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Europe Jan 2019

Discussion in 'Europe' started by ttn, Mar 30, 2018.

  1. ttn

    ttn Hard Yards

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    Hi Guys

    It looks like we are planning for a trip to the Alps again. I thought I would hang up my boots last time (Jan 2017) but the mrs nudged for another trip ;) next Jan (school holidays limitation) and airfares are reasonably priced atm so should book soon

    Will fly into Geneva and let the snow guide us there. Should have two full weeks for two resorts back to back from mid Jan. Hopefully good snow next year like this year.

    Still remember last time advice 'High altitude' :D

    Cheers
     
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  2. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    Time for a eurodisco 2019 conglomerate thread
     
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  3. ttn

    ttn Hard Yards

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    Hi Guys

    Is Zermatt worth it as we only ski on piste? Have been checking on accom + lift pass + ski rental and they are more expensive compared to French Alps
     
  4. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    Switzerland = $$$. We're looking at doing French Alps instead.
     
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  5. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    Good yes it's mostly all about the piste
    Excellent offpiste is available but needs lots of snow, Zermatt sits in a bit of a (relatively) dry spot.
    Epic groomers and views.

    Yes it is expensive, check out half board accommodation packages.
     
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  6. LDJ

    LDJ One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    If you do want Zermatt have a look at Cervinia in Italy which is joined to Zermatt and has good skiing and is cheaper.

    Cheap packages at large resorts with huge amounts of pistes (180km+) and high altitude skiing include

    France - Tignes/Val D, Les Arcs/La plague, 3Vs, alpe d’huez, LDS, Serre Che, Montgenevre, La Rosière

    There are lots more in Italy and Austria that are also great for piste skiing, cheap and high. I just don’t ski them as often so can’t recommend. Swiss is great skiing but I’d only go there if you want the Swiss culture or views of the Matterhorn. The skiing is great but no better than France and far more cost
     
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  7. Hermannator

    Hermannator One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    @ttn If you're prepared to entertain Zermatt then why not also consider Verbier, or Crans Montana along the way (I'm trying to work out if budget is your thing or if you're flying business as many retirees [if you are one?] do) ?

    I've been to all 3 - they are snow-sure (all have 3,000m peaks) and great, long pistes. So many options really. If budget minded then Italy and to a lesser extent La France.
     
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  8. ttn

    ttn Hard Yards

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    Thank you guys.

    Last time we stayed at Tignes and Solden and we really love the Austrian hospitality and long wide pistes. Would love to do Austria again but this time we plan to share the love with Swiss and Italian Alps. I try to cheat with Zermatt so we can cover both Alps in one week as I really want to do one more French. Will to decide either 3V (VT, Meribel or Les Menuires) or Paradiski or Porte du Soleil all depend on good snow cover at that time

    @Hermannator - would love flat beds but wont pay for four :D. Maybe when i retire ;) which isnt in a few years yet
     
  9. Kimski

    Kimski One of Us

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    Have booked
    After much indecision I’ve decided to head to France next year. I have a week booked in the Three Valleys but undecided about week 2. Considering Serre Chevalier as it’s an area I haven’t visited but more research is needed.
     
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  10. Hermannator

    Hermannator One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Cool. Go and check out Serre Chevalier and Portes du Soleil (should go now - they've got 430cm...) for me guys...

    Portes is one of the closer to Geneva that you'd bother with, along with Flaine. Chamonix of course is reasonably close but I think it'd be too annoying for piste skiers - the ski areas are too spread out and not lift-linked.
     
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  11. johnski

    johnski Hard Yards Ski Pass: Gold

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    If you make it to Serre Chevalier worth doing a day in montgenerve/Claviere. A week serre lift pass will get you one day here - montgenerve very underrated - great for mixed ability groups plus easily accessible off piste that never gets tracked if you’re into that and rarely busy on piste.

    Serre Chevalier also flys under the radar - the runs to the valley - particularly the briancon end do get low but lots of terrain up higher above and below tree line. Briancon (the old town) worth exploring as well - it’s a bit more spread out along the road than some resorts so worth basing yourself in one of the lift hub villages to avoid buses.
     
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  12. person s

    person s Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    when I was in Zermatt early 2016 the join to Cervinia was closed until the last day I was there
     
  13. Hermannator

    Hermannator One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I was there that season too, very good point. Cervinia seems vulnerable to wind-hold, even if all is operating on the Swiss side. Could be a bit of Italian (lack of) efficiency too.
     
  14. LDJ

    LDJ One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Absolutely epic ski resort. 250kms of mostly red/Blue runs over 2000m. Great accessible offpiste and quiet (unless you hit French holidays in feb then it’s chaos). I spent 5 months there in 2005 and have been back consistently over the years. Last time in 2017 Still have friends running businesses there. If you decide on Serre Che Let me know and can give you all the inside info. I second a day in Montgenevre/Claviere if you want a different feel
     
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  15. Kimski

    Kimski One of Us

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    Sounds good. Is it possible to take a bus to Montgenerve from Serre?
     
  16. johnski

    johnski Hard Yards Ski Pass: Gold

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    Have always had a rental car or been in a guides car but know that there a couple of buses a day from briancon to montgenerve for skiers return for minimal eur - montgenerve resort website has details, about a 25 to 30 minute trip.

    Planning my own Europe ski trip 1st half of jan with the family - will probably end up in serre or montgenerve for one of the two weeks ( like LDJ says they don’t really get busy unless French school holds or Xmas to New Years). Both good family skiing and good off piste (serre also close to la Grave for a cheeky day or two if I can get a leave pass ;)).
     
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  17. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    You've got me wanting to adjust my plans now with this inside goss.

    Was originally coming from Montreux/Geneva way and planning on doing a week up in Paradiski region. But keep reading about the major influx of Brits who like to party and call the area home. Wanting to avoid that if possible.

    Looks a bit more out of the way to get to (which is fine), but now thinking of hiring a car...maybe train to Chambery and car hire from there?? After our week skiing, then its back to Paris for a couple days before flying out. Thinking Chambery might be a good rail base to pick up/drop the car from which we can catch the TGV back.
     
  18. LDJ

    LDJ One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    @Crispy013 if you haven’t booked flights or 100% confirmed. Best options for Serre Che or nearby is via Turin 1.5/2.5hrs transfer. They are buses on weekends, tour transfers or easy to hire car. You can also fly easily from Turin to Paris. The road from Turing via Montgenevre was used for filming the original Italian job and is epically scenic. Train wise Briancon the largest town in Serre Che at 1200m is a major station though I think you have to change elsewhere to get to Paris. Serre Che is very traditional French with some stunning little villages, food and culture. The best places to stay at chatemerle 1350m, villeneuve (1400m) or monetier (1500m) each of them have great benefits depending what you are looking for. Definite hidden gem compared to a lot of the major French destinations of this size.

    Paradski is still a really good option but definitely more resort, more UK holiday destination. If you do still want to go there have a look at Plan Peisey in Les Arcs lots of good skiing, close to link to La Plagne and not so UK/major nightlife destination. Belle Plagne is also good in La Plagne as quieter and better for skiing. Or stay in valley at Bourg st Maurice for more culture but not so good for skiing access.
     
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  19. Kimski

    Kimski One of Us

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    Actually Bourg can be pretty good for ski access. There is funicular, included in the ski pass, not far from the train station that is pretty convenient to some parts of town. Also good for day trips to Val D,Tignes, La Rosiere and a couple of smaller ski areas.

    Does anyone know what Serre Chevalier is like for snow conditions early February on average? I know it should be a pretty reliable time of year but I’ve had some bad luck with weather in so called ‘peak’ times of the year previously.

    I must admit I really like the idea of Serre Chevalier being more French. Especially as I’m in the Three Valleys the week before. Have started to look at accommodation but it seems like there’s lots not available for whatever reason. After cheap and cheerful, preferably not too far from the lifts.
     
  20. LDJ

    LDJ One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Early Feb will be fine - even if there hasn’t been huge amounts of snow most pistes are over 2000m and resort goes up to 2800m. They have good snow making as well. Could be very busy though depending on French holidays. I don’t know specific dates but worth checking.

    Accom wise. If you want super budget and on slopes stay at UCPA (French hostel but good) on the snow in 1400m. You can get free guiding. When I lived there my dad stayed at http://www.le-christiania.com/index.php/en/ in 1400m was good, cheap, central and came with meals. There are lots of small, good French hotels like this in serre Che. Just avoid a couple of the top end ones or you will be forking out big bucks. You can also stay above the Frog restaurant in 1400m on the snow.

    If you want to stay in Briancon (1200m) Le Signal du a Propel is cheap, right by lifts and easy walk to supermarket, old town etc but nowhere near as good as photos look online

    The official Serre Che website there are some awesome accom & lift ticket specials they do directly. There is a French website version of HomeAway or similar (most owners email in English) with huge amounts of cheap self-catering on the slopes. You can map search on that too if you want to self-cater
     
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  21. Kash

    Kash Hard Yards

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    Serra Chev looks magic. As we are travelling with young kids, anyone know if it is feasible to rent a chef to come to your chalet while in a place like this? I know its an option in the bigger resorts like Cham or 3 Valleys but couldn't find anything online for this part of the alps.
    Thanks
     
  22. LDJ

    LDJ One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Yes you can. There are a few busineses setup to do it and some were great value. One of my friends used to do this but they have just moved back to NZ after more than 10yrs there. I’ll ping a few friends and see who they recommend. There are also a number of high-End chalets with chef, driver etc if you have the money. The local restaurants are also cheap and awesome but obviously hard with young kids!!!
     
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  23. Kash

    Kash Hard Yards

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    All good thanks. My mates have all decided on a catered chalet in Meribel. I think it ticks most of the boxes (expect for an important one in my view of a traditional village but I can cope). We need easy with 7 kids ranging ages from 3 to 7!
     
  24. Kimski

    Kimski One of Us

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    Thanks :thumbs:

    I’ve already checked for French school holidays and my dates seem clear.

    As for UCPA I’ve tried it twice. First time in a Chamonix was great but my stay at Val D wasn’t so good. The centre wasn’t as nice and I ended up with some very inconsiderate roommates. In the end I left 2 days early as I was miserable :(

    Really getting excited about skiing in a totally new area for me.
     
  25. ttn

    ttn Hard Yards

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    I might have to reconsider Italian Alps as we plan to visit Venice & Turin before the ski week. We can get to Oulx by train for either Sestriere or Montgenevre or Serre Chev or straight to 3V. Early January normally not good snow cover for smaller and lower altitude resorts but i hope next year will be different
     
  26. LDJ

    LDJ One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Realistically Serre Che or Montgenevre would be my recommendation. Already posted a fair bit on loving Serre Che but Montgenevre (Monty) you can ski into Italy (Claviere) and ski further into Milty way to Sestriere but IMO Monty is better than Sestiere to stay in as its quieter, nice village, better skiing and where its sits at 1850m on the pass picks up more snow than some of the other milky way resorts. Also due to it being quieter better for cheeky offpiste if it does snow as less people around. I have picked up fresh lines there near the piste a few days after snow. Any which way it will be good. Getting Jealous as I'm unlikely to make it to Europe in 2019 to ski
     
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  27. Ian D

    Ian D Pool Room Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    Sweet @ttn we are confirmed mid/late Jan for a week in the dolomites, got it upgraded from "a couple of days" to a week on negotiation :) as part of a tour of northern Italy with the fam.

    Still finalising accom but dates are fairly well fixed now.
     
  28. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Score. :thumbs:
     
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  29. ttn

    ttn Hard Yards

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    @Ian D you're not doing the Dolomites Ski Safari are you? ;) That would be awesome

    Northern Italy or West Italy ... too many good choices :cry:
     
  30. Ian D

    Ian D Pool Room Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    @ttn No just picking a small town on the Sella Ronda and basing ourselves there for a week. Sorting out best option for general skiing and access to the glacier with WWI museum half way up.
     
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  31. Kimski

    Kimski One of Us

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    The Dolomites and Sella Ronda are beautiful, you’ll love it. Also loads of good, affordable places to eat between skiing.

    I’ve booked an apartment in Briançon. It’s in the old town but I don’t mind ski buses and also love the idea in staying in a beautiful area of the town. Hopefully will save some money by having a kitchen and always good to have a washing machine on a ski trip! $779 for six nights which is pretty good I think.
     
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  32. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Briancon would be a fantastic base for a ski trip.
     
  33. LDJ

    LDJ One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    What I love about Briançon is the new town is a modern working town with all the good, bad and ugly but the old town is stunning. You can walk up onto the walls and right up to the upper fort. There is a big carrefour in Briançon (new part) for cheap but amazing supplies, a good bakers in old town and loads of great restaurants and little French bars in the old town.

    You can probably stroll down to the main gondola lift in 10-15min and there is a bus as well. If you rent gear close to the lift ask them to leave it there over night and it will be even easier. We have done this for my parents on a number of occasions as they are in their 70s and carrying gear around isn’t as easy as it used to be.

    The reds down from Briançon top to bottom grande gargouille into Vauban are my fav. Fast carving heaven with awesome views. The skiing across from Briançon to Chantemerle, Villeneuve and montier will be great. If the snow is good definitely head to the secret chair (called Aiguillette). It’s very easy to miss and not easy to find. The chair is slow but the aiguillette run is so good and great off-piste there too. Very excited for you and now talking to the wife about heading back to Serre Che in 2020
     
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  34. shabu_shabu

    shabu_shabu One of Us

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    Thanks for all the great insights.

    If you had to make the (difficult) choice of either staying at Briançon or one of the lift hub villages (Chantemerle, Villeneuve, Le Monêtier-les-Bains) where would it be, balancing ease of access to and from the slopes and experiencing French village/town charm?

    PS: There has been some discussion about French school holidays. Briançon is in Zone B and the holidays are 10-24 February 2019. http://www.education.gouv.fr/pid250...arch_input= Département,+Code+postal+ou+ville
     
  35. LDJ

    LDJ One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I would recommend the hubs but I’ll put a little overview together and post later today on pros and cons of each because it does depend on your situation and what you are looking for
     
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  36. LDJ

    LDJ One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    All of Serre Chevs villages are actually nice and have very quaint/old French village feels to them so you can’t go that wrong. A free bus (with lift pass) links all of the areas. The best depends of what you want to do. My recommendation is if you hire skis get them to store your gear at the bottom of the slope so if you are a 5-10min walk away no issues with lugging gear around. The hire shops are all really friendly and speak a level of English.

    Monetier – 1500m

    Pros - Fantastic old French village, beautiful, quiet and access to great skiing including highest lifted point and some of the best off-piste. It’s the highest base level at 1500m and is a great base if you want to go to L2A, LDA or La Grave for a day. It can also get snow sometimes from northern storms that don’t reach the rest of the resort. They also snow cannon the main runs. The natural hot springs are here as well which are amazing after a long day skiing. Village is lovely old place with lots of local restaurants & French style bars. One good international bar. Accommodation is variety of small hotels, self-catering & old French farmhouse or similar. Ski bus links up rest of resort if you miss the lifts back at the end of day. A real up and coming place to stay. Good English ski school based here. Family’s like it here.

    Cons – the skiing is great, but you are a little cut off from rest of valley (ie takes time to traverse lifts etc) to get to Briancon or chartemerle. Also some of the best reds are lower down into the resort and are likely to be rocky or have low snow cover if it’s been a sparse year. Most accom is 5-10 minutes walk uphill (Steep) in the main village.

    Villeneuve – 1400m

    Pros – Easy access to some of the best skiing via 3-4 access lifts, easy to get to Monetier or Chartemerle to ski. Good variety of tree, open bowl & park skiing. Most of the hardest and best skiing is from Villeneuve across to Monetier. Some good beginner areas. A more functional style resort with lots of on snow or close to ski in-ski out accom ranging from budget UCPA to 5*. Good range of bars (French & international). Not the prettiest however the old main street 10min from snow is beautiful and you can walk up to the old village of La salle (10-20min uphill) with wonderful church and alpine feel. You can also stay in Le Bez which is another very old hamlet with accom is wonderful old farmhouses, huge vaulted buildings etc. Some of the best nightlight and great restaurants (Eau Petit Pont do a 30 euro 3 course meal that is stunning & a winner for 15yrs+). There is an ice driving track, cinema (The odd English film), leisure centre & lots of small shops.

    Cons – Main part of 1400 not as pretty as Monetier. Some of the accommodation can be a little distance away as the French don't mind this, just pick carefully. The new accommodation areas near the Pontillas lift are nice and cheap but the lift and access in that part are nowhere near as good as being close to Frejus or Casse areas or even le Bez. The main run down the Casse de Boeuf (Black) can be tricky for weaker skiers late in the day and there is a blue but it can be narrow and chopped up. The green is a road in summer so scenic but not fun and narrow. There is always the gondolas down if it is too tricky, too tired or too much drinking in the mountain restaurants. There are 30+ across the resort.

    Chartemerle 1350m

    Pros - home of the famous Luc Alphand (Won 2 downhill world cups and the Dakar rally) and the black into the centre of 1350m is awesome. Good beginner area up above the gondola. Good intermediate skiing. Again good access to Briancon & Villeneuve. Good array of self-catering and French hotels most of it is 5 min uphill from the snow. Nice array of bars, restaurants & shopping. More resort feel but nice. Has some of the best ons now eating above the resort.

    Cons - No much on snow accom. There is a tricky green down but beginners are best to get gondola down until they are ready. While it’s a good link area and there is lots of good intermediate skiing above the trees advanced skiers will enjoy Villeneuve and Montier a lot more

    Briancon – 1250m

    Pros – Big modern town with Carrefour, major ski shops, warehouses, banks and good restaurants. The old town 15-20min walk uphill from ski area is stunning. It’s the highest walled town in Europe (Not sure if this is factual) and you can hike up to the highest forts all year around although you might need cleats depending on how much snow or ice there is. It is wonderful walking around seeing the history. The little guest houses and bars are beautiful. The views from Briancon are marvellous. You can even have a BBQ or food delivered to you on a sun deck at the top of the ski area. The reds down from the top are great for fast carving. There is a beginners areas at the half way stage of the gondola which is completely separate and great for learning. Massive range of accommodation for every budget. Shortest transfer from Turin. Great base for heading to Mongeneuve or the milky way resorts (30min). Train station and good transport links to a variety of places.

    Cons – It’s a big modern town with industry, warehouses and the new part can be dirty, it has an edgy feel in certain areas especially some of the parks with groups drinking or homeless people. It’s a little removed from some of the best skiing as you have to take a couple of lifts to get anywhere else, it’s the lowest of the ski resort bases. There is only one access lift the gondola which can get busy if there are large number hitting it at the same time. Not a great option for families.
     
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  37. Zeroz

    Zeroz A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Briancon. Not sure about the town, but the area, yes.
    Until recently I hadn't realised the ease of connections and proximity to a huge selection of great off-piste.
    Something about the southerly Alps makes it less fashionable and well known.

    Our La Grave guide was also keen on some big itineraries in Serre Chevalier, Montgenèvre and Puy St Vincent.
    All in a relatively small area, good access and options. On most days the weather will be good somewhere.
     
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  38. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Jerome gets us down to the South Alps as often as he can, he grew up in Provence so that's partly why. I know @Boodwah is a fan of the South Alps too. The Queyras is a good area too. Briancon + car + guide could net a sensational few weeks in the snow.
     
  39. ttn

    ttn Hard Yards

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    Looks like we are there for 1 week from the 5th Jan otherwise meet up for the Sella or WW tours would be great
     
  40. Ian D

    Ian D Pool Room Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    Sounds like we will be there the following week.
     
  41. ttn

    ttn Hard Yards

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    St Anton/Lech/Zurs are even more expensive than Zermatt for a 1-2 bedroom accom in the city centre
     
  42. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    Do you know which village you’re staying in? We’re there for that week too. Staying in Arabba.
     
  43. ttn

    ttn Hard Yards

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    I have not decided to book at Val G or Camp yet. I need to look for another week in Austria as well
     
  44. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    We have booked but cancellation is only 100euro.
    If there is no snow we’ll opt for another area I guess
     
  45. ttn

    ttn Hard Yards

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    We are in St Anton this week. Today we can't go to Lech/Zurs as pretty windy up high and low visibility. Many runs are closed. Only hang around Nasserein and Galzigbahn. Forecast for the next two days are similar. Will go on Friday when the weather is better. Unfortunately we only ski on piste so can't have the fun like those experts
     
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  46. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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  47. Kletterer

    Kletterer Thredbo Doughnut Tragic Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Go to Rendl for the Valley run. Edit.. if it opens later in the day.
     
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  48. ttn

    ttn Hard Yards

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    Thanks Kletterer. That was a great tip. We spent the whole day there today. Looking forward to Lech tomorrow which is our last ski day in St Anton
     
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