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help! 'real' town/non-skier destination

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
hi,

I've done a lot of research but cant quite fine the answer, hoping you guys can help. These are my requirements rightly or wrongly.

i am taking my partner, my mum, and my will be nearly 3 year olds son skiing next March (3rd / 4th week). Only me and my partner will ski (she's a beginner and wont ski all the time). Want to avoid that feeling of being trapped up the mountain if you don't ski and traipsing around to get to the lifts. Or being in a grim town and not getting the magic of the mountains. I once took her to tignes Val Claret to ski, but she couldn't then ski, and hated being trapped in a weird resort (if you don't ski) so need to get this one right.

I'm looking for a real town that granny and my son can go around and do things, but with a feeling of being in the snow / next to the lifts. It's a big ask but i was thinking that there are a small number of properties in certain towns that would fit the bill. Ideally i'd like an apartment but could do a hotel.

I've been looking at St Gervais and Megeve, Val d'isere, Kitzbuhel, Saas Fee, St Anton, and some others in Austria. But don't know them well.

I either want to drive, or fly and then train.

Of actual resorts Avoraiz comes close to fitting the bill (been there a lot) but i think it's a bit confined if you don't ski, and i really like Ste Foy but very small and worried it will ware on them if they don't ski.

I want the place to be really pretty too.

Not too much to ask for wink but i'm hoping someone know something that will fit the bill.
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Zell am See is a very pretty area I think, with a beautiful lake and nice(ish) town and some good skiing as a bonus
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Fourstar, Avoriaz would definitely feel like being on a mountain, but there would be the option to catch the Prodains cable car down to the valley and then a bus to Morzine, which has a bit more of a town feel.
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@Fourstar,
There are towns and towns with quite varying price ranges. My own experience with grannies is that what I think is charming and nice for non skiers is not necessarily the same as them.
We once took grandparents to Zermatt as a charming town/ village but grandparents found it claustrophobic.
Two places which worked quite well for us but very different price ranges were Davos and Briancon.
Davos is quite pricey but has an open valley with a large variety of winter sports going on which you can watch and take buses and trains around the valley.
Briancon is a fairly active town the old part is a little away form the skiing area but is a very attractive walled fortified town with lots of interesting shops and restaurants.
The newer part nearer the lifts is less attractive but more convenient for skiing.
Of the resorts that you mention I have been to St Gervais St Anton and Val D'Isere personally I would avoid St Anton and Val D'Isere for non skiers particularly the latter where there is little escape from the valley.
St Gervais may well work though in March your son would probably have to travel up to the ski area to get much of a feel of being near to skiers (same is probably true of Briancon)
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Interlaken.
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@Fourstar, one of my sisters in law doesn't ski anymore and she had a very pleasant time wandering around Champoluc - even meeting us on the mountain one day. She is happy pottering with a book however and didn't have a 3 year old to entertain (which presumably is quite weather dependent.

Chamonix?
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Yes rule out Avoriaz, and Ste Foy is indeed very small. From personal experience both Megeve and Val d'Isere are better choices though I`m not so sure either could be call particularly pretty in the chocolate box way some of the Austrian resorts are. But lots of snowfall makes many places look pretty! It can depend on where you are based within a resort.

Traipsing around to get to lifts tends to be what you have to do if you want to be central to other activities in anything resembling a 'real' town, but there are hotels/apartments that meet ski in/out requirements close to the centre of resorts, certainly in VdI and if I`m remembering correctly also in Megeve, but they generally come at a price.

I can`t really comment on Austria because its a very long time since I skied there but it does appear to have many more traditionally 'pretty' ski resorts than France.
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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!
Kitzbuehel is a pretty, walled, medieval town with plenty going on.
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Another vote for Chamonix. Just back from a long weekend with our 8 year old. Spotted a soft play in Chamonix Sud which might be useful for the 3 year old! The views of the mountain from the high street are fabulous. Lots of nice restaurants which seem less expensive than those on the mountain.
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Kitzbuhel or Chamonix.

There's also Aosta which is attractive and a proper town, but it's not next to the skiing.

Val d'Isere is worth a look as you can easily get pedestrian lifts up the mountain throughout the resort to lovely sun terraces. I don't think there's as much to do for non-skiers as the other towns mentioned though.
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I guess you are torn between resort and town.

If it has to be a town, then Chamonix and Zel am See would both work well as already mentioned. However you will need more effort to get the lifts/slopes, probably requiring driving, a ski bus or a train to hit the slopes each day. In Chamonix you can walk up the hill to the Brevent lift though its a bit of a schlep, so whilst a great town for non skiing members of your party, its not a town of convenience for hitting the slopes.

You could also look at Bourg and you can take the funicular up to Les Arcs to ski. Bourg obviously alot smaller than Cham or Zel.

If you want more of the being the in mountains magic, then you need to look at resorts rather than towns, and look for ones with more for non skiers to do. Something like Courchevel a good bet. You've got the old bit down at Le Praz, the shopping centre in 1850, the aquamotion complex in 1550, and lots of the hotels have spa's if that's their bag. When we've done group trips where parents of young ones have alternated their skiing/baby caring days the non skier each day has always occupied themselves well enough. Also easy for them to meet you for lunch in 1650, 1850 or 1550 and they are all interlinked by free resort bus for the non skier. There was a small free softplay in the Croisette complex in 1850, not sure where its moved to or if it closed as a cafe now occupies that space.
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T Bar wrote:

Davos is quite pricey but has an open valley with a large variety of winter sports going on which you can watch and take buses and trains around the valley.


I'd vote for Davos too.

St Gevais - lot of walking up and down hills for Granny whereas Davos is pan flat on the main road with a good bus and train service.
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Kirchberg / Kitzbhuel.
Granny can get the bus or train to Kitzbuhel.
You could ski into kitz, meet up & go back together...
or start in Kitz & ski into Kirchberg.
Granny could also get a train to other towns & villages if she wishes.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Fourstar, +1 for Aosta. Pila which is a great resort for beginners is reached by a 20 min gondola ride while the town of Aosta is lovely and a non skiing tourist destination in its own right with plenty going on.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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there's only one place to go reading through your post, it's fabulous for skiing and for living!!

http://www.cortinadolomiti.eu/EN/Home/

https://www.dolomitisuperski.com/en/ski-area/cortina

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/ski/resort-guides/Ski-Cortina-resort-guide/

https://www.inghams.co.uk/ski-holidays/ski-resorts/italy/the-dolomites-ski-area/cortina-d-ampezzo
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
as @HoneyBunny, says Kitz is great ... train possible to have a day out in either Innsbruck or Salzberg,
Lots of gondolas up the mountains to the restaurants.


I dint think of Chamonix, I cant remember it but there must be some cable cars going up the Mont Blanc to visit.
Its a pretty big town as well.

Other than that it has to be Hemmel with days out to Milton Keynes.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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Most Austrian ski towns are real towns with year-round economies and everything else you would expect, they are not 'resorts' as such. Kitzbühel definitely answers your brief, but you might consider Zell am See or Schladming too.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
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@Fourstar, If you like Avoriaz then why not consider one of the PDS towns/villages, Morzine, Chatel, Les Gets etc. Good options for walks and bubble lifts to enable non-skiers up onto the mountain to meet up with skiers at lunchtime.

From Morzine bus to the Ardent bubble then up to the restaurants at Lindarets or bus to Prodains then up to Avoriaz or Pleney bubble to the top and then walk across the top to the Vaffieu restaurant. Chatel super chatel bubble up to restaurants or bus to Linga or Pre La Joux. Les Gets bubbles up to restaurants at Mont Chery or Les Chavannes, nice walk downhill from Chavannes to the village. Different activities available in each of the villages
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@Timc, +1

From Chatel they could also take a shuttle to the Morgins and possibly other PDS Swiss villages where you could meet for lunch. There is also a bus service to Thonon by Lake Geneva

http://info.chatel.com/chatel-a-village-resort.html
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I'd opt for a ski resort that is family friendly (e.g. Les Gets, Morzine) rather than places like Chamonix. Get the kids in a ski-kindergarten type of thing for a couple of hours (piou-piou?) and gran and mum (when not skiing) can do things like tobogganing or just mucking about in the snow. Nothing worse for a toddler than being dragged around a trad alpine town.
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I think a lot depends on what the non-skier really wants out of the trip. Do they expect fancy shops and not see the skiing action or would they be happy with a small village, weekly market and a few places for a cuppa and wander and a chance to go as a foot passengers up the mountain for a cuppa / lunch? In France, Megeve and Chamonix could work if they want more shops and action. Aosta is a good shout as well, a real town and lots more to do. But if they are happy to be a bit slower then Morize in PDS or Les Carroz or Samoens in the Grand Massif. Les Carroz is a real village, good Piou Piou and Souris Vert (kindergarden if you book in advance) and foot passengers can get up the mountain and meet you for lunch / coffee. It has a nice pool complex with spa but it is not 'hopping' and they'd cover all the shops in one afternoon. Samoens is larger and very nice indeed, lots of folks from Geneva spend the weekend there. Again they can go as foot passengers up the mountain for lunch. So I'd base it on what the non-skiers are expecting really.
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