Davos Holiday 2009
By Nigel Koenen
We all arrived at the airport at 11.00am, where we booked in at Terminal 2 and had no problems with baggage check in, but unfortunately our departure was delayed by about an hour. We approached Innsbruck through low cloud and as we passed over the town we viewed a small runway to our right. I said to Nicky, sitting next to me, "That's a nice little airport with a small runway for light aircraft", when suddenly our plane banked over and we made a U-turn back down the valley with mountains just to our left and lined up on this piece tarmac that looked the length of a football pitch to us, anyway with a screaming of brakes we had arrived.
The only unfortunate situation was that we had a 3 hour coach trip to get to Davos. Apparently Innsbruck is much cheaper to fly to than Zurich (which is only 1 hour 40 minutes away from resort). However we arrived at 9.30pm to a very pleasant welcome from the staff and a hot meal. The Hotel National was very luxurious with comfortable bedrooms and bathrooms with a superb shower (in our case) although George Tate and I had one of the less superior rooms it was more than adequate. However, some of the party had large rooms with sitting areas and balconies with a view of the mountain. The food was superb throughout including afternoon tea.
The first morning we were greeted by sunshine and blue skies which was apparently the first day of good weather for some time. The group split into separate parties, all going to different areas. The Davos / Klosters ski area is basically a series of ski regions lining both sides of a long valley giving potentially a lot of skiing. The main area of Weissflujoch is served by a rack and pinion railway from Davos Dorf connecting with Parsennhutte and Gotschnagrat in the next valley. Further on there are some fantastic runs down through the trees to Klosters. The star run was a 17 Kilometre run from the top of the Weissflujoch all the way down the ridge through Schifer to Kublis arriving at the railway station with a pleasant 45 minute train journey back to Davos!
The main gripe among the members was the lack of connections between all areas, and the amount of old style uphill transport, ie cable cars, rack and pinion railways and the many drag lifts where chairs lifts would have been a favourable option. Two anecdotes from the first day - Carol and Wendy taking the cable car down only the find the cable car was going up to the top of the mountain, putting 3000m between them and the rest of the group. Also, Brian and Elaine got on and off the bus 3 times thinking each time they had reached the hotel! Never mind we all reach this stage in life.
The Rinerhorn is very pleasant for an afternoon's skiing and fits in very well with a morning's tromp around the Jacobshorn area, finishing the day with 2 or 3 pleasant runs down through the trees. At the bottom one can take a well deserved beer whilst awaiting the bus.
On Monday night it snowed until 7.00am and as we left the Hotel for the first lift it cleared up and Brian Richardson and I caught the bus all the way to Dorfji to explore the Pischa ski area. We came across the Fluelamader drag lift servicing two red unpisted runs and we revelled in several descents - floating effortlessly through the perfect powder snow - a memorable morning. Thank you Brian for the technique tips which made it work.
The next day Brian and I went back to Pischa, although the light was a little flatter and the snow heavier we still had a great morning playing around in the fresh snow. Our time that morning was highlighted by two particular incidents: First Brian went over a ridge into a bank of soft snow, cartwheeling at the time and as he surfaced he saw one of his skis slithering down the slope and he finally found it 300 metres from his fall, in a hole next to a wooden shack; secondly George Tate trying to navigate a tight bend in the track down through the trees went straight off the side and proceeded to excavate a snow cave in half a second flat - he was completely covered and we had to dig him out. The rest of the day deteriorated with more snow prompting an early finish and well deserved tea and cakes back at the hotel.
The Ski Club of Great Britain representative, Venessa, was very helpful to various club members and ran a series of off piste taster sessions and itinery routes for the more experienced!! Unfortunately the skiing virtually finished on Thursday afternoon for the writer as he was struck down with a stomach bug followed by various other members the following day. After a week of very mixed weather giving very good snowfall, Saturday morning, our leaving day, turned out sunny with blue skies so we left the resort to all the weekend crowds, who would have the benefit of the snowfall we survived in the week.