or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › EpicSki Community › International Zone › Euro-Trip 2015/2016 [from western Canada]
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Euro-Trip 2015/2016 [from western Canada]

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
Hi Everyone,

Western Canadian here - My wife and I are talking about doing a European Trip next season - and I was curious if anybody had some insight?

I'm just trying to gather information at the moment, but have no idea about where to ski, stay etc. Where are the major spots located? I know we could go a ton of different routes but have no idea where to start.

Anybody have any good sources of info for skiing overseas?

[Mod note: moved to International Zone]
post #2 of 46
post #3 of 46

BrendonR. This is a big question. Maybe some idea of what kind of criteria you have for skiing, resort, apres, other activities? Do you have preference for a particular country?  Are you looking to visit more than one area? How long are you going for? Where are you planning to fly to?

There is so much choice and it's very different to Western Canada. Only Whistler even closely resembles a European ski area and then not one of the biggest.

post #4 of 46

http://www.wheretoskiandsnowboard.com/resorts/  is the website of the excellent British ski book of the same name. It contains more detail on the Alps than the Rockies, but the website is less detailed than the book.

 

I recommend this site for snow reliability:

http://www.weathertoski.co.uk/european-resorts-a-z/

post #5 of 46

Tony, as always, has the right info. Buy that book, it's worth it. And in the meantime, think (and tell us) a little more what you're looking for: challenge, atmosphere, relative ease of travel, scale, etc.

post #6 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrendonR View Post

Hi Everyone,

Western Canadian here - My wife and I are talking about doing a European Trip next season - and I was curious if anybody had some insight?

I'm just trying to gather information at the moment, but have no idea about where to ski, stay etc. Where are the major spots located? I know we could go a ton of different routes but have no idea where to start.

Anybody have any good sources of info for skiing overseas?

[Mod note: moved to International Zone]

 

Just a couple of basic points:

 

Flights are the first thing you should check, since the prices to different airports in Europe will probably dictate which part of the Alps you end up going to. You'll probably find more flight options to Zurich compared to Geneva, Munich, and others. The other airports have loads of budget flights from Europe, but Zurich seems to have more transatlantic flights. Still, it's worth checking Geneva, Munich, Turin, Milan, and Venice (for eastern Italy) just in case.

 

Second, you'll want to avoid the European school holidays if you want to keep costs down and avoid crowds. Christmas/New Year is the obvious one, but there are also a lot of countries that have a mid- or late-February week off school. So, the cheapest and least-crowded times are mid-January up to about the 2nd week of February, and then mid-March to Easter (another holiday to avoid if it's early in the year).

 

Third, as nice as it sounds to go to a place like Zermatt or Val d'Isere, you have to keep in mind that those places are over 3 hrs away from the nearest major airport. You'll be doing a long, overnight flight that will probably arrive in the morning. If you don't sleep well on the plane, then you'll be pretty tired when you land. So, you'll probably want to stick to resorts that have fairly short transfers.

 

Finally, you'll want to pay attention to the base level of the resort. Tree line in the Alps is only around 2000 m. Any terrain above that will suffer from low visibility anytime it snows or even some low clouds roll in. So, you'll want a place that has at least a couple hundred meters of terrain below tree line for those days. As much as everyone tells me that visibility isn't really that big of a deal, every time I've skied in Europe with someone from North America, including my own family, visibility has been a big deal at some point in the week. That said, if you're thinking of going later in the season, you probably won't want to go below 1000 m. 1300 to 1700 is a good range. 1800 is pushing it unless you're both perfectly comfortable with low visibility.

 

Other than that, it all comes down to personal preferences, i.e., what you're looking for in a resort.

post #7 of 46

Here's some more info on Europe in general: 

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/127615/france-first-time-trip-to-europe-so#post_1726906 (post # 3, especially).

 

 

And here is a European school holiday calandar, that will show you exactly which weeks to avoid: 

 

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

post #8 of 46

That school calendar chart is a great resource.  I'm definitely saving that!

 

Quote:
Finally, you'll want to pay attention to the base level of the resort. Tree line in the Alps is only around 2000 m. Any terrain above that will suffer from low visibility anytime it snows or even some low clouds roll in. So, you'll want a place that has at least a couple hundred meters of terrain below tree line for those days. As much as everyone tells me that visibility isn't really that big of a deal, every time I've skied in Europe with someone from North America, including my own family, visibility has been a big deal at some point in the week. That said, if you're thinking of going later in the season, you probably won't want to go below 1000 m. 1300 to 1700 is a good range. 1800 is pushing it unless you're both perfectly comfortable with low visibility.

While I agree that skiing in the Alps in bad visibility is a limiting experience (off-piste is basically out of the question), the fact remains that snow conditions are very altitude-sensitive.  My advice would be just the opposite.  Especially if you're going after the school holidays in March/April, you want to see a lot of terrain above 2000m, and even better above 2500m.  Also look for a decent proportion of north exposure; exposures are all over the map in Alpine resorts.  The large scale, wilderness-ambience skiing that you get in the Alps much more than in North America is virtually all well above the tree line. 

 

On the bad weather days, the pistes below tree line in the Alps are likely to be hard-packed and congested, probably inferior to what you get in North America.  So I say take your chances with the weather and the huge skiing upside of the high altitude resorts.  On the bad weather days, ski a little bit and then find a gourmet lunch spot, or maybe do some non-ski tourism.  The Alps are compact; you can get to a lot of interesting places from most ski resorts, especially if you have a car rental. 

post #9 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

That school calendar chart is a great resource.  I'm definitely saving that!

 

While I agree that skiing in the Alps in bad visibility is a limiting experience (off-piste is basically out of the question), the fact remains that snow conditions are very altitude-sensitive.  My advice would be just the opposite.  Especially if you're going after the school holidays in March/April, you want to see a lot of terrain above 2000m, and even better above 2500m.  Also look for a decent proportion of north exposure; exposures are all over the map in Alpine resorts.  The large scale, wilderness-ambience skiing that you get in the Alps much more than in North America is virtually all well above the tree line. 

 

On the bad weather days, the pistes below tree line in the Alps are likely to be hard-packed and congested, probably inferior to what you get in North America.  So I say take your chances with the weather and the huge skiing upside of the high altitude resorts.  On the bad weather days, ski a little bit and then find a gourmet lunch spot, or maybe do some non-ski tourism.  The Alps are compact; you can get to a lot of interesting places from most ski resorts, especially if you have a car rental. 

 

There are several resorts around the Alps that have a couple hundred meters or more of terrain below tree line and several hundred meters, maybe even over 1000, above tree line. For anyone who might struggle with bad visibility, which is pretty much every skier I've ever known from North America (including myself when I first moved over) and quite a few Europeans, I think this is a better option than going for a resort that is entirely or almost entirely above tree line. Basically, a resort ranging from 1700 m to 3000 m is better than one that is 2000-3300 m. The former has plenty to offer above tree line, while the latter has nothing to offer below it.

 

From my experience, pistes below tree line are more likely to be icy or slushy and/or crowded on clear days. They're more likely to have a bit of new snow and fewer people on them when the weather rolls in, since there are a lot of fair-weather skiers in Europe. I've skied a number of bad visibility days in the Alps, and I don't recall any of them having worse on-piste conditions or bigger crowds below tree line compared to the clear days preceding them. Maybe there are a few smaller places that are mainly popular with off-piste skiers where the terrain below tree line is more crowded when it's snowing, but those aren't really the types of resorts that I'd be suggesting in this thread.

 

I've only ever had one ski trip in Europe where it didn't snow a single day the entire week, but I've had a few where I only had one or two days of good visibility the whole week. Most of them are about half good half bad. That's why I wouldn't ever suggest a resort that could potentially be entirely unskiable for someone who's traveled a long way to get there.


Edited by CerebralVortex - 9/4/14 at 5:37am
post #10 of 46

BTW, here's an example of what skiing above tree line is like when it snows http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rs84IToERPA. This is from Tignes, which only has a couple of pistes on the far edge of the resort that go below 2000 m, so it's a prime example of a resort that I wouldn't recommend.


Edited by CerebralVortex - 9/4/14 at 5:40am
post #11 of 46

White-out is the worst feature of Alps skiing for sure, and it can happen anytime of the year, though I'd certainly bet later rather than earlier on the prospect of clear skies, eg, March/April, but that's just me and my mountain, which skies very well late season. 

post #12 of 46

I would disagree with CV about pistes below the tree lined not being more crowded on bad visibility days. This is based on 35+ years skiing in the Alps. I also think the bad visibility argument is being overblown, maybe by reputation rather than experience. There seems to be a contradiction in describing fair weather skiers (which I would agree about) but then shying away from skiing when the weather socks in a bit. It's extremely good for your feel on skis to ski when visibility is poor and if it is such a big feature of European skiing, which I don't think it is at least not to the extent being suggested then embrace the culture. I don't visit the West of Canda and complain that pistes are left unprepared or that there are too few lifts. Enjoy what's there and become a better more accomplished all round skier.

post #13 of 46

It was mentioned earlier about avoiding school holidays. February is the worst time for this by far and due to the staggered nature in some countries can last from early Feb into March. Christmas is quieter as particularly in France it's not such a big deal as New Year. I often find relatively quiet slopes over the Christmas week especially on more challenging slopes. The problem with Christmas is snow or the lack of it. We don't generally have the luxury of November openings and Christmas/ New Year can be touch and go with snow often only arriving just in time in some areas. As a general rule aim for resorts above 1800m if possible or as near to it as you can and definitely look for places with lots of North facing slopes. In my experience this is far more significant than it seems to be in Canada.

 

I'm still waiting for a bit more detail Brendon to get the ball rolling with some suggestions.

post #14 of 46
Thread Starter 
Thanks a bunch for the info everyone - I'm sure i'll spend a few days pouring over it all here.

To give you a bit more info as per the requests; Our "local" mountains are Lake Louise, and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Not totally local, but close enough to day-trip, so I count them. We can typically be found off the backside - in off-piste terrain. We probably end up skiing trees most often, but when the light cooperates the high alpine is where you'll find me!

We've skied Whistler once for a week, and loved the place.

I think our ideal holiday is going to be ~ 2-3 weeks long, spent mostly on skis, but heading out and about to check out some sights while we're there on our down days.

I do have another batch of questions now - as I notice a BUNCH of you are from Euro-land, and my Wife has talked about it before.... Where do you live, where do you ski, and how often do you ski? As a 30ish day/year skier, I like to get out every weekend, and could be at some great skiing in less than 2 hours from my house via car. Would I be able to hold a similar ski-lifestyle in Europe? Where? @Cheizz - your profile states you're in the Netherlands; how far from Amsterdam am I looking at traveling to a ski resort?
post #15 of 46
Quote:
We don't generally have the luxury of November openings and Christmas/ New Year can be touch and go with snow often only arriving just in time in some areas.

This is true many places in North America also, as many people have found out the hard way the past 3 seasons.

 

Quote:
White-out is the worst feature of Alps skiing for sure, and it can happen anytime of the year

Yes, even summer, as MadPatSki found out when he sampled 7 summer ski areas in the Alps in 2011.   In fact the Alps get as much or more precipitation in summer as winter.  It is likely that ~30% of annual snowfall in the Alps above 3,000 meters falls outside the November-April timeframe.

 

New Zealand has the white out issue also, and that's where I first reached the conclusion it might be best to do something other than ski on those days.  And that advice is coming from someone who's quite addicted to skiing. 

 

The above is a strange conclusion for most North Americans.  Many of us have had amazing powder days in the trees during blizzard conditions.  But you need a lot of luck for that in the Alps, because the trees are generally at such a low elevation that off-piste conditions tend to be unpleasant.  Last February in Zermatt it had been snowing off and on for quite awhile, so we did get some good powder below tree line around Patrullarve and below Schwarzsee.  But even there the lifts unloaded above tree line, so there was a mix of bad and good visibility skiing. 

post #16 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrendonR View Post

I do have another batch of questions now - as I notice a BUNCH of you are from Euro-land, and my Wife has talked about it before.... Where do you live, where do you ski, and how often do you ski? As a 30ish day/year skier, I like to get out every weekend, and could be at some great skiing in less than 2 hours from my house via car. Would I be able to hold a similar ski-lifestyle in Europe? Where? @Cheizz - your profile states you're in the Netherlands; how far from Amsterdam am I looking at traveling to a ski resort?

From let's say Amsterdam, it's about 8 hours by car to the nearest real ski resort (you can fly, but you need transfers to the ski resorts, which is expensive without a car and it all takes about a half day as well). If you want to live within a 2 hour drive from ski resorts, anywhere within the Alps region is fine. Somewhere inside the area defined by Salzburg-Ljubljana-Venice-Milan-Gap-Lyon-Basel-Salzburg. Roughly. Or somewhere on the Scandinavian peninsula (Norway, Sweden).

 

I ski about 20-30 days a year (say 4 or 5 weeks and / or long weekends). Since it's at least an 8 hour drive (my girlfriend and I drive at night: empty roads and no days lost to travel), anything under 3 ski days isn't really worth it. You can fly, but there's always a transfer involved. And all in all it's just cheaper to drive. Means I can bring more than one pair of skis as well.

post #17 of 46

Here's a ink to most resorts in Google Maps: http://wepowder.com/playgrounds#filter:eyJtYWluUmVnaW9uIjpbIjEiXX0=

post #18 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adie View Post
 

I would disagree with CV about pistes below the tree lined not being more crowded on bad visibility days. This is based on 35+ years skiing in the Alps. I also think the bad visibility argument is being overblown, maybe by reputation rather than experience. There seems to be a contradiction in describing fair weather skiers (which I would agree about) but then shying away from skiing when the weather socks in a bit. It's extremely good for your feel on skis to ski when visibility is poor and if it is such a big feature of European skiing, which I don't think it is at least not to the extent being suggested then embrace the culture. I don't visit the West of Canda and complain that pistes are left unprepared or that there are too few lifts. Enjoy what's there and become a better more accomplished all round skier.

 

I'm just sharing my experiences as someone who grew up skiing in North America and only started skiing the Alps 6 years ago. When you're used to having lots of trees that you can duck into or ski near, it's a shock the first time you spend an entire day above tree line with almost no visibility. Yes, you can get used to it over time, but it's not something that you adjust to in a couple of runs or even a couple of hours (I think it took me about 10 full days spread over 3 separate trips to get completely comfortable). And even if you do adjust to it technically, there's no guarantee that you'll adjust to it physically. I've skied with a couple of experienced skiers who didn't have any technical problems but got motion sickness because of the lack of visibility.

 

Like I mentioned before, nearly half the days that I've skied in the Alps over the last 6 years have had low visibility, and I've skied with quite a few people who struggled at least a bit in those conditions. I've even had days similar to the video above where a majority of the people on the mountain were struggling even on blues and easy reds (I'm pretty sure the piste in the video is a blue going on what I know about Tignes). Based on that, before making any recommendations, I always play it safe by assuming that at least 2 days a week will have some sort of low visibility and the people asking for recommendations will struggle at least with navigating above tree line in those conditions and probably skiing above it as well. That way, if I'm right, they're happy; and if I'm wrong, they're still happy.

post #19 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrendonR View Post

Thanks a bunch for the info everyone - I'm sure i'll spend a few days pouring over it all here.

To give you a bit more info as per the requests; Our "local" mountains are Lake Louise, and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Not totally local, but close enough to day-trip, so I count them. We can typically be found off the backside - in off-piste terrain. We probably end up skiing trees most often, but when the light cooperates the high alpine is where you'll find me!

We've skied Whistler once for a week, and loved the place.

I think our ideal holiday is going to be ~ 2-3 weeks long, spent mostly on skis, but heading out and about to check out some sights while we're there on our down days.

I do have another batch of questions now - as I notice a BUNCH of you are from Euro-land, and my Wife has talked about it before.... Where do you live, where do you ski, and how often do you ski? As a 30ish day/year skier, I like to get out every weekend, and could be at some great skiing in less than 2 hours from my house via car. Would I be able to hold a similar ski-lifestyle in Europe? Where? @Cheizz - your profile states you're in the Netherlands; how far from Amsterdam am I looking at traveling to a ski resort?

 

For you, I'd highly recommend going to St. Anton sometime from mid-January to early February (maybe up to the 2nd week at the latest).

 

You can fly to Zurich and get a train from there that stops right in the resort. It's a nice town that's part of a huge resort with tons of off-piste terrain (above and below tree line). It's also only an hour-long train ride from Innsbruck, which is a cool town to walk around on a down day.

post #20 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adie View Post
 

I would disagree with CV about pistes below the tree lined not being more crowded on bad visibility days. This is based on 35+ years skiing in the Alps. I also think the bad visibility argument is being overblown, maybe by reputation rather than experience. There seems to be a contradiction in describing fair weather skiers (which I would agree about) but then shying away from skiing when the weather socks in a bit. It's extremely good for your feel on skis to ski when visibility is poor and if it is such a big feature of European skiing, which I don't think it is at least not to the extent being suggested then embrace the culture. I don't visit the West of Canda and complain that pistes are left unprepared or that there are too few lifts. Enjoy what's there and become a better more accomplished all round skier.

Skiers go to Western Canada because of the unprepared pistes. I don't think anyone comes to the Alps hoping to ski in a whiteout. 

post #21 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post
 

Skiers go to Western Canada because of the unprepared pistes. I don't think anyone comes to the Alps hoping to ski in a whiteout. 

Not necessarily so prickly. Many European skiers have no idea what they'll encounter and for an average skier brought up on groomed terrain, the move to predominantly ungroomed terrain can be as much of a shock and a challenge as skiing in flat light. It's just what you're used to.

 

The point I'm making is that whatever the characteristics of an area can be embraced rather than avoided.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CerebralVortex View Post
 

 

For you, I'd highly recommend going to St. Anton sometime from mid-January to early February (maybe up to the 2nd week at the latest).

 

You can fly to Zurich and get a train from there that stops right in the resort. It's a nice town that's part of a huge resort with tons of off-piste terrain (above and below tree line). It's also only an hour-long train ride from Innsbruck, which is a cool town to walk around on a down day.

I'd agree with this one definitely and sorry CV I wasn't trying to trump your experience by any means. It's an interesting observation and maybe one that I've missed having skied so much in Europe. I wonder if, due to climatic changes there's maybe an increase in the number of such days? I'd like to see some stats; there must be some. Hadn't though of the motion sickness aspect. I still think it's good to try what's in front of you and it would be a shame to disregard so many incredible ski areas because of it.

post #22 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adie View Post
 

Not necessarily so prickly. Many European skiers have no idea what they'll encounter and for an average skier brought up on groomed terrain, the move to predominantly ungroomed terrain can be as much of a shock and a challenge as skiing in flat light. It's just what you're used to.

 

It's not unanimous, but there's pretty widespread enthusiasm for skiing on ungroomed terrain and lots of tourists seek it when planning trips. I don't think anyone really relishes no-visibility skiing. Also,  North American ski areas all have groomed runs (OK, Silverton doesn't), and the quality of the grooming (if I may use "quality" and "grooming" in the same sentence) is generally very high, so a skier could always choose to stay on the groomed. While a lot of Alps resorts have some treed runs, they tend to be on the tamer side and if you come over here for the "Alps experience," you'll be disappointed if you're confined to a few treed runs lower down. 


Edited by prickly - 9/5/14 at 6:32am
post #23 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post
 

It's not unanimous, but there's pretty widespread enthusiasm for skiing on ungroomed terrain and lots of tourists seek it when planning trips. I don't think anyone really relishes no-visibility skiing. 

At the risk of repeating myself, it is very difficult to adapt initially for new skiers. I'm not trying to suggest it's exactly the same, it's just an example of adaptations people need to make. Some of us who like to ski in quiet conditions actually don't mind skiing in poor visibility if it means having the pistes uncluttered which is a massive problem in Europe. I look forward to bad weather days, especially if I'm in the 3 Valleys for example. I do know that people seek out ungroomed terrain. A lot of tourists have no idea that slopes are ungroomed by the way. I speak to people regularly when advising them about destinations and would say the vast majority of first timers don't expect it.

post #24 of 46

The groomed vs ungroomed thing, though, is really just difference in definition. An ungroomed N. America piste would just be offpiste/ski route in Europe. You're right about the crowd thing. I do know people here who like skiing on those kinds of days for that reason, though I'm not one of them. 

post #25 of 46

Not really what I'm referring to prickly. I'm thinking of the fact that in Canadian resorts, the majority of black diamond runs (European red/ easy black) are left unpisted often for days after snow and just the odd one is groomed. Many blues are also left unpisted. I'm not referring to patrolled inbound areas that are never pisted such as the back bowls at Lake Louise which would be the equivalent of our off piste. In the alps, almost all marked runs are groomed often daily with just a couple of blacks left to the elements and even then pisted occasionally.

post #26 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adie View Post
 

The point I'm making is that whatever the characteristics of an area can be embraced rather than avoided.

I'd agree with this one definitely and sorry CV I wasn't trying to trump your experience by any means. It's an interesting observation and maybe one that I've missed having skied so much in Europe. I wonder if, due to climatic changes there's maybe an increase in the number of such days? I'd like to see some stats; there must be some. Hadn't though of the motion sickness aspect. I still think it's good to try what's in front of you and it would be a shame to disregard so many incredible ski areas because of it.

 

The motion sickness issue caught me by surprise as well. I never had a problem with it myself and I'd fully adjusted to skiing in low visibility before I saw anyone struggle with it. By coincidence, a few weeks later I heard or read something about how NASA discovered in their astronaut training that motion sickness is just one of those things that some people suffer from and others don't.

 

I'm not sure if the frequency of storms is something that's changed over the years. I just thought it was normal since it's something that I'd seen right from my very first trip (my second trip had 5 days of heavy snow in a row, though I've learned that this is definitely not normal). I had one trip several years ago with 6 days of sunshine and 2 more with only 1 day of snow in the week, but the average for me is about 3 a week (sometimes 3 full days, sometimes several half days).

post #27 of 46

When I first started skiing back in the late 70s, I don't think I saw it snow for about 5 years and almost every day was a bluebird day (not just nostalgia) Admittedly I only skied at the most 2 weeks a year back then so not a definitive sample but that was my experience. I think things probably have changed.

post #28 of 46

Anyway, people should just stay the hell where they are. We have too many people skiing over here as it is. 

post #29 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adie View Post
 

When I first started skiing back in the late 70s, I don't think I saw it snow for about 5 years and almost every day was a bluebird day (not just nostalgia) Admittedly I only skied at the most 2 weeks a year back then so not a definitive sample but that was my experience. I think things probably have changed.

 

I always wondered why high-altitude resorts were so popular. I guess if it rarely ever snows, then it doesn't matter if everything is above tree line.

 

Maybe my travel patterns are why I'm seeing frequent (though not usually heavy) snow. I go to the higher and more northern resorts early and late season and the lower and more southern resorts mid-season. Either that, or the weather follows me. (If it actively avoids my brother, then it has to go somewhere.)

post #30 of 46
Quote:
Like I mentioned before, nearly half the days that I've skied in the Alps over the last 6 years have had low visibility, and I've skied with quite a few people who struggled at least a bit in those conditions. I've even had days similar to the video above where a majority of the people on the mountain were struggling even on blues and easy reds (I'm pretty sure the piste in the video is a blue going on what I know about Tignes). Based on that, before making any recommendations, I always play it safe by assuming that at least 2 days a week will have some sort of low visibility and the people asking for recommendations will struggle at least with navigating above tree line in those conditions and probably skiing above it as well. That way, if I'm right, they're happy; and if I'm wrong, they're still happy.

I agree with the above analysis of bad visibility skiing.  I know from my varied ski partners that I have above average tolerance for this and rarely get any kind of vertigo.  Nonetheless skiing only on-piste at low speed gets monotonous after awhile, so I'll eventually look to do something other than ski.

 

Weather is so volatile that it's dangerous to draw conclusions without a very large number of days.  And as we all know some resorts are snowier or foggier than others.  

Quote:
at least 2 days a week will have some sort of low visibility

That's been my limited experience.  However Liz' first trip to the Alps had very bad weather (rain/snow mix and fog) for 5 out of 6 days.  Here's how my modest number of Euro ski days have worked out:

20 days sunny, no visibility issues

2 days mixed visibility, some foggy areas but also some areas above tree line where you could see fine

4 days bad visibility, skied most of the day anyway

3 days bad visibility, skied a little, then took a long gourmet lunch and left the hill after that

3 days bad weather and lift closures induced me not to ski at all.

 

For the OP, Lake Louise and Kicking Horse should be a good frame of reference as both have considerable above tree line terrain.  How you handle it there is a good predictor of what to expect in Europe.  In bad vis you're probably not skiing Whitehorn at Lake Louise or CPR/Redemption Ridge chutes at KH.  As in Europe you miss out on the best terrain on bad weather days, but in the Alps the proportion below tree line tends to be even less than at Lake Louise and Kicking Horse.

 

Overall the weather reputation of the Alps in winter is moderately sunny like Utah and Colorado, not chronically overcast like the PNW and interior British Columbia.  Within the Alps the rule of thumb is the farther south and east you go, the sunnier (but also drier) it gets.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: International Zone
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › EpicSki Community › International Zone › Euro-Trip 2015/2016 [from western Canada]