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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all! First post here so please do excuse me if these questions have already been asked/answered.

Myself and my partner are looking to book a ski holiday next March. We have found what we think is a lovely location; Les Deux Alpes and have found a hotel there close to the slopes. Is this is a good location and is early March a good time to book for, as in will there be enough snow?

We last went skiing to Bormio, Italy 12 years ago, so whilst we are not complete novices, a lot of those skills learned will have been forgotten by now!

I also had complete ACL reconstruction September 2015; my knee feels a whole lot stronger, had physio for a few months and now I exercise regularly but I don't focus necessarily on leg strength; most of it is circuit-style workouts. Mentally though I feel like it could 'give out' as, unbeknown to me, I had this dodgy ligament for about 8 years! I haven't really tested it yet, so skiiing would be the first time I really do that. Any braces you would recommend at all, and should I get in the gym to work on my leg strength?

Thanks in advance,
Sophie.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Hi Sophie and welcome.

I have been to L2A, though it was a few years ago now....in fact it was the year that the currency was in transition from Francs to Euros...which confused the hell out of local shops. We stayed in Hotel La Brunerie, which was reasonably handy, though it involved a few minutes walk....everything happened at one stop up in the bubble ie. ski school meeting place.

On the good side, I thought the International ski school was good and having the Glacier was handy. IMO Its biggest asset is the access to Off Piste.....but it isn't my favorite resort for piste skiing, as it's all down one face of the mountain (which I found a bit dull/restrictive). It has no wooded area for retreating to in bad weather and the runs home were not ideal (though this may have been improved).

FWIW. I much prefer Les Arcs, La Plagnes or Courchevel. I also preferred Montgenevre as a resort in that part of the French Alps.
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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?
@surfcfc, Yes you'll have plenty of snow in March. LDA is nice -- but like@Old Fartbag, I'd have a look at Montgenevre -- if only so you can eat in Italy. Mrs Ski has had both ACL's reconstructed, and although she does not need braces, she is much happier to ski with them rather than without. She has custom fitted Ossur braces which prevent the overextension than causes ACL breakage. The stronger your muscles are around the knee the better - Bode Miller manages to ski rather well without ACLS or braces. The best protection will be very good technique and the confidence to apply it.
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Thanks for the replies Smile La Brunerie was the hotel I was actually looking at, mainly due to price! Is it that far away from the slopes, or easy walking distance?

I think we will be mainly planning on staying on piste, due our more or less beginner status and not venturing too far from the beaten track.

I will take a look at those other resorts, thank you. I think we're set on France, I would like to go to the States though; I went to Lake Tahoe when I was 14 and that was a beautiful place!

I will look into a brace, I think I will feel much happier knowing I can't over extend it; it will give me peace of mind too. Thing is, I won't have much confidence at all for the first day or two!!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I don't know L2A, but I would say that early March is pretty much the perfect time to go skiing in France IMO. Snow pack is neareing its peak and the days are getting longer and a bit warmer. Get the timing right and you will miss all the school holidays which is a major bonus. I'm not sure if the dates are published yet, but here are last season's to give you an idea. http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=124749

I get the impression that there are nicer places than L2A, but others will advise.
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If you are going to France the schools are back 3rd March http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=124749 so that is an ideal time to go.

Why are you booking now? There should be plenty of availability nearer the time, what with it being outside school holidays.

You booking a package with a TO or DIY?

LDA is a marmite resort - small love it, others definitely do not. There are probably safer options.

Any chance you could test your legs out in a fridge?

Might be worth booking a private lesson a couple of days into your holiday to test the leg out.
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@Layne,
Quote:

If you are going to France the schools are back 3rd March
I think those are last season's dates.
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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!
Definitely want to miss the school holidays!! We won't be booking yet, maybe in 2-3 months, so I have plenty of time to research. Was going to book through Crystal Ski as we want the package deal.

I may try dry slope before booking, just to test my knee out.

What are good 'safer' options? We just want a pleasant resort, don't care if there's not too much to do as we don't want to go for the party scene! Don't want to be too far from the slopes and definitely want somewhere that's good for beginners.
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Just found a lovely looking place at La Plagne, Hotel Terra Nova. Anyone been here?
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foxtrotzulu wrote:
@Layne,
Quote:

If you are going to France the schools are back 3rd March
I think those are last season's dates.

Correct but date was adjusted for 2018 - zone A last to go back:
https://www.schoolholidayseurope.eu/france.html
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
surfcfc wrote:
Definitely want to miss the school holidays!! We won't be booking yet, maybe in 2-3 months, so I have plenty of time to research. Was going to book through Crystal Ski as we want the package deal.

Crystal are a big player. If all goes well it will be fine. If something goes awry don't expect much. Safe if unspectacular option for a newbie.

surfcfc wrote:
I may try dry slope before booking, just to test my knee out.

A fridge would be better. Personally if I was coming back from injury like you I wouldn't go near a dry slope. Others may have a different view. That said the snow in fridges can be a bit iffy. You may want to take some advice on here when the best conditions are.

surfcfc wrote:
What are good 'safer' options? We just want a pleasant resort, don't care if there's not too much to do as we don't want to go for the party scene! Don't want to be too far from the slopes and definitely want somewhere that's good for beginners.

Larger resort wise ADH, Paradiski, 3V you can't go wrong. But you may get better value for money in smaller resorts like Les Gets, La Rosiere, Ste Foy. For advances skiers some of these places may be limiting but for you they are probably ideal.
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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.
Next year's are already available here:

http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=2966764
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Sorry, what do you mean by a Fridge?! :/

It's just so hard to choose, because this will be our first skiing holiday on our own (went with school the last two times) we just want to be near stuff and as bad as it sounds, have everything sort of ready to go when we get there, if you know what I mean.

We do also have a budget of say around £2,500 for us both all in. So I guess that limits us well. Would like to go for a hotel as opposed to a chalet too. ADH looks good, fits in with our budget!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@surfcfc, welcome to Snowheads snowHead

A 'fridge' is an indoor 'real' snow slope - there are a few dotted around the country - and it gives a more realistic experience than a dry slope. As an example http://www.chillfactore.com/ - this is in Manchester.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Ah ok thank you Smile I'm in Cornwall, so nothing like that ever gets as far down as us! We've just got the dry slopes about 70 miles away.

Thanks for the welcomes too Smile
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
surfcfc wrote:
Just found a lovely looking place at La Plagne, Hotel Terra Nova. Anyone been here?

I haven't been to the Terra Nova, but I have been to La Plagne.

- You will have ski in / ski out.....compared to the 5 minute walk (not in ski boots and with kids) to La Brunerie

- Plagne Centre is not beautiful, but it is handy.

- There is lots of easy, motorway skiing in La Plagnes....with lots of different satellite villages to visit.....especially the "real" villages lower down

- Going over to try the skiing in Les Arcs is well worth doing.....and allows you to suss it out for a future trip.

- I have been going with Crystal for years and have, on the whole, been looked after very well.....and if the road down the mountain gets blocked, it is their job to get you home. I have a friend who went independently one year and had to buy 6 more flights to get home, after he missed his flight when the road was blocked on transfer day (he had insurance, but had 300 GBP of excess to pay).

- I would rather be in La Plagne than L2A (but I would rather be in Les Arcs than La Plagne - check out Hotel La Cachette, Hotel Golf or even Hotel Altitude). When it comes to these 2 areas, go for where you get the best deal.


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Wed 7-06-17 9:28; edited 2 times in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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I think somewhere like Montalbert (part of the La Plagne area) might be a good place for you. Loads of self-catering - not sure about any hotels there.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
surfcfc wrote:
It's just so hard to choose, because this will be our first skiing holiday on our own (went with school the last two times) we just want to be near stuff and as bad as it sounds, have everything sort of ready to go when we get there, if you know what I mean.

We do also have a budget of say around £2,500 for us both all in. So I guess that limits us well. Would like to go for a hotel as opposed to a chalet too. ADH looks good, fits in with our budget!

I woudn't sweat it. I ski La Plagne or rather Paradiski a lot. And for me it's the best all rounder and will never let you down. ADH is pretty good also. We skied there in April and have been there many times. It's just a question of whether they are in budget. As I say the smaller resorts are just a bit more value for money if you don't need the expanse of the major resorts. Just take a look at the options, search on here for Trip Reports, ask specific questions on here and then do it. It's never going to be terrible.
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Thanks again so much for all the information, I am writing down all these hotels and resorts you are recommending! Hotel Golf at Les Arcs looks good too, no idea how we will choose where to go.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Old Fartbag wrote:
I have been going with Crystal for years and have, on the whole, been looked after very well.....and if the road down the mountain gets blocked, it is their job to get you home. I have a friend who went independently one year and had to buy 6 more flights to get home, after he missed his flight when the road was blocked on transfer day (he had insurance, but had 300 GBP of excess to pay).

Sorry but I have to call you out on this. It may be Crystal's job to get you home but there is absolutely no guarantee they will do a good job of it. And in fact there are quite a few stories of them not doing a very good job at all. And things swing both ways. When I was going to a resort that announced they weren't opening 3 days before going out because I was DIYing and driving I was just able to book an apartment in a resort that was open. If I'd been with a TO no doubt at best I would have to be bussed out every day. I've nothing against TO's or Crystal, they have their market and their uses but let's not dress them up as something they are not. They are a mass tour operator not some personal luxury escort service.
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Who are the more 'decent' ski tour operators out there? As a newbie I guess Crystal give me everything I am looking for, but perhaps being a bit naive in thinking it will all run smoothly.
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surfcfc wrote:
Who are the more 'decent' ski tour operators out there? As a newbie I guess Crystal give me everything I am looking for, but perhaps being a bit naive in thinking it will all run smoothly.

The only times I have had an issue with Crystal have been on the day of arrival, which can turn a little chaotic...especially if flights get delayed or re-routed to another airport, which can happen if, for example, Chambery closes due to difficult weather.......Geneva is a safer bet.

If you get a good deal with Crystal, which can include offers on ski hire, lift passes and spending money in certain hotels.....I wouldn't be put off. They have been perfectly fine on the many occasions I have used them, helping with advice, information and booking lessons/ski hire etc. If you were going to a Chalet, then there are better (and usually more expensive) options.
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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!
Layne wrote:

Sorry but I have to call you out on this. It may be Crystal's job to get you home but there is absolutely no guarantee they will do a good job of it. And in fact there are quite a few stories of them not doing a very good job at all. And things swing both ways. When I was going to a resort that announced they weren't opening 3 days before going out because I was DIYing and driving I was just able to book an apartment in a resort that was open. If I'd been with a TO no doubt at best I would have to be bussed out every day. I've nothing against TO's or Crystal, they have their market and their uses but let's not dress them up as something they are not. They are a mass tour operator not some personal luxury escort service.

I can only give my experience with them, over more than 20 years. The only problems have been on arrival, as I mentioned above.

The time my friend got caught, was after that Christmas week a couple of years ago, where the road was blocked. Crystal looked after their customers and then laid on extra flights. My friend had to book into a hotel and then get 6 of them home the following day.

How often have you used them?....and I don't mean that in a confrontational way, I am just interested in whether you have directly experienced poor service.
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As others have said La Plagne is a better choice than L2A. Lots of long wide confidence building blue runs that finish up at or near your accommodation in La Plagne. Skiing back down to L2A can be really icy and nasty even in March.

As for a choosing a TO, all the big TOs do a reasonable job. Of course you can get unlucky with delays and a poor quality reps but it is a chance you take.

As for skiing on a dodgy ACL well "To brace or not to brace, that is the question." I have skied on a reconstructed knee for 30 + years. At the time of the injury my surgeon and the physio both said that a brace gave a false sense of security. For a brace to be of real help it would need bolts through the bones to prevent the twisting that does the most damage. So I ski without and am always cautious. I also ski with my binding set on a lower Din setting for my bad knee. Explain what you want to the rental shop and mark the skis left and right.
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I can't comment on the resorts mentioned, but I'll add my 2p's worth re knees & tour operators.
I suffered acl and knee injuries earlier this year, still a long way to get back & I am worried about testing it out for real too. In your case, suggest you're right to look for somewhere with easier runs, but I'd make sure that you're fully ski fit and strong before you go, and checked out by a physio in this regard - maybe before you book? Trainers at the gym should be able to recommended exercises too. Yes, lots of quads, hams, legs and glutes in general. Jumps, turns, pivots - basically all the rehab exercises... Sounds like you're pretty fit and stable already though - well done.
The other thing is to get a load of lessons, both to get you back on skis both to help with your confidence and improve your technique, = less chance of reinjury (fingers crossed) and unneccessary strain. Private lessons would be best; make sure they know of your knee issue and worries.

Oh, and make sure you disclose the op/knee to your travel insurance!

Re Crystal, I've used them for years, generally no complaints and find that they're generally the cheapest. However, we were let down badly by a Rep last trip, just when we needed them most, so I can only say (especially when carrying a potential injury) do your in-resort research before you go, make sure you know where medical facilities & pharmacies are and how to contact them, take back-up Rep/TO contact phone numbers with you, etc.

Re braces: still wondering myself. Google it & you'll find differing opinions, especially if you don't actively need one because of existing laxity/instability and have adequate muscle strength and support. A lot of people feel more confident with one on, others say that they can transfer injury or that they don't prevent injury. The proper ones, CTi, Donjoy Armor etc, are about £5-600+ for off the shelf, a lot more for custom fit. A lot if you don't need one, arguably. A neoprene wrap around one, maybe with side springs rather than hinges, may give you some awareness and minor support and warmth, which may be enough. It's maybe just going to be a suck it and see?

Anyhows, hope that it works out well for you. Smile
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Old Fartbag wrote:
I can only give my experience with them, over more than 20 years. The only problems have been on arrival, as I mentioned above.

Yep, and I said above "If all goes well it will be fine."

Old Fartbag wrote:
How often have you used them?....and I don't mean that in a confrontational way, I am just interested in whether you have directly experienced poor service.

I used TO's quite a lot in the 90's and have experienced poor service.
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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.
Knee will be fine - Get in the gym and so a lot of leg presses and squats and Bosu ball squats for 1 -2 months beforehand.

Then as above I'd say neoprene wrap or Compression sleeve (tubigrip will do) for proprioception and/or psychological boost. Proper brace if you're reallly paranoid but nothing between £20 really improves things til you get over £400ish.

Don't be put off by people second guessing your resort and/or TO Charlotte Swift worth looking up for lessons if she is still teaching.
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surfcfc

I've stayed in the Terra Nova and would be happy to go back. Ski in/out (the 'boot' room takes you straight on to a piste!). I've been with Crystal several times without any problems (they are part of the TUI group), although the 'reps' can be a bit hit and miss..
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You know it makes sense.
@surfcfc, L2A is a fine place to have a holiday. Good food, drink and craic . . . oh and good snow. There's a newish easy run back to the main resort from the mountain and you can always take the big tram down if you're tired. The glacier is great for just lots of practice. The place is a bit unique and all the cetter for that and EasySki is a very good teacher . . . if also a bit 'unique'

Go and have fun Toofy Grin
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@surfcfc, ...sorry a bit late on this.

Welcome Sophie.

Some thoughts.

I have a trashed LH cruciate ligament - have built up the muscle a lot through cycling and climbing, I do not wear a brace. Ligament regularly assessed using the standard check, but by a very experienced surgeon.

I think that 'testing whether the ligament is any good' by skiing on it is a BAD IDEA. Get it assessed by a sports physio or experienced surgeon and get clearance for skiing plus guidance on building muscle well-prior to trip

Know your DINs - your binding numbers. Get assessed by a tech. Memorise your recommended DINs. Do not accept skis which are over this recommended setting. Get skis the right length - I would go for SL (slalom) skis and ski short lengths.

Get tuition right from the start. Agree with all the comments about private lessons, Worth every Euro. But do it from the start. I have known people order tuition on day 2 and blow their knee in the first hour of Day 1. You can severely stress the ligament with bad technique, or really help it with good technique.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Grizzler, TQA, Daveofthemarmottes - Thank you for your suggestions re knee braces, etc. Bindings on a setting where they come off would be the best choice, yes? I can see how that makes sense, I want them to come off when I fall over as I guess that will cause potentially less damage to my knee. I might just get some of support just to give me a bit of extra confidence, I do't really fancy spending £400+ on a brace I may not need. A neoprene will do just for the extra support and confidence. I mean, I don't think my ACL will snap again; technically it should be as strong as my other knee, but for me it is all in my head so once I get over that I'll be fine.

La Plagne is starting to sound like the best place, I like the sound of the easy ski in/out and having more blue runs is perfect. allbob, Terra Nova looks great too, hopefully won't be busy when we go. Ideally we don't want anywhere that's like a massive 'party scene'! Just a nice quiet hotel Smile Thanks Masque, I do still like the look of L2A. I just wish we had somewhere local to practice before we go. I might still look into this over the next couple of months.

Hi Valais2, and thanks Smile So skis...sorry I am not very technical when it comes to this at all! Smaller (in length) skis would be better? I don't really know how I would find out what my ideal binding numbers would be? I will look into getting maybe one days worth of lessons. Would they assess me when I'm there?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@surfcfc,
Quote:

Smaller (in length) skis would be better? I don't really know how I would find out what my ideal binding numbers would be?


I really wouldn't stress too much about any of this. When you go to the ski rental shop in the resort then they will ask your weight and ability. You might also mention your dodgy knee. Any half-way decent shop will give you the right length of skis and set the bindings accordingly. You don't necessarily want the bindings to release whenever you 'fall over' but when the strain gets too much for your knee to cope with. It's the same for all of us. A binding that releases too early can be as much of a problem as one that releases too late. It's always good to understand how things work, but I've been skiing for about 40 years and I have not the slightest idea of what my DIN settings are anymore and I always forget what length of skis I like.

Lessons are always good and if you get the chance to go to a fridge, then do so. Neither I, nor any of my close friends, have ever been to a fridge so don't think it's essential to having a good time. A good idea, but not essential. However, by comparison I sometimes think dry ski slopes are responsible for more injuries and more disillusionment than the whole of the Alps combined. Apart from learning how to put your boots on, snow plough and catch a button/Poma lift I think they are generally worth avoiding. You're not a complete beginner so you don't need to be taught those basic skills.

+1 for the La Plagne / Paradiski area. It's huge and amazing. What I also like about it is that, unlike some other areas, the mountains feel 'friendly'. Hard to explain what i mean but some other resorts feel much more 'raw' and disconcerting - especially if the weather closes in. IMO La Plagne isn't like that. As I mentioned before, have a look at Montalbert. Small friendly resort on the edge of the area. Much prettier (even if not exactly 'chocolate box') than La Plagne itself.
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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?
surfcfc wrote:
I don't really know how I would find out what my ideal binding numbers would be?

When you hire ski's they will ask you a series of questions and then set the bindings appropriately.

There are various on line calculators such as this that will give you an idea of what they will ask and how settings are calculated.

You should tell them briefly about your injury history though I wouldn't imagine it making too much difference.
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Foxy beat me to it! I agree with most of what he said. The only reason to go to a fridge would be because of the long absence and injury and as a means to gain a little confidence in the process. I live in a town with a fridge but have never used it.

Personally I stay in Les Coches because it's in trees so good if the weather closes, I like the local runs and it's near to the VE so we can swing either way. However, there are no Hotels, only apartments/chalets.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Haha thanks Foxtrotzulu, I guess overthinking things can be just as bad. You're right about dry slopes, they are nothing like skiing for real on snow and as I am pretty sure I'll remember how to snow plough (parallel may prove more difficult!) I think too it would be a waste of time.

I'm definitely taking suggestions on board, the 'friendly' aspect you mention is exactly what we want. I'll have a look at Montalbert too.

My boyfriend is 6'6 - will he need longer skis?
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@surfcfc,
Quote:

My boyfriend is 6'6 - will he need longer skis?

Yes, and he'll need a longer bed than most of the ones you find in Europe too! Don't worry, the rental shop will take care of all of that. The staff in the rental shop will usually be swift to offer you their bed as well, although they may not extend the offer to your BF too.
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surfcfc wrote:
My boyfriend is 6'6 - will he need longer skis?


Longer than what ?

I queried my hire skis at the BB and was assured 169 slalom was fine (I usually use longer - I'm 6'1") and they were - I shall be booking the same next year. I'm an 'experienced' skier so YMMV.
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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!
Haha yeah he's always moaning about that! rolling eyes Yes, I do remember the ski instructors being a bit... 'over friendly'!

Longer than the 'average' ski!? I don't know, the options they give you on Crystal are beginner or intermediate...I guess that's not set in stone for when they actually give them to you at the shop?
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Quote:
My boyfriend is 6'6 - will he need longer skis?

He will need longer ski's than you yes. Ski length is broadly down to height with weight as a secondary factor. And then based on the type of ski and a few other factors I wouldn't worry on too much. Unless he is very skinny he will have the longest size available. I am 6'4" 90kgs and ski the longest available. For a modern all mountain ski that is around 185-188.
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Quote:
I don't know, the options they give you on Crystal are beginner or intermediate...I guess that's not set in stone for when they actually give them to you at the shop?

Correct.
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