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Europe Skiing Trip

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Anyone have any info on places to ski and stay in Europe? Looking to possibly do an extended weekend trip late Jan early Feb. Flights seem to be cheaper to Geneva than to places out west right now.
post #2 of 21
Check at www.schneehoehen.de and take your pick.
post #3 of 21
Chris, what sort of skiing are you looking for?
Within 40 miles of Geneva, here are some of the resorts...
La Clusaz
Les Gets
Morzine
Samoens
Flaine
Avoriaz
Combloux
Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe
Chatel
Megeve
Portes-du-Soleil
Champery
Les Houches
Les Contamines
Chamonix

You can check out a lot of the French resorts on www.skifrance.fr
Or, here's a page with a few links to European resorts...
http://www.theskishop.co.uk/Ski/Resorts/Alps.htm#France
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
Looking for a resort that:
1. Typically gets good snow
2. Doesn't get too crowded
3. Is fairly challenging but am willing to sacrifice some terrain for points 1 and 2.(ie Probably not Cham.)
4. Doesn't need to have great nightlife but would still like to have good restaurants and some culture.
5. Is fairly mountain accessible-ski in ski out?
Any suggestions?
Fairly new to the whole Euro skiing scene but have heard good things about it in general.
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
PS. Don't necessarily have to fly into Geneva.
post #6 of 21
Lech/Zurs in Austria.
Saas Fee in Switzerland.
St. Moritz in Switzerland.

To avoid crowds in Europe, you should look to go to a more expensive resort. In general, the more expensive the resort, the lower the crowds. Lift tickets are not what makes a resort expensive in Europe--it's the cost of services (lodging, meals, ski rentals, guides, etc). At Lech or St. Moritz, services will be pricey but you'll rarely see a line--even during the peak season. Both places have a lot of easy runs but there's some epic off-piste at these places that can challenge the best of us.
post #7 of 21
All I can say is try and make it out in January rather than February. Resorts have a tendency to crowd up in February because of school vacations. Every country has different weeks, some overlap with each other but mainly they all have school vacation during February. I skied Europe in January (2nd week) and I almost had the french Alpes to myself. Enjoy.
post #8 of 21
Chris,
I did some checking on which resorts get the most snow and most reliable snow and picked Zermatt, Switzerland for the last week in January and St. Anton, Austria for the first week in Feb. ('89-'90) taking the "Glacier Express from Switzerland to Austria. I hit it right because everywhere else in Europe had a bad snow year. While in Zermatt, I could have sold my room for $400 a night if I'd had somewhere else to stay! I didn't experience long lift lines in either place. When you have to make arrangements far in advance, you really take a chance on the snow being there. My advice is go with the statistics.
'dog
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Appreciate the info P-dog.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powderdog
Chris,
I did some checking on which resorts get the most snow and most reliable snow and picked Zermatt, Switzerland for the last week in January and St. Anton, Austria for the first week in Feb. ('89-'90) taking the "Glacier Express from Switzerland to Austria. I hit it right because everywhere else in Europe had a bad snow year. While in Zermatt, I could have sold my room for $400 a night if I'd had somewhere else to stay! I didn't experience long lift lines in either place. When you have to make arrangements far in advance, you really take a chance on the snow being there. My advice is go with the statistics.
'dog
post #10 of 21
I can highly recommend Obergurgl in Austria (www.obergurgl.at). I skiied there a few years ago and it was great. The resort is actually split over two mountains with a cable car connection so if you get bored with one mountain you just move on. There were no lift line-ups (yes, that's right, no line-ups) & the mountains go up to +3000m which means there is nearly always good snow higher up. The villages are also at a very high elevation which can give some people headaches when they first arrive (I blame the schnapps myself!).

I was there for 10 days and had a blast with the skiing but did find that there wasn't that much to do in the evening. However, we were staying in Hochgurgl which is the smaller village so Obergurgl might be better. Plus, a few kms down the valley is another ski resort with a party reputation but I can't remember the name...Solden maybe?

Anyway, in general the European ski scene goes something like this:
Cheap, cheerful & busy - France
Expensive, chic & not busy - Switzerland
Somewhere in between - Austria, Germany & Italy
Plus resorts dotted around in non-Alp locations such as Andorra, Finland, Romania etc.

Of course, that's a huge generalisation with lots of exceptions.

You can check out resorts here:
http://www.goski.com/world.htm

Plus it has 'consumer reports'.

Enjoy your trip.

Canuski
post #11 of 21
Go to Lech, St. Anton, Zurs. They're all connected via free shuttle buses, and you won't ski it all in a week. We stayed in Lech, it's the most beautiful place we've seen ever, and it's not that expensive unless you want it to be (pricey dinners, etc.). You can fly into Zurich and get the Arlberg Express (bus) right at the international terminal and you're good to go.
post #12 of 21
I really wouldn't worry too much about not having snow in the Alps in late January or February. Last year was probably the worst I've seen it for early January and even so, you wouldn't ski everything that was open in a week.
post #13 of 21
If you go to the Arlberg (Lech/Zurs/St. Anton/St. Christoph/Rendl), stay in Zurs or Lech if you want to get away from it all, but be prepared to pay more for food and lodging. The only areas of the Arlberg that can get crowded are Galzig and Gampen above St. Anton. However, these areas also have some of the best terrain (Schindler, and the Kandahar trail). Also, St. Anton has the best nightlife and food. My strategy is to stay at St. Anton and ski Rendl, Albona, or Zurs on the weekends, and hit Schindler midweek.


Lech:

http://www.dcski.com/articles/view_a...mode=headlines

St. Anton:

http://www.dcski.com/articles/view_a...mode=headlines

With regard to Soelden, it's a party place but the terrain is also excellent. I found crowds to be ok during the week but weekends can be hectic there.

Soelden:

http://www.dcski.com/articles/view_a...mode=headlines
post #14 of 21
Schlindler...YA WOHL!!! If you are in the mood for the most challenging off piste terrain in Europe, try going thru the fence just to the left as you get off of the Schlindler chair. Steep! Deep!! Narrow!!! Don't forget to hold onto the rope!
P'S': Stay at Apartments San Antonio (Euro 200 for 2 bedroom apartment with kitchen, 2 bathrooms and a livingroom).
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canyons
Schlindler...the most challenging off piste terrain in Europe,
Well, that's a bold statement when considering Cham or Verbier..: ...but good anyway!
post #16 of 21
You may be right...and it's all good, but I am talking about 600+ yards of 50 degree + vert., 20-30' wide and always knee deep. Basically a vertical fjord of powder. Just thinking of it takes my breath away!
post #17 of 21
There's very nice off-piste off the Madloch trail in Zurs (the one that links Zurs to Lech). Also, Albona and Rendl have some nice off-piste. I'm more of a piste skier than an off pister but I've surveyed a lot of the terrain in the Alrberg and it's quite nice and very accessible from marked pistes. There's a book on off piste lines available for sale in most bookstores in St. Anton.

One other nice thing about St. Anton is the train link Zurich. I can take a direct flight from Dulles Airport to Zurich via Swiss Air, and then take a train from the airport to the main rail station (15 minutes), and then a nice EC train from the main rail station to St. Anton in 2.5 hours. While on the train, one can change into ski garb in the WC so that once in St. Anton, all one needs to do is dump one's bag at a hotel and hit the slopes. The Galzigbahn is only about 50 meters from the train station. Geneva airport is about a 5.5 hour train ride to STANTON.
post #18 of 21

Back door to Val Thorens

Quote:
Originally Posted by chriscam
Looking to possibly do an extended weekend trip late Jan early Feb.
For an extended weekend trip I would go to St Jean de Maurienne, a nice town right on the autoroute up from Grenoble and an easy drive from Geneva. There is not much skiing nearby but there are nice hotels starting at 35 Euros. Good dinners at Hotel du Nord.

Just up the road is a parking lot right off the autoroute. Park, walk 50 feet and get on the gondola which takes you from sagebrush to the glaciers on the back of the Trois Valles, an unbelievable 40 minute lift ride. From there you are in the largest system of interconnected lifts in the world, and well ahead of the crowds at the base of Courcheval and Meribel, all trying to get up to where you are.

Newf (keep it a secret)
post #19 of 21

January

Chriscam... recommend late Jan rather than Feb as it will be much less crowded. Hire a car from Geneva and you will have a choice of classic (and crowded) and plenty of lesser known French resorts. You are almost certain (yeah, famous last words, I know) of good snow then.

Check this list of resorts near Geneva on j2ski.com and take your pick. Recommendations, off the top of my head:Argentieres (serious skiing and you can stay out of Chamonix town if you prefer - do the Vallee Blanche for a day to remember), the massive ski area of Portes du Soleil (Avoriaz et al, drop down the Swiss Wall for lunch in Switzerland and then back for a run down the Downhill course at Avoriaz to churn it all up!), or stay in the charming town of Samoens and ski on the Flaine massif (Flaine itself is ugly, but the skiing is good)...

Enjoy,
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wear The Fox Hat
Chris, what sort of skiing are you looking for?
Within 40 miles of Geneva, here are some of the resorts...
La Clusaz
Les Gets
Morzine
Samoens
Flaine
Avoriaz
Combloux
Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe
Chatel
Megeve
Portes-du-Soleil
Champery
Les Houches
Les Contamines
Chamonix

You can check out a lot of the French resorts on www.skifrance.fr
Or, here's a page with a few links to European resorts...
http://www.theskishop.co.uk/Ski/Resorts/Alps.htm#France
Avoriaz is a very good options.
Avoriaz is in the middle of the "Port du Soleil" area. 600KM of pistes, there should be some nice pistes to find.

The " Trois Vallees" area is also very big and nice. Several villages you can choose from. Meribel and Courchevel are English oriented. Val Thorens is the highest ski village of Europe, 2450 meters. You also can check out the Tignes/ Val Disere villages. Excellent skiing also.

In Austria you have St Anton, not for beginners and for example Sölden with its 3 gletsjers. I had fantastic snow in Sölden last year end of March.

Enyoy your skiing
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnfmh
Lech/Zurs in Austria.
Saas Fee in Switzerland.
St. Moritz in Switzerland.

To avoid crowds in Europe, you should look to go to a more expensive resort. In general, the more expensive the resort, the lower the crowds. Lift tickets are not what makes a resort expensive in Europe--it's the cost of services (lodging, meals, ski rentals, guides, etc).
That is complete bollocks ! You don't know what you are talking about. There are lots of small European resorts that don't get crowds and plenty of big ones that do.

Someone else said France was cheap and cheerful and Switzerland is expensive. That is a fallacy. Hotels in places like Courchevel are more expensive than in equivalent resorts in Switzerland.

Anyway, if the questioner wants to do a long weekend out of Geneva, it would make sense to pick somewhere close to Geneva. That would include French resorts like Megeve, La Cusaz which are both fairly traditional or Flaine which is a modern purpose built station de ski.
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