or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › EpicSki Community › International Zone › French Alps Dec10-12, Here is My Plan
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

French Alps Dec10-12, Here is My Plan - Page 2

post #31 of 70
Originally Posted by prickly View Post

My new copy arrived yesterday, the same day my new skis showed up! Talk about kharma.

Now, if your new sticks were a pair of Volkl Karma's then that would be something!
post #32 of 70
Thread Starter 
post #33 of 70
Originally Posted by Wear The Fox Hat View Post

Hey fatbob, did I see you sliding at Hemel on Saturday? We were there breifly while taking a break from packing my house for the removal men.

Yep - was mainly freeing the heel, freeing the bowel, but did a bit on the demo skis.  You & Nells both sold up?

Sorry for the OT
post #34 of 70

I'm sold, hers is still on the market.

post #35 of 70
Originally Posted by ami in berlin View Post

But put simply, what you want to ski are the Swiss Wall (the official name on the map is something starting with "Che" with a "v" or two in it, can't remember off the top of my head) and Crozats. If they are not open, do not go there.

The official name of the Swiss Wall is  la Chavanette, but it's also known as the "Mur Suisse" ;)
The slope is classified in the Swiss/French difficulty rating as orange.
I've never been down it (I was seven the last time I was in Avoriaz :P)
 but judging by what people say and by the looks of it seems like quite the challenge:

post #36 of 70
Orange means it's a ski route. Un-patrolled, un-groomed and you ski there under your full responsibility.
An off-piste, in short. Like the Canalone at Made (Canalone. Camosci and the Angeloga, are just the only "officially" mapped ski routes in Italy, afaik)
post #37 of 70
The Wall looks worse than it is in those photos due to foreshortening.  I'd liken it to something a bit easier than the Face/Gunbarrel at Heavenly and IIRC it meelows out a fair amount after the first quarter.
post #38 of 70
Thread Starter 
Even though my name is Glenn, I'm no Glen Plake, but that wall doesn't look like much to be worried about, looks like my kind of skiing.  If it wasn't, I don't think I would be going on this kind of trip. 

I see two options:
#1 - Just arrive and drive 3 hrs to either Tignes or Val Thorens.  Hopefully I'll get 3 hours of skiing in the first day.  Stay and Ski either of places for my 2.5 days.  But I have a 3 hr drive the morning I arrive.
#2 - probably better 1st day to do 2 hr drive to Grand Montets and get an hr rest somewhere in my car.  Then stay in Chamonix for the night. If I think it is worth it to get a guide or ski 2nd day at Grand Montets I'll settle in there.  Otherwise, cause of time zone changes, I'll probably hit the bed real early and be up by 3-4am the next morning, and then If I wanted to I would have plenty of time to take a before dawn 2 hr ride to Tignes/Val, and then I could even ski my 3rd day at Les Arc which is scheduled to open Dec 12th.  That is my kind of skiing, to ski a different resort each day. 

I just got the where to ski and snowboard Europe today. 
Edited by SnowbirdDevotee - 10/15/09 at 12:31pm
post #39 of 70
That is a nice looking bump run, what fun.  Seriously they do not patrol this.  It would take a whole lot of poachers to build those bumps, sure would like to be one on a day as pictured  .
post #40 of 70
Thread Starter 
my favorite place on planet earth.  Snowbirds Little Cloud Bowl.  Note chairlift on left.
post #41 of 70
Snowbird Devotee

I'd go Option 2 if I was you.  If you've never been to the Alps  the Chamonix valley is something special and if you get a clear day worth going up to the top of GM/A de Midi for the views alone. I can recommend Hotel La Couronne in Argentiere as a modest friendly French hotel with plenty of eating options nearby. 

If the snows not heavy don't rule out driving over the pass to Martigny and maybe getting up to Saas Fee. Shorter drive than Tignes possibly.

Originally Posted by Stranger View Post

That is a nice looking bump run, what fun.  Seriously they do not patrol this.  It would take a whole lot of poachers to build those bumps, sure would like to be one on a day as pictured  .

No poaching necessary - I'm sure it used to be graded as a black and is certainly controlled.  Itinerary classification is only a recent get out for resorts trying to limit liabilities to clueless skiers who don't take responsibility for their own actions and expect everything to be groomed AFAIK.  
Edited by fatbob - 10/15/09 at 1:57pm
post #42 of 70
Thread Starter 

If you've never been to the Alps  the Chamonix valley is something special and if you get a clear day worth going up to the top of GM/A de Midi for the views alone.

If the snows not heavy don't rule out driving over the pass to Martigny and maybe getting up to Saas Fee. Shorter drive than Tignes possibly.

Fatbob, that is some terrific advice.  Yes, I want to go to Chamonix!
I looked at Verbier and Zermatt but they both open late and I didnt consider Saas Fee.  They open Very early!  And I have a funny feeling that the Saas Fee is much nicer surroundings than Tignes-ValThorens.  I think that will actually save on my driving too.  Mapquest has me going back to Geneva north of the lake, it looks out of the way to go that way rather than along the south end of lake??

Off topic - but it is snowing here in the Poconos right now, should be able to get out on my grass paths tomorrow.  Once again I will beat Snowbirds open for skiing (xc) like I did last year.  It is super nice that I have an exotic ski trip to think about and plan for the next two months. 
post #43 of 70
Originally Posted by Nobody View Post

Canalone. Camosci and the Angeloga, are just the only "officially" mapped ski routes in Italy

Wow, really? I didn't know that. Pretty cool if true.
post #44 of 70
Is Zermatt really not open? I've never been there, but I thought they had year-round skiing on the glacier. I didn't realise Saas Fee is that close, but hey, why not? North side of the lake is a freeway, south side is not, so that would explain the difference in route.

Regarding the Swiss Wall: I believe it used to be a black run, and it gets a lot of traffic. This is not surprising, since it is an important link in the Portes des Soliel system. I'm guessing part of the reason they changed it is because many people who needed to get from the France side to the Swiss side saw it marked on the map and figured it couldn't be all that difficult. Maybe the new status encourages more people to download on the lift.

As for its difficulty, the start is sphincter-tightening steep, but it mellows out a bit pretty quickly. I did it late in the day in the spring, and was thus treated to VW-sized moguls that exploded on impact. I would not have wanted to ski it early in the morning before it had a chance to soften up.

Off topic: We've gotten close to two feet of snow along the northern German-Czech border this week, and I am too pondering getting out on the cross country skis tomorrow.
post #45 of 70

For sure they have snow on the glacier, just a question of when they want to reopen.

BTW, what does it mean "VW-sized" in this day/age? Funny how that stayed in the lexicon.

post #46 of 70
Thread Starter 
oops.  Zermatt is absolutely open!

Edited by SnowbirdDevotee - 10/16/09 at 4:26am
post #47 of 70
Careful, though, the places with glaciers tend to run seasons in sections: winter season, say, into May. Then a summer season from end-June or so into late Sept or early Oct. Then winter season, usually from mid to late Nov. If Zermatt is open now, for sure it's glacier only. I don't know if they open the glacier in the early part of the winter season, it might be too cold/windy, etc. I don't know enough about their scheduling to say for sure. No doubt they have skiing pretty much all year round for national teams and such, not sure if lifts are always open to public.



post #48 of 70
Chamonix and Zermatt (you have to park at Tassch) combo for the alps in a weekend experience.  Autoroute back via Montreux/Lausanne.

 Pa will have a tough time measuring up after that!.
post #49 of 70
Zermatt is a place where you have to spend more than a couple of days. As fatbob said you can only drive to Tasch and must take to train into Zermatt as there are no cars allowed in Zermatt. Access to the skiable terrain is on several faces and you have to take a shuttle to get to them. Once you get to the lifts/gondolas/funicular etc.. it will take time to access the skiable terrain. Also lift tickets must be purchased in town.
You really can't arrive in Zermatt and plan on skiing the same day. It just takes too much time to get to the skiable terrain.
post #50 of 70
Thread Starter 
Zermatt is a place where you have to spend more than a couple of days.
who says so? 
Thanks Guys!  I'm all set now. 
Arrive 7:30am in Geneva, drive to Grand Montets and ski the afternoon.  Make my way to Zermatt probably early the next morning, for two full days of skiing.  And you never know crazy man me, maybe I'll ski one day at Zermatt and one day at Saas Fee.  They appear to only an hour apart. 
Thankfully, I'm not going to Tignes/ValThorens, cause Zermatt seems to be light years ahead as far as dramatic scenery and the town.

Anyway - short trips are always the best for me.  I seriously love skiing but after 4 days of it i'm ready to get back and make some money and get some work done. I have made well over 25 3nt trips(cheap) to Snowbird/Utah from Pennsylvania.  Many times twice per year.  Some dopey friends have told me my (1/2, 1,1,1/2) 3 days of skiing trips are too short.  Well, they have been left in the dust cause they can never seem to get off for the week they think they need, while I keep traveling and skiing.  Now I'm thinking I might even be able to get a second trip to Geneva in this year.
I'm no big spender for a ski trip and this trip will cost me less than 1K, and it would be much less if I had a traveling companion to split car/hotel. 
Edited by SnowbirdDevotee - 10/17/09 at 4:41am
post #51 of 70
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee View Post

who says so?  


I do! I've been to Zermatt twice and it's unlike many resorts since the town is pedestrian except for the electric vehicles used by the hotels and businesses or the horse drawn carriages. The town is beautiful and so is the scenery but it does a take a while to get to the skiable terrain as I've said, and skiing the same day that you arrive is quite an undertaking. Geneva to Tasch is 2 hours and 45 minutes without traffic, then you have to park and take the train into Zermatt. If you stay in town, the hotel will need to pick you up at the train station. After check-in you'll need to locate the lift ticket office, then get a shuttle to one of the mountain access gondolas/funiculars etc... I would say by the time you actually get to ski it could easily be mid afternoon.
I'm not saying you shouldn't go to Zermatt because it is beutiful and I would go back in a heart beat, it's just that it's a tough place to ski-in and ski-out if you have limited time and that is why I said it's better if you can spend more than just a day or two there.
post #52 of 70
It sounds to me like you're going to spend considerably more time driving than actually skiing. I like to move around a bit myself, but especially on a short trip I would never sacrifice time on the snow in order to move to another location. Rather for a short trip I would do everything I could to maximize my time on the snow.

nacg8or seems to be trying to tell you that you will not be able to drive to Zermatt from Chamonix in the morning and ski a full day. That means that by moving, you are giving up time on the snow.

If I understand your plan correctly, you will ski 0.5 days in Chamonix, and either 1.5 days in Zermatt or 0.5 days in Zermatt and 1 day in Saas Fee. You happy with short trips of a couple days to Snowbird. These resorts are all much larger than Snowbird, you've never been to them before (and thus do not know how to most efficiently get to the best skiing), and culturally they offer something new. And yet you are planning on spending less time in each resort than you would on a normal trip to Snowbird.

Imagine that Whistler is three hours from Vail, and you've never been to either. Would you spend a day in Whistler and then get up early and drive to Vail, not getting there in time to ski a full day? Now imagine that Whistler village is actually interesting. In the end, by attempting to do both, you end up not really seeing either. And you've skied less.

It's your vacation and of course you can do what you want. Personally I think it's madness. My advice is to only go to one resort. If it's Zermatt, you will not be skiing that first day, so you get two days skiing. If it's Chamonix you can be skiing before noon, so you get 2.5+ days skiing. Chamonix is a great place and culturally fascinating. I have not been to Zermatt, but I'm sure it is to. It would be a shame to blow through those places at the end of the day and miss out on that aspect of your trip. Anyway, of course it's up to you, and I'm sure you'll have a great time regardless.
post #53 of 70
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for your advice and experience!  Don't worry about me, I'll be fine.  I plan on playing it all by ear - weather, conditions, jet lag etc and on how I feel.  I don't think I need a hotel reservation at that time of year.  I'll post a report when I get back.
post #54 of 70
Have fun!
post #55 of 70

I think you can do a lot at Zermatt in a full day. I arrived there once from Milan before lifts opened, having taken one of the early trains from Tasch, popped into the hotel where my Mom was staying, booted up, and got a good day. Course, I didn't have jet lag at the time. But with the exception of the Gonnergrat train (avoid it) liftlines aren't so bad. Go straight to the Sonnegga train, make for the Rothorn and you're in business. Can't imagine not wanting to stay at least a night or so, but whatever floats your boat.


Zermatt is not really SO huge, I mean, it's not like the 3 Vals or Val d'Isere or anything. It's way bigger than anything in the States, though.

If you want to ski both Zermatt and Saas Fe, you might want to spend the night in Tasch.

post #56 of 70
If you go to Zermatt, I would highly recommend a small hotel where my wife and I stayed a couple of years ago.  It's called City Hotel Garni.  The hotel is small and quiet with very nice rooms.  It's well-located and the owner speaks excellent English.  Here's what it looks like:

Ask for room 304 or 404.  If you're lucky and the sun is out, here's what you would see from the balcony (this is during September):

Zermatt is a great place.  We thought the cemetery in the middle of town was very interesting (a couple of blocks from the City Hotel).  It's sort of a memorial to climbers, with gravestones giving details of climbing fatalities on the Matterhorn and other surrounding peaks.  Like many of the others who have responded in this thread, I think you'll wish you were spending more time in each of the places you'll visit, but that's up to you.

I agree with prickly that if you want to try to ski both Zermatt and Saas Fee in the short time of your visit, staying in Tasch would be a lot easier than staying in either Zermatt or Saas Fee.  Saas Fee is gorgeous too:

Have fun.
post #57 of 70
D@#% you Bob Peters and your photos!!!! Those make me want to go back so badly
I stayed at the Hotel Excelsior during my last trip there. Our room had a beautiful view of the Matterhorn as well. The cemetary is interesting too.
post #58 of 70
Thread Starter 
When I first checked I read somewhere that Verbier was opening Dec 13th or maybe even later, now I see some lifts are likely to be open late November.  Verbier is much closer to Chamonix/Geneva than Zermatt and a short 80 minute drive from Argentiere.  So that's the plan man.  I think I have all my possiblities straight, now I"ll just wait for the weather god and see what they do.  I think I will have to wait and check the resort web sites when they open for real and get their "lift open status" up.   Verbier will make this trip a piece of cake, as far as traveling. 

Thanks Bob for checking in here.  I read your report from before.  >100 months skiing. Wowser, you the man!
post #59 of 70
Wherever you go you'll have a blast. I'm sure you'll wish you could spend more time. This will give you the opportunity to take a trip to Zermatt later when you have more time. I'm jealous, I wish I were going.

You'll be driving through my paternal grand father's hometown on your way. He was originally from Bex in the valley on the eastern end of Lac Leman (Lake Geneva).
post #60 of 70
An hour and 20 Argentiere to Verbier? Anyone?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: International Zone
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › EpicSki Community › International Zone › French Alps Dec10-12, Here is My Plan