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Where to ski in Europe for large group with a variety of skill levels and non-skiers

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

After attending a family reunion in Frankfurt (Rothenburg), Germany, I've convinced 14 of us to ski Dec 26-29th and then everyone is driving to Paris.  Prefer to stay in one area.  Although a handful would prefer to wait for the last minute snow report, most want to plan ahead.


Group is diverse including 3 Non-Skiers, 5 that can ski most anything in a US resort, 3 intermediate/advanced, and 3 that have skied only a handful of times.  No one has skied in Europe before; most prefer Alta, Utah.  Mostly adults except 3 kids (16,14, and 11 that ski well). 


Price sensitivity varies to about the same degree as skiing ability:) so I guess we'll find something in the middle.


Chamonix and Zermatt were brought up due to location and name brand.  Zermatt was argued against from cost (and nonskiers preferred French to Swiss food) but as long as I convinced everyone Zermatt was the Alta of Europe, it would be fine.  (It sounds like it's more of the Deer Valley).  Tignes and Val-d'lsere seem like alternatives but add 4 hours or so of driving. 


Where would you go?  Where would you stay?

Thanks, Conrad





post #2 of 7

zermatt would be perfect , but very pricey at that time , but for food its the best place in the world for on mountain food, 

cervina in italy would be an alternative , then people could also ski zermatt , whilst keeping the cost down , cervinia had some of the best early season snow last season in the alps

ischgl in austria would be my favourite for an all round resort to suit all

the main issue for you would be accommodation for that size group over the xmas period at an reasonable price

post #3 of 7

I don't think Chamonix will be good for your group. Other areas offer more terrain that the beginners and intermediates will enjoy, and the skiing in Chamonix is quite disconnected.


Given that you're going between Christmas and New Year's, it's probably best to start by checking which airport(s) you can get reasonable flights to. Do some quick checks on flights from DC to Geneva, Zurich, Turin, Milan, and Munich. If you can only find reasonable prices for one of those, then that will narrow down the choices quite a lot for you.


After that, you can start doing some research on the ski areas around the preferred airport. It's probably best to avoid the biggest names, because those resorts will be absolutely slammed during the holidays. Even the lesser known areas will be busy, but they shouldn't be quite as bad as the big names.


The only place I've skied personally that would fit your needs is the Arosa-Lenzerheide area. Arosa is a nice town with plenty of stuff for the non-skiers, including walking trails on the mountain, and the terrain is good for all levels of skiers. But, I'm not sure what the crowds and prices are like during the holidays.

post #4 of 7

1  Lots of places in Europe will be a sh*tshow that week - it is probably peak weak of the year on a vistor number/available terrain metric

2  Driving on the Saturday won't be easy due to 1, changeover day mid holidays, add a factor of difficulty should it actually co-incide with a snowstorm

3  Accommodation in resort really won't be easy - expect to pay for a week's rental on an appartment or chalet.  Hotels in Austria typically have more flexibility but that week they'll be looking for 7 night bookings.  You've a big group to try to get into a single hotel anyway for a peak week at this much notice.

4  All that said I'd be looking at Austria or Northern CH - access via Basel, Munich or Bregenz/Zurich  For instance you could stay in Lucerne which might be fun for non skiers and drive up to Engelberg or Andermatt. You can really stick a pin in the map in Western Austria and find good skiing, and every village has cutesy churches and good strudel cafes so its really a matter of what takes your fancy.

5 If the advanced skiers are used to enjoying Alta has to offer you are taking avy kit and know how to assess terrain and manage risk?

Edited by fatbob - 10/30/15 at 10:00am
post #5 of 7

this is an interesting one...


i have booked Val D'ISere for a week arriving on Saturday 26th. Last year travelling that week i got stuck in the travel chaos with the snow etc and was suck on a bus for 15 hours and was the only one to make it to Val Thorens... lets not hope for that again!!!


When booking i looked into flights for the 27th but accommodation was the massive problem, either stupid expensive or just not available... seems due to the demand that week is massively booked by the holiday companies as they know they can fill the spots.


As an annual Utah skier and Europe, the Alta of Europe dunno but Verbier reminded me of Snowbird, same sort of atmosphere but much bigger town etc at the bottom... 


Where would i ski - 


Val D'Isere/Tignes(prefer Val village)

Val Thorens


St Anton



Probably in that order and those were the ones i considered for my week... Swiss resorts are stupidly expensive though but an experience.


For you with cars i would certainly stay down the Valley for ease of accommodation and then you can take a pick of skiing, Bourg St Maurice is one in France to think of but again no idea about the availability of accommodation.


Keep this thread updated interesting to see where you end up.

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Just to clarify. We will already be in Europe and are looking for a resort to fit in between time in Frankfurt (Rothenburg) and Paris, we are planning on driving from Rothenburg on the 26th unless it is much easier to use train.

I appreciate all comments, I'm looking into suggestions made. We are trying to pick one spot for the 3 days. If we get stuck traveling due to snow, that's ok by me, I'll take the snow. I didn't realize Austria was close enough to fit in with Paris on the back side of the trip but St Anton looks similar distance to Swiss and French alps.

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post #7 of 7

That is peak season and you may have problems when it comes to booking a 3 day visit other than a hotel as apartments and chalets will be weekly rental only. Even the pricier hotels may hold out till the last minute looking for a full week booking.


I would call around or check online to see what is available for those days. This company used to get deals that were never advertised anywhere www.skiline.co.uk if you get stuck try them.


Resorts that would suit


Zematt N.B. The famed off piste runs may not be open that early but if you want the top glitzy resort this is it.




St Anton / Lech




Val D'Isere

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