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Austria or France?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I'm thinking of doing a ski trip to Europe with my ski club. Unfortunately I have to pick just one. I've narrowed it down to St. Anton Austria or Val d'Isere France. I'm leaning towards Austria, but wanted to get some opinions. Thanks.

post #2 of 8
What 'r ya looking for?

St Anton has quainter Tirolean atmosphere. It's got a lot of wideopen groomed cuiser runs and a few steeps (mainly over between Lech and Zurs except for the Schindlerkar). It's got Bratwutz and bullion mit oei, and the famous Saltzburg-knocker! But best of all, it has the Krazy Kangaroo. Stay in St Christof of Lech.

Val has miles of off Piste that no one ever ventures into... and it has tons of Poms yapping here and there!

They are both over-crowded.
post #3 of 8
You can't go far wrong with either - they're two of the best resorts in Europe. Both have some good challenging terrain, although it's not always easy to find.

Cheap seats is right about over-crowding though - any North Americans will be in for a bit of a shock I would imagine. When are you thinking of going? If February then avoid Val d'Isere - this is the French holidays and French resorts can get very busy at that time of the year.

The town of Val d'Isere is always full of us Brits - an alternative if you really want to ski the Espace Killy (Val d'Isere plus Tignes), would be to go to Tignes - more French and more sedate (ugly though).

My vote would be for St Anton. I'm going there at the of Jan and enjoy the atmosphere much more than Val d'Isere.
post #4 of 8
OK, so you chose the best two. As alan said, avoid Val during February. Both resorts have excellent skiing and great Apres ski. Bring plenty of money. Neither are particularly cheap to eat well & drink in.
Whichever you choose you will enjoy it.

post #5 of 8
Don't trevel on the w/c 16 February if you can avoid it, that's when all the English children are around and prices double.

St Anton itself is quite low (1300m), so has a less reliable snow record. If you are going December or April Val d'Isere is probably safer.

I haven't been to St Anton but know Val d'Isere well and there's a _huge_ amount of skiing there - but it's not a pretty alpine village, it's a ski resort. I agree Tignes is a better base - no need to use the ski bus ever - but Val d'Isere is well linked to Tignes.

If you look at & compare piste maps it's certainly true that most blues in val d'isere would be reds in Switzerland and many of the reds would be blacks - I don't know St Anton so well, but traditionally the espace killy grading is the hardest in Europe.

I've been skiing & on holiday in both countries so you could consider other factors:

If you speak French or German to any extent, go to that country. Everyone in the resort will speak English but you make more friends if you talk the language.

If you like cheese, go to Val d'Isere. If you like dumplings (knudeln) go to Austria. Actually, France always beats Austria where dedication to food and wine is concerned.

The French like long lunch breaks. There are never any queues between 12 and 2.

For details on historic snow records, a summary of the resort etc look at www.skiclub.co.uk (go to historic snow reports then click on resort info for more) - very good for all European resorts.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Cheap Seats,

I'm betting that either will have plenty of terrain to keep me occupied. In fact depending on how wild the nights are (something about dancing on tables at the Krazy Kangaroo was mentioned) I might be getting up late and skiing mostly groomed cruisers [img]tongue.gif[/img] .

Just looking for input on first hand experience at each of these areas. The info you have provided is great.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Great info all. Frances, the UK Ski club site is excellent, gave me tons of details to review, thanks!

Sounds like overall St. Anton is more of what I'm looking for (I'm only going to be there a week, so it easily has plenty of terrain).

How have conditions been in late January-early February in recent years?

post #8 of 8
Yeah - last year Austria was great & France sucked. The year before Austria was awful (no snow at all at resort level for a lot of the season) and France was great. In general the French resorts are higher so have better snow records - but late Jan/early Feb should be OK anywhere unless you are very unlucky.

Have a great time; don't forget to drink the gluwein.
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