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skiing in Europe

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm hoping to make it to Europe this March for a little bit of skiing. My plan at the moment is to spend 3/4 days in Chamonix, and 3/4 days in Zermatt. Just wondering if anyone has any other ideas they might like to toss around, and if anyone knows where to score some good deals on a package/hotel/etc...


post #2 of 10
if you give me a bit more info on the type of skiing you're after I will do my best to help.
post #3 of 10
Phillyuw, what you've said is a bit like a European skier saying I'd like to ski in the US and I'm not sure whether Aspen would suit me better than Jackson Hole.
What are looking for? What sort of skier are you? Chamonix is very different from Zermatt, both are great resorts but if you want to pack both into a short holiday you could have to give up some time to travel. That, of course, depends on how you travel but even by very fast car you'd lose at least a day.
There's lots of advice available from websites etc but you need to look at the geography to make a decision. On the other hand Chamonix and Verbier are not far apart, you can get to Verbier from Chamonix by train. Apart from which, you may find that Chamonix has more than enough skiing for a week. Check out the maps, buying a Chamonix valley ski-pass gives you access to the entire valley plus a day in St Gervais / Megeve and a day in Courmayer in Italy. Who needs Switzerland?
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
yea, i realized after i posted that how vague i was...but to answer your questions...i'm looking for some pretty good expert terrain to play around on, and a bit of back country, depending on my mood. as for transport, i'll probably be using the trains to get around. i'm hoping to ski both mostly because i know people who have been to zermatt and they loved it, but i'm looking to go to Chamonix simply because i know someone who lives in Geneva, which as i'm told is relatively close to Cham...time isn't a real huge issue as i'll have about 15/16 days to play with so i don't see any problem in having to lose days due to travel between the resorts. sorry if i'm rambling a bit, but i've got some tests this week and they really have my head scrambled...

post #5 of 10
Ok, here is my 2cents of advice.

i definitely recommend chamonix, great for the kind of skiing you're after but also a must for its fantastic scenery and place in alpine history. there is more than enough to do to keep you busy for one week.

my other fav off-piste place is la grave (a very small village with little nightlife in France nr Grenoble). this is hardcore territory and attracts a very int'l crowd of expert skiers (one lift, 2000m verticals, no groomers). if you have a car you get very easy access to alpe d'huez, serre chevalier and les deux alpes. great for variety and you are less dependent on local snow conditions which has been an issue for the last few years (you should always check for snow conditions at the chosen resort before you travel!).

verbier is a very good place too. other great places are st anton (austria) and alagna (italy, also called the Italian La Grave).

zermatt is great for the matterhorn and high quality of mountain restaurants (not cheap) but i would not rate it so high in terms of skiing.

hope this helps. Enjoy your trip.
ps i am planning a trip to Aspen this season.
post #6 of 10
Originally posted by dultimo:
Who needs Switzerland?
Me, I do.
post #7 of 10
I gotta agree with Crashhelmet, Chamonix is definately the way to go!Imho The ski-ing is better,conditions more varied and testing and the local mountain cuisine is both excellent and cheaper, although i recognise to most visiting non europeans this is a "relative" term.I would also say the minimum stay should be at least a week to fully get the best out of the area.
post #8 of 10
Just heard about Duo airlines - cheap flights from the UK to Geneva. Haven't had much of a look but I think it's Edinburgh and Birmingham.

In case it helps anyone.

post #9 of 10
if you want to stick to the Geneva area, you may also want to consider Portes du Soleil, there are several linked resorts there which would fit your requirements
post #10 of 10
Maybe not on this trip, as it's really far from the area you're looking at, but check out a couple of towns in Italy.

First: Covara in Badia - Tucked off the backside of the Groednerjoch (Val Gardena Pass), Corvara gives you access to all of Val Gardena's extensive terrain, plus much better lift accessed backcountry in the Sella Group, for about half the price of Val Gardena or Cortina. The nightlife is pretty good (but you're definately gonna be too pooped to party if you manage to ski the all-day-long expert backcountry run "Val di Mezdi" or "Mittagstal," off the back of the cliff encircled Sella Group. It's a mile of vertical from the summit of Piz BoƩ, the highest peak in the neighborhood at 3343m. Check out the three star Hotel Col Alto. I stayed there this summer. They bill themselves as three star but we definately received 4 star service, at what I would call 2 star prices. They also speak the best english of the hotels in the area.

Second: Bagolino - Bagolino is a tiny little town at the southern end of the Parco di Adamello (Adamello National Park), famous for arms making during the height of the venetian empire. The skiing there is relatively unknown to travelers, it being mostly an area for locals and the occasional day tripper from Brescia, the nearest city. The lift served area is full of really interesting larch glades and apparantly has some great mogul runs (can't really vouch for the surface though since I've only been there in summer) according to a local I spoke to. The Backcountry opportunities are endless. The 2863m "Cornone di Blumone" or "Blumenhorn" has four large couloirs descending from its rocky summit in each direction, three of which lead directly back to the lifts. I got the impression from folks I spoke to in the area this summer that the area is rather unpopular with skiers in that part of Italy cheifly because the terrain is so challenging. With the lack of recognition that Bagolino gets, you're sure to get fresh tracks almost anywhere you go outside the core of the area. One drawback, you MUST speak some Italian or German. Bagolino is not a very cosmopolitan place. The people are very friendly, but it's awful hard to buy a beer speaking english. Oh... and beware the drink known as "Grappa." It's the sweetest tasting, most potent horse-killing form of alcohol that has ever touched my lips. I pride myself on a rather high tolerance, and that stuff always, every single time, makes me power puke like a champion. So watch out for locals trying to get you drunk on Grappa unless you want to see your lunch face to face. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
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