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Side trip for Courmayeur

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Looking for a side trip to go skiing not "too far" from Courmayeur.  Let me define too far... I live in Texas.  Driving 2 hours is like going down the driveway to get the mail so I don't mind going to Verbier from Courmayeur, if need be.  So, here is the rub... I will have family with me including small kids who will have learned to ski 3 days earlier.  

 

That said, I suppose there are lots of options.  Which are good options vs not?

 

La Thuile

Les Houches

St. Gervais

Vallorcine (heard it is beginner/intermediate friendly)

Argentiere (too difficult for the rest of the family, though?)

Verbier

Cervinia

 

or 

 

???

 

Appreciate any insight.

post #2 of 20

The obvious trip is to one of the Cham hills, it's right through the tunnel. Verbier is a slog from there. I'm not sure I'd bother going to La Thuile as a sidetrip. Question: how long are you staying in Courmayeur and why not just plant it there?

post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 

We're have 5 days available for skiing... given that we're coming a long way, I'd like to at least try one other place... just the fact that there are so many other options within reach makes it irresistible to not try.  Used to visit my college roommate in Colorado and (of course, this was before kids), we would just wake up and pick a place to ski.  Monday?  Arapahoe Basin.  Tuesday?  Winter Park.  Wendesday? Copper Mountain.  I figure, why not?

post #4 of 20

Normally, this is the time when I jump in and remind people that European resorts are much, much bigger than American resorts and there's no need to go resort hopping. But, Courmayeur is one of the few places where I can see someone getting bored within a week if, and it's a big if, they have no plans to ski off piste.

 

So my question is, given that you'll have small kids with you, why are you going to Courmayeur rather than a resort that is part of a bigger ski area that will have enough terrain to keep everyone happy for a full week? That way, you won't need to go resort hopping.

post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 

Because I was after a ski town that provided an all-around mix.  Remember, I have to think about what my wife wants in a ski town, what I want, etc.  We're flying into Milano so my though process was up towards Val D'Aosta.  Since my children are new to skiing (and snow), I opted against Cervinia due to the altitude and the colder weather.  Again, what I would like and the overall decision I have to make for everyone are two different things.  I learned to ski in Italy but it's been yeeeears since I skied there (last trip was when I was a teenager in Selva, Val Gardena).  

 

As for the "need" to go resort hopping... I may love visiting Harrod's because, well, it's got so much but why not visit another store, too?  That's my take?  I want to put my skis on more than one location... what skier doesn't like trying different resorts?  

post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ItaloSkier View Post
 

Because I was after a ski town that provided an all-around mix.  Remember, I have to think about what my wife wants in a ski town, what I want, etc.  We're flying into Milano so my though process was up towards Val D'Aosta.  Since my children are new to skiing (and snow), I opted against Cervinia due to the altitude and the colder weather.  Again, what I would like and the overall decision I have to make for everyone are two different things.  I learned to ski in Italy but it's been yeeeears since I skied there (last trip was when I was a teenager in Selva, Val Gardena).  

 

As for the "need" to go resort hopping... I may love visiting Harrod's because, well, it's got so much but why not visit another store, too?  That's my take?  I want to put my skis on more than one location... what skier doesn't like trying different resorts?  

 

I understand the need to try to please a bunch of different people. I just think that there might have been other towns that would have fit the bill and offered more groomed terrain than Courmayeur. But that's just me guessing without knowing all the details.

 

As for resort hopping, the thing you have to understand is that many of the resorts in Europe that people have heard about aren't stand-alone resorts; they part of large interconnected ski areas made up of multiple towns and villages. For example, Verbier is connected to La Tzoumaz, Nendaz, Veysonnaz, and Thyon, making up a ski area that has ~95 lifts and ~120 slopes (in addition to the off-piste terrain) covered by one lift pass. Places like these offer more terrain than you can explore in a week spread out over multiple valleys and, in some cases, different countries. It's not like hopping between the small resorts in CO that you can ski within a day or two.

post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 

Understood... the Chamonix valley is kind of a perfect example.  That's why I was singling out a place like Vallorcine.  I know Val Gardena is very much like that... very spread out, go up Dantercieppes and go down into Alta Badia.  Just a different story.  So, if you were to pick a "slice" of a resort area within reasonable reach of Courmayeur, what are some good options?

post #8 of 20

Try Megeve, France. 

post #9 of 20
I skier that area last February. I only had two days so I did a day at Courmayeur and a day at LanThuile/La Rosiere. I preferred the latter. I posted a trip report here if you want to see more.
post #10 of 20

head back down the the valley a little and you could try Pila, 1800 m and north facign so usually keeps good snow, or a little further and there is Champoluc which links into gressony and algna

post #11 of 20

I will second Megeve as a good side trip from Courmeyer. Upmarket resort, good shopping and some easy  skiing.

 

If you prefer something more village like Les Contamines is nearby and has some nice easy skiing too.

 

If you are a confident intermediate and conditions are good consider skiing the Vallee Blanche [ GUIDE ESSENTIAL ] IT IS AN UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE.

post #12 of 20

I also skied La Thuile and found it a nice side trip from Courmayeur where we stayed for a week and a half or so after 3 or 4 days in Milan. We also went to Cervinia one day and took lifts up to the fringes of Zermat and to Verbier which was a real slog but very worthwhile. The town of Courmayeur is very pleasant. I think you'll enjoy it.

post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 

I really like the idea of going up to Cervinia and making my way all the way to the top and into Zermatt but see that as a real challenge for the kids.  We'll get to find out soon enough.

post #14 of 20

Why would you drive past Chamonix to ski at Megeve? The tunnel to Cham is your go-to day trip. I guess La Thuile would be an option too. Avoid Pila at all costs on a weekend.

Finally, and this is a plea to any skier planning a week anywhere. Give yourself the flexibility to say, "hey, I like it just fine here. I'm staying put for the week." The worst thing you can do is find out you've indeed fallen in love with your cozy destination (and its comforts as a place to ease off your jet lag), but you're committed to a bunch of ill-advised roadtrips you planned on the Internet. Just my 2 euro cents. 

post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 

We have five (maybe a sixth) possible days on the slopes.  First three days, we'll stay at Courmayeur.  The last two, I'm leaving up in the air.  Like you said, we may just stay in Courmayeur but, again, the thought of not trying at least one more is hard for me.  Those two extra days will be mid-week which is good.  You live much closer to these places than I do so it is harder for me to get back easily.  

post #16 of 20

Yeah, this is true. Cham is an easy trip, I mean you can ski there with a guide of course. If I remember correctly you can just get a bus through the tunnel too, so you don't need to repack or anything. 

post #17 of 20

Course, none of those places have nearly as much snow as we do, but that's another story altogether. 

 

http://www.onthesnow.co.uk/lombardia/madesimo/skireport.html

http://www.onthesnow.co.uk/aosta-valley/courmayeur/ski-resort.html

post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 

Porca miseria!  

post #19 of 20

Indeed.

post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ItaloSkier View Post
 

I really like the idea of going up to Cervinia and making my way all the way to the top and into Zermatt but see that as a real challenge for the kids.  We'll get to find out soon enough.


As I recall, it took an evening's planning to get the lift route up and trails down lined up and into a fairly complicated "pocket list." I know the route down I took included some moderately challenging terrain, which is what I was looking for. I didn't scout out easy ways down but, judging from the skiers I saw on the trip, there must be easy routes because I saw lots of low intermediates at different points and going from Zermatt into Cervinia for lunch is a popular outing with all kinds of skiers. The round trip was considerably less than a full day as I had a fair amount of time once I was back on the Italian side despite not getting there to start the day as early as planned. As with all Alps plans, pick a nice clear day as there are lots of places where you could encounter fog, wind holds, weather, etc. that could derail this kind of outing but skiing with the Matterhorn as your views is definitely worth it.

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