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EUR Ski Primer

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

Is there a primer of sorts of planning a trip to EUR?  Kind of a "how to think about" it?  where, when, differences in altitude - easiest for connecting to major airports?

 

I can do the research on my own, i guess, but figured I'd ask before I start to compile.  Both advanced to expert skiers - have ability to fly to almost any EUR city serviced direct by AA from East coast (Zurich, Milan, Paris, Munich).  Geneva would require a connection.  dont mind a train too as we have done Eurostar Paris to London - which was fine.

 

thinking Arlberg region - but totally wide open for now.

post #2 of 28

Go Arlberg - you can't go wrong there.  With the new connection to Warth it is huge.  If you get tired there, next valley south is Ischgl, giant place too.  

post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmmergauerTele View Post
 

Go Arlberg - you can't go wrong there.  With the new connection to Warth it is huge.  If you get tired there, next valley south is Ischgl, giant place too.  


thanks  - any reference resources that you recommend?

post #4 of 28

Direct is the way to go.  I would fly to Zurich and take the train to St. Anton.  Done deal.  Lech is a short resort bus ride away, make sure you do the White Ring at Lech. 

 

My St Anton trip report

http://www.epicski.com/t/101032/st-anton-this-week


Edited by SnowbirdDevotee - 1/15/16 at 2:45am
post #5 of 28
post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee View Post
 

Direct is the way to go.  I would fly to Zurich and take the train to St. Anton.  Done deal.  Lech is a short resort bus ride away, make sure you do the White Ring at Lech. 

 

My St Anton trip report

http://www.epicski.com/t/101032/st-anton-this-week

 

thanks - unfortunately no more PHL direct need to do JFK and 35,000 miles?  Not anymore, those WERE the days.  That was a good read.  Although the euro to $ is a bit better now, I would assume.

post #7 of 28

Two weeks from today i'll be in Verbier, which looks to be even a better mtn than St. Anton, but St. Anton will do.  One of the problems it seems w/ euro resorts is that many of them are for cruisers. 

post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee View Post
 

Two weeks from today i'll be in Verbier, which looks to be even a better mtn than St. Anton, but St. Anton will do.  One of the problems it seems w/ euro resorts is that many of them are for cruisers. 


this statement is a bit generalistic ??? where are you referring to and what are you comparing them against ??

most european resorts have great access to off piste skiing , but unlike north america , they require backcountry equipment , knowledge and sometime the services of a  professional guide , as the BC is not controlled or patrolled .

post #9 of 28
I'll write up a general guide for skiing the Alps from the US when I get home and can use a proper keyboard.

In the meantime, the short answer for advanced skiers is to fly to Zurich on a Thursday or Friday in January or early March, spend a day or two sight-seeing and getting over jet lag, and then take the train to St. Anton for a Saturday-Saturday stay.
post #10 of 28
Good idea.

Main points I think for US skiers going to Yurp for the first time are:

Resorts are big you don't really need to try to pack 3-4 in in a trip
Accommodation tends to run Sat-Sat so irregular stays can be a lot harder to book in advance
Having a rental car adds to flexibility e.g. to stay down valley but is by no means essential
Resorts basically promote km of groomers. There is no such thing as controlled "inbounds" away from such runs apart from limited piste naturels and some small "free ride zones" in some resorts
You do need shovel probe + transceiver + knowledge if you want to go way from groomers
You do see lots of numpties who ignore this last point. Most are lucky some are not. Some with knowledge are not invulnerable.
post #11 of 28

This has always been a good online or hardcopy source for doing your homework on a Euro ski trip and fairly well in tune with reality:  http://www.wheretoskiandsnowboard.com/

 

For example, here is a quote on off-piste skiing:  

American and Canadian resorts are great places to develop deep snow technique. To quote from our introductory chapter to the USA:‘Many Europeans have the idea that American resorts don’t have off-piste terrain. It’s true that resorts practically always have a boundary, and that venturing beyond it may be discouraged or forbidden. But within the boundary there is often very challenging terrain that is very much like off-piste terrain in an Alpine resort, but with the important advantage that it is patrolled and avalanche-controlled – so you don’t need to hire a guide. We rate this as one of the great attractions of American resorts.’

post #12 of 28

Quote:

Resorts basically promote km of groomers. There is no such thing as controlled "inbounds" away from such runs apart from limited piste naturels and some small "free ride zones" in some resorts
You do need shovel probe + transceiver + knowledge if you want to go way from groomers
You do see lots of numpties who ignore this last point. Most are lucky some are not. Some with knowledge are not invulnerable.

This is also my understanding based on "research" and two trips and one upcoming trip(Verbier) to EUR. That's why resort choice is so important. 

You have to go to the right place If you are an advanced aggressive skier for whom groomers will not provide the real satisfaction and you don't want to shell out another $200/day for guide. 

St. Anton/Lech - you don't need a guide to enjoy your skiing.  Very good choice.  Lots of "inbound red and black bumpy and steep enough" terrain.  Lots more just off the marked piste where you don't have to worry about getting lost or swallowed by a crevasse and will be well skied if there is fresh snow. 

I anticipate the same for Verbier.  I think you would find the same at the biggest French resorts. 

Since you live on the east coast you are doing the right thing in heading East. 

 

Report from my Zermatt trip.  A place where you don't want to "wonder" around off the marked piste!

http://www.epicski.com/t/89239/zermatt-not-my-kind-of-skiing


Edited by SnowbirdDevotee - 1/17/16 at 6:49am
post #13 of 28
In St. Anton and Lech, there are many so-called 'ski-routes'. These are marked runs, and cleared of big rocks, made avalanche-safe and are patrolled at the end of the day... but they are not groomed. They are the many numbered red and black runs in dotted lines on this piste map (you can recognize a ski rout by the diamond shaped run number as oppposed to the round ones for normal groomed runs)...
 

 

 
post #14 of 28
Good to know, @Cheizz. Hadn't realized that existed.
post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 

thanks - seems like Arlberg region makes sense for us.  Easy enough to get to (although almost anything w/ direct from CLT, PHL, or JFK would do) and certainly enough terrain.  Since we will be planning pretty far in advance high elevation and high chance of snow is important.  My father spent almost a year in Salzburg right after WW2 (guarding milk <-his words)- so we may head over there and out of Vienna.  


Edited by givethepigeye - 1/17/16 at 3:07pm
post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbob View Post

Good idea.

Main points I think for US skiers going to Yurp for the first time are:

Resorts are big you don't really need to try to pack 3-4 in in a trip
Accommodation tends to run Sat-Sat so irregular stays can be a lot harder to book in advance
Having a rental car adds to flexibility e.g. to stay down valley but is by no means essential
Resorts basically promote km of groomers. There is no such thing as controlled "inbounds" away from such runs apart from limited piste naturels and some small "free ride zones" in some resorts
You do need shovel probe + transceiver + knowledge if you want to go way from groomers
You do see lots of numpties who ignore this last point. Most are lucky some are not. Some with knowledge are not invulnerable.

 

I was thinking that plus something about overnight flights, jet lag, and city sight-seeing. Hopefully, I can put it in a format that's coherent.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by givethepigeye View Post
 

thanks - seems like Arlberg region makes sense for us.  Easy enough to get to (although almost anything w/ direct from CLT, PHL, or JFK would do) and certainly enough terrain.  Since we will be planning pretty far in advance high elevation and high chance of snow is important.  My father spent almost a year in Salzburg right after WW2 (guarding milk <-his words)- so we may head over there and out of Vienna.  

 

You could fly in to Vienna and return from Zurich. You could do a couple of days in Vienna, a day in Salzburg, a week skiing, and then another day in Zurich. Or even if you don't do that much sight-seeing, the train from St. Anton to Zurich will be a couple of hours shorter than going back to Vienna.

post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by givethepigeye View Post
 

thanks - seems like Arlberg region makes sense for us.  Easy enough to get to (although almost anything w/ direct from CLT, PHL, or JFK would do) and certainly enough terrain.  Since we will be planning pretty far in advance high elevation and high chance of snow is important.  My father spent almost a year in Salzburg right after WW2 (guarding milk <-his words)- so we may head over there and out of Vienna.  


have a look at schladming if your going to salzburg , a great ski town with loads of varied terrain 

post #18 of 28

If you do decide on St. Anton and you get a nice bit of snow while you're there, hire a guide from the Arlberg ski school. They'll take you to some nice off piste terrain, including this if conditions are good.

 

post #19 of 28

AnVienna to St. Anton is quite a distance.  You may want to check that out before pulling the trigger on that.  Salzberg is quite cool - no more than 24-48 hrs needed there.  Gonna be hard to sightsee in cities when the skiing nearby is so good - Schladming, Kitzbuhl, Zillertal, Solden, Pitztal, Ischgl, Zel am See, St. Anton.  Too much skiing to be had to be sightseeing :)

post #20 of 28
Thread Starter 

Vienna is a haul - that is on the "wish" list.  Salzburg for sure.  Zel Am See would love to take a run - even if just one - where my city boy, grew up during The Depression, dad learned to ski.

post #21 of 28

The thing is, Salzburg is much closer to Vienna than it is to Zurich, while St. Anton is much closer to Zurich than it is to Vienna. So if you plan to ski St Anton and visit Salzburg, it makes more sense in terms of travel time on the train to fly in to Zurich and out of Vienna or vice versa. If you do both flights from the same city, whichever way you do it, you'll be looking at a roughly 5.5-hr train ride at the beginning or end of the trip.

 

Zell am See has Kaprun and its glacier just around the corner on the same lift pass. I'm not sure what the skiing is like, but the town is nice. If you go mid-season, then you'd probably have a good amount of terrain available. It might be worth checking out the details in case you'd rather do a week skiing there.

post #22 of 28

Zell am See is nice for beginners, but it's not so snow-sure (wuite low) and if you're experienced, you would have more fun in St. Anton. The glacier at Kaprun is very snow-sure, of course, but if Zell am See is foggy, raniy or too warm, evereyone goed to the glacier, so it can be very busy.

post #23 of 28

If you are in Zell am See you can ski Saalbach-Hinterglemm "skicircus" area.

 

I think you need to pay for the bus there, but to change a bit, why not.

 

The area are two mountains facing a valley, so you can be sure that at least one part of them will be quite icy no matter when (but still, nice skiing)

post #24 of 28
Thread Starter 

We will most likely not got to Vienna.  Could fly into or out of Munich as well.  Basically any AA serviced field from US.

post #25 of 28

We recently returned from Lech. Lovely village and just a wonderful trip. I'm certainly not a Euro expert and won't try to compare resorts. We did some touring before going to Lech. Spent a couple of days in Berlin, not nearly enough time. We then flew EZ jet to Vienna for 4 nights. Had a great time in Vienna. We took the train from Vienna to St. Anton. It went through Salzburg and Innsbruck. Was a little over 5 hours from Vienna to St. Anton. Caught the Post Bus at the St. Anton Train Station to Lech. Doing all that with skis, boots, and bags for cloths would be a royal PITA. We actually shipped skis and boots to Lech which was pricey. We each had a medium suitcase and backpack and it was fine. You'll probably need to show your passport on any train, at least we did. If you fly to Zurich there's also a bus service from the airport to St. Anton, Zuers, and Lech. We took that back to Zurich with ski, boots, and bags. I think they list the time as 4 hours but it took about 3 hours from Lech to the airport on a day when it was dumping snow. St. Anton is down the road from Lech and is a bit shorter ride. Cost was 50 Euro 1 way and 80 Euro for a round trip. We found it very convenient. We loved Vienna and I'm sure we would really enjoy Salzburg. By train it's just not that tough to get from Vienna to St. Anton by train. Don't hold me to it but as I recall Salzburg was probably a bit over 2 hours from Vienna and a bit over 3 hours to St. Anton. We also loved Lech and would return in a heartbeat.

post #26 of 28

Some of the comments above about Euro resorts '...being mostly groomers' are simply not true.  I lived in Europe for 10yrs and find the resorts far more 'interesting' than most in North America.

post #27 of 28
And it's not true that off piste terrain is not avie controlled.

Most of the terrain that Is steep enough to slide has GAzex for avalanche control.

Just think for a moment, most groomed runs are under steep slopes that can side, and if they slide they can bury a lot of people.
post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by rod9301 View Post

And it's not true that off piste terrain is not avie controlled.

Most of the terrain that Is steep enough to slide has GAzex for avalanche control.

Just think for a moment, most groomed runs are under steep slopes that can side, and if they slide they can bury a lot of people.

 

The point is it isn't consistently/universally avy controlled and Gasex isn't for the purposes of making the offpiste terrain safe - it's for the purposes of making sure slides aren't big enough to threaten pistes or populations/infrastructure. There are some places where Gasex can make for poor skiing because you are constantly skiing on a debris base.  In the US you pretty much know that patrol routes work on a micro level so that a patroller will have cut or hand charged anything that is big enough to be a problem.  That just isn't the case in Europe.

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