Heard in Davos 2012: Dispatches from the Conference

Challenge in Davos: Just Getting There


Opening your window to a blanket of heavy snow at Davos can fill the heart with dread, as the white fluffy stuff adds on half an hour to your travel time.

Davos | World Economic Forum
Source: World Economic Forum

Depending on how close you’re staying to the main World Economic Forum (WEF), it can be extremely tricky to get in. A virtual whiteout on Tuesday morning obscured signs and landmarks, leaving visitors struggling to find their way around. Fortunately, the locals are generally a) friendly, b) trilingual and c) willing to help visitors armed with a map and a hopeful expression.

Once delegates arrive, whether by bus, train or helicopter, they have to try and find their way around by taxi, shuttle bus, golf cart and even on foot.

All of these have their pitfalls. The shuttle may drop you nowhere near your final destination, and taxis seem to be trying to make enough money to see them through the rest of the winter inside one week. The steep hills covered in snow and ice could be treacherous to walkers, and there were several inching gingerly up the slopes to the main conference center on Tuesday.

Plenty of people have come with weather-inappropriate shoes - this is one of very few occasions where you see loafer-clad men clutching people's arms for dear life as they try to avoid falling over in front of the boss.

Many veterans bring a snow-friendly and an office-appropriate pair (a little like Melanie Griffith in Working Girl) to try and weather the storm.