Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee
I skied St. Anton/Lech the next year and found it a different experience. There was plenty of advanced terrain and bumps too, in both areas. I don't really think I deserve what seems to be criticism regarding the almost all cruisers that I encountered in Zermatt. I don't have any regrets whatsoever in not hiring a guide. I skied plenty in my life and I got what i was looking for in a trip to Europe.
That trip was early December, because that was when I could book my frequent flier ticket and my choice was not to go at all or go early. I was booked into a hotel in Verbier, which I think would have skiing more to my liking. There was no snow in Verbier so I cancelled and switched my skiing to Zermatt(which was almost all open). It is the prettiest European town you could imagine, perched high in the mtns. I wanted to explore THE RESORT, which I did, I skied just about everywhere, miles and miles of it.
I enjoyed the change of pace and exploring miles upon miles of different scenery and terrain (to look at, not necessarily what I was sliding on). Also, I'm partial to those European trams that go up over 3,000ft at a shot, the fannicular, a mountain ski train, was a special experience also. Also, If you've never done it, you have to experience a 6,000 ft all in one shot descent to fill in your bucket list. I really didn't need to junk up my trip with "group" skiing, fooling around waiting for people, or walking or traversing to some "special pitch". I'm quite used to that after skiing for years with my kids and dozens of other groups trips with friends. I can assure you, the scenery is spectacular where ever you look in Zermatt!
I'll be back to Europe again. Most likely Three Valleys or Valdisere, they are among the largest ski resorts in the world. Verbier is still in the mix, because I can fly over and be skiing by 1pm. (unless my plane is delayed) They have PLENTY of expert terrain than an experienced skier can find with a map and some smarts. For sure, in Europe you have to be very careful not to stray from the beaten path and end up outside ski area boundaries. When I go back, it's unlikely that i'll hire a guide, unless I'm there for a longer trip with a group.
Yes, I take short trips, I'm gong to CO next mo for two days of skiing to visit my relocated daughter, but that is the way it has to be to keep my costs and loss of income(I own my own business-no pd vacation) down, so I can keep doing it, long into the future w/o stressing the family budget. In the middle of these recent trips, I've been putting two kids through private college(and paying for their ski trips with daddy too), it hurts! I almost always fly for free so I'm never trying to get "value" for my airline ticket.
So, if you can afford the time away from work, and are going for a week, why not spend an extra $150 for one day of guided skiing(One of these day I'll probably be doing just that to ski that glacier in Chamonix, just to say i did it.), but for two to three days of the European skiing experience, that's "bogus". Your money will be better spent flying out west for heli or snow cat.(I'm speaking from an direct flight East Coast perspective). And that get's me thinking that for you Western folks, a trip to Europe is much more than a trip than it is for me, a less than 2 hr drive from Newark.
If you're like me, and you can only swing just a couple days away on a free Euro air ticket, then just do it, for a little over $1,000 total. You'll never forget it and the resurrection of this thread has done nothing to convince me that I had a lesser experience than I could have had. I know where to find the Pull of Gravity!