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Poster: A snowHead
Fri 22-09-17 7:43
Replies: 9
the 2 blacks back to resort are proper blacks but we'll groomed. Surely proper blacks are never groomed. The blacks back to the resort are insanely steep. The piste markers at the top claim over 70% on a couple of them, though I didn't get my protractor out to check!
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Thu 7-09-17 12:01
Replies: 37
...the kids liked to see the 'Poule de Bresse' sculpture as a landmark. A summer holiday in the Alps doesn't properly start until we've passed the "metal chicken" even if the kids are no longer so excited. The adults in the car still celebrate!
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name.
Wed 5-07-17 10:38
Replies: 24
Another vote for Esprit. Not the cheapest option, but they do take out a lot of the stress of a skiing holiday with kids. We went with Esprit to La Rosiere for our first trip "en famille" and have very happy memories. I was very wary before this trip, as I thought skiing with a 4 yo and a 5 yo would be needlessly hard work, but it was actually a very relaxing holiday. The hard work came on the next trip where we skied with the kids in the afternoon rather than utilising the child care. This was physically very demanding but very rewarding, once aching limbs had been medicated with Esprit wine! We also have happy memories of Esprit trips to Courchevel (twice), Peisey, Saas Fee and Belle Plagne! Folk we met on Esprit holidays spoke well of other family friendly operators too. EDIT - Just realised that our first trip was 9 years ago. Where has the time gone?
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Thu 27-04-17 18:30
Replies: 15
...just a shame about all the TVs everywhere your eyes move to showing continual Hockey Highlights. I told my kids the joke about going to see a fight and half way through a game of hockey broke out the first time we encountered the ubiquitous TVs. The loved the joke (oddly) and the on-screen violence. They took to saying "Do you want to go and see some violence, Dad?" as a cryptic way of hinting it was time for some refreshment! Loved the whole Banff thing when we were there at Christmas.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Wed 22-03-17 11:48
Replies: 120
@rungsp, do you know if Switzerland accept EHICs from citizens of EU member states or citizens of specific countries explicitly including the UK independent of EU member status?
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Fri 17-02-17 11:27
Replies: 106
Sounds about fair price-wise. Elder Little Snowplough is going to the US at Easter next year for something in the low 4-digit range. A beginners' trip to Italy this HT is medium to high 3-digits. The issue is whether offering such a trip is sensible given that it has no real additional educational or social value (kids find out about beer and the opposite sex well enough without ski trips) and the less well off families can't really justify sending their kids off with their mates.
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Thu 26-01-17 15:58
Replies: 91
I have given up caring what it costs on a ski holiday. I wouldn't say I've given up caring, but I've definitely got to the stage in life where I don't mind shelling out to get the accommodation I want in the resort I want, and booking in advance to achieve this as constrained to half term or other holiday periods. Once there, the marginal cost of eating out more than planned and a few extra beers with tea seems inconsequential! Applying this logic H/T 2015 resulting in £5k all in for the four of us including kids' lesson and premium kit hire, overnight hotels etc. We did La Thuile H/T 2011 all in for around £3k, albeit without lessons or eating out. It was the second trip of the year, so no-one was too fussed about economising. 9 days in Banff this Christmas cost £7.5k, though this was probably cheaper than having everyone over for Christmas dinner and I didn't spend all day loading/unloading the dishwasher!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Fri 6-01-17 16:53
Replies: 82
The bit that freaked me out about the Lake Louise summit platter was the ropes alongside the steep pitch to grab on to if you fell. And the signs indicating that the surrounding runs were black or double black. Really not a lift you'd want to fall off. We ventured up that on our recent trip. I didn't research the lift at all, blindly following the kids who'd done it in a lesson the day before. It was a scary white-knuckle ride and when I got to the top the kids said something along the lines of: "We didn't think you'd get up that one, Dad!" Luckily, there was an epic run down through trees and easy powder, so I forgave them for taking me up there!
Then you'll get to see more forums.
Fri 6-01-17 16:50
Replies: 82
Homme de Pierre drag in Risoul....explains why there's no one on those slopes. Steep and long and a walk of shame through some woods to get to the piste. IIRC, it's one of those drags with "if you fall off" signs.... I'm pretty sure we did that "en famille" in 2014. Elder daughter fell off near the top. Mrs Snowplough neatly sidestepped her and called behind her to me "Can you go and get her?" Half an hour later, the four of us were happily re-united. It was only over lunch afterwards that I realised my nadgers had been forced up some where near my ears!
And post your own questions...
Thu 5-01-17 15:00
Replies: 29
There must be a genuine reason for the Budgie Smuggler rule. I've been to zillions of French pools on summer hols and have observed my kids breaking height limits and age limits as well as performing outlawed activities (bombing, running etc) without comment. Only the "Smuggler" rule gets reliably enforced. I was told it was to minimise the amount of sand that gets into the pool to potentially clog the filter. Not sure how that applies in ADH in winter, though!
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Mon 2-01-17 10:48
Replies: 2
We stayed in La Praz with our (then) little ones in 2009 (aged 6 and 4, for second week of skiing). The daily trip via the gondola to the ski school meeting point was trouble-free even in ski boots, so long as the adults carried the skis. (I often carried the 4 year old back down to the gondola in the evening too!) You've chosen a good location, I think. La Praz is funerally quiet at night, so your much-needed sleep (after the aforementioned "transfers") won't be disturbed and the green runs back into 1850 are perfect for the little ones to find their "ski legs". Enjoy!!
And they're a friendly bunch.
Mon 2-01-17 9:50
Replies: 39
@tangowaggon, enjoy the trip. If it is really cold, just view it as an excuse to eat more - the body will generate a lot of heat if required, so long as properly fuelled! I'd echo the earlier comments about toe warmers (and also suggest hand warmers). They don't keep your digits warm, but they help keep the blood circulating, which keeps them tolerable. I found taking my boots off at lunch breaks really helpful too, though on a couple of days, it took a few minutes inside until the plastic warmed up to bend enough to let the foot out!
You know it makes sense.
Thu 29-12-16 9:35
Replies: 14
@The Flying Snowplough, I don't know how one compares prices for DIY trips - is it a science or an art, with all the different combinations of discounts? - but I just did a basic comparison of 5 days lessons in Banff and Grandvalira, and 5 days lift ticket in each, and Banff was 50% more each time :( . I gain on the accommodation, but given the plane tickets as well, that's a hell of a difference... Ah well. I see Easter is early in 2018 :-D My comparison wouldn't necessarily stand up to rigorous analysis, but here's my thinking... - 2015 trip to Montgenevre Feb half term: All in cost circa £5k for 6 days skiing. Circa £800 per day skiing. - 2016 trip to Banff: All in cost circa £7.5k for 8 days skiing. Circa £900 per day skiing. I guess the big hole in my analysis is that the comparison is to my last trip, which might not be representative of a typical Feb HT trip. We are quite picky for our once a year trip, and resigned to paying a premium for choice of resort, flight times, accommodation type etc. Further factors making the Banff trip relatively cheap: - We flew on a Friday. The flights the next day were a lot more expensive. - We paid Crystal brochure prices, which hadn't been adjusted for the post EU-referendum exchange rate movements. - Crystal appear to have struck a good deal with local suppliers of lessons and kit. They were miles cheaper than booking direct. - We got a Black Friday 20% discount on lift tickets - luck rather than judgement, but I'm not complaining! - The savings from youngest daughter counting as a child rather than a youth were circa $400 - The week before Christmas appears to be mid-season in Banff, rather than high season, which HT in Europe represents.
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Wed 28-12-16 20:48
Replies: 14
@spyderjon, Tooloolou's filled this gap adequately! @essex, cold and then some on the extremities. The inside of my nose froze on the first day! @Orange200, it's certainly not cheap, though day-for-day, actually quite comparable with a TO offering to Europe at half term. Or so I tell myself... @graeme, very jealous, despite not yet having done all the washing from this trip!
Poster: A snowHead
Wed 28-12-16 18:57
Replies: 14
Resort: "Banff" = Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and Mount Norquay Country: Canada Date: 16th to 27th December 2016 Logistics: 2 adults, 1 youth (age 14) and 1 child (age 12). Booked direct with Crystal for everything bar lift passes. B&B at the Aspen Lodge (10 nights). Manchester to Calgary via Heathrow. Cost: Not entirely sure, as split across several credit card bills and to be honest, I'm rather scared to tally everything up! This was a major holiday treat though, having had a couple of years of modest summer hols and no skiing in the 15/16 season, so we weren't looking to do it "on the cheap" (thankfully!) Flights, transfer and hotel = £4100. Ski hire and lessons (kids only; 3 * full day) = £800. Lift passes $2200 (ouch!) and that was benefiting from youngest child counting as a child (12 and under) which saved a couple of hundred $. Eating out plus non-skiing excursions = circa £1500. Travel: Younger Miniplough was ill on the last Friday morning of term, but we felt confident that she would be ok for the 3pm flight from Heathrow. So we kept her off school and made our way gently to Heathrow via Manchester airport. Elder Miniplough fortuitously had a dentist appointment that morning and didn't need to go into school either. Thankfully, after a 545am start, both Miniploughs were fine by the time we rolled down the drive at 546am. One can only marvel at the recovery powers of youngsters! After nearly missing the plane on our last ski jolly, we took no chances this time, arriving at the airport before 8am, for a 12pm flight. This four hour interval was actually not over generous as there was an hour queue for the bag-drop and a 90 minute passage through security. After a leisurely breakfast, it was pretty much time to board for an uneventful trip to Heathrow. The wait at Heathrow was just long enough for lunch before the 9 hour flight to Calgary. We flew on a nearly new 787-9, which is by a country mile the nicest plane in which I have endured Cattle Class. I was almost sad to land, as my book was getting particularly interesting! We landed on time and were met by the Crystal rep and escorted to our minibus. If you've seen the scene in "Cool Runnings" where the Jamaican bobsledders exit the airport in to the extreme cold then you know what we experienced. It was -19C and cooling rapidly. The cold genuinely did take our breath away. Despite the view from the front window looking like in-cab coverage from "Ice Road Truckers", the journey to Banff was uneventful, except for the thick ice on the inside of the windows. We checked in without incident, receiving our pre-ordered lift tickets, as promised. No-one fancied doing a "Captain Oates" to get anything to eat, so we got some burgers delivered by what appeared to be an extra from "The Day After Tomorrow". One can only commend Canadian insulation technology, as I burnt my tongue on the first bite! We were all asleep by 10pm local time, which turned out to be our latest night of the holiday. Day 1: We were up early, so unpacked before heading down to the breakfast room as it opened. The offering was quite modest in range (bacon, eggs, sausages, toast, muffins, fruit salad and porridge) but high on quality and volume. My only complaint would be the absence of Maple Syrup. We then had to brave the cold to go to the ski shop. It was apparently -27C at 730am, and there had been an extreme cold weather warning overnight. In a part of the world where at this time of year -15C counts as pleasantly warm, one can only wonder at just how cold it actually was! (-41C apparently.) We randomly chose Sunshine Village to start with, as the bus there was earliest and we wanted to get cracking asap. There's a heated, covered lift new for this season, which we found after taking an uncovered lift up high. This lift ride redefined cold. -27C plus a bit of windchill was almost too much, but on the ground it was quite pleasant, and we passed the day alternating a couple of runs with a trip inside to warm up. The temperature reached the dizzy heights of -22C in the afternoon. Day 2: Sunshine again, as the Miniploughs' lessons kicked off there. They were doing Club Ski, where a day is spent in each resort. There were only three in the group, so it was almost like a private lesson for the kids for the cost of a group lesson. There was one poor guy condemned to share the slopes and chairs with the rather chatty Miniploughs! The Miniploughs loved the lessons. The combination of everything being conducted in English, the enthusiasm of the instructor, the absence of a formal assessment and a focus on fitting the tuition round what the students wanted to do was a winner. It was much windier than the previous day and despite higher temperatures (-16C in the afternoon) the high uncovered lifts were even worse than the day before. We stayed low and/or used the gondola to ascend in general. Day 3: Lake Louise. Larch area was fantastic - lots of soft moguls and tree-lined runs. Front side was a bit icy in places. Day 4: Norquay. There was a distinct lack of snow, open pistes and indeed skiers. So we had a day in empty, icy, artificially covered pistes. This was the warmest day of the trip (negative single digits) and proved that even the worst day on the slopes is better than the best day in the office. The conditions were a bit of a shame as when we'd been here in March '97, the place was fully open and we'd really enjoyed it. Anyway, the kids had enjoyed their lesson again and even a short day of skiing on ice was enough for my legs. Day 5: No skiing. Johnston Canyon tour in the morning. Long lunch. Washing in the afternoon. Day 6-9: We alternated Lake Louise and Sunshine on these days, with no lessons to worry about. The Miniploughs took great delight in showing that the previous Top Dog on the pistes (Mrs Plough) was now near the bottom of the Dog Pile. I of course retained my position as Tail End Charlie. We took consolation in seeing a return on our non-trivial expenditure on lessons over the years! Joking aside, I was actually on good form skiing-wise, and was tackling the tree-lined single blacks with confidence on the last few days. I even linked up to five turns on a black mogul field at one point, although this was sandwiched between some rather spectacular crashes! Still, the snow was soft and our insurance up to date, so why not throw caution to the wind? Christmas Day was spectacular - there was not a cloud in the sky and the pistes were pretty much empty. Best of all, the groomers had clearly been on double-time for Christmas, so there was a lot of groomed blue runs on which to delude myself I am a good skier. Comments on ski area: Something for everyone at both Lake Louise and Sunshine, ranging from almost flat green runs to some utterly terrifying looking - even from the chair lifts - double blacks. Lake Louise takes the honours marginally as the single blacks tended to have moguls rather than just being steep as at Sunshine. Snow better at Sunshine, given ice on front side at Lake Louise. Refreshments: Mountain catering is good - typically $50 for a good sized lunch. More based round fries than pasta though. Spreadable gravy with chips is something of a speciality. By adding cheese curds to it, one creates "Putine" which is apparently a local delicacy, though looks awful and according to Mrs Plough, tastes even worse. The lodges are quite happy for you to bring your own food and provide microwaves. Lake Louise and Sunshine may be the Noodle Soup capitals of the world! Mid-price restaurants in town (eg $100-$150 inc drinks) are almost on every street corner. We particularly enjoyed the Bear Street Tavern (particularly $10 Calzone night!), Touloolou's and Melissas' Misteak. We dined at the latter for our early Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve. Christmas dinner itself was chips and gravy on the mountain! Didn't drink much due to fatigue and a desire not to turn into too much of a bloater. Locally brewed pale ales were very good, though. Return journey: Dull. No delays. Mrs Plough and I slept for a few hours. The Miniploughs didn't and had had to be dynamited out of bed at 11am this morning! Overall: Everything we'd hoped for and a little bit more. Saving the pennies for another Christmas trip in three years!
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Tue 2-02-16 11:55
Replies: 10
We went to La Ros for our first trip "en famille" in 2008. Stayed in Arnica. Chatting to other folk, there wasn't much difference across the various Esprit options in the resort. Can't comment on non-skier options in La Ros as we both skied as much as possible before collapsing around 9pm after wrestling with tired kids a refuelling on a glass too many of the traditional Esprit chalet wine. Childcare is generally very good. Our only complaints over 5 trips were getting Elder Daughter mixed up with another child on one trip (so we were getting the wrong progress reports) and an inability/unwillingness to deal with Younger Daughter's aversion to potatoes, so she was trying to ski in the afternoon on fresh air. (50% hit rate.)
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name.
Fri 29-01-16 17:25
Replies: 158
Never seen Avoriaz in ski season but it is awful beyond description in the summer. Very good swimming pool though, particularly in low season when the kids can go round and round the water slides for hours without queuing! Flattering ascent from Morzine on a bike too. Just don't look up!
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Thu 21-01-16 15:05
Replies: 2
@Kenyafrog, nice report! I have less than fond memories of Les Saises having cycled through it in late May 2013 in a downpour, though the downpour had at least washed away the snow from earlier in the week. In Les Saises, my Good Lady reported that her brakes were playing up, so I swapped my brakes for hers getting very cold in the process and did a 20k descent to the valley slowing succumbing to hypothermia with minimal ability to slow down. I can laugh about it now. Glad you guys had a much better time. Skiing with the youngsters is great - enjoy any time you have faster than they are. It won't last!
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Thu 14-01-16 12:28
Replies: 297
Awful news. My thoughts are with all those affected. :(
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Wed 16-09-15 16:12
Replies: 204
plugging it into VERY imperfect models That's somewhat disingenuous - the models themselves are widely reliable and have predicted many phenomena that we've seen replicated in the real world. The problems often lie in taking those predictions and using them incorrectly as justification for a partisan viewpoint. I think the point was made above that weather forecasting models are only accurate over 4-5 days at best and often not even for that far. Met Office longer term weather forecasts are wrong at least as often as they are right. So I don't think a bit of healthy scepticism about the reliability of climate change models is a bad thing. Plus of course, the self proclaimed best brains in the world, backed by a shedload of cash built models that by an large spectacularly failed to foresee the global financial crisis, proving that model development is a tricky business.
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Thu 7-05-15 16:09
Replies: 39
@The Flying Snowplough, for a professional skier, racer or otherwise, ACL injuries are common, almost like work injuries. Most of the top racers have undergone at least one knee reconstruction among other injuries. Look at the number of professional sportsmen and women that have undergone the same procedure. With the kind of 1:1 rehab programmes as well as sport-specific proprioception strength and agility programmes they can come back to pre-injury levels. Maria Höfl-Riesch went through 2 recons as well before retiring at the top of her game despite a very strong challenge from Maze and Fenninger amongst others Only just seen this! I'm not disputing that ACL injuries can be recovered from. My point is that there are plenty of folk who have been finished off by them or who suffer a loss of performance as a result. Therefore, "career threatening injury" is a fair description of an ACL rupture.
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Sun 19-04-15 14:19
Replies: 9
@SkiPenguin, great report, thanks! We went to MontyG at half term and are going back next year as we liked the place so much. If you go back, you must try the Monty Express luge. Our kids loved it!
Then you'll get to see more forums.
Fri 20-03-15 17:28
Replies: 39
ACL reconstructions are 2 a penny out there... Reconstructions are fairly common. Ones where the patient recovers to perform at the same level are somewhat less common, I would suggest. Either way, at that kind of age, it's no mean feat to come back. I'm no great fan of "media teams", so I can see where you're coming from on that. I'd prefer Vonn to let her deeds speak for themselves. Nikki Lauda's comeback must be the best - racing a Formula 1 car a few weeks after being read the "Last Rites" and winning the drivers' crown the following year.
And post your own questions...
Wed 18-03-15 20:58
Replies: 19
They all had to repeat at least one level, having failed to make the speeds required. Wherever my kids have been incarcerated with ESF, only the Gold star has had an official speed/time standard. ESF do place a great emphasis on speed, so I guess anyone who struggled for speed could still fail the technique elements.
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Wed 18-03-15 20:46
Replies: 19
A bit late now, but our recent experience with ESF for Elder Daughter in Montgenevre was as follows: She had her Gold star already and we were advised there were two potential classes for her. (Being half term week, ESF knew they were offering a full programme well in advance). Option 1 was "Competition", which concentrated on slalom racing. Minimum standard was Bronze star. Option 2 was "Mini Champion", which concentrated on doing whatever the instructor felt like, at great speed. Minimum standard was Gold star. Elder Daughter raved about this class, as they covered powder, bumps, trees, slalom and off piste. There was a lot of tuition, but it was tailored to the conditions rather than needing to pass a particular test of perform particular skills. There were 4 instructors for "Mini Champion" with a big range of ability across the 4 groups, which were shuffled/seeded on the first day.
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Wed 11-03-15 16:31
Replies: 12
@The Flying Snowplough I was offered a contract with Skiidy 3 winters ago ( I didn't take up their very kind offer ), but the way they operated was that you would normally only do 2 rotations, and there was a reasonable break (2-4 hours) between rotations, so even if you were running late from a previous run, then that would not impinge upon the next run. This is very different from the company for whom I drove for 4 seasons, on occassions in Feb I did 4 rotations on a Saturday (Home->Avo->GVA->Les Carroz->GVA->Morz->GVA->Flaine->GVA->Morz->Home), and 4 times I can remeber doing 2 Savoie trips (Home->Morz->GVA->Val->GVA->VT->GVA->Home). I still have a few friends @ Skiidy who remember the old days with the former company, and they say that the timings are much more generous these days. The outfit we went with at half term was aiming for 4 trips on the departure Saturday. We needed to check in at Turin for 1030 and were the second run of the day and we were still at montgenevre at 915 with a fair amount of snow on the ground. Not ideal.
You know it makes sense.
Wed 11-03-15 12:01
Replies: 12
If you use a private transfer, my advice, based on recent experience, is to confirm the return time to the airport as soon as you can if things are likely to be busy. Life being as it is, the transfer companies try to squeeze in as many trips as they can, and the timings can be very tight. When you only get notified the pickup time the afternoon before the morning departure they can then play the "We've got no time to rearrange things" card, leading to a fast/scary descent from resort and a bit of a rush through the airport unless queues are short. Not what you want when you've paid for the "convenience" of a private transfer.
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Wed 11-03-15 11:27
Replies: 30
For those of a hardcore cycling disposition, there are some very good climbs nearby: - Semnoz (2 sides) (plus the 2013 Etape route if you fancy a full day out). - Col de Forclaz (2 sides) - A "double Forclaz" before breakfast is a good way to start the day! - Col des Aravis, Croix Fry and Saises (plus 2 Cat 2 climbs I can't remember!) in a 130k look from Doussard (far end of lake from the town). 2700m ascent.
Poster: A snowHead
Tue 10-03-15 18:37
Replies: 9
How is Meribel too low at 1400 metres and top peaks 2950 and 2700 ? most alpine villages are below that and have great spring skiing... We went to the 3V late March a few years ago and anything below 1800m was frozen porridge in the morning and slush in the afternoon, so hot was it. (We skied in fleeces rather than jackets and were still really hot.) The skiing at high altitude was absolutely superb, as was sunbathing at lunchtime! There was a lot of snow on the ground, but the combination of no new snow and high temperatures did lead to a conclusion of "Anything below 1800m is too low".
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Sun 8-03-15 21:30
Replies: 30
We've been in Annecy in June with the temperature routinely hitting 38C. We've also been there in June with the temperature in the low single digits Celsius. (The temps hit -1C the day I went to pick the Good Lady up from the top of the Semnoz, which was covered in fresh snow, up which she had cycled.) June 2013 was freakishly cold in the Alps. By early July, the Good Lady and I were cycling up Alpe D'Huez with 39C temps, with it similarly hot the next day in Annecy. You could get anything in July. Good weather would be the expectation though. I think the only certainty is that the lake will be cold!
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Thu 26-02-15 9:20
Replies: 16
Ski school emphasis on young people having fun (take note, ESF). Nice report, thanks. I certainly "feel your pain" about the kids not wanting to ski with a "slow" parent. In defence of ESF, my kids have been inmates of ESF for the tuition part their entire ski careers (started 2008) bar their first week with EVO2 and a week in Saas Fee with an outfit whose name I forget. This has covered a range of resorts (La Rosiere, Courchevel, Peisey, La Plagne and Montgenevre) and they've always had good fun. Given the number of resorts involved, I don't think this is a coincidence, so maybe ESF aren't too bad. Or maybe we've just been lucky. That said, the kids maintain the most enjoyable lessons they've had were in Saas Fee. The instructor there was English and the enhanced enjoyment came from the instructor being a bit of a comedian in his native language rather than the skiing, though there was a session where he had them jumping off the roof of a snow covered mountain hut... (Understandably, being able to amuse kids in a second language seems much harder than teaching them to ski in a second language.)
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Wed 25-02-15 13:43
Replies: 2
My daughter's school trip for Yr 8 was in Courmayeur last week, so I'm glad you survived without those hooligans disrupting things! (Daughter was elsewhere with us. She's not a hooligan, obviously!) What's Courmayeur like? I've hiked through it in the rain and found it a rather nice place, but have no idea what it's like as a ski resort.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Wed 25-02-15 10:25
Replies: 8
Just to emphasise, there were no queues to speak of, even at half term, so long as you avoided lifts/times relating to ski school schedules and lunchtime. The kids already have the "stay together, ski together" thing sussed. They announced that they won't be coming on summer holiday with us much longer, but will keep coming skiing with us, so we can look after their kids when they have them. My lack of ability on skis is apparently offset by my ability carrying luggage and wielding the wallet at feeding time. We suggested that we will be expecting them to pay for us to go with them, which didn't go down well, though a dispute was headed off by suggesting a trip to the bakers for a cake, followed by a round of "Pass The Pigs". Happy days... :D
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Sun 22-02-15 19:19
Replies: 8
Resort: Montgenevre Country: France plus a bit of Italy Domain: Monts de la Lune (Montgenevre plus Claviere) Date: 14th-21st Feb 2015 Logistics: 2 adults, 2 kids (12 and 11). Premier Inn near Manchester Airport on Friday 13th, Jet Parks parking, Jet2 to Turin, private transfer to resort, staying in the 4* Hameau des Airelles via Peak Retreats. Lift passes booked direct only. Ditto skis via Skiset. Lessons for kids via Peak Retreats. Cost: Approx £4.5k all in, excluding food whilst there. Notes: Embarking on Friday 13th should have hinted at something. Private transfer company will remain anonymous at this stage. Skiing: It snowed heavily the afternoon we arrived and then pretty solidly from the first afternoon through to some time in the small hours between second and third day. 8 inches of snow in the town at breakfast on day 2. Blue skies and pleasant warmth thereafter on well groomed pistes. :D All pistes were challenging on the first two days due to there being shin high powder all over the place. Once groomed, most pistes were enjoyable rather than particularly challenging, which suits me. Mrs Snowplough was able to get more of a challenge skiing through trees etc with the kids. So all in all, something for everyone I'd say. One of the boarder cross courses and a nearby natural half pipe were on the decidedly hairy end of things if you picked up speed. Lift system: Takes a bit of sussing out, particularly with kids in lessons with drop-off/pick-up points at different parts of town. Once sussed, however, it seems pretty good, with high speed 6-man chairs at key points, reasonably fast 4-man chairs elsewhere, with tactically deployed draglifts serving snowparks and boarder crosses. Half term queues: Awful. No-one should ever contemplate MontyG at half term. Except in years when I'm not going back. :) Lessons: Both kids were in with general purpose ESF lessons. We took a punt that at half term there'd be some other English kids around, and so it proved, with one compatriot for each. Elder daughter was in "Mini Champion", which <<Proud_Parenting_Alert>> is what you do after the Gold Star <<End_Alert>>. This was only offered in the end of town where we weren't staying, so we had a short bus ride each morning. Younger daughter was in the Gold Star group. Both instructors spoke good English, one being almost fluent. Language difficulties arose solely from the Frenchies comprising 80% of each group, so much of the chatter was obviously in French, though tuition was done in both languages. From what I saw whilst cruising in the mornings, Mini Champion appears to involve straightlining it down black runs or disappearing into power or trees. Not my thing, but Elder daughter had a blast! <<Another_Proud_Parenting_Alert>> Despite failing the timed slalom test by a second or so, younger daughter's technique demo so impressed the instructors that she was awarded the coveted golden gong all the same.<<End_Alert>> Thanks to the Skiing Gods for such benevolence. :D Drink and Victuals: There are two pricey supermarkets in town, which are just about adequate. Restaurants abound in the town. Where MontyG stands out is the number of establishments providing ready meals such as chickens cooked to order, lasagne, meatballs, paella etc. We only ate out once in the evening as a result, as one such establishment, the Cocquimarket, was about 30s walk from our boot room. As such, an evening meal for 4 inc. drinks and pudding could be had for 30 or so Euros instead of 60 or so eating out. The bakers about 30s further down the road was also a quality gaff, with standard setting levels of custard in the pains aux raisins. Mountain restaurants on the French side of the mountain were limited in number and in product range. Quality was good and prices the typical 10% more than in town. The Italian side was awash with restaurants covering a much greater range of meal types at better value. Sadly, due to the constraints of lesson pickups, we only got there on the last day. :( Apres Ski: Other than the Monty Exress luge (1.4k track; 5 Euros a ride for the kids) I can't comment as I'm an old git and like to "après" with a beer in my apartment and be in bed by 10pm. Our end of town (Obelisque) was funereally quite most evenings/nights. Transport near disaster #1: Sadly, this one was entirely self-inflicted. A series of seemingly innocuous delays ended up with us arriving at Jet2 baggage drop in time (7:28 for 8:05 flight!) for the Jet2 folk to re-open the drop for our flight, chuck our bags down the standby conveyor belt, escort us to the front of security and advise us to run as fast as we could! This we did. I'd never appreciated just how f*cking big Duty Free is. It took an age to get through. How we didn't knock anyone over, I'll never know. Maybe we did. :oops: We got to the gate, hyperventilating to extremes, but amazingly not the last to board the plane. We will never be able to thank the Jet2 folk enough for their help. I took the liberty of ordering a beer, and had downed it by 8:50am, which is a record, even accounting for my youth mis-spent as a student rower! Transport potential disaster #2: Our return flight was at 12:05pm, and the trip from MontyG to Turin takes at least 75 minutes in good conditions. The transfer company website assures all punters that they will be dropped off at the start of checkin, which for us was 10:05am. We were thus somewhat perturbed to be told our pickup time was 9am, all the more so since snow was forecast. At our request, Peak Retreats contacted the transfer company and we were eventually given a guaranteed pick up time of 8:30am. We were unimpressed, though I have to confess, not entirely surprised, when the car arrived at 9:15am, with the driver reporting he'd already been to Turin from Briancon and the roads were fine. Quite where the 45 minute delay came from I'm not sure. I doubt it was from the driver hanging around on his first trip, as he saw nothing wrong in overtaking round blind corners, braking on the compacted slush in the middle of the road, driving at 120kmh in the snow on the first part of the motorway and 140kmh once the snow had dropped. I'm sure he'd have gone faster, but the car simply wouldn't give any more! Despite being scared witless pretty much the whole journey, we still only arrived just after 10:30am. Fortunately, everything worked OK from that point on, but I was less than impressed with the transfer company blaming half term and snow for the contingency-free schedule. It's not like half term comes as a surprise or snow in the mountains in February is unusual and the service wasn't exactly cheap. Overall: Great holiday, notwithstanding transport issues. I feel sure we'll return to MontyG some time soon, though possibly having driven ourselves there!
Well, it's only polite to Register
Wed 4-02-15 12:28
Replies: 27
Good thread. We're off to MontyG at Half Term with Peak Retreats. :)
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Thu 16-10-14 11:37
Replies: 28
Using the same calculation method the steepest black ski slope anywhere will be average about 30% for the full run. So a steepest section of circa 70% on such a run wouldn't be out of the question one would think? Most cycling climbs in the UK that average 10% have sections of close to 20%, albeit mercifully short ones! Edit - I've just checked my holiday photos... I have one of "Pista 37", which is a "Pista Nera" and a "Piste Noire" and is described as "Pendenza max 72%". I think this means Piste 37, black, maximum gradient 72%. Make of that what you will.
Then you'll get to see more forums.
Wed 15-10-14 9:40
Replies: 28
Anyone who has gone down a 70% slope couldn't possibly post here, as they wouldn't live to tell the story. Do you mean 30% ? I was working on the scale that is used for roads e.g. 25% = "1 in 4". 70% would be about "2 in 3" so approx 30 degrees. I guess the quoted gradient was the steepest pitch, if only for a short distance. It was chuffing steep for a while by all accounts. Not mine; I was too scared and went round the adjacent blue run through the snow park. My 8 year old got down it OK, so it's not exactly the Steilhang at Kitzbuhel!
And post your own questions...
Mon 13-10-14 19:05
Replies: 28
When the wind blows it is perishingly cold - even at Easter. Little in the way of après ski. Never any queues. The blacks back to village aren't trivial - one is seriously steep IMHO. Great resort. I'd echo all this, albeit extrapolating the weather from Feb to Easter. One of the blacks back to resort is over 70% gradient-wise. Not for the faint hearted as if you wipe out on that then everyone can see you slithering all the way down!
which other snowHeads love to answer.
Thu 9-10-14 9:10
Replies: 42
feef, Ski Esprit offer single parent deals (a cursory glance suggests no supplement) and child discounts, even at peak times. They may well be fairly well booked up already, but probably worth a look. At least your son will have similar aged children that he can play with and you can dictate the schedule around whatever works best for you/your son. May be worth looking at La Rosiere - Le Braconnier. Practically ski in/out, close to the lift. Close to the children's learning and play areas. Very handy for going outside for play/fun/games for you both. The resort isn't huge (excluding Italy link) and it is generally really easy to get back to the chalet and kids clubs in a hurry, should the need arise. My daughter learned there at 3 and again at 4 - its a great set-up and, by 4, she was taking the button lift up (50m from the chalet) with her lesson group, then the next lift up and skiing down. All in all a very positive experience for her and, subsequently, for her parents :) I don't know what La Ros is like at Half Term, but it's a good place for young kids. When we were there is 2008 (kids 5 and 4), there was a toboggan run just off the blue run into resort which was fenced off with inflatables, so very safe and much enjoyed by the kids. It also tends to be quite warm, being south-facing. Not ideal for serious skiing, but kids prefer to be warm on slush than cold on powder! Esprit are a good bet, if in your budget. Their accommodation has all sorts of odd rooms here and there which they struggle to fill as they can't take a conventional family. They also have an arrangement with the local ski schools for Esprit-only lessons rather than simply sending kids off to the general melee of group lessons. Therefore, if you can get in accommodation-wise, there should always be the necessary places in ski school. I guess though that booking late for HT would test their operational model to the limit in this respect, so there are no guarantees.
And they're a friendly bunch.
Tue 9-09-14 18:16
Replies: 9
We went to La Praz in 2009. It was completely dead after around 9pm, which was ideal as we had young kids and enjoy our early nights these days.
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