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Large quiet resort

 Poster: A snowHead
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I'm so hooked that even now lying in a hospital bed with a fractured pelvis I'm dreaming of next years skiing. This is my second accident in 3 years that increasingly crowded pistes have played a part in. (Last time being cut up in a bottleneck ruptured ACL and tibial plateau fracture - this time a full on pile up crash on an extremely busy wide red slope).
So, since I'm getting on a bit I have a resolve, and have promised my family, to avoid the biggies (Trois Vallees, Paradiski etc) from now on and choose quieter resorts that everyone doesn't pile into when conditions are bad, as was certainly the case this year at Avoriaz. The difficulty is that I love the big ones - the buzz for me is spending my days traversing miles over the mountains.
Any suggestions?
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@shiprat, Saalbach
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Monterosa?
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Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis, Tirol, Austria
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shiprat wrote:
I'm so hooked that even now lying in a hospital bed with a fractured pelvis I'm dreaming of next years skiing. This is my second accident in 3 years that increasingly crowded pistes have played a part in. (Last time being cut up in a bottleneck ruptured ACL and tibial plateau fracture - this time a full on pile up crash on an extremely busy wide red slope).
So, since I'm getting on a bit I have a resolve, and have promised my family, to avoid the biggies (Trois Vallees, Paradiski etc) from now on and choose quieter resorts that everyone doesn't pile into when conditions are bad, as was certainly the case this year at Avoriaz. The difficulty is that I love the big ones - the buzz for me is spending my days traversing miles over the mountains.
Any suggestions?


Have you thought of a Scandinavian country instead of mainland Europe? We've done Finland (Ruka) and Norway (Trysil) and had a great time. Have been 4 times and experienced tiny queues and very quiet slopes. Not sure if areas would be big enough. No way would I be risking further injury though!!!
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shiprat wrote:
I'm so hooked that even now lying in a hospital bed with a fractured pelvis I'm dreaming of next years skiing. This is my second accident in 3 years that increasingly crowded pistes have played a part in. (Last time being cut up in a bottleneck ruptured ACL and tibial plateau fracture - this time a full on pile up crash on an extremely busy wide red slope).
So, since I'm getting on a bit I have a resolve, and have promised my family, to avoid the biggies (Trois Vallees, Paradiski etc) from now on and choose quieter resorts that everyone doesn't pile into when conditions are bad, as was certainly the case this year at Avoriaz. The difficulty is that I love the big ones - the buzz for me is spending my days traversing miles over the mountains.
Any suggestions?

Tricky one this. Quieter resorts are quieter for a reason. And, by definition, they can't be quiet for very long, or they'll go out of business. And certainly not at peak times. The smaller areas I've been to Le Contamines, La Norma, Sonnenkopf, Wart Schroken, Stubai I don't remember being particularly quiet.

Some questions:

What time of the year do you ski?
Do you ski on or off piste?
Do you ski the resort with a view to avoiding the crowds?
Are you slope savvy - trying to keep yourself out of harms way?

I ski the biggies but at Christmas and early April rather than new year or the core mid-Feb to mid-March. I also ski off piste and try to avoid the crowds, make smart decisions. That's not to say I've not had the odd near miss. And sods law I will get crocked on the next trip (ADH) but it's just a thought that maybe if you can de-risk that way.
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I'd agree with @Layne that timing has a large part to play. Timing in relation to the time of year and timing in relation to the time of day you are skiing. I've been to Hemsedal (small Norwegian resort) twice; the first year it was very quiet and the next year it was bonkers (Norwegian winter half term). Risoul was generally very quiet apart from going-home time when the pistes linking Vars and Risoul were billy-bonkers. A lot of the pistes this January in Ellmau were not that busy, apart from at home time when it became a skier-and-slush fest.
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dobby wrote:
I'd agree with @Layne that timing has a large part to play. Timing in relation to the time of year and timing in relation to the time of day you are skiing. I've been to Hemsedal (small Norwegian resort) twice; the first year it was very quiet and the next year it was bonkers (Norwegian winter half term). Risoul was generally very quiet apart from going-home time when the pistes linking Vars and Risoul were billy-bonkers. A lot of the pistes this January in Ellmau were not that busy, apart from at home time when it became a skier-and-slush fest.


We did Ellmau at half term and it was heaving. Great place though.
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@bambionskiis, you've put me off going next half term....was thinking about it for the family
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@shiprat, If you can, I'd recommend the US. It's generally viewed as a weekend activity over there (at least, i think that's the reason) so the slopes are really quiet on weekdays. I was in Lake Tahoe last February and booked on a class with an instructor at Kirkwood. Nobody else turned up so I had a one on one session! And I don't think Kirkwood is going out of business anytime soon. I've also done Colorado resorts and it was the same story there. Resorts are a bit smaller but there's usually a few accessible from one place - for example we stayed in Reno and went to a different resort every day. I know yo're asking about large resorts, but maybe that's the trade-off?
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@N.Monkey could be on to something, in the US or elsewhere - i.e. get yourself a car and drive to different resorts each day.
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double post


Last edited by And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports. on Wed 15-03-17 13:58; edited 1 time in total
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... must say that two serious accidents in 3 years suggests something else is off!
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Just spent a week (4 to 11 March) in Serfaus. I'd definitely place it in the 'larger' resort category, although not so sure it would tick the 'quiet' box for me though.

I found the pisted runs very busy (and I thought early March would be avoiding most of the euro school holidays). Worse were some of the offload points!

That being said - had a great week here - lift lines were minimal (lots of high capacity chairlifts - which did lead to busier pistes), the skiers / snowboarders on the slopes mostly seemed in control and well behaved, and crowds on the ski routes were virtually non-existent.

A resort on my 'quiet' list would be Madonna dC.
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Dolomites for sure. I used to stay in Arraba and could find relatively uncrowded pistes even in half term week.

If you have the time and money then USA esp Salt Lake City. That is my preferred destination now. I believe there s a direct flight from the UK. Weekdays are always quiet unless it is a powder day but even on a weekend powder day I can find quiet pistes on the Canyons side of Park City Canyons.
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Dr John wrote:
@shiprat, Saalbach


Could not be described as quiet last week!
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Saalbach-Hinterglemm is quiet if you know where to go. Most people just follow the main motorway pistes of the main circuit, but there are numerous great pistes off the circuit. Last week I was on the top of Hochalm where there were few people. Skied 19 and 20 above the Wallegalm and we had the entire piste to ourselves. Everyone turns right off the Magic 6 lift, but turn left and there is a wonderful empty red run. Book an instructor or go on the main Saalbach thread and hook up with one of the locals to discover the quieter pistes.

The apres is definitely not quiet Very Happy
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bambionskiis wrote:
dobby wrote:
I'd agree with @Layne that timing has a large part to play. Timing in relation to the time of year and timing in relation to the time of day you are skiing. I've been to Hemsedal (small Norwegian resort) twice; the first year it was very quiet and the next year it was bonkers (Norwegian winter half term). Risoul was generally very quiet apart from going-home time when the pistes linking Vars and Risoul were billy-bonkers. A lot of the pistes this January in Ellmau were not that busy, apart from at home time when it became a skier-and-slush fest.


We did Ellmau at half term and it was heaving. Great place though.


I wouldn't say it was heaving, but it certainly was busier than it was last year. No queues to speak of at all on the Hartkaiserbahn. The new lift is sooooooooooooo much better than the old funicular.

It did seem a bit more crowded if you headed off towards Soll. Going wasn't at all busy, Scheffau & Brixen were OK as well. We didn't get over to Westendorf.
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quinton wrote:
Saalbach-Hinterglemm is quiet if you know where to go. Most people just follow the main motorway pistes of the main circuit, but there are numerous great pistes off the circuit. Last week I was on the top of Hochalm where there were few people. Skied 19 and 20 above the Wallegalm and we had the entire piste to ourselves. Everyone turns right off the Magic 6 lift, but turn left and there is a wonderful empty red run. Book an instructor or go on the main Saalbach thread and hook up with one of the locals to discover the quieter pistes.

The apres is definitely not quiet Very Happy


I think the original poster is after quiet not 'quiet if you know where to go'!!! Very Happy

I think the quietest resort I've been to over many years was Cervinia but I last went there in 1982 - so, perhaps, not the most valuable intelligence.... Confused

More recently, La Thuile was remarkably quiet in a peak week.


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Wed 15-03-17 18:00; edited 1 time in total
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dobby wrote:
@bambionskiis, you've put me off going next half term....was thinking about it for the family


Sorry dobby; don't take my word for it. It was 3 years ago and as musher says, they have a new lift so I'm sure it's better Very Happy .
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Banff/Lake Louise was fabulously quiet last week during the week. Empty pistes a lot of the time.

Are you a bit of a kamikaze skier though - two serious accidents in three years? Very Happy
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I'm like a broken record on some of these - in Valais, Villars, Diablerets, Crans Montana, Saas Fee, Grimentz, Zinal, St Luc/Chandolin. None particularly massive, but not small either. In Eastern Switzerland, Lenzerheide, Flims/Laax from personal experience, and i'm sure there are others that would be added to the list.

I've found pistes are less busy in Switzerland than France and Austria as Switzerland has lost its ability to appeal to cheaper tour operators due to the strength of the CHF. Also interestingly that the standard of skiing is higher in eastern than western switzerland, make of that what you will ?
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@bambionskiis, oh yes. The new lift is great.
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Personally always found St Gervais and surrounds to be substantially quieter than other comparable sized resorts, although peak weeks are still pretty busy, just not AS busy. Also the Monterosa resorts. I was absolutely astounded at the emptiness of the slopes of the latter during half term week last year.
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Zermatt is really big (including Cervinia), relatively quiet and a fantastic place to ski if your budget permits....
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@shiprat, hope your recovery goes well.
+1 for St Gervais and nearby Combloux. Relatively quiet yet plenty of piste miles.
Maybe La Rosiere/La Thuile.
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Had most of Tignes and Val D'Isere to ourselves at the PSB
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I'd second the Saas Fee recommendation, have been a few times around Easter holidays and never found it that busy. It's not huge in terms of extent but good skiing and huge vertical.

I think Cervinia might be ok, I was there end Nov / early December this season and during the week it was nice and quiet but the Sunday was absolutely manic with quite a few lunatic skiers. I believe it gets weekend crowds from Milan and Turin, particularly if snow is bad elsewhere. Haven't tried it in the traditional season period so it may be quieter once other resorts are all open. Great ski area though including Zermatt but far cheaper and lovely Italian food Very Happy
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http://welove2ski.com/where-to-ski/easter-skiing-switzerland
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Quote:

Saalbach-Hinterglemm is quiet if you know where to go. Most people just follow the main motorway pistes of the main circuit, but there are numerous great pistes off the circuit.

Agreed @quinton, Turn off the main blue run thoroughfares and it's amazing how relatively quiet the pistes can be. As examples, pistes 51, 57, 59 and 61 on the Kohlmais, 36a and 39a on the Reiterkogel, 19 and 20 at Hochalm, all the runs on the Zwoelferkogel except 11/11a, piste 68 when it's open, probably all the black runs, and most of the runs at Fieberbrunn. I've even known 93 at Leogang to be quiet but struggle to explain why.
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Skiing wise, Cervinia would be perfect. Very long deserted pistes (out of peak season) and if you get bored and fancy something a bit more challenging for a day or 2 just ski over Zermatt side.
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Japan.
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Whitegold wrote:
Japan.

Japan maybe quiet, but the only part that's "large" is the hole it'll make in your wallet!
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@shiprat, another vote for St Gervais. We used one of the 'awaydays' that come with our Grand Massif season tickets to ski there yesterday. In comparison to the GM this week it was totally deserted.

Hope your recovery proceeds quickly.
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In any resort there are huge variances from one piste to the next. In general, the harder a piste is to get to and the worse the lifts are the quieter the piste will be. The main runs in to resort can get particularly busy, especially at the end of the day. For example in Espace Killy there will be loads of people on the runs off the top of the big Olympique gondola, but if you go to the edges of the map (Val glacier, La Fornet and Aguile Pierce area) you can do a whole run without seeing another group. As others have said time of year plays a big part too.
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dobby wrote:
I'd agree with @Layne that timing has a large part to play. Timing in relation to the time of year and timing in relation to the time of day you are skiing.

Time of day: avoid the late afternoon home run would go a long way to safety. Quit early, sip wine back at the base rather than in popular spot up mountain and having to ski back down slightly wobbly (and sharing the bottleneck with other wobbly skiers)

I'm not too proud to download if I'm tired at the end of the day. Same if the piste home were choke full of tired skiers (who didn't even realize they're tired).
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thelem wrote:
In any resort there are huge variances from one piste to the next. In general, the harder a piste is to get to and the worse the lifts are the quieter the piste will be. The main runs in to resort can get particularly busy, especially at the end of the day. For example in Espace Killy there will be loads of people on the runs off the top of the big Olympique gondola, but if you go to the edges of the map (Val glacier, La Fornet and Aguile Pierce area) you can do a whole run without seeing another group. As others have said time of year plays a big part too.


Hmmmm. I go at off peak times and the areas you mention are my favourites but in decent weather I've never known it so quiet you aren't seeing other groups.
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dobby wrote:
I'd agree with @Layne that timing has a large part to play. Timing in relation to the time of year and timing in relation to the time of day you are skiing. I've been to Hemsedal (small Norwegian resort) twice; the first year it was very quiet and the next year it was bonkers (Norwegian winter half term). Risoul was generally very quiet apart from going-home time when the pistes linking Vars and Risoul were billy-bonkers. A lot of the pistes this January in Ellmau were not that busy, apart from at home time when it became a skier-and-slush fest.


Timing is everything. I went to Norefjell in Norway. The world cross country championships were on (somewhere else) and when the races were being televised I was the only one on the hill.
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Hope you make a speedy recovery and are out of the hospital soon. Another vote for the USA & Canada - especially check out Sun Peaks in British Columbia, the quietest resort I have ever been to, lots of times we seemed to have runs to ourselves. Benefit is doubled when you ski straight up to and on to a lift. Plus ski etiquette seems to still be alive and well in the Americas, whereas Europe seems to have become a bit of a free for all, I am surprised more accidents don't happen.
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I normally try to keep this area to myself, wink Selva Val Gardena. Avoid the busier periods and it would be perfect for you. Madeye-Smiley
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