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First ski trip next Feb [beginners, Europe]

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hey guys.

Totally new to all this so firstly, apologies if this is in the wrong place.

Had some ski lessons and have got the bug to get out onto the slopes next year for the first time. (My birthday in ski season too so that's a bonus!)

Have looked around and been given a few resorts to look at but just wondering where everyone reckons is best for beginners - a mid 20's couple who would like some night life, a decent bed to stay in and a resort in Europe for a week.

Thanks in advance.

Emma
post #2 of 20
It's still summer, so a lot of folks aren't here. I flagged your post for consideration to be moved to the Eurozone to focus it a bit for our Euro folks. Snowheads is another forum you might try. They seem to be mostly Brits.
post #3 of 20

If you were willing to consider the US, Aspen would be ideal.  Great beginner skiing and a great place for non-skiing activity.

 

Mike

post #4 of 20

Well, if you want night life, try Austria (almost any resort, just make sure it's snow-sure) or student-friendly resorts like Le Corbier, La Toussuire (Les Sybelles, France), or Val Thorens (3 Valleys, France). What time of year are you thinking of? The last two weeks of February are the busiest in Europe... 

 

What's most important to you? Budget, lodging (quality), skiing (diversity, effeiciency of resort), travel (where from? what means?) apres-ski?

 

There so many options, I need some priorities before I can really recommend a place.

 

If you want, PM me. I've skied a lot of European resorts.

 

By the way, here's a great European school holiday calandar that helps avoid crowds and top-prices...

 

http://www.resavalloire.com/InfoliveDocuments/vac_scol_14-15_au_03_12_13.pdf

post #5 of 20

Emma,

 

I moved your thread to the International Zone forum, but left a link in the resort forum so people in both forums will see this query. 

 

If you enjoy the company of your fellow Brits, consider Zermatt during the Xmas holidays. The town is flooded with Brits during that period making language a non-issue (although it's hysterical to see the Swiss and the Germans speaking the same language and not understanding each other). Zermatt has a ton of terrain for all levels. If you go at other times of the season, the resort is the same but the vibe is a different mix of cultures. There's no other resort in the world where you can get a picture of yourself with a Saint Bernard next to you and the Matterhorn over your shoulder.

post #6 of 20
I have skied Europe for many seasons and even used my BASI to teach beginners in one or two. I am going to totally disagree with TheRusty here.

Zermatt is about the last place I would take a beginner. Yes the resort is atmospheric and the nightlife is good but it is an experts resort that caters [ sort of ] to beginners who have to schlep across town to the bus then most likely take a combination of lifts to get to the beginners slopes. And it lacks the long easy constant gradient confidence building runs that are essential for beginners.

Here is my selection with pluses and minuses

Mayrhofen Pretty town instructors WILL speak good English Excellent beginners terrain. Attracts a younger crowd

Avoriaz Close to Geneva so short transfer. Beginners lift is in the middle of the resort. SKI IN SKI OUT Purpose built resort so not so pretty. Traffic free. Gondala down to Morzine a traditional Savoyard town runs at night.

Sauze d'Oulx Good nightlife much accommodation is ski in some also ski out. excellent ski school although classes can be large. good beginner intermediate terrain. Ibiza/Blackpool on the Snow

Try an get some dry ski slope lessons before you go ---- those helped me.
post #7 of 20
I second Avoriaz, or Chatel in the same area. Also, have a look at Meribel: great beginner and intermediate skiing in the Three Valleys, great English speaking ski schools, lots of Brits. Moreover, a great valley in terms of terrain and atmosphere, and of course a short hop to the rest of the Three Valleys. Meribel lift tickets can be upgraded to Three Valleys tickets by day.
post #8 of 20

I suggest going to the Ski Club of GB site to use their ski resort search. On their ski resorts page, just click the link for Ski Resorts Good For, and then you can tick the box for beginners and do a search. You can also tick other boxes to see resorts with no queues, good night life, etc. They've got a good list of resorts with a lot of information, including pros and cons.

 

On a side note, if you live anywhere near an indoor slope, then I suggest you go there for multiple visits before your trip. Just going for an hour or two every week or every other week will help you develop the fundamentals so that you can really enjoy your trip when you go away. It's like taking swimming lessons before going to the ocean rather than trying to learn to swim once you get there.

 

Have fun.

post #9 of 20

Oh, and just to throw in a suggestion for a particular resort, my suggestion is Arosa. It's a reasonable (and scenic) train ride from Zurich, with the train station right in the resort. It's got a good amount of terrain for beginners and lower intermediates, especially now that the connection with Lenzerheide is in place (the combined ski area is quite big now). The town itself is really nice. And, because it's not as famous as other resorts, the crowds there tend to be smaller compared to more well-known places.

 

Also, Zurich is a far less crowded and hectic airport than Geneva during the ski season, so that's an added bonus.

post #10 of 20

Ignore all the people throwing big name/reputation resorts at you. You don't need them or the 100s of km of an interlinked circuit. The short answer is Austria and a smaller town/village so the likes of Soll/Ellmau, Soelden, Flachau, Zell am See etc.  If you're British browse a Tour op brochure from say Crystal for a lowdown.  Most Austrian resorts have a few lively bars both on and off piste as they virtually invented classic Euro apres. 

 

Italy can be fine back up choice.

post #11 of 20
I have skied Europe for many seasons and even used my BASI to teach beginners in one or two. I am going to totally dis
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbob View Post

Ignore all the people throwing big name/reputation resorts at you. You don't need them or the 100s of km of an interlinked circuit. The short answer is Austria and a smaller town/village so the likes of Soll/Ellmau, Soelden, Flachau, Zell am See etc.  If you're British browse a Tour op brochure from say Crystal for a lowdown.  Most Austrian resorts have a few lively bars both on and off piste as they virtually invented classic Euro apres. 

Italy can be fine back up choice.

Assuming the OP is going to take lessons then they need to be sure that the instructor has a good command of English AND the lessons will be in English.. Otherwise it may be that other than 'bend ze knees' they don't here much of use.

The three I named all had English language lessons. Meribal will too for sure.

Yes a small Austrian resort will do the trick, just make sure the lessons are in English.

Arosa is in Switzerland not Austria. Yes excellent beginners resort but lessons are likely to be in German. Not very popular with the Brits
post #12 of 20
Any Austrian resort that is well served by UK Tour ops will have plenty of English speaking instructors. It isn't the 1960s anymore.

Yes if you go to the French ski factories you can access the likes of BASS, NewGen and TDC but it's not an essential.
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by TQA View Post


Arosa is in Switzerland not Austria. Yes excellent beginners resort but lessons are likely to be in German. Not very popular with the Brits

 

When I went to Arosa a few years ago, I had no problem finding lift staff, shop staff, hotel staff, and restaurant staff that spoke English. The OP didn't mention anything about taking lessons during the trip. But if that's the plan, it's hard to imagine that the ski school wouldn't have any instructors with good enough English to do the job. Even if a resort isn't particularly popular with Brits, if it's popular with people from around the rest of Europe, then the resort will have English speaking staff.

 

As an aside, I noticed a headline on the Arosa website about ski school being inclusive for the upcoming season. They don't have the full details on the site yet, but it will be interesting to see how many hotels are included in that deal.


Edited by CerebralVortex - 8/22/14 at 2:45am
post #14 of 20

Another vote for Chatel and the Portes du Soleil.  Nice friendly village, great ski area and not far from Geneva.

post #15 of 20

And a really good value lift pass when compared with other areas such as 3 Valleys, Espace Killy, Paradiski etc!

post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbob View Post
 

Italy can be fine back up choice.

 

Not even a back up.  We went to the Dolomites in 2011 and had such a great time we're heading back next year.  Hard to argue with 460 lifts and 1,200km of piste groomed each night, all on the same ticket, plus views like this.

 

 

... and don't even get me started on the food and hospitality.

post #17 of 20
Quote
It isn't the 1960s anymore.
How dare you. Man. 
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbob View Post
 

Ignore all the people throwing big name/reputation resorts at you. You don't need them or the 100s of km of an interlinked circuit. The short answer is Austria and a smaller town/village so the likes of Soll/Ellmau, Soelden, Flachau, Zell am See etc.  If you're British browse a Tour op brochure from say Crystal for a lowdown.  Most Austrian resorts have a few lively bars both on and off piste as they virtually invented classic Euro apres. 

 

Italy can be fine back up choice.

I'd second the idea of smaller resorts in Austria.

Unfortunately, I can't speak about the nightlife, of staff speaking English, but I did some of my first days skiing (2013) at Seefeld in Austria

http://www.seefeld.com/en/aktivitaeten/winter/skifahren

I have heard a lot of English spoken there and would bet they have classes in English.

They have some nice easy slopes and access to some more challenging ones as well. 

 

Garmisch seems to have some good beginner areas as well, only skied there a couple times with my son who just turned 6.

There is a DAV cabin you can stay at right on the slopes (I have stayed there in the summer while climbing and it is nice, but I've not stayed there in the winter...)

The town is nice and it is about an hour from Munich.

 

scoTt

post #19 of 20

Hi Emma,

I live in Austria close of 2 skiing resorts. The one is the "Ski amadé" http://www.skiamade.com and the 2nd the "Dachstein West" http:www.dachstein.at. You can check our their websites. The "Dachstein West" ist smaller and therefore cheaper. One village in the Ski amadé would be "Flachau" http://www.flachau.com (I do live approx. 10 km of the village) which is well known for its great slopes (wide and large) and for its après-ski and nightlife (during the whole winter everybody it going to Flachau to party) - so perfect conditions for your birthday :-). There are a bunch of accommodations in all price ranges. I would recommend you e.g. those 3-star hotels: "Hotel Salzburgerhof" http://www.salzburgerhof.cc (newly renovated) and the totally new built "Hotel Matteo" http://www.meinmatteo.at (opening this winter). Concerning the ski schools - they offer ski lessons in different languages and you won't find any skischool in whole Austria where they don't offer lessons in English.

If you would have further questions just ask :-).

Petra

post #20 of 20

Hi Emma 

I have been skiing in two European resorts during January, we went to Switzerland and France. I can't remember the name of the town in Switzerland but the snow fall was highly unreliable and you needed a car to access most of the runs.  However we also skied in Cauterets which is located in the French Pyrenees. The ski school was first class and no matter where you were in the town you could  walk to the main Gondola. Everything was a reasonable price as well. 

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