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Anybody skied in Europe this year?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

How are the crowds?  I'm going in February.  I've been reading about the continuing recession in Europe caused by (I feel) misguided economic policy.  The downfall of the Russian economy must be making a difference.  Aeroflot cancelled its direct flight into Innsbruck.  Alpine towns show fewer visitors?  Any prices down?

 

Hoping for good snow, no crowds, good prices.  We'll see....

 

Know of any good shops for ski boots & boot fitting in Solden?

post #2 of 8

A little detail would help.  Where are you going in Europe?  Sounds like Austria if you're asking about Solden.  Biggest, most snow-sure resorts will be busy.  Maybe fewer Russians but if there's snow (which it looks like it's finally starting to happen on the north side of the alps) the resorts will be packed.  February is high season so I doubt there will be too many bargains.  If you can, wait until last minute to determine your destination to make sure there's enough snow.  Best way to save $ is to opt for the smaller resort near the big resort.  Prices are a little lower for equal accommodations or for the same price you can step up to a better hotel/apartment.  For example, stay in Kappl or Galtur instead of Ischgl.  You can ski a few days at the local area (less crowded) and take the bus over to Ischgl for more expansive terrain (and more people).   You'll give up some convenience and there's less night life, but you'll have more options to avoid crowds.  Don't know the shops in Solden.  

post #3 of 8

As mentioned, Europe is a big place, so you need to give more details... 

 

Austria isn't going to be less busy because the Russians aren't about. Southern Germany doesn't look anything like a recession; the problem is finding workers, not jobs. We'll be flooding Austria this year. And I hate to be a downer, but in the last few years skiing pow has really taken off here (sadly), so stuff is getting tracked faster than ever before. Each year it's worse than the last in this respect. 

 

Pistes here have always been quite busy, and often much more boring than their NA counterparts. So much is above the treeline, most steeps aren't that steep, there aren't as many mogul fields, and the groomers are kept pristine, wide, and not too snaky. Of course there are exceptions, but that's my general Austria/Swiss Alps report. If you're an intermediate piste skier, it's nice. As an expert, meh. 

 

Of course, if you're an off-piste skier, get at it after a storm (good luck), and know what you're doing-- Yurp can still be a breath of fresh air. 

 

But remember: 6 inches off the piste and you're "out of the boundaries"-- officially no patrol, no avy control, no marked hazards, no resort covering your sled or heli ride down to the clinic if you get hurt. On the glaciers, the big crevasses miiiight be roped, the small ones might not be. And don't follow tracks you don't know-- we have some crazy non-pros here who huck cliffs, speed-ride (ski + paraglider), or repel/abseil like it was their job.

 

That said, Austria is still cheap, though prices are catching up each year. And the euro is relatively weak against the dollar right now ("only" 1.22 USD to euro).

 

I hope this doesn't sound too rough. I love skiing here. The scenery is incredible. The terrain is endless-- though dangerous. The food is hearty. The Bro-Brah scene is easy to skip if you're avoid a few places or a few places at certain times. Austrian apres ski is hilarious. 

post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy View Post
 

How are the crowds?  I'm going in February.  I've been reading about the continuing recession in Europe caused by (I feel) misguided economic policy.  The downfall of the Russian economy must be making a difference.  Aeroflot cancelled its direct flight into Innsbruck.  Alpine towns show fewer visitors?  Any prices down?

 

Hoping for good snow, no crowds, good prices.  We'll see....

 

Know of any good shops for ski boots & boot fitting in Solden?

 

The only thing that would really drive down the crowds would be a lack of snow. That was the case earlier in the season, but temperatures have recently fallen, as has the snow. It'll probably be business as usual by February.

 

Even if there aren't any Russians this winter, that won't make a huge dent in the crowds. Most skiers in the Alps are from Central and Western Europe, with increasing numbers from EU members in Eastern Europe (Poland, Slovakia, etc.).

 

At least you'll enjoy the low price of lift tickets. This season, a 6-day pass for Solden works out at €256 total, which is about $52 per day at today's exchange rate.

post #5 of 8
Yeah, the weakening of the Euro should make it nice for us Americans to ski in Europe this year. I skied Zermatt last March during an epic storm, so I am looking forward to trying to catch another storm this year, either late Feb or March.
post #6 of 8

FYI, the Swiss franc is back down to pretty much 1:1 with the dollar. I'm not sure if that's due to the dollar being stronger or the franc being weaker. Either way, it makes Switzerland a little less expensive to visit compared to recent years.

post #7 of 8

Avoid the last two weeks of February, though. Most European holidays are between February 14th and 28th. To avoid crowds and high season prices (for lodging mostly, everything else is not that much influenced by seasonality), go before or after that period..

post #8 of 8

After yesterday I can report that Tirol is still getting pounded-- but still doesn't have much base, even at 2,500 feet, to do extensive off-piste missions, particularly if there are rocks instead of bushes/grass beneath. 

 

Also, it was the busiest I've ever seen the mountain-- even considering that this is one of the peak holiday weeks, and even with conditions hitting zero vis w/ high wind and very low temps. Enough Russian and Slavic-languages being spoken.

 

Business as usual. 

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