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What is Europe's best ski resort...?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I've had countless discussions with my friends about the best ski resort in Europe. My vote is still St Anton. What do other people think?
post #2 of 22
Of the ones I've been to, my top 3 would be: St Anton, Tignes & Wengen.
What other euro resorts have you been to?
And by "best" what do you mean?
Best snow?
Best lifts?
Best bars?
Best on-piste?
Best off-piste?
Best instruction?
Best food?
Best accomodation?
Best transport?
Best people?
Best ...?
post #3 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wear The Fox Hat View Post

Of the ones I've been to, my top 3 would be: St Anton, Tignes & Wengen.
What other euro resorts have you been to?
And by "best" what do you mean?
Best snow?
Best lifts?
Best bars?
Best on-piste?
Best off-piste?
Best instruction?
Best food?
Best accomodation?
Best transport?
Best people?
Best ...?

What is this, 20 questions?

Anyways, I don't think there is such a thing as the best resorts. There are only favorites. Mine is the resorts of the Monterosa ski area, but that's just because I like big empty resorts.

Edited by CerebralVortex - 8/3/2009 at 02:41 pm GMT
post #4 of 22
My sample size is sadly too small to really have an opinion. I can only say that of the places I've been, I've had the best time in Engelberg. That's as much a function of the conditions as anything else, though.

I would also have to concede that had I stayed more than a hurried three days, and had it not been early in the season with limited snow, and had the Grand Montets cable car not broken down before I could ride it, I would probably rate Chamonix at the top. The potential quality is obvious.

The only place I've been in the alps that I've been that i would rate poorly is Obertauern, although again poor weather played a part.
post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by CerebralVortex View Post
What is this, 20 questions?

Anyways, I don't think there is such a thing as the best resorts. There are only favorites.


Totally agree with you. That's why the questions. The "best resort in the world" for a single guy in 1999 is probably not the same "best resort in the world" ten years later for a couple.

I'd sooner read a comment that says "I prefer this resort over that resort because..."
post #6 of 22
Serre Chevalier was a pretty fun one. Three other towns to have a nightlife in, if you happen to get booted out of bars in the first town . And just enormous terrain over four main peaks. HUGE. There was something for everyone when I was there.
post #7 of 22
Personally I would rule out any French of Italian resorts. So there's only some Swiss and Austrian resorts which would stay in this "competition" for me. And St. Anton is not one of them. It's fancy place, but far from great ski resort for me. But then again, I probably have weird "standards" what is cool ski resort... only first 4 questions would count, everything else doesn't matter for me :)
But no matter what, I can't really decide... Ischgl, Schladming, Nassfeld (all Austria) would be pretty much on top of my choice.
post #8 of 22
The only people who could name a "best" are those who has been to one.

Because anyone who's been to more than one of the "top" resorts of Europe would have a hard time to name which one is "best". WTFH is on the right track to point out the endless angle of what makes a resort "better" than the next.

The more resort one visits, the clearer it becomes there isn't a single "best" in any continent.
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wear The Fox Hat View Post





Totally agree with you. That's why the questions. The "best resort in the world" for a single guy in 1999 is probably not the same "best resort in the world" ten years later for a couple.

I'd sooner read a comment that says "I prefer this resort over that resort because..."
 

I also think some people base their opinion on the resort's existing reputation. They go into a hyped-up resort with rose-tinted glasses (or those HI pink oakley lenses), thinking "Woo hoo, I'm going to X!" So, of course, their opinion is already biased before they even arrive.

That's not to say big name resorts aren't good. I liked the Arlberg area, for example, but there are a few definite weaknesses to St. Anton. The same with l'Espace Killy or the Four Valleys in CH.

It's like they say: Different slopes for different folks.
post #10 of 22
For the same reasoning, I'd not rule out any Italian resort, any resort in fact.
Even the tiniest one has aspects, or could have aspects which could make one go "wooo hooo"...
As a family we went a couple of years to Galtuer, up the road from Ischgl, and, despite not being huge, had spots even for those who wanted to ski "challenges"...besides, the type of location depends exactly on whom you go with...
(And I must be somehow...I'm here sitting in the Sardinian sun, by the beach, reading and posting on Epic...)
post #11 of 22
I asked that question to a long time US Ski Team member.  He named three

Lech-Zurs-St Anton
Trois Vallees  (Courcheval Meribel- Val Thorens)
Verbier

I've skied them and would not disagree.

 
post #12 of 22
A timely thread.

I am currently looking to book my annual 2 wk ski trip in St. Anton this year. Never been there and will be going with the Girl friend who is essentially a beginnner, for which I understand St Anton/Arlberg is not the best, however the Apres ski is supposedly great and throw in some requisite shopping and the GF is happy. I prefer good snow and terrain.

Planning on going late Feb or early March 2010, I would sincerely like to hear the recommendations on resort recommendations from those who have much more experience than I. 

Regards,
Doug
post #13 of 22
Never skied outside France but my favorite there is Les Arcs because it was the first season I spent living in the Mnts.  Nothing like being able to pick and choose your days while knowing exactly where to go when it is good.  Also liked being in a walkable, year-round town (BSM) at a lower elevation with relatively easy access to the lifts via the funicular. 

Espace Killy (Val & Tignes) was awsome the 1 (out of 3) day I hit it with good weather (after a nice December storm) and I enjoyed Chamonix, but think I would have enjoyed it more had I spent more than a week there and gotten more familar with the off piste (and some fresh snow). 
post #14 of 22
After reading my post of yesterday, I apologize for highjacking this thread.

I am sincerely interested in my fellow Bears opinion's on "best" European resorts, it seems that when discussion of "Best" comes up that St Anton/Arlberg is always mentioned. I was hoping someone would elaborate on this area and others especially in a comparison mode as WTFH mentioned.

OK Mods, should I post a seperate thread? 

Thanks,
Doug
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Hazmat View Post

After reading my post of yesterday, I apologize for highjacking this thread.

I am sincerely interested in my fellow Bears opinion's on "best" European resorts, it seems that when discussion of "Best" comes up that St Anton/Arlberg is always mentioned. I was hoping someone would elaborate on this area and others especially in a comparison mode as WTFH mentioned.

OK Mods, should I post a seperate thread? 

Thanks,
Doug

While there are definitely some Bears who have skied in Europe, most are US based...for more with Euro experience, it may be worth a visit to snowheads.com.  My sense is that there are not as high a percentage of "serious" skiers, but they have been to all the Euro resorts, know where they have had the best time and don't mind sharing their opinions.
post #16 of 22
Ok, Euro resorts I've been to...
Saalbach (AT) - great nightlife, plenty of intermediate runs. Not the best snow cover.
Val d'Isere (FR) - great nightlife, wide variety of terrain. Upside down resort (easy resorts are at the top, more difficult lower down). Good snow. Linked to Tignes (Espace Killy)
Tignes (FR) - Linked to Val d'Isere (Espace Killy). Snowsure - there's always the glacier, which can get very busy. Lots of skiing.
Le Tour (FR) - Top of th Chamonix valley. Great views. No town, so you stay down in Chamonix area.
Val Thorens (FR) - part of a massive ski area. Great snow conditions.
Wengen (CH) - Part of the Jungfrau region. Most picturesque ski resort ever. Makes "chocolate box" pictures look dull. Amazing views. Great runs for everyone.
St Anton (AT) - Great nightlife, good skiing - becomes great skiing when you go to Lech/Oberlech/Zurs.

From that list:
Best for nightlife - Val d'Isere
Best for beginners - Saalbach
Best for people who just want to clock up ski mileage - Val Thorens
Best for views - Wengen
Best snow - Tignes
Best lifts - St Anton (some of the chairs are heated)
Best bars - St Anton
Best on-piste - on a good day, Val d'Isere.
Best off-piste - tough call.
Best instruction - Saalbach or Val d'Isere
Best food - Wengen
Best accomodation - St Anton
Best transport - St Anton is an easy transfer from the airport. Wengen has good train coverage.

I regularly go back to Tignes. I'd go back to Wengen and St Anton without a second thought.
So, I guess that's my top 3
post #17 of 22
As Hazmat and others have asked : this is a link to a discussion of the Arlberg plus pics and video of a TR I made with my son. While would not profess to knowing many resorts, just the on-mountain staying experience, and I mean click on your skis from your hotel/inn in Oberlech and you are flying down, and underground tunnel access when one wants to avoid the snow would be in my opinion hard to beat. Its not an easy ski area though, broad runs yes, but many red runs are real steep. In any event, here is the link to the forum on the area, many other highly experienced ski-travelers have commented and made insightful observations:
http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/72589/arlberg-lech-zurs-st-anton-stuben/60#post_1092729

and a few short films just of the area of Lech, Oberlech and above Zurs are here:

Top of Trittkopff, only Red Runs to take you down and to some extent, parts of the inbounds area is avalanche alley, skiied through the aftermath of one...got the hell out of there though avalanche was ways before we showed up...

This is Oberlech : on-mountain residential area, absolutely ski-right-in and ski-on-out; the hotel Montana is a genuinely nice place to stay and I daresay significantly less expensive than anything comparable in food and luxury in our good old USofA

This is the town of Lech..pretty, nice, but I presume not much different than many others in Europe with the exception of quality of hotels and restaurants.
 

post #18 of 22
I am surprized that nobody mentiones Zermatt!! Especially in combi with Cervinia.  It has good lift systems (since 3 years it is all linked), pretty town (carfree) good snow (up until 3800 m - also summer ski), great places on-piste for lunch, very different types of slopes. Very long slopes. Lots of wildlife (I once bumped into bambi on piste..), lots of sunshine and to topp it off the marvellous views of the Matterhorn.

Cons I would say: lots of sun, so less powder off piste..
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aimee Kock View Post

I am surprized that nobody mentiones Zermatt!! Especially in combi with Cervinia.  It has good lift systems (since 3 years it is all linked), pretty town (carfree) good snow (up until 3800 m - also summer ski), great places on-piste for lunch, very different types of slopes. Very long slopes. Lots of wildlife (I once bumped into bambi on piste..), lots of sunshine and to topp it off the marvellous views of the Matterhorn.

Cons I would say: lots of sun, so less powder off piste..
 

Good points. I'll be going there this winter with a small group of various levels, which should give a good all-round impression of the place.
post #20 of 22
Given a selection of:

Montgenevre;
Serre Chevalier;
La Grave;
Les Deux Alpes;
Alpe D'Huez;
3 Valleys;
La Plagne;
Les Arcs;
Espace Killy;
Zermatt/Cervinia;
St Anton/Lech/Zurs;
Glencoe;
Nevis Range

I'd pick the 3 Valleys every time. It's got something for everyone from cruisy blues and greens to steep couloirs and plenty of nooks and crannies to get into away from the crowds. With the right kit you can even pop off the back for a bit of hut-to-hut in the Vanoise.
post #21 of 22
post #22 of 22

We are talking "resort" here, right, and not just "best skiing", "best snow," or something?

 

I'd say the Arlberg, the 3 Vals, Chamonix, Zermatt and Verbier -- all mentioned here -- can all lay claim at some level to being the top Alpine destination resort.

Did anyone mention Val d'Isere? That might make my list as well.

There are hundreds of other (including smaller) places that might be better for more specialized reasons (best snow, best steeps, whatever). But with "resort," I think you're trending toward the biggest places that offer something of everything.

I'm with primoz in preferring Austria over France or Italy, but you can't deny how much great skiing, with much of it at snowsure altitude, the French Alps offer.

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