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New to Skiing Internationally [from FL, usually ski Canada]

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

  American girl here who's never been on an international ski trip. Me and two other girls wanted to plan a trip in a year's time. (It'll take that long to save up) The thing is, we're worried with the way everything is going haywire internationally. It's hard to tell in a year's time what areas will be safe. 

  Now I know what you're going to say, just look it up online. However, I bet if it hasn't happened to you that you at least know someone who booked online and thought they were going to a great place. Then they get there and it's terrible, dangerous, or worse both. 

  We're three single girls. We've never been anywhere but Canada. Oh, did I say we're living in Florida? Anyway, we're super stoked about planning this trip of a lifetime.We're not rich. We don't know when we'll be able to do this again. Suggestions? I feel much safer knowing I've talked to people, even if they are strangers. Personal recommendations carry more weight than online reviews. Thanks again!

post #2 of 15

What did you have in mind?  I think any European resort will be safe.  Snow-safe is a different issue..  If you're planning a year ahead, pick some place high up if you want guaranteed snow.  Soelden, St. Moritz, Chamonix.. 

post #3 of 15

I can not think of a major European ski resort and it's access system that I would call dangerous other than Turkey and it is not major.


It used to be said that ladies had to put up with having their bottoms pinched in Italy but that practice is dying out, that is really the only danger you may face.


Tell me what kind of skiing you like ultra steep off piste stuff, long stamina testing red runs or just perfect groomers . When you will be going?. Note there are times/countries to avoid if possible usually in Feb because the schools have a mid term week and prices rise and it can be busy on the slopes


Tell me what kind of accommodation you like. Remember chalet parties are quite common in Europe, I liked them as it was easy to make new friends.


Ski chalet holidays as we know them now started in the 1960’s. The idea was to re-create the atmosphere of an English country house party but in the snowy Alps amongst a group of like-minded winter sports enthusiasts. You stay with your friends or family in a ski chalet where someone cooks your evening meal, provides breakfast and cleans the chalet while you are on the slopes. Wine is invariably included with dinner. Ski chalets accommodate usually from 6 to 25 guests and you may take over a whole ski chalet with a party of friends or book part of a chalet with your friends and family and join other guests in the ski chalet. For many people the opportunity to chat with and make new friends for a week is a great part of the experience – it is much easier than in a hotel where you often find yourself hitting it off with people towards the end of a holiday when it feels too late.


When looking at apartments especially in France look carefully at the size, it will be quoted in square metres. The French in particular went through a period of building incredibly tiny apartments where they would fit 6 people into a single room of 20 sq metres.


Will night life be important to you and what sort of thing would you want to do.


Do you want chocolate box pretty old towns or is the convenience of a French purpose built resort with ski in and out preferred.


Finally how constrained by budget will you be. Nowhere is cheap other than Bulgaria and it will cost a lot to get their but someplaces can be eye wateringly expensive eg Zermatt.


I spent 30 years skiing round Europe and if I was ever on mastermind my chosen specialist subject would have been ski holidays as I often took groups skiing. Ah the good old days of education.

post #4 of 15

With safe you mean what? Snow safe? Noone can tell this for next winter, but normally, anything from end of December on is snow safe, as they live from this, and they do everything to have things running, even if it means covering courses with man made snow. But at least from January on, even if it's bad winter, things are normally running pretty well.

Not snow safe, but feeling safe? Well in this regard whole Europe is far far from USA ;) You really don't need to worry about getting robed, killed etc. ;) Someone might steal your wallet, but even for that you almost need to push it, to get it stolen. :) If you feel safe in USA, then there's really nothing to worry about Europe, especially in ski resorts.

post #5 of 15

As the others have said, skiing in Europe isn't any more unsafe than skiing in North America. The things you really should be thinking about are convenience, terrain, snow reliability, and accommodation options.


The first piece of advice is to avoid the school holidays, so no Christmas, Easter, or mid- to late-February trips (some countries have a winter break in February, similar to spring break in the US, and that means big crowds and high prices in the major resorts).


The second piece of advice is to find a resort that has a significant amount of terrain around and above 2500 m, as well as down below tree line (which is around 2000 m in most of the Alps). The higher elevations will have better snow if it's sunny and a bit warm, while the lower elevations will offer better visibility when it snows or low clouds roll in. This is what it's like when you're above tree line when it's snowing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rs84IToERPA (not my video).


The accommodation in European resorts tends to be focused on 7-night stays, running from Saturday to Saturday or Sunday to Sunday. If you try to arrange your trip for other days, then it will probably limit your accommodation options. Given the size of many European ski areas, a 7-night stay is usually appropriate anyway. You can add a couple of days of sight seeing in a city at the beginning or end of the trip if that makes flights more convenient.


Finally, check on your flight options before digging too deep into any particular resorts. Once you find which city has the best options for flights, that will narrow down your search considerably. The main airports near the Alps that you can probably find decent flights to are Geneva, Zurich, Munich, Turin, Milan, and maybe Venice.

Edited by CerebralVortex - 3/30/15 at 3:00am
post #6 of 15

Oh, and my default recommendation is to go to St. Anton, Austria in late January.


Get a Friday night flight to Zurich, which will have you landing there Saturday morning, and then take the train from Zurich to the resort. You can probably find a little B&B in the middle of town that has a triple room at a reasonable price (not cheap, but not ridiculously expensive). If not, you'll probably find a single and a double. It's a nice town that's convenient to get around, and the ski area has a lot of good terrain.


If you want to do a bit of sight-seeing, then I recommend flying in a couple of days earlier, hanging around Zurich for a bit, and then taking the train to the resort on Saturday. Zurich is good for a couple of days of sight-seeing, and it will give you a bit of time to get over the jet lag.

Edited by CerebralVortex - 3/30/15 at 9:44am
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 

  Oh wow, this is a ton of good information. As for that first response, just WOW. I didn't know there were so many things to think about. As far as budget, we're not sure because we haven't decided on there where yet. Our plan was to decide where, set it out about 10 months or so (now i don't know since everyone's saying not to go in February). So we planned on putting money aside each month til December or January. I've got to get with the girls to get some of these answers. I am taking everything you have said to them. Thank you so much!

post #8 of 15

This package deal (half board:breakfast and dinner, lift ticket included) will give you some idea about cost. I have not been to this hotel. I just google it to show you.




If you have time to do some travel, you can arrive in one city and depart from a different city. The flight cost probably will be about the same.


I plan to spend time in Europe next year too. The current exchange rate make it really cheap when compared to US. The overall skiing experience is also better.

post #9 of 15
Snow safe, people safe = snow brainer

Crunch the numbers, you may pay more for flights but land costs will be be very favourable compared to Europe
post #10 of 15

I will second St Anton as a good choice. If apres ski matters the legendary parties at the Krazy Kanguruh and Mooserwirt actually on the slopes will not disappoint. Transfer time by train from Zurich is 3 to 5 hours with about 15 trains a day running.


Morzine/Avoriaz is another that I would reccomend. Just an hour from Geneva airport. Avoriaz is a purpose built resort on the mountain, Morzine is an old Savoie town, The connecting cable car runs till late.The ski pass is good for about 200 lifts and 12 villages which link together although sometimes you do have to step on a free bus for 5 minutes to transit a village center. It hincludes one of the toughest ski runs in Europe.


In your position I would start by checking flights for the last week in January first week in Feb. You may get a better deal to Geneva than Zurich.

post #11 of 15
Originally Posted by TQA View Post

Transfer time by train from Zurich is 3 to 5 hours with about 15 trains a day running.



Actually, you can get from Zurich to St. Anton in 2:20 if you get one of the direct trains. It takes a few minutes to get from the airport to the main station, so about 2:30 total time if you time it right. Maybe 2:45 if you've got some time between trains.

post #12 of 15
@CerebralVortex, if I'm ever headed to St. Anton, you're going to be my travel consultant. A wealth of info!
post #13 of 15
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

@CerebralVortex, if I'm ever headed to St. Anton, you're going to be my travel consultant. A wealth of info!


Well, I've learned a lot of things the hard way, but I keep going back for more.

post #14 of 15

Have you thought about Japan? Amazing snow, friendly people, safe etc.


If you are interested I can fill you in with lots of details. Need to declare that I have a vested interest as I run a lodge in Jaoan - Chalet Myoko. But my place is not for everyone and other places may be a better match for you. But I can head you in the right direction if I know what you are looking for.

post #15 of 15

If you want the picture postcard experience try St Moritz, although it will cost more( as most of Switzerland will). The people are gracious hosts and superb skiers.To save some money and still be in the company of gracious hosts go to Italy. My experience was in the Dolomites. Cortina is better known, but the smaller towns a little north located on the Sella Ronda will save you some $$ and provide Old World European charm and hospitality. There are enough pitfalls in the differences between being in Europe vs North America such as an expensive hotel does not necessarily mean an on-suite bathroom. I suggest that you should use an experienced travel agent on this first trip. Also Europeans tend to book their trips a year in advance to get the lodging they want, also guides or lessons. All that being said the Europeans have a culture of skiing that we do not have here in the US and Canada. Combine that with the ability to ski from one valley and village to the next and then just turn around and head back makes Europe a must for any true skier. Happy turns and enjoy your trip

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