Europe or U.S.?

Chamonixxxx

First Runs
Aug 26, 2005
359
0
0
Everyone on this forum seems so biased toward US for SDS relief. Surely US terrain cannot even be mentioned in the same breath as the Alps...for extent or gnarliness. So many more options in the alps...

And as for experiencing culture and all the other off hill activities.....

Alps for me.... Les Trois Vallees... 45,000 acres... 200 lifts.... unlimited backcountry... just make sure you carry a beacon
 

Legion

One of Us
Feb 23, 2005
1,327
68
198
I think it's pretty much an argument for snow quality/quantity vs. terrain. That would probably explain the current popularity of Japan too. Of course, last year was an exception with the PNW in a drought and Europe with a bumper year.
 

Chamonixxxx

First Runs
Aug 26, 2005
359
0
0
Wasnt that good in europe.... was in Megeve mid Feb.... had one dump in a week.... was gettin a bit brown b4 that...in the hill I mean
laugh.gif
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Chamonixxxx

First Runs
Aug 26, 2005
359
0
0
Know of av. snowfall as a general rule across the alps?

You could safely that US is about 300in
 

Phalanx

Hard Yards
Apr 14, 2005
774
0
66
35
It really had to do with where you were in Europe last year. Some parts had way too much compared to other year, some parts had nothing. North America just had a lot of Aussies working in it now, and then the fact they are English friendly.
 

InMyTree

First Runs
May 18, 2001
1,451
0
0
Munich, Germany
I have skied in Canada, the US, Europe (France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria), Austraila and New Zealand and if I was doing an overseas trip from Australia out of those places I would most certainly go to Canada/US. Value for money they are on top. Lift tickets in Europe are cheap but that is about it.

I have been to massive resorts such as the 3 Valleys, but I really think if you are going for a week there is a certain size over which there is no difference. Most of the places in the US or Canada fullfil this

Snow is better in the states, there is more of it.. there are more varied slopes (especially in france there is not much to ski in the tree's, and above them is very bleak and unless you get a sunny day it can be pretty bad up there), the accomodation is better value for your money, speaking English (its fun to try a new language, but for skiing I'm over that fun)..

However if I was still in Australia number one would be Japan.. much cheaper than a trip to Canada/US/Europe and looks excellent..
 

Mark102

A Local
Jul 5, 2002
10,769
4
638
35
Victor Harbor & Adelaide
Also not all of us have knowledge about avalanche safety so we can't ski all the good runs without risking our own lives and possibly the lives of others. I guess if you can afford a guide that overcomes that problem.
 

kidporsche

First Runs
Jul 23, 2002
1,368
1
0
DE (Melb expat.)
A beacon won't save you from a crevice. It is much harder to learn safe glacier travel than reading avalanche terrain.

I think one thing a lot of people don't appreciate until they've visited the Alps is how stupidly good the terrain is. They are the most spectacular resorts I've seen, even the tiny local hills are sweet and can have 1500 vertical. Compare that with somewhere like Brighton or Solitude, which are great resorts that get a buttload of snow, but are completely underwhelming to look at.

Europe def has the edge on terrain, but most people only travel for a couple of weeks. You've got a better chance of getting good snow if the season average is 8-12m than 5-6 like most of the alps. It is a lot of flying and it is more expensive. Baggage allowances are 1/3 of what you can take to the states. For families with small children, I imagine it is a lot less hassle to travel to the states. The resorts are a lot more sanitised, it is easy to put the kids into a lesson program and you can explore without worrying about glaciers and avvies.

FWIW, if I were to go for a trip for a couple of weeks, wanted some good terrain, good snow and a bit of culture thrown in I'd go to Hukuba. You save one or two days in travel, no time-zone adjustments, some excellent terrain (if you don't mind poaching) with a fairly stable snowpack and you get to experience a culture that is a bit further from ours than the US/Canada.
 

Chamonixxxx

First Runs
Aug 26, 2005
359
0
0
yeah... valid points by all

I have never skied US, but what is the scenery like?

I know that taking a short hike up from the Cime De Caron cable car up to the peak at 3200m (Val Thorens) I saw the most amazing scenery I have ever seen in my life.... was literally speechless.... blubird skies (as is the norm in that part of the alps) and a reputed 1000 peaks around a full 360 degrees.... and they were not dodgy hills, but craggy peaks mostly all rising above 3500m.... i could have stayed there all day except for the 1500m steep vert waiting for me on the way down to Les Menuires... anyone else been up there?

Also lifting technology, Alps or US........ Europe has seen massive amounts of investment recently... at all the major resorts you can ski all week, accessing all the best terrain, without having to use a fixed grip chair or surface lift.... whats the US like?
 

CarveMan

I Never Slice
Ski Pass
May 12, 2000
84,414
66,156
1,515
Les Hautes Montagnes
aussieskier.com
And yes, the Cime de Caron is spectacular. I loved skiing over the back of it.

The best part of the Cime de Caron was how small the Saulire looked in the distance, and then realising that after we reached the Saulire, we had a 1700 vert metre ski to get home!
eek.gif
 
Last edited by a moderator:

student

First Runs
Apr 5, 2005
10
0
0
melbourne
random question:

as a general rule in the west coast of the states, you ski between 2000 and 4000 metres, is that correct?

If, in Europe, you chose to stick within a similar altitude, do you think the snow quantity and quality would be comparable?
 

kidporsche

First Runs
Jul 23, 2002
1,368
1
0
DE (Melb expat.)
Off the top of my head, west coast is a bit lower than that, the rockies are about that. Quantity in Europe is generally 5-6m, in Utah 13m, in Colorado ~7-9m, Tahoe 8-12m.
From what I've seen the alps easily beat north america for culture, view and terrain. Snow is not usually as good though.
 

InMyTree

First Runs
May 18, 2001
1,451
0
0
Munich, Germany
Chamonixxxx said:
yeah... valid points by all

I have never skied US, but what is the scenery like?

I know that taking a short hike up from the Cime De Caron cable car up to the peak at 3200m (Val Thorens) I saw the most amazing scenery I have ever seen in my life.... was literally speechless.... blubird skies (as is the norm in that part of the alps) and a reputed 1000 peaks around a full 360 degrees.... and they were not dodgy hills, but craggy peaks mostly all rising above 3500m.... i could have stayed there all day except for the 1500m steep vert waiting for me on the way down to Les Menuires... anyone else been up there?
I have been up at the top of Val Thorens, and it is pretty spectacular, however in that part of the alps I also think it looks pretty bleak and desolate. No tree's and just expanses of snow.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

nzsnow

Hard Yards
May 15, 2001
995
11
88
Banff
Chamonixxxx said:
Also lifting technology, Alps or US........ Europe has seen massive amounts of investment recently... at all the major resorts you can ski all week, accessing all the best terrain, without having to use a fixed grip chair or surface lift.... whats the US like?
I'm pretty sure the US would have the advantage here.

There are still heaps of fixed grip and/or older chairs in Europe, while in the US detachable chairs are the norm. More cable cars and gondolas in Europe though.

Depends which way you look at it really, but on overall age of all lifts I think US is ahead.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Harper11

Old n' Crusty
Ski Pass
May 20, 2002
31,595
23,447
1,063
Brisbane
lifts are generally better in my experience

st anton had huge lines for the gondolas which where quite slow and the lifts never went quite where you wanted

also the trees in the US/canada are nice too
 

dawooduck

relaxed and comfortable
Ski Pass
Oct 26, 2002
70,716
60,328
1,525
Mountains
Oz = green run
Japan = double green
USA = blue run
Canada = double blue run
Europe = black run
Back country = double black

Have fun.
 

student

First Runs
Apr 5, 2005
10
0
0
melbourne
i'd argue the lifts are superior in europe - at least in france/austria.

whilst the proportion of detachables to fixed grip and surface lifts may be higher in north america, in europe you have as larger quantity of highspeed lifts, in addition to legacy fixed grips and surface lifts that can be avoided, but that still serve a purpose. These lifts are generally uncrowded.

it is rare to see a new lift installed that isn't detachable, even in the smaller european resorts, which i understand is the same situation in the states.

in addition to chairlifts, you have funiculars, funitels, and a profusion of cable cars and gondolas. all of these are no good for their own sake, but taking into account their speed, the amount of vertical they service, and the comfort (crowd dependant!) they're definately attractive.

whats more, you have the ability to access huge amounts of terrain on interconnected lift systems (200 lifts +). this style of ski touring may not float your boat, but it goes to show the impressive scale of lift infrastructure in europe.

i am however curious as to the reasons behind the disparity between lift networks in europe and North America. Does it reflect a less active environmental lobby, or higher skier concentrations and accessability/affordability of skiing?
 

Phalanx

Hard Yards
Apr 14, 2005
774
0
66
35
nzsnow said:
Chamonixxxx said:
Also lifting technology, Alps or US........ Europe has seen massive amounts of investment recently... at all the major resorts you can ski all week, accessing all the best terrain, without having to use a fixed grip chair or surface lift.... whats the US like?
I'm pretty sure the US would have the advantage here.

There are still heaps of fixed grip and/or older chairs in Europe, while in the US detachable chairs are the norm. More cable cars and gondolas in Europe though.

Depends which way you look at it really, but on overall age of all lifts I think US is ahead.
Sorry, but by all design the Western Europe is far ahead of North America. Austria would be the leader in this field. This is mainly due to Doppelmayr (which would be the most innovative company and reliable) being Austrian, and the Austrian resorts are normally owned locally, or by the town/village/region, most of the profit is placed strait back into the mountain. Here is a few examples:

- 26 8 Seaters in Europe, 1 in Australia (cause the head of PB put his job on the line to get it), none in North America.
- Over 330 6 Seaters in Europe, 3 in NZ, and only about 38 in North America.
- I am not even going to get into Quads, but North America is outnumbered here, esp in detachable.
- 29 Bicable ropeways in Europe (3S, 2S), 1 in North America, which is a 4 person per cabin close to the ground, and gets rid of the point of it when in Europe they have 30 person per cabin. eg. http://www.seilbahntechnik.net/lifte/4008/datas.php which goes 400m above the ground. It is what Whistler is going to place in.
- 11 Funitels in Europe, 4 in Japan, 2 in North America (1 on which is a Jigback, so it means it only has 2 cabins on it, they do not go through the station and it is not for skiing).
- Funifors, only 3 in Europe.
- Funiculars, looking at the list North America is outnumbered 100 to 1.
- Reversible ropeways (cable cars), is like Funiculars, but not as bad. Europe also hold more normally.
- Gondolas:
16 Person - Europe: 3, North America: 0
15 Person - Europe: 13, North America: 1 (which is limited in design to 12 people at once).
14 Person - Special Mention to Spain: 1
12 Person - Europe: 31, North America: 1
10 Person - Europe: 8, North America: 1 (I think there might be another here)
8 Person - Europe: More that 180, North America: 15
6 Person - Trend is worse for North America, as with 4 person.

America and France have a strong hold on the fixed grip triple chairs.

This figure are about, as they are reported values, but I think you get the point. It is very reliable for the higher value lifts. North America is large companies, trying to keep capital down, and returns up. They don't care how long you wait at the bottom, if your spending money and coming back. In Europe, especially Austria and Swiss, I spend a lot less time waiting than in North America. The lift companies have different sectors building the lifts for North America to Europe/rest of the world, and in North America they do tend to use different materials which the Europeans do not see as good. Though now they are trying to keep to a more set standard. And I have seen the peak/off season in Europe and NA. The big reason you see the idea of fast lift is in the adds they sell to get people over there. The large companies do get together to market Canada and USA to Australia as the place to go. In Europe there is not these big group doing the same in Australia, as they have a large enough market in Europe. Alpine skiing is their second biggest sport behind Soccer.

Austria would have to have the hold on the best lifts, with Tignes, Val d'Isère and a few resorts in France which were lucky to get Doppelmayr pushing good lifts around to try and get rid of Poma (which force Poma to sell out to them, but Leitner quickly took them over the weekend when the papers were being written up for the sale). The Swiss also have a good lift system, but do not like placing things in unless they have the money already, so they are not pushing it as much as Austria.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Phalanx

Hard Yards
Apr 14, 2005
774
0
66
35
student said:
random question:

as a general rule in the west coast of the states, you ski between 2000 and 4000 metres, is that correct?

If, in Europe, you chose to stick within a similar altitude, do you think the snow quantity and quality would be comparable?
It really depends where you are, and not just in which country. Some parts are good at 800m for just skiing about, others at 2000m. For great snow, it can be really low or high from area to area.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

deep333

First Runs
Jun 4, 2003
2,522
0
0
39
Sidnee
Phalanx ur stats are absolutly baseless and useless..

You can not compare the number of lifts straight out.

You need to use lifts per skier
or lifts per ski resorts
lifts per acre

etc..
thanks
 

Phalanx

Hard Yards
Apr 14, 2005
774
0
66
35
deep333 said:
Phalanx ur stats are absolutly baseless and useless..

You can not compare the number of lifts straight out.

You need to use lifts per skier
or lifts per ski resorts
lifts per acre

etc..
thanks
Read the origional question, those figuers show be overwhealming numbers the answer. Yours do not prove anything. Why? Look:
Lifts per Skier: How many roptows equal a 3S
Lifts per resorts: How big is a resort, how many resorts.
Lifts per Acre: Same problem as the first two.
Factors that have real effects on the users:
- Waiting times (eg. a 8 seater is much better, as theory says you will get 6 person per chair naturally compared with a quad that gets 2).
- Vertical transport per hour (who cares if you get on a 7m/s 3S, compared with a 1.5m/s triple chair).
- Location of the lifts (getting up there is one thing, being able to use a lift all day is another. Also lifts going flat accross don't really help).
- Reliability (a 8 seater, funitel, funicular, 15person gondola, 3S, funifor are going to be open many more days a year due to less moving parts, and better weather abilities).
- Capacity of the lifts (this includes the speed they actually run them at, not just the max. A lot buy high capactiy lifts then run them slow. This means less people, and less distance transported per person).

It goes on but I hope you get the point. The higher the class of the lift, the better off people are over all. Just have a look at 8 and 6 seaters. The numbers are not near close, it is a big thing. If you want to see more, you should look at the dates of the installations. It makes things even worse in many cases.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

CarveMan

I Never Slice
Ski Pass
May 12, 2000
84,414
66,156
1,515
Les Hautes Montagnes
aussieskier.com
Europe has it all over the US in terms of lifts - Phalanx is spot on.

In the US, only the largest of resorts have one gondola. Snowbasin is the only resort i've been to there that has 2 gondys and a tram. In Europe they are a dime a dozen.

I remember skiing up to a double loading 6 seater in Val Thorens, the queue was immense but we were on the lift in moments due to the sheer capacity of loading 12 people at a time.
 

Harper11

Old n' Crusty
Ski Pass
May 20, 2002
31,595
23,447
1,063
Brisbane
europe tends to have the huge cable car style gondolas which only have two cars and it takes ages ti line up and it sucks standing there on the stairs in your boots waiting...and then they absouletly pack you in like a sardine

i prefferred whistler or as[en style gondolas
 

Phalanx

Hard Yards
Apr 14, 2005
774
0
66
35
Harper11 said:
europe tends to have the huge cable car style gondolas which only have two cars and it takes ages ti line up and it sucks standing there on the stairs in your boots waiting...and then they absouletly pack you in like a sardine

i prefferred whistler or as[en style gondolas
They only tend to have that in small resorts, or in some places Europe has ones that hold 200 people. Considering they run a lot faster, it would be quicker to wait then go up the Whistler gondola in a cable car (not to mention the whistler gondola would be much better if it did not have half the cabins missing due to extra maintance require on a bad grip design). You should also have a look at the bicable ropeways, like the 2S and 3S. They are like cable cars, but at each end go around a station like gondolas. This means you have lots of them going around the line at once. The advantages are they run a lot faster and can use less power with large spans.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Ulmerhutte

One of Us
Oct 7, 2005
3,562
20
188
Melbourne
www.stantonamarlberg.com
One thing that stands out about the larger ski areas in Europe is the level of investment. In St Anton, the ski company seems to upgrade / add a bunch of lifts every second year. This is what they have done this year: Lech Zurs News

...enough to make an Australian skier cry.

Yes, some of the queues can look large, but generally they move pretty quickly - more than 10 minutes would be a very long queue in my experience at St Anton. It also helps if you learn the resort because it is possible to move around and dodge the queues. The crowds tend to move in a fairly regular pattern over the day.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
27,649
12,842
1,063
Adelaide
My simplistic preference of the two given options would be Europe. But anywhere on it's day can be good and there's a whole world out there to explore, so don't limit yourself.

Skiing is a great excuse to travel.
 

dawooduck

relaxed and comfortable
Ski Pass
Oct 26, 2002
70,716
60,328
1,525
Mountains
Make a list of places to ski around the world and pick them off one by one. It becomes a wonderful never ending quest.
 

Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
27,649
12,842
1,063
Adelaide
I've been working on my list for around 25 years and it's been mostly great. There are some places of course you have to keep going back to.
 

Phalanx

Hard Yards
Apr 14, 2005
774
0
66
35
wombat200 said:
The large gondolas you speak of are often just main access lifts to ski areas. Yes, you can ski from them, but usually you ride these to the main ski area & use 4-6 seat telecabines (small gondolas)
I think you will find that telecabines is French for Gondola. The large gondolas you speak of are cable cars. Generally they are only access lifts, but they can also be to the higher areas that untill the last 10 years could not be accessed by other lift types.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

adminvb

First Runs
Nov 11, 2013
0
5
0
the worst thing about risking all to establish a small tourism business in the Himalayas is the thought of never making it back to Europe

on the right day you can get better conditions at Smiggins than the Grant Montet or Grand Tetons, but the Alps is where the terrain is.

the major USA Rockies resorts have great terrain compressed into smaller areas which are great for a limited visit of no more than a week or a fortnight, but pale in comparison to Europe when time is not a constraint.

i think the greater sense of adventure (true spirit of the mountain sports) applies equally to a second year intermediate fascinated by touring the Sella Ronda, as for veteran travellers

have to agree with Phalanx's nexus between Euro resorts common ownership and reinvestment in infrastructure - the interesting thing is how many resorts in Europe continually improve, adding terrain, whereas you could count the number of comparable North American resorts with most of our personal digits

there are two regions in particular I have heard stories about I would love to visit before this decade is out - one in western italy and the other in central Pyrenees...mum's the word :)

cheers
Powdercat
www.skihimalaya.com
 
Last edited:

Chamonixxxx

First Runs
Aug 26, 2005
359
0
0
Harper11 said:
europe tends to have the huge cable car style gondolas which only have two cars and it takes ages ti line up and it sucks standing there on the stairs in your boots waiting...and then they absouletly pack you in like a sardine

i prefferred whistler or as[en style gondolas
FYI..... Meribel holds the record for most number of gondolas in 1 resort.... 15 in all!! And that doesnt include the other resorts of Les Trois Valles. So even this interlinked area contains the worlds 2 largest aerial tramways (cable cars), a majority of the enclosed lifting is through gondolas
 
Last edited by a moderator:

InMyTree

First Runs
May 18, 2001
1,451
0
0
Munich, Germany
I agree with Harper. Those massive goldolas that go up and back are completely crap. They take way too long and are really uncomfortable (cause you are packed in there like sardines). Miss it, and you might have to wait 30 minutes for the next one.

The best are they ones that take about 20 people but come one after the other..
 

Snow Addict

Part of the Furniture
Jul 15, 2004
28,726
186
875
28
Somewhere
Not if they're fast and have 2 operating the same time (one up/one down).

That's my recollection of the cable cars at Courchevel and Val Thorens - wait of about 5 mins, and another 5 or so to the top.
 
Remove ads with a
Ski Pass

Log in

or Log in using
Learn how membership works on these forums
Remove ads with a
Ski Pass