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Europe in early April???

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I need to make my air reservations soon for Spring Break next year April 7-11, and my daughters really want to go skiing in Europe. Is that generally to late to be reasonably certain of skiiable conditions and which area would be the best bet?
post #2 of 20
The timing should be fine. Even in this supposed winter of no snow, the late season turned out OK. It doesn't hurt to go somewhere high, of course.

As to where to go, I'd first see where you can fly to and let that guide you. Zurich, Geneva, Salzburg, Munich, or Milan? Or somewhere else?
post #3 of 20
Distances are short in Europe. Find the area you want to ski and then figure out how to get there. Look for lots of terrain you like over 2,500 meters (8,200 feet). Don'tn worry about the resort being low as long as there is lots of ski terrain up high.
post #4 of 20
definately seek a high resort or a snow sure one - there is plenty in France , Austria or switzerland . If you daughters are in their late teens early twenties then they;ll love the Austrian Apres ski which is known to be the best . Fly into London and then get a cheap flight out with Ryanair or Easyjet to Salzburg, Fredrickshafen,or Geneva.The flights are really cheap if you book on the net early ($100-$150 each) and should take between 1hr to 1 1/2hrs depending where you pick.You can even tag a weekend in London on your way back to make it a really memorable trip!
post #5 of 20
Re-think about making reservation this early.

April is low season for flying across the Atlantic. Air fares are often dropped to around $400-$500 to ANYWHERE in western Europe. I'm not sure you can get that kind of fare this far forward.

Forget about the flying to London part, unless you REALLY, REALLY want to tour London itself as part of the trip. You ended up fighting with the UK skiing crowd trying to get across the Channel when you can easily skip all that hassle by flying directly to Geneva (for France or western Switzerland) or Zurich (rest of Switzerland & Austria). There's no way you can get $200 airfare to London in order to beat that!

For Itlay, Milan or Venice are the two gateway cities. But I'm not familiar with the seasonal air fair pattern.

For a first ski trip to Europe, I highly recommend Austria. I did that as my first trip and was itchy to go back ever since. Having been to other ski area of the Alps since, I still think Austria has the "complete" package as far as experiencing skiing the Alps.
post #6 of 20
That time of the year is no problem to find decent conditions. For a specific recommendation there's more info needed what the emphasis is.
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
PowHog, we are all intermediates, my daughters on the beginner side, my wife in the middle and me on the more advanced side. The girls are 11 and 16, so the nightlife part isn't that important.
post #8 of 20
Early April should have plenty of skiing.

However, if I had to book early, I would take a big French glacier resort -Tignes or Val Thorens. Tignes usually has the best snow in Europe.

Geneva is the main gateway airport for France as well as Switzerland. Three hour transfer.
post #9 of 20
Allright then.

France:
Trois Vallees, L'Espace Killy (Val d'Isere, Tignes), Alpe d'Huez (with optional day trips to Les Deux Alpes, Serre Che, included in the ticket IMO). Paradiski would fit too but the resorts themselves are really ugly.
Avoid Chamonix-not the right spot.

Suisse:
zermatt, Saas Fee, Verbier, Davos/Klosters, Flims/Laax, St. Moritz, Samnaun (Access to the big Ischgl ski area on the Austrian side).
St. Moritz is an incredibly beautiful spot all around BUT way outpriced.

Austria:
St. Anton (lower slopes might be iffy snowwise), Ischgl/Paznaun Valley, Soelden (Oetztal arena)

For an overall well-balanced and family orientated ski vacation I would favor the Suiss resorts, especially Verbier or Zermatt. Italian resorts can be nice too but usually are snowwise not as reliable. Stay at or above 5000 ft resort level and you should be golden.

Of course there are still tons of other options but the above are the highlights for sure if you are novice to the Alps. It also depends on what you are willing to spend but then you could stay cheaper just outside the big resorts and commute by shuttle bus or car (except for Zermatt which is auto-free).

In case you like to get around for some sightseeing o.e. then renting a car is a must. Hope that helps, have fun.
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post
Forget about the flying to London part, unless you REALLY, REALLY want to tour London itself as part of the trip. You ended up fighting with the UK skiing crowd trying to get across the Channel when you can easily skip all that hassle by flying directly to Geneva (for France or western Switzerland) or Zurich (rest of Switzerland & Austria). There's no way you can get $200 airfare to London in order to beat that!

April will be past the London ski season. I would favor taking Scandanavian into Copenhagen over London for several reasons, though: a) heathrow is the worst "civilized" airport in the world. Transfers can easily take 2 hours or more. and b)British air doesn't hold a candle to SAS.
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry_Morgan View Post
April will be past the London ski season. I would favor taking Scandanavian into Copenhagen over London for several reasons, though: a) heathrow is the worst "civilized" airport in the world. Transfers can easily take 2 hours or more. and b)British air doesn't hold a candle to SAS.
Or just fly direct to Geneva, Zurich, Munich or Milan and save yourself the hassel. As for Heathrow, I've flown through it many times and not once has my luggage arrived at my final destination on the same plane that I did. Once it actually arrived before me, and I really don't want to know how that happened.
post #12 of 20
Roadrash, I took my first trip to the Alps this year with my 15 and 18 year olds. It was a great trip. I'm sorry we didn't go a few years earlier. The whole family had a great time. I'd suggest you buy a travel book. My favorite is "Where to Ski" by Chris Gill and Dave Watts. You'll learn a lot about the various resorts and have several hours of very enjoyable reading about the resorts.
We went to Chamonix and enjoyed every minute. We're all high intermediates so maybe another resort would suit your group better but the advantages of being in a real working town of about 10,000 people was part of the pleasure of the Chamonix area.
We flew into Geneva and found both the airport and the roadways easy to navigate. Be sure to consider both Val-Thorens and Avoriaz.
Visit Snowheads.com. It's a British site that will give you lots of advice on European resorts. All the big resorts have good web sites in multi language versions so just Google the various locations.
We used a British company called MyFrenchChalet to rent our apartment and everything worked great. Everything was exactly as presented in their literature.
Note that in Europe if it says Self Catered they mean you furnish everything but linens and toilet paper and you may not get as much of those as you might want. It's not a problem it just may take an extra trip to the market to get everything you will need to live there for a week.
I predict you will have a great time, we did.
post #13 of 20
Second Steve's recommendation of hitting the book store, in the sport section you'll find a few books on world's skiing resorts. Grab one with the most maps and photos and enjoy!

Don't know if you've ever been to Europe before or not. If you want this to be an "experience" in addition to just skiing, pay some attention to what the resort villages looks like. Some of the French resort are just plain butt ugly!

Again, unless you're touring as part of the trip and it takes you to other part of europe, there's no need, ABSOLUTELY no reason what-so-ever to fly to any other out of way airports besides Zurich or Geneva!!!
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post
Note that in Europe if it says Self Catered they mean you furnish everything but linens and toilet paper and you may not get as much of those as you might want.
What is it that type of accommodation called in American then ?
post #15 of 20
I've been in Ischgl, Austria the last 4 spring breaks and it was great They got one of the best afterskis in Austria, and the pistes are really high.. Sölden however got a glacier which would probably also work, and Zermatt, Switzerland.. My favorite however is Ischgl..
post #16 of 20
What about mixed ability family group looking for only 3 or 4 days of skiing and coming from the direction of Rome via TRAIN. What would be a good and CONVENIENT Italian (or other from PowHog's list) ski area to go to at this time of the season? Nightlife and ambiance not so important, but want good snow conditions, minimal train transfers, and moderate crowds during week after Easter Sunday. Thanks.
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadrash View Post
I need to make my air reservations soon for Spring Break next year April 7-11, and my daughters really want to go skiing in Europe. Is that generally to late to be reasonably certain of skiiable conditions and which area would be the best bet?
As already stated go for the higher resorts. One problem to consider is that the week of 5-12th April (most places are saturday to Saturday rental) is not only UK Easter School holidays for many areas, but also holidays for many other countries. Getting late booked or part week places may prove difficult.
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post
What about mixed ability family group looking for only 3 or 4 days of skiing and coming from the direction of Rome via TRAIN. What would be a good and CONVENIENT Italian (or other from PowHog's list) ski area to go to at this time of the season? Nightlife and ambiance not so important, but want good snow conditions, minimal train transfers, and moderate crowds during week after Easter Sunday. Thanks.
There's a place in switzerland called Veysonnaz - it's right next to Verbier.. There almost NO people in veysonnaz.. We had a fine week there.. The problem though is that the lifts are very old, and there are only 2 chairlifts..
post #19 of 20
A European apartment is equivalent to a US condo. The differences were in the supplies provided and the cleanup expected. There was no midweek cleanup, you got one small bath towel and face cloth per person plus maybe two dish towels. You also were expected to clean up the place, strip the beds, and empty your own garbage in the dumpster down the block at the end of the week or you were charged extra for it. No big deal, just a little different way of operating. On the plus side, the prices were reasonable.
There are many, many wonderful places. We actually picked our ski area based on the language spoken because both of my kids wanted to try their high school French. It worked for me. Twist my arm. I'll take you to Chamonix so you can be happy and practice your French!
A vacation where the teenagers aren't whining - PRICELESS!
post #20 of 20
So it is a condo. You learn something every day. I always thought condo meant a leasehold apartment (flat) as opposed to a freehold property.

I was not aware the term also applied to holiday(vacation) accommodation.
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