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Ski the Alps, or stay in USA?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

I did some homework and calculated that it would be ~ $3000 for two people to stay 7 nights in Telluride and ski 4 days. I did some more and found it would be about the same to go to Zermatt Switzerland. The high cost of lift tickets and lodging in Telluride appear to make up the difference in cost for the flight to Europe. Both require a train or shuttle from the airport. My fiance and I are planning a mid January vacation. We were thinking about Telluride or Jackson Hole, but just because we haven't been to these places. I don't know if I'm way off but for the same price, I'd rather try the Alps.

 

We are intermediate skiers. We have skied blacks in the US at Vail, Heavenly, Alta. We get into trouble on moguls.

 

I'm wondering if anyone here has skied the Alps and can provide some of their personal experiences with me about the good places to go and if it is worth the long flight to go. I found some sites but the amount of resorts there is so great that I don't know where to start.

 

 

this is my rough estimate for two people 1/16 - 1/23 2011

 

Telluride 7 nights

Hotel: $1600  Hotel Telluride

Flights: $800 tex / $660 mtj / $420 denver

Rental car Denver 200

Shuttle: $60 tex / $200 from montrose

Lift Tickets: $680 4 days / $850 5 days

Total = 3140 from telluride / 3140 from Montrose / 2900 Denver

 

Zermatt 7 nights

Hotel: $768 le petit hotel

Flights: $1480

Train: $180

Lift Tickets: $512 4 days/ 626 5 days

Total = 2940

post #2 of 24

I've been to Tellurde but not Zermatt. I've skied in the Alps quite a few times though. While I support your math and logic, there're a few thing you should be aware of:

 

- European hotel rooms can be quite cramped. Double check the size of your room to see if one of you need to get out of the door while the other changes!

 

- European resorts have a different policy regarding skiing off the groomer. Off-piste is not marked nor avalanche controlled.

 

- Food & drink: the Swiss Franc is quite strong at the moment. So your "incidental" need to be factored in.

 

- Jet lag. Some people don't care and just ignore it. Others have trouble sleeping.

 

- There're a lot more to do in Europe when you're not skiing. The train journey to Zermatt is supposed to be spectacula!

 

post #3 of 24

I might vote for the Alps in your situation, but not Zermatt in January.  Zermatt is low in snowfall but high elevation with excellent snow preservation, so best in March/April.  Maybe check out Lech/Zurs for January?

 

I'd highly recommend Jackson for this January.  It's usually the best month there and it's off to a fantastic start.  You should be on the stronger side of intermediate ski ability though. 

post #4 of 24

If the OP's having trouble with moguls, I'm not sure if JH is a good destination. Telluride has plenty of mellow terrain, condition and cost not withstanding.

 

In the Alps, I'd add St, Anton to the candidate list. I'm assumign the OP is flying to Zurich. So access to Switzerland and Austria are most convenient. If it's Geneva, France will be closer.

 

post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 

Lech / Zurs is where Klaus Mair teaches. But the hotels there are about as much as Telluride... I figure with the jet lag it may be better to do a 2week future vacation.. Telluride, Whistler, jackson hole maybe the best options for 7 nights.. thank you

post #6 of 24

I recommend the US over the Alps for a one-week trip for one reason: visibility. If you come here on a very cloudy week, at most resorts, you won't be able to see much or ski effectively. The vast majority of skiing in the Alps is above treeline. It matters, which makes the one-week trip to the Alps a bit of a crap shoot. Feeling lucky?

post #7 of 24

I would definitely go for the Alps!  Last year I skied Zermatt, in fact I stayed a night at Le Petit Hotel, the breakfast was incredible compared to what you get in the US.  All included.  The train service from the airport to Zermatt is door to door with one change, but I did hop on the wrong train!(they stopped the train, threw me out, and the right train stopped in the middle of nowhere to pick me up)  You are not going to find the same scenery, 6,000 ft drop, multiple cable cars, on slope restaurants, european food, etc etc. anywhere in the US.  And you already have a few US trips under your belt.  Book your trip to Zermatt now!  And don't forget to ski down to Italy for pasta for lunch while you are there, a completely difference culture and another huge mtn, all on the one lift ticket you buy.

 

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/89239/zermatt-not-my-kind-of-skiing

it wasn't my kind of skiing, but it sounds like it would be just perfect for you and your fiance.

also check the post for a link to my zermatt google photo album for more pictures.

post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeg19_82 View Post

 

 

I'm wondering if anyone here has skied the Alps and can provide some of their personal experiences with me about the good places to go and if it is worth the long flight to go. I found some sites but the amount of resorts there is so great that I don't know where to start.

 

 

this is my rough estimate for two people 1/16 - 1/23 2011

 

 

Zermatt 7 nights

Hotel: $768 le petit hotel

Flights: $1480

Train: $180

Lift Tickets: $512 4 days/ 626 5 days

Total = 2940


If you aren't going exclusively for the skiing or if you also have an interest in alpine history, I'd recommend going to Zermatt over Telluride. The sight of the Matterhorn looming on the horizon, the first glimpse of which emerges just as you approach the church from the train station, is something not to be missed.

 

It's a blast just to wander through the remnants of the old village with its wooden huts blackened by age. The Matterhorn museum is a worth a visit; it was there I learned that Winston Churchill climbed both the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa as a young man. The museum contains a letter of recommendation he wrote for one of his guides. It might sound morbid but the climbers' cemeteries are fascinating, though sobering.

 

Dining out can be very expensive in Zermatt, as are the trains and trams. I'd recommend that you look into buying a Swiss Rail flexipass, if you plan to venture beyond Zermatt You can buy two or three (or more) days of unrestricted train travel in Switzerland at a significantly reduced rate with the Flexipass, though the last leg of the train to Zermatt is on a private railway that is even more expensive than the state railway. The Flexipass entitles you to a discount. Since you are in the neighborhood I'd recommend you consider a day trip over to Saas Fee for some skiing there. It's a short train and bus ride to Saas Fee from Zermatt and well worth the visit. The mountains are stunning.

 

As for the skiing, much will depend on snow depths and on visibility. I agree with the suggestion that you ski down into Italy for a day, not least because the restaurant prices and prices generally tend to be lower in Cervinia.

 

I too have stayed in Le Petit Hotel, twice. It's a budget hotel by Zermatt standards and so the rooms are a bit on the small side. If you only plan to sleep in your room the hotel is fine and very easy to get to. Just as SnowbirdDevotee said, the breakfasts are incredible. As you are probably aware you can check out the snow conditions via the web cams (http://www.ski-zermatt.com/features/zermatt-live-cams.html)

 

Have fun!

post #9 of 24

 

Quote:
I recommend the US over the Alps for a one-week trip for one reason: visibility.

This is another reason to go to the Alps in March rather than January for less flat light.

post #10 of 24

Can't comment on where to go, but my advice would be to ski 7 days if you are staying for 7 nights (assuming 8 days isn't doable because of flights). biggrin.gif

post #11 of 24

I have not been to Zermatt but I have skied France 3 times.  You didnt say where you home base is but as long as you are non-stop to ZRH or perhaps GVA I would say Europe.  Experience is great, food is great, skiing is great.  I have been to Chamonix and Portes du Soleil.  I would also look at St. Anton if you are into the party scene.

 

Also check into a bus or minibus (google) for door to door service.  could be quite a bit cheaper and quicker than the train.

 

FYI, a bus from Denver to Telluride is probably 4-5 hours.    Telluride is a very cool town, but Europe is a great trip and a week is perfect. 

post #12 of 24

www.lech.at

 

Intermediate skiers can do the signature run, the Weiss Ring. You'll start in Lech and ski into Zurs. If you are moving at a leisurely pace, have lunch there. Then up the Madloch and down into Zug up the Kriegerhorn and maybe start your Apres Ski at the Palme Alpe before skiing back down into Lech.

post #13 of 24

Not everyone's a road warrior, but you could do a couple nice trips for that price if you didn't mind driving from WI to MT in one big day on I90.  Sample Big Sky, Moonlight, Bridger and maybe Red Lodge for a week.  Return in the spring for another week of the same in friendlier weather.

post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by envgeo View Post

FYI, a bus from Denver to Telluride is probably 4-5 hours.  


It would be more than that. It's more than 300 miles, 7 hr in good weather (in your own car)... Definitely fly into at least Montrose if you can, or Durango or Grand Junction. Heck, Albuquerque is closer than Denver, even Salt Lake, I think.

post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee View Post

I would definitely go for the Alps!  Last year I skied Zermatt, in fact I stayed a night at Le Petit Hotel, the breakfast was incredible compared to what you get in the US.  All included.  The train service from the airport to Zermatt is door to door with one change, but I did hop on the wrong train!(they stopped the train, threw me out, and the right train stopped in the middle of nowhere to pick me up)  You are not going to find the same scenery, 6,000 ft drop, multiple cable cars, on slope restaurants, european food, etc etc. anywhere in the US.  And you already have a few US trips under your belt.  Book your trip to Zermatt now!  And don't forget to ski down to Italy for pasta for lunch while you are there, a completely difference culture and another huge mtn, all on the one lift ticket you buy.

 

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/89239/zermatt-not-my-kind-of-skiing

it wasn't my kind of skiing, but it sounds like it would be just perfect for you and your fiance.

also check the post for a link to my zermatt google photo album for more pictures.

Wow I am surprised about Zermatt (never seen a place that beautiful). The shot from the lift shows this massively wide mountainside with like a 100' wide path that people are skiing on. Is this what it is like out there? I love going fast on groomed runs but like to be able to go into the trees to hit powder. I've been reading up on skiing the Alps and have read about the groomed runs, but not that they are thin. Was that due to a shallow snow depth or just hidden dangers?

 

Since we are on a time line (Jan 14-Jan 23), I'm not sure how many days my fiance and I could get in skiing. Plus if the food is going to be expensive along with transportation between villages, I think that $3000 may end up more like $4000+. We probably will take another vacation in March so we can save the money for that trip and go to Europe for our honeymoon.

 

I know the thread title says "Stay in the USA" but I think we are going to try Whistler-Blackcomb. That place looks awesome, and I found a reasonable vacation rental condo ($120/night near lift). 

 

Thanks again for the thoughtful replies to this thread.

post #16 of 24

I asked this question of myself about 3 months ago. In fact I have asked myself this question for several years now. I always ended up with staying in North America. It was definitely cheaper to spend 5-7 days in Whistler coming from Seattle. Load the car up, bring a few boxes of cereal, some pasta, power bars, snacks, gas and go. Could do the trip with lodging, lift passes, and all the food for under $1,500. But then you start thinking, I really would like to go some place different. Skied Beaver Creek, Breck, Steamboat. Skied UT multiple times. So every year it's Europe or USA/Canada? This year is that year that the answer is different. Found some decent accomodations in Lech, half board with lift passes for about $2,400. (All depends on what the Euro/USD exchange rate is doing these days.) We cashed in frequent flyer miles to cut down on transport costs. We know we will end up spending over $1,000 more for this trip than we would have, had we stayed in North America but we figure it's time to head across the pond. We plan on staying two weeks. Wouldn't go that far for jsut one week fm the West Coast. Second week is open, and we will look for a last minute deal the week before we head over, or just wing it while we are in Austria, and go wherever the best conditions happen to be. I have a few places in the Dolomites and Switzerland that I have researched, Zermatt is one of them. We're going last week of Feb/early March, so rates are higher than when you would go in January.

 

And if you have never been to Whistler, it's definitely worth a trip there too, if you decide against Europe.

post #17 of 24

As some other people here. I don't know about Telluride or Zermatt . But, just figure out  one thing. Your Telluride experience will be just about ski. Once in the Europe you'll be able to trip around and get in different places instead off the ski thing.

 

My little experience in Europe is about France - Les Arcs and Austria - Stubai/Neustift. I would say AMAZING FANTASTIC  places with great ski experience and also several extra things to see and do.

 

Neustift is a little and picturesque village at the heart of Tirol, a big Valley, where you'll find out the bottom of the Stubaier-Gletcher ski runs, with lots of all level's pistes and off pistes. There are close to Innsbruck (airport), few hours to Venezia, Viena and lots of other interest places. Excellent hotels (we loved the Fernau) and food. And the best  Austria is really cheaper than the other Europe places!!!! 

 

Les-Arcs is Huge!!!! They have a lot of terrain in a place called Paradiski(in fact 2 areas linked by a Gondola as Whistler/Blackcomb). We're stayed at Les Arcs 1950 in a great and cozy hotel. There the best is to get first in a market and prepare your own food. But, since you are there you can get a TGV and go to several interesting points in few hours, as Geneve, Annecy, Paris, etc.

 

 

Good Luck! :)

post #18 of 24

Hey Mike,

 

If you end up going to Whistler, check out the 3D trailmap I have made (link in signature)

post #19 of 24

ALPS!!!! I was in Zermatt 2 years ago and it was fantastic! I am heading to Cortina and Kitzbuhel in February/March. The Arlberg; Lech/Zurs and also St. Anton is home to some of the best skiing in the world. Most of my life I have gone skiing in the States for a week or two and then to Europe for a week or two. Europe is almost always less expensive once you get there, plus you're in Europe. I love Squaw Valley and Jackson Hole but I would take the Arlberg any day of the week for the vast skiing area. If the two of you plan to ski and visit different places I think Zermatt may be a good first place in Europe to ski. The town is amazing and the restaurants and people are great. Enjoy!

post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 

We bought our tickets to Seattle.. Will bookmark this thread.. I'll utilize this information in the future. Thanks all

post #21 of 24

 A heads up that January in Zermatt might have weak coverage.

post #22 of 24

Hey, it all depends on what you want. The Alps are of course very different than North America, and if you've never done it, it can be a very rewarding travel experience -- food, wine, ambiance, and what-not. Sticking to the skiing, just the skiing side of the equation, North America is a safer bet. Not a better bet necessarily, but certainly safer, conditions-wise. First and foremost because of the white-out factor.

post #23 of 24

Hey guys the OP has now got tickets to Seattle (see above), so feel free to continue the discussion, but it's only for academic purposes at this point.

post #24 of 24
Quote:
it's only for academic purposes at this point.

Is that somehow different than usual?
 

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