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Help me break free from French megaresorts

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@CaravanSkier, unfortunately the ban has been overturned, so the existing rules stay in place.

@munich_irish, in my experience the problem with smoking rooms and areas is that the doors are rarely shut and the smoke travels to other places. Unfortunately apart from the old fashioned small pubs you mention I also came across smoking in small restaurants and mountain huts where I didn’t expect it. As you say smoking places can be avoided, you just need to be aware of them.

Anyway, I don‘t want to turn this thread into a discussion of smoking rules, I just thought it might be a point to add to @mgrolf‘s checklist for the accommodation as Mrs_mg will spend a lot of time there.
I don’t know if it is relevant for her, but for me as a non-smoker I couldn’t use the nicest lounge area with the most beautiful view if it was smoky, so I‘d make sure to book somewhere that is non-smoking throughout.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@mgrolf, we didn't find it an issue connecting to the Arlberg at all, now even easier with the new lifts in place over to Zurs.
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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?
I'm in Austria now and although it's nothing like as bad as it was, you still have to be careful with cancer smoke. I stayed a night in Garmish last week in a place which stank of it; I had no choice. I'm now in Austria in a very fancy place, but it still has ashtrays in all outside areas, along with all the "wellness" facilities that's very strange. On the plus side they know how to do saunas. In Sölden good eating places don't seem to have tobacco, but anywhere outside generally stinks.
--

Other suggestions...
- Taos. Stay at the St Bernard and eat their food. You can see the main bump slope from their sun room.
- Whistler. Pick accommodation which is slopeside and eat in the restaurants.
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You need to Login to know who's really who.
@Simony, I'd forgotten about the smoking. Definitely something we want to avoid (it's put me off Austria in the past).

@philwig, medical insurance for Mrs_mg in North America would cost as much (or more) than the entire holiday Shocked so I'm saving them for when mini_mg and I go on our own. Shame really as I'm sure there are places that would work, but it's just how it is.

Time to check out the Dolomites Happy
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
For another suggestion: Schladming, one of the places up at Rohrmoos.
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
@mgrolf, Another +1 for Oberlech, look at Hotel Cresta, lovely hotel awesome terrace and views, beautiful wellness and food. Ski in ski out and near to the main gondola down to Lech, seriously nice town plenty going on (beware there's serious shops there). Never stayed at the hotel (cant afford to!) but drop in for lunch every time we are in Oberlech.

Ticks all your boxes. taxi from St Anton or Langen. Fly Swiss into Zurich and train, or LH MUC and hire a car or train.

In my view Zurs and Stuben would be too quiet, Cresta would be my recommendation. Another recommendation Hotel Maiensee in St Christoph, again ski in/ out, views good but not as good at Cresta and not as much for mrs_mg to do during the day I'd say.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Markymark29, the Hotel Cresta does indeed look lovely but they are quoting over €5500 for room and board for the 3 of us Shocked
I'd love to try the Arlberg but it looks as though Oberlech is way out of our budget...back to the drawing board.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@mgrolf, Yeah its a bit crazy eh? Try Hotel Stuelzis in Lech, we stayed there this last season, not ski in/ out but only 50m from the snow and its well located for the lifts, mountain views and town. Great bar 50m away. We went via Bookings.com, bit more sensible prices and we had food included, highly recommended, nice spa/ wellness also.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@philwig, No issues with smoking in Arlberg in recent 5-6 years at least (St Anton/ Stuben/ Lech/ Zurs/ Warth).....unless you go in the outside/ inside bar tent things (we don't!). I know there's talk about it coming back in but I'm confident that most places wont allow it......if they do we wont be going in those places that's for sure and eating elsewhere! wink
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
I know the title is to avoid French mega resorts but wouldn't consider this one in that category and it has none of the super scale ski domain characteristics you indicate to avoid, in my view.

Flaine, specifically the Forum area and even more specific the Hotel Le Totem. It really is right on the snow from which you can ski to and from the boot room entrance. Very good communal area with balcony overlooking the lower slopes.

Also the Forum area outside the main entrance contains many snow side café and restaurants. You can literally ski into these for lunch. Main gondola to reach the top of pistes is very easy for pedestrian access if required (with café at the top) about 50mtrs on snow but usually a cleared footpath from hotel door around the other three sides of Forum makes very easy flat walking.

It's a very good ski area too with outlying sectors to explore and great side/between piste access to nurture early off piste skill.

It's often commented about the modernist architecture, but that always misses the point about how incredibly convenient it is to use. I've always liked the design anyway, so never viewed it as a negative.

I feel it offers what you ask for and is a big contrast to those in France you've experienced already.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@ski3, thanks, will check it out. I'm not anti France as such, I just think it's time to look elsewhere (and maybe find somewhere less busy in French school hols). The friends we skied with this year were talking about Flaine as an option.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@philwig, Smoking is banned in restaurants and bars in Bavaria (they had a referendum on the subject) and has been for a few years though there is still the concept of "smoking" hotel rooms, just make sure to ask for a "non smoking" one.

In Austria there has been a very noticeable reduction in smoking in bars and restaurants over the past few years. Whatever the political issues most people are against it. Yes it is still possible to find smoking places (eg small bar near the Nasserein gondola or the station bar in St Anton) but most places it is not an issue, certainly hotels that are aimed at tourists even most of the main bars in the centre of St Anton seem to be no smoking (though I am sure someone will point out some that are Smile ). I suspect the photos for the Stuben hotel are a little dated.
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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
The Dolomites are a great destination with several hotels in various villages right opposite the main gondolas. One downside of going to a mega area is that you won't really get the most out of the huge piste map if you are returning to base at lunchtime to meet up with your wife.
Wengen was mentioned upthread, I think that could suit well. Your wife could take the train up and meet you at the top of the mountain (or elsewhere at another stop) for lunch.
Another one to throw into the mix would be Saas Fee. Hard to beat for stunning views from the village and easy to ski back to for lunch. It is high though, if breathing is a problem for your wife.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@mgrolf, Take a look at this hotel in Nendaz. It links to Verbier. Great little place, stayed there a few times in the past but we avoid Switzerland these days, too expensive. Ski in and out right next to the main town lift. Great food and lively apres ski, Dutch vibe.

http://www.lesetagnes.com/en

Fly to Geneva and train to Sion, or fly direct to Sion if you can get connection. Local bus up down from Sion, 20 mins. Not much in way of shops but good mountain views. It’s not Lech but it’d be good for lunches etc.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@dode, Saas Fee, there's a thought. Altitude is no issue (well it is, but for me not mrs_mg Laughing ) so it could work. Thanks Very Happy
@Markymark29, I know nothing about Nendaz so I'll look it up, cheers.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
With the additional parameter that Mrs is mobility impaired but would like to be able to sit somewhere and watch the skiing I reckon Oberlech ticks the boxes. The hotels have terraces which overlook the valley and the skiing. It is traffic free.

Lech is intermediate heaven but joins St Anton if more challenging stuff is want.

However cheap it ain't.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

With the additional parameter that Mrs is mobility impaired but would like to be able to sit somewhere and watch the skiing I reckon Oberlech ticks the boxes. The hotels have terraces which overlook the valley and the skiing. It is traffic free.


I agree 100%
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