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Anybody booking for 2021 yet?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I'm keeping my eye on Whistler-Blackcomb. It's an easily accessed resort with two terrific mountains. The Canadian dollar is less than strong against the pound or the U.S. Dollar. The Epic Pass is offering insurance of a kind, against the virus, for 20-21. A refund is in offer, if the mountains are shut down. As far as I can remember, there's only one gondola, which really isn't necessary if you're willing to ski to the base and connect to the opposite mountain via chairlift.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@monkbeer, I think there are now 5 gondolas: the long established Whistler and Peak-to-Peak gondolas. And now two gondolas from the village on the Blackcomb side, and one at Creekside. So you can't access the Blackcomb side at all without using a gondola. You can still access the Whistler side, from the main village, by chair.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@BoardieK,
Quote:

the best way to avoid them is by going to smaller places that you've never heard of.

I've skied in all the places that @denfinella, and @snowymum, mention above and many more smaller places like Villars, Le Mont Dore, Braunwald etc, nothing against them at all, my preference is for Austrian skiing so I was kind of thinking Austria above, where there has been a huge infrastructure investment and move towards gondolas etc. Personally I much prefer chairs to gondolas, and enjoy being out in the open/ nature.

Interesting times ahead, maybe even time to ski tour more than previous.
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@Markymark29, You can ski Flachau without a gondola, but not the "back of the mountain" so somewhat limited, also Flachauwinkl and a lot of Zauchensee (accessed from the Zuch arena not Highport).
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Most of the PDS from Chatel, so long as you start from Petit Chatel, Vonnes or Pre La Joux (not centre of the village or Linga). Don’t think you can link to Morzine/Les Gets though.

Edit: and avoid skiing right down to Prodains or Ardent
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I see Sweden is being held up as a model for dealing with Covid-19 by WHO and they are saying 27% of the way towards population being covered. If they carry on then Sweden will be a good bet for 2020-21 as no issue with open borders or quarantine if entire country have immunity
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I normally aim for four separate weeks a season. If there is a ski season in 20-21 I think I will think about doing two separate fortnights. Travel is bound to be more expensive as well as a bigger hassle, so a fortnight at a time should be more economic and hopefully less stressful.
snow conditions
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Easyjet have released more flights this week. Looking for March Zell am See and most dates are available all at flexible tickets and super cheap. May be worth the gamble and book accommodation on a free cancelation option.
Will leave equipment hire and lift pass til last minute. And book on credit card for slightly added protection.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
The CEO of Heathrow Airport was on the radio yesterday, describing the new temperature scanning systems they're installing. Passenger traffic is down to 3% of normal at the moment, with most flights being repatriations. As you'd expect, he was fairly upbeat about the airport being able t start ramping-up flights: the scanners were less trouble to install and use than the x-ray scanners, he said, and anyone who failed would just be separated for further testing i.e. wouldn't just be sent home then an there. He didn't mention, however, whether any sort of passenger certification would be needed as well.

Interesting contrast was the correspondent who is currently flying 'round Europe. She said out she'd been refused boarding once because of incomplete paperwork (although the airline wouldn't say exactly what the problem was). Airports are deserted, with nothing open airside, so with the liquid restriction at security, you're reliant on finding a water fountain if you want a drink. She highlighted that flight contrasts were bizarre: some were very sparse, some had every other seat empty, but others were 100% full with every seat occupied. She said that there was no way she'd travel for pleasure under the current conditions where all the amenities airside are closed, apparently arbitrary rules about the paperwork needed, and with inconsistent flight occupancy levels.

Personally, I don't go for the airlines' "It's uneconomic to have empty seats." line. Of course it can be made to work - if passengers pay proportionately more. So what if my £80 LGW>GVA flight now costs £104? An extra £24 each way is no big deal in the price of a week's ski trip. I also think that a lot of the passenger-management airside was aimed to keep us shopping. I for one wouldn't be sad to see that 'service' disappear (other than to get some water or a coffee) and would be happy to go straight to a gate from security and wait in quiet and distanced seating there. I can think ahead enough to bring something to read/watch while I'm waiting. If this makes the airports give us what we really want - a streamlined journey from check-in to boarding sans intermediate herding through unwanted retail outlets, then it'll be an upside.
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LaForet wrote:
I also think that a lot of the passenger-management airside was aimed to keep us shopping. I for one wouldn't be sad to see that 'service' disappear (other than to get some water or a coffee) and would be happy to go straight to a gate from security and wait in quiet and distanced seating there. I can think ahead enough to bring something to read/watch while I'm waiting. If this makes the airports give us what we really want - a streamlined journey from check-in to boarding sans intermediate herding through unwanted retail outlets, then it'll be an upside.

How would the airport itself stay in business though? I don't disagree with you, though it is often useful to have access to a Boots or similar, and also to get food as on some schedules it can otherwise be almost impossible to get fed. I'm no expert, but I have seen airports described as shopping centres with a transport system attached, implying that the rents from the stores help to keep the whole place running. I suppose without that, it would be another reason to increase ticket prices.
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@Scarlet, Yep, you’ve summed it up perfectly. Airports without retail aren’t going to survive. Same with all transport hubs, eg St Pancras, Kings X, Waterloo, London Bridge stations etc.

Retail, car parking and berthing for planes are the lifeblood of the likes of BAA. I wonder how Gatwick is going to go on without BA?
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
We've had bookings made from Germans and a few loyal snowHead 's wink
I think those that normally drive to their holidays aren't as worried as those that have to rely on scheduled flights; especially when booking independent accommodation (like our place) as there is no ABTA bond between the transport and accommodation.

Due to this we have a few distant bookings from Germans (some regular) but other than that a blank slate... and let's not mention summer Shocked Shocked
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@Markymark29, Gatwick without BA; Is that definite yet? Or is it a bit of a negotiating ploy before they ask the government for a handout? With Virgin pulling out BA's hand just got stronger.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@flangesax, my sister is really hoping to book a long weekend with you guys but is struggling with locating a suitable weekend without children for her and her partner.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I'm curious. Does anyone ever buy anything from airport shops other than a book or some pharmacy?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
johnE wrote:
I'm curious. Does anyone ever buy anything from airport shops other than a book or some pharmacy?


Have bought headphones from the Curry’s store before.

Actually also bought a pair of sunglasses.

Though not much really over the many years we have flown
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@johnE I only ever buy a book and maybe some sweets from WH Smith, but I always see people stocking up in duty free!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I heard landing fees in the UK are very low, and this means airports have to make their money on retail and car parking etc.

Probably a variety of reasons for the low landing fees but mostly because we love dirt cheap flights. In the end we get the airports we deserve.
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Airports are already profitable without the luxury retailers. Last year, Gatwick's retail income was £102m in a total income of £764m (car parking revenue was £82m, which surprised me). Final profits were £202m.

The retail income won't be all profit, but even if it was, they would still have made £100m profit. So, to my mind, their mantra "We just wouldn't be profitable without retail." is just not true.

Plus, as with the high street, there's not a lot of point in providing space for shops if no one wants to buy anything (other than a coffee, sandwich and water for the flight). I think discretionary spending will shrink for at least a few years, so the airports will have to readjust the space anyway. I see it all going back 30 years to perhaps one duty free, a couple of cafés and a Boots and WH Smiths and that's it. And with separation pushing them towards getting you from security to the gate asap.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
johnE wrote:
I'm curious. Does anyone ever buy anything from airport shops other than a book or some pharmacy?

Well you do get the VAT back if you're leaving the EU.

But the answer's still broadly "no", as anything which isn't price controlled can be bought cheaper on the world market than it can there, if you see what I mean. And of course many things are hugely expensive - the target market is I suppose people who disengage their brain when travelling, or foreign people who don't compute the currency value.

Example: Just prior to the lock-down I bought a fold-able mobile phone, and checked the internet prices in the UK (apparently price controlled), with the UK supplier (they offered a "free" bit of additional technology, but would not budge on the controlled UK price). I checked LHR and they had them for about the controlled price less about 5%, so probably they were breaking the law in that they should have been discounted by 20%, but I couldn't be bothered to fight them. In Canada prices varied, but it was easy to pick up one at pound-for-dollar rates, which works for me. Obviously should I ever return to the UK with a brand new phone I'd have to declare it, but then I'd not be doing that....

---
As he/she said, I'd take claims of airport profitability with a pinch of salt. It seems to me that this sort of thing obviously is inherently profitable, which is why they do it, and why they engineer dwell time and all that (something they may have trouble with in the future). But otherwise it's just a question of how their accountants choose to look at the overall business. There are many airports world wide which have zero consumer retail (I if you exclude coffee and cakes), and they are commercially run.
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@johnE, I bought a iphone charger cable once at 3x the price it should have been, lesson learned. Other than that its a rip-off Pret, a £3 bottle of water, a book that I forgot, and a bag of minstrels.

The only people I ever see buying anything valuable and the Chinese filling their boots, and then they are straight to the VAT back counter. Oh, and the guilty husbands in the perfume shop that have been on lads ski trips and are suddenly feeling bad and looking forward to the inquest when they get home..... Laughing
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Yep = airport retail is clearly profitable otherwise no point in rebuilding it evry so often to cram more stores in. & I suspect e.g. in London an extension of the "shopping experience" for many tourists. Of course it's infuriating for UK residents just trying to leave the country in a hassle free manner and avoid the looping mandatory detour through "duty free" with all the gawkers blocking the path but it's not for us. ANd chances are those foreign tourists and gawkers are going to be down.

PS anyone else do the militant "no I'm not giving you my boarding card" in Boots and Smiths because why the hell should they pocket my VAT?
ski holidays
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@esaw1, Not sure but Virgin pulling out has strengthened BA's hand in the short-term like you say, if it was me i'd move more BA into Gatwick to free up capacity at Heathrow, build a rapid transport 35 mile rail-link from Heathrow to Gatwick, HS4 tunnelled under Dorking and other major towns on route and make it one giant connected se Air-hub. One thing for sure once HS2 is built it'll boost capacity to Birmingham so that Birmingham airport will grow as a hub destination.....hence the reason HS2 is connecting Old Oak Common (with links to Heathrow) and Interchange at NEC, would seem crazy not to link Gatwick to OOC/ Heathrow imv also, and ditch the planned LHR runway.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Looking at options for next Easter now, mainly because I have a credit from this year's cancelled break. Suppose it's something to look forward to optimistically, or if the holiday cannot be provided, it's another credit or refund. Not ideal I know, but also not ideal for the tour operator. So it feels like a reasonable compromise
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
@Markymark29, It's kinda mindblowing that there has never been a direct transport link between LGW and LHR but then that goes back to lack of foresight in not equipping LHR with a rail terminal to connect outside London, not even when T5 was being built.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@Dave of the Marmottes, +1
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Quote:

I bought a iphone charger cable once at 3x the price it should have been, lesson learned.

I can sort of see a market for things people have forgotton such as the cable above and perhaps an asprin or two. Birmingham airport even has a shop selling ladies underwear for those careless souls who suddenly recall they forgot to pack any. But why ordinary stuff like gin or jumpers?

As to Garwick I don't think I've been there for decades. If I'm going skiing if I've got as far as Gatwick then I broken the back of the journey to the ski resort in terms of driving hasle so I may as well going. IIRC the last time I was there was when I was evacuated from a civil war in Liberia. It was the old British Caledonian route to West Africa.
Quote:

One thing for sure once HS2 is built it'll boost capacity to Birmingham so that Birmingham airport will grow as a hub destination.....hence the reason HS2 is connecting Old Oak Common (with links to Heathrow) and Interchange at NEC

Oddly I suspect the oposite may happen and more people will travel to Heathrow. Any journey to Heathrow is risky due to traffic problems and the absence of any public transport during the night. A reliable direct train will make it more attractive. But it will depend a lot on pricing structures. At the moment it is cheeper and faster to fly to Amsterdam than get the train to Heathrow.

A few years ago there was a proposal to link Geneva and Lyon airports by a very high speed train and run them as a single airport.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Back to the original topic. No I haven't booked for 2020/21 yet not because of lockdowns, fears or transport restrictions but because I wouldn't anyway. I will only book in the autumn or during the season. I see no benefits in early booking.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@johnE, me neither but mainly because I aren’t getting in a steel tube and breathing recycled air until there’s a vaccine and even then they’ll hike up the prices nearer the time if they plan to fly. I’ll be in the car if we go, and other EU countries allow us to cross borders......lots of ifs at this stage imo.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
We book early to secure a particular apartment, ideally located close to the chairlifts and it has a garage so it is ideal and reasonable. We are paying the deposit, prepared to take the risk of losing £150 as we have used it for three years and made good savings the last couple of years compared to other apartments in the past. We also get on well(via email) with the owners so want to show solidarity with them in these uncertain times.
We will be driving down via the tunnel which we always do but we would have switched to driving if we usually flew to ski resort.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Yes. Just booked Eurotunnel Jan-Feb 2021 for 2½ weeks at our apartment in Switzerland. What swayed me was that the prices were pretty much as usual. Of course, they might collapse, and/or the French may prohibit us non-EU Brits from transiting the country by car, but prices might also go up substantially if a lot of people switch to driving as the preferred/only way to get there. If the skiers who would usually fly decide/have to go by car, than I suspect that Eurotunnel won't have the capacity to satisfy the demand. All uncertainty and speculation, of course: we may have far more serious problems than fly vs drive on our plate by then.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
nba2005uk wrote:
Easyjet have released more flights this week. Looking for March Zell am See and most dates are available all at flexible tickets and super cheap. May be worth the gamble and book accommodation on a free cancelation option.
Will leave equipment hire and lift pass til last minute. And book on credit card for slightly added protection.


Apologies for going OT but would be wary of Zell beyond mid March until we see what the snow is like. It could be fine, it could be shut below middle station. By all means book the flights as plenty higher alternatives nearby.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I've driven before and wouldn't rule it out again but its too far from here for a week. Would need to be at least two which is possible as we were fancying a fortnight next year back before all this cr4p started. Could maybe make it even longer

I just don't know yet though, still too many variables. Might be worse to be stuck with a car than on a package as at least the package would get us home.

Then there's the borders, UK to Austria is at least three no matter which way we go. All it would take is for one of them to make a rapid move to restrictions and we'd be struggling.

Still think its a wait and see game, If I can get somewhere to take a small deposit then maybe will risk that. Otherwise it will be a book on Tuesday to go on the Saturday kinda thing.

All hinges on the second wave and if it happens.
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johnE wrote:
I'm curious. Does anyone ever buy anything from airport shops other than a book or some pharmacy?


I buy my shirts in the airport. There’s a particular store I go to, and I’m through there every few weeks. Airports are one of the few times you truly have time to kill.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I’ll take the zell am see advice on board about March. I would look to go as school holidays end which I think is 2nd week of March. It’s just going to be 4-5 nights for me and my father for a birthday present for him and he hasn’t skiid since a child so don’t need too much terrain.
Want to take him somewhere scenic, traditional, with good bars too.
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Airport shops

Boots needed because if you are doing just a night away you have to buy toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant each sodding time you go through with no checked bags.
Charging cables usually forgotten so somewhere that sells them and books so WH Smith
Alcohol, perfume shopping always busy
Fortnums as clients in EU really like the British biscuits from there.
Bin all the Hermes, Harrods etc.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I see the Epic pass now has Covid-19 guarantee of some sort. Off to read more as fancied the USA for Xmas, New Years and half term in 2020/21 - probably Beaver Creek and Vail.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Hmm, https://www.epicpass.com/info/epic-coverage.aspx gives a lot of detail, but basically if you ski 7 days in a season no refund at all. Having said that if you can't get out there and miss your holiday all your money comes back to you and they cover your sickness, job loss etc, so pretty clear refund policy and coverage.
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Agent Orange wrote:
Airport shops

Boots needed because if you are doing just a night away you have to buy toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant each sodding time you go through with no checked bags.
Charging cables usually forgotten so somewhere that sells them and books so WH Smith
Alcohol, perfume shopping always busy
Fortnums as clients in EU really like the British biscuits from there.
Bin all the Hermes, Harrods etc.


Or you just have a set packed in a plastic bag ready to go for each trip. I don't take as many flights as the proper frequent flyer people, but I can be 20 plus in a year. I have not been in an airport shop that I can remember in the last 5 years. I try to be hand baggage only if possible.
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Does Brewdog count as a shop? If so I shop often at the airport Toofy Grin
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