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First trip to Europe...where should I go? - Page 3

post #61 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post

Really!

0120 lunch.jpg
ūüėĄThat's what I'm talking about!!!
post #62 of 77

not to be too argumentative, but "that's what I'm talking about" as well!

 

I've seen so much bad 'SpagBol', 'Spaghetti Carbonara' and Pizza on moumtain in the french and Italian alps that I can't even look at them anymore, and lets face it, even when it's done well, it's hardly 'great food'

 

The best thing about that picture is the weather - second is the sceneray/ambience which both look amazing, but surely it's hard to argue that the food in the picture is 'above average'?

post #63 of 77
Well if that's what you're talking about, then you're doin' it wrong.
ūüėĄ
cheers
Edited by Karlsson - 3/4/14 at 8:26am
post #64 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by catharsis View Post

I have skimmed the thread and am fairly surprised by the relatively few recommendations for the resorts which suely MUST be on any list of places to visit in Europe.


I would suggest that the OP seriously consider the Espace Killy - Val d'Isere or perhaps Tignes if nightlife is not of interest. I prefer Val to les Trois Vallees as in my opinion a 'stong intermediate' may find Val more suitable.


St Anton (I know it was mentioned but only in passing I think) needs to be on the list - one could certainly stay in Lech/Zurs also but skiing the Arlberg Ski Area is simply a must-do on a bucket list, and the advanced intermediate terrain there is vast and rewarding.


Verbier and the 4-Vallees also has a huge amount of intermediate terrain and must be on any megalist.


I would echo the Cervinia/Zermatt recommendation and would be quite happy to ski either of them - assuming the link is open it's easy enough to ski both resorts from either location so choose Italy for good food, great coffee, and prices, but in no way is Cervinia as attractive or 'full-service'a town as Zermatt.


I would also echo the 'Portes-du-soleil' region which spans the french/swiss border and includes Morzine&Avoriaz.... again plenty of cruisers and lots of variety.


One factor of interest might be that Merible in the 3-valleys, more than almost anywhere else in the alps, is almost 100% english speaking due to the heavy influx of british and Australian seasonnaires.:-)


I thiink if the OP sets out what is most important for them it might help


My internal mental summary is something like the following


France, Amazing mountains, terrible toilets, (mostly) terrible on-mountain food, Unbelievably, ridiculously big skiareas (PDuS, 3V, EsKilly at least). ridiculously rude lift-lines :-), generally good lift-systems


Austria - Amazing mountains, good toilets, great on-mountain food, Huge ski area if you go to StA/Lech/Zurs,'itineraires'- generally good list-systems


Italy - Amazing mountains, terrible toilets, average on-mountain food, big ski areas by comparison to US, worse lift-line behaviour than France :-) - generally the worst lift systems of the 4


Switzerland - Arguably the most amazing mountains of all scenically, good toilets, great/good on-mountain food, Huge Ski areas (Zer/Cerv or 4Valleys), as well as many much smaller alternatives. lift systems tend to have a high reliance on cablecars in Zermatt/Verbier.


I completely accept that the above summary is subjective and not entirely accurate,and of course there are exceptions to every over-generalisation, but I think they are reasably fair descriptions.....


I hope it might be useful to someone considering a trip -


Chamonix is an absolute must on the bucket-list also of course - but is a different sort of trip than that the OP seems to be looking for.

 



The main reason that I didn't include most of those places is because of the crowds. The OP mentioned that he wanted to avoid crowds, and I know that some people from the US would consider those big name resorts to be uncomfortably crowded even outside of the school holidays.

I also threw in my own criteria of avoiding Geneva airport (which I think is unpleasantly crowded) and long transfers (like the 3.5-hr bus ride to Val d'Isere).
post #65 of 77
I agree!
Usually on mountains you can't find good italian food.
The quality is better and sometimes really high in Alto Adige (italian Sud Tirol) but food isn't tipical italian. It is Tirol food similar to Bavarian.
Obviously in the village and town food is very good everywhere.
Anyway I think that good food is more important for dinner after a beautiful day of ski.
post #66 of 77

Is that ketchup next to pizza? Looks... not good. The only worse thing than this combo of spaghetti and pizza would be adding a bowl of chili. 

There are some better food options in the Alps, just saying.

post #67 of 77
madonna di campiglio... alongside with Bormio as special place for Swedes who followed the Alpine racing circus in the late 70's and early 80's ( I was just a kid)
post #68 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by goranmilos View Post
 

Is that ketchup next to pizza? Looks... not good. The only worse thing than this combo of spaghetti and pizza would be adding a bowl of chili. 

There are some better food options in the Alps, just saying.

 

Not ketchup, sun screen and Cokes. This was a group lunch, some wanted pizza, some pasta. We skipped wine as we were only half way through our ski day. Drinking was for apres.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cogoluca View Post

I agree!
Usually on mountains you can't find good italian food.
The quality is better and sometimes really high in Alto Adige (italian Sud Tirol) but food isn't tipical italian. It is Tirol food similar to Bavarian.
Obviously in the village and town food is very good everywhere.
Anyway I think that good food is more important for dinner after a beautiful day of ski.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karlsson View Post

Well if that's what you're talking about, then you're doin' it wrong.
ūüėĄ
cheers

 

Not wrong, just not to your tastes, I guess. :)

 

We (predominantly a group of expert skiers) were skiing from first chair to last and enjoyed our choices on the mountain. We opted for filling up on carbs so we could last the day and didn't spend our mountain meal times dining. We saved that for dinner, which never disappointed.

 

I'm not trying to convince anybody of anything, just sharing what, for me and my friends, was a spectacular trip in Italy.

post #69 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post



Not wrong, just not to your tastes, I guess. smile.gif

We (predominantly a group of expert skiers) were skiing from first chair to last and enjoyed our choices on the mountain. We opted for filling up on carbs so we could last the day and didn't spend our mountain meal times dining. We saved that for dinner, which never disappointed.

I'm not trying to convince anybody of anything, just sharing what, for me and my friends, was a spectacular trip in Italy.

Oh s**t. I apologize. Thought you made an ironic post about on-mountain food. Totally agree that sometimes you just want carbs, and I seldom drink alcohol during the day either.

Cheers
post #70 of 77

 :beercheer: (apres, of course)

post #71 of 77
Thread Starter 

All of this discussion has been stellar and very helpful for me.

 

@catharsis, I really appreciate all of the information you provided.  Though I'm a bit puzzled why you included the line "I thiink if the OP sets out what is most important for them it might help."  I was fairly detailed with what I was (and was not) looking for, which you seemed to see as many of the points you made specifically referred to my Wish List.

 

@CerebralVortex, you are absolutely correct in that crowds are a big turn-off for both my wife and me (both on the ski runs and getting on the lifts).  If there is a significant difference in crowds from one resort to another then that can be the kind of information that will heavily sway me in favor of one place over another.  We were in Aspen for a week last March and the longest lift line was probably about 3 minutes and most of the runs we were on had very few people.  It was great!

post #72 of 77

Avoiding crowds will be tough in Europe especially in the French resorts. The only quiet period in France is mid January called 'Le Trou' or the hole by the hoteliers. Espace Killy and the Trois Vallees have some serious queues at other times.

 

Also queue behavior can be pretty aggressive in some places and will come as a shock to Americans used to well mannered lines often actively policed by the lifties. I learned quite a lot about advanced queuing techniques in Sauze d;Oux but at significant cost to the top sides of my skis. It is not unusual for helmet wearing children to get their heads through any gap then pull themselves past you using convenient  legs.

 

Lack of queues was one of the reasons I would go to Arraba on the Sella Ronde in the Dolomites. Ischgl is another resort that can be pretty queue free but check on German public holidays before booking there.

 

On eating in the mountains, well it is often pretty awful but ask around in the resort before you get on the mountain. One that is consistently excellent is the Bel Air in Courcheval. Booking advisable. I have happy memories of catching the first lift out of Val Thorens skiing over to Courcheval for lunch then back to Val Thorens. My choice would be a salad Savoyarde and a piece of myrtylle tart. YUM YUM.

post #73 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lofcaudio View Post
 

All of this discussion has been stellar and very helpful for me.

 

@catharsis, I really appreciate all of the information you provided.  Though I'm a bit puzzled why you included the line "I thiink if the OP sets out what is most important for them it might help."  I was fairly detailed with what I was (and was not) looking for, which you seemed to see as many of the points you made specifically referred to my Wish List.

 

@CerebralVortex, you are absolutely correct in that crowds are a big turn-off for both my wife and me (both on the ski runs and getting on the lifts).  If there is a significant difference in crowds from one resort to another then that can be the kind of information that will heavily sway me in favor of one place over another.  We were in Aspen for a week last March and the longest lift line was probably about 3 minutes and most of the runs we were on had very few people.  It was great!

Firstly apologies for not reading the entire thread before posting - I see choucas provided a very good summary including some of the same options as me (and better written and with more useful information) above. As far as your criteria, people upthread have mentioned transfer times and how 'romantic' some of these resorts are as criteria, which I didn't see mentioned on you list.  I guess some of this was due to different peoples different interpretation of 'european culture'.   

 

I'd also note that the crowds are certainly going to be a factor at some of the resorts I mentioned - I don't think they should be too offputting in March as you have avoided the worst of the school holidays, but if this is a crucial factor then the smaller resorts mentioned could have that going for them. 

 

It's worth noting though that the largest resorts often have the best lift systems, meaning that queues (lines) can be relatively small.   I do not remember many lift lines I've ever experienced in Europe which could compare with some of the lifts around the back bowls in Vail on a busy day, for example.    

 

(Chamonix again being the standout exception which proves this rule.... but those lines are worth the wait sometimes )

 

I did try to note the older list systems or those which rely heavily on cablecars as for me they tend to lead to the longest lines - on the other hand though, there can be long lines in 'transfer stations' (e.g. Mottaret in the 3V) even when high-speed detachables or gondola's are in use if there are genuinely 'crowds' about.

 

I think that the 'crowds' can be a matter of degree also.   The 'megaresorts' are very large ski area's and there are often many options for routes to take and lifts to take to get from point A to point B.   While the beginner slopes tend to have a lot of people around, there are areas in all of these resorts where one can often ski on-piste in relative solitude.  

post #74 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by TQA View Post
 

Also queue behavior can be pretty aggressive in some places and will come as a shock to Americans used to well mannered lines often actively policed by the lifties. I learned quite a lot about advanced queuing techniques in Sauze d;Oux but at significant cost to the top sides of my skis. It is not unusual for helmet wearing children to get their heads through any gap then pull themselves past you using convenient  legs.

 

Lack of queues was one of the reasons I would go to Arraba on the Sella Ronde in the Dolomites. Ischgl is another resort that can be pretty queue free but check on German public holidays before booking there.

 

On eating in the mountains, well it is often pretty awful but ask around in the resort before you get on the mountain. One that is consistently excellent is the Bel Air in Courcheval. Booking advisable. 

Yes, the culture shock of there in effect being no 'maze' to organise the lift line, and it just being a free-for-all, is what I was trying to gently refer to in my little summary.   I find France and Italy a little 'worse in that regard', and the US 'pleasantly organised' in general.  

 

I shudder to think what someone who has only ever experienced the US lift line system will think of a completely self-administering queue system where the lifties have nothing to do with managing the queue, and where a detachable six-man chair will sometimes go with only 2 people in it while 100 stand in the line behind! 

 

*that's* what predictably makes my blood boil about euro-queues.


Edited by catharsis - 3/4/14 at 3:25pm
post #75 of 77

Every meal I've had on a mountain in Europe has been far better than what you find in the US (with maybe a couple of exceptions). But it's not something I'd base a trip on...eating will be awesome, no matter what.

post #76 of 77

Plus, there is this

 

How can you go wrong with this, even if it is tourist spaghetti?


 I can't remember what I had, I think it was some kind of veal.

post #77 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lofcaudio View Post
 

@CerebralVortex, you are absolutely correct in that crowds are a big turn-off for both my wife and me (both on the ski runs and getting on the lifts).  If there is a significant difference in crowds from one resort to another then that can be the kind of information that will heavily sway me in favor of one place over another.  We were in Aspen for a week last March and the longest lift line was probably about 3 minutes and most of the runs we were on had very few people.  It was great!

 

The thing with crowds in Europe is that, even if a resort doesn't have big lines for the lifts, there can still be some slopes that have big crowds, especially the home runs. For example, in St. Anton, which is one of my favorite resorts, there's a blue home run that many call Happy Valley which is fed from a few different directions and funnels down to some fairly narrow sections in a couple of different places. If you're not comfortable skiing with a bunch of people around you, then it can be quite off-putting. Val d'Isere has a couple of home runs with the same issue. So even though you might not be standing in long lift lines, you'll still be skiing on slopes that are crowded in certain sections.

 

That's why I suggest areas that are big but not as well-known. As long as you go there outside of the school holidays, the crowds are non-existent, and you'll have a nicer time than in a famous but fairly crowded resort.

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