Davos Newbies Home

***Too good to keep to myself

There are some sessions that look so good, that I don’t want to keep them under wraps. Saturday morning in Davos, at 9am, we have a session entitled “What is the value of history and tradition?” On the programme team we struggle to cast people against type: putting public figures in unexpected places, getting CEOs to talk about personal issues, placing an artist in a geopolitical discussion.

Usually, the demanding people who come to Davos say no — they don’t want to be exposed on an issue off their usual turf. But our history session has Umberto Eco, Francis Fukuyama, Timothy Garton Ash and Josef Joffe as a lineup, which would be wonderful by anyone’s criteria. What should make it sing, however, is that Howard Davies, chairman of the UK’s Financial Services Authority (like the SEC and more in one body) is chairing it. It turns out Howard did history at Oxford and it’s one of his passions (supporting the usually hopeless Manchester City Football Club is another). Expect the participants to come out of this session buzzing.

***Back to practicalities

Some people are wondering what there is to do in Davos outside the Congress Centre. Even the most intent Annual Meeting participant needs the occasional break, if only to let ideas and experiences settle before charging off to the next event on the programme.

Davos is, of course, one of the major ski resorts in Europe. For downhillers, if you have the time to take the Parsennbahn to the top of the Parsenn (entrance near the Hotel Seehof), there is an extraordinary run around the back of the mountain all the way down to Klosters. The second picture on the Davos webcam shows you conditions on this run right now. You can then either take the cable car back up and ski down to Davos or, if you are exhausted, take the train back to Davos.

For crosscountry skiers, there are three primary directions to head, all with good restaurants to refuel at on the way. For beginners, there is a loipe to Glaris that follows the river, so it’s flat. For the more advanced, you can head up the valleys to either Flüelapass or to Sertig.

Davos also has the largest outdoor ice rink in Switzerland. For the less energetic, Audi runs an advanced driving course, where you get to practice skids on the ice, and there are horse-drawn carriage rides up to some of the same places that the crosscountry skiers have to sweat to reach.

And then there are restaurants and konditorei, but that’s another story.

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