/ Chamonix - Febuary

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sclly - on 07 Oct 2013

I'm going Skiing for the first time in the Febuary half term to Chamonix. There are 10 of us going and we are staying in a Hostel, not sure if it has cooking facilities so going to assume no, therefore I have some questions.

- Supermarkets are they expensive? I eat lots and don't want to spend all my money in resturants etc.
- Beers are they expensive in the bars etc.

Finally, the last quesion I have is on what to wear on my legs. I've no idea as I don't want to go and buy specialist trousers and discover I don't like sliding down a mountain on planks or on a plank. Any ideas?

Thank you

sweenyt - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to sclly:

I quite enjoy skiing, and I love cham, but if you're new to skiing then I think there may be better places to go to begin with. If you've already booked it then fair play, but if not I am sure that someone with much more experience than me will soon be along with other viable suggestions.

To answer your questions, super markets are OK, not that cheap, but no worse than other alpine towns (i.e. ski resorts).
Beer is expensive in bars, but not in supermarkets. Find happy hours and do a tour of the bars.

wear any warm, preferably synthetic trousers if you don;t want to buy. Jeans are a poor choice!

sclly - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to sweenyt:


Its already booked, I didn't book it a bloke at work did. I'm aiming on having some lessons before heading out to Chamonix to give me the heads up.

Thanks for the information.

blurty - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to sclly:
La Tour is the best area for beginners

I wear soft shell trousers, and take waterproof salopettes in case the weather is foul

As you suggest, to get a few days of skiing lessons done in the UK is well worth it

Where are you staying in Cham?

tri-nitro-tuolumne on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to sclly:

I would think about getting some group lessons while you're in Chamonix. I did some dry slope lessons before I went skiing for the first time (also to Chamonix) but I didn't think they were of any benefit. If I were to have my time again I would save the money and spend it on lessons in resort. The lessons last 3 hours and start at 9am, which leaves you the rest of the day to ski.

Trousers - get some softshell walking trousers (not waterproof). A zip on the lower leg of the trousers (to get them over a ski boot) is useful but not essential. I ski in these:
If you've already got some waterproof over trousers bring them with you (for really bad weather) but you can get away without them.

Beer - as sweenyt says, bars are expensive but you can take advantage of the happy hours. The lifts close at 4pm. If you get shitfaced the night before and don't hit the slopes until 12, you'll miss out on half the skiing.

Food is expensive on the mountain so make your own sandwiches and carry them with you. Jugs of drinking water are provided free in all the mountain restaurants in Chamonix (and France?). It's considered rude to eat your own sandwiches in the mountain restaurants but you can usually get away with it

As Blurty said, Le Tour is the best domain for beginners and Flegere has some interest as well. If you get group lessons they will arrange to meet you at the different domains within the resort each day, so where you ski for the day will be dictated by the ski school (it's probably too much hassle to change domains during the day in Chamonix).

Carrying a small rucksack while you ski is useful. You can carry a little extra clothing (in case you get too cold) and you can put clothing in it (if you get too warm). Also useful for carrying sandwiches and water.

Have fun.
tim000 - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to sclly: you can pick up ski clothing cheap this time of year. places like decathlon stick last years stock back on the shelves to make room for the new season stock.
Lew13 - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to tri-nitro-toulumne:

I'd say the opposite... Get plenty of lessons and time on a dry slope. If you can ride Dendex you'll find snow a doddle.
kevin stephens - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Lew13: +1, lessons at home on a plastic slope are invaluable, even essential to making rapid progress in your first week on snow. I would say that you learn more on a good plastic slope than on an indoor fridge, because they are more demanding (Rossendale worked for me)

ski trousers are quite cheap at Go Outdoors.

beers at happy hour are not too expensive. There are some cheap(ish) places to eat out, try Poco Loco
TomDisomma - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to sclly:

Chamonix is a great place, super u is not too expensive and there are many burger joints for a cheap price.

Beer is on average 5 a pint and 11 ish for a pitcher, if you want crazy rock music and dancing on tables do not miss Chambre neufs après ski, best place in town to party
JIB - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to sclly: Consider using the indoor snow venues - they have the real benefits of allowing you to develop sound basic techniques and the knowledge of how the equipment functions. This means that you should be able to make more rapid and enjoyable progress on the snow.

I know of people who have spent their first day (of a short and expensive holiday)on snow learning how to put their skis on/how to use a drag lift/how to fall/how to get up again...

With good instruction and effective practice at an indoor venue, you could be developing your carving turns ready to transfer to the French pistes ;-)
JIB - on 08 Oct 2013
Another benefit of the indoor snow venues is that you also have the opportunity to discover some of the limitations of your clothing ideas too...
CurlyStevo - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to JIB:
+1 real snow at an indoor fridge worked well for me.
tri-nitro-tuolumne on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to sclly:

I'm sure some people get a benefit from dry slope lessons - just not me
I guess indoor lessons on real snow would be better.
maxsmith - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to sclly: As above make sure to eat at poco loco (cheapish takeaway burger place on the main drag) - I am salivating just thinking of the 'americaines' I have ordered there in the past!

Supermarkets are reasonably cheap ( considering you are in a resort ) but if you want British staples take your own because heinz baked beans there are about 2 quid a can..

I find taking your own lunch in a rucksack everyday is a big saving.

In terms of skiing, get as much practice as you possibly can before you go.

Le tour is a good area for beginners, but takes the longest to reach on the bus.

The main pistes at both brevent and flegere are wide blue runs where I have taught many friends.

Probably avoid grands montets until later in the week..

Enjoy, I'm very jealous!

tim000 - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to sclly: i would deff get some ski pants . as a begginer i would expect to be on my @rse quite a bit .
canadian tim - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to sclly:
Please buy or hire some ski pants etc. Your experience will be better than wearing walking trousers. Trust me.
Have fun, it's an incredible place.
dunc56 - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Lew13:
> (In reply to tri-nitro-toulumne)
> I'd say the opposite... Get plenty of lessons and time on a dry slope. If you can ride Dendex you'll find snow a doddle.

DO NOT go anywhere near a dry ski slope ! Oh hang on - one that has dendix. If you fall you can damage your fingers. Yes, I fell and put my hand down and tore my finger back.

Try and find people your size who already have ski gear and borrow theirs - that can even include boots.
JIB - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to dunc56: Agree with you about Dendix and the other dry slope materials (digits being trapped in the 'diamonds', (very) hard landings, rips in clothing from loose wires/edges [Dendix] and friction burns to skin [all of them]).

Good idea about borrowing clothing from experienced friends - alternative is to join the queues outside Aldi when they have their ski gear in (a lot of the gear is functional and inexpensive - their ski gloves, ski socks, hardshell and softshell ski trousers/salopettes and jackets have all worn well in my experience) - but I'd disagree about the boots. Well-fitting ski boots make or break a ski trip: a good ski hire shop with an experienced boot fitter is essential.
matthew - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to JIB: That said, if you are lucky enough to find or borrow a pair that suit you before you go, I would definitely consider taking them. It might save you precious holiday time and if they are second-hand they could soon pay for themselves.
LJC - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to sclly: How are you getting there? The best place to shop is the big Carrefour on the road in, near Sallanche, if you are driving.
David Rose - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to sclly: I learnt to ski with my daughters in Chamonix. We went there about five years in a row because I had done a lot of Alpine climbing and I knew the place well. People say it's not good for beginners, but actually it's fine. Obviously it's incredibly scenic. Le Tour has some of the best blue runs anywhere, and some terrific reds. When you get a little more confident, Brevent - Flegere are good too. From there you progress to Grands Montets and some of the most fantastic terrain anywhere in the world, from long, challenging red and black pistes to almost unlimited off piste.

I would not recommend ski school group lessons. If there are several of you who need tuition of the same standard, club together and get a private teacher for half a day, every day, preferably mornings. The ESF in Argentiere is for some reason a bit cheaper than the one in Cham. I have very fond memories of the lessons we had through them with Jean Marie-Buet and Patricja Rafaelli. If you can get to being able to snowplough on an indoor slope before you go, so much the better.

My girls and I are good skiers nowadays. But there is always plenty more to do in Cham.
Lew13 - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to dunc56:

I too have also had an injury on dendex...but fairly sure I could have done the same if I was on snow. If you can get the skills on a dry slope, snow is significantly easier.
Morgan Woods - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to sclly:
My skiers meal special in Cham to save money was either a burger at Poco Loco for 6 or so euros or a big potato, cheese and ham omlette washed down with a decent cote du rhone when cooking for myself. The basics there don't cost too much.
butteredfrog - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to sclly:

Restaurant Le Boccalatte nr. Cham Sud does a very good Steak and Chips for 10E.
charlie.wilkinson - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to sclly:

The SuperU in the town centre and Carreforre on the outskirts are both reasonably priced for food and as others have said there are plenty of cheapish fast food places where you can eat for 10€.

For beers the cheapest bar by far is Munster bar in Cham sud, an Irish bar with very friendly staff and pints starting at 4€ and a 2 for 1 happy hour from 4-7pm.

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