or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › EpicSki Community › International Zone › March trip to Europe from NYC. Chamonix? St. Anton? Other
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

March trip to Europe from NYC. Chamonix? St. Anton? Other

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

I will be spending 6 days in early March in Europe. As of right now solo, but probably will wind up with a buddy. At western ski resorts like Snowbird and Big Sky I basically ski all in bounds double blacks, but steer clear of back country, hiking, sign a waiver at ski patrol hut type stuff. I like doing fast laps so prefer a good lift system as opposed to trams etc.

 

Am trying to pick a mountain relatively easy to reach from a major international airport and that meets my ski preferences (and doesnt break the bank).

 

Chamonix appears to be the most affordable and convenient, and the terrain doesnt daunt me, but the lift system does not seem ideal for me and it seems like a guide would certainly be necessary. I think I would prefer a mountain with off piste more accessible via lifts and less requiring of a guide. I like to ski fast and alone and dont like the idea of worrying about crevasses and avalanches.

 

St Anton and Verbier have been suggested to me as well. Any advice would be very appreciated!

post #2 of 29

Well first off, your ski preferences contradict each other a bit when it comes to ski areas in the Alps. You can't go off-piste in the Alps without some thought about cliffs and avalanches (and crevasses on the few mountains with glaciers). That includes patches of terrain that sit just to the side of the groomers.

 

Europeans have no qualms about setting up a bunch of groomers in an area that also has dangerous cliffs or leaving a patch of easily accessible terrain with no avalanche control (as long as it doesn't threaten anything below it). And in most cases, they  don't bother to post any warning signs above hazards.

 

That said, in any resort there is usually a lot of terrain that is safe to ski most days. But, you have to pay attention to conditions and scope out your lines to know where that terrain is. Most resorts will have indicators on their trail maps near the lifts showing you the general avalanche danger in the area, so that helps. But, you have to keep in mind that it's not a guarantee about the level of danger of any particular bit of terrain.

 

(I'll work on resort recommendations in another post.)

post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 

thanks for the response! I have skied at zermatt, st anton(only for a day), and aximer lizum. From my memory, I did not take a guide and was able to ski things near the pistes that had tracks on them and looked skiable. Granted I was much younger, and probably was being reckless. Are there mountains that perhaps have more on piste terrain of similar difficulty to western double diamonds so that I can avoid hiring a guide? Or where the off piste is slightly less risky?

 

At the end of the day I am sure there are affordable ways to share a guide and meet up with other skiiers so I wont let that limit me. But I really do prefer a quick lift system so I can get my laps in.

post #4 of 29

A good lift system and Chamonix are words that are rarely in the same sentence when looking at older resort reports but they are getting better. If you choose Cham then I would stay in Argentiere. This has the best skiing of the type you prefer in the Cham valley.

 

St Anton would be good. Also consider the 3 vallees Espace Killy and Portes du Soleil. If ski in ski out is on your priority list then it can be found easily in those resorts. They also have big and more importantly well connected lift systems.

post #5 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skiandgolfnut View Post
 

thanks for the response! I have skied at zermatt, st anton(only for a day), and aximer lizum. From my memory, I did not take a guide and was able to ski things near the pistes that had tracks on them and looked skiable. Granted I was much younger, and probably was being reckless. Are there mountains that perhaps have more on piste terrain of similar difficulty to western double diamonds so that I can avoid hiring a guide? Or where the off piste is slightly less risky?

 

At the end of the day I am sure there are affordable ways to share a guide and meet up with other skiiers so I wont let that limit me. But I really do prefer a quick lift system so I can get my laps in.

 

Unfortunately, there aren't many resorts in the Alps that have marked trails that are controlled and patrolled but not groomed. In those few resorts, there aren't a large number of such trails. So, skiing off piste really is the way to go to get steep and ungroomed terrain similar to what you normally ski. But the good news is that most resorts in the Alps have lots of such terrain. Even if they're known as beginner- or family-friendly resorts because they have a lot of easy groomers, they'll probably still have a lot of interesting terrain just off to the side of said groomers. So really, your main focus should be on finding the areas that have the best snow at that time of year, affordable accommodation, and well-connected lifts.

 

As far as skiing the stuff just off the sides of the pistes, the first step is to make sure you scope out the entire line to make sure it's safe. A lot of nice-looking stuff can eventually lead you to some not-so-nice hazards, so you have to make sure you know where the exits are and what are your points of no return. Once you know that your line is safe, then that just leaves the avalanche danger.

 

A lot of the stuff just to the side of the pistes will probably be too shallow and/or too heavily skied to pose a real danger in normal conditions. The main times that it is dangerous is when the overall avalanche risk for the area is very high (due to heavy snowfall or very warm temperatures). That's when the indicators on the trail maps around the area come in handy.

 

Still, I highly recommend a day with a guided group. Unless the conditions are terrible, the guides should be able to find you some really nice, probably untouched lines to have fun on in places you might not see from any lifts.

post #6 of 29

As for recommendations for early March and easy-access off-piste, the best ones that come to mind are the Espace Killy (staying in either Val d'Isere or Tignes), the Three Valleys (Meribel is probably the most convenient base to stay there), Ischgl, and Soelden.

 

For the Espace Killy and Three Valleys, you should be able to find loads of transfers to choose from running from Geneva. For Ischgl and Soelden, I'm not sure if it's easier to get to/from Zurich or Munich.

 

When it comes to searching for cheap accommodation, make sure to take a look at the accommodation finder on the official resort sites. In a lot of places, there are some smaller B&Bs and a lot of privately owned apartments that you won't find anywhere else that might be the best deal for you.


Edited by CerebralVortex - 9/29/16 at 1:32am
post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by CerebralVortex View Post
 

 

Unfortunately, there aren't many resorts in the Alps that have marked trails that are controlled and patrolled but not groomed. In those few resorts, there aren't a large number of such trails.

I think CV is right.

 

Les Arcs is one resort that does have some un-groomed, on piste black runs off the Varet lift that you could lap. When I spent the season there, they were shown as natural terrain (pistes Natur) on the trail map (along with a few other areas on the mountain), but I don't see that designation on the online map I just looked at. Snowcrazy posts here from time to time and does some guiding there if you want to get to the real goods. 


Edited by SkiSchoolPros - 9/28/16 at 12:41pm
post #8 of 29

Austria:

 

They're big believer of ski routes, which are basically ungroomed blacks. St Anton is one of the easiest to reach (from Zurich)

 

Switzerland:

 

I did St Moritz in late March once. Snow was good and plenty of people ski "between the pistes". There're also several routes that goes entirely away from the ski area. But you'll need to figure out the differences between them (some are patrolled and avi controlled, some not). 

 

France:

 

3-valley is full of "obvious" off piste. On a spring day, there're herd of skiers all over the mountain side. Tracks everywhere too. 

post #9 of 29

Fly non-stop from NYC to Zurich.  By train or bus to St. Anton or Stuben (about 3 hrs.)  Look at the local web site for St Anton for B&B's and apartments.  There are bargains to be had if you dig deep enough.  Stuben is less expensive than St. Anton, and with the new lifts going out of Alpe Rauz, it now sits smack in the middle of the biggest interconnected ski area in Austria and one of the biggest and most snow sure in all of Europe.  Stuben is also very, very quiet.  Polar opposite of St. Anton in that respect.  Best skiing, access, value combination.  Hire a guide or join a guided group to get the best skiing.  Otherwise you'll just be poking around the edges of the good stuff.  Check out "Piste to Powder" for that.  English speaking folks in the office, but certified Austrian Guides on the hill.

post #10 of 29
You have good advice in the earlier replies. Just like its hard to compare Vermont skiing to Whistler it's also difficult to compare the Alps (particularly Cham) to our Rockies. I'll never forget running into cliff and couloir warnings on a blue run at Cham. I had to take off my skis to climb down because I just did not believe the run would change that much.
post #11 of 29
Hi. I just posted on another thread about les arcs and the paradiski area. From what you have said, think it would meet all you ask for.

Easy to get to from airports. Good and very large piste and lift system. Amazing ungroomed pistes of all levels plus real back country if you want it.

Even people to ski with at your level if you are a friendly person. I might even be able to help out with a place to stay if your dates match when my friend has space.

Hope that helps. PM me if you need help with somewhere to stay.
post #12 of 29

I've skied St. Anton, Zermatt and Verbier with the same plan as you.

At St. Anton/Lech there is plenty of lift served ungroomed, safe expert terrain available.  You don't have to worry about crevasses because I don't think there aren't any.  (at least close off-piste)

At Verbier, the crevasse danger is quite minimal, only have to worry about that risk if you ski off the side on the glacier coming down from Mt Fort(there were people doing it), and there is not need to do that, main run is just fine!.  You have to be careful w/ powder skiing there because in some places there are all these "all size" glacier rocks which might be "just covered" and you won't know they are there until you run into them.  The same goes even more so for Zermatt. 

 

St. Anton is easily navigated w/o worries about getting in trouble.  For the most part Verbier is the same.  I found a little less un-groomed along the sides, but enough to keep one happy.  Now I was at Zermatt in early December, there was no off-piste skiing and if there was enough off snowfall for off-piste coverage most of it would not have been not too challenging.  Note: the main experts lift was not open.  But there were lost of big boulders that heed caution on a powder day.  Zermatt is probably the best scenery, definitely the coolest town to stay, the mountain is all crazy jumbled up with glaciers staring at you. You definitely would not want to ski off into the unknown there.

 

Anton and Verbier were each a 3-4 train ride.  I was able to fly in at 7:30am and get a solid half first day in at each.  I would say there is steeper in bounds patrolled (but I hardly saw any patrollers at either resort) at Verbier.  At Verbier I stayed at Le Chable, in a suitable basic but nice hotel(see report).  If you are looking to save room money at St Anton, use booking.com for Stuben or try to find "a room" in someones house which I think are widely available. If you do Anton, you want to ski the White Ring at Lech. 

 

You certainly don't need a guide to have a ball and ski all over Hard at St. Anton, Lech or Verbier. 

 

No Europe for me this year, but Chamonix is likely next on my list and I have the same questions and reservations as you. 

 

Why do you not like trams?  I love them!!!  Nothing like taking those Euro trams up the mtn.  I don't think they are any slower than chairs.  Riding all the different trams is always a highlight of my trip. 

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/145467/verbier-switzerland-trip-report

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

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


Edited by SnowbirdDevotee - 10/2/16 at 10:16am
post #13 of 29

6 days ain't long so you want to avoid Cham in my view, too disjointed and you need more time to do it justice (I did a full season in epic snow conditions of 98-99). Although Grand Montets is the best area in the Cham valley the other areas and especially the Auguille du Midi and Le Brevent offer amazing off piste skiing with massive vertical, best lift accessed terrain there is. You don't need to hire a guide but you need to get in with people that know the mountain so shacking up in gites and hostels where the ski bums stay is the best way to do this but I reiterate you need to get at least 2 weeks there. If you ride the Auguille du Midi and ski Col du Plan then along the mer du glace/vallee blanche that's your day done really. It's epic if you know where to go!

St Anton is good and is the best of Austria imo, had 6 days there once and it offered good steep skiing, I'm older now and I still like Austria best but a bit easier terrain - Saalbach Hinterglemm in Austria has a terrific state of the art lift system, one of the best, I had 6 days there recently and it took me 4 or 5 days just to get round all of it but was really impressed with lift system. Lower elevation so more risk of poorer snow but if you book late you can judge conditions. There are some steep parts but not like further west. Fun town and its all on your doorstep (unlike Snowbird/Alta - been there too and loved it except the travelling up from SLC, nice to ski from your doorstep which is more common in Europe). Cheap charter flights come into Salzburg from all over Europe for a lot of Austrian resorts.

post #14 of 29

I won't go back to St. Anton.  There is a distinct air of anti-American feeling in the town.  We were not the 'ugly' ones...

 

The snow and terrain are better at Zermatt or Les Trois V. anyway.

post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiii View Post

I won't go back to St. Anton.  There is a distinct air of anti-American feeling in the town.  We were not the 'ugly' ones...


Really? This surprises me, although I haven't skied Austria in the last forty years, but when I was in Austria in 2012 everyone was great, even in Hintertux and especially in Finkenberg. Maybe because it was the off season? Or have things changed in the last four years? We spent three weeks in Austria on that trip and the only person who was a creep was a male nurse in the hospital and that was because he didn't like me questioning what meds I was receiving.
post #16 of 29
Thread Starter 

Wow! Have been so busy at work the last few days haven't checked in, so thanks for such detailed and helpful responses. Great advice all around, both on different resorts and on off piste itself. I think based off the thread, it seems pretty clear that Chamonix is out of the running for this trip. It will have to wait. 

 

In the last week a few new developments have taken place so the trip might have a slightly different look now. My uncle and cousin are now trying to join me, and lucky for me, have deep pockets which should open a few new options to us in terms of guides and lodging. They have similar skiing preferences to me, but as they have not skid (or even been to!) Europe before, I now need to make sure they get that quintessential Alps experience as well. 

 

So with that, I think I have narrowed it down to St. Anton, Val Disere, Three Valleys, and Zermatt.

 

I think the first three probably are best suited to our kind of skiing, so I am curious as to people's opnions on the "other" stuff.

 

I have been to Zermatt so I know full well how charming it is. Can any of the others offer a similar experience? I might be willing to forgo my preferences for high speed lifts and easily accessible off piste for some of that fantastic cruising and on mountain food with the views that I remember. As I can now probably arrange for private guided skiing, Zermatt, seems like it might be best for them and still give me lots of off piste options. Like SnowbirdDevotee I was there last in December, when all of the off piste and the upper expert area were closed. I would think by March those might be open and provide us with good skiing. 

 

In my head, I think the move might be to book flights to either Zurich or Geneva, and then take some more time to figure out which resort to go to. I could potentially even book refundable hotel rooms at a few different places while I choose. If Zurich can choose between St Anton and Zermatt, and if Geneva can choose between val disere, three valleys, and zermatt. 

 

Lastly, check this out:

 

http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/europe-winter-forecast-2016-2017-stormy-uk-mild-wet-france-germany/60378723

 

I have found these reports to be fairly decent at predicting seasons. Was very helpful when booking my Portillo trip last year. In any event, given these predictions, and my march time frame, would any particular resort be favored? 

 

Thanks again for all of the helpful tips!

post #17 of 29

I haven't skied the Three Valleys or Zermatt, but I can say that both St. Anton and Val d'Isere will be nice enough towns for your crew. Both have plenty to do off the mountain, including big aquatic centers. I personally prefer St. Anton as a town because the train ride from Zurich is more scenic than the shuttle/taxi from Geneva to Val, and I think the town is prettier.

 

But I think Val d'Isere is a better mountain for March because it is higher all around (higher base, higher peaks, and more terrain above 2000 m, and two glaciers to ski on as opposed to none in the Arlberg area). I think the same is true for Zermatt from what I've heard.

 

It might be best to start with checking on flights to see which airport is more convenient/affordable for you. If one is significantly easier to fly into, then that can help you narrow down your choices. After that, you can check on accommodation and other stuff to narrow things down some more.

post #18 of 29

Chamonix is highly dependent upon having guides to get to the most interesting skiing as there are lots of glacial features even within the skiing from the upper tram at Grands-Montets.  Thus Cham is a poor choice for Snowbird Devotee with his mindset of avoiding guides.

 

At Zermatt we only had a guide for the way-off-piste Schwarze Glacier.   Otherwise we explored on our own, though with a lot of advance research.  Zermatt like the Austrian Arlberg, has many yellow marked "skiroutes" which are ungroomed. 

 

St. Anton is low enough not to have glaciers.  I was guided by Piste-to-Powder 3 of 6 days there.   Many of those routes I would never have found on my own, though I could find most of them now if I returned.  Thus I would recommend one or two guided days in the Arlberg early on.  I would be leery of the Arlberg in March due not only to the low altitude but a lot of the St. Anton advanced terrain faces south.

 

My guess on Espace Killy and Trois Vallees is that you could see a lot without guides but you'll get more out of the trip with a guided day or two at the start as in the Arlberg.

 

Espace Killy and Zermatt have the best snow preservation in the Alps for March/April.

post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 

Tony, is the extended St. Anton area, if including Lech/zurs etc south facing and low as well? Or is it just St. Anton itself?

 

If that long term forecast is to be trusted, this could be an issue this year, even in early march.

 

Flights to Zurich are cheaper than Geneva, making Zermatt and St. Anton slightly more affordable and easy than Zermatt and Espace Killy. Might be worth forking over the extra 200 per ticket though for better chances at good conditions.

post #20 of 29

The road going through Lech and Zurs is on a north/south axis, so most of the fall lines are east or west coming down to that road.

 

Stuben and Warth-Schrocken are north facing but are much smaller than St. Anton or Lech-Zurs.

 

Altitude range of all Arlberg skiing is lower than Trois Vallees and much lower than Espace Killy or Zermatt.  

 

I liked the Arlberg and I'm probably going back in 2017.  But as in 2013 it will be in late January. 

 

As always, "long term forecast" = dart throwing or fantasyland.

 

The altitude and exposure of ski areas do not change and thus they will have predictable impacts upon ski conditions year in and year out.  Snowfall is of course unpredictable, but is at least a probability distribution about its long term average.  You can get unlucky but you will you usually see more snow at locations with the highest long term averages.  And you can be more confident at areas with consistency like Targhee vs. those with high long term averages but also high volatility like California. 

 

Volatility of snowfall in the Alps is higher than in most of western North America though not as high as in California. 

 

My counterpart Fraser Wilkins, who analyzes snow conditions in the Alps, believes that altitude/exposure are more important overall than snowfall in determining ski conditions in the Alps: http://www.weathertoski.co.uk/weather-snow/the-snow-quality-equation/

 

1) Part of this is the quality of snow data.  With so  much of terrain in the Alps above timberline, much of the data comes from resort level or the lower half of ski terrain.  With the much bigger verticals in the Alps, resort level data is less useful than at a typical American resort of 2,000 vertical or so.

2) In North America much of the best powder skiing is during storms. In the Alps much of the best terrain is closed for visibility or avalanche danger during storms.   OTOH off-piste snow can be untracked for several days after storms, but it won't be powder any more if it's too low or sun exposed.


Edited by Tony Crocker - 10/10/16 at 10:25am
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skiandgolfnut View Post
 

I will be spending 6 days in early March in Europe. As of right now solo, but probably will wind up with a buddy. At western ski resorts like Snowbird and Big Sky I basically ski all in bounds double blacks, but steer clear of back country, hiking, sign a waiver at ski patrol hut type stuff. I like doing fast laps so prefer a good lift system as opposed to trams etc.

 

Am trying to pick a mountain relatively easy to reach from a major international airport and that meets my ski preferences (and doesnt break the bank).

 

Chamonix appears to be the most affordable and convenient, and the terrain doesnt daunt me, but the lift system does not seem ideal for me and it seems like a guide would certainly be necessary. I think I would prefer a mountain with off piste more accessible via lifts and less requiring of a guide. I like to ski fast and alone and dont like the idea of worrying about crevasses and avalanches.

 

St Anton and Verbier have been suggested to me as well. Any advice would be very appreciated!

You have been given great advice. As you have been to Zermatt, for a day, will only add, that place has the longest continuous vertical when it comes to on-piste runs in the world and not just one, but there are so many, and on the Cervinia side, they are perfect for firing on your turbo-chargers, which you clearly can, being an experienced all-mountain skiers. Verbier, having never been, cannot comment, hear a lot of good things of the Mont Fort area and as this article from pros attests, venturing off-piste you are on a glacier more often than not http://www.ultimate-ski.com/ski-resorts/switzerland/valais/verbier/advanced.aspx

 

As for the Arlberg, we thought Lech-Zurs was incredible but went at a time where the new connecting gondola to Stuben and hence St. Anton was not in place. They have excellent snow in March, and the terrain gives you broad alpine experience, in-bounds and out, and the food is 'generally' better than Zermatt (an opinion), though Zermatt has those funky music bar-resturants way out up on the mountain like at the Fluhalp above the Findel Glacier etc. Now off-piste in Zermatt is almost always done with a guide, even just veering off the trail can get one in trouble in the Alps (Michael Schumacher's ski accident in Meribel while skiing with his kids and their friends is a good reminder, they just veered off to the side of the groomer)

 

Loved the Arlberg personally: This is from a long time ago, but what a beautiful place, and I would say there is something of substance in poster 'Skiii's observations, he makes a fair point: while we were treated with grace, and friendship by all, and were the personal guests of a local legend. In a bar in Lech, this poster being of a hue a few shades darker than the others in the area, ran into a few neo-Nazis in the bar, and before things got ugly, our blond teutonic hosts made sure those characters left for the night without incident. Adolf's swastika and fist-salute was prominent on their t-shirts, tattoos and headgear. Not sure what it's like today but Europe is not exactly brimming with love and good cheer in the current epoch. But here is video of a trip which started the life of memories , and today the Madloch which was off-piste then, is on-piste now I understand:

 

But the king of the block in this occasional ski traveler's opinion, is Val D'Isere/Tignes hands-down, nothing like it. First its just bigger than Lech-Zurs-St. Anton and Zermatt-Cervinia by a considerable amount, and it is almost all off-piste. But make no mistake, the on-piste in L'Espace Killy is big and steep, the Red runs  in Val D'Isere are definitely steeper than anywhere we have been, and they are steep for a long ways not some rinky-dink short shot. When icy and bald in the spring freeze-thaw, its quite a slide-o-rama staying in control. Put a long tome of a TR on this site about Val D'Isere/Tignes with a 12 year old, but to cut to the chase :

 

The most beautiful Vallon de La Sache in the video above, is as picturesque as it is deadly, skiers left which the 12 year came down is prime avalanche terrain, and if you miss the last exit, your only hope is rappel, or chopper evacuation because you arrive at a gorge with no out..but you have to know that before getting there. 

 

On a separate note, about guides and group lessons: First clearly you are a very good skier, so simply the scale, beauty and challenge of where you end up will exert that inexorable pull to go off-piste. Just given the scale of the terrain of your candidate areas, a guide is recommended and basically mandatory just from a self-preservation angle. Or a simply less expensive option, such as joining an advanced group lesson will take you to off-piste in the company of others and a local ski professional, and that education is worth every penny, and it is rather inexpensive. L'Espace Killy off-piste anywhere needs a guide, no question, but that totally depends on your true personal risk tolerance. There are parts like when you come off  the last station from the Funicular Gran Motte or Les Lanches Lift in Tignes and there are Red and Black runs veering right from the exit like Descente which feed into a Red called 'Double' M. If you now veer skiers right, you take nice big broad good gradient Blues Genepy etc. but soon on skiers left you see this beautiful powder field, of usually untouched snow. There is a sign , normally buried under a few feet of snow in French politely warning 'Cliffs Dead Ahead'. Apparently many a skier has charged that powder field and gone straight over, and it's about a 500+foot drop ! Just saying...

 

And even the Ski Routes in the Arlberg are dangerous for the pros :

http://amountainjourney.com/two-skiers-avalanche-lech-austria/

 

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/lech-am-arlberg-british-teenager-2939110

 

And the Dutch Prince of the House of Orange who is an expert skier died on the Ski Route to Zug (he died later, never woke up from his coma as a result of an avalanche)

 

 

 

 

Enjoy, you cannot go wrong at any of the places mentioned, and for a good skier like you, these places are simply all paradise in one form or the other. Zermatt is the most boring of the lot unless you live the life of a Russian Oligarch !-)


Edited by dustyfog - 10/9/16 at 2:38pm
post #22 of 29
Thread Starter 

Interesting commentary on the Neo-Nazis in Austria. As the grandson of a Austrian-Jewish Holocaust survivor that was kicked out of his Vienna apartment and beaten daily by his Austrian neighbors, I can certainly relate. When I attempted to visit his old apartment there 8 years ago I was met with some similar reactions. Having said that, my week in Innsbrook could not have been filled with nicer and more inviting people. I really loved my time in Austria. 

 

My first choice at the moment would be to book airfare to Zurich and refundable lodging at both Zermatt and St. Anton. Flights to Zurich are slightly cheaper and the flight times from New York work slightly better for us. Zurich has a 5:15 pm return to New York while Geneva only does around noon. If choosing Zermatt, the return flight is later and thus easier to deal with the train on return day.  If St. Anton, have better ability to ski either on arrival day or departure day as it is closer to the airport. Having said that, the glowing reviews of Val D'Isere and the concerns about St. Anton's conditions in March are making me think long and hard.

 

I need to get flights booked and can worry about choosing the resort later, so for now I just need to decide between Zurich and Geneva.

post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post


Really? This surprises me, although I haven't skied Austria in the last forty years, but when I was in Austria in 2012 everyone was great, even in Hintertux and especially in Finkenberg. Maybe because it was the off season? Or have things changed in the last four years? We spent three weeks in Austria on that trip and the only person who was a creep was a male nurse in the hospital and that was because he didn't like me questioning what meds I was receiving.

 

I've been skiing St. Anton almost every year for the last several years, and I haven't had any problems. I've run into a few other Americans there from time to time, and I haven't heard any complaints from them either.

 

That said, I don't hang around in the bars in the evening. I'm usually too tired from skiing all day.

post #24 of 29

The bar in Stuben where I spent a couple of evenings couldn't have been more welcoming.

In fact, there was a bar-wide discussion (in varying levels of accented English) of how to explain spätzle to me.

The consensus wound up being "short, fat noodles" and with the goulatch they were delicious!

post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post

Austria:

They're big believer of ski routes, which are basically ungroomed blacks. St Anton is one of the easiest to reach

+1: Skiroutes are ungroomed, easily accessible.
St-Anton: Fly-train-(free) bus door to door, and still very authentic (vs. Some french destinations). Big fan...
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post


Really? This surprises me, although I haven't skied Austria in the last forty years, but when I was in Austria in 2012 everyone was great, even in Hintertux and especially in Finkenberg. Maybe because it was the off season? Or have things changed in the last four years? We spent three weeks in Austria on that trip and the only person who was a creep was a male nurse in the hospital and that was because he didn't like me questioning what meds I was receiving.

I'm late responding here. It surprises me too. We've not stayed in St. Anton but we were in Lech this past year. Had an absolutely lovely time and I can't recall any kind of unpleasant interaction with anyone during our stay. Before skiing we spent a few days in Vienna and had a wonderful time.

post #27 of 29
Neo Nazis in Lech, what is the world coming to? Minor European royalty, racing drivers and some of the world's wealthiest humble hoteliers and rental gear slingers won't like that. Anyway Arlberg is brill, great skiing and world's best apres ( honourable exception for Chamber Neuf in Chamonix which has more Scandi totty ( of both sexes))
post #28 of 29

+1 for 3 Vallees, 2 hours from GNV (I'm a Val Thorens regular) and everything the other side of the poles is skied and good access all round.

post #29 of 29
Thread Starter 

Update:

 

This trip briefly died as I waited for my best friend to advise me on the date of his upcoming wedding. Last week he finally let me know that I am in the clear and that I can still go on my trip! Me, my father, and our two cousins have airfare booked from JFK to Zurich March 5-12. The airafare was incredibly cheaper than to Geneva eliminating many of the options discussed above. We have booked refundable hotel rooms in Zermatt at Hotel National which seems well located next to the Sunnega lift which if I remember correctly is where I want to be as we are used to ski on ski off. Close as we could really find there. In theory, we can switch to a different mountain if something changes, but given all of the snow they have gotten early, it seems like a pretty good year to hit Zermatt. Luckily, my cousins have the means so we can do it right in terms of dining and off piste guides. 

 

Does anyone know if the bags can be checked at JFK straight through to Zermatt? I have heard about this but there is conflicting info on the web.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: International Zone
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › EpicSki Community › International Zone › March trip to Europe from NYC. Chamonix? St. Anton? Other