Friday, December 7, 2012

My Skibus

My view from the window

I am sitting again on my usual ski bus. AY 2867, from Helsinki to Geneva. This is my second time on this flight this season, and it is early December! My third time on this route will be in January, and I wouldn't be surprised if there will be more.

I am going to Chamonix, as they are opening today. Chamonix is obviously a wonderful place to go skiing in, I know my way around there, it is a short drive from the airport, the village has plenty of nightlife, and it is one of the prettiest mountain views that I can think of.

However, I must confess that I was looking for other options for this weekend. Unfortunately, since it is independence day weekend in Finland, many people took the opportunity to fly somewhere else, and I had trouble finding weekend flights to any destination. Anything in Finland was completely out of question, either on airplanes or trains.

Early season was another problem. That dropped Kartalkaya, Turkey, from my list of possible destinations. Too bad, maybe I can do it on some other weekend. But it is a shame. I would also have loved to experience the cheap Aeroflot flights to get to Turkey via a slight Russian detour.

Alternative destinations for this weekend

Similarly, plenty of snow has fallen into Stockholm in the last few days, but none of the ski hills are open yet. And other places had long visa processing times. I did not have time to leave my passport for six days to get into Moscow. In fact, I'm not sure I ever have time to be without a passport that long. Belarus collected many problems, three days for visa processing and no snow yet.

Chamonix it is then.

I also had some excitement coming in through the security check. For the first time, I had my avalanche survival kit, an ABS-backpack with me, and like all products of this type, my pack has a high pressure gas container and an explosives-based trigger. However, European regulations do state that you can take one ABS-backpack with you. And when not armed, they are safe to transport. So I got my pack through. But not without some questioning from security staff that was not familiar with these products. Luckily someone in the team was familiar.

Pictures by the Great Circle Mapper

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