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Snowboarder and Skiier in need of advice please

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi all, me and a friend are looking to go on a snowboarding / skiing holiday in February or March and are in need of advice.
I'm 24, my only real experience of skiing was a school trip when I was 16 in Saas Grund / Saas Fee in Switzerland. Since then I've only ski'd once which was this year at the Snowdome, but I picked it back up again fairly quickly and felt confident.
My friend is confident boarder and went two years ago to Tignes.
Our first questions relate to where and when. When I went on the school trip I remember the snow at Saas grund being quite 'icey', as if it had melted and frozen again, it wasn't the best to ski on. But when we moved up the mountain to Saas Fee it was far more powder like. This was in March and the weather was fantastic, very warm and sunny. We would like to try and achieve that balance again if possible.
Location wise Andorra had been mentioned due to theory of it being good value. We need flights, accommodation, ski/board hire and a lift pass. We are also looking for somewhere with a bit of night life, something to do in the evenings.
Apologies for my vagueness and lack of knowledge
post #2 of 13
Thread Starter 
Current suggestions from other sources include:
Cervinia Italy
Serre Chevalier
Les Arcs
La Plagne
Any other suggestions please?
post #3 of 13

If you're looking for lower prices, avoid February altogether: too many school holidays throughout the continent driving up prices. The first week or two of March are best to avoid overly warm temperatures and large crowds.


Other than that, the best thing to do is just check all the tour companies operating from your nearest airport to see where the best deals are. I'm guessing you're in the UK, so I'd suggest Igluski, Neilson, Crystal, and Inghams. As far as choosing a resort, I'd suggest making sure the town is at 1000+ m altitude and the peak is 2000+ m. You can use the Ski Club of GB site to check each resort to get the facts on altitude and overall size of the mountain.

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

Would we be losing out on good snow in March over April?


I'll check those websites I have started looking into town and peak altitudes, I noticed Saas Fee peak was 3500m!


Thanks Vortex

post #5 of 13

There's a chance of April storms here or there, but generally you're more likely to get the freeze-thaw cycle in April compared to March (unless March is unusually warm and April is unusually cold).


Generally, I prefer early or mid-March because the crowds are small, prices are fairly low, and the snow is often quite good. Low-altitude resorts and those farther south (like Bulgaria) might get a fair bit of melting in March, but the higher resorts should be pretty good still.


Val d'Isere/Tignes would be good if your friend doesn't mind going back. Saas Fee as well if you don't mind going back. One of those tour operators might have a good deal somewhere in the Three Valleys (Courchevel, Meribel, and Val Thorens) or Les Deux Alpes. It really just depends on what the prices are like for the dates you're checking.

post #6 of 13

Oh yeah, be sure to go to the snow dome a few more times before you go away. The more practice you put in here, the more enjoyment you'll get there.

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

So it sounds like the best thing to do is avoid Febuary totally, due to the school holidays and either aim for a last minute trip late this month or go early March, and to a resort with a higher altitude.



Is it recommend to pre book the lift passes and ski hire?
Once again thanks for everyone's advice and patience, it's all greatly appreciated
post #8 of 13

I haven't ever had a problem with lift passes or ski rental on the day. But, if you're going with a tour company that has a good deal on either, then go for it. Some companies get desparate and start offering 2-for-1 lift passes or discounts on skis, so you might get lucky. Otherwise, their price will be the same as you get in the resort.

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice Vortex!


We are aiming to go the last two weeks of January or the first two weeks of March


So far our shortlist of countries / resorts consists of:




Pas de la casa



Serre Chevalier

Les Arcs

La Plagne

Val d'Isere




Val Thorens

Les Deux Alpes







Santa Caterina








Saas Fee




St Anton




Our main factors to consider seem to be:

Price of accommodation/flights/transfer

Price of food and drink within the resort

Altitude of Resort (Minimum peak altitude 2000m)

Transfer time from airport to resort

How well the slopes are suited to our ability


Locality of accommodation to slopes


Tour operators we will be comparing:







If anyone can add to any of the above lists or dismiss any of the suggested resorts I’d appreciate it. It’s all helping us greatly!

post #10 of 13
In France you want to avoid 16th Feb - 16th March as that is the school holiday period. 1st week in February you will be fine. You've picked some grand resorts in France which will be expensive to go out in - and if you have limited skiing experience won't appreciate the variety of runs or the cost of the lift pass. - Les Deux Alpes will probably be good value out of season as they have a lot of capacity. - Avoid Bardonnechia in Italy, it's too low. You'll have more fun in Sauze d'Oulx.
post #11 of 13

Hi George,


My suggestions would be Alpe d'Huez, Les Arcs and Val Thorens. Loads of slopes for all different abilities and there are generally many deals to be had if you can wait until 1 month or even a few weeks before.


As for timing, as the others said, avoid February! Very busy and expensive. Best to go in March as it starts to warm up, still plenty of snow (most years but no guarantee) and there are normally plenty of late season deals out there.


Hope that helps.



post #12 of 13

In Austria, go to St Anton:


Close Airport: Innsbruck. Less than an hour by car to the resort.

High Altitude: Paek 2800m, Base around 1200m

Nightlife: Yes, St Anton is well known for Apres Ski Party... but expensive

Price of accomodation: Don't stay in St. Anton, but in one of the little towns around. You save a lot of money and there are free bus shuttles to the resort.

Price of food: Soup 5EUR, Beer (0,5liter): 4,80EUR, Coffee: 3EUR, Kaiserschmarrn 8EUR

Suited to your ability: It's not good for abolute beginners. But if you are already advanced, its good!


I hope I could help. Let me know if you need more information.





post #13 of 13



Here's a blog I wrote about late season skiing and the best places to go in Europe during April - May. It is a really good time to go price wise, and, if you can still catch some good snow, then there's no real difference except smaller queues and a quieter scene.


Anyway, here's the blog post already: http://www.mountago.com/blog/best-late-season-skiing

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