Ski Club 2.0 Home
Snow Reports
FAQFAQ

Mail for help.Help!!

Log in to snowHeads to make it MUCH better!
Username:-
 Password:
Remember me:
durr, I forgot...
Or Register
(to be a proper snow-head, all official-like!)

First Alps trip for Aussies - So many Pistes

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
This winter will be the first trip to the Alps for my mate and I, both Aussies but living in the UK currently.
The choice of destination is pretty overwhelming, been looking on Crystal Ski and there are so many to choose from.

We are probably intermediate level, I've done 4 weeks split between snowboarding and skiing and my mate has done a bit more than me, I'll be getting some lessons at chill factore before the trip to sharpen things up. In Australia blue and easy red runs were comfortable for me (don't know how that compares to the Alps).

We are looking for a destination with good skiing as the primary concern, trying to get everything we can't get in Australia. So big mountains, long scenic runs and big piste areas (don't do park stuff at all), don't think we'll go off piste at all. Not too fussed on Apres ski activites or how pretty the village is, but ski in ski out would be nice. We aren't too constrained on price.

Currently I've been looking at the 3 valleys as they are so huge but really don't know where else would be good but not too advanced.

Any suggestions for a week in Jan/Feb?
latest report     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Top 10 Euro Big Ski Areas: (official) Listed by quality, not purely mileage


1. Arlberg

2. Dolomites

3. Paradiski

4. Saalbach-Hinterglemm

5. Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis

6. 3 Valleys

7. Espace Killy

8. Ishcgl

9. Ski Welt

10 Portes du Soleil.


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Mon 2-10-17 20:08; edited 1 time in total
snow report     
 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?
11. Zermatt/Cervinia

12. Milky Way
snow conditions     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
13. Grand Massif
latest report     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Stroly recommend you choose dates outside February school holidays and your experience will be entirely better.

As for location - we are Australians ourselves living in London for 15 years. In the early days we gravitated to Austria or Switzerland as found the ski culture, attitude and quality or facilities and skiers somewhat better than france (highly subjective I know). A bit like Thredbo v Perisher of 15 years ago IMHO.

My favourite areas which I think you will like for the skiing - not ski-in ski-out but easy to access slopes: St Anton / Arlberg, Surfaus-Fiss, Saas Fee (close to Zermatt), kitzburel, Maryhofen and Val D'Isere. If you like ski racing try to coincide your visit with a World Cup downhill event for another level of fun! You will get hooked by Apres skiing.
latest report     
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
@AussieInMancland, i’d have to say Verbier. Connected skiing, Swiss efficiency, iconic.

Not cheap, but an all nighter in the Farm Club will have you dining out for years.
snow conditions     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
AussieInMancland wrote:
In Australia blue and easy red runs were comfortable for me.


If the Aussie ratings are like NZ then blues there equal hard greens here and your easy reds equal hard blues but really depends on the run as the rating given can be a bit open to interpretation and need, I have seen runs rated easy here as they are a main route down and so should be easy for all to use but may not be in reality.

AussieInMancland wrote:

We aren't too constrained on price.


The world should be your oyster at that time of year and with no constraint on this factor. Lucky beggar.
ski holidays     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Zermatt/Cervinia
latest report     
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@AussieInMancland, welcome to snowHeads. If you're happy to book late, within a week of departure, you would have the advantage of knowing which areas have best snow conditions.
If going in Jan or the first week of Feb, late booking should be no problem.

If snow good there, I'd favour Dolomites or one of the Austrian options, excluding Arlberg. Possibly Milky Way.

With the amount of skiing you've done, I'd save the bigger/tougher areas for a future trip. That includes 3V, EK, PdS, Paradiski, Arlberg, Cervinia/Zermatt. You'd get more out of them with extra piste kms under your belt I think.
latest report     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
As has been said AussieInMancland - truly spoilt for choice!

Having skied all the mainstream European countries and more, I'd say you could not go wrong with Austria as a fine introduction to the Alps. I'd add that no need to go for one of the mega and more pricey options of Ischgl or St Anton. Somewhere like Mayrhofen (loads of different areas on the lift pass, including Hintertux glacier & some very big interconnected areas too) & a lively town; or Soelden (ditto Mayrhofen comments except one big ski area with a very good lift system but add wilder nightlife - if you want it, easily avoided if not).

Switzerland is indeed fantastic but costs an arm and a leg these days - so I'd avoid that.

France would also fit the bill but (despite owning an apartment in Espace Killy) I'd still recommend Austria for a first Alps ski trip - food and drink are getting on for half to two thirds of the price; there's some great , snowsure skiing; and ambience/atmosphere overall is fantastic.

In terms of run gradients vs Australia: Mrs MA & I skied Thredbo and Perisher two years ago - & found the steepest run gradings to be generally a notch down from the Alps. eg black diamond runs at Thredbo were probably more like red runs in the Alps. Just bear in mind though that it's all very subjective - the large areas of the Alps tend to make sure they have a fair spread of run gradings to ensure they attract all levels of skiers - eg there's a green run in Val D'Isere that is do steep it gets mogulled Laughing
latest report     
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
AussieInMancland wrote:


In Australia blue and easy red runs were comfortable for me (don't know how that compares to the Alps).



Not sure where you have skied in Australia, for the general piste grading system has Green, Blue, and Black levels. In the Arlberg, there are Blue, Red, and Black pistes. There are also ski routes and extreme ski routes. Some of those are groomed, and are essentially little different to pistes, while others are left au natural.

As with all resorts, the rating system is relative, ie dependent on the resort, though still a reasonable guide across resorts. Safe to say however that, snow conditions being equal, a black run at Falls Creek is likely to be much less challenging than a Black in St Anton.[/i]
ski holidays     
 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 had a trip from NZ to Mayrhofen this year, first one in Europe for a long time. Loved it, very different to home - just a vast amount of terrain and lifts and interconnected resorts compared to the 3 chairlifts and one mountain of a "big" NZ resort. And didn't come across a single rope tow Very Happy

In terms of runs, didn't come across anything particularly scary (sure there is if you know where to look), but a black run in Mayrhofen was nowhere near as challenging as a black run in NZ.

I loved my trip to Europe - planning to do it a lot more often. Just the long flight that sucks.
snow conditions     
 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
No nutcrackers either Very Happy
snow conditions     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
It is is not as over run as it used to be with Ozzys but you may feel very welcome in St Anton.
There are a lot of Ozzys who have passed through in the 80`s & 90`s & never left. They are married to locals & there are two or three Pensions that exclusively deal with the OZ/Kiwi market
snow conditions     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Just choose based on the food you like best. Cheese or pork. All the places mentioned above are going to be amazing and if it's so big that you don't cover it all it doesn't really matter.
snow conditions     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Thanks for the replies everyone, there are a lot of places to look further into now! A lot harder than picking Perisher or Thredbo.

I have only ever skied/boarded at Perisher and I was translating their system of green, blue, black, double black to the green, blue, red, black system here.
I was fairly comfortable on the runs down Mt Perisher and Mt Blue Cow so probably more of a green/blue/easy black in Perisher terms... however that translates to here.
Not too sure about my mate as I haven't skiied with him before but I think he has been more than me.
Don't want to go somewhere where I will feel like I'm stuck in the beginner valley but still want somewhere that has a few runs that would scare me away, if that helps.

For me my biggest want is big long runs rather than lots of short ones like Perisher, and snow of course Neh Neh.
snow conditions     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
You will be fine at most resorts if you can get down Perisher / Blue Cow. Sounds like you could hapilly ski most red runs and some easier blacks.

Generally euro resorts have a good number or red runs that are also well groomed and better quality snow that at home - mogels are generally an exception, unless by design. Runs are long (and wide) enough - don't worry about that. Lift systems very modern and efficient at most resorts to get you back up or in another sector quite quickly.

Home runs can be an tricky issue in the afternoon when cut up and busy but there is always the option to download - no shame in that. The man made snow is also better quality.

You should also consider lessons to make the most of your trip. some privates if money not an isssue. Leaning in Europe is vastly better given the quality of instructors.

Perhaps you can tell us what is on your shortlist as choices are endless?
ski holidays     
 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?
Ozboy wrote:
Stroly recommend you choose dates outside February school holidays and your experience will be entirely better.

As for location - we are Australians ourselves living in London for 15 years. In the early days we gravitated to Austria or Switzerland as found the ski culture, attitude and quality or facilities and skiers somewhat better than france (highly subjective I know). A bit like Thredbo v Perisher of 15 years ago IMHO.

My favourite areas which I think you will like for the skiing - not ski-in ski-out but easy to access slopes: St Anton / Arlberg, Surfaus-Fiss, Saas Fee (close to Zermatt), kitzburel, Maryhofen and Val D'Isere. If you like ski racing try to coincide your visit with a World Cup downhill event for another level of fun! You will get hooked by Apres skiing.


https://data.fis-ski.com/global-links/calendar.html?place_search=&seasoncode_search=2018&sector_search=AL&date_search=&gender_search=&category_search=WC&codex_search=&nation_search=&disciplinecode_search=&date_from=today&search=Search&limit=50
snow conditions     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Skiing or boarding? If boarding, I'd go for Portes Du Soleil (Stay in Morzine or Avoriaz). Easily accessed huge area, pretty valleys, plenty of trees, some long cruisey runs (longest is 6km think).
latest report     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I'll be boarding probably, mate will be skiing probably.
I'm looking at places that are relatively high and have a large elevation difference (because that means snow right?).

Ishcgl looks pretty good, huge and 1500m elevation difference. 3 valleys, St Anton, Maryhofen I've been looking at as well.
snow conditions     
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
@AussieInMancland, you can check all the vital statistics for ski resorts through...
http://www.onthesnow.co.uk/ski-resort.html
snow report     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Has no one mentioned a Bash yet? I thought it was a snowheads requirement? snowHead

intermediate wrote:
With the amount of skiing you've done, I'd save the bigger/tougher areas for a future trip. That includes 3V, EK, PdS, Paradiski, Arlberg, Cervinia/Zermatt. You'd get more out of them with extra piste kms under your belt I think.


While I agree that you'll get more out of them as you improve, I still wouldn't discount the likes of La Plagne or 3V. I went to La Plagne for my first week on skis and made good progress around the moutain. I didn't ski a whole lot of reds (and basically fell down one empty black) but it's nice to be able to ski a large area so that you're seeing different scenery and skiing different terrain. It's a great resort for cruising around and getting piste mileage under your belt without getting bored of repeating runs. 3V isn't quite the same but you can still cruise around the various valleys, even as a beginner I didn't find it too difficult to get from VT over to Courchevel and back again in a day. Mind you there were a lot of runs ignored on the way and the red from VT towards Meribel was a bit busy and icy first thing.
ski holidays     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@SnoodlesMcFlude,
Quote:

even as a beginner I didn't find it too difficult to get from VT over to Courchevel and back again in a day.

You must have been an exceptionally good/brave beginner.

The OP has 4 weeks experience, split between boarding and skiing. I agree La Plagne is fine for intermediates, mainly ski in/ski out and would fit well.
3V has plenty intermediate slopes too but lots of challenging reds and blacks that it might be frustrating to have to by-pass. I'd also put EK, St Anton and Chamonix in the 'best left for a later challenge' category.

One good circuit in France I don't think mentioned yet on this thread is Evasion Mont Blanc. Lots of intermediate slopes, great scenery, attractive towns and villages, close to Geneva.
ski holidays     
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
For a first go Saalbach Hinterglemm is a pretty good option. Never far from a lift, large connected area but not silly big, really lovely little mountain huts with music all over the place. Great intermediate skiing through the forests (if visibility is poor trees are your friend) and some long thigh burning runs are easy to find. Loads of good hotels. Only downside is lower elevation so if snow is in short supply it could suffer more than high France for example. Been to Austria a few times and Saalbach is excellent.

Maybe hold off booking now, see where the snow is later on and take it from there. It's all good if there's plenty snow. Madeye-Smiley
snow conditions     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Wherever you pick you will be blown away!

A good rule of thumb is that, in a normal winter, you can generally rely on a natural snowline of 1400m or so in France and slightly lower in Austria (as it's further east so a bit colder).

Although some Austrian resorts are fairly low, two points to bear in mind are:

- Snowmaking is generally very good these days on lower runs.
- The skiing is often high above the valley, accessed by gondola, cable car etc so resort level is not too significant.

The tip re. waiting until there's snow and deciding where to go last minute is a good one - though if you were to book flights now to a main airport like Munich or Geneva, you would still have loads of snow sure resorts to pick from nearer the time.
latest report     
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
intermediate wrote:
You must have been an exceptionally good/brave beginner.


I don't think that I was exceptional
well, obviously I'm exceptionally good looking and suave
, a lot of the runs are quite wide and it's reasonably direct to get there. Didn't spend a lot of time actually in the 3rd valley though, it was more a case of getting there, having lunch and coming back.
snow report     
 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.
Our first ever skiing holiday was 2 weeks in Les Avals in Courch 1650. Some time during the second week we comfortably made it to the top of the Cime de Caron and back in a day - including a short section of itineraire on the way back.
latest report     
 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
Here is a list of some amazing verticals in the Alps:

http://welove2ski.com/worlds-10-longest-ski-runs

The recently expanded Arlberg is a fantastic area with a great snow record, Lech puts you within reach of it all and is a beautiful place to stay. St Anton has the apres. Plenty of other great places in Austria to stay that won't break the bank. Schladming has some great skiing on 4 linked hills and access to many others on the SkiAmade lift pass.

I love the Dolomites in Italy for the sheer extent of the Sella Ronda linked area, but the artificial snowbase and flat spots there might not suit boarders.

Literally the world is your oyster, you'll be blown away by any of the 13 places mentioned in the earlier replies here.
snow report     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
AussieInMancland wrote:
I'll be boarding probably, mate will be skiing probably.
I'm looking at places that are relatively high and have a large elevation difference (because that means snow right?).

Ishcgl looks pretty good, huge and 1500m elevation difference. 3 valleys, St Anton, Maryhofen I've been looking at as well.


I'd avoid St Anton if you're boarding, but that's just my opinion. Too many steep or narrow runs. Also you'll be bussing between mountains. When I was there (admittedly late season) every single run was unpisted and mogulled, it was horrible. Although the apres ski is a lot of fun.
latest report     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
ODG wrote:
Also you'll be bussing between mountains.


Which mountains? Are you not aware of the new lift link between St Anton & Zurs?
latest report     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
May be French resorts but always love seeing just how far I'll go for a hot chocolate or a pizza Happy

http://frenchskiareaovermytown.com
snow conditions     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@AussieInMancland, have you looked at the Birthday Bash, first week in February. snowHead
ski holidays     
 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 Aussie here - in your initial post you said you were looking at the three vallees, and I think Les Menuires would suit you. You will find the groomed reds and even blacks OK given your experience - when I first skiied in France 25 years ago someone told me that learning to ski in the crappy, marginal, Australian conditions made the long French pistes seem like an dream, and they were right.

Also staying in Les Menuires (the cheap end of the 3V) you could afford a really nice catered chalet or half board ski-in ski-out no worries. The Les Bruyeres/Reberty end of Les Menuires is nicer than the main section to stay. And the prices for eating and drinking will be less than the same thing in Melbourne or Sydney - coming from Melbourne prices I found the 3V quite affordable and good value.
latest report     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
"coming from Melbourne prices I found the 3V quite affordable and good value." Shocked Shocked

Note to self: 2nd Mortgage required if I ever visit Melbourne...
snow report     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Bergmeister wrote:
"coming from Melbourne prices I found the 3V quite affordable and good value." Shocked Shocked

Note to self: 2nd Mortgage required if I ever visit Melbourne...


You would then mortified when you find out what it costs to ski in Australia and what you actually get for your money. Don’t get me wrong, I love skiing here. Just finished an absolutely epic season, of 73 ski days, today at Falls Creek. Would not have missed it for quids, but skiing here makes St Anton look cheap.
snow conditions     
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
I think you'd enjoy Saalbach. Huge mileage, great lift system and beautiful mountain restaurants and scenery. Plenty of wide, well-maintained runs. The apres is awesome as well, you can't help but enjoy it.

I would discount St Anton, Ischgl and Val d'Isere as while they are excellent resorts, the piste skiing is generally quite challenging.

Portes du Soleil is another good shout.
ski holidays     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@HoneyBunny, you’ve just discounted 3 of the (arguably) top 5 resorts in the world. I would steer @AussieInMancland to exactly those 3 resorts for a first time trip to the alps, they’re proper alpine resorts with everything anyone could possibly want, both on and off the slopes. Saalbach is a good shout, however, for extensive (if unchallenging) red and blue runs, apres etc.


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Sun 8-10-17 20:14; edited 1 time in total
snow report     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
If it s your first taste of the Alps I'd head to Meribel or another resort in the 3 Valleys as it's just huge and you want ski it all in a week. Have a look at La Tania, it's quiet but much cheaper than neighbouring Courchevel
If you want a bit better value I'd look to Italy or Austria. Mayrhoffen or Saalbach are both great options in Austria.
Have a look at Sauze d'Olux in Italy too, if the snow is good it's a great spot as it's cheap and has plenty of variation in the terain too. Cervinia is good too but the pistes tend to be relatively tame.
snow conditions     
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
I'm from Tassie but spent 10 years in London and learnt to ski in Europe about 5 years ago. Moved to Melbourne in February and this Aussie-Winter made it to Buller and Perisher in Australia, and Remarkbles, Treble Cone and Cardrona in NZ (first time skiing in the southern hemisphere).

In my view difficulty of runs is hard to compare. I thought myself reasonably competent - happy to have a crack at any black and occasionally ski them confidently in Europe. Red runs are pretty easy. At Buller at least, there are black runs there I don't ever anticipate being able to ski. Federation at Buller was alright, but dodging between trees and little rocky outcrops on some of the less open runs was not what I expected. Perisher is a little flatter with fewer trees, but if you're happy on blues and easy blacks in Australia there's probably not that much that will really get in your way in Europe where 99% of everything is groomed. Resort dependent of course.

The difference is probably that Australia/NZ seem to follow the North American model - ie, there's a ski area, there are some runs, but do whatever the hell you like within the boundaries, whereas Europe is very much a stay on the groomed bits unless you're prepared to deal with avalanches and unexpected cliffs. I was looking to go start going off-piste in Europe but I'm not convinced on the risk/reward ratio yet, so this season has been an awesome way to start dabbling in ungroomed terrain without having to worry about avalanche stuff.

For long runs I reckon Saalbach is a good shout, lots of lifts start in the valley at around 1000m and give you nearly 1000m of vert. It's not the most challenging skiing but is a very nice place for a holiday. Nearby Zell am See also has the Trass Xpress, with a 4km 1000m drop black which is easy to lap.

You'll be pleased with the speed of the lifts. They really take the wee wee in Australia, especially at Buller, and Perisher isn't that much better. I finished the season in NZ where they appear to run lifts at the usual speed and was suddenly reminded what normal was!
ski holidays     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Bergmeister wrote:
"coming from Melbourne prices I found the 3V quite affordable and good value." Shocked Shocked

Note to self: 2nd Mortgage required if I ever visit Melbourne...


Basically, yes. For instance the restaurant prices at 4* Hotel Les Bruyeres in Les Menuires, which is quite "refined" are maybe 10% above pub prices where I live in Melbourne. Bar prices, including coffee, wine, beer, spirits would be equivalent to standard cafe/coffee shop price. Go to the equivalent hotel in Melbourne, let alone in a ski resort, and prices would be 50% - 100% more.

An exception would be steak frites - I found this expensive in France.
latest report     



Terms and conditions  Privacy Policy