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Are the rumors true about Europe? - Page 2

post #31 of 58

I was initially in shock when I first moved to Switzerland from the states!  It's true that in all the resorts I've skied at in Switzerland, people do not form a line and wait in order like they do in the US.  Instead, like what others have said already, people shuffle their way through (no pushing though most of the time) and you will eventually be in the front of the line and get on the chair lift.  To be honest, it isn't that bad - despite my occasion complaints about how orderly people are in the US resorts wink.gif

 

What's worst is that if you arrive at a resort in Switzerland by train!  This is the more scary part in my opinion...  Imagine hundreds of skiers all arriving from the same train and trying to get their lift pass!  Depending on the setup of the particular resort you're at, this can sometimes be very very messy.

 

Anyhow, once you get used to it and learn your way, it's not bad - there are tricks and tips as to how to get to the front faster...  For chair lift, usually the outside of the line move faster than the middle of the line, for example cool.gif

 

Enjoy skiing in Europe, it's fun, though I do miss the soft snow in America West

post #32 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post


Don't get me started.

 



On the other hand, the desire to stick to groups means I often get a chair all to myself (or maybe it's due to my lack of hygene and general demeanor).

 

post #33 of 58

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

Can we sum it up and say it's always like a powder day in Europe?

What happens when there's real powder?

Is it like Ambien or crack?



A lot of Europeans aren't that fussed about powder. Though there are plenty who enjoy skiing off piste, most prefer carving around on the groomers. In fact, some don't even bother hitting the slopes when it's snowing heavily, partly because of the bad visibility and partly because they don't like the variable conditions.

 

For example, a couple of winters ago, the morning after a nice dump of snow I found a corner of the resort that the groomers hadn't touched. There was a black and a long red that were knee-high powder all the way down, so I skied that area all morning. I saw a couple of guys enjoying the powder like me, but most were huffing and puffing, struggling down the hill and obviously not having much fun.

 

The next day, the groomers hit that section hard, to the point where you could see small rocks that had been pulled up from underneath the little snow they left on the piste. The couple of times I used those trails to get back to the lifts, the people I saw were scraping around with smiles on their faces and talking about what a great day it was.

 

Like SkiPrincess mentioned, there are a lot of times I miss the soft snow of the Rockies and the way groomers will leave it untouched as long as it's in decent condition.

post #34 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by CerebralVortex View Post
In fact, some don't even bother hitting the slopes when it's snowing heavily, partly because of the bad visibility and partly because they don't like the variable conditions.

 

Very true - but it makes it so nice for us to ski the half empty mountain with fresh powder on a snowing day biggrin.gif

 

I sometimes actually prefer this over an absolute sunny day  

post #35 of 58

Like most rumors, there's some truth to it.

 

In my time skiing in Europe, a couple times I've seen huge mobs with sharp elbows and people trying to cut in from the side. But usually it really isn't that bad. A little annying, I have to admit, but not bad. You just have to be somewhat assertive and get your tips in ahead of people trying to get past you.

 

But what really gets me is when I spend time in a rather disorganised mob and look up to see every chair going up at less than capacity. There is rarely something like a "singles line", and in my experience people are reluctant to get on a chair with strangers. I've actually had people get angry with me for filling out their not-full chair.

 

But really, 90% of the time it's not an issue. At least at the places I've been.

post #36 of 58

I experienced the mobs in France, but mostly on gondolas and trams where people can get closer. It wasn't much different than loading onto a metro at any major European city actually.

 

There are some tactics that I used to keep moving forward. First, always stay to the outside edge of the crowd. If you get into the middle you will get pushed back from the outside of the "funnel". Second, be ready to move with the crowd. Third, don't get all bent out of shape if someone moves in front of you. It's not a queue. It is their culture so just go with it and enjoy your vacation.

 

I actually liked the gondola rides much less than the mob scene outside. The smoke filling the cabin can make you gag. Try to get beside a window if possible. Once you get up the mountain stick with riding chairs if possible.

post #37 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattL View Post

The smoke filling the cabin can make you gag. Try to get beside a window if possible. 



I'm guessing France here devil.gif

post #38 of 58

Italy is totally non-smoking in any enclosed public place, one of the first countries in the EU do pull this off, which gets a thumbs up from me. But some Italians smoke on open lifts and even toss butts onto the snow. I got into a fight over this once: you're not dropping butts on MY f'ing mountain.

post #39 of 58

I get the impression that France and others have followed suit, because I can't recall seeing anyone smoking on a tram anywhere I've been in the last four or five winters.

post #40 of 58

I think Switzerland was the last holdout among Alpine countries. 

post #41 of 58

Quote:

Originally Posted by prickly View Post

Italy is totally non-smoking in any enclosed public place, one of the first countries in the EU do pull this off, which gets a thumbs up from me. But some Italians smoke on open lifts and even toss butts onto the snow. I got into a fight over this once: you're not dropping butts on MY f'ing mountain.

 

Maybe it was hand rolled with no filter? Thus biodegradable? Not nearly as bad as beer cans.

 

You should move to New York. It is now "against the law" to smoke in a park. Supposedly they will not enforce it. (Arrest rate in nyc for pot is roughly 100/day though!) If you're unfortunate to live near a bar, the sidewalk will be littered with loud smokers.

 

I'm not against smoking on an open chairlift. I used to love it.

 

Pot arrests in nyc for 2010, 50,383!:  http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/11/marijuana-arrests-increase-in-new-york-city/

 

post #42 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

Can we sum it up and say it's always like a powder day in Europe?

What happens when there's real powder?

Is it like Ambien or crack?


Well Tog, I don't have a clip of it, I hope the post I put in here is vivid enough:
http://www.epicski.com/t/79840/tr-madesimo-sat-sun-24-25-01#post_1052327

To be fair, that particular herd was not composed of italians only, many a face were nordic looking and some were germans.
So, again, in Italy it's not completely the Italians that are at fault, but many non locals adding to the confusion and mayhem of a
"queue" in front of a lift are in fact not living here.

And btw anyone living in a large city, like NY will not live through anything different than when attempting to board the underground at rush hour.
So, Metaphor_...don't worry too much, be zen, be cool, relax and enjoy the ride.
When in Rome...
post #43 of 58

I didn't notice much pushing while in Austria with the exception fo the ski resort bus system. Then it's game on. Sharpen your elbows and get those skis set up to push. You will have to deal with more crowds on a blue bird day, regardless if it is powder day or not. If you are worried about lift line etic in Europe, my advice to you would be to not go. Ski Deer Valley or Beaver Creek instead.

post #44 of 58

Absolutely hilarious, or terrifying depending on where one is...

Like Black Friday at Walmart...

Where's Gaper Boy in all this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nobody View Post

It's now Sunday morning, temp are slightly colder, but the sky is clear.

It hasn't snowed during the night, but a strong wind has blown the evening before and so

the previous day tracks have now disappeared...

We've had a repeat of the previous day, warm-up, wait for the tram to open, ski the Val di Lei runs and open off-piste slopes (we went in a different area thanthe previous day, so to find something that we can call powder again...

I must now backtrack a few minutes my story to the hour the tram opened.

 

You wouldn't believe what I witnessed...I dare call it

 

The 150 mooing bisons' stampede

 

At 10.30 the tram access gate (a 3x3 meters sliding wooden gate) had not been opened yet.

A crowd of some 150 noisy people had gathered by then (amongst those there were the two of us as well)

Suddenly, at 11.45 the gate slide slightly, just to open a small 50 cm gap...

Out came the head of a lifty whom, raising the hand with his indexfinger pointing upwards

murmured to those near the gate "don't push and shove"

 

At his appearence, the noise level produced by the crowd increased tenfold, and as soon as the gate was sufficiently opened, everyone in the front rows started to run (and I mean run, what with skis in hand and boots on) climbing the steps to the boarding area of the tram station.

Midway of the steps another lifty (a colleague of the one who said not to push) was stationing. As soon as he realized he would have been overrun by the charging crowd made an abrupt about face and started to run up the steps as well. He was running for his life! With the crowd behind him in hot pursue (and running faster than him)!

The comical expression he made before turning is still in my memory. BTW his colleague "saved" himself by moving beside the stampede direction...You wouldn't believe but people was jumping across the metal railing dividing the entrance path from the exit path

to get to the tram first!

 

I still regret not having foreseen what would have come and not taken my camcorder out and ready.

Tho those of you thinking "aww the usual Italian mess" I will say this : not everyone in the crowd was Italian, there were some Swiss, some German, possibly some English speaking ppl (but not Prickly, he's a gentleman). And the two of us, who, being caught in the middle of it all couldn't do anything else but run with all the others, those behind us were pushing so hard that, had we fallen...

My friend was shouldered very hard by a guy who was attempting to gain some "positions"...I had my vengeance (for my friend) once we arrived to the boarding platform.

I waited till things quieted down then approached him and shouldered him as hard as I could, and at the same time saying "So sorry, mate, I slipped"...

Anyway, the thought of the stampede made me laugh for the whole day, and even till mid week...That's what people lusting and drooling for powder can become if deprived long enough...

 


Edited by Nobody - Sun, 01 Feb 09 15:11:29 GMT



 

post #45 of 58

France has a bad reputation for queuing, but it's generally determined by two things: big resorts and Parisian holidays. French schools stagger their holidays and half-term breaks, split across 4 zones. Generally nobody wants to go on holiday at the same time as the Parisians :) February half-term is generally the worst period. The other place I've seen bad queues is big resorts in peak season - in particular the 3 valleys. It may be a massive ski area (600km with over 200 lifts), but there are occasional major bottlenecks that can lead to long, irate queues, especially on critical lifts that you have to get so as not to be stranded at the end of the day. They have some serious lift capacity - there is a 17-man gondola and a phenomenal dual-loading high-speed 8-man chair in Val Thorens - but they need them for the volume of people they get.

 

I get kind of spoiled where I am (in France) - outside school holidays I'm often alone on the slopes in the mornings, even on powder days. I sometimes wonder how they make enough money!

 

Smoking isn't allowed inside buildings, but it's common for people to smoke on chairlifts. Part of the summer clean-up here includes picking up all the cigarette ends from under the lifts. Not a nice job.

post #46 of 58

This reminds me of a couple of entertaining incidents when I spent a bunch of time in France. One was when my mild-mannered and polite father came to visit. I've never seen him get really upset, let alone close to anything like fisticuffs. Some German was pushing in line and trying to not pay attention to the people harumphing over his impolite behavior. My father casually stuck his pole in the snow between the guy's skis so he couldn't shuffle past. This didn't deter the guy. After nearly bending my dad's pole in half, the guy tried to pluck it from the snow and move it. Dad went off on the guy in German, then in English. It didn't really stop the guy. Finally another person nearby in line teamed up with my father than they halted his progress.

 

Another happened one day when I was guiding a bunch of English tourists around. Some Frenchman with a stinking Gauloise in his mouth tried to cut in front of us before we got to the corral. I politely asked him in French to get in line behind us like everyone else. He ignored me. I tried again in French, only slightly less politely. Nothing. So I switched to English and used every swear word I could come up with and told him to get is F'ing Frog ass to the back of the line where he belonged. Surprisingly enough, this worked. I realized a few minutes later that I was prominently wearing a jacket with a huge logo from the Travel/Holiday company I was working for emblazoned on my back. I felt a little embarrassed. At the top of the lift as we were getting off, an older British woman told me very politely that she thought I'd handled that situation just perfectly and thanks for getting that vile man to queue properly. I laughed.

 

 

post #47 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinecure View Post

 

Another happened one day when I was guiding a bunch of English tourists around. Some Frenchman with a stinking Gauloise in his mouth tried to cut in front of us before we got to the corral. I politely asked him in French to get in line behind us like everyone else. He ignored me. I tried again in French, only slightly less politely. Nothing. So I switched to English and used every swear word I could come up with and told him to get is F'ing Frog ass to the back of the line where he belonged. Surprisingly enough, this worked. I realized a few minutes later that I was prominently wearing a jacket with a huge logo from the Travel/Holiday company I was working for emblazoned on my back. I felt a little embarrassed.

 

At the top of the lift as we were getting off, an older British woman told me very politely that she thought I'd handled that situation just perfectly and thanks for getting that vile man to queue properly. I laughed.

 


Hilarious.

So, are snowboarders more polite than skiers in Europe?

btw, I wouldn't let any of this deter one from going there, there simply is nothing like the Alps. It's just funny.
 

 

post #48 of 58

Don't know much about the freaking chaos you're talking about... !

yes it really is terrifying...but i know a few interesting facts about Europe....Europe is the second smallest continent with roughly 4 million square miles.

2. Europe is designated as a continent for political reasons. There is no geographic basis for the claim.

3. Europe is home to more than 700 million people, but birth rates are stagnant.

4. Most scholars believe Europe was named after Europa, a Phoenician Princess in Greek mythology.

5. The smallest country in Europe is the Vatican, which is considered a separate country from Italy even though it is in the middle of Rome.

6. The largest city in Europe is Paris with a population of just under 10 million people.

7. La Sapienza University in Rome is the largest university in Europe with a whopping 184,000 students.

8. Europe produces just over 18 percent of all the oil in the world.

9. The European Union has 25 country members.

10. 80 to 90 percent of Europe was once covered in forest, but this has been reduced to 3 percent in Western Europe.

 



 
post #49 of 58

Hey Nobody, thanks for the description of the Made tram scrum, I've been in a couple of those, broke my goggles once. If they would just keep the doors open all the time, even if the tram's not running, this would't keep happening. Someone's gonna get hurt.

post #50 of 58
You're welcome, Mr.P!
BTW I went and celebrated my birthday skiing on the Presena "glacier" (nothing much left of a glacier...but still).

I don't particularly enjoy glacier (summer) skiing, nut given ti's now november...I gave in to the "need" and went.
Natural, soft, freshly made by heavens, snow...
Only to find myself battling the "queue" to the lift, with kids of all ages belonging to ski teams coming from at least half of the Alps (italina alps) there to train.
I spent half of the time "screaming" at them in all languages (remember, to Italians, the most intimidating language is German, use that, and you'll obtain immediate attention)
and literally ordering them to stay in the queue. I only once approached the lifties and told them to "do something or for sure before the end of the day a fight would have erupted, their response, a shrug.
Not very effective. spent a lot of time and energy for naught. A sad reminder that Italy has to be rebuilt from bottom-up, top to bottom. left to right and right to left, inside-out and outside-in.

But this only reminds me. all of you, beware of kids wearing jackets with "Sci-club", "Ski-Club", "Agonistica", "Circolo Sciatori". "Racing Team"
The youngest are the worst. And their parents aren't better.
Had one trying to pass underneath (between) my legs. Another one sneaked under my arm (between pole and body).

I won't go up again until the snow will have fallen around, so to allow people to spread around...
post #51 of 58

If you want to see a real queue go to a Swedish deli counter.  They are the ones who invented the little red take-a-number job.  It can be hard to get good herring...

post #52 of 58

Its a long time since I skied in the USA or Canada and certainly remember it being very organised with no pushing and shoving. Definitely remember a lot of jostling in France years ago but no we live in Courchevel in France and while sometimes in kids holidays it can get a little pushy, there are lines for single skiers etc and generally not much shoving. 

post #53 of 58

Amusing thread and fascinating to read people's experiences.

 

It isn't so bad once you get used to it to be honest, just go with the flow. The French can be quite 'pushy' but outside of big holiday periods it's not too bad, I've always found Austria pretty good - was once with a guide in St Anton and commented to him about how polite people were in queues for lifts and he commented "ah, but we don't queue as well as the British" to which I replied "well you're a damned site better than the French", he replied with "or the Italians", I said "sure" and then he retorted "but the difference between the Italians and the French is the Italians push with a certain style, the French just push" - we both laughed!

 

Seriously though guys if you want to see lift queues almost as disciplined as in the US/Canada ski in Scotland, Cairngorm isn't as good these days as it used to be (too many English who have got used to French queuing) but elsewhere, Glencoe comes to mind, you'll get the whole line shouting at you if you even step out of line as you wait for the lift ... that and half the lifties looking like extras from Braveheart keeps everyone in line wink.gif

post #54 of 58

Hey, you know the preferred method of taking pharmaceuticals in France is the suppository?

 

Jawdrop

post #55 of 58

Queues aren't a problem with the Ski Amade in Austria - just got back from leading a school ski trip. Went to Schladming and Radstadt, and as long as you get on the slopes by 9 you'll be fine. Went with 321ski www.321ski.co.uk and we had a HUGE dump of snow over teh week. Amazing!!!!!!! Had a great time and believe me,I didn;t queue for more than 5 mins anywhere..... J

post #56 of 58

Quote:
Originally Posted by viking kaj View Post

Hey, you know the preferred method of taking pharmaceuticals in France is the suppository?

 

Jawdrop


I can confirm that this is entirely true!

post #57 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

Quote:

It's true, it's just how they do it. If you're getting on something like a gondola, there's the mad rush and scramble and once you're in it's all forgotten as if nothing happened. If  it went down like that in the US, you'd be close to having a fight once you got inside the gondola.

So if you approach the line situation with the same expectations as lines in North America, you will constantly be  frustrated, annoyed and at war. You just have to accept it and approach it like a sport. If you have a group and want to stay together on a gondola, you have to strategize and do things like throw blocks to ensure your whole group gets on.

 

Any open space, and that means like 2 inches, is an opening to put skis through. If you're squemish about your top sheets, you'll really have to defend your space, but you're probably better off renting skis or you'll spend a lot of time moaning about them and won't enjoy the actual skiing part.

 

So the question that would make a difference would be "What are the rules for getting on European ski lifts?" I hesitate to call them "lines".

 


Tog, I am European ( Swedish) and have been skiing the Alps most of my life, and as you say it is Cultural behavior, in France, if you are somebody you NEVER ( want to ) stand in line, so people try to "Be somebody" ...and the same goes with Italians IMO, also you NA guys have your "Personal Space Thing" and that is a non-existing thing here in most countries in Europe, we do not really get mad if people bump into each other e.g. like in a bar or a lift....you just have to relax and enjoy the ride...the hills are worth it though...IF you like massive groomed (perfect carving) slopes. to find good off-piste is harder especially with the lack of snow we are seeing these days.

 

post #58 of 58

Single lines are quickest, even for a couple. That way you'll speed straight on. In my experinece though it's the very small (local) kids that are super fast and and excited and slalom their way to the front. And that is why as a teacher I made sure our pupils on our school skiing trip  did NOT do that!! (they weren't good enough too though...).

 

You'll be okay - use your pole strategically if absolutely necessary.... duel.gif

 

Christian

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