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Discussion in 'Europe' started by KL., Jun 21, 2018.
Have you seen this thread?
I'll be in Aosta in early January and my research suggests if you have a car it should be a fine place to spend some time. Milan and Turin are close enough to do an overnighter to and Cham is just up the street. Obviously ski resorts are in big supply within an hours drive.
Where are you guys staying in Aosta?
At a B and B in the town.
Very reasonably priced and gets good reviews. Apparently run by a lovely Italian family.
The pedestrianised area of the old town is about 8 minutes walk away and there’s plenty of bars and restaurants close by.
As mentioned the Roman ruins and castles etc are just there too.
For us this is our first trip to Europe and is something of a recon mission. I’m not expecting (hoping a bit though) for epic conditions or epic ski days but if we get to slide on some cold white stuff while we sample some of the local hills I’ll be happy.
Even if we have miserable conditions I’m expecting to be awed by the scenery and the culture of Italy.
Yes We are hiring a car in Geneva and then doing a week in Aosta and then a week in Champoluc.
Le Reve Charmant in the old town area. Thought as we have a car would stay close to restaurants etc
So its been great to hear all of your opinions. We are a pretty fit couple in our 50s who have skied for a long time. We want to ski in Europe next year and priorities are snow and weather reliabilty (don't want to go all that way for no snow and bad weather!) and beautiful scenery, together with the culture. From all of your comments, 3 valleys in France seems to be a good choice, but we are wanting to visit a second country while we are there. Would it be viable to include Zermatt, or St Anton, or alternatively would it be worth visiting a smaller resort in Finland and taking in the Northern Lights? Our trip would be around 14 days - would that be enough to get in say, 8 days skiing?
Also has anyone tried the Glacier Express - seems to cover Zermatt and either Davos or St Moritz together, seems like a pretty exciting way to see two different resorts?
The Glacier Express is awesome. Did it years ago, Zermatt to St Moritz
Remember that snow conditions get better with altitude but weather does not.
Yep good point - I thought the 3 valleys might be the best protected from a weather perspective?
Salzburg in Austria would be my choice. Not as high as France but personally I find the scenary and culture better in Austrian resorts than in French ones (most of which are pretty ugly as far as the buildings go) Also you can get one ticket that will cover almost all of the resorts in Salzburgerland and some of Tirol.
Alongside with this if the weather is bad can spend the day in Salzburg checking out the castle, Sound of Music tour and Mozart birthplace etc.
Salzburg, then on to Saalbach Hinterglemm.
I’ve only skied Chamonix, Val D’Isere/Tignes, paradis ski (Les Arcs, La Plagne and a couple of others) and Courmeyer.
I actually like Courmayeur the most, although it doesn’t have the best skiing. It’s a combination of the skiing and the vibe.
If youre getting pssses for season in oz this coming year at Perisher or falls/Hotham, Epic pass will let you line up 7 days free at 3V, then another 5 at LaPlagne and Val D’isere, then another 5 at Verbier. Pretty good deal
Just to clarify one point when skinavy says Salzburg he means the province ie. Salzburgerland which encompasses many resorts. But you have the city of Salzburg as well with many attractions and you can day trip to a few ski areas from there.
Tirol also has a range of multi area passes. Similarly Innsbruck is also a nice town and you can easily day trip to several ski areas.
Both of these include glacier resorts so in worst case of a poor snow year or early or late season these are an option. However glacier resorts are not recommended on poor vis days.
For a current example of what you might get have a look here: https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/austria-2019.84039/
Wow! Those pics on there are amazing!
Also check out the Austria - Saalbach Hinterglemm , Gerlos, Bad Hofgastein thread from January 2018. There is good reason for it getting over 32 000 views. Gerlos- Konigsleiten is very underated with huge scope for offpiste.
Has anyone skiied in Zermatt and St Anton in late February? I understand this is school holiday season in Europe and that the resorts can be very crowded, but I would like some perspective on what 'crowded' means in Europe - Would the lift lines and runs be more/less crowded than in say, Falls Creek in school holidays? Or would they all look like Bourke St at Buller?
I can't comment on your exact date range but I lived in UK for last ten years and skiied the Alps 2 wks on avg each yr. We always go in Jan to avoid school holidays. The base will be crowded as in 25min line to get first bubble up and they tend to be fully loaded with 8 ppl etc. Once ur up the mountain it's fine as the resorts are so huge. The bottleneck lift to get home at 4pm is similar though, as is any interlinking lifts like cervinia-zermatt , la plange-les arcs, but they won't close on you as long as you are with the crowd.
I'll see if I can dig up some photos.
Haven't skiied in oz for a long time so can't comment.
Have ridden at both in Feb.
To be honest both are justifiably very popular resorts, St Anton can have quite a competitive, competent crowd about it. Certain bottlenecks & key access points can require some jostling & assertive riding.
But they are both vast areas & mostly in Europe you can always find terrain up to or above your challenge level which disperses crowds considerably. Personally, I find the off mountain numbers of people, along with the posing, more of a challenge in places like St Anton, Zermatt etc, but that can also be part of the appeal. The mountains always sort the posers out there.
My picks for busy times were- T bar on Kappall, Madloch side of Zurs, Chair at Zuger Hochlicht and Rifflscharte in the afternoon.
I have visited Zermatt last week in Feb. The Sunnega lift first thing was busy, but they are Swiss, it's pretty efficient and once you are up the top everyone peels off to their area of choice and it's no busier than a normal Saturday at Falls.
This, which almost looks like an airport check in line, is the base station of the gondola at one of the bigger/more popular stations at the Dolomites at first lift up. That was the 25min wait I was talking about, and getting to this point of the photos we already stood in line for 10mins. This was in Jan. Although I suppose ccable cars is not a fair comparison because of their batch nature. Beyond the glass door at the end is the ppl who are checked in for the next cable car.
But, if you stay somewhere mid mountain, ski in ski out, or at one of the less popular valleys, then the first lift is much much better:
And here's a choke point at around 3-4pm as people flow in to catch the homeward lift - there's 3 diff queues here:
But, when you go up to the glaciers high up, you also get times like this where you have the piste to yourself:
All these were at mid Jan of various years of various resorts.
Or get early up when in Alba.
Looks like sleeping to long?!
But the base station has been redesigned with the replaced Ciampac, don't enter the same place anymore!
Hehe. We stayed at Fassa so normally the hotel drives us to Buffaure which is very okay for thin crowd. But on that day we wanted to see if taking bus to a valley directly on the Sella would give us a boost in being able to spend more time on the far end villages. We totally didn't expect this queue.
Ha, ha in that case get up even earlier.
Last winter chose this to avoid that problem.
Fantastic location, nice and friendly, good bar, if you do not need nightlife - food plenty but not first class.
Up in the mountains!
After most recent trip which included Zermatt, Crans-Montana and Val Gardena, I 've got to say that Zermatt is one place that I definitely want to go back to. Possibly would also be happy with Cervinia, but what a huge mountain.
I have never been and definitely keen to get there at some point even more so if the lift from Cervinia to Champoluc goes in. That however is probably a pipe dream that will never transpire.
@LDJ only had four nights in Zermatt on this trip as it was to fill a gap in accommodation elsewhere. Found it easy to get to from Zurich airport (single ticket and one change of trains). Had great accommodation recommended by @Kletterer, which gave us the option of self catering. Caught up with a friend who was staying in Cervinia on a couple of occasions and he found it very easy to get across.
And that view.....
Just 1 point i have not made here previously about St Anton. The town is reasonably quiet at lunchtime. After several years of visiting i worked out that the way to go was to have lunch in town away from Galzigbahn. Cafe Aquila being the favourite spot for good value. Budget lunch further down the road at Spar for a Leberkasse semmel with local cheeses and various smallgoods of choice.
Sestriere and the whole La Via Lattea resort plus Cervinia. In spring Limone Piemonte can be also good.