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Quick weekend at Pila

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all,

I have been tasked with organising a very short break for me, hubby and Brother in law. Our dates are very specific and we can only do Sat 17th Feb - 19th Feb no movement on this whatsoever. First flight out to Geneva and last flight back gives us 1/2 day piste time on 17th full day on 18th and good half a day to almost a full day on 19th. Geneva chosen due to best flight times and choice.

Staying in Aosta and will get Gondola up to Pila. We are all advanced intermediate level (having a quick getaway without the kids) so looking for good food, not too expensive not crazy night life just nice places to have drink. Found a TO that can do a nice hotel in Aosta with everything included (ai package) but its working out at around £800 pp + a little spending (mountain lunches and HB included) which I think is really rather pricy but I think we are not going to get a good price due to having such tight requirements.

One slight issue is it's the week after half term and I understand lots of school kids ski here. Firstly do you think Pila would be ok? On quick research seems suitable - treelined for bad weather, plenty of reds and some blacks. Is it worth me sorting it out DIY style as I normally do. Are there better ways of getting to Aosta from Geneva rather than paying through nose for private transfers.

The idea was a no hassle - get on slopes asap but I realise this comes at a price! Any tips would be grateful both money wise and resort wise.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Why Aosta/Pila? There are many closer resorts to Geneva.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@mini_mo, We did similar and stayed in Aosta and skied in Pila for a short break last Feb half term (Mrs Z is a teacher). We arrived late on the Friday and stayed until Tuesday. The weekend days were rammed with some lift queues (both at bottom at Aosta and at Pila), the weekdays were surprisingly really rather quiet considering it was half term. It was fine for a short trip and I'd do it again

If you have an option of airports, we flew to Milan and hired cars, car hire in Italy is much cheaper than France plus you avoid the Mont Blanc tunnel fee. Obviously Turin is even closer but not so good for frequency of flights.

Some nice restaurants in Aosta. Enjoy.
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Quote:

Why Aosta/Pila? There are many closer resorts to Geneva.


As above, Iíd be more inclined towards Chamonix, Les Gets, Flaine etc any resorts on the French side
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
There is the Aosta Express. I know they go to Courmayeur and La Thuile.
Am sure they have options and are around 50 euros per person. I haven't used them but friends have.

How about considering La Thuile or Courmayeur, both have had lots of snow and the Aosta Express def runs there without need for further transportation (time wasted into the Valle d'Aosta...nice as it is)?

I hear Pila can be really busy at weekends, and do get lift queues sometimes. Considering your skill levels maybe Courmayeur is worth a bash?

I would diy package it myself, with hotels.com or the like, thats what i do generally and am doing next week to the Dolomites.
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Pila does get pretty mental at weekends. We drove up at stayed at the top, but by 9 the queues were already forming. It wasn't ideal but the skiing was good, something for everyone.

Courmayeur also suffers at weekends.

How about Les Gets / Morzine / Avoriaz?
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
But it sounds as though the OP has already booked Aosta/Pila.
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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!
Driving to Aosta through the tunnel is no big hassle (provided you don't suffer from claustrophobia Twisted Evil ) - though of course it adds considerably to the expense.
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yes the MB tunnel is around 54 euros return for a 7 day or less return.

I got the impression they hadn't booked as they were talking about having found a TO who was quoting 800 per person. Thats a lot imo.
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At £800pp I'd definitely DIY.

Flights EJ - Luton to Milan Malpensa £110 (each)
Car hire (Budget - Fiat Panda) £33 (total) + say £60 for fuel and tolls (so £30 each)
Lift pass - Ä126 - say £110 each
Ski hire - say £75 each

So that is £325. I'm sure you could get 2 nights accommodation for less than £475 each!!
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I am not sure for a weekend it is worth bashing the 2:30 hrs to get to Pila from Geneva ? Love the place myself but is it a hard requirement?
Have a word with Carole at Pilaski.co.uk I am pretty sure she will do you a better deal than that up in Pila itself. Then you miss the queues to get up from Aosta (not to mention a long walk from hotel to lift, unless you have a car) and can be out at the top before the queues form on the lower lifts.
It is busy at a weekend but nearly empty most week days.
We used to go via Geneva and just hired a car as it was cheaper than a transfer. Now we go by Turin with transfer all in the price.
Chatelaine hut off 6 (under La Nouva lift) is great value for soup bread & nibbles. They also do a Ä3 Prosecco&nibbles - the nibbles are nearly a lunch. https://pila.it/en/hotel/la-chatelaine/ big new glass room on the front doubles the size of the place great views.
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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.
PS chains needed to get up the hill last time if you do stay in Pila. Only time in 10 visits as normally a clear road. So if you do hire make sure it has Winter tires and Chains.
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Hummm... thanks for the feedback.

So I decided to avoid France because of French school holidays. Also only Geneva can give me a really early flight out and a really late flight back. Itís not going to work without these flight times.

Do you think Italy weekend will be just as bad as France? If so then I might as well stick with resorts near Geneva. Iíve done Portes du Soleil about 4 timeís so that a no no, but not done Flaine, nor a few of the others near there nor done Chamonix or the smaller resorts near there.

Also itís easy to put rough prices on flights and car hire but once youíve added baggage, seat allocation and all the insurances with car hire itís about double!

Anyway I will look at DIYing and price up options tonight. Thanks for the tips. Very Happy
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I can't speak for France, but am guessing that any resort in school holidays will be busier. I would try to go to a big resort with good uplift to avoid that. What about La Thuile, it is big enough with a link to La Rossiere and although was busy when i went at christmas to new year was not jammed with major queues like some of the reports that i have seen of the French resorts. I really like the resort as don't like busy resorts.
You and def get there via the trasfer company i mention too so wouldn't have to worry about toll charges, chains, tyres or fuel just pay the 50 euro per person and go.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Courmayeur is only 90mins from Geneva and has plenty for a few days. Great food on the mountain and in the town too.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@mini_mo, queues at Pila get really bad during holidays and at the weekends because itís the closest resort to Milan. Itís getting worse each year too. They do die down after lunch though.

I donít know if Courmayeur or La Thuile would be better, maybe La Thuile?
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Quote:
Courmayeur is only 90mins from Geneva and has plenty for a few days.†
†Does it Puzzled We're very easily pleased and love skiing anywhere - but one day there was enough for us last January.

Maybe that was because we had an Aosta Valley pass and knew there were so many other resorts we could try - but I'd say Courmayeur ski area is quite a small one. We skied practically everything that was open in a day.

On balance, a nice enough, varied ski area and a lot of mountain restaurants. So maybe okay for a long weekend.
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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?
another vote for La Thuile. We are flying out to Geneva in a few weeks, hire car (swiss side so you get chains and winter tyres) £300, 1.5hr drive to La Thuile. Apartment found on AirBnB for £500 (that is for the week). If it is after half term/carnevale you should find accommodation no problem.
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Hi All thanks for advice. We tried to find accommodation in La Thuile but itís either too basic for our requirements or coming out way too expensive. Hardly any choice available too. I think we may scrap the whole idea as becoming too unfeasible.
Sad
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
My first choice for a very short trip is always Chamonix. Itís an hour from GVA and easy to get there and back. Whatever the weather conditions (excluding unusual conditions right now) thereís somewhere to ski with all the various areas. Itís not cheap but there are a lot of accommodation options if youíre prepared to search hard.

Is Geneva absolutely the only airport? Have you thought about any less obvious options like Munich-Garmish? Olso-Tryvann for something different?
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mountainaddict wrote:
Quote:
Courmayeur is only 90mins from Geneva and has plenty for a few days.†
†Does it Puzzled We're very easily pleased and love skiing anywhere - but one day there was enough for us last January.

Maybe that was because we had an Aosta Valley pass and knew there were so many other resorts we could try - but I'd say Courmayeur ski area is quite a small one. We skied practically everything that was open in a day.

On balance, a nice enough, varied ski area and a lot of mountain restaurants. So maybe okay for a long weekend.


Depends on what you ski. There is some awesome off piste if thatís your thing
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mini_mo wrote:
Hi All thanks for advice. We tried to find accommodation in La Thuile but itís either too basic for our requirements or coming out way too expensive. Hardly any choice available too. I think we may scrap the whole idea as becoming too unfeasible.
Sad


La Thuile does require a bit more planning as its not a huge village. I am suprised the planibel doesn't have anything though. Its right at the lift station and although is no frills is convenient if nothing else. I prefer the Boton D'or just up the road but thats full i checked.

Wht don't you look at Courmayeur again, there is lots of accommodation and restaurants to suit all budgets. It has plenty to do for a few days imo, and if you are good skiers you could even consider skiing the Valle Blanche to Chamonix from Punta Hellbronner on the Italian side of Monte Bianco. Its about 20kms of skiing and will give you plenty to do. Though you need to find a guide to do this (plenty of companies out there offer it) and be up to the skill level required.
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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!
Don't forget, when looking at France, that the change-over Saturday will be fairly quiet - though on the other hand Sundays are very busy. If you do ski the Sunday the best way is to get on the slopes at first lift, eat at 12 noon - quickly - then spend the whole of lunch time (when the restaurants will be very busy) skiing on quieter slopes. When ski lessons start after lunch things really get busy on the lifts - time for a second stop then, perhaps, before another hour or two in late afternoon.
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@moseyp - itís all about maximising the flight times. Geneva has the best frequency by far. We need outbound at dawn and inbound at night! We looked at airports/Ski resorts close by and flight frequency last night. We even looked at Slovakia!

@Sweedish - Iíve looked at Planibel before and iím always put off by bad reviews such as itís run down and smelly. I have limits you know! I suppose we will hardly be in the room. I will look tonight.

@pamw- yes good point that did occur to me today

If only money were no object it would matter would it. Iím even thinking about my husband and brother going self catered for a week and then I join them for the weekend. It actually might work out around the same price if we got a last minute deal.
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Although Iíve just realised a flaw in that plan because a Saturday last minute deal would also need to fly out first flight firbit to work Mad
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Oops sorry... for it to work
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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.
i know its not got the best reviews, i was thinking it's convenient and big so should have availability if you can bare the fact it's probably a bit rubbish.

There is stuff down in Pre Saint Didier but...you would need to get up to La thuile everyday. It would be easier to get to Courmayeur in this instance. The place i'm staying in March has a free bus from there to Courmayeur if required and so do several places. Don't think there is a free bus from Pre Saint Dider to La Thuile however.
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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
@mini_mo, have you looked on airbnb?
There appears to be quite a few options for La Thuile for your dates.
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 You know it makes sense.
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Hi all sorry for the delay. We did look at Planibel apartments but they were really expensive and not good value for money (£400 for 2 night B&B!). I also looked at Air BnB but there really wasn't much that took my fancy.

Anyway to cut a long story short we are now going without brother in law in March and for slightly longer. We booked with Sun web and are going to Zem all Ziller (Zillertal ski area) in a 4 star hotel HB for a total of £998 (room, half board, skis and 4 day ski pass). Flights to Munich were £150 total. Car hire is around £50. All in all more skiing for a little less money (about £1400 all in including spending), so I am happy!

Thanks for your help and suggestions - I am sure some mentioned Munich somewhere on the thread. Now I just need to research driving from Germany to Austria (need vignette and high vis jacket I believe) and will need to check out driving route.

Hooray!
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