Billionaires Stuck: Davos Disrupted By Massive Snowfall, Avalanche Alerts

It's ironic that for a World Economic Forum conference which lists global warming - only in the more politically acceptable phrasing of "Extreme Weather Conditions" - as the top 1 and 2 global risks for 2018, respectively, in terms of likelihood and impact...


... that this year's WEF event in Davos has started off in climatic chaos, only of the global cooling variety, as over 6 feet of fresh snow disrupted the summit and smothered much of the Alps a day before the Forum gets under way.

As local reporters describe the scene, fat, damp snowflakes have been tumbling down for the past six days, burying the town in six feet of snow, three feet of it in the last two days alone. Snow was still falling fast on Monday night, and the steep, pine-dotted slopes were so heavily laden that some neighborhoods here in Davos had to be evacuated for fear of avalanches.

According to Reuters, a bulletin from the SLF Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research in Davos showed a broad band of the mountainous country under Level 5 avalanche danger, the highest on a 1-5 scale.

“Fresh snow and snow drift accumulations are prone to triggering (avalanches). Until late in the night a large number of natural avalanches are to be expected,” it said. Snow slides could be deep and large, it added, posing danger to exposed settlements and transit routes.


The accumulation of snow was the highest since 1999.

In Davos, where Retuers adds that authorities have evacuated two dozen people from homes most at risk, access roads were still open as crews used controlled explosions to reduce the chance of slides. Zermatt - in southwestern Switzerland - remained cut off by road and rail. A helicopter air bridge that had been ferrying people in and out of the popular ski resort was out of action because of bad weather, a town spokeswoman said.


By Sunday night, heavy snow had already blocked the rail line through the Alps from Zurich, and villages along the route were at the highest level of avalanche alert. Swiss Rail began unloading Davos-bound passengers from their express trains, taking them on a half-hour bus trip on back roads around the blockage and then loading them onto a crowded red commuter train that ran the rest of the way into Davos.


Meanwhile, head-high snow drifts quickly piled up along the roads, leaving no place for street plows to push more snow. Sidewalks completely disappeared. Pedestrians slipped and slid in traffic between huge trucks and luxury minivans on streets carpeted with compacted ice several inches thick.

A stumped mayor of Davos, Tarzisius Caviezel, asked rhetorically at a news conference on Monday "What shall we do," admitting he was at a loss for how to respond. “It’s impossible."

There was too much snow to find places to put in the narrow, steep-sloped valley, he explained, and no easy way to take it anywhere else.

Amusingly, during this chaotic scene, the fact that throngs of uber-wealthy conference goers and their entourages were trying to push their way toward Davos did not help. A giant purple freight truck wound up in a snow bank on Monday morning across the street from the conference center, temporarily paralyzing the already slow-moving traffic.

“We can do nothing,” Mr. Caviezel said, except wait for better weather to arrive, perhaps some time on Tuesday, and gradually dig out.


But nothing compared to the biggest indignity to be faced by the world's richest: in the most harrowing experience for the plutocrats who have made the World Economic Forum their favorite winter meeting ground, even the town’s helicopter pad was closed because of the snowstorm. By early afternoon, a quarter-mile trip in one of the ubiquitous black luxury minivans with plush leather seats that shuttle participants around the town took nearly an hour.

Linda P. Fried, the dean of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, allowed three hours at midday on Monday to travel from her hotel to the uncrowded registration center nearby and then a few blocks to the conference. But because of the gridlock, she was a half-hour late to give her speech. The topic had been the health risks that arise from climate change; ironically it was supposed to empasize global warming.

Then came the comedy:

“I’ve been coming for eight years and this is the worst I’ve seen it,” she said. But she bristled when asked whether some — like perhaps President Trump — might question the incongruity of discussing global warming during a blizzard.

“It isn’t accurate, people just don’t understand, that’s not the metric,” she said.

Right: because while global warming is proof of global warming, so apparently is global cooling. Here's how the NYT put it: "Climate scientists have long warned that rising emissions of greenhouse gases by humanity may cause weather extremes, and not just heat waves. But it is hard to link any single weather event to climate change."

As we said: comedy.

Still, not everyone in Davos was a miserable billionaire: some liked the snow: avid skiers.

“I skied here as a kid,” said Anthony Couse, the chief executive for Asia at Jones Lang LaSalle Property Consultants, “and there definitely was not this much snow.”


LetThemEatRand Mon, 01/22/2018 - 21:19 Permalink

I wonder if one of their meetings is entitled "Do we really need to take all of it or can we be satisfied merely with extreme wealth and power?"  No, probably not.


LetThemEatRand Mazzy Mon, 01/22/2018 - 21:26 Permalink

The same could be said for many well known historical characters.  Hitler, for example, could have controlled much of Europe and ended WWII with immense power and wealth had he said "enough" when he took France.  But as you point out, it just wasn't enough.  Moar. 

The question of course is whether this time will be different and the oligarchs will win, or whether their abject greed will ultimately destroy them.  That history hasn't been written yet.  

In reply to by Mazzy

Mazzy LetThemEatRand Mon, 01/22/2018 - 21:33 Permalink

One can think of the Chinese or Roman, Persian or Egyptian emperors/kings/pharaohs/etc.  Their history has been written and how many of them died peacefully in their beds as octogenarians, well loved and respected by their countrymen?

The only strange thing is that in our modern times those who hold the real power are not the face of the political structure. 


In reply to by LetThemEatRand

any_mouse Joe A Tue, 01/23/2018 - 01:49 Permalink

Hitler was a puppet. His job was to destroy the German race and enable Bolshevism to takeover Europe. Job well done. Gave rise to the Holocaust Myth and the theft of Palestine. [Ironically amusing to see Whites praising Hitler and emulating Third Reich mannerisms.]

Next the Bolsheviks took half of Europe.

Then with the collapse of the Soviet Union, as they had drained the life blood from that entity, they shifted to the EU and NATO to take over all of Europe up to Russia's border. Easily done with every nation voluntarily signing on to give up their sovereignty.

The White Europeans are marching themselves into genocide. singing praises of multiculti.


In reply to by Joe A

Joe A any_mouse Tue, 01/23/2018 - 05:46 Permalink

No, you mix Hitler up with that other German agent of destruction (although he was Russian): Lenin. They sent him to destabilize Russia so to end WWI on the Eastern front so the Germans could focus on the Western front. That kind of backfired and boomaranged on the Germans later.
Many in the West were in love with Hitler until they found out he was crazy. They were in love with him because they saw in him the answer to the rising threat of communism. That is why capitalism initially poured so much money into Germany (Krupps, Thyssen, IG Farben, etc.) to find out later they were financing Germany's war machine. Both WWI and WWII were planned by German politicians, military, industrialists and bankers. Not many Jews were involved in that. Sorry. Well, they were involved in the way that they kind of disappeared. Funny how neo nazis never seems to be able to explain where all the Jews of Europe went when they were put on a train Eastwards.

In reply to by any_mouse

Joe A szponiasty Tue, 01/23/2018 - 05:50 Permalink

Hitler yes, they is plenty of evidence of that. The Russian revolution might have been sponsored to some extent in order to destabilize Russia. Just like Russia was destabilized by the boys from Yale and Harvard after the collapse of the SU with the aim of driving Russia's economy further into the ground. The end result of that is Putin which turned that situation around. You see, the West does very poorly with trying to influence Russia and destroy it further. That always backfires.

In reply to by szponiasty