/ Ski Destination - Inspiration Required

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Rob Exile Ward on 20 Aug 2012
OK folks, need some inspiration for a destination:

1)Medium size party, 8 adults
2)5 competent skiers, (i.e. blacks routinely and some off piste), 2 beginners, 1 non skier
3) Christmas trip, so needs to be snowsure
4) Preferably accesible by train
5) Preferably French, but other destinations considered so long as they meets point 3) and perhaps 4)

Considered so far: Val Thorens (been there too often), Val D'Isere (not great for beginners), Courcheval/3 Valleys (possibly, based in the valley), Alpe D'Huez...

Other suggestions gratefully received!

ripper - on 20 Aug 2012
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: Courcheval obviously covered by the same area pass as Val Thorens but I think it has some of the nicest mid-hardish grade skiing in the 3 valleys. Les Arcs maybe worth a look too - links up with La Plagne (as you probably know) but I thought the variety of runs at Arc was nicer. The other obvious one is Tignes. Depends whether you want high mileage though, if not some of smaller resorts might offer more character?
Blinder - on 20 Aug 2012
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: Saas Fee ticks all the boxes but not number 5.
peas65 - on 20 Aug 2012
In reply to ripper:

We went to Tignes last year and that was fab, this year we are off to Meribel.

Though i guess maybe you have been to these places too,
We looked at les arcs too so that maybe a good choice.
We go at the start of Jan.
Frank4short - on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: La deus alpes probably worth considering too. Likely to be cheaper than most of your suggestions too.
Rob Exile Ward on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to Frank4short: I've just had a day at Deux Alpes - wasn't over impressed (I broke my hand, that may not have helped!) - is it worth a week at Christmas?
Bootsy - on 21 Aug 2012
Try St Anton, easy access from Innsbruck by train; good skiing all round; lively enough to keep the non-skier (and beginners who won't want to ski 0830-1730) entertained.

I'd give Les Deux Alpes a miss. I did a season there and you will find the skiing limiting if you are better than a 'red' skier. Also much of the easy skiing is on the glacier and beginners are sometimes reluctant to go up there and cold when they get there.

ps. try Snowheads for many (many) threads that may be helpful in your decision making process
MG - on 21 Aug 2012
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: Courmayeur? MUCH cheaper than Zermatt but you can still ski there. Great views. As high as it gets in Europe.
Frank4short - on 22 Aug 2012
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: I can't really comment on the christmas part, as I'd never normally go skiing at Christmas as it's too expensive and usually no matter how snowsure a resort you go to conditions aren't good enough to my mind, however yes Les deux Alpes is a great resort for skiing. It covers a huge amount of terrain with a large mix of pistes and off piste. There's free lifts in the valley for absolute beginners and a large area at the top of the mountain that's good for beginners too. If you're feeling brave you can get the interconnector over to La Grave (though they probably don't run it that early in the season). Granted the town is a bit of a french 70's concrete ski resort but then again so are lots of other resorts that would cost a lot more for similar ski areas e.g. tignes and val thorens.
Morgan Woods - on 22 Aug 2012
In reply to Bootsy:
> Try St Anton,

I imagine that would be a good choice. I have been to Lech which is in the next valley and trained it from Zurich.
AndyB123 - on 22 Aug 2012
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: If travelling by train, then Bourg St Maurice / Les Arcs is perfect. Train direct to Bourg St Maurice, there is then a funicular to Arc 1600. This gives the option of staying in BSM where living expenses will be cheaper, you'll also have the option of day trips to other resorts in the Tarentaise with Val d'Isere and Tignes 45mins away by bus, and also included on the Paradiski pass as a day option. As said before, access to the Les Arcs slope via 10min Funicular to Arc 1600.
Rob Exile Ward on 22 Aug 2012
In reply to AndyB123: That's not a bad idea, what's BSM like to stay in ... and is it hard getting on the slopes 1st thing?
robhorton - on 22 Aug 2012
Serre Chevalier?
AndyB123 - on 22 Aug 2012
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: I stayed there 2 years ago in Loftbourg, a Brit run hostel - around €20 per night (maybe not suitable for your party, but perhaps worth an enquiry). I'm sure there will be plenty of self catering / chalet rental options, there are also several hotels.
BSM itself is a very pleasant working French town, with plenty of bars and reataurants (at a cheaper price than on the slopes).The place is very geared up for skiing, with several ski hire shops - in the town.
Access to the slopes is very easy using the funicular, 1st train up gets you to 1600 before the 1st lifts start, and also for the beginners, ski school starts. The only drawback, is that this is your only point of entry to the Paradiski network, so the return back home can be a bit repetetive night after night, and if you intend to return back for lunch, a large chunk of your day will be gone.
Rob Exile Ward on 22 Aug 2012
In reply to AndyB123: OK that'd great anyone got any recommendations/availability for chalet/apartment accom in Bourg (5 - 7 adults)
Graeme Alderson on 22 Aug 2012
In reply to Bootsy:
> Try St Anton, easy access from Innsbruck by train; good skiing all round; lively enough to keep the non-skier (and beginners who won't want to ski 0830-1730) entertained.

Austria has great skiing but shit food. Unless you like schitzel every day. For lunch and dinner. Of course you can vary it by having cordon bleu occassionally (schitzel kiev). And how much fookin' grated carrot can a man eat - obviously loads if you are Tyrolean.

Wine is not very good compared with France unless you are spending a fair bit but the beer is far better.

But you do get a free ski bag with Lufthansa if you are a Miles and More Member (register in advance for membership I think) so fly to Munich and train from there to Innsbruck.

Mayhofen is good skiing but don't know about Christmas

Graeme Alderson on 22 Aug 2012
In reply to Graeme Alderson: Schnitzel not schitzel even though it is schit after a week :-)
Postmanpat on 23 Aug 2012
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> OK folks, need some inspiration for a destination:
>
Have you thought of the Portes du Soleil, specifically Morzine? It meets all your requirements. Not perfect for category <1> but the area is so big there enough blacks to last you and tons of off piste. A mate and I, decent skiers, spent a season there without getting bored.
Rigid Raider - on 23 Aug 2012
Lauterbrunnen would be fab at Christmas and there's plenty for a non-skier to see.
Frank4short - on 23 Aug 2012
In reply to Postmanpat: Surely Portes du Soleil is too low to be snowsure that early in the season. That would be my main concern as opposed to that there's not enough challenging skiing.
In reply to MG: Seconded - Courmayeur a great choice. A connoisseur's choice!
Postmanpat on 23 Aug 2012
In reply to Frank4short:
> (In reply to Postmanpat) Surely Portes du Soleil is too low to be snowsure that early in the season. That would be my main concern as opposed to that there's not enough challenging skiing.

Morzine links directly to Avoriaz which should be pretty snowsure at Christmas.

Swirly - on 23 Aug 2012
In reply to Bootsy:

> I'd give Les Deux Alpes a miss. I did a season there and you will find the skiing limiting if you are better than a 'red' skier. Also much of the easy skiing is on the glacier and beginners are sometimes reluctant to go up there and cold when they get there.


Having also done a season there this is bollocks.

> ps. try Snowheads for many (many) threads that may be helpful in your decision making process

Yeah why not use it to see how much there is to do if you're there for a season. (link to my TR): http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=45488

I wouldn't recommend it though for the same reason I wouldn't recommend any of the other big French resorts: there is absolutely nothing for a non-skier to do other than drink overpriced beer. I'd suggest somewhere in Switzerland (expensive though, Lautterbrunnen is a good choice as would be Wengen (even more expensive)) or Austria. Don't be put off by Austrian resorts being lower, lower slopes mean you're skiing on grass which only needs a few cm of snow compared to the meters needed to hide rocks and fill the crevasses of the high French resorts. Moreover, the Eastern Alps tend to get more snow at that time of year.

tim000 - on 23 Aug 2012
In reply to Graeme Alderson:
> (In reply to Graeme Alderson) Schnitzel not schitzel even though it is schit after a week :-)

been to austia 6 times and only had schnitzel once .
Zillas - on 23 Aug 2012
In reply to Graeme Alderson:

Trust me, you would have bigger problems finding permanent supply for your Schnitzel and grated carrot diet in St. Anton than avoiding them. And btw people that are after hard skiing don't really go to places like Mayrhofen or Kitzbuhel....
French Erick - on 23 Aug 2012
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
La rosière-la thuile. I prefered the italian side because I prefer the italians, and their food.
SFM - on 23 Aug 2012
In reply to Graeme Alderson:

Utter llobocks! Stayed in a pension type place outside Ischgl and had lovely food there. Still yet to have a better wild boar steak. The germknoodle was a winner too.

Grated carrot...great for your night skiing vision ;O)

Mikek on 24 Aug 2012
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Most Austrian and Swiss resorts would fit the bill - you'll have to do your own searching; most are train accessible and 'higher' (no resort as high as swiss or france, but high enough) resorts are probably more snow reliable than French - check recent statistics but Xmas can be iffy all over. Food imho is far better in austria than france, and accomodation way better. We'll probably never ski france again - expensive and crowded, too many brits. Mind you swiss can be mega pricy but OK - what about Zermatt, probably best resort in europe. Mike
Rob Exile Ward on 27 Aug 2012
In reply to Mikek: Thanks one and all, booked an appt in Bourg St Maurice and the eurostar direct - great! We'll get on a train in our village and get off at the resort (just about, anyway):-)
andy - on 27 Aug 2012
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: How much did the train cost, Rob, if you don't mind me asking? I'd love to go to the alps by rail but it's always ended up being dead expensive compared with flying.
Rob Exile Ward on 27 Aug 2012
In reply to andy: Hi Andy, £209 each return from St Pancras. (Kids are probably cheaper but mine all count as adults now.)

We did it a couple of years ago - you catch the train at 7:30 Friday evening and arrive at Bourg (or further up the valley, if you want) in time for a full day's skiing on the Saturday.
andy - on 27 Aug 2012
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: Cheers - £340 return at half term. Flights were £120 - shame, I'd love to go by train and get the extra skiing, but add a ticket to KingsX from Skipton and the train's horribly pricy.
IMA - on 27 Aug 2012
In reply to Andy: Re Eurostar.
If its a small party or everyone is paying there own way, can I suggest paying the extra £15 quid or so a ticket for 1st class upgrade. Should you buy 1 beer and a sandwich with your normal ticket it equates to a similar price. Worth doing the sums rather than just skipping it.

Found out last year on a return trip when after missing a train due to snow and having to buy a new ticket to get home. The extra space and free beers coffees and food were most welcome.

Its a great way to travel to the 3v which ever class.
marmot hunter - on 27 Aug 2012
In reply to IMA:
Anyone got a good site for TGV? I can't find any reaonable fares unless you wait till less than 3 months to travel, missing cheap flights.
Thanks
John Stainforth - on 27 Aug 2012
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
Very difficult one, since Xmas is generally very crowded, very expensive, and dodgy re snow.

Crowds: Horrendous in France during school holidays.

Snow: very unreliable in the low resorts, such as Porte de Soleil and much of Austria - need to really watch the snow reports before committing anywhere there

Non-skiers: virtually eliminates the concrete, remote purpuse-built resorts such a Avoriaz

Expense: great everywhere, especially Switzerland. But worth weighing up the pros and cons carefully, because (as others have said) Zermatt, Wengen, etc are right up there in terms of real charm, great lift/transport systems and ability to get high quickly - and much the nicest for non-skiers



donny - on 27 Aug 2012
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: Rob, have a look at la rosiere - just up the hill from Bourg St Maurice so accessible by train - miles cheaper for eating/drinking than the big resorts and lots of variety including the link to La Thuile (although it is a long poma ride!). We went there last christmas and while everywhere had a ton of snow, they worked hard to keep the resort open every day, which they didn't manage in Les Arc etc in the same week. A very pleasant change from the mega resorts. D
andy - on 27 Aug 2012
In reply to donny: He's booked - see earlier message...

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