/ Off-Piste ski holidays
If you had say, £1500-£2000 to spend on a Ski holiday, Where would you go and who with? I'm pondering over two options and just cant decide what id like to do. I know i want to focus on touring/back-country skiing and either in the alps, or Norway. So i guess I'm asking you guys and girls for inspiration.
Option A. Go on a fully inclusive off-piste "course"
Option B. Get accommodation, Hire a guide for 2/4 days, and enjoy the rest of the week on lift asst Off-piste.
What would you do?
Do you want instruction/guiding? Or can you look after yourself? Because if the latter you could I think pretty easily arrange a trip to Northern Norway within that budget if you could find some like minded friends to share the house and car rental costs with.
There are plenty of ship based touring holidays around Lyngen these days - and they may well fit into your budget. See http://www.snowgenius.com/ski-mountaineering/ski-touring-lyngen-alps-norway/
Loads and loads of videos for inspiration but check out http://www.vimeo.com/41843620
Great response, Thank you. I would prefer a guide. I can ski, fairly well. Ive done say.. 5 tours based in Scotland (not many i know) but i am quite confident touring Scotland, but I'm always trying to improve technique. This is why i thought 3/4 days instruction in an area, and then maybe go off on our own for the rest of the week would be a good idea.
Snowgenius, looks a great website. They recommend Ascent Descent. Defiantly going to give them an email.
Have you been to the area yourself TobyA?
Yes - quite a few times now. I was on Senja, an island a bit west of Lyngen just before Easter this year but have done a number of week trip on Lyngen in the past mainly skiing but also some ice climbing trips.
2010 including a little video my mate made:
Quite a few Lyngen photos now on UKC http://www.ukclimbing.com/photos/search.html?text=Lyngen&x=0&y=0
Have a look at "pinch a salt" of this site. I think his website is offpisteskiing.
Trips to Kyrgyzstan, Lyngen and other places as well as steep and deep guided instruction in the Alps.
Try the Telemark Ski Company who don't just do tele.
The Skiers Lodge in La grave do fully guided weeks for a lot less than your budget....some very good terrain there and they also get to some great places like Montgenevre. I've also used Dream Guides for a week or two of backcountry and instruction in Chamonix.
Ive literally just goggled for a good hour at your website. This pretty much exactly covers what id like to do. Although my only downside to organizing something like this is atm, im solo. Many B&B's or hotels in the area? or would you recommend finding like minded people and going self catered cottage or something?
Morgan, the skiers lodge looks great! Ive also fancied skiing in la Garve to, i guess this caters for the individual person better to. Price aint bad either.
Thanks for the ideas! :)
Did three days with Jimmy Halvardsson in Lygen at the end of feb this year. He is an absolutely great guy and really helpful.
He offers an all in package which was a bit pricy for us so we just hired him as a guide and sorted out our own self catering accomodation. We did three different day tours which worked out well for us and we went where he suggested to make the most of the conditions. The whole business was pretty pricy but lyngen in the winter/spring is stunning. Skking right down to the beach!
I've emailed him for more information. What were the prices like? I fear that as a solo traveler i'm not going to be able to afford this company, and would have to find cheaper alternatives in France. :(
I think it worked out that the guiding fee was around 450 GBP per day but that was split between all of us. We were a group of 6 so it wasn't too bad.
You might be able to join in with another group.
The orginal quote he gave me was for "6 nights accomodation in our really nice cottage. 4 double bedrooms, jacuzzi in the back and a true lyngen experience by the fjord, 1 day with our rib boat ski to the sea, 6 dinners/local good food, Ski guiding 5-6 days, Transportation"
The total price was 1200 GBP ish each but that was for a group of 6. I reckon your best bet is to try to slot into a group with some spaces.
Hope you find something that suits you.
Please be aware of avalanche risk. I would say that Norway is quite tricky as the conditions can be difficult. It's often windy and/or overcast, so you have difficult avalanche risks to manage with poor visibility.
In the alps you can still do some excellent piste skiing or side-country. In Norway the alternative is to try to do a basic tour or just sit in your cabin and drink tea.
This, however, is where a guide or a friend with excellent experience would be useful.
I was in Lyngen this year and every tour was a constant debate about turning back - snow pack, wind, visibility, temperature, etc. I did 7 tours with 9000m of ascent, yet I only topped out twice. And we had probably 300 tours experience between us, so I'd like to think we had a reasonable idea of what we were doing.
I also went to the Alps for a week. The weather was poor. The final day I sat for 45 minutes eating lunch on a ridge in a complete whiteout pleading for the weather to clear. I knew I was on a ridge because the map said so. That was it. But I did do some fantastic piste skiing that week which is completely unavailable in Norway.
So, if I was you I'd go to one of the big resorts in the Alps famous for off-piste - Verbier/Zermatt/Chamonix and hire a guide for a few days, and then try some of your own stuff with the backup of some great resort skiing if the conditions are bad.
450 a day? Way to pricey..
Dave, i have heard good things from here. His offpiste improver course in Andermatt sounds appealing!
Junebob, Yeah, I'm always afraid of this. Scotland this year is a good example. Its been rare to get some decent days this winter. The alps is always much more predictable, and cheaper.. Hasn't got the charm of Norway though? I guess I'm still very much in the gaining experience phase of my skiing, and i might be running before i can walk by going to lygnen? Point taken, food for thought!
I've had some good times and learnt a lot on SCGB Freshtracks trips
The area around Tromso (including the islands of Kvaloya and Ringvassoya) has some more moderate terrain than Lyngen - worth considering for a first trip and well covered by the guidebook ( http://www.amazon.co.uk/Troms-Ski-touring-arctic-summits/dp/8293090154 ).
Have you considered joining your local club in Inverness? http://www.ibsc.org.uk/
Mark, absolutely great idea. Book bought. I still would like the advice from a guide though..
I've contemplated it many a time, and to be truth, i will. However not just now. I say I'm from around inverness, but unfortunately the RAF has posted me down south for now. Come November i hope to be posted back up, and if i do, i sure will be attending the club! I've heard great things.
rinch, Believe it or not, AscentsDescents has got back to me already, able to join a group on a instructional guided week, for a very reasonable price. teeeempting!
We were out in the Tromso area last month (funnily enough on Mark's recommendation). One of the best holidays I've had.
Good spread of routes and stunning scenery.
This place is meant to be good for off-piste ,http://www.freerideparadise.it/# haven't been there yet but I've skied a lot in that area of the Italian alps over the last 20 years and it's a great place to ski (quite cheap too compared to other alpine countries) and the weather is usual pretty good.
Been to Alagna a couple of times and loved it - great off-piste, lovely quiet village, cheap (for a ski resort) and friendly. We had a very good and patient guide for a few days. Would definitely go back.
I'm a big lover of Tignes/Val D'Isere for huge amounts of easy to access off-piste. But for a guided trip, I went to La Grave a few years ago. The place is incredible. Over 2000m of vertical and not a single piste.
Stayed here: http://www.skierslodge.com/ (the only place really).
They do a deal where you buy both the hotel and guiding as one and they split you into groups of 5 based on ability. There are quite a few people in the hotel so you've a good chance of getting in a group of similar abilities.
I've emailed a guide in lyngen, I'm heart set on the place. However this is defiantly going to be my plan B.
Cheers for all the ides, and advice ladies and gents. :)
I'd contact my Sister who lives in the Giffre Valley in Haute Savoie France and book up through her:
She manages accommodation out there. Around the valley there are some amazing ski-touring routes, some of which I've done, and some great back-country skiing. There's also good uplifts to give you height quickly and then tour off from there (Samoens, Morillon, Les Caroz, Flaine Massif). Plenty of good high mountain refuges as well.
If you're set on coming up to the Tromsø area I would personally recommend coming in early May when the avalanche risk is usually lower than earlier in the spring although you then have to be careful of wet snow avalanches when it gets really warm. There are many fantastic ski trips on Kvaløya (best in the evening time in my opinion) as well as in Lyngen, Malangen and mainland Norway. Svensby tursenter have cabins which are relatively inexpensive to rent and availability is typically quite good in May (although not such a good base for Kvaløya). Magic mountain lodge also have reasonable prices and the owners Patrik and Henrika are very helpful and friendly. If you want to ski with other people it could also be worth joining trips with the fjellsportgruppa (the mountaineering group in Tromsø), there are usually weekend and day trips in May. Otherwise you could just send me a message and I'll join you if the weather is good! (I live here)
Try http://www.action-outdoors.co.uk/ who are the UK agents for UCPA in France. The prices for winter 2014/15 are not available online until August, but if you give them a ring I am certain they will be able to give you some indication.
As an example, last year it cost me about £700 for a week with them (5 days off piste instruction in a group of 6) including Chamonix full area lift pass, accommodation, full board (big DIY packed lunch), all instruction, equipment (good off piste skis, transceiver, probe, shovel, even a rucksack if needed...all provided for a week.
If you have never tried UCPA, it is a fantastic organisation. Touring is certainly run from Argentiere, & perhaps from a few more of their centres. I suspect the cost for a week would be maximum £1,000 including huts, guide, food, gear, the lot. Spend the money you save on another week with them!
Agreed UCPA are very good but do they still have age limits ?
Indeed they do Doug: 18 to 39 years. However, there is some discretion for individual centre managers to waive this.
I am at an age where 39 seems (and actually is!) a long time ago, but the Chamonix manager was happy for me to go - with my 22 year old son. Word was that we were their 1st father & son combo. in living memory.
The Argentiere manager was not prepared to accommodate anyone of my decreptitude.
Likewise, they let me on a course at 40+ as my partner (similar age) had been a regular client for 20+ years. It was early season and I suspect they were glad to make up the numbers
Go to Engelberg in Switzerland. Stay in the Ski Lodge. Hire a guide, have a couple of days in Andermatt and try not to be too much in awe of the way some/most of the Scandies ski. Just like being in Norway but with slightly less expensive beer and longer days.
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