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Where should we go THIS Christmas (23-30 December)?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Where has best conditions / is likely to have best conditions Christmas week (23-30)? Snowpenguin and I would like to head somewhere snowy for the Christmas week but have not yet booked anywhere.

We live in Basel in NW Switzerland, and will drive in our own car (equipped with winter tyres and chains). We would ideally like to go somewhere within 3 hours drive, 4 at the outside. In practice this means all of Switzerland, and Western Austria - Innsbruck would be the limit but more likely the Vorarlberg. Maybe some parts of Italy will sneak in.

We are good skiers, everywhere on piste, like to ski off piste/tour. Quality over quantity - don't need a huge area or a super modern efficient lift system. I have a intense dislike of busy pistes and particularly busy pistes littered with bodies/UFOs (unpredictable flying objects) so would prefer somewhere that does not get *too* busy. I know that Christmas week is better than NY, but it still a peak week - I am spoiled because I very rarely ski in peak weeks.

We learnt to ski in Austria and have not been back in a long time, so Austria is tempting, however, I'm not sure if the snow is in fact better in parts of Switzerland and if we would be better here.

Currently on the shortlist are: the Arlberg, Ischgl and region, Damüls, Montafon, Flims/Laax, Arosa/Lenzerheide, Andermatt, Meiringen/Hasliberg, Adelboden/Lenk, Zinal.

Thanks for any recommendations, suggestions and reports of current conditions Happy.
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@Gämsbock, I think everywhere has pretty good snow at the moment.
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@under a new name, I know that everywhere is relatively good at the moment (certainly for the time of year), but nevertheless some places have benefited more than others, and some places will be busier than others Christmas week.

Where would you go?
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@Gämsbock, i don’t know the East of CH but can tell you that the Western part is absolutely plastered with snow. This map shows current snow depths against historical average.

https://www.slf.ch/avalanche/pdf/hsrel_en_c.pdf

I would perhaps add Andermatt and Engelberg to your list although they may be busy with Basel/Zurich traffic. Zinal, that you already have is a good and quiet choice although I think more snow fell further West and North. Personally I think the best lift served off piste is in Verbier but it may be busier than you would like.

As per @under a new name, you are really spoilt for choice this year and should get great conditions wherever you go.
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Quote:

some places have benefited more than others


True... but there's an element of do you need more than, say, 1m of snow?

I'd add Disentis to your list, relatively undeveloped and on the short trip I made there, looked to have lots of touring opportunites.

If Aosta is within reach, maybe Monterosa? It should certainly be quiet.
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For pure skiing there's nowhere I'd rather be than Montafon right now.

Today was another powder day here in Tirol, but Vorarlberg has had more snow. Probably Lech/Stuben/St Anton have a bit more snow than Montafon too, but there's also way more competition for fresh tracks there.
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Thanks very much for the advice.

Monterosa is tempting, as it has been on a the list for a long time... but it is far (5h30 per Google maps). I am kind of reluctant to drive so far when there are good conditions a lot closer to home. Disentis I think we can access on the train from Andermatt if we stayed there (still interesting).
My concern with Andermatt and particularly Engelberg are how busy they might get... I have had a number of poor experiences at Engelberg on powder weekends where it takes hours to get up the mountain and the powder stress is all a bit intense. Verbier I am also concerned will be busy. I just don't have a very good sense of how busy these places get Christmas week.

Clarky999, you would definitely recommend Montafon over Damüls/Mellau? Damüls we used to go to a fair bit, but not for some years. I haven't been to Montafon. Is there anywhere you would recommend as a base there?
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Conditions here in the Jungfrau Region are pretty epic at the moment, but to be honest I don’t think you can go far wrong anywhere in CH.
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@Gämsbock, Val D'Annivers would be my bet, close, less competition for fresh tracks and plenty of scope for off piste even more so if you can hike/skin around 30 mins
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@kitenski, good call, many happy days there Very Happy Tons of the stuff here too.........
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@KenX, alas you are a long drive from Basel.
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Gämsbock wrote:


Clarky999, you would definitely recommend Montafon over Damüls/Mellau? Damüls we used to go to a fair bit, but not for some years. I haven't been to Montafon. Is there anywhere you would recommend as a base there?


I've never (yet!) skied Damüls so can't really answer that I'm afraid (I should probably remedy that!).

Montafon has some really great skiing though, but the downside is the villages are also generally really quiet (I lived in Schruns for about 18 months).

Schruns is probably the best village to stay in, and there's some great skiing on Hochjoch. Easy drive (and free parking) to St Gallenkirk for tree skiing on storm days or Gargellen for the Nidla freeride area/ski routes when the sun comes out.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Ischgel: U -100 cm; L - 40 cm; Last snowed 14/12 (25 cm); Last 7 days - 170 cm; Next 9 days - 140 cm; 33/35 lifts open.

Not bad for this time of year.


Last edited by So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much on Fri 15-12-17 20:16; edited 1 time in total
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You know it makes sense.
Sorry. Double Post.


Last edited by You know it makes sense. on Fri 15-12-17 20:16; edited 1 time in total
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Re how busy places get. I had a Christmas week in Engleberg a few years ago, and it wasn't too busy. I think Andermatt and Engleberg both get very busy at weekends compared to mid-week, but I expect that, over Christmas, day-trippers would be spread across multiple days, so it shouldn't be much of an issue. I've also had a few days in Chur over Christmas and gone up to Lenzereheide and Flims, and again it wasn't too busy
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@Gämsbock, suspect you’re right that Verbier and Engelberg and the other major resorts will be busy given the great conditions. Perhaps Andermatt a bit less so? Grimentz/Zinal is probably the best option round here for decent terrain without the masses.
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Thank-you all very much for your suggestions. I think Engelberg is off the list, as I'll be narked if I book a whole week there only to find the same problems as I have experienced on popular weekends. Due to it's proximity I'll doubtless end up there at some point over the season anyway. Andermatt definitely has less of a problem queues wise, and I do really like the area, so that remains on the list if maybe a little on the outside. Snowpenguin is there this weekend, so I will get a first hand report from him. Damüls, Montafon - definitely still on the list... Clarky999s comment "For pure skiing there's nowhere I'd rather be than Montafon right now." is hard to ignore! Zinal I am really torn about, as I love it there, (so far) my favourite place I have ever skied. But that's another place we will be back at later in the season for sure. Flims/Laax, Arosa/Lenzerheide, Meiringen/Hasliberg- still on the list. Ischgl and the Arlberg I think are off due to likely popularity. I think I'm going to have to look at the pros and cons and start adding in accommodation options to try and narrow it down a bit further. I am sooo excited about this season!

I promise to post photos from wherever we end up Happy
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
How about Adelboden? We were there two New Years' ago and although the snow wasn't great, it was better than most and so at the moment should be fabulous. It wasn't busy at all. We stayed in the Cambrian, which was fantastic and had an amazing outdoor pool with terrific views and wellness spa. Nice village as well, and a relatively quick drive from Basel.
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Les Gets is amazing at the moment and not looking too busy over Christmas. I work for an estate agents in the village so feel free to PM me if you'd like me to send you some options on Monday.

I discovered the village when I lived near Winterthur, it's about 4 hours from there so should be within your 3 hour limit.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
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I like Damüls, Montafon, Flims/Laax, Arosa/Lenzerheide, Andermatt, and Engelberg.

Not sure anywhere is going to be snowy in the air for Christmas but most places should be snowy under foot.

A few other ideas:

1. If you go to Montafon you also have access to Brand.
2. Damuls may be better accessed from Mellau which would give easy options to the other nearby ski areas too inc. Warth
3. Oberstdorf ski areas.
4. Mythenregion for the ski tour routes accessed by lift.
5. Elm/Braunwald (one or both)
6. Brigels/Obersaxen (one or both)
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I booked Damüls just before going out this evening. In the end, it won because:
1) it's got loads of snow, and we had some great times in the area in the 11/12 winter (last time I can remember this much snow);
2) we've wanted to go back for ages;
3) going east of Zürich for a weekend is a pain due to the traffic, which is why we haven't made it back so far;
4) most of the Swiss resorts and the Arlberg are an easy drive/train ride away for a weekend or even a day trip (in the case of Engelberg, Adelboden and Mythenregion) so we will have plenty more opportunities for them this season.
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@Gämsbock, good choice I reckon! As I say I haven't skied it, but some of the stuff floating around Instagram from there the last couple of weeks looks REALLY nice
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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@Gämsbock, we were near Damüls last new year - the sunny hillwalking was excellent... I’ll look forward to seeing your photos of what it should be like! Loads of great looking tours round there.
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@Gämsbock, I know we're a "big" resort, but there is absolutely tons of the white stuff here in Laax, it's hardly stopped snowing for the last week. Unfortunately the family have got my place from 27th or I'd have offered you a Snowheads rate, but if you did choose here, give me a shout for a slide and/or beer - would be nice to catch up for longer than at the Expat Expo!

Oops, just seen your last post and see you've booked. Nevertheless, the rest of my post stands and my place has some availability the rest of the season. PM me if you're interested
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@eng_ch, that would be great for another trip - we've had a hankering to go back to Laax for a while too. I'll send you a PM.
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@Gämsbock, I'm too,late to this thread but having just arrived in Lech I have to say the snow here looks fantastic. Shame I'll need to waste some time in the morning as I managed to pack my boots without noticing that the insoles weren't in them Confused
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@Valkyrie, you have picked a fantastic week to be out - all this snow and hardly anyone to share it! How long are you out for?
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Wow looks like there is some nice terrain in that area!
https://instagram.com/p/Bc2AyEXAzoR/
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@BobinCH, some seriously fun stuff in Montafon for sure! One epic (gnarlier than it looks!) BC style pillow field hiding in the forest too...

https://www.instagram.com/p/xSg-gIn6AN/?taken-by=b_brandstatter

The one downside is a lot of the fun pitches are fairly short, and often with a big traverse in and out. Does help to keep the tracks down though!
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