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Opinions sought on Zermaat-Cervinia : How does it compare - Page 2

post #31 of 50
Thread Starter 

Tog, you are right, and to support Heidi's contention further (Though she does the whole apartment thing which I am excluding since it is not practical for most people, that is why we have hotels in the first place, and not everyone is looking to "cook" etc. so am comparing apples to apples as best as I can, Heidi, hope that is ok)by the time I was looking for a booking, Utah airfares were 650+/pp, with taxes etc 700+ on Delta and that was tough to get for the Friday the week before Easter weekend, i.e. March 22, from NYC non-stops ( with my boy, and otherwise, I am not into making stops unless they are unscheduled), or to Vancouver via Cathay Pacific non-stop from NYC, was 657/pp with taxes etc about 730, plus travel to WB unless you wait all night at Vancouver Airport is 350 per way in a car/van service (so assuming one family, that is 700 RT), then ski rentals in WB  is about 250 to 300 CAD for 6 days for an adult about 60% of that for a kid, prices are very similar in Alta or Snowbasin, and Deer Valley (where the nice thing is they bring skis to you. Travel to Alta and DV via hotel van services is 90/each way minimum, so say $180.

Now lift tickets (All advance purchase online for 6 DAYS) : I am making educated guesstimates on taxes

  1. in WB 6 days - to compare as and when we traveled with advance purchase is 522 online plus CAD Tax =12%, so total is about CAD 584; children CAD 347 (4-12yrs)
  2. Deer Valley: lift tickets 558 + 5.95% or something like that sales tax = USD 591, kids (4-12yrs)=331 USD
  3. Alta ONLY lift tickets 425+5.95% tax= 450, child is 222 USD(4-12 years)
  4. Zermatt-Cervinia : Adult for both areas 423 CHF (and you can get it included in your hotel, it is a great deal then believe me, compare it to half-board at Alta Lodge which is one of nicest coziest places I have ever been to, and it does not come close to the amenities as in 3* switzerland other than it is TRUE ski-in and ski-out, huge Plus of course, we love that) and child 4-10 years FREE. 

 

Again, cost in Zermatt to be factored is cabs to slopes and back if you do not want to take the bus, that is 12 CHF per way, but that is a personal choice but nice when one has kids who are tired and cranky once the endorphin rush gives way to tired young legs.

 

So all in all, skiing is definitely comparable in cost and access in Switzerland, and Austria is cheaper. Travel costs are the big enchilada. Note train from Zurich to Zermatt - Adult 1st class was 261 CHF R/T if bought in the USA, and child travels FREE with adult.

 

Just some more data points, I found quite interesting. I would like to add, from NYC-SLC is 4.2/3 hrs hrs flight, while NYC-YVR(Vancouver), is 4.5 hrs (it is true, it is faster on a Cathay Jumbo), and NYC-Zurich is almost 8 hours, and then about 4 hours to Zermatt, train station at the airport.

 

All data points for interested parties, this is casual empiricism, not scientific, just providing information to fellow travelers with families, who are not looking for CHEAPEST option, which is usually available to the single shredder or the young athletes.

 

And by the way food is the same if you eat a reasonable lunch anywhere, and food in Austria I think was the best, then Snowbasin lodges hands down (and those lodges remain a global top of the line!). Switzerland is eclectic alpine character restaurants, but it aint cheap but not crazy. But they do charge 5 CHF for WATER!!! no free fountains on the mountain, shocked me and a few other Brits and Americans we met!

post #32 of 50

Not offended at all.  If I were flying from the states to Europe to ski, I doubt I would do self catering...

 

But again, we aren't comparing apples to apples, and to be fair, I'm pretty good at sniffing out a bargain if there is one to be found.

 

But last Feb, during school holidays, in France, we paid 800 EUR for the week for a converted farmhouse, on the piste, 50 yards above a quad high speed chair.  It was 1000 square feet or so, and everything was fitted as the building is originally from 1802, so every fitting was custom made.  A big 'ole fireplace, beds for 10 people, unlimited firewood, a big lovely kitchen with a big table where we could all sit at... great weather and spent the first 5 days eating lunch outside, extended lunch I might add, watching our maniac kids whizz by with each lap.

 

Some piccies below, but we stayed there with 6 people... It was just brilliant!  And lodging cost was 120 EUR per week per person... Also plenty of tree's around there to ski.. next to the house there was a snack bar.  They brought fresh bread every day and the snack bar had some tasty items, but they were closed for dinner.  And I don't really cook during the holiday.  I heat things up... the cooking I do at home before I go.

 

 

 

 

Well, off point a bit, but even in half board hotels, you can get some really nice places, in great locations with great food, for $500 per week per person for half board, during school holidays, less outside school holidays.

 

And that's the pre that north americans have.  I get fined 150 EUR per day per child for taking my kid out of school, unless they are ill, or I have written permission, which they would never give for a holiday.  I had to make a big stink to get permission to take them out of school for a week when my grandmother died...they said she wasn't a 1st degree relative, so they wouldn't give permission.

 

But YOU ALL with kids stateside, you can go skiing outside European school holidays without consequence... lucky.

post #33 of 50
Thread Starter 

Does the owner of that "farmhouse" need a new significant other - I know someone who is very available!

Fantastic spot, what a find.

And you are right, I am sure there are many places in Europe which one can do 1/2 baord for 500EUR/week pp, but not the ones I looked at in Zermatt (and these were 3*) or in the past in Oberlech of Lech-Zurs, and the best food I have ever eaten was at the Hotel Montana in Oberlech.

 

Thank you. Next time you go to that farmhouse with the clan, drop us a line, maybe we can afford the flight or get one, the rest I will rustle.Lovely pictures and great insight, and that skier on the roof, is on the roof of your abode, yes?

post #34 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by dustyfog View Post

Does the owner of that "farmhouse" need a new significant other - I know someone who is very available!

Fantastic spot, what a find.

And you are right, I am sure there are many places in Europe which one can do 1/2 baord for 500EUR/week pp, but not the ones I looked at in Zermatt (and these were 3*) or in the past in Oberlech of Lech-Zurs, and the best food I have ever eaten was at the Hotel Montana in Oberlech.

 

Thank you. Next time you go to that farmhouse with the clan, drop us a line, maybe we can afford the flight or get one, the rest I will rustle.Lovely pictures and great insight, and that skier on the roof, is on the roof of your abode, yes?

 

No, that is my daughter and another house near by.  Megeve is fun like that, because it were all dairy farms, and in the last 50 years, the dairy farmers found that there was a ski resort building around them... so you have all these funky buildings dotted around...really like skiing through history, as it were.  Megeve is about an hour transfer from Geneva too.

 

And next time I go, I will drop you a line.  The more the merrier smile.gif.

 

But I've got another great tip.  I nearly went at Easter, but the logistics didn't quite work out, and finally I didn't ski at all at Easter as gallstones came between me and 3000 meters of vertical fun...#not,fun#.

 

But check out this place in Laax:

http://www.nagens.ch/home-en.htm

 

Less than 900 euro for the week, half board, including ski pass for an adult, and half that for little 'uns..

post #35 of 50
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the gracious invitation, may take you and your family up on it. Nice, Laax looks interesting too, too far though to go all the way from stateside unless with a big group, sinceit's not a "destination" ski area but food for thought. And that lodge is awesome

post #36 of 50

humpf.

 

I thought there was enough skiing at Laax/Flims for a week...
 

post #37 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeidiAmsterdam View Post

Not offended at all.  If I were flying from the states to Europe to ski, I doubt I would do self catering...

 

But again, we aren't comparing apples to apples, and to be fair, I'm pretty good at sniffing out a bargain if there is one to be found.

 

But last Feb, during school holidays, in France, we paid 800 EUR for the week for a converted farmhouse, on the piste, 50 yards above a quad high speed chair.  It was 1000 square feet or so, and everything was fitted as the building is originally from 1802, so every fitting was custom made.  A big 'ole fireplace, beds for 10 people, unlimited firewood, a big lovely kitchen with a big table where we could all sit at... great weather and spent the first 5 days eating lunch outside, extended lunch I might add, watching our maniac kids whizz by with each lap.

 

Some piccies below, but we stayed there with 6 people... It was just brilliant!  And lodging cost was 120 EUR per week per person... Also plenty of tree's around there to ski.. next to the house there was a snack bar.  They brought fresh bread every day and the snack bar had some tasty items, but they were closed for dinner.  And I don't really cook during the holiday.  I heat things up... the cooking I do at home before I go.

 

 

 

Well, off point a bit, but even in half board hotels, you can get some really nice places, in great locations with great food, for $500 per week per person for half board, during school holidays, less outside school holidays.

 

And that's the pre that north americans have.  I get fined 150 EUR per day per child for taking my kid out of school, unless they are ill, or I have written permission, which they would never give for a holiday.  I had to make a big stink to get permission to take them out of school for a week when my grandmother died...they said she wasn't a 1st degree relative, so they wouldn't give permission.

 

But YOU ALL with kids stateside, you can go skiing outside European school holidays without consequence... lucky.

Wow, you get fined for taking your kids out?? Here you just get scorn, unless they're on teams or in special programs etc. Even vacations, esp March, coaches want kids in practice sometimes with a threat they won't make the team.

 

Those prices are fantastic. Personally, I'd rather a half board or a house share.

post #38 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

Wow, you get fined for taking your kids out?? Here you just get scorn, unless they're on teams or in special programs etc. Even vacations, esp March, coaches want kids in practice sometimes with a threat they won't make the team.

 

Those prices are fantastic. Personally, I'd rather a half board or a house share.


Yep.  Germany is the same.  Norwegians don't care, don't know about the rest.

 

2 years ago we were skiing, 10 bluebird days in a row after it had snowed non stop for 2 week straight.  Best ski conditions ever.  The kids should go back to school on the Monday, but on the Tuesday, all the teachers were striking.  Now, my husband could only get the last few days free because of a work dead line, and we thought we'd be a bit cheeky and skip school on Monday, and pick up the Tuesday for free, as it were.  When the owner of the apartment said we could stay the extra nights for free, we really had no other choice, did we?

 

Anyway, got home and got slammed with a 300 euro fine (2 kids).  I fought it, told some story, and finally got out of it, but I am now on 'probation' if I do it again, then I pay the fine, plus the one  they forgave... fascists!  Yep, it's big trouble here...

post #39 of 50

What I've noticed in Europe is that the snow in March starts to move up the mountain. Once at Verbier in mid April I was skiing deep powder up above 2500m and you could see green grass and the spring flowers in full bloom in the lower valleys around 700-800m. I have never seen 2 distinct seasons at the same time anywhere in North America. Skiing is spectacular in both western North America and Europe but there is something in Europe that makes the experience bigger than just skiing. In Europe people have lived in the mountains for thousands of years so there is significant mountain culture at or near many "resorts". In North America the ski station are dug into near wilderness or there is a tourist only infrastructure. Both are a pleasure. Both have their charms if not fallen victim to condo mania or being too purpose-built. Europe simply has the vastly superior flavour and charm.

post #40 of 50

Well, the cost of flight had gone up across the board. Yes, it's over $500 to go west but it's also closer to $800 to go to Europe this winter. I used to pay more like $400 to Zurich! That's like doubling in cost, going west price has "only" gone up about 50% rather than 100%.

 

Also, the US dollar had lost a of of ground against Swiss Franc. 5 years ago, I did St Moritz for 999 Swiss Franc, which worked out to be under $900 US dollar and that includes single room in a rather posh hotel with pools and hot tub, half board of excellent food AND area-wide lift ticket for a week!!! Well, now that same 999 Swiss Franc would be worth 1200 US dollar! Still not too bad by itself, but couple with the more expensive flight, you're talking easily over $2000 for a week. 

 

Now it's less of a "bargain" going to Europe. Until the US dollar recovers, that is. (though the euro didn't have as much of a run-up as the franc)

post #41 of 50

Yeah, I remember the days when I would get winter flights for under $500..but that was quite some time ago...

 

I guess it depends where you stay when you go out west, but if you are on the slopes in out west, isn't that pricey?  Just saying, as I have that time share at Cliff Club, and during President's Day week, I get close to $5000,- for that week, and between $2,500 and $3,500 for other Jan-Feb-March weeks.  I get a different week every year... then a $100 a day for a Snowbird lift pass...sheez-louise, that's getting pretty pricey!

 

Or tell me how to do the West cheaper, would love to go back home and relive all those happy memories, as much as I love and enjoy the Alps, there's no place like home.

post #42 of 50

My home location in eastern Canada is equa distant between Banff and Zermatt. To fly to Heathrow is a 4 and 1/2 hour flight and costs between $900-$1200 return. To fly to Las Vegas is a 2 leg affair and runs about 9 hours of flying time. Cost? $650-$700. Renting a real nice vehicle in LV is about $200/week. A bookend hotel room at a Best Western in LV is $51/night. A ski in ski out 1 bedroom condo in southern Utah at 9600' above sea level is about $500 for 5 nights Sunday through Thursday. The lift ticket at Brian Head is $50/day but in Las Vegas there is a gas station chain that gives you 50% off coupons so 2 can ski or board for $50 a day over 5 days mid week. Best of all in the two weeks I have skied there during mid week I never shared the lifts with anyone else. Zero lift lines mid week as all the skiers come from Las Vegas on weekends. I block off 8 days and ski 5 days usually finishing each ski day by 2 pm and to my experience the sun is always blazing there. Micro beer never tasted better than in that sunshine. Some will think this is small potatoes place with a high altitude vertical around 1350' (Alta is 2000') but over the course of a day you are racking up a lot of vertical runs. The place is well groomed intermediate cruisers with powder pockets and there is almost no avalanche threat. There are some chutes and gullies but the mountain range is a mesa not cirque bowls like a lot of alpine terrain. You are truly in red rock country. Many would think if you are going to all the trouble to go that far why the heck go there? Well it is like having your own private ski resort with great accommodations and some decent on hill food for not to outrageous prices. On the drive up there from LV you pass Joshua trees and Palm trees so you are not going to run into any snow until the last 20 minutes of the 3 hour drive north of Vegas. Upon departure from LV the temperature in Las Vegas was 22c and an hour and a half later I was in St. George and it was (for me) a balmy 18c. When I got up to Brian Head it was -7c! It works out cheaper and warmer than if I went to go skiing in Quebec and a heck of a lot warmer,sunnier and the best part with drier snow.

post #43 of 50

One more thing about my favourite alternate ski universe to Zermatt. This is a Trip Advisor comment which probably sums up my great enthusiasm for all things Brian Head.

 

"Very quiet, relaxing this is a place to visit to take it easy. If you want to challenge yourself try a different resort but if you want to unwind give them a try."

 

The place is probably good for 3 days and then the temptation to head up the I-15 to take in Snowbird or Alta is ever present. The thing is if one commits to 5 days at BH then the vibe is too good to leave especially when the sunshine is recharging your batteries.

 

post #44 of 50
Forgot about this thread. Glad you had a great time with your son dustyfog. I think everyone from the USA should hit Europe at least once if not twice in their lifetime. It is nice to experience different cultures and ski vibes.
post #45 of 50

I just thought I'd mention that I'm a thrifty, older American and I went to Zermaat five or six years ago by myself and stayed in the Bahnhof Hotel near the train station in a big dorm-type room that was  quite  inexpensive.  in the basement they had a locker room for ski equipment and a big, friendly double kitchen where you could prepare and share locally bought food ,  make friends, and  come up with ski buddies for the next day's outing. They  also have  4- person rooms.  Very nice staff.

 

I also went to Vaysonaise, St. Moritz, and Davos

post #46 of 50

I've stayed at the Hotel Bahnhof in Zermatt.  It is perfect if you're on a budget and don't mind some shared facilities.  It's the climber's hotel.  They do have one double room with its own bath/shower.  As with all things Swiss, it's very tidy and clean, just a bit light on creature comforts.  My formula for cutting costs in Europe is to stay in a town near the big area.  Hotels are always less expensive so you end up paying less for the same level hotel a few miles down the road.  Study the local maps and you'll easily pick out the surrounding spots.  Most of the areas are so spread out that you end up riding a bus to get around to the lifts, so their isn't much difference convenience-wise between staying in the big name resort (St. Moritz for example) and the nearby town (Sils Maria, Pontresina or Samedan are all in the same valley).  Same skiing, nice hotel or apartment, less cash.  Local bus and train service is included with your ski pass so it's easy to get around. The tourist board's internet sites list every hotel and apartment, direct you to their sites, and make it very easy to pick a good spot to stay.

post #47 of 50
I have been to Cervinia and it has very affordable prices in comparison with Zermatt. I would suggest hotel Cime Bianche as it has a very nice atmosphere surrounded by the snow, good music, good restaurant.
From Cervinia is possible to do the international skipass to cross to Zermatt in any moment.
post #48 of 50


Cervinia-Italy today. I think Zermatt - swiss side is generally better for the pistes. But Cervinia has this fantastic scenaries! And the cost of hotel, restaurants are very affordable.
post #49 of 50

Living on the east coast of the US, I end up skiing in Europe more often than not.  It's a bit longer trip vs. western US or Canada and pricier too, but once there everything (if you do it right) is less expensive.  Self catered apartments (condos to us North Americans) are way less expensive vs. North America.  Shopping for food is easy and you can cut costs by making a few sandwiches to take on the hill.  Cook in or eat out in the evening.  Lots of good restaurant options at every price level.  Pizzeria's are much more than pizza places. 

 

My usually route is to stay in a family run 3* hotel and get  breakfast and dinner included. At certain times of the year, the hotels offer room, meals and lift ticket packages.  I book directly with the hotel via email.  Never had a problem.  The hotel will come and pick you up at the train station or bus stop when you get into town.  No need for rental cars.  Skiing is far more expansive than anything you can find in North America.  Snow is reliable, but you are rolling the dice on snow quality and weather.  If you ski 7 days, odds are you'll get two bluebird days, two very cloudy, foggy days, and three in between days.  Often times the weather will change during the day so ski while the weather is nice and, if it's not so nice, plan on heading out a little later when things improve.   Colorado is still your best bet for blue skies most every day.

 

Lunch on the hill is the true European ski experience.  They are not in a big hurry like us US folks. It has taken me years to break the habit of gobbling down my food so I can get back on the lift. Eat early (11:45) to avoid the crowds or make a reservation to make sure that you're not standing in a crowded restaurant like a looser looking for an empty table.  A bathroom stop/coffee break is a good idea in the morning.  European skiers tend to all try to go up the mountain at the same time (usually when ski school starts, take long coffee breaks before noon, eat long late lunches, and ski very late in the day stopping at bars on the way down the mountain on their final run.  I can't handle the crowds, so I try to get going ahead of the rush, get in a few runs on the more popular pistes before they are skied up and then take a coffee break as the ski schools are spreading out across the mountain. 

 

I use a guide for off piste and touring.  There is so much terrain that you can't hope to find the best places to ski with the best snow conditions.  They are worth every penny because the keep you safe and they find the best snow so you don't end up wasting time or ending up in a spot where your shouldn't be.  I've had good luck booking a guide in advance through the hotel.  Guide's office is a good option too for short notice.

 

Skiing in Europe is a better total ski experience for me and it ends up being a better value when you add up all the variables.  The big areas in Switzerland, France, Austria and Italy offer the most, cost a bit more, but they really deliver.  Some of the "smaller" areas (still huge by North American standards) offer better prices, less crowded slopes, more powder for many days after a storm. It's fun to ferret out some of these hidden gems. Not as much glitz as the name areas but often a more authentic European ski experience. 

 

Piste grooming, snowmaking in high traffic areas, area maps, signage, modern lifts, which used to be sketchy (30 years ago) in Europe are now the equal of and for the most part better than what you find in North America.

post #50 of 50

I just read the great reply by Choucas  and thought I'd put in one little thing about Sweden.   Back in the early 90's I went skiing for the first time with my sons ( then 11 and 7) at Are  for several days in March. Talk about building memories that last a lifetime!  I like Sweden and speak some Swedish,  but of course all of them speak English.

 

The  conditions were  good, but  some cloudy days with low visibility.  There  are some very challenging places there,  but of course we were rank beginners who  only got up to the "low-Blue" level  that was available from the top of the gondola ride.

 

To get there one can take an overnight train from Stockholm and use the  6-person sleeping compartments.

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