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Swiss Alps

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Has anyone skied the Swiss Alps? They look amazing on the web and do have a long history skiing but I know nothing about them. I watched a history show on St. Moritz and that got me started dreaming.

post #2 of 25
Now or ever? I spent a month in the Jungfrau region in '89 and two weeks in Zermatt in '85 and I agree, it's awesome! When travelling through Europe I often wondered if I could settle in any region other than Australia's east coast and the only town I thought I could was Interlaken (the Jungfrau region). Europe has the history and the true alpine village atmosphere, good lift systems and big tough mountains to boot!

Stop dreaming and save up your pennies for a wonderful experience.
post #3 of 25
http://skiing.wtfh.com/Photos/Jungfrau.html
I was there in January 2005.
post #4 of 25
Im living here

This is almost the same view from my office in Bern Thats the Jungfrau & Eiger

http://www.schweizerseiten.ch/bern/034_32A.JPG


FYI. No snow here yet, about 20cm above 2000M other than that just a dusting the last few days.
post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by stanton
Im living here

This is almost the same view from my office in Bern Thats the Jungfrau & Eiger
thats one great thing about bern. when I studied there, i loved the view from the unversity main building! awesome.


to the original question: switzerland is small, but very diverse, especially in terms of mountain shape. ie zermatt is a totally different experience from davos.
and grindelwald will be different, again.
post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryel
Has anyone skied the Swiss Alps? They look amazing on the web and do have a long history skiing but I know nothing about them. I watched a history show on St. Moritz and that got me started dreaming.
Back to the topic: what kind of skier are you and what terrain do you prefer? Are you a cruiser or going for the harder stuff? Groomers or backcountry/AT?
Based on that some serious recommendation can be given but you need to provide more info up front.
post #7 of 25
I was in Verbier about 4 years ago and I have tentative plans to go back in '07.

Some friends who were with me in Verbier, also went to St. Moritz last year and based on snow conditions, terrain and price/value, and from they told me Verbier appears to be a better choice.

Zermatt is a destination that a bunch of friends will be going to in Mar 06 and I hear the terrain there is amazing, but its usually a little more expensive that St. Moritz. But its on my TO-DO list, one day.

There are some lesser known resorts that also offer great terrain and conditions relative to value, and are less pricey than STM, for example. Engleberg comes to mind.

Nothing is inexpensive in CH but the Swiss alps are amazing... and well worth a visit. I like to use these sites for real "high level" info on resorts:

www.skiclub.co.uk and www.ski-europe.com

Both sites will spit out the best resort for say, off-piste, or beginners, or dining, or whatever you're into. g/l.
post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by stanton
Im living here
hey based on your "handle" (stanton) I'd say you were once a resident of Oestereich/Austria, eh? :

you have a real kick arse view there, stanton!
post #9 of 25
My husband and I spent a week in Zermatt last February. It is absolutely gorgeous there, that is for sure! Personally, though, I was somewhat disappointed in the experience we had. It was crazy crowded! Stay away from all blue runs (considered easy) because there are always classes going on and it is THICK with people. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to how they rate their runs, either. Some of the blues (green in the states) were much tougher than they should've been and some black runs (considered steep/difficult) were jokes. Also, trail maps were confusing and markings on the mountain were minimal and very little help. I can't think of any runs that we saw that were not groomed, most skiers found their powder on the sides of the runs. I've never been so cold in my life when skiing down some of the higher points. The tears in my eyes actually froze.

Being able to ski from Switzerland into Italy was WAY cool and we loved how you could just ski into little villages for a bite to eat or a rest.

The town of Zermatt was awesome, though still very crowded.

All of this being said, it is an experience I wouldn't trade for anything, but we will probably leave our skiing to stateside resorts from now on, and do more sightseeing across the pond.

Dawn
www.recycling-revolution.com
post #10 of 25
mergs

Cant complain at the view

My handle is my preffered ski town! Number of times i been there I should be up for honoury resident status I can be there in a few hours from depending on traffic, train is quicker.
post #11 of 25
lift tickets in switzerland are expensive, but not any more so than in top austrian resorts.


resort characteristics:

portes du soleil (champery, morgins), western border with france: mid-altitude, good snow record, prone to rain, spread out intermediate resort, small verticals.

verbier (4 vallees): killer terrain, huge, think of major french places. less snow fall than most think.

saas-fee, zermatt: super high-altitude, year-round glacial skiing, great scenery , both need a lot of snow, off-piste rather sketchy due to alpine hazards and rocks all over. the monte rosa range allows AT very far into spring, though. friggin cold sometimes.

andermatt: located in the very central part of the swiss alps, gets snow from any direction. very snow-sure place. the gemsstock mountain has some of the best terrain in europe, with very, very few acres groomed. very steep. the all-time favorite of quite a few guides i know. think of silverton.

zweisimmen, gstaad area: low altitude, scenic place. need relatively little snow to come into full operation. blue runs all over. skip this.

lenk, adelboden: medium sized, mid-altitude, resort with good grooming and efficient lifts. reminds me very much of the typical austrian resorts, both in terms of terrain and lifts.

st. moritz: if they have snow, great. if not, there is quality snow making. one of the best destinations for AT in the alps. up the bernina pass, lagalp and diavolezza are two killer mountains with just a gondola each and 2500ft vert of killer terrain. the st. moritz valley is one of the driest spots in the alps. but once in a while, it gets insanely pounded. it gets most nsow from the south, so it may be great when the northern swiss alps are suffering. the engadin valley is my all-time favorite in terms of scenic landscape.

davos/klosters: this is off-piste heaven. very good snow record, slopes of any exposition, very often rideable down to valley floors, 3000ft pow runs the rule. heck, is that a great place. even very good tree-skiing available. hiring a guide very much recommended. quite a few avy fatalities each year. if you are more into groomers: good grooming, not too exciting terrain-wise, may feel a bit spread out.
post #12 of 25
Thread Starter 
you people are incredible!
thank you
post #13 of 25
I think Swiss resorts are a little weak snow-wise.

St. Moritz, Zermatt, Jungfrau just don't get that much....I would wait until Feb 1 for snow-sure trip.

Verbier, Davos I think do a little better.

Anybody have snow opinions?
post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by dburdenbates
My husband and I spent a week in Zermatt last February. It is absolutely gorgeous there, that is for sure! Personally, though, I was somewhat disappointed in the experience we had. It was crazy crowded!
Pretty much any part of the Alps will be crazy crowded throughout February and the first week of March. It's their winter school vacation. Not the best time to experience any european resort.
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisc
I think Swiss resorts are a little weak snow-wise.

St. Moritz, Zermatt, Jungfrau just don't get that much....I would wait until Feb 1 for snow-sure trip.

Verbier, Davos I think do a little better.

Anybody have snow opinions?
in at least 4 out of 5 years, storms from the north are predominant. st. moritz benefits most fom southern patterns.

both st. moritz and zermatt are sitting on the central line of the alps, so they get less anyway.

davos will usually be good fom mid-january. good means good in an offpiste-sense.

honestly, i would wait until february or at least mid january for ANY TRIP to the alps. february and march are the months to go. january CAN be good, but who knows.

all in all, swiss resort are not any weaker in terms of snow than french or austrian. they rely on the same weather patterns...
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelly001
Pretty much any part of the Alps will be crazy crowded throughout February and the first week of March. It's their winter school vacation. Not the best time to experience any european resort.
i disagree. this applies VERY much to french resorts (crazy lodging capüacities overload lifts there), much to austrian but far less to swiss. i have especially skied davos quite e few times in february. no problem with lines at all.

one may excuse my slight switzerland bias.
post #17 of 25

Stanton

Stanton. I appreciate your putting up that photo. I travelled through Bern, making a R.R. change there, in a blinding snow-storm. I didn't realize one had such a good view of the mountains in that city. It was a rather grim impression that I received of it.
post #18 of 25
I will try and take one myself this week if its clear and post on here. Austria & Switzerland got its first real snow of the season in the last days. Here the Jungfrau
http://www.jungfraubahn.ch/en/Deskto...spx/tabid-138/
post #19 of 25
Mark has a "mystery trip" planned for us in December. All I know is that we fly into Zurich and take a train to some ski area. I'll give a full report when I return!
post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by snowdan
lift tickets in switzerland are expensive, but not any more so than in top austrian resorts.


resort characteristics:

portes du soleil (champery, morgins), western border with france: mid-altitude, good snow record, prone to rain, spread out intermediate resort, small verticals.

verbier (4 vallees): killer terrain, huge, think of major french places. less snow fall than most think.

saas-fee, zermatt: super high-altitude, year-round glacial skiing, great scenery , both need a lot of snow, off-piste rather sketchy due to alpine hazards and rocks all over. the monte rosa range allows AT very far into spring, though. friggin cold sometimes.

andermatt: located in the very central part of the swiss alps, gets snow from any direction. very snow-sure place. the gemsstock mountain has some of the best terrain in europe, with very, very few acres groomed. very steep. the all-time favorite of quite a few guides i know. think of silverton.

zweisimmen, gstaad area: low altitude, scenic place. need relatively little snow to come into full operation. blue runs all over. skip this.

lenk, adelboden: medium sized, mid-altitude, resort with good grooming and efficient lifts. reminds me very much of the typical austrian resorts, both in terms of terrain and lifts.

st. moritz: if they have snow, great. if not, there is quality snow making. one of the best destinations for AT in the alps. up the bernina pass, lagalp and diavolezza are two killer mountains with just a gondola each and 2500ft vert of killer terrain. the st. moritz valley is one of the driest spots in the alps. but once in a while, it gets insanely pounded. it gets most nsow from the south, so it may be great when the northern swiss alps are suffering. the engadin valley is my all-time favorite in terms of scenic landscape.

davos/klosters: this is off-piste heaven. very good snow record, slopes of any exposition, very often rideable down to valley floors, 3000ft pow runs the rule. heck, is that a great place. even very good tree-skiing available. hiring a guide very much recommended. quite a few avy fatalities each year. if you are more into groomers: good grooming, not too exciting terrain-wise, may feel a bit spread out.
Snowdan, thanks for a really great post. I enjoy this kind of comparative info. Your discussion appears to be primarily aimed at the off-piste qualities of the different areas. Could you elaborate on the groomed pistes at each? Also, would you like to compare and contrast the characteristics of other major Alpine ski areas in France, Austria and Italy?
post #21 of 25
to be honest, i of course spend a lot of time on the groomers, too...:

zweisimmen for example is simply lame in terms of groomers. i mean, it's probably a place to ski with young kids or so.

portes du soleil is very very big. grooming is crap until after new year (because the french operators know that customers come anyway, so why care?), but gets better later on.

davos in detail: the 350kms of grommed slopes are split into 5 seperate mountains. parsenn is by far the biggest and covers huge acreage, but not as many slpopes as one might think. very little challenge, too.

rinerhorn is unreliable in terms of snow.

jakobshorn essentially is a 180 degree skiable montain, all above treeline. the grommers are a variety of red high cruisers, great for carving mach speed. quality grooming, best lift system in the region.

madrisa is a family resort, nice offpist eto be had, but the groomers are nothing to die for.

from what i have seen from st. moritz so far, the skiing is very good. the grooming is excellent. the village itself has a noth-facing mountain and a south-facing one, that may come in handy depending on snow and weather.

andermatt has 2.5 mountains with relatively few groomed runs. one of the most famous expert runs in the alps, though. but you will not go to andermtt for groomers alone, really.


other big resorts to consider in switzerland: flims/laaax (south-facing, famous for carving slopes), lenzerheide (large intermediate resort), grindelwald/mürren (jungfrau region, super scenic) engelberg (gets lost of snow, huge vert), crans montana (can be super crappy as it faces south and gets little snow, what a sombination)


one last word: if you want to have equally good groomers, lifts, offpiste, snow etc...you may need to cross the border and visit ischgl in austria. ischgl is basically the only resort where i wouldn't relly mind if no offpiste was available, since the groomers are that much fun. i couldn't say that of davos. i think st. moritz will be as good, but look if it has enough natural snow.
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisc
I think Swiss resorts are a little weak snow-wise.
Verbier, Davos I think do a little better.
As far as Verbier is concerned major dumps are often followed by long dry periods. Which can suck at times if you are after untouched pow and the resort gets tracked out between 12 a.m. and lunchtime. The lower elevated groomers closer to the village often show stones coming out of the base when coverage isn't excessive. Weather patterns do not differ substantially from the ones at Zermatt and it is a matter of luck whether you hit it at the right time.
post #23 of 25

Don't miss the smaller skifields! Some with really great skiing and gorgeous views (like http://www.meiringen-hasliberg.ch)

post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by JuckEgli View Post
 

Don't miss the smaller skifields! Some with really great skiing and gorgeous views (like http://www.meiringen-hasliberg.ch)

 

Hi @JuckEgli! Welcome to EpicSki. Thanks for joining up. 

 

Note that this thread was last active in 2005, so the folks posting are mostly not around anymore. You can see the date of the posts in the upper left corner of the post.

 

EpicSki is mostly a North American forum, but if you want to check out any Europe-based topics, you can find most of those threads in the International Zone here : http://www.epicski.com/f/82/international-zone

post #25 of 25
Wonder if the op:s dream of the Swiss alps came true? He've had about 12 years to realise it 😀
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