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Places which have plenty to do for a non-skiing girlfriend :)

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I am just a relative beginner to skiing, having started 3 years ago in my late 50s. That said, I've been to a few places

Filzmoos
Mutters
Zell am See
Grand Bornand
Corvara
Madonna di Campiglio (2x)
Courchevel (all 3 parts)
Wengen/Grindelwald

and others which escape me... and for me Madonna stands out way above the rest. It has beautiful wide and long slopes, especially the bit at the top of the mountain where you have a blue or a red run. That is the sort of skiing I like most. Scenic, long runs, wide runs so you can avoid kids and snowboarders sitting around (and anyway they don't arrive for the first hour or two). Some on the list (Zell especially) are good for skiers who are comfortable on black runs... regardless of what the piste map looks like.

The problem... for my girlfriend, there is b*****r-all to do at most of these places. She obviously doesn't want to sit in the hotel room or a cafe reading a book, for a week. We did a Skivo chalet holiday to Courchevel which was nice for her, because there were people around in the chalet, and 1650 looked like it had a fair bit to do (we stayed at 1350 which was tiny). Madonna town is a tiny place with nowhere much to go. Wengen was nice too but the easy runs were very narrow (a few m or less in places) with long flat parts. But you could visit a lot of places via the trains there.

So, this winter (we might do 3 trips) I am looking around for other places.

She has been asking around and places suggested have been

Zell am See
Kaprun
Lagenfeld
Agordo
Cortina
Plan de Corones
Alleghe
Asiago
Merano
San Candido
Serfaus
Kitzbuehl
Saalbach-Hinterglem (stay in Saalbach)
Schladming
Chamonix
Zermatt

Zell/Kaprun are off for me - I've been there and it was well above my pay grade. The others I know nothing about. I recall looking at hotels in Zermatt last year and the prices were "interesting" Smile But I would consider it if it was really good.

I am very well aware that almost everybody who skis is an experienced skier Smile This is always a big problem in asking for recommendations of ski locations. But hopefully my description of Madonna will give an idea.

Many thanks for any tips.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Arc 1600 has a link down to Bourg St Maurice, which is a proper town.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
What are her hobbies? What does she like to do?
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When you go out for dinner, you don't take a packed lunch with you! Madeye-Smiley
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Quote:

What are her hobbies? What does she like to do?


We need some more info about her. Would she enjoy walking or snow shoeing with a group? Some places on that list (e.g. Alleghe) are much smaller than Madonna.
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On that list I'd say Zermatt and Chamonix are to principle two for a true town right in the ski area, both with varying interest and pedestrian access to the mountains to share meet up for lunch etc. Neither are going to be bargain level in all honesty.

Another candidate that offers a good balance is Cervinia, on Italian side of mountain to Zermatt. Again it's a decent sized town plus some pedestrian access and all with very wide open piste being ideal for progressing ski skills without "terrain" compromise. Probably better for budget too and you can stay in the town for apré, all exceptionally easy to use.

Morzine would be another with really good mix for both parties to get decent week out of. Again, it's skiing from the town with wide spread of other interests.
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Courmayeur is worth considering - the town is lovely, albeit the resort is not massive. a 6 day pass though gives you 2 days in other Aosta valley resorts so you could ski La Thuile which links to La Rosiere in france - don't stay there though as the village itself is tiny. Or you could even stay in Pila and ski Aosta. Courmayeur also gives access to Mont Blanc for both Vallée Blanche and fornon -skiier
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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!
@peter_h, there is b*gger all in Alleghe and Kaprun (although you can easily get to Zell- you might as well stay there)
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I have taken my non skiing wife to Zell am See and Badgastein which she liked. She did not like Mayrhofen.

Kitzbuhel and Saalbach may suit too.

Collets do holidays where you could ski with folk and she could be off snow shoeing and walking....
https://www.colletts.co.uk/winter/

Three weeks seems like a bit much for a non skier to be in the Alps. My wife can only manage one and this years she is off on a cruise.

Surprised you found Zell the most difficult of the list you provided. Thought it was nice and easy.
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I think the resort with the most to do without actually skiing is Tignes. You can go on a snowmobile ride, go ice climbing, go snowshoeing. There is a good indoor swimming pool and an indoor climbing wall. You can even go diving under the ice on the lake.. Non of the other resorts I have been to can quite match its range of activities.
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Samoens is a nice option, lovely small town but she can go up top to meet you for lunch. Not as much to do, shops wise as Chamonix though.
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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.
ski3 wrote:
On that list I'd say Zermatt and Chamonix are to principle two for a true town right in the ski area, both with varying interest and pedestrian access to the mountains to share meet up for lunch etc. Neither are going to be bargain level in all honesty.

Another candidate that offers a good balance is Cervinia, on Italian side of mountain to Zermatt. Again it's a decent sized town plus some pedestrian access and all with very wide open piste being ideal for progressing ski skills without "terrain" compromise. Probably better for budget too and you can stay in the town for aprés, all exceptionally easy to use.

Morzine would be another with really good mix for both parties to get decent week out of. Again, it's skiing from the town with wide spread of other interests.


Cervinia?
I don't remember there was that much to do off the slopes.
Its a long trip up the valley, so not much opportunity for day trips.

I'd go for Kitzbuhel or Zell for easy day trips to Salzburg and both very nice towns.
I'm worried you think Zell is expensive - Kitz is quite upmarket.

We have also stayed in St Johann, just a short trip (7 mins) to Kitzbuhel by train, which is a proper town with good amenities - such as the in/out pool - and transport links, and considerably cheaper.
It has a small ski area (40km) which you can cover in a day or two, so you might have to be prepared to travel to other local resorts - Kitzbuhel, Ski Circus and Skiwelt are all within a 15 min car journey or a trip on a ski bus.
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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
@Drammeister, I was making the link with OP view of enjoying a good holiday in Courchavel 1650, matching that seemed integral to the question.

On that basis, Cervinia hasn't an issue in matching the criteria, being decent sized town based right on the edge of pistes with options to meet during the day if desired.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
She likes gym, yoga, Pilates, swim, food, reading, writing, etc.

I like long wide open slopes, greens, blues, maybe easy reds.

So there you go Smile

We did 3 one-week trips last winter. One can't do shorter ones really because the transport routes from the nearest airport are usually so long (2-3hrs is normal) and the shuttle buses are the only way to do them at any half reasonable price (say 30 quid each way per person, versus 250 quid for a taxi) but they run only at weekends. We did Courchevel, Wengen, and a 2nd trip to Madonna.

I will look further into Zermatt, Chamonix, Cervinia and Morzine. It is just not easy to work it out from the piste maps because they don't show how wide the runs are. For example I had a nice time at Grand Bornand (not a place I would recommend for customer service Smile ) but all you needed was some 5 year old to start moving across the snow and it created a very dangerous situation.

FWIW, I normally go for the ski lift the instant it opens (for obvious reasons Smile ) and by 3pm I am knackered and heading back. Then we meet up and do stuff together.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
As no one else has said it... Surely the obvious thing a non-skier could do in a ski resort is learn to ski Puzzled
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
ski3 wrote:
@Drammeister, I was making the link with OP view of enjoying a good holiday in Courchavel 1650, matching that seemed integral to the question.

On that basis, Cervinia hasn't an issue in matching the criteria, being decent sized town based right on the edge of pistes with options to meet during the day if desired.


Yes, I see in terms of ski area. I enjoyed Cervinia. Nice, wide motorway pistes all the way! But I wouldn't necessarily choose it as somewhere for a non skiier.
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Quote:

all you needed was some 5 year old to start moving across the snow and it created a very dangerous situation


Why?
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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?
Why don't you combine 2 of the weeks and head out to western Canada? No language barriers and plenty to do. If you hire a car, your partner could drop you at the hill in the morning and head out to do sightseeing, hit the hotsprings etc? Lake Louise and Sunshine are great for intermediates, though she might feel a little trapped if you stay at Sunshine itself. The slopes are generally much quieter than Europe, and definitely scenic.
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Banff would suit. great littlr town for non skiers, three local resorts to choose from each day. large pistes...
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
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We go to champoluc... wife does a lot of walking to the refuge bars etc.. either boots or snow show walks .. plenty of organised routes as well with a group..i had to do 6 days walking myself in january as i coukd not ski still.... theres also a wellness centre there.
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Westfield. Best place for a non-skiing girlfriend
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@FrediKanoute, Toofy Grin
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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Bob wrote:
Banff would suit. great little town for non skiers, three local resorts to choose from each day. large pistes...


agree, but you would still be hanging around all day while the skier was miles away, so not good if you want to meet up.

Putting one out that isn't on the list. Serre Chevalier/Briancon. Lovely 17c walled town, churches, loads of little shops, thermal spas (Grands Bains Monetier), spa hotels with treatments (Alliey, Grand Aigle, Rock Noir) lovely valley walks and snowshoeing. All villages have access to a restaurant on the mountain. Nice tree-lined runs. Trips on a piste basher, mountain meals, etc etc. Even a casino if that;s your thing.
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@peter_h, this is a place that I love and there is plenty for a non skier to do to enjoy and pass the time of day away.

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

https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/travel/10-reasons-why-you-should-go-skiing-in-cortina-dampezzo-in-italy-a3170446.html
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This is why I like Madonna - it is just nice for my low level of skiing, plus it is ultra scenic


Ski run at Madonna di Campiglio - from Passo Groste 2444m, run #60 (blue) from Peter
https://vimeo.com/257970736

Ski run at Madonna di Campiglio - from Passo Groste 2504m, run #60 (blue) stabilised camera from Peter
https://vimeo.com/257757974

The challenge is to combine it with a town where there are the non skiing activities. A lot of places have shopping but by the time you get into your 50s you don't need more stuff Smile
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Going to throw in a bit of a curveball here but how about some of the Andorran resorts. I think skiing wise they would suit you. The towns they are in are pretty small, but its only an hour away (45 mins ish) if memory serves from the capital which has spas, climbing walls, cafes and all sorts. Its also duty free so is rather cheap all considered.

There is also the standard things to do like huski's, ice driving, ice karting, snow shoe hikes and I believe even ice climbing and horse riding.

I have been three times (twice to Soldeu), and spend most the time skiing but we have taken a day off every time and gone and done other activities or gone to the capital which was great.
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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.
One thing which I have found is important is to be able to reach the ski lift the moment it opens. That way one beats most other skiers (and especially kids and snowboarders) and gets say an hour of wonderful skiing.

I have found this impossible at Grand Bornand because the ski bus took half an hour, but the locals who were staying at the hotels at the base of the lift(s) (and who booked-out those hotels a year ahead), or who drove there, were already up Smile

At most places, including Madonna, one could be at the lift the moment it opens.
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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
@peter_h, you've spent many weeks on skis but do seem to be spooked by quite minor things (e.g. a 5 year old on the same bit of piste). And reluctant to think about red runs. Have you had many lessons? If you can improve your technique you could be much happier with a range of resorts and conditions - which would give you far more choice of resorts.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Yes, lessons at most of the places.

The problem with a 5 year old, running around on a run which is say 5m wide, is that you don't know which way he will move. Looking at skiers I know, this is a good way to break a leg, trying to avoid them.

I am ok with some reds - it depends on the condition, as you know. A few cm of fresh snow makes a lot of difference.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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@peter_h, seriously, if you can't stop, slow down or go round them safely you need more lessons. (been there, done that)
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
This is the problem with skiing and advanced skiers Smile

Whenever I ask in some ski forum about whether there are places to ski which have long wide slopes, people tell me that I need lessons so I am comfortable with more difficult slopes Smile

It is not easy to articulate that I am actually not interested in going faster and steeper. I enjoy it greatly at my level. One friend, in her 50s, and a very experienced skier, spent a year in a wheelchair, with a poorly healing compound fracture done while avoiding some kid who was mucking about, as kids do on the slopes all the time. Admittedly she was off-piste, but still... And I would like my GF (of many years) who doesn't want to learn to ski (for good reasons, not least due to women in their 50s having much weaker bones no matter how many exercise classes they do) to enjoy the week doing things she wants to do, from 8am to 3pm Smile
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@peter_h, what sort of activities that you think might be available in a mountain town does your girlfriend like?
snowHead
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@peter_h, I am not suggesting you need lessons to go faster or steeper....its about being safe anywhere. The 5 year old might be on a narrow bit...or it might be a ski school on a wide motorway...or it might not be a 5 year old at all. You should be able to slow down, stop or pass safely on a narrow piste...which is usually a cat track so not steep or particularly challenging. But anyway...I hope you find somewhere suitable
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I would also recommend Serre Chevalier. Briancon is a proper historic city and there are 4 nice villages to explore. The spa in Monetier is very nice. Plus there are very few narrow pistes and the larch forest on the lower slopes is something special.
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Cortina and bring you credit card. Happy

Nice runs. Nice town in the evening.
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On the basis of your slope preference then, I'd scratch Chamonix. Has alot of non skiing but don't think you'd appreciate many of the slopes. This isn't a criticism of Chamonix, just that the focus of skiing is too far removed from request.

Still think Morzine would be suitable now i've seen your videos and you've honed in on piste requirements.

Another in that same area but opposite end could be Champéry, train connect to Geneva and reasonably diverse village with scope for GF interests.

This one will split opinions. Flaine has a whole bowl of pistes that would be a very good match for your requirements, probably one of the best in that regard in France. The village and architecture I like but many will scream about it!
Not huge village but quite a decent balance and right in the centre of the snow so peerless access. Residence "Montsoliel Terraces de Eos " has excellent rooms /apartments with very good sauna, steam, indoor and outdoor pools, a favourite of ours. Very convenient to meet up and great places to eat lunch out on the snow with pedestrian access.
Generally you'll be discouraged on here because of the architecture, but it really does offer alot of what you ask.
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"its about being safe anywhere"

Yes indeed; on the last 2 trips I spent a lot of time practicing fast stopping. It is really handy. But still you don't want to go to a place where you have to do that all the time.

So I have Cortina and Morzine. Many thanks Smile Yeah; this is not a cheap hobby.
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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!
I mentioned Arc 1600, as it has easy access to Bourges St Maurice via a Funicular.....but it also has easy access to the motorway skiing of La Plagne, via the Vanoise Express.
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Quote:

So I have Cortina

I've only skied for half a day in Cortina. But as far as I remember you have to go up from the town in gondolas (which were pretty packed when I was there) so a skier and a non skier are pretty well separated for the day. There are places where it is easier to hook up for lunch on the slopes (which is a very pleasant way to spend an hour or so at lunchtime).
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Have you thought about Pila? Stay in the town of Aosta, easy links for the missus to Milan and Turin, nice old town to explore. You can be up the slopes early doors on the gondola from the town to resort........

If you've got the cash/inclination Banff in Canada has heaps to do for non skiers too.
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