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Skiing At Crowded Resorts In Austria And Italy

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I am new here and would like to begin with a rant, a rant that actually originates from some of my buddies with whom i skied in Austria and Italy in recent weeks. 
Well first of all the conditions were not perfect for skiing two weeks ago, the snow in the Otztal valley was fine but not great, same goes for Livigno Italy, but in all we had a fine time. 
What bugged some of my Italian buddies was the fact that the ski resorts are crowded and flocked with Polish skiers, it is so crowded that it is reaching a point that if it continues it will be impossible to enjoy a decent ski vacation in Western Europe. 
Personally i don't have anything against anyone from Poland but I have to concur that they were at least 50% of all the skiers in the 4 different ski resorts we visited. 
There were even entire classes designated to Polish skiers. 
My Italian buddies also said that this phenomenon is just increasing year by year and one comes to wonder how so many Polish folks (i mean we saw thousands and thousands of them at each resort) can afford such expensive ski vacations (they usually arrive with the entire family for a week), after all Poland is not known for any special skills or trades, it's not A European economy power plant (far from that). 
What made my Italian buddies even more frustrated was the fact many that now days you barely see any Italians at the local ski resorts, well enough rants for the one time. 
I just think that beside the skiing/snow/weather conditions, ski resorts should also post how many visitors are expected approx on each given day/week.

post #2 of 17

sounds like you have some irrational hatred of polish people.

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

I don't hate Polish people, I don't even know (personally) any Polish people, my rant was about the fact that ski resorts in Europe have become way to crowded in recent years and maybe it's time that ski resorts post some kind of estimates about the expected visitors. 

Beyond that just as my Italian buddies pointed out (and i do agree with them), for a nation that is not known for it's wealth it seems that Poland is becoming the largest nation in ski tourism in Europe. When taking into consideration that it is not a cheap sports (compared to other sports), i find it more than A bit weird.

post #4 of 17
I'm sure it's more a case of not enough snow to handle all the skiers this season. It's forced people to visit resorts they don't normally go to.
post #5 of 17
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

I'm sure it's more a case of not enough snow to handle all the skiers this season. It's forced people to visit resorts they don't normally go to.

Nope. Austria's been flooded with Polish skiers for some time. Also many skiers from other former iron curtain areas. Kinda like Vail is flooded with east coasters, except Poland is closer to those resorts than Manhattan is to Eagle County. Europe is a wee tiny continent.
post #6 of 17

A little research on the internet will answer your questions.


First of all, the last two weeks have been school holidays in Poland: last week for some regions, and this week for the others (http://calendar.zoznam.sk/school-enpl.php). Just like with British skiers in mid- to late February, you'll see a large influx of families from Poland these two weeks because the kids are out of school.


Secondly, Poland is in the top 50 countries in the world in terms of GDP (PPP) per capita in both the IMF's and the World Bank's lists (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28PPP%29_per_capita), and they have one of the fastest growing economies in the EU. So, although it's not the richest country in the world, with a population of over 38 million people, there are still quite a number of people from there who can afford to drive down to Austria or Italy and go skiing for a week.


If you want to avoid skiing in crowds, then I suggest that you familiarize yourself with the winter school holidays of the bigger countries around Europe and plan accordingly. For example, if you want to ski in late January, then avoid the resorts in the eastern part of the Alps. If you want to ski in mid- to late February, then avoid the western part of the Alps (especially the major French resorts, which will be full of Brits).

post #7 of 17

Oh, and skiing in the Alps isn't actually all that expensive, especially in resorts that have a number of apartments. For example, I can get a trip for two flying from London to Livigno for £357 (~$575) per person. That includes flights, transfers, and accommodation for seven nights. If I was close enough to drive, the price would be almost £150 (~$240) cheaper per person.

post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

Yeah I agree with you, although I do ski for many years in Europe, we should check out the school holidays etc the next time.

post #9 of 17
Lots of Poles in my hotel in Glenwood Springs at New Year doing Aspen by bus in. Sounds like you're bitching about a burgeoning middle class. If you don't like crowds in Europe ( and I don't get the enjoyment either) ski outside the markers and suddenly you get a blissfully clean line.
post #10 of 17
Originally Posted by Phil1978 View Post

Yeah I agree with you, although I do ski for many years in Europe, we should check out the school holidays etc the next time.

Or you could go to Japan... Wait a minute, it's been over run by Australians, some undoubtably of Polish ancestry. smile.gif
post #11 of 17

I have read the initial post a couple times looking for Polish-specific content. I detect no overt Polish-bashing unless they are being condemned en masse for the having the same passion for the sport  we all share. 

The thrust of the post is that it is very busy where the OP wants to ski with his buddies - an ironic complaint made by any one who goes to a ski area only to complain about the crowds. He does not suggest that Poles, as a skiing population, are more rude or incautious or obnoxious than anyone else on the hill - only that they are there in sizeable numbers.

Either the reference to Poles was merely incidental to OP's gripe about crowds, and therefore distracting,  or there is some undercurrent of antipathy which suggests that Poles should stay home or should not have the funds to go skiing. I suspect it is the former.

As for me, do not get me started on my experiences in Italian lift lines (no Polish content). My scarred top sheets are a constant reminder.


post #12 of 17

I might be reading a bit into it but it seems there is some undercurrent implied about at least Italians not being happy with Poles taking over "their" slopes.

I've heard of gripes from ski schools in Italy particularly around Polish trips bringing in their own "unqualified" instructors.  To me that's an opportunity to learn Polish or at least good English if you want the business but the Italian solution seems to be "call the caribinieri", so I'm not surprised that there is a undercurrent of distrust.  Possibly not unrelated to a less than stellar economy and a bit of jealousy that poor Eastern Europeans are outstripping them in living standards.

post #13 of 17

Locals don't ski during vacation periods... if you think Polish tourists are a lot, take a look as the situation in Valle D'Aosta with Russians and English... 
At the end of the day it's all good for the businesses of these areas.

post #14 of 17

Crowded ski slopes, welcome to.... planet earth???? Skiing is one of the world's most popular sports, that can only be done less than half the year in ~ 2,100 resorts worldwide*. Given all of that, they tend to get crowded especially on peak days and weekends. Ski midweek if you want the freedom to effortlessly carve across the whole slope (maybe). Also, stay away from the "easy" slopes and you will avoid plenty of people that way, or at least be around other who know what they are doing. I prefer to ski during the week at night and you have plenty of room. USA is just as crowded.



post #15 of 17

In Colorado we have Texans. :duck:


That said I LOVE TEXANS!


They come, they spend a LOT of money, then THEY GO HOME.


It is the Left coast Californicators that drive me nuts.  


They come, they see how cheap land is, and proceed to develop every postage stamp available, then their children bring the culture here.  I dodn't lock my door before the Californication but must every day now.




Without them ski resorts would not exist.

post #16 of 17

If the OP thinks he hit it bad with the Polish then he should look for worse by going to Austria - a country invaded by hordes of Germans.

post #17 of 17

+1 on the Russian invasion.  Poles are quite domocile in comparison.


Especially the first two weeks in January, which is there Christmas New Year holiday.  And talk about people throwing money around - - disgusting!


On a different week, it could have been a Dutch invasion.  School holidays definitely dominate from half feb to half march.  Funny enough, just read trip reports from Italy in the last two weeks, wide open slopes with only a few skiers on them, folks making virgin tracks late into the afternoon.

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