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Verbier, Switzerland

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

There is a possibility that I will be sent to Rome in the next couple of months for work. Yes, that would be two trips to Europe in one year after never having been before. If that happens I need to make skiing in Europe happen. My Epic pass includes 3 days at Verbier so of course that is appealing. I really know almost nothing about skiing in Europe although it is a bucket list item and even less about Verbier. 

So, what do you know about Verbier or do you have other ideas for me for good but on the cheaper side for skiing with a base point of Rome?

 
post #2 of 14

Huge number of ski resorts to choose  from that would be closer than Verbier but it will be a 500 mile drive to Verbier and 400 miles to a good Italian resort so you might choose to drive the extra for the free lift pass.

 

I have skied a lot of the major resorts in that general area so if you describe the sort of things you like skiing I can help.

 

But you will be blown away by how BIG some of the areas are. The best example is the 12 ski resorts , 450 lifts and 1220 km of slopes on the Superski Dolomiti pass.

 

As an aging skier with bad knees who can get down anything but like GS turns on modeately steep slopes Arraba is a favourite.

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply!  My typical skiing is in Colorado and I like steep, off-piste and moguls best.  I can handle most anything but don't really like trees much (I realize this is not an issue in Europe).  My biggest challenge is my head getting in the way.  

 

I realize that none of the options are super close to Rome but if my company is going to pay for the bulk of the trip (airfare to Rome, hotel in Rome, etc) I think I need to figure out a way to take advantage of it and my company is supportive of these things, when they sent me to London this summer I tagged on vacation time there as well.

 

 I've looked at train (which, if I have time is what I would prefer so that I can see more of the area) and Easy Jet.  I wouldn't drive for multiple reasons including cost of ski hire and the idea of driving on the opposite side of the road frightens me, especially after the week in London this summer.

 

I know next to nothing about skiing in Europe so Verbier of course jumped out at me because of the pass benefit but it certainly could be that somewhere in the Dolomites will be the better option.  Or somewhere else.  I'm open to suggestions.  I hadn't heard of Arraba and looking at it I am interested.  While I'm certainly one to enjoy a good meal and drink I do not need a huge apres ski scene and would prefer to just explore the town and meet locals.

 

Budget is a concern but I will likely redirect planned new ski money to this trip if it happens.  Some opportunities are worth it. I can deal with cheap hotels as long as it's clean and safe.  I want a bed and bathroom (I would consider a hostel if that's the way to make it happen).  I don't care if it's tiny (my room in London I couldn't even stretch my arms out to my sides completely).  

 

I'll bring my boots and likely just rent (hire) skis and poles (I think these are called sticks in Europe?).  At $100 each way to bring mine plus the risk of damage it doesn't make sense.  

 

So, throw at me anything you've got.  If it doesn't happen this year I suspect that it will happen sooner rather than later since my company has a subsidiary in both Italy and Denmark.

 

I really appreciate the help!

post #4 of 14

Verbier will suit you perfectly given your skier profile. It's huge and skis as crazy as you want it to. I only spent one day there, and it was very late season, but the terrain is massive.

 

It is however not cheap. In fact probably one of the most expensive resorts in the alps. Free lift ticket will help, but bear in mind that lift tickets are considerably cheaper in the Europe than in North America. Besides transport, your major costs will be hotel and food. If you don't stay in Verbier proper you could save quite a bit of money staying in one of the outlying villages, some of which still have gondolas linking into the main list system.

 

The other options are really limitless. I'd start by looking at where is easy to get to from Rome and check out the options near there (ie, get a train map and see where it stops in the mountains).

 

Oh, and we don't drive on the "opposite" side of the road on the Continent.

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ami in berlin View Post

 

 

Oh, and we don't drive on the "opposite" side of the road on the Continent.

 

Thank you for that bit, I didn't know for some reason!  And the rest of the info is great too.  All things I need to look at.  

post #6 of 14

OK based on what you said stay out of the Dolomites. Too cruisy

 

Look at Verbier, Chamonix [ look at the Vallee Blanche for an adventure], Zermatt/Cervinia[they interconnect cheaper to stay in Cervinia.] and Bormio. Lots of steep and challenging stuff.

 

BTW if you think the driving in London is bad just wait to you see how they do it in Rome. It will be a major culture shock for a typical US driver.

 

This is normal traffic on an average day  http://youtu.be/oQeGrxG_4Jk

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TQA View Post

OK based on what you said stay out of the Dolomites. Too cruisy

 

Look at Verbier, Chamonix [ look at the Vallee Blanche for an adventure], Zermatt/Cervinia[they interconnect cheaper to stay in Cervinia.] and Bormio. Lots of steep and challenging stuff.

 

BTW if you think the driving in London is bad just wait to you see how they do it in Rome. It will be a major culture shock for a typical US driver.

 

This is normal traffic on an average day  http://youtu.be/oQeGrxG_4Jk

 

Oh good lord.  That puts my stomach in knots just watching.  Reminds me of when I lived in Chile 20 years ago but I was too young to drive then.  Thankfully my company pays for car service to the hotel and colleagues shuttle us back and forth from the hotel to the office.  I was in London a week before the Olympics and kept thinking it was going to insane with the road closures the next week.  

 

Anyhow, thanks for the additional thoughts. I expect I'll know more about plans in the next couple of weeks.  I think my boss is thinking she'll send me at the same time as one of my colleagues so we can partner launch the use of a couple of programs at that office. When I suggested she send me her response was "Do you have a passport?".  Apparently she had forgotten about the London trip.  Ah, now I'm rambling.  It's what I do when I get excited and my mind is racing a million miles a minute.

post #8 of 14

Don't drive. 

post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by COSkiGirl View Post

Thanks for the reply!  My typical skiing is in Colorado and I like steep, off-piste and moguls best.  I can handle most anything but don't really like trees much (I realize this is not an issue in Europe).  My biggest challenge is my head getting in the way.  

 

Verbier is best for you if you like steep, off-piste and moguls. Mont Fort & Mont Gele for off-piste and don't under-estimate those moguls of Tortin.

 

If you find the hotels in Verbier too pricey, you can consider staying at la Chable, there is a gondola going up from la Chable to Verbier (& down of course).

post #10 of 14

 

I'm going to insert my usual response to all things Europe: go to St. Anton.

 

Get a Swiss Air or Alitalia flight from Rome to Zurich, hop on the train to St. Anton, and you're there. The flights should cost you about $200 round trip unless you're travelling at peak times (Christmas/New Year week, mid-February (due to school holidays throughout Europe), and Easter week), and the train should cost about $100 or so round trip. You can get a room at a B&B for a range of prices depending on how far from town you're willing to stay (single room in the town center starts around €60/night, but it gets cheaper the farther out you go).

 

There are plenty of other resorts, including Verbier, that offer great skiing and a great atmosphere, but St. Anton combines that with ease of travel due to the trains running from Zurich directly to the resort (the train between Zurich and Vienna stops right in St. Anton).

 

If you do decide to go to Verbier, you can get an EasyJet flight from Rome to Geneva, train to Martigny, and bus to Verbier. If you prefer Chamonix, you can fly to Geneva and look online for various companies offering bus transfers to the resort.

 

Regardless of where you decide to go, keep in mind that most resorts are geared towards week-long visits; most hotels/B&Bs prefer Saturday-to-Saturday bookings. Anything shorter might end up being more expensive due to fewer hotel options available in the resort. If you can't do a full week, then it might be cheaper to go to Chamonix or Davos, since both are proper cities with a number of hotels that probably have better deals for <7 night stays.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by prickly View Post

Don't drive. 

 

Exactly.

post #11 of 14

Arlberg area (St. Anton and surrounds) trail map http://cdn2.j2ski.com/piste_maps/o/AT/Arlberg_Piste_Map.jpg.

 

Four Valleys (Verbier) trail map http://cdn2.j2ski.com/piste_maps/o/CH/Four_Valleys_Piste_Map.jpg.

 

Blue is easy, red is intermediate, black is black (all are usually groomed). Any trails marked with dashes are ungroomed ski routes.

 

For a rough (under)estimate of the vertical stats, take the altitude listings on the map and multiply by 3. The real conversion for meters to feet is actually a bit more than 3, but it gives you a decent idea of the size.

 

If you're thinking about jumping off piste, be sure to scope out your entire line to make sure there's an exit route. Europeans have no qualms about building resorts with big cliffs and other dangers right in the middle of it all. For example, that ski lift (Vaifagehr, if you can read the fine print) on the Arlberg map between Stuben and St. Christoph  goes up over a very large cliff. There's a black ski route to the skier's right of the cliff, but no skiable line through the cliff zone, at least none that I've ever been able to scope out. And that cool looking bowl right under the top of the cable car (Galzig) running from St. Anton toward St. Christoph is actually a major avalanche zone (in terms of frequency if not size) with a few exposed rocks/small cliffs thrown in for fun.


Edited by CerebralVortex - 12/3/12 at 4:29am
post #12 of 14

From Rome I'd think a train to Zermatt/Cervinia would be (relatively) easy, but perhaps I'm overestimating the Italian railways.  smile.gif

 

Certainly plenty of other good suggestions here, and the 3 free days at Verbier is nice...

post #13 of 14

See if you can hook up with a local for a trip down the backside of the Mont Fort. Can't stress how much I enjoyed that run, it was by and far the greatest run of my life still to this day. It's about 5000 vertical feet of steep terrain, starting with cliffs and semi-wide coulours and ending in thousands of vertical feet of open bowls. The possible terrain to ski is huge, you are bound to find great snow.

post #14 of 14

I have something pre-arranged for Feb.16 to Feb. 23 at Sestriere ( google Milky Way skiing) in Italy. It's a 3 person accommodation apartment with kitchenette and costs 450 Euro total, split in 3 that's about US $195 pppw. I was supposed to go with  2 other buddies of mine from work but they bailed out on me and blame it on their wives. Typical!  Anyway, ski passes are also quite affordable compared to North America, 230 Euro (about US $300, 6 days pass) for a 400 kms + ski trails area, including some of the trails in nearby France.  I am a happily married 50 year old, unfortunately my family is not sharing the same level of passion for skiing as I do so once a year I get my 'ski dose' from one of these trips. Don't know if this works for you or not, just throwing it out hoping to find someone to ski with during that week. Cheers!

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