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Where to ski in the Swiss or Austrian alps...

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

We live in the NYC area, are expert skiers and wondering which ski areas in the Swiss or Austrian Alps are:

- within a few hours of a major airport (one we can fly directly to from NYC)

- would keep us entertained for a week of skiing in mid to late Feb. (any suggestions on which is best would be appreciated too)

- most interesting terrain with best snow

- least glitzy

 

Suggestions?

post #2 of 8

Best snow and least glitzy is a tough find. But here goes Zurs is part of St Anton and Lech area. Easy train Transfer from Zurich airport. But St Anton is not very glitzy so I would stay there.

 

Verbier is the other obvious destination for the expert skier. Not very glitzy. Again a train transfer is possible although you will need a taxi for the last few miles.

 

But as expert skiers look at Zermatt. Yes it is glitzy and expensive but it offers some amazing descents.

post #3 of 8

If it's possible to change your trip to the first or second week of February, then I would highly recommend it. The third and fourth weeks are school holidays in many countries in Europe, similar to spring break in the US. Prices and crowds will be smaller at the beginning of the month.

 

Generally, my go-to suggestion is St. Anton. The train from Zurich to Vienna stops in St. Anton along the way, and the trip takes about 2:20. The town and lift layout are convenient, the terrain is good, and the snow is usually good.

 

If you want something a little less famous with lots of expert terrain, you can try Engelberg. But, I would highly recommend hiring a guide there. They've got a lot of cliffs.

post #4 of 8
Verbier or Chamonix... Geneva.
post #5 of 8

Zurich has virtually everything within a few hours drive or rail. Munich might also work for Austria I guess.  I'd personally call Verbier, St Anton, Lech, Zermatt etc glitzy if that means premium priced.  + Davos/Klosters, Kitzbuhel, Ishgl  etc.  For Switzerland Andermatt is worth a look.  For Austria maybe a bit further past Innsbruck to the Zillertal.

post #6 of 8
Quote:
If it's possible to change your trip to the first or second week of February, then I would highly recommend it. The third and fourth weeks are school holidays in many countries in Europe, similar to spring break in the US. Prices and crowds will be smaller at the beginning of the month.

+1  Someone posted this calendar link awhile back" http://www.resavalloire.com/InfoliveDocuments/vac_scol_14-15_au_03_12_13.pdf

 

February 14-21 in particular should be avoided like the plague in 2015.  It's the trifecta of school holidays for the UK, 2/3 of France and a Mardi Gras holiday week for several other Euro locales. 

 

My best personal Euro ski experience was at Zermatt, but Switzerland is more expensive than Austria.  St. Anton is an excellent suggestion from Zurich.  You should also consider Ischgl, which doesn't get quite as much snow but preserves it better.  When I was in the Arlberg, a friend was in Ischgl at the same time and had the better snow. 

post #7 of 8

I skied St. Anton this past winter and can't recommend it enough.

post #8 of 8

My two picks out of Zurich would be Stuben and Davos/Klosters.  Stuben is low on glitz, small, and very quiet, but it is linked into the St. Anton lift system and a short shuttle ride over to Zurs and Lech.  It's less expensive than its glitzier neighbors.  The Albona, directly above Stuben is one of the great lift served north facing slopes in the alps.  Recommend Hotel Mondschein.  There's a direct bus (Arlberg Express) from the Zurich airport which will drop you (almost) at your door.  Much easier than going on the train.  No luggage schlep.

Davos/Klosters is an easy train (2.5 hours) ride from Zurich. Snow sure, tons of variety so you won't get bored.  Davos is not a charming alpine town.  Klosters Platz is the choice for charming.  Hotel Meierhof in Davos is a good choice on the higher end.  Hotel Parsenn in Davos is a 3* with a great location opposite the Parsennbahn.  Chesa Grishuna is Kloster Platz oozes charm (and it's Chalet annex) and has a great location near the Gotschnabahn.  Hotel Silvapina in Klosters Dorf is more humble, traditional chalet style, more reasonably priced but not as centrally located.

A bit farther afield from Zurich is the Ober Engadine (St. Moritz, Celerina, Pontresina).  St. Moritz invented glitz, but if you stay in an outlying town you can avoid the over the top stuff in St. Mortiz, enjoy some fabulous skiing, and cut your expenses somewhat.    Zermatt is a longer train ride from Zurich as well.  Wonderful place, tons of skiing, pricey.

Ditto on your timing but I'm guessing that that's something that you can't control.  By going in March, you avoid some of the crowds and the hotels in some resorts dial back their rates a bit.  The Arlberg, (Lech, Zurs, Stuben, St. Anton) is always busy.  Engadine is the quietest on the slopes of the above places.

No bad choices.  By all means go.  If you're going to a Swiss resort, you can check your bags in NY directly to the train station at the resort.  The hotel folks will go and pick them up for you and take them to your room.  You can do this through Rail Europe at a reasonable cost.  If you're flying on Swiss, you can do the same thing on the return by taking your bags to the train station the day before you leave and checking them through to NY.

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