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France ... first time trip to Europe so ..... - Page 2

post #31 of 46

There will be snow in the Alps somewhere and distances are small by American standards. Get the best airfare to either Zurich, Geneva, Munich, Milan, Venice and you will be fine. 

Italy - value for money

Austria -  good party 

France - snow sure

Switzerland - tick tack tick tack tick tack ... coo coo ! Ching Ching !

post #32 of 46

Don't bother with Italy. The lift lines are terrible:

 

 

The scenery is bad...

 

 

And the pistes are crowded...

post #33 of 46

One note - check the school vacation schedule in the country you'll choose to go to. IIRC, French have one of their winter breaks around 1st week of February, many other European countries have similar arrangements.

 

This is time to avoid - crowds are crazy, prices are high.

 

Vlad

post #34 of 46

ITALY ?

 

I loved the Dolomites esp. the resorts around the Sella Ronde in the latter days of my ski life when I could still do the steeps but liked cruising prepared runs better.

 

Big mileages possible on European rated BLUE and RED runs which are about the same as US blue and black.

 

I liked to stay in Arraba in the Malita hotel but your non skiers will not find mush to do although there is a spa in the hotel/

 

Val Gardena would be the better choice. Check out the Superski Dolomitski pass that will blow you away. 1200 kilometres of runs on one pass

 

Cervinia is a great resort and links to Zermatt. More challenging stuff available.

post #35 of 46

With regard to Euro winter holidays we should be most concerned about:
British holidays mid-February and Easter Week.
French holidays the last 2 weeks of February and first week of March
Southern Germany and a few other places get the week that contains Fasching (Mardi Gras), varies between mid-February and mid-March.
The Brits aren't the only ones who get Easter week. I would really avoid that due to sloppy lower slopes/possible downloading queues. Otherwise I think the higher places in the Alps like Zermatt and Val d'Isere could be great in early spring.

So in most places you're OK through the first full week of February and after the first full week of March except for Easter Week or the occasional very early or late Fasching. And of course the worst weeks will be when some of the holidays overlap.

The Euro school holiday periods unfortunately cover the core of the season when snow is on average most reliable. So I'll refer people to Fraser Wilkins' analyses of snow reliability http://www.weathertoski.co.uk/ to choose relative high snowfall areas like the Arlberg or Portes-de-Soleil for before the holidays or high altitude, north facing places after the holidays. 

 

I particularly recommend this page from Fraser's site; http://www.weathertoski.co.uk/weather-snow/the-snow-quality-equation/  There are variable microclimates over there just as there are here.  But altitude and exposure are key factors in the Alps (Fraser thinks more important than snowfall differences), particularly for the off-piste, where powder can preserve for a week or more in the most sheltered locations. 

 

I've had 4 Euro ski trips now and it's harder to evaluate an area in the Alps by trail map than it is here.  Some places you'll be just amazed at the uncontested powder adjacent to or above/below pistes.  Once you get too far from the pistes or marked ungroomed skiroutes you will want guides.

 

The Alps are very compact geographically compared to the western U.S. or Canada.  Desertdawg's strategy of booking flights and car and choosing resorts last minute is a very attractive idea.  


Edited by Tony Crocker - 5/3/14 at 1:06pm
post #36 of 46

For spring skiing in the Alps IMO you cant beat Val d'Isere / Tignes or Cervinia / Zermatt, both of which have already been mentioned.

 

Both are amazing areas and have consistently great conditions, huge ski areas (especially Val / Tignes) and varied terrain.  If it was me I'd be heading getting flights into Geneva and getting a transfer up to Val d' Isere which is a bout 2.5 hours drive. Its a good lively resort with loads or bars and restaurant but can be a bit expensive.

 

Chamonix is also excellent but I find it too disjointed and a pain in the arse to get around when in big groups.

post #37 of 46
Thread Starter 

Just to follow up with our plans for the trip ... we're headed to Flachau.  Our initial group has evolved to include some International friends who ski in Europe, so this has made is easier from our end.  We will fly into Paris for a couple of days and then to Munich, wherein we'll eventually travel to Flachau.  From Flachau's web site - these boast "one of the hippest ski resorts in Austria - right in the heart of Ski Amadé with 270 lifts and 760 kilometres of slopes." 

 

Sounds like a great place to ski and visit.

post #38 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorm57 View Post
 

Just to follow up with our plans for the trip ... we're headed to Flachau.  Our initial group has evolved to include some International friends who ski in Europe, so this has made is easier from our end.  We will fly into Paris for a couple of days and then to Munich, wherein we'll eventually travel to Flachau.  From Flachau's web site - these boast "one of the hippest ski resorts in Austria - right in the heart of Ski Amadé with 270 lifts and 760 kilometres of slopes."

 

Sounds like a great place to ski and visit.

You said you were planning a spring trip. I hope it is not late spring as Flachau is low even by Austrian standards at 3000ft. and the top lift is only 6000ft.

 

Still as you say there are other nearby resorts you can drive to in the event lack of snow.

post #39 of 46

3,000 - 6,000 feet rates to be slop in spring.  You want to see lots of terrain over 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) on the trail map, and over 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) is even better.  You also want a lot of north exposure.  Exposures vary widely in the Alps.  Google Earth is the best way to check that out in advance for yourself.  But my first suggestion is find your prospective resort here http://www.weathertoski.co.uk and read the assessment of snow reliability.

post #40 of 46

I spent a week in Flachau a few years ago; loved it. Skied a different resort each day using public free buses that stopped a few blocks from the super cheap pension I was staying in -- Flachauwinkl, Zauchensee, Radstadt, Schladming, Dachstein, and the all day run from the base of Flachau to St. Johann and back, stopping for a beer at the top of the last run. Best part is that those are all super ski areas and no one has ever heard of them.

 

 

post #41 of 46

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), quality = 85

Flachau

post #42 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudcult View Post
 

I spent a week in Flachau a few years ago; loved it. Skied a different resort each day using public free buses that stopped a few blocks from the super cheap pension I was staying in -- Flachauwinkl, Zauchensee, Radstadt, Schladming, Dachstein, and the all day run from the base of Flachau to St. Johann and back, stopping for a beer at the top of the last run. Best part is that those are all super ski areas and no one has ever heard of them.

 

 

 

The overall snow review of Schladming is quite favorable: http://www.weathertoski.co.uk/european-resorts-a-z/schladming-austria/

However there is a warning that the late season is not the best time to go there. 

post #43 of 46
Thread Starter 

We'll leave for Paris on Feb 3rd and arrive and ski in Flachau  from the 7th for a week ... so temps and snow should be good.

post #44 of 46

http://www.haus-roswitha.com/

 

Don't know if you have a place to stay or not. I was there in January which was definitely low season, but the main Flachau web site (or was it Amade?) had ski and stay packages which were pretty reasonable. Roswitha was about a 10 minute walk to the ski area and a 3 minute walk to a bus stop.

post #45 of 46

I skied Flachau/Wagrain/Alpendorf/Zauchensee and other ski areas in the Province of Salzburg Austria during mid-February about a dozen years ago.  Lots of terrain, great infrastructure including modern lifts and snowmaking as necessary.  Ski Amade is known as a relatively inexpensive ski region and is low altitude (3k-6.5k feet above sea level), but you should be fine in early-mid Feb.  Little acclimatization required for flatlanders.   I also skied nearby Bad Hofgastein which has slopes up to about 7.5k feet IIRC.  Didn't ski Schladming, but it supposedly has a great snowmaking system because it's a frequent World Cup venue.

 

Old two-part trip report:  http://www.dcski.com/articles/view_article.php?article_id=446

 

Trail map: http://www.skiresort.info/typo3temp/pics/95857bf956.jpg

post #46 of 46
Thread Starter 

Well - we've made it back and it was a great trip.  We had ~10" of fresh over the first couple of days and beautiful sunshine the remainder of the week.  I'll post a trip report sometime later in the week. Overall we had a blast ...

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