require relatively minimal effort to access. I am almost tempted to ski those with just a partner later - after a guided day to assess overall conditions.

The Joel and Holizer Couloirs look quite intense - and conditions may not be practical.

I was interested in some terrain at Cortina too:
https://www.dolomitiskirock.com/sp/it/e ... ra-ola.3sp
https://www.dolomitiskirock.com/sp/it/e ... tofana.3sp

Likely try to use a private guide for two different days - hopefully, the same one.
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