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Aussie asking random Euro ski questions

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Thanks again. Perhaps a rethink is in order.
It all sounds fun though!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
stay in/move around the tarentaise valley: all the 3V; paradiski; la rosiere; espace killy; st. foy. enormous!!! what's not to like? all reasonably proximate to each other. despite what the austria-afficionados will tell you, best in europe. no doubt about it.
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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?
As far as sledding/sledging goes in Austria or Italy how does it work? Do you use your say 5 day lift ticket to get up the sledding slope? Or do you walk at no cost? Or do you buy a sledding liftnpass and do it as an 'off day' activity?


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Thu 12-10-17 10:48; edited 1 time in total
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We have an apartment in the Swiss 4 Valleys (think Verbier) and every time we take our main ski holiday we intend to do some driving round to other resorts. We've done trips out to Zermatt, Cans-Montana, Chamonix - but in the summer, not the winter. Why? because as mentioned, Euro ski areas like the 4 Valleys have enough for you to think "Why bother? Skiing here is good, we've not done the whole area, lunch is nice, breaks are nice, going out for dinner is nice - why drive anywhere else?" All we've ever got 'round to is driving to the far side of our ski area so that we can relax for the day, and not worry about missing the last lifts back.

I'm not saying you shouldn't do a multi-centre trip, but perhaps as mentioned, trim it down a bit.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
sbooker wrote:
As far as sledding/sledging goes in Austria or Italy how does it work? Do you use your say 5 day lift ticket to get up the sledding slope? Or do you walk at no cost? Or do you buy a sledding liftnpass and do it as an 'off day' activity?

Don't know about Austria/Italy but in France in general sledging is only done on the home slope - close to the village/station and mostly at the end of the skiing day. Some places have an option that is accessible all day, some with a moving carpet to that means less walking! Les Menuires and Oz-en-Oisan are two places that have the latter. More recently some big man-made sledge runs have been created. So for example there is one above Arc 2000 next to the Arcabulle lift. At the top of that lift is a hut where you leave your skis, hire a sledge (not cheap) and start the run. At the bottom you leave the sledge and get the lift back up. As you may have figured it's not accessible by foot or outside ski hours.
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sbooker wrote:
As far as sledding/sledging goes in Austria or Italy how does it work? Do you use your say 5 day lift ticket to get up the sledding slope? Or do you walk at no cost? Or do you buy a sledding liftnpass and do it as an 'off day' activity?


Depends on a resort by resort basis.

St Anton has one of the best. Take the the lift up, toboggan down a track, stop off at a hut for food/schnapps, sledge on down again to the bottom.
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HoneyBunny wrote:
Perty wrote:

At that end of the Alps, if you really do want to tick off another ski resort, perhaps a day/night in Courmeyeur could work, then it's a short drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel to Chamonix. Cham itself is a bit "marmite", yes, it's a centre for big mountain hardcore skiers, and you ought to get the cable car to to the top of the Aiguille du Midi (and back down, unless you and your youngster have the ski ability to do the Vallée Blanche with a guide).


Absolutely this! I've stayed in Aosta for a week. We skied mostly in Pila, but also had a day in Courmayeur (you can ski all the runs there in a day), and also did the Vallee Blanche off piste route which really is an experience. All that was plenty in a week.

There is an easy route down the Vallee Blanche which any capable intermediate can do. You have to go with a guide because of the crevasses, and the scenery is breathtaking.



I'm needing to nail down my plans as I want to secure flights while they're cheapest which will be when they're released at the end of next month. Can't decide between flying into Milan and driving to Aosta and skiing the Aosta Valley and checking out nearby old castles etc or flying into Geneva and driving to Chamonix and skiing that area whilst checking out the interesting things in the area.
This first 5 or 6 days will not be 'bell to bell' skiing but more cruising around getting a feel for being on a different continent. The main skiing part of our holiday would be alter in the trip when we will do 7 days at one resort. It is worth noting that the first leg will be in very early January. Will crowds be more of an issue in France? Also we would not plan our daily activities but decide what to do the day before based on how we feel and what the weather is doing. For example if the next day is going to be good weather a drive to a further away ski hill could be on the cards or if it is likely to be snowing we would opt to stay close and ski somewhere sheltered.
Thanks again for the insight.
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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!
The first week in Jan is defintely school hols in France, but I think it will be pretty busy everywhere. Till 6th. It's a popular week everywhere.
Here's a link to a school holiday calendar http://www.zigzagski.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Calendrier-vacances-scolaires-2017-2018.pdf
I love your idea of a "ski hill"...Most resorts have areas to ski in all weathers.. basically the tree line hovers around the 1800-2000m level, so that may help you get a sense of whether or not there are sheltered tree lined pistes or not.
Whichever side of the Alps you land, make sure, certainly from the Swiss side, that you can take your hire car into Italy. In Switzerland the cars are required to have winter tyres and I think you ask for chains when you book. Not sure what the law is in Italy, but make sure you book a car with "winterisation" or add it to the booking.
I'm not sure how many other "attractions" such as castles etc would be open. Bear in mind it is midwinter so tourism as such tends to be almost completely skiing related and historic buildings out of cities could well be shut.
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As Perty says arrive 6th Jan or after and you will be OK and to check on winter opening for any sites you wish to visit.

Good plan to watch the weather and stay locally, in the trees on bad weather days.
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@sbooker, I am with others on here warning you are trying to pack in too much. But sounds like you are doing 3weeks?
Europe resorts are completely different to the American concept.

Pila is not facing and has very good snow making so piste will be skiable. 20mins up from Aosta on the gondola or you can drive up. No snow and it is 20mins of hairpins - we took 1:30 with chains on (500m outside of Aosta) last year. Less fun still going down. Over a foot of snow dumped early morning. Pila does sound like the sort of runs you want but you will do them all in a day. Never bothers us for the week, dong the same ones.
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Is it advisable to pre-purchase train tickets when travelling between cities in Europe? Example would be Munich to Jenbach? Or Innsbruck and Verona?
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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.
In the UK it can be significantly cheaper to pre-purchase train tickets as the operating companies want to be able to charge short-notice business travellers more, like the airlines do. Whether that applies for the journeys you have in mind, I don't know.
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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
@sbooker, The trains between Munich and Verona (includes stops at Jenbach, Innsbruck etc) are almost always very busy. You really need to book seats. You can save some money booking in advance, there are a certain number of €29 tickets available, but these are for fixed trains. The flexible tickets are not that much more so you might be better off with those but clearly seat reservations are for a fixed train. You can just get the reservations (a couple of € per seat) without booking a ticket at the same time.

In many of the Austrian resorts there is a specific toboggan run, this usually means using the lift system (long walk back up otherwise). Sometimes they are open during the day which means you can use your normal lift ticket (eg St Anton or Soll), sometimes they are only open after the ski slopes are closed so you need to get a specific evening "Rodel" ticket and sometimes you can buy a ticket which would cover you for an afternoon using the specific lift (I think Soll does this). Where there is a toboggan run you will normally find the sports shops at the bottom of the run not only hire out skis but toboggans too. A variant on all this is for mountain restaurants to run "Rodel" evenings which involve being bussed up to the restaurant, consuming various dubious concoctions before descending the toboggan run in the dark (take a torch!).
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Depends on time of travel.

A Tuesday 11am train will be empty and cheap.

A Saturday 7am train to a ski resort will be jammed.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
We are looking at paying a deposit for accomodation in Arabba in January. I don’t really want to spoil the scenery of the Dolomites by going if there has been no snow.
The cancellation policy of the hotel says we can cancel up to the date and lose our 200 Euro deposit.
Despite this is it considered rude or bad form to pay a deposit and then opt out?
Thanks again.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
sbooker wrote:
We are looking at paying a deposit for accomodation in Arabba in January. I don’t really want to spoil the scenery of the Dolomites by going if there has been no snow.
The cancellation policy of the hotel says we can cancel up to the date and lose our 200 Euro deposit.
Despite this is it considered rude or bad form to pay a deposit and then opt out?
Thanks again.


I would not worry about cancelling if the hotel allows it.

Because the Dolomites do not get a lot of snow there is very extensive snow making and they are very good at managing what they have.

If Arabba gets skunked Ischgl might be your best alternative. Great skiing and it is in a snow pocket.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@sbooker, Most hotel gyms are naff/pants/useless . . . knackered treadmill, exercise bike, maybe some free weights. You'll be better off with some Pilates/Yoga in your room and work your Krebs Cycle on piste and as you're looking at Italian piste and they are seriously bigger and better that NA . . . then you do need to keep some energy in reserve.

As for exercise at altitude, you cant beat swimming. But lane pools are few and far between . . . BUT! http://www.lovevda.it/en/database/9/swimming-pool/saint-vincent/indoor-and-outdoor-swimming-pools-at-sport-centre/583 . . .
bring yer rubber cap and budgie smuglers wink

edit: the Dolomitti don't need snow . . . you'll get just as much joy walking amongst them as skiing. If you establish your dissapointments before you depart . . .then you are destined to fulfill them rolling eyes
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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?
@sbooker, I wouldn't worry about cancelling late if terms & conditions allow. They're unlikely to be bothered, as the decent Dolomites accommodation gets quite heavily booked anyway.
I also wouldn't worry about there being anything wrong with the scenery if natural snowfall by then is limited. It's stunning anyway and the artificial snow is top quality.

Don't know which Arabba hotel you're looking at. The 3*** one used by snowHeads each year has a very small gym which just about does the job for a week, though won't compare very well with your average proper city health club facilities.
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Thanks for the replies.
I understand the great snowmaking capabilities in the Dolomites. Because it is early season I am going with low expectations snow wise. The photos look wonderful so I really want to see the place at its best. If the snow is just white ribbons on a brown/green landscape we'll leave it for next time I guess. Where ever we end up I expect we'll have a grand time.
I'm not after any heavy duty gym - and it's not exactly imperative. I feel way less guilty about the nightly beers if I can squeeze in a quick sweat session of an early morning.
Thanks for the pool link - I agree swimming is a great way to get a quick workout.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@sbooker, have you booked your flights? (and thus into which airport?)

I must say that if I was coming all that way, the Dolomites wouldn't be my first pick - although they are indeed very pretty.

I wouldn't worry about cancellations. And if you can find somewhere with a canx policy that allows up till the last minute, even better. That said, we have strict canx policies on our apartments, e.g. full loss after 6 weeks, and we stick to that unless we find a replacement booking...

Re the gym, I get what you mean, but surely the first (ski) run achieves that?
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Booked flights.
Flying into Munich.
Plan to do the Christmas markets and check out the city for a few days before heading to the Ziller Valley. Even if there’s no snow we’ll at least be able to have a day at Hintertux.
We’ll be touring around Italy for a while before doing our main ski week hopefully in the Dollies. We’ve had a fair bit of powder skiing the last few years but my wife loves cruising groomers whilst taking in nice scenery. There’ll be plenty of chance for off piste skiing in the coming years.
The gym thing is a daily ritual that is my little problem.
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sbooker wrote:
Booked flights.
Flying into Munich.
Plan to do the Christmas markets and check out the city for a few days before heading to the Ziller Valley. Even if there’s no snow we’ll at least be able to have a day at Hintertux.
We’ll be touring around Italy for a while before doing our main ski week hopefully in the Dollies. We’ve had a fair bit of powder skiing the last few years but my wife loves cruising groomers whilst taking in nice scenery. There’ll be plenty of chance for off piste skiing in the coming years.
The gym thing is a daily ritual that is my little problem.


no need for a gym, just carry all the skis to the lift and you are sorted Smile Even better - stay further from the lifts, pay less and have your daily exercise Smile Just joking! You will enjoy it, sounds like a full programme!
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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!
@sbooker, I can’t think of anywhere better than the Dolomites, given the world class sightseeing opportunities not far away.

Small issue on gyms. Hotels often don’t open their gym/spa facilities until the afternoon. An early morning gym work out was not possible in the Arabba hotel I stayed in last season. Depending how important that is, you may want to check.
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@PeakyB,
Which hotel were you staying in if you don’t mind me asking?
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sbooker wrote:
Ok. Thanks for the tip.
We would likely fly into Milan and drive to the town of Aosta.
I imagined it may be a bit like staying in Banff and skiing Lake Louise and Sunshine for example.
We do like a busy holiday and we're early risers. I wouldn't try to drive in the dark.
I thought that a base in Aosta would give the option of going to a few places. I guess if the weather is not ideal we could just ski Pila each day. I would want a day cruising the town and the nearby castles etc.
Google tells me under an hour to drive from Aosta to Cervinia, La Thuille and Chamonix. This is not correct in winter obviously?
Is Pila relatively snow sure bybthe way?


If it's early January and you ski until last lifts you WILL be driving in the dark.
Twilight from 3.45pm onwards, dark by 4.30-4.40pm ish. Vague (since it varies slightly across countries) but unless you have a very quick drive back to lodgings the light will go quickly, and temperature drop can be sharp too.
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sbooker wrote:
Booked flights.
Flying into Munich.
Plan to do the Christmas markets and check out the city for a few days before heading to the Ziller Valley. Even if there’s no snow we’ll at least be able to have a day at Hintertux.
We’ll be touring around Italy for a while before doing our main ski week hopefully in the Dollies. We’ve had a fair bit of powder skiing the last few years but my wife loves cruising groomers whilst taking in nice scenery. There’ll be plenty of chance for off piste skiing in the coming years.
The gym thing is a daily ritual that is my little problem.


If you are flying into Munich you could do a fantastic 3 week trip around some of the larger Austrian resorts? Ischgl or the Arlberg for example would be more than enough skiing for two-three weeks and both have very good snow records. I know Ischgl had an airbag when I was there 2 seasons ago. Cruising groomers and taking in nice scenery is excactly what both places are all about, pic below from the Arlberg

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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.
^^^^^
Ischgl and St Anton look great. As do lots of other places in Austria.
So many great ski hills - too much choice. We really want to go to Italy as both the kids are learning Italian at school. And we want to sample the famed food.
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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
@sbooker, check out flights from Munich to Milan.......
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
sbooker wrote:
Also what is the nearest relatively high (early January) hill for a day on the French side of the Mont Blanc tunnel? If strong intermediate family day tripping from Aosta. Of course Chamonix but too extreme?


It would say "Chamonix" is what you make of it... you're going to get a very different experience in parts on Grand Montets vs St Gervais Les Bains. Le Tour, for example, is great for intermediates. Not extreme at all and very pretty.

As for the gym, as much as l love working out on a regular basis, the last thing I want to do when skiing is go spend time in a gym after bashing it up on the slopes. BUT, our most recent hotel in Argentiere did have a gym. It looked nice as I passed it to/from the pool. Don't remember one in past hotels in Obergurgl or Courmayeur.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Thanks for all off the replies.
We understand moving about is not for everyone but we like it and are used to it.
Myself and my wife are on a short break at the moment. Today we drove from the Blue Mountains near Sydney to the Jenolan Caves and did a tour before driving through light snow for a couple of hundred kilometres. After lunch we drove an hour into Canberra where we are staying the night. (So about 350 kms for the day).
Tomorrow we’ll check out the National Museum and then drive up to Australia’s highest mountain (about a two hour drive) so we can climb it the next day.
Moving about between Munich, Austria and Northern Italy over 3 weeks is no big deal to us.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
sbooker wrote:
Moving about between Munich, Austria and Northern Italy over 3 weeks is no big deal to us.


I honestly think you are underestimating what could happen in a European winter over a long drive, plus the fact mountain passes will be shut so "google map" routes you plancould be shut. Last year on some epic snow days it took folks 24-48 hours to get from the airport to their resort, a "normal" 2-3 hour drive.

You may be fine and be able to drive 7am-3pm in clear blue sky daylight hours, but be prepared for the worst, you'll need a car with snow tyres and chains and know how to use them IMHO. It could be -20 and you'll need to make sure you are adding additives to your diesel (if that's what the hire car runs on) to prevent it freezing, make sure the screen wash is adequate etc etc etc

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/skiers-have-holiday-ruined-by-snow-at-the-wrong-time-58r6769s3

But it sounds like a great road trip, just please come prepared and enjoy Europe!

regards,

Greg
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
sbooker,

As you are driving that way (from Austria to Italy) I would highly recommend a visit to the museum in Bolzano, Italy, to see Oetzi, the Iceman. As well as seeing the (rather squashed but) preserved 5000 year old body (which isn't actually as ghoulish as it sounds) you will see the most amazing artefacts that were found with him - including a rucksack and various items of clothing. It's one of the most interesting museum exhibits we've ever seen.

Also en route, I would recommend a trip to the Stubai Valley and glacier, staying in nearby Neustift Im Stubaital, which is beautiful. Neustift is just south of Innsbruck, close to the Italian border and on your route south.
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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?
Quote:

sbooker:
We really want to go to Italy as both the kids are learning Italian at school.



@sbooker,
As I guess your kids would like to practice their Italian. The Dolomites belong to Italy but the region is actually trilingual with the three official languages German, Italian and Ladin. In some parts German prevails. Usually the villages have a German, Italian and Ladin name and all three of them are displayed on the signs (e.g. Wolkenstein = Selva di Val Gardena = Sëlva), but I also saw signage with only one language so it’s good for orientation to know them all for your destination.
I found that the Dolomites where I stayed so far had an Austrian vibe (but with yummy Italian coffee wink ). I stayed in Colfosco and in the BnB the owners seemed to speak mainly German but also Italian and there were a number of Italian guests. So there should be enough opportunities to speak Italian, but just be aware that it’s a special region language-wise.

See also here re the three languages: http://www.dolomitemountains.com/en/resources/resources_dolomites220.htm

Aside from that, I found the Dolomites to be very scenic and to offer plenty of skiing opportunities (I’ve been this year, so snow conditions were great) and really loved the area.

Also, I second @Bergmeister’s suggestion to see Oetzi in Bozen/Bolzano!
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Thanks for the great advice and suggestions.

We will actually be travelling from Austria to Milan by train (via Verona) and collecting a car from there. We will only have a car for a week when we are staying in Aosta. We’ll catch the train back to Munich via the Dolomites.

We have booked a 4wd with winter tyres. Thanks for the tip on fuel additive. If weather conditions are particularly bad we will have the option of skiing at Pila or catching a bus to Courmayeur or La Thuille.

We will probably be in Bolzano at some point so we’ll try to check out the Iceman.

Thanks again!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@sbooker, Italy (love it as a country and esp as a skiing destination) is the only country I had to shout to get a car with winter tyres (after having booked a special package with winter tyres). So when collecting keys make sure to ask whether indeed you are getting a car with winter tyres....
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@sbooker, train sounds like a very good idea!! make sure you post a trip report and have a great holiday!! If you search on these forums for Italy diesel additive you should be able to get lots of details!
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@sbooker,
Apols for slow reply. In Arabba I’ve stayed in the Portavescovo. Venue for SnowHeads Birthday Bashes, so plenty information available about that.

Also the Garni Laura.

Both very good mid range accommodation and well located for lifts and village centre.
snowHead
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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!
sbooker,

If you are driving from Verona, Lake Garda is also worth a visit. It's stunning. Take your pick from any of the towns round the lake - or visit Malcesine for skiing above the lake (via a revolving cable car). We've not skied there but have visited in the summer and it was beautiful.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Hi @sbooker,

Just if nobody has already mentioned it...

When it comes to trains ...
great info from this guy
https://www.seat61.com/

To book trains visit:
https://loco2.com/en/journey

It seems like you are going to have a great time exploring the Alps.... so much to see and ski, its taking me a lifetime Smile

Just another idea for you ... check out Hotel Enzian in Landeck Austria (on the rail line)
They do a Ski Safari taking you and guiding you around,some big favourites near by:
St Anton, Ischgl, Serfaus
http://www.hotel-enzian.com/en/tirol-landeck/winterurlaub.html

Have a great time, we want to hear more from you if you have the time on the trip.
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For a hotel in Arabba I would check out the Hotel Malita. It is very well situated, family owned and the food is excellent.

It has a wellness center with sauna etc. Not sure about a gym, I have to reserve my energy for skiing.
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