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Review of Conditions in France for the 2004 Season

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
With the last of the French resorts, Tignes and Val Thorens closing this weekend it is time to review the 2003-2004 season. We've published a report based on figures supplied by the French weather service: Metéo France and from our own observations which you may be interested in.

Retrospective on the 2003/2004 French Ski Season
post #2 of 8
Tons of snow still in Tignes and Zermatt, (click for webcams) with lots more snowfall forecast over the next few days. Sadly, few lifts are operating now, but I believe both resorts continue to offer around 1500m of vertical, which is pretty good for early May.
post #3 of 8
Hola! A little of your knowledge please...:

We're strong intermediates on Groomed Steeps, and found Spain and the Pyrenees in general less challenging (but beautiful) than the major resorts in the US Rockies.

In your learned opinion (s), which European resorts would be most similar for terrain quality (not size), Sunshine and NO FOG, to, say, Snowmass, Beaver Creek, Jackson Hole and Snowbird, during early January and mid-late April? The skiing in Spain was mainly on treeless slopes, and in the end we realized those trees in the Rockies (and US/Canada overall) are really more to our liking.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi Gpaul, maybe Mr Goldsmith can answer this one as he skis a lot in Switzerland which may better fit your wishes. I would suggest Davos may be worth a look, you can fly into Zurich, get a train transfer over to the resort and have your baggage sent on by Swiss Rail courier, all very civilised.

In Davos you can ski over 6000' of vertical on a single run and there is a great deal of secure, out-of-bounds terrain as well as nice pistes and traditional Swiss restaurants. The main downside is a lift system, which although improving, still leaves something to be desired by US standards. The town is not picture postcard, but a hotel such as the Art Nouveau Schatzalp would be a wonderful place to spend a holiday.
post #5 of 8
Gpaul. Places in Europe with huge vertical that I love include: Zermatt, St Anton, Val d'Isere-Tignes, Les Arcs-La Plagne, Flims-Laax, Courchevel-Meribel-Val Thorens. Engelberg is worth a look, too.

For both the periods you mention, don't pre-book. They will both be low season next winter 2004/5, so check out the snow reports first. I'd be inclined to ski St Anton in early Jan, and Zermatt or Val d'Isere or Les Arcs in mid-late April.

www.ifyouski.com has lots of European resort reviews from keen skiers. As davidof suggests, Zurich is a good airport for quick access to resorts. Geneva is also v. popular.
post #6 of 8
Gracias friends! Will heed your advices.

But, of those mentioned, which would have the largest number of wide, long trails cut through the forest (the slope then being designated by trees, of course)?
post #7 of 8
I'm based in Bourg Saint Maurice Les Arcs, mentioned by DG.


Given your travel dates, early and late season are snowsure at the likes of Les Arcs and Val d'Isère. Bear in mind though that the summits are well above the treeline and early or late depth to the snowpack at lower altitude is never 100% guaranteed. At Les Arcs there are beautiful tree-lined descents galore into Peisey Nancroix and Vallandry, and over the previous winter they were still skiable at the bottom stations in mid-April. Ditto with Val d'Isère and Tignes.
post #8 of 8
Tks PG, but you just ruined my day by mentioning Bourg St. Maurice as your home base, you lucky dog!

Les Arcs and all others in the page you provided sound great. One of my to-do trips is Cervinia/Zermatt for 1 week, then explore Pila, Thuile/La Rosiere, Courmayeur and Chamonix, based in Aosta.

Another wishful trip is 1 week Val/Tignes, then Les Arcs/La Plagne and Trois Vallees.

Thanks again and all the best.
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