Morning all ,I’ve been pondering this for a while . Many people on here ( myself included ) rate the various chamonix valley resorts as sone of the best in the world often ( I think ) because of the lift accessed off piste and touring and general steepness of the pistes / interesting terrain . However , accommodation And lift passes are eye watering . Also ( IMHO ) apart from maybe la tour and les houches , not so good skiing with kids , even if they are reasonably compete at . Compare that , to say , Mont Blanc evasion - cheaper lift passes , accommodation and if you consider it’s 15 mins ish to salamches - cheaper shopping . Plenty to go at for families but probably fair to say no where near as challenging . Then maybe at the other end of the scale - Eastern Europe , Pyrenees ? Cheap but limited for anything other than intermediates
Has somebody already done this ?
( BTW - I have no intention of doing anything about this if doesn’t exist , I’m just ready to go out a bit early
> Morning all ,I’ve been pondering this for a while . Many people on here ( myself included ) rate the various chamonix valley resorts as sone of the best in the world often ( I think ) because of the lift accessed off piste and touring and general steepness of the pistes / interesting terrain .
as somebody who lives in Chamonix, i would say that as a ski resort it is absolutely terrible! bad infrastructure, bad transport (and parking), poorly thought out piste and lift lines, actually very little vert (if you exclude the home runs which are rarely open and most people take the lifts down), very little good quality in bounds terrain and in reality pretty boring pistes... unless you are into your big mountain skiing and ski-alpinism (which i am) then what chamonix has to offer compared to virtually any other major ski area is actually incredibly limited. take the Aig. du midi out of the equation (which is beyond most average people) then you get very little for your money here. i would never reccomend to anybody to come to chamonix purely for a ski holliday, and my livelihood depends on tourists!
i know i have gone off on a tangent, but i think chamonix would score pretty low on any kind of multifaceted comparison.
> Ski club of Great Britain site rates resorts by various criteria a bit like this?
I think the average SCGB member’s concept of value is very different to the rest of us. Skiing does seem to have become very expensive for the forthcoming season
I have book from a few years back "Where to Ski and Snowboard 2011", which covered 1000 resorts, maybe it was a Daily Telegraph publication but it was pretty good and covered relative costs etc.
Having been to Chamonix for four weeks and occasional other days, I have to say its very far from the best place to ski... Sure the scenery is great, there is some really great and hard skiing, and actually the town is pretty good for bars etc if you are into that. However, you either have to drive around the whole time or rely on crowded buses, on a powder day it gets tracked out by lunchtime (which if you spent 1.5hrs queuing to get on to the mountain means its pretty much tracked already), limited bad weather skiing, you cant really "ski to anywhere" as each area is pretty small... Maybe all these nuances make it trendy, but I cant be bothered and would rather go to Meribel or any other big area and ski to my door...
> Having been to Chamonix for four weeks and occasional other days, I have to say its very far from the best place to ski... Sure the scenery is great, there is some really great and hard skiing, and actually the town is pretty good for bars etc if you are into that. However, you either have to drive around the whole time or rely on crowded buses, on a powder day it gets tracked out by lunchtime (which if you spent 1.5hrs queuing to get on to the mountain means its pretty much tracked already), limited bad weather skiing, you cant really "ski to anywhere" as each area is pretty small... Maybe all these nuances make it trendy, but I cant be bothered and would rather go to Meribel or any other big area and ski to my door...
I'd agree with that - and add that the bars are expensive!
However, I do have a soft spot for it, as it's where I learnt to snowboard and I did have one of my best powder days EVER there: Crap conditions in the morning and abandoned Argentiere as it was practically a whiteout and they were closing runs. Driving back, decided to risk it at Flegere and got up the chair lift just as the sun was breaking through, revealing perfect, untracked powder everywhere and hardly anyone else around - result
3 Valleys is great, as you can get all over the whole area, if you're good enough - have often skiied from Courcheval through Meribel and up to Val Thorens (and vice versa).
That sounds remarkably familiar to what happened to me one time.... I cant remember the circumstances but we ended up at the top of the Flegere cable car on a power day but all the main lifts were shut, were about to head back down the cable car and head to Les Houches when the main chair swung into action and our group were about 2nd or 3rd onto it, I remember feeling pretty excited heading up over an entire mountainside of untouched fresh snow! Actually have had some pretty good days in Cham when I think about it!
In my opinion, Chamonix is one of the worst places to ski if you are skiing on piste. It's bloody expensive, really busy, limited in the extreme, has crap links between areas etc. By contrast, check out the Dolomites. The lift pass is less money and covers pistes which are longer than the entire London underground network. If you manage to ski all that in a week you'd have to be going some! The accommodation isn't the cheapest, BUT food out on the slopes is very reasonable and actually good rather than some crap chips for 8 quid. The main downside is that it isn't so snow sure, but they are very very good at making snow (although that too has some major drawbacks, not least the environmental aspect). For kids there is absolutely bags and bags to do. I guess it just depends on how knarly you want it for you?
> Isn't Austria supposed to be cheapest of anywhere this side of the old iron curtain?
With the exception of Andorra and possibly Italy, yes - and with food on the slopes which is actually both freshly made and affordable, unlike France.
We had a very similar experience at Flegere, first bin up and it broke behind us! We had the mountain almost to ourselves till lunch time on one of the best powder days ever with all the other lifts open.
> We had a very similar experience at Flegere, first bin up and it broke behind us! We had the mountain almost to ourselves till lunch time on one of the best powder days ever with all the other lifts open.
Similar experience at The Mighty One a few years ago. Camped in the van in the carpark, having only just got up the singletrack road.
In the morning the road was still a mess so about car35 got stuck and blocked it. Luckily they had enough staff to get the Access Chair running.
Best days skiing of my life lapping the dark side over and over again with a few other people whilst we saw the carnage unfold as people abandoned cars on the A82 and tried to walk in.
The burn was amazing and I even managed to ski the waterfall half way down ( the one i had previously used as ice climbing practice).
Best day ever.
I went to Andorra last Christmas, and will do again this Christmas.
Last year there had been a last minute covid ban on British travel into some euro countries, which might have affected numbers, but queues were minimal, your ski pass got you into the covered car parks (30m from car to lift on some days), food was cheap, alcohol very reasonable and accommodation not too bad.
Agree that there's not much for advanced skiing, but it was fine for me and family.
Depends where, in Austria.
If a family-with-kids or a group of newbies asked me, I would recommend Tannheimertal without hesitation, for example. It's super cheap since your pass gets you in to anywhere in the valley and it has great easy stuff, good schools, passing-fair busses, and decent slightly-harder-stuff if you need it. It has relatively affordable holiday houses and eateries and some of the huts have Tourenabend if you fancy a jaunt up-piste to grab dinner.
But there's basically nothing there for the serious. Touring offers a lot of variety – sure – but even a "black" lift-served route is scarce, not very long, and several fathoms below the grade in any but the most nasty of conditions.
Then there are places like Sankt Anton which are hardly cheap. And if one seeks the German-Schlager-Apre-ski experience, Zillertal it must be – look for places with names like "Hexenkessel", and be prepared to pay lots in Zillertal. (If you are like me, though, just about nowhere could appeal less!)
The annual Chamonix Unlimited lift pass represents fantastic value. On second and subsequent years the price is under 800€. This includes all the Chamonix ski areas, Courmayeur, the Skyway, all of the Evasion Mont Blanc (St Gervais, Les Contamines, Megeve, Combloux). The latter areas have all the pisted roads you could ask for.
If you are using the uplift in summer as well it could be looked at as something of a bargain. Particularly compared with the 1400€ 3 Valleys season pass
My wife has just copied me this article about the cheapest French resorts
There's a link in that article to another article at https://www.holidu.fr/magazine/domaines-skiables-abordables-2022-2023 with a list of the 5 cheapest & the 5 best value for money (again in French)
Sure the methodology could be critized & I hate to think what the accomodation would be like at those prices
Best place I've boarded by far is Niseko in Japan, been a couple of times. Very reliable dry powder, no queues, loads of good on and off piste. Onsens (Hot springs) to soak in after a day on the mountain...great food...bliss.
It was pretty reasonable compared to the alps cost wise. Downside of course is it's a bit of a trek to get there!
> https://www.ouest-france.fr/leditiondusoir/2022-12-06/quelles-sont-les-stations-de-ski-les-moins-cheres-de-france-voici-le-top-10-des-plus-abordables-32819ba5-ba5b-424e-8dd6-3b168e7fdaa6 (in French)
> Sure the methodology could be critized & I hate to think what the accomodation would be like at those prices
Number 3 on that list, Autrans, is only a 15 minute drive from me so I've never stayed there but the village has some nice accommodation, but nothing to ski to door. It is however a Mecca for XC skiing and I'm hoping to crack out the skinny skis at the weekend.
I've (downhill) skied at Autrans once during questionable conditions one Xmas with friends with small kids and found it wasn't the best but that might have been the poor weather.
I've skied in or at least near Autrans but only XC & many years ago, probably 15 years ago. I live in N° 6 on the list & although its nice to have on the doorstep (& the ski pass includes two other similar sized downhill ski areas) I would have thought it a bit limited for a weeks holiday for anyone other than near beginners or many families with young kids.
Have already been out a few times, the resort's only black was good fun a couple of days ago before it was partly pisted - maybe 20 cm of fluffy snow & worth the 750m of climbing. At least one of the local XC areas is open (some 12 km so far), seems a summer of cycling doesn't really help the muscles used for skating as much as I'd hoped.
Agree wholeheartedly regards food and drink- superfast friendly service, fresh, tasty, big (Germanic) portions and reasonably priced. Lift passes quite expensive, lift systems good. Hotel rooms spacious, clean and warm.
I went a few times in the 1980's but did not return for many years because it was one of the most openly racist places I have ever been, filthy looks in the street and elsewhere, this wasn't my imagination, it was such that my (very caucasian) friend also remarked on it That wasn't an issue when I was last there (Obergurgul in 2012 I think).
For general value Andorra is good- excellent food and drink at even lower prices than Austria. THe small area of Arcalis is amazing and like a mini Whistler. I think there are / were 4 high speed quad lifts and a ski anywhere in bounds approach- with large unpisted lift accessed bowls. But there is no accommodation at the base (which is high).
In France la Tania may suit. The best though is to books flights then play chicken with last minute deals.