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Opinions - Ski Europa

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
opinions wanted on suggested resorts

In the midst of planning a ski trip while i'm in France during January 03.

Will be with a group of 3 guys, all are whom advanced/expert uni students.

We want to spend 2 weeks in 1 resort (Chamonix has the most votes) & possibly a further 2 weeks traveling to other resorts.

Terrain & snow quality are most important but nightlife is a close second. Touristy is not good.
Recomended so far are Chamonix, V'al'disere, St.Moritz & St. Anton
First hand info would be much appreciated.
Value is important
post #2 of 13
rag doll & friends!
Yes - Chamonix (stay in Argentiere), Val d'Isere, St Anton, Zermatt are all outstanding, and favourites of mine.
No - St Moritz. Replace with Verbier - much hotter skiing. Big steeps.
Maybe add - Les Arcs (France, not far from Val d'Isere). Huge ski area, big vertical.
I'd spend no more than a week in any location. You certainly need a week in Val d'Isere/Tignes - it's massive. 5 days minimum in any of the others.
If you want to ski maximum off-piste, look at La Grave (France) and the Monte Rosa ski area - Alagna or Gressoney (Italy).

January is low-season, so you don't need to fix your accommodation bookings in stone. Keep your plans flexible according to where the snow is lying.
You might find this website handy: It has plenty of opinion on masses of European resorts.
post #3 of 13
You probably know this already, but St Moritz & St Anton are not in France.

Tignes (Tignes-le-lac or Val Claret) is much cheaper than Val d'Isere & has better access to the same skiing (less walking required). However they are amazingly ugly! I'm told Sainte Foy (just down the road from Val d'Isere) has superb off-piste and is usually very quiet.

Don't go to the Savoie resorts (all the French ones you've mentioned) unless you like cheese. Same applies to Valais in Switzerland (e.g. Verbier).
post #4 of 13
If you are sking in Europe next january don't make any plans until you know the snow conditions. I wouldn't go until later in the year since that's when I've had my best luck, one year we had over seven and a half feet in three days! Another time there was so much snow that the Alps were closed, we were evacuated out until things settled down. So go where the snow is, which may mean another country beside France.
post #5 of 13
I was in Gressoney this January and there was no snow, we had to travel to La Thuile and Cervinia to get decent snow each of which are an hour away by bus. It has a good reputation for off piste along with the rest of the Monte Rosa but in January conditions could be iffy. If you can leave your choices until you see the conditions then it is worth doing, if you have to book in advance go somewhere more snowsure, although there were not many of those this January. Gressoney is an easy transfer (say 1.5 hours) from Turin if you fly into there or reasonably easyfrom say Chamonix if the Mont Blanc tunnel is open
post #6 of 13
If you're in Europe for the 1st time Chamonix is a must, Argentiere is great skiing, but Valle Blanche route not open until Feb. I agree with other comments to substitute St Moritz with Verbier. If you're on a budget you might consider staying in Bourg St Maurice - valley town but direct link to Les Arcs. Valdespair and Tignes close, as are La Rosiere and Sainte Foy Tarentaise - best off-piste in the Savoie region. If its off-piste you're looking for then La Grave has to be on your list.
The Trois Valles have some great skiing but the resorts vary and costs can be high, especially in Courcheval 1850.
Although you may find if you go to St Anton first you just stay there, St Anton has the best apre ski scene in the alps, only Chamonix comes close in my opinion.
post #7 of 13
You might find this website handy: It has plenty of opinion on masses of European resorts.[/QB][/quote]

You might also find at IYS that some of us don't necessarily rate Mr Goldsmith's opinion very highly. He is astoundingly arrogant and self-opinionated.
post #8 of 13
You could try buying this book, which we find is the best skiing guide. Where to ski and snowboard 2002 by Chris Gill and Dave Watts ISBN 0 9536371 2 3. Its British based, but the resort guides are really good. Try
post #9 of 13
Good book, Dave knows his ski resorts! I'm sure skierdude would back me up on that one.

post #10 of 13
I have that book, bought it in London as I recall, but have also seen a version of it available in the US. Looked pretty much the same from what I could see.

Excellent book, a "must have" for anyone planning a trip through Europe.
post #11 of 13
I have that book and like it quite a bit, especially the format of putting the + and - of a resort right up front in every chapter. Also, the graphics look nice and the writing is to-the-point and accurate.

What I don't like, and this is certainly a function of its target audience (skiers who can't drive to the mountains per se, and tend to go on concentrated vacations of 10-14 days, often without a car), is that it reviews RESORTS and not ski mountains. Thus, worthy smaller non-destination areas (like Jay Peak or Wolf Creek -- can't comment on the European areas) are either not mentioned or given tiny summaries at the back of the book.

And I know that if they had written more sizable entries on these smaller mountains, the book would have become encyclopedia-size. Still, the long discussions of on-mountain restaurants and apres-ski opportunities got tiring for me. I go to a mountain to ski; anything else (food, village architecture, drinking establishments) is gravy.

I know that you're going to call me a dumb, uncultured Yank, so let me have it.

[ June 07, 2002, 08:00 AM: Message edited by: jamesdeluxe ]
post #12 of 13
I won't tear strips off you, but I will pass your comments on to the authors. It is to do with the target audience (flying to a location for a 1-2 week trip), but also there are few places in Europe which would be just a ski mountain. Most are resorts, or linked mountains to some degree.
The bits about bars, restaurants etc, I think are also more to do with the average Euro skier, going for the complete ski & apres ski experience, and trying to squeeze it all in to a week.

post #13 of 13
If you want to come to France for some skiing, I'd advise you to visit Les Arcs, where you will find everything a skier would like, but if you don't want too much tourists, then try Vallandry, a small village which is connected to les Arcs. Lots of freeskiing round there, and you will find good snow conditions any time of the year. Sainte Foy is really the place for freeride in France unless you already know the resort... it's a very small village, has only 7 skilifts, but if you ask local skiers, they will tell you the best spot to ride. Try La Plagne, you are sure to find snow, and it is one of the greatest french resorts, with an enormous snowpark. You can also try switzerland; Verbier is in my opinion one of the best spots in the alps, with a lot of huge freeriding, one of the best snowparks in europe. The place is also very fashionable in Switzerland, very hot at night, and you could meet great skiers over there...
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