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Europe (Alps) from USA February Vacation week?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I am looking for a ski trip to the Alps for my family of four for February school vacation week (17-25).

My self and my two boys ( 14 & 18 ) are aggressive skiers and want to get in as much skiing/snowboarding as possible. My wife only wants spend a day or two skiing and the rest sightseeing. We have not skied in Europe before so we are looking for some kind of all inclusive deal or a trip that has easy transfers to the hotel. I would prefer not to rent a car/van and to have a direct flight out of Boston or New York. I want to make this an easy enjoyable trip (for me!).
post #2 of 25
You need to know that February is the worst period to ski the Alps, it's a total zoo as kids are off from school. I know the French Alps are particularly hectic at that time...
post #3 of 25
A trip with transfers to the hotel, reduces the number of offers you can get. One option could be fly to Zurich and pick the train to St. Anton, you can look for packages there, in http://www.arlberg.com/index.php?id=1&L=1 or in the official website http://www.stantonamarlberg.com/

post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 
The World Tour your Italy trip for $1,195 sounds perfect! Very impresses with the amount of resorts and countries we can visit.

I also read your reply on the other forum, thanks. I have been looking for the trip for a while. Everything I have found has been expensive and the connections seem difficult, especially with a family of four, with all our gear and after traveling eight hours to a country I have not been to before. I talked to a family skiing Wachusett that said they did a trip with a group to Austria last year and it was great, could have been your Innsbruck trip.

kelly001, unfortunately it must be February 17-24 as this is School break for my kids. Even taking them out early on the Friday before break would cause trouble with the School. I know this from experience!

post #5 of 25
Right now the flights on Swiss are pretty cheap. There are direct flights from JFK to Zurich on Friday, February 16th for only $560 round trip. They return saturday, February 24th. Our whole family goes every year to St Anton, Austria during this time and it's a great time. We are staying at a ski in/ski out house in the Nasserein region for only $38 Euro per person per night that includes breakfast. The direct flight from JFK to Zurich is about 8 hours and very nice. Once in Zurich, you can take the Arlberg Express bus directly to St Anton or any of the other Arlberg mtns. It costs $75 Euros roundtrip and takes approx 3 hours or so.

If you search around for flights and hotels for St Anton, on the sites listed in the other posts, you can find a very reasonable trip for your whole family to enjoy St Anton. A 6 day lift ticket will run about $190 Euro or so (about $240 USD), so you are looking at $560 (flight) + $350 approx (hotel) + $240 Lift Ticket + $90 Bus transfer per person for 7 nights/6 days of skiing. In the end, that's about $1240 USD per person to ski in arguably Europe's best Mountain.

You can spend more or less on Hotel rooms, all depends on what you want. There are some hotels that are more expensive but also include dinner. It just depends on what your budget is. I hope this helps with your decision.
post #6 of 25
Originally Posted by RI Skier View Post
The World Tour your Italy trip for $1,195 sounds perfect! Very impresses with the amount of resorts and countries we can visit.
Um, when you see the size of the resorts, you'll want to spend one or two weeks in each one, not just a few hours.
I'd suggest you look at Poof100's suggestion.
post #7 of 25
You mayfind this site of some use


being one of the main British resort guides to the Alps (and indeed the US/Canada so you may want to check out how some over here see your areas over there !!)

There are a lot of areas that you can access from the Aosta valley without breaking into a sweat at all. As WTFH points out, some may be a bit bigger than those you are used to skiing (but as the site shows, some may be great for a few days on their own but not a week eg the comment on Courmayeur)
post #8 of 25
My experiences are 20 years old -- last of five visits in February 1986 -- but February at Val D'Isere was consistently fantastic.

We took the bus from Geneva, because it was very easy to get around on foot within the town itself. That, as well as the low or nonexistent drinking age, made it heaven for a teenager. Oh, yeah -- and the snow.

I took traditional lessons in English the first three years and off-piste lessons in French the last two, because they weren't offered in English. Basically, off-piste lessons meant skiing with a guide all week. It was unbelievable.

We stayed each year at the Hotel Bellier. Monsieur Bellier has since passed away, but my mom went back a few years ago, and said the food was still excellent and the rooms have been upgraded.
post #9 of 25
If you are thinking of Switzerland (on the basis that Geneva or Zurich may be gateways from Boston/New York) and if you dont want to hire a car then try the Swiss rail system (which has a reputation ,unlike some others over here, for efficiency, timeliness and relative ease of operation for the skier/traveller ie they assume a number of their passengers will be skiers with ski gear). Web site attached. By the looks of it your 14 year old travels free if he is with you.

post #10 of 25
post #11 of 25
Hi RI Skier,
since you mentioned that your wife would want sightseeing you may wish to check out resorts close to interesting towns. There are a few resorts in Austria (incl. Kitzbuhel) close to Salzburg and linked by rail to Zurich. Then there is Milky Way in Italy close to both Turin and Genoa. Or the Dolomites not too far from Venice.
post #12 of 25
Hum, Swiss sounds like a good option :
Easy transfert from geneva / zurich
more favorable school holidays schedule if I'm not mistaken (when half of the french kids will be off-school at that time) Check here
best $/CHF rates than $/Euros
and of course great skiing.

See verbier, Zermatt, Crans Montana, Engelberg.

Saint Anton is a good place, but can get crowdy. And Austria's currency is the Euro. I don't know the Austrian school schedule.

Val d'Isere is indeed a great resort (see my profile...) but will be uber-crowdy at that time of the year. As the other french resorts. (thanks to Val good lift system and area-size you shoudn't face long lift lines or insanely crowded slopes, but the resort is much more enjoyable in march or january. Do not expect first tracks...)

Austria and eastern swiss usualy get the best coverage but you should get enough snow everywhere in late february.

I agree than given the size of the big resorts in Europe you can plan to stay in the same place for the all week without getting bored.

Re, your wife sightseeing plans : What kind of sightseeing ? Shopping ? Hiking ? Historical cities ? We need more informations. But it won't probably be easy to coordinate with your plans of skiing as much as possible.
post #13 of 25
[QUOTE ... and linked by rail to Zurich. [/quote]

Sorry, I meant "Munich".
post #14 of 25
Another benfit to the Swiss air/train experience is that you can check your bags through to you final destination. Last year we flew BOS - Zurich, then took the train to Zermatt (had to switch trains somewhere, maybe Brig?). Checked the bags at the airline counter, and then picked them up at the train station in Zermatt. So worth the price (like $10 - 15 per bag). They can't do it coming back to the US, so we had some serious luggage schlepping to do.
post #15 of 25
I've skiied the Arlberg during our Feb. break. It was more crowded than other times I have gone, but by no means was it busy enough to be a deterrent.
post #16 of 25
My father, my mother (who does not ski), a few family friends and I traveled to Innsbruck Austria in early January twice in the last 5 years. Although the exchange rate is less favorable than 5 years ago you can still find great deals. We used http://www.holidaze.com/ and paid roughly $800 pp for a package including airfare, Hotel, and transportation to and from the airport. Also, check out http://www.ski-europe.com/ which also has some tempting prices. I am biased towards Innsbruck for the following: 1) Skiing- Stubaier Gletscher (amazing glacier skiing with terrain for everyone) along with 4 other mountains nearby 2) Affordability 3) On non-skiing days great sightseeing trips! 4) Day trips to St. Anton/Kitzbuhel./St. Moritz.... All in all amazing. The service is wonderful and the people are extremely friendly. Europe has a wonderful ambience. Great family vacation in my opinion. We were supposed to return for a third time but decided to go too late and prices jumped. So we went to ALTA and I fell in love with POWDER (drool face). I still want to go back europe though well worth it! AHH!
post #17 of 25
also we live in nj and flew out of JFK.
post #18 of 25
here's some stuff about Bormio, Davos and St. Moritz:
post #19 of 25
Frankly, it is not easy to combine such diverging interests like skiing and sightseeing if you don't want to get your own vehicle for the time staying. Public transportation simply isn't convenient enough to get to and back from worthwhile cultural spots (assuming that this is what the sightseeing should be about) to see within a reasonable time frame if you want to reunite with your spouse during the evening. Except you are willing to sacrifice a lot on decent skiing and to chose resorts in the proximity to some major urban areas but that again is not worth crossing the pond for.

Aside from organized tours with own transportation a stay at Innsbruck with daily bus/train shuttles into places like St. Anton (regional train station), Ischgl (train access into Landeck, bus from there), Serfaus/Fiss or the High Stubai comes to mind.
post #20 of 25
A friend of mine with a non-skiing wife has had a couple of Euro ski trips. One was a few days in St. Moritz. The other was a week in Kitzbuhel with a car. The 3 non ski days they drove to Venice, Salzburg, and Ludwig's castles in Bavaria. Distances are short if the weather is good.
post #21 of 25
Thread Starter 
There is something strange about this forum! I came back and noticed that the response from The World tour travel adventure club, who gave me the best options and price, was deleted!
Their address is http://www.TheWorldTour.org
post #22 of 25
The World Tour was being a little too self-promoting. An agenda that seemed like a small business.

Blatant comercialism. Just a little much.
post #23 of 25
Thread Starter 
There a club (with better service than many of the companies I contacted, some of which are listed and linked in this thread) although, I presume there are commercial companies involved in their offerings along with everything posted here.

I don't think it's good that you removed the actual answer and solution to the information I requested. So, everyone reading this thread still thinks I'm trying to find the vacation for my family. It amazes me that this sort of thing goes on.

I do appreciate all the help from everyone, especially the http://www.wtss.co.uk/ link from colin.
post #24 of 25
You may have already booked making this unnecessary but here goes anyway:
Flying out of Logan, Swiss direct to ZRH combined with your ability to check directly to your resort is the easiest way to go. A compromise between the serious skiers and your wife might be staying in Lauterbrunnen which is at the bottom of the valley below Grindelwald, Wengen and Murren (all of which have a combined ski pass). The mountains there (Jungfrau, Eiger, Munch) are tourist attractions in and of themselves and Interlaken is just a few minutes away by train. Your wife can even get to Bern conveniently and quickly by train if she wants. For her touristing needs, Switzerland is best, because of the trains that go everywhere frequently.
Take a look at the websites for both the resorts and SBB, the Swiss RR.
I love Italy, but skiing convenience is not its long suit, and heed everyone's advice about French school kids. I ski in France every year, but always at the end of January.
post #25 of 25
Friends of mine did a two week trip to Austria,with their three teenagers, a few years back and said it was the trip of a lifetime.Not sure of the details,but they did a week in one valley in Austria,and followed it up with a second week in another region of Austria,where they finished up skiing at Kitzbuehl.They finished skiing on the Friday,and Saturday was the Hannenkahm.They were pretty well skied out after two weeks,and they said that they didn't regret not skiing the Saturday of the race,as the atmosphere on race day is truly something to experience.Imagine it must almost be a national holiday,given the strength of their team year in and year out.Don't know how much shopping was available,but I'm sure that there are plenty of spas in the region.
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