By Trudy Lymer
It had been many years since I last skied in Davos, and John had only stopped there once on the train, so we were both eager to visit again. For several years we had tried to book a package, unfortunately, there were never any Manchester flights available (once it was July when we tried to book!). So we took the bull by the horns and decided to do it ourselves.
We easily booked flights from Manchester to Zurich with BA on the internet, got our accommodation by looking through books and surfing the net, and booked a very nice small two star hotel called the Edelweiss, and all was set.
We got very quickly to Zurich, and within 30 minutes of touch down we were on a train with our luggage - one hour earlier than we had planned! Details of the 3 trains were available on the internet in advance and again when you buy the tickets - where to change, which platform to change to and how long you have to do it. In Davos we crossed over the road and along came a bus. Three stops and a very short walk (but aren't these pull along bags a boon?) and we were in our hotel. There is some advantage to be had from having quite low weight allowances!! (23kg each including skis etc).
The hotelier was very pleased to see us, but wondered why we had got the bus as he had offered to collect us from the station.
We did have a problem buying our lift passes, as the machine was not accepting our credit cards, fortunately, we had a cash card with us, although this did cost us more than buying with the credit card, but it did save the day for us. Apparently, the machine had asked for a "phone call to verify use", as it was an unusual request, but the lift pass office had just said that it was not accepting the cards. We had a call from the credit call fraud office when we arrived home to explain all this. So beware and take either an alternative method of payment, or relevant telephone numbers.
The skiing was really very good, with excellent conditions, one day the visibility was quite bad and it was snowing quite heavily, but that was the day we met up with the SCGB rep by chance on the bus, so we followed him for the day. We skied all the areas and found them all very good, some easier, some difficult. The best day (we skied in powder all day long) was at Pischa, which is certainly the easiest area, but the conditions on that day were so good - knee deep powder which sprayed up in to your face when you turned. Unbeatable! The food was also good and typically about £5 for soup and a drink, either on the mountain, or down in places like Klosters.
All in all, we had a wonderful time. The resort was very quiet as the World Economic Forum (Bill Gates, Jack Straw etc) had just finished on the day we arrived and we heard people don't want to visit during that time as the security is very high, so we got empty slopes and no queues. Also no nightlife!
Our hotel was very nice, with half board but no choice, and altogether for flights, transfers and hotel, we saved over £150 each on the cheapest package advertised in brochures, had we been able to book one from Manchester.
Arranging transfers makes independent ski holidays awkward to organise, but Swiss Rail provides a good solution. This was a first for us, a do it yourself holiday without car hire, but is certainly won't be the last.