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Observations between European resort vs US

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
As some of you may know I spent 10 days skiing in Europe (Switzerland specifically) two weeks ago. I noticed many differences in the experience and while it may not be like it in all European resorts...it was facinating to observe the differences at this Swiss resort vs. the ones I know well in Colorado. For example:

In Europe I noticed:
  • No roped off areas
  • Markers identified "on piste" (right and left markers) but no barriers
  • No roaming ski patrol
  • One injury - in 10 days as opposed to 10 injuries on a typical CO day (note here that it was a groomer that radiod to the patrol to get them)
  • Many lifts were automated. ie you showed your pass to a reader (machine) and it let you through a gate. There was always one person inside a shack but they did not assist people getting on/off chair.
I imagine their operating costs are significantly less with this kind of approach. I also am guessing that the European culture is not "litigation frenzied" ...thats an entire discussion I imagine. But here is what I felt (the message they were sending) as an individual skier in Switzerland.
  • I am capable on the mountain and able to be self sufficient
  • I am reasonable about my expectations
  • I am able to make smart/educated decisions about what/where/how I ski
  • I can bring my "beginner" friends to the mountain and I am responsible for helping to teach them the basics about lifts, terrain, etc.
These are only observations. I felt very "free" over there. I just am puzzled by the apparent "non-invasive" ski experience there compared to the number of injuries (1), number of people falling off chairs at the bottom (1 and parent "fixed" it, not liftie), number of people falling off chairs at the top (0), number of people skiing off piste (I can count that high....they were all awesome too).

Question may come up...how many boarders? Probably 35% of the mountain, maybe more. How many teens? Same as here. How many beginners? A lot less than I see in CO (perhaps therein lies the crux of it...skiing is more a part of their lifetime culture?) Don't have the answers. I should post this on the European "snowheads" forum as they are mostly European and see what their view is as well.

Lisa
post #2 of 20
Lisa, nice report, which resorts did you go to?

Any photos?
post #3 of 20
Oh, and, yes, I think you've pretty much nailed it in terms of the attitude/culture. Although I notice you didn't mention the gluwein or apres-ski (or are you too young?)
post #4 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wear The Fox Hat
Oh, and, yes, I think you've pretty much nailed it in terms of the attitude/culture. Although I notice you didn't mention the gluwein or apres-ski (or are you too young?)
Nor the "Schnee bars" (snow bars in english)

Refreshing to get away from lawyers and ninnies isn't it?
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Not too young thats for sure! I was in Wengen. Spent much time at Rocks pub for apres ski (ask Colin the owner haha) and thoroughly enjoyed the "spirits". I must say I was equally gleeful for all the great food. I love European breakfasts! ( I was raised there so it was as much of a nostalgia thing as anything else).

I took loads of pics... a few are posted here: http://www.forums.coskiing.com/modules.php?set_albumName=album04&op=modload&name= gallery&file=index&include=view_album.php
(hopefully that works) Actually most of the pictures in that gallery are mine.
post #6 of 20
Looks good!
Did you stop at the Tipi any days? (that was a favourite meeting point for a lot of us recently, and also where I got dutch courage to do Oh God)
post #7 of 20
I have never been (and so I have no idea if this is true...), but have always heard that when its crowded, the lift lines are a dog-eat-dog experience (i.e. people are quite aggressive and can be pushy) compared to here in the US. Any experience that would confirm or dispell this? The person who related that to me was skiing mainly in Germany as I recall....
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
That place was a ZOO! I warmed the belly a few times for me face the blizzard. Ok I would have faced it anyway, but I just couldn't help stopping in...once, or twice...oh hell who cares how many times!
post #9 of 20
Funny thing. A buddy told me this story on Sunday at Okemo. On Saturday he and his wife got onto the high speed chair to the top. A snowboarder got on from the singles line. On the lift the snowboarder asked them if they knew how she should get off the lift? Seems her boyfriend was on the chair ahead of them and she had never been to the top. I think there was something about this being her first time.

Maybe Hairybones can fill in the details.
post #10 of 20
Just back from Grindelwald, next door to Wengen (where I have also stayed before).

You would have had to have shown your lift pass when you used the trains which are an integral part of the uphill transport/lift system in the Jungfrau region, but otherwise you are correct - it is a card reader.

Some pistes do get closed off - but you may mean something else perhaps.

Chancers who look for compo are usually at the other end of the spectrum. For example, blokes on the dole who think they could claim a few bob for falling over an uneven paving stone rather than skiers.

I sincerely hope the lawyers don't get started on inflated ski injury claims.

As for beginners, well they would be there if you look for them but they may concentrate on other smaller, cheaper resorts in Austria, Andorra or Eastern Europe.
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ebraun
I have never been (and so I have no idea if this is true...), but have always heard that when its crowded, the lift lines are a dog-eat-dog experience (i.e. people are quite aggressive and can be pushy) compared to here in the US. Any experience that would confirm or dispell this? The person who related that to me was skiing mainly in Germany as I recall....
The time I was there..the lines weren't enough to be aggressive over. Skiing in Austria (mm, 4/5 years ago?) I would say that this is true of longer lift lines. I was trying to be very polite and finally a guy pushed me forward. When I turned around to give him a frightening glare (haha), he smiled and said, "if you don't move forward you'll never ski today". So yes they were aggressive but not rude? I'm not sure if that makes sense and again...only a week skiing in Austria doesn't really account for much more than "an" experience.

Keep in mind that the lift lines were the ONLY place I saw anything like this. These same people moved over and invited you to join them at their table if it was jammed at lunch time and the pub discussions were great fun.
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Latchigo
Just back from Grindelwald, next door to Wengen (where I have also stayed before).

You would have had to have shown your lift pass when you used the trains which are an integral part of the uphill transport/lift system in the Jungfrau region, but otherwise you are correct - it is a card reader.

Some pistes do get closed off - but you may mean something else perhaps.

Chancers who look for compo are usually at the other end of the spectrum. For example, blokes on the dole who think they could claim a few bob for falling over an uneven paving stone rather than skiers.

I sincerely hope the lawyers don't get started on inflated ski injury claims.

As for beginners, well they would be there if you look for them but they may concentrate on other smaller, cheaper resorts in Austria, Andorra or Eastern Europe.
Ah I went to Grindelwald to ski one day. What a difference the villages are! I think I'd like to stay in Grindelwald from what I saw. As far as pistes being closed off...I'm sure you're right. Could have been a situation that there were so few of those areas that I didn't see any in my own mind. Either way..still much less than here I believe.

Thanks for the perspective! I'd love to hear more about Grindelwald if you have a moment. (did you post about it in snowheads?)
post #13 of 20
Hey, nextascent,
Just to make it easier for those not already on snowHeads, here's the British take on this thread...
http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=5459
post #14 of 20
I forgot to post pix from my trip to Lech, Austria the last week of January, but here's what it looked like:
http://www.zoneski.com/forum/ftopic2751.html
post #15 of 20
Those are great pics of Wengen! My husband and I were in Wengen maybe a week before you were there for Lauberhorn downhill etc. It was CRAZY! Did you get to the Eiger Bar? It was the perfect blend of singing, cigarette smoke, smashed in crowdedness, and free biers that made it so fun.


It looks like your timing was better than ours on the snow. The conditions, well, kind of sucked when we were there, but looks like that changed for the better! How's your hand, by the way?

Liz
post #16 of 20
The nice bud that I am I did a search upon the old thread in which basically every aspect was enlightened. I doubt we could do better this time than that.:

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=5149
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the links WTFH and Pow..it helps so much when I haven't finished my coffee yet!

Sheskis...ack yea you just missed the great snow but you got to watch the race! Plus that place is just wonderful anytime. Yea, I saw the inside of the Eiger as well. Pretty soon ppl here are going to think I'm a lush.

I didn't realize how these areas were developed primarily from mountaineers and climbers. Now I'm really doomed. I want to go climbing there too.
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rdy2ski
I think it should be an international team!
May I apply for the position of "piste/lift/bar companion" on the trip? I believe my credentials are impeccable (unlike my spelling, which is second rate at best)

Oh, an I have been known to repeat myself sometimes
post #19 of 20
...and just in case you haven't seen these before...

http://www.wtfh.com/4616/7201.html
post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wear The Fox Hat
May I apply for the position of "piste/lift/bar companion" on the trip? I believe my credentials are impeccable (unlike my spelling, which is second rate at best)

Oh, an I have been known to repeat myself sometimes
Lol WTFH, I thought I was losing my mind cuz I didn't think I posted that here (and didn't). I forget you're mutli-forum based. And you're Irish? You're an easy in then!
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