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Resort / Trip Reports - Alphabetical index

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
**Please note that as of 6/2/10 I'm no longer updating this, if you'd like to volunteer to take over then contact admin. Full instructions + Excel spreadsheet available. Hoppo**

Following the success of the skiers profiles thread I thought we might try something along similar lines for resorts / ski trips. The idea is to produce a set of resort reports to a standard format. Once we have this data we can arrange to access it in a variety of ways. For now I will manually compile an index in this post but the phpBB software is sufficiently flexible that, in future, we should be able to access the data produced in a variety of ways. I've started putting links to Feedback threads into each report to facilitate orderly discussion wink Instructions past the end of the index.


Index of Resort Reports

Alpe d'Huez (April 2009)
Alpes Maritime (2005-07)
Alpine Meadows (January 2010)
Alta (February 2006)
Arabba (February 2007)
Arabba (January 2009)
Arabba (March 2006)
Arinsal (2005-2009)
Arosa (January 2009)
Aspen/Snowmass (January 2008)
Au im Bregenzerwald (January 2009)
Bad Hofgastein (March 2007)
Banff (February 2008)
Big Sky, Montana (January 2005)
Big White (February 2005)
Borovets (February 2006)
Borovets (February 2007)
Bottrop (indoor slope) (September 2005)
Breckenridge, Vail and Keystone (January 2007)
Brides Les Bains (January 2005)
Canazei (January 2009)
Cervinia (December 2008)
Chamonix (January 2009)
Chamonix (March 2007)
Chile - various resorts (September 2006)
Courchevel (February 2006)
Courchevel (January 2006)
Courchevel (January 2009)
Courchevel 1850 (January 2005)
Courmayeur (January 2008)
Davos (April 2006)
Davos (February 2008)
Davos (March 2006)
Dubai Ski (November 2007)
Ellmau/Going (March 2009)
Fernie (April 2004)
Fernie (January 2008)
Flachau (January 2009)
Flaine (April 2004-5)
Flaine (January 2009)
Flumserberg (April 2009)
Folgarida (February 2010)
Foppolo (February 2007)
Glen Coe Mountain Resort (2008)
Grimentz (February 2005)
Gstaad Superski (2008)
Gulmarg (Jan-Mar 2005)
Haute Nendaz (December 2005-January 2006)
Homewood (January 2010)
Homewood (March 2007)
Ischgl (February 2007)
Ischgl (January 2006)
Ischgl (January 2010)
Jasna (March 2007)
Kaprun (February 2007)
Kaprun (January 2010)
Kitzbuhel (December 2007)
Kitzbuhel (January 2006)
Kitzbuhel (March 2009)
Klosters (January 2008)
Klosters (March 2007)
Kopaonik (January-February 2006)
Krippenstein (December 2005)
Kronplatz (February 2008)
La Clusaz (March 2006)
La Joue du Loup/ SuperDevoluy (March 2009)
La Plagne (January 2005)
La Plagne (January 2007)
La Plagne Villages (March 2007)
La Rosiere (December 2008)
La Rosiere (February 2006)
La Rosiere (March 2005)
La Tania (January 2006)
La Tania (March 2008)
Laax (February 2009)
Le Grand Bornand (February 2007)
Lech (February 2005)
Lech (February 2006)
Lech/Oberlech (March 2009)
Les Arcs (January 2005)
Les Arcs (January 2006)
Les Arcs 1800 (March 2005)
Les Contamines (January 2008)
Les Deux Alpes (March 2009)
Les Gets (December 2004/January 2005)
Les Gets (December 2006 / February 2007)
Les Gets (January 2008)
Les Gets (March 2008)
Les Menuires / Reberty 2000 (January 2006)
Les Rousses (February 2007)
Livigno (February 2007)
Mayrhofen (February 2005)
Mayrhofen (March 2006)
Megeve (December 2005)
Meribel (February 2006)
Meribel (February 2006)
Montgenevre (February 2008)
Morzine (February 2006)
Morzine (February 2006)
Morzine (February 2007)
Mount Rose (January 2010)
Mount Sunapee (February 2007)
Nevis Range (April 2008)
Obergurgl (March 2005)
Obergurgl (March 2007)
Obertauern (February 2009)
Obertauern (March 2007)
Obertauern (New Year 2004/5)
Ovindoli (December 2007)
Panorama (February 2004)
Passe Tonale (March 2006)
Peisey-Vallandry (January 2005)
Pila (February 2006)
Poiana Brasov (March 2007)
Puy St Vincent (March 2007)
Radstadt - Altenmarkt (February 2008)
Raise
Reberty (March 2005)
Red Mountain, Whitefish, and Fairmont Hot Springs (February 2009)
Risoul (March 2003/5)
Rogla (February 2006)
Ruka (January 2006)
Saalbach (April 2006)
Saas Fee (April 2006)
Saas Fee (December 2003)
Saas Fee (January 2006)
Samnaun (February 2007)
Samoens (February 2007)
Samoens (March 2008)
Sauze d'Oulx (February)
Schladming (Jan 2001, March 2007)
Selva (February 2008)
Selva (January 2009)
Serre Chevalier (December 2008)
Serre Chevalier (January 2005)
Serre Chevalier (March 2005)
Silver Star (February 2005)
Ski Amade (February 2008)
Snowshoe (March 2006)
Solden (April 2009)
Solden (February 2005)
Soldeu (December 2005)
Solitude (February 2006)
Soll (March 2005)
Soll (March 2005)
Squaw Valley (January 2010)
St Anton (February 2007)
St Anton (January 2005)
St Anton (March 2009)
St Gallenkirch (March 2008)
St Martin de Belleville (January 2010)
St Moritz (March 2007)
St Sorlin D'Arves (February 2006)
Stuben (March 2009)
Tignes Les Boisses (April 2009)
Tignes Les Boisses (January 2008)
Tignes Les Brevieres (February 2009)
Tignes Val Claret (December 2006)
Tremblant (February 2005)
Turoa (August 2006)
Vail (March 2005)
Val Cenis (January 2006)
Val Cenis (March 2006)
Val d'Allos (February 2007)
Val D'Isere (April 2007)
Val D'Isere (April 2009)
Val d'Isere (December 2008)
Val D'Isere (January 2005)
Val D'Isere (March 2008)
Val Thorens (April 2004)
Valmeinier 1800 (January 2005)
Verbier (March 2007)
Vogel (March 2006)
Wengen (February 2005)
Westendorf (January 2006)
Whistler (December 2006)
Whistler (February 2007)
Whistler (March 2005)
Whistler / Blackcomb (February 2006)
Whistler Blackcomb (January 2008)
Whitefish (Big Mountain) (January 2008)
Winter Park (January 2005)
Winter Park (January 2007)
Yad Moss (March 2005)
Zell am See (February 2006)
Zell am See (March 2008)
Zell am Ziller (February 2007)
Zell am Ziller (January 2008)
Zermatt (April 2006)
Zermatt (December 2008)
Zermatt (December 2008)
Zermatt (February 2005)
Zermatt (February 2007)
Zermatt (January 2008)
Zermatt (January 2010)

To add a report to the list: post a message in this thread based on this template:
Code:

[b]Resort[/b]: Easiest part first
[b]Country[/b]: Hopefully you'll also know which country you were in!
[b]Domain[/b]: i.e 3 vallees, Ski Welt or whatever system the resort is linked into. If it isn't linked into a domain then put 'none'
[b]Author[/b]: Not quite sure how this data will be processed in future so it would be good to put your snowHead name in the report.

[b]Date[/b]: The dates of your visit
[b]Our holiday[/b]: Use this section to reveal something about yourself so the reader can see the context of your report.
[b]Website[/b] : Links to things link the resort website, webcams, Ski Club information and weather.
[b]Basics[/b] : Where it is and how you got there
[b]Lift system[/b] : Type and quality of the lifts, links to other areas
[b]The terrain[/b] : The layout of the pistes and comments on specific pistes
[b]The snow[/b] : How the snow was for your trip
[b]Off-piste[/b] : Comments on off piste opportunities
[b]The resort[/b] : The village itself, facilities and character or lack thereof
[b]Food[/b] : Where would you recommend eating in resort and in the mountains
[b]Accommodation [/b]: Comment on the hotel/chalet you stayed
[b]Costs[/b]: Some idea of relative costs
[b]Conclusion[/b]: Overall comments


Fill it in and send me a PM to get it added to the alphabetical list. I suggest you have a look at the Panorama report by DavidS (who was the first to use this format), the reports by nbt on Fernie and Val D'Isere and the Val Thorens report by me to get an idea of the style we're going for.


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Sat 6-02-10 16:31; edited 124 times in total
ski holidays     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Resort: Winter Park

Country: USA

Domain: Colorado

Author: Acacia

Date: Jan 10 - Jan 14 2005

Our holiday: This wasn't a "holiday" proper. I stopped off in Colorado for some skiing, en-route to a conference in California. Hell, if you have to go all that way to work, you might as well get a bit of fun in too!

Website : www.skiwinterpark.com

Basics : 67 miles from Denver: about a 2-hour minibus ride from Denver airport. I flew from Manchester via Washington DC and only just scraped through immigration on a 2.5 hour transfer time: be warned!!

Lift system : 24 lifts: 8 express quads, 3 triples, 7 doubles, 6 drags, but you can cover most of the terrain on the quads. Access to the best terrain is via a slow double though (Timberline chair)

The terrain : A good variety of terrain, and generally the trail grading was a very good guide to the degree of difficulty. Generally, the easier trails are on the front side of Winter Park mountain, accessed via the Zephyr Express and Olympia express lifts. The tougher trails are on mary Jane Mountain, accessed from the base area by a successive rides up the Zephyr, Olympia,and High Lonesome Express lifts, if you're cautious, or by taking the Zephyr Express, and ducking down the black diamond bump run "Outhouse" (Prominently marked with signs warning you that this is "for experts only, no way out"), which will take you to the base of the Summit express at the base of Mary Jane. Mary Jane Mountain has a collection of Blue and "Blue-black" runs around its periphery, with a large cluster of black-diamond trails down the centre. These are all steep and mogulled. From the summit of M-J, you can head down to the slow two-man Timberline chair that takes you to the summit of Parsenn bowl. This is an open bowl of comfortable to moderate pitch, above the treeline. Going to the left off the top of the chair takes you into some nice glades. Going to the right, you can hike into the Vasquez Cirque for steep double-diamond chutes (This was closed during my visit: I don't think I'd have tried it even if it had been open.). The whole area is quite big: much larger than the impression you get from looking at the trail map, which is very compressed.

The snow : Terrific: 8 inches of fresh powder on my second day. Bluebird day on my last.

Off-piste : I guess "Off-piste" in the US means something different from it's European connotations. Here, the skiing in the Parsenn Bowl and off the ridge of Vasquez Cirque would be "off-piste" equivalent, although within the patrolled and avy-controlled area. - I understand there are back-country opportunities available.

The resort : Winter Park village is a bus-ride from the base area. I was only staying for 4 days, and was based across the road from the base area, so didn't get into the village. - Ask someone else!

Food : On the hill, the "Sunspot" at the top of the Zephyr lift gets a mention in "Where to Ski and Snowboard" - I was disappointed. The bar in the Mary Jane base lodge was much better: Sierra Nevada ale is a good beer, and they do sushi on Fridays.
Accommodation : Winter Park Mountain Lodge. Just across the highway from the base area. - They gave me a free room upgrade on arrival. The bar has a microbrew and their "Helle's Half Acre" beer was pretty palatable. I met a load of verty friendly locals around the bar, two of whom refused to let me buy them a beer. Great American hospitality. The bar food was also pretty good (I recommend the buffalo rib-eye). The hotel has a pool, a sauna and two hot tubs, but (bizarrely) no showers in the pool/hot tub area.

Costs: I paid US$93 per night for room and breakfast, $120 for 4 days ski rental (demo package), $61 per day lift pass and $44 each way shuttle from the airport ("HomeJames").

Conclusion: I'm definitely going again.

Winter Park Resort Report Feedback Thread
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?
Resort: St Anton

Country: Austria

Domain: Arlberg

Author: Kramer

Date: 16th to 23rd January 2005

Our holiday: My second week skiing this season, went with two good friends, and two that I'd only met once before. Hadn't skied with any of them before, so was interested to see what their standard of skiing was like.

Website : http://www.stantonamarlberg.com/

Basics : The Arlberg region is on the border between the Tyrol and the Alps proper, for this reason it is very snowsure, and has a long season despite it's low altittude (1350m). It can be reached within an hour and a half of Innsbruck, or two hours of Friedrichstraffe (our option for this trip). Access by road and by rail is very efficient. I would not recommend Friedrichstraffe as a destination airport as it is very small, and not designed to cope with large charter flights arriving. St Anton is the home of the Kandehar downhill, and so can claim to be the birthplace of modern alpine skiing. At one end of St Anton is Nasserein, which has access to the slopes through a high capacity gondola. This tends to be a quieter area. At the other end is St Anton which has access through either a high speed chair, or a cable car, this tends to be the more party orientated end of town. On the other side of the road at this end is the Gondola access to Rendl, a seperate and sllghtly quieter ski area which is also covered by your ski pass. Within the piste network are access points to and from two other resorts, St Christoph and Stuben, both of which are meant to be very quiet and very exclusive. Added to all this are the neighbouring resorts of Lech and Zurs, which are covered by a free ski bus, or a reasonable 50 euro taxi fare (for an eight seater taxi). Your ski pass works here as well.

Lift system : There are 83 lifts, a mix of mostly highspeed chairs, some slower speed chairs, a few T-bars, and some cable cars. There are a few bottlenecks within the area which can get very crowded at certain times of day. It's always worth making the effort to get up for the first lift in St Anton.

The terrain : Lech and Zurs are intermediate paradises, St Anton is for the more expert skier. Too many great pistes and itineraries to mention.

The snow : A bit thin on the first day, but then it snowed for the rest of the week.

Off-piste : Nowhere better in the world. Period.

The resort : Great apres ski, great shopping, a liitle thin on the ground for non skiing activities. There is a new spa complex in town, but I've not had a chance to try it yet. Also a nice character especially around the Nasserein end. St Christoph and Stuben are extremely pretty.

Food : In town the St Anton cafe does excellent food, at reasonable prices. In the evening Scotty's bar does nice pizzas. Don't eat at the Kandehar in town, it's very disappointing overall, although the quality of the food was ok. On the slopes both the infamous Krazy Kangaruh and the Moosevirt do reasonable food, as does the Ulmer Hutt. To be honest most places on the mountain were pretty good.

Accommodation : Chalet Regina by skiworld. A nice enough chalet, but the chalet staff left something to be desired in their enthusiasm. Most requests were met with a polite "no". And not just the rude ones wink

Costs: Lift pass for six days is 150 euros. Not the cheapest resort, but not as expensive as some of the more exclusive french or swiss resorts. Plenty of cheaper accomodation seems to be available.

Conclusion: Justifiably one of the best ski resorts in the world.

St Anton Resort Report Feedback Thread
snow report     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Resort: Peisey-Vallandry (part of Les Arcs)

Country: France

Domain: The Peisey-Vallandry area is a part of the huge Les Arcs domain which in turn is now linked to La Plagne under the name Paradiski.

Author: kuwait_ian

Date: 20th Jan - 27th Jan 2005 (mid week travelling)

My holiday: My first ski holiday as an 'independent traveller' after many years of using T.O.s. Also my first visit to Les Arcs. Intermediate 'plateau' skier. Reds & Blues cruising.

Website : Peisey Vallandry still maintains a degree of independence from the overall Les Arcs domain and has it's own web site http://www.peisey-vallandry.com/index_hiver.asp . Click top right for English version.

Basics : Peisey Vallandry is at one end of the 'Les Arcs' domain straddling the terminal of the Vanoise Express double decker cable cars crossing over the valley to La Plagne, arriving above Montchavin. P-V are two adjacent smallish villages. Above Peisey Nancroix. Not far from Bourg Saint Maurice and nearest railway station is Landry. I flew Southampton to Chambery then by road to the resort which takes approximately 1 hour 45 mins (traffic and conditions permitting). The return was done by train from Bourg to Chambery town center, taxi to airport, then back to S'ton on FlyBE. You could also use Lyons airport or the snow trains. Masque went by bus - PM him for info.

Lift system : Very well linked into the entire Les Arcs system (55 lifts - mainly chairs - few drags). Peisey is right next to the Vanoise Express for those using the Paradiski area. There is a fast 6 person chair up out of Peisey itself. No queues anywhere during my visit.

The terrain : The two main lifts up from Peisey & Vallandry go up through the trees to a wide bowl above the tree line, where there are dedicated nursery areas. My favourite was Les Ours (the Bear) red run back down to the village. There are also off piste possibilities through the trees. A zig-zagging blue (La Foret) gives an easy ride back if you are unhappy with conditions on the more direct red runs. A black (Ecuerille ? spelling = Squirrel) also starts from the top of the Peisey lift. The whole Les Arcs area seems to be very well linked as far as runs and lifts go and the signposting is excellent.

The snow : Friday 21st. Jan steady frozen drizzle all day. Overnight blizzard. Sat. and Sun. steady snow falls. Moderate temps. Approx 50cms total at resort level. > 1m where it had drifted. Wonderful conditions on piste at low level with the trees to give perspective - almost whiteout higher up. Stayed skiing mainly in the P-V area for that reason, with Masque. Monday gave better weather but very cold. Tuesday and Wednesday crystal clear and calm. Bitterly cold - especially up top. -30C. Visited the other end of Les Arcs (Villaroger area) with PG and Rob@rar.org on Tuesday. Summary - snow will be fine for early February visitors but more is needed for later in the season as the overall base has still not really been properly established yet.

Off-piste : I don't do it but if you don't mind the possibilty of hitting tree stumps, it is done under the chairs in the P-V area. Loads more available elsewhere in Les Arcs of course.

The resort P-V are small quiet villages. At about 1400m. Mainly purpose-built but they don't look it. South or West facing. Super views over the valley. Get there quickly if this is your kind of place - a 290 room Club Med is under construction between them and scheduled to open for next season. Vallandry has the bigger commercial centre with a cinema and pharmacy and doctor's surgery. Peisey is very small and mainly widely spaced chalets. NB there are free shuttle buses between the villages and down to Landry and Nancroix, but these services do not connect to Arc 1650, 1800, 1950, & 2000 which have their own shuttle service. Some pictures now available in the new snowHeads multi media zone

Food : The Flying Squirrel bar does {Edit - - did....} devastingly good bacon butties. Even better BLTs and Steak and Chips, etc.. {Edit - special burgers and tex-mex have had good reports from other snowHeads. Taken over from the BLTs} Draught Guinness. Live Music and Quiz Nights, etc.. L'Armoise Restaurant next to the Vanoise Express is well thought of for local specialities, etc. (didn't try it myself). More on food, drink and entertainment from Jamie - a Peisey 'local' - in this post

Accommodation : The villages are mainly chalet style accom - including a couple of Brit T.O.s Ski Beat & Ski Esprit, plus a few small hotels. I used the Hotel La Vanoise which is ski-in/ski-out, 2*, a Logis de France. Overlooking the Peisey chair lift and the Vanoise Express. Ideal location. Very clean, very French. English web site on http://www.hotel-la-vanoise.com/html/gb/index-ete.htm . Madame Muriel Villiod (the owner) speaks excellent English and you can certainly make a booking by email on hotel-la-vanoise@wanadoo.fr. Will Nicholson (aka snowHead Flying Squirrel) provides a no fee, no commission accommodation finding agency service for Peisey if you want a s/c apartment/chalet. No catch - just patronise his bar with your friends.

Costs: Flights incl taxes etc £83 return (mid week flts). Train BSM-Chambery 14 Euros (one way). Taxi Chambery Station to Airport ~ 17 Euros. Hotel (low season) double with shower 58 Euros p.p.p.n. H/B (+ single supp 20 Euros per night). Twin or Family Rooms with bath and balcony are a little dearer. Home style cooking. 4 course dinner. Not gourmet stuff but at these prices what do you expect. Good buffet breakfast. 6 day lift pass for the Les Arcs domain incl Carre Niege insurance 199 Euros.

Conclusion: If you like a quiet resort with great access to good varied skiing/boarding areas, P-V is recommended. Will's small bar can be quite lively if you don't mind smoke. I will probably go back again as there is so much of Les Arcs still to be explored, given better weather conditions. Any specific questions, PM me and I'll try to answer. Cheers.

Paradiski Feedback Thread


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Tue 18-07-06 9:34; edited 2 times in total
snow conditions     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Resort: Brides Les Bains

Country: France

Domain: 3 Valleys

Author: homphomp

Date: 22 to 29 January 2005

Our holiday: We like to ski often so tend to choose cheaper, valley towns as a base to ski the more expensive resorts. This was our first time in Brides although we've skied the 3 valleys before. This time out it was just us two, tucked up in a cosy apartment...our first time self-catering too.

Website : www.brides-les-bains.com

Basics : Brides is just a few kms up the valley from Moutiers, very easy access by road. We flew EasyJet to Geneva and then drove a hire car down to resort, a very quick and easy journey.

Lift system : I don't really need to expand on the 3 valleys lift system....suffice it to say its huge! There is a bubble lift from Brides to Meribel but it takes about 30mins and is a bit of a trek away from the main lifts when you get there. It also closed at 17:00 which is a bit of a push for getting home if, like us, you're keen to get in every possible run in a day! Much better to drive up to Meribel...quicker, warmer and much more convenient! We used the covered parking right by the main lifts, only 2 euros a day, there's also plenty of free parking if you don't mind a bit of a walk. We only used the bubble lift on the day of heavy snow, better than fighting up the roads, but I wouldn't recommend it for everyday use to access the main resorts.

The terrain : Its the 3 valleys....need I say more? Everything for everyone and then some!

The snow : Heavy snow on the first day....deep deep deep! Cold and crisp and bright for the rest of the holiday. The avalanche risk was very high (a couple of people died while we were there!) so no off piste, on piste was excellent but becoming hard packed by the end of the holiday.

Off-piste : I'm sure it's amazing but it was off limits while we were there!

The resort : Brides is a quiet town, it has half a dozen restaurants and a couple of good bars. The Kubix seemed to attract the French drinker and The Parisienne was crowded with english. Both were nice places to drink but the Parisienne had the edge with a longer happy hour!! There's a great bread shop and a tiny Spa for shopping - we popped down to Moutiers for a biggish shop. There's also a Casino and a thermal spa if you want something a bit different to do. All in all a nice little resort....not for those who want amazing nighlife or door-to-door skiing but well worth a look if you want a cheap route into a great ski area.

Food : I'm a veggie which limits eating out choice when in France! In Brides I'd highly recommend the Kubix Restaurant, great food and pleasant service at a reasonable price. We also tried Les Thermalisme - I had a great pizza but Mr HH was very disappointed with his duck (which wasn't cheap!), we didn't go back but it might just have been an off day? We did actually go mad and "make" a meal in the appartment one night, which wasn't too shabby as the choice of ready meals down in the HyperChampion in Moutiers was rather good (I don't do cooking on holiday...if it can't be blizted or warmed in a pan I don't eat it!!). For veggies I'd also recommend the Chalet le Caron at the foot of the Caron bubble in Val Thorens....one of the few mountain restaurants that has a veggie option.

Accommodation : We stayed in Le Grand Chalet appartments and were pretty pleased with our choice. It's our first experience of self catering and I was expecting a cupboard with beds in! The studio was spacious and well equipped with rings, microwave, coffee maker and dishwasher! Mr HH complained about having to sleep in a drawer all week but what the hay...I had a proper bed! There was free covered parking just a few metres from the back door and each appartment had it's own private lockable ski storage.

Costs: Well, I may be sad, but I've got a little notebook of everything we spent all week! The cost for travel, accommodation and breakfasts/dinner with wine (the equivalent of half board) worked out at £308 per person excluding passes. I reckon that's a pretty good value holiday for what is a very expensive part of the world.

Conclusion: If you like staying in out of the way places, don't want lively nightlife or hundreds of restaurants and bars to choose from Brides is worth considering. If you do, then definitely look into having a car available to make the journey to the slopes that bit more comfortable. We enjoyed it, but we're not party animals and are only there for the skiing and the odd beer!!

Three Valleys Feedback Thread
ski holidays     
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Resort: Big Sky, Montana

Country: USA

Domain: None, but Moonlight Basin is beside it, and you can get onto a few runs there for free. Yellowstone club is also close by, but it is a private area.

Author: WTFH

Date: 22-29 January 2005

Our holiday: I was here for the EpicSki Academy - possibly the greatest ski learning experience in the universe. Arrived on the Saturday, skiied a bit on the Sunday, had the clinic Monday-Thursday, then skiied Friday before flying home on Saturday

Website : http://www.bigskyresort.com

Basics : I flew with NorthWest from Gatwick via Minneapolis to Bozeman. From there it is a 45 minute drive by car, or just over an hour by transfer bus. United fly from Heathrow (I think that's via Chicago) Other options are available. Total flying time was around 11 hours.

Lift system : The main resort has several detachable quads, one gondola, one tram, and a couple of triples/two seaters. Most of the lifts are relatively new, and run at good speed, getting you to key areas of the mountain. There's also a magic carpet on the main nursery slope, and for some of the chalets there is a button lift to get to the main slopes

The terrain : This is a deceptively big resort by US standards. http://www.bigskyresort.com/images/site_images/trailmap/Tmap04_05East_04.jpg
It could be divided into 4 areas (two of which I didn’t go to). Flat Iron Mountain (I wasn’t there) consists of a few greens, with a couple of black runs cutting the corners. The other area I didn’t get to (due to lack of snow at the top) was the South face of Lone Mountain (the runs serviced by the Shedhorn lift and the Tram). The first lift of the day for me was Ramcharger taking me to the top of Andesite. From there, take a run down Elk Park Ridge or Big Horn to blow away the cobwebs. Silver Knife and Tippy’s Tumble are also great runs, and highlight a great thing about the resort – the runs have undulations and pitches that add a lot of fun, particularly if you like speed. My favourite run on this side of the mountain was Ambush – one side is a terrain park, and the other side is piste. On the pisted bit, start out on the right, then about half way down, get over to the left, close to the trees – throw in a few flat out carves, and you’ll be smiling at the bottom. Taking the Swift Current lift is the best way to the bigger part of the mountain, from there, Lobo has fewer on it than Calamity Jane (then again, there were days when there was nobody on runs apart from us). Don’t bother taking the Gondola, as Swift Current is a quicker way to go, and you can get over to the Gondola top station easily from it. Now the fun begins… J go up the Lone Peak Triple. The Bowl is just a lot of fun. Whether you choose to go down the bumps, or take the Turkey Travers, the snow there is excellent.
I went up the Tram for a view from the top, and even if you aren’t going to ski down, it is worth the trip for the view.
Staying up high, the Challenger lift is the next place to visit (although don’t expect an easy way down, there isn’t one). The Moonlight bumps are the winners here, but I’ll add the warning that while they are marked as a black run (the same as in the Bowl), they are considerably steeper, IMHO. From here, come down Bad Dog or Blue Moon, and hop on the Iron Horse. At the top, you can either go straight ahead (unmarked) and you will get to the wall jump – basically you go down into a dip, then come up a vertical wall to get back on piste, or you can return down Fast Lane, but what is more fun is to turn right, and go into Moonlight Basin resort. Your lift ticket DOESN’T cover this area, but you can get out again! Take the cat track past Snake Bite, and onto Elk Horn. It’s a great, fast black. As you go down it, turn right, which will eventually take you onto a path through the houses, which will eventually bring you out at Moonlight Lodge. You HAVE to see the inside of this place. (Also the bistro is the best on the mountain). For a final run of the day, head to Mr K – it may be a green run, but the conditions along the edges of it are excellent, and you can cut across to Lone Star if you’re heading for the Huntley

The snow : Unfortunately there wasn’t that much powder around, and the skiing off the Tram involved a hike over some rocks. The pistes themselves were in good shape, but my Pistols only got one morning on the snow.

Off-piste : We did some tree skiing, but you could say that the Bowl is all off-piste. I WILL go back to this resort when it has more snow.

The resort : Big Sky was built in the 70s, it has limited shopping, a few good restaurants and bars, all within easy walking/skiing distance of the slopes. Don’t be expecting alpine charm, but equally, it’s not a concrete jungle.

Food : For lunch, as I said above, it has to be the Moonlight Lodge bistro – they do an excellent Reuben. The other mountain eatery, the Dug Out, is good too. I had lunch one day in the Lone Peak Café, which is just like any other cafeteria style US resort restaurant. In the evenings, we ate at the pizzeria (can’t remember the name), also at Dante’s Inferno and in the Huntley bar (where we were staying). We were given vouchers for buy one, get one free on the Entrees at the Cabin, but given that the prices there start at around $35 for one course, it was a bit much! One evening we drove down to the Corral (although a bus is also available, as I found out for the trip home). It is authentic Montana, and not touristy. Great food, reasonable prices. Well worth the trip.
Bambu is the best place in the resort to end the evening, and burn off your remaining energy on the dance floor. One night we were there they had a jazz band, and the next was a techno night (which also seemed to be the staff night off – and the two of us were the oldest there)

Accommodation : It’s the first time I’ve stayed at a truly ski-in/ski-out hotel. Right at the bottom of the slopes. With just a little more snow (and if the staff hadn’t kept the paths clear), I could have skied to my balcony. Most of the rooms have two queen sized beds, (some have one king size) a good bathroom, and a fridge, coffee maker and humidifier, a TV, and balcony. Between our room and the slopes were the hot-tubs and pool. At the end of a great day on the slopes, it was relaxing to get in and enjoy the sunshine with a beer and good company. Breakfast was included in our deal, and our options there were excellent, almost anything you wanted, both hot and cold.

Costs: I paid around £400 for the flights (cause I only booked them in November, otherwise it would have been around £300 in August). Accommodation was at the reduced rate of $99 for the room per night (so, divide that by the number of people in the room), including breakfast. The lift pass should have been around $65 per day, but this was included in the EpicSki Academy price. The Academy cost around $800 for the 4 days of coaching, the lift passes, and the opening & closing meals. So that gives a total of around £950.

Photos: A few pictures

Conclusion: The Academy was Epic! The resort needs more snow, but was excellent even in the conditions (which the locals considered to be bad). I WILL go back.
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Resort: Zermatt

Country: Switzerland

Domain: Matterhorn Ski Paradise (Zermatt, Switzerland and Cervinia/Valtournenche, Italy).

Author: brian

Date: 30/1/05 - 3/2/05

Our holiday: Me and the missus on a flying 4 night, 4 day break while Gran/Grandpa looked after the wee ones.

Website : official website http://www.zermatt.ch
lift company - http://bergbahnen.zermatt.ch
webcams - http://www.snoweye.com/cgi-bin/pagegen3.cgi?page=ch-uppervalais&detail=zermatt

Basics : Zermatt is in the Swiss-German part of the Valais canton, just across the border from Italy. We flew easyjet to Geneva and hired a car (as we were arriving too late for a train). Since Zermatt is car-free (apart from electric vehicles, more later), we parked the car at Taesch and got a taxi up to Zermatt. Airport to hotel took just under 3 hours in total.

Lift system : The Zermatt lift system consists of 3 quite separate areas, Sunegga/Rothorn, Gornergrat and Schwarzsee/Klein Matterhorn. The latter links to the Italian resorts of Cervinia and Valtournenche, but the link is over a very high alpine pass at 3500m so is often closed due to the wind. The lifts are mainly cable cars with some surface lifts and a few newer quad chairs and gondolas. Gornergrat's main access from the village is by a scenic but slow cog railway while Sunnega is accessed via an underground funicular. The 3 areas are not very well linked, although some new lifts are planned to improve this situation somewhat.

The terrain : Klein Matterhorn has a glacier, so mostly gentle with flat bits but snow sure. Further down this area and around Schwarzsee there are some big long reds and some unpisted "downhill runs". which are marked and opened/closed as safety dictates but not patrolled. The descents to the village get a bit crowded/scraped at the end of the day (and that was in great snow conditions) and involve a fair few flat pushing/walking bits so the option of jumping in the gondola to come down from Furi is probably a good one.

Gornergrat has a generally easy area of cruising blues which is awkward to get to without using the aforementioned railway or taking a circuitous route via Rothorn involving up and down cable cars. It's connection to Rothorn involves a glorious, north facing 1000m of vertical down to the junction at Gant via a couple of classic long reds, the Kelle and White Hare, or unpisted routes including Mittelritz and Triftji. The Triftji run forms a big bump field but unfortunately was only barely opening while we were there so not really going yet.

Sunegga/Rothorn has some nice easy blue runs around Blauherd and Findeln plus some super long descents from the top of the Rothorn. The Fluhalp was a particular favourite of ours, a big long red taking a route past the Fluhalp restaurant, more of which later. Runs down to the village are a couple of decent reds through the trees, ending up on the Riedweg road which returns to the Sunegga funicular station or on down to nearer the village centre (but watch out for the pedestrians!).

We were only over in Italy on day 1, but the Cervinia skiing seemed to be big wide cruising pistes, good for letting rip on the run down for an Italian lunch.

The snow : The snow was fantastic, we skied four days. We arrived about a week after a major snowfall in cold conditions so the pistes were all well covered and in good nick. Overnight and the morning of day 2, it snowed, giving about 4-5 inches in the resort and more higher up, probably 8-10 inches of fresh stuff on lee slopes. Absolutely superb skiing from then on.

Off-piste : Opportunities: as much as you want. Since fresh snow fell, I contented myself with the opportunities close to the pistes, the White Hare and Fluhalp in particular, as well as the unpisted runs from Hohtalli down to Gant and on to Findeln. The resort was fairly quiet so easy to get fresh stuff this way for a couple of days. Guides and helicopters available should conditions dictate going further afield.

The resort : Zermatt is a lovely town full of chocolate box chalets, big posh hotels and pretty tasteful, for the most part, appartment blocks. It has a busy main street of shops with numerous bars, restaurants etc. spread out all over town. The resort is about a mile long along the valley with the Klein Matterhorn cable car station at one end and the main railway line to Taesch and the Sunnegga and Gornergrat stations at the other. It's car free, so getting around in ski gear is either by long trudge, electric ski buses or little square electric taxis. The buses are reasonably frequent but can get crowded. Beware the taxis ! You can't hear them coming and they're generally driven by nutters.

Food : On the mountain, we ate at the Fluhalp which has an excellent reputation that it fully lived up to, great food and reasonable value as well. Cervinia is well set up to catch the day trip lunch market for typical Italian food and we also ate at the big self service at Riffelberg (nice plate of charcuterie and pretty decent chips) and a smaller place at Tuftern (hearty soup and bread/cheese/ham). There are loads of other good restaurants with reputations up there with Fluhalp around Findeln, Zum See, etc. Booking is advisable at these, especially if it's too cold to sit outside.

In the resort, there's everything from creperies, rustic Swiss Stuebli , right up to Michelin starred restaurants. Local specialities are the ubiquitous fondues, potato roesti, wuerst, etc. You could end up seriously lardy if you stay for any length of time !

Our best evening meal was up at the Hotel Olympia which is on the Riedweg run/road above the Sunnega station. Its Suntrap bar is a great place to stop for a beer at the end of the day and excellent food too.

Accommodation : We stayed at the 3* BellaVista in a double room with balcony and Matterhorn view, £50 pppn B&B. It's small and family run and was generally excellent. It's also right on the Riedweg run/road back into Zermatt so you can ski back to the door. Breakfasts were a superb buffet, loads of home made yogurts, jams, breads, pastries, honey, cheeses, hams, eggs, etc. The only downside is remembering to leave enough room for lunch. The hotel also does evening meals (except on Wednesday) consisting of fondue nights, grill nights, etc. limited choice but good food, we did the fondue thang in-house.

Costs: For flights, car, petrol, garage, taxis and 4 nights B&B we were approx. £350 each. Dead cheap easyjet flights helped keep this down. The Geneva-Newcastle route is good as the return flight is 9.15pm, meaning we could ski till 3pm and leave bags of time to get back to Geneva on our last day.

Costs in resort are comparable to big French resorts, ie. not cheap, but not desperate either. ~£3 for a large beer, £1.50 for smallish glass of wine. A decent dinner with wine not much more than you'd pay here in Edinburgh.

Conclusion: Fantastic skiing, fantastic eating, fantastic scenery, fantastic holiday. We skied ourselves too tired to stay out too late so not sure how lively it gets, but I can't imagine anyone visiting Zermatt could fail to be at least a bit impressed. I can't wait to go back.

Feedback Thread for Zermatt

A few pics:
Here comes the sun.
View from our balcony
Top of the White Hare, looking towards Findeln.
Panorama through the trees to the Weisshorn.
Panorama, Matterhorn round to Rothorn.
Me and the Matterhorn await a beer at the Suntrap on the run home.
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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!
Resort: La Plagne

Country: France

Domain: Paradiski

Author: Frosty The Snowman

Date: 02/01/05-09/01/05

Our holiday: 15 kids 6-11 yr old, 15 Adults, all friends, and all big fans of catered chalets. Cross section of skiers from 0-15 week skiers. We booked back in April to get a chalet that suited and could accommodate only our group. Not many companies were doing 7 day holidays on2nd jan due to New Yr. We prefer Sunday travel as it is quieter and this was perfect.

Website : http://www.la-plagne.com http://www.oxygene-ski.com/

Basics : 2hr 45 min coach ride from lyon airport, flight from Manchester as part of a package deal

Lift system : La Plagne has an excellent lift system that will be improved even further next year with the replacement of the only real bottleneck at the Arpette Chair in Bellcote. You can plan a holiday without a draglift if needed

The terrain : Loads of piste to suit all, some of the blues can have tricky spots when the snow is poor. Champagny is my fvourite area if the snow is good, and it is generally quite over there. a couple of runs do have flat spots on them that require some polling but you will soon work out where these are. Plagne centre is a real pain to cross in a rush and usualy involves a 200 yrd walk, this is a major pain. In a morning many of the lifts seem top be built 30m to high up the hill, this apparantly is good for warming you up in a morning.

The snow : The snow was good on flat pistses, but anything steep was icy and rocky, La plagne has a lot of skiers and steepstuff can get scraped down to ice quite quickly when the snow is poor. It is an ex mining area and has LOTS of rocks and pebbles.

Off-piste : N/A

The resort : Stayed in Plagne 1800, which I think is very nice. looks the part and is compact and friendly. We were almost ski in ski out. Only problem is that in a morning ski out is only via the 1800 chair, which means a trip up to Aime Plagne, and then ski down to the dreaded Plagne Centre and then pole accross to wherever.

Food :Our Chalet food was superb. On the night off for the chalet staff, we ate in La Loup Blanc next to the 1800 chair, and our chalet. The stop end food, Raclette etc was not that great, but pizzas etc were superb. On the hill we often ate in a piste side restaurant just above Plagne Villages. Lovely views, a right sun trap, clean toilettes, and a delish ham n cheese pmlette and froites for 7 euro. Quick service and brill food, highly reccommended

Accommodation : Chalet Jasmine run by Silver Ski. Modern chalet perfect for a large group, Fabulous
holiday, chalet, food, staff, flights, transfers what more can I say. Silver Ski even booked our lift passes on the coach, phoned then through and had after 3pm complimantary passes ready for us and we were out on the slopes at 3pm on the first day, for free!!, fantastic

Costs: £425pp ex Manchester, £395 ex Gatwick, this included big early booking discounts

Conclusion: Fab day trip to Les Arcs with the Social Skier from our chalet, a simply must do day out. Wouldnt like to do La Plagne in the peak periods as it will be very busy. Super resort for large groups as there is terrain to suit all. This was our best ever skiing holiday, snow was pants, but the company was scintillating

Paradiski Feedback Thread
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Resort: Les Gets

Country: France

Domain: Portes du Soleil

Author: Newbie50

Date: Dec 2004, Jan and March 2005

Our holiday: We ( SWMBO and I ) have been to Les Gets three times. She has been 6 times in total. First occasion was my being a Total Beginner and for 10 days, we traveled with friends who have kids. The latter times were just the two of us for a week, my having become addicted to skiing following the first visit
.
Website : www.lesgets.com

Basics : Les Gets is the closest French resort to Geneva airport being only 55km and about 1 hr - 1 hr 15 mins away. I accompanied my friend by car the first journey and we found Les Gets easily following ‘Doris’’ GPS-inspired directions. Connections are standard but most of the ski companies run their own transport from Geneva airport. Trains can be taken to Cluses and a taxi or bus from there. On our following trips (mid-Jan) we negotiated with the travel company an early morning/late afternoon pick-up/return so we could get an extra afternoon’s skiing in. So 7 1/2 days instead of 6. Much of the ski system is shared with Morzine and the basic passs covers both 'resorts'.

Lift system : Les Gets itself has two cable cars (both in the town itself serving each of the 2 ski areas) and is supported by the usual chair lifts and button lifts. The system is generally excellent. However while we were there the infamous ‘Red-Egg” cable car (it is possibly older than the mountains themselves!) broke down and put immense pressure on the Express lift, and this in a ‘quiet’ period. The weekends are a nightmare due to queuing at the lower lifts when the whole of Geneva seems to turn up on a day trip. For those who have not been there for some time, a new Express 4-man chair-lift has opened in the ‘La Turche’ area and this has taken some pressure off the Bottom lift system being adjacent to the car park for day-trippers.
Ski access to Morzine is simplicity itself and can be skied from the middle lifts, from there Avoriaz is also easy to access although you do have to get across Morzine on foot or by the infrequent ‘Petit Train’. The round trip to Avoriaz can be easily skied in 3 hrs, once in the Avoriaz system 'Les Lindarets' provides easy access to Chatel and the Swiss resorts ... but this does take time.

The terrain : The Les Gets ski area itself is very much a Beginner/Intermediate resort although there are a few challenging Blacks ( I am assured ) on Mt Chery and in the Nyon area. The resort itself has 2 main ski areas Les Chevannes and Mt Chery. Families and Beginners tend to focus on the Chevannes complex while Mt Chery is generally more demanding. However the quality of the Blue and Red runs on Chery are excellent, and in our experience invariably very quiet. The highlight for many Beginners of any week will be the long blue into Nyon from the top of the Chevannes – a scenic delight.

The snow : We were very lucky. We arrived on the 18th December and over the weekend a metre and a half was dumped on the complex. The day before our second trip the same thing happened, however our timing was no accident as we had carefully monitored the weather. Consequently at this early stage in my ski learning curve , I have already been spoilt with ‘Powder’ runs. It should be said that on other occasions in February and March , my other half has given-up skiing in Les Gets after too much ‘Green Snow’. Les Gets is a very low resort by French alpine standards. Having returned again in March through the 'Early summer' conditions , we were amazed to find that the snow in Les Gets seeemd to be holding up better than its sister-resort in Avoriaz - howver the highest Avoriaz pistes were admittedly in better condition.

Off-piste : I cannot personally comment, however others I have spoken to say that there is good off-piste in the area. It does look more demanding towards Avoriaz however, and Les Gets is 'on the nd' of the PdS, so many better optios even in this area.

The resort : Les Gets itself is a charming Savoyard village. The youngsters around might call it ‘Hicksville’ – although even they have one 5am disco to keep them amused, pre-fab and purpose built it is not although visitor numbers are undoubtedly putting stress on the infrastructure. Prices for drink and food are high and very ‘similar’ between the various bars, although 'The Boomerang' does have Happy Hour drinks prices.

Food : The standard Savoyard fare prevails. Despite living in France and being addicted to French cuisine , I assiduously avoid a foodstuff ending in ‘…..lette’ , my choices reflect this. My favourite resort restaurants are ‘Le Flambeau’ and ‘Le Copeau’, the latter is very small and needs to be booked in advance for any night. Evening Meals with wine will cost between €20-30 per head. Do not miss hot chocolate in the ‘Marmotte’ hotel. The service is a delight in itself.
With the noticeable exception of Le Mouflon on the Rosta and also the diminutive La Rosetta ( please book) I was decidedly unimpressed by the mountain restaurants. This was highlighted when we skied to Avoriaz where we had an excellent lunch near one lift complex. Shame is I cannot remember where !

Accommodation : We stayed in an out-of-town chalet on first 2 occasions. Although a luxurious chalet, it is some way from the town itself and consequently not ideal for families in our opinion, there being a lot of ‘Family’ accommodation grouped around the town centre. Access to the town is non-existent late at night from ‘La Turche’ so many youngsters would probably prefer to be more central also. Last time we stayed in the 2-star La Christiania hotel - best location and excellent food but it is almost 100% Brit -TO clientele and has TINY rooms. Next year may however be different as we understand the owner will be employing all new staff ( not a good thing) .. and he does also own a ski company.. for that reason we will not be returning to that hotel.

Costs: Accommodation and airport pick-ups cost us just over £600 pppw ( Low Season) – given the high standard of accommodation that seems very fair although I have since noticed that Les Gets has loads of bargains outside school holidays. I have subsequently found that €120 pwk, ski hire was on the expensive side for a Beginner – but service was superb. Given the large number of Brit families there, it is no surprise that British ski schools abound. However my personal advise would be to go with 360 International (www.skisurf360.com) , they speak excellent English, are not draconian ( as some would consider ESF) , have small groups and were for us 3 1/2 times as cheap ( yes you read that correctly ) as the same lesson that we had with BASS. That is a lot of extra lessons and I felt I got more from my lessons with 360 International.

Conclusion: It is not difficult to see why Les Gets is so popular with British families. It is a Beginner/Intermediate paradise and there are a number of British-owned ski organizations looking to capitalize on its proximity to Geneva. It has a very ‘British’ feel to it in many ways and that will make many folks comfortable. Conversely you will encounter Surrey Mom with little Justin and Damien in tow.... usually snow-ploughing down the best runs.

Les Gets Resort Report Feedback Thread


Last edited by You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net. on Sun 20-03-05 15:17; edited 2 times in total
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
Resort: Lech
Country: Austria
Domain: Arlberg
Author: Erica
Date: 29/1/05 - 5/2/05
Our holiday: Husband and wife - 6 weeks ski experience
Website : http://www.lech-zuers.at
Basics : 1.5hr drive from Innsbruck
Lift system : Fast chair lifts in Lech - 3 sets of lifts had (get this) heated seats! Also, 80 man gondola out of Lech to the Zurs area.
The terrain : Wonderful, wide,very quiet, well-groomed, blues and reds. We also took the Lech/Zurs circuit on Friday via the Madloch (a ski route) - after the heavy snow it had soon become all moguls.
The snow : The first 2 days we skied in sunny weather on beautiful snowy pistes, then we had a metre of snow over the next three days. The last day the sun shone again.
Off-piste : Lech ski school likes to get you off piste as soon as possible. With a few hilarious first attempts (i.e.husband stuck in 4ft of snow), we could do a little by the end of the week. The off-piste skiing (for experienced skiers) looked incredible - the snow was great.
The resort : Very pretty Austrian village, although the main road runs through it. Lots of up-market shops - very expensive. The Strolz shop dominates the high street - selling everything from bespoke Strolz boots to Pucci waistcoats. Did have a Spar shop if you're self catering. Two main apres ski bars - The Pfefferkorn and Tannbergerhof - live music / good gluhwein.
Food : We would eat in Oberlech, the satellite above Lech at lunchtime. The Mohnenfluh is nice. The Palmen Alpen at the top of the mountain is good too. Can't complain about the food - all excellent. Probably 20-30 euros for lunch for 2.
Accommodation : Well, we were spoilt and stayed in the Arlberg - owned by the Schneider family and frequented by Princess Di. Fabulous 5* hotel, amazing food, exceptional service. Full of stuffed animals. Puzzled
Costs: Our holiday was embarrassingly expensive. But, I have looked around the apartments - particularly the Filomena - and they are very nice and very reasonable. We went with Inghams because we could fly charter from Exeter, which is 40mins drive for us.
Conclusion: This is the second time I've been to Lech - and am going back (on a budget, with a friend) on the 19th Feb - I can't think of nicer place. A lot of the ski instructors choose Lech to work in above other Austrian resorts. The snow is always really good. And you seem to get and great sense of travel amongst the mountains.

Lech Resort Report Feedback Thread
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Resort: Bourg St Maurice/Les Arcs
Country: France
Domain: Paradiski
Author: skanky
Date: 15th - 29th January 2005
Our holiday: Six people in total. Three mates there for the full two weeks, and three for seven days - two for first week and one Thursday to Thursday. One second weeker, one converting from boarding to skiing, one learner boarder and three plateaued intermediates.
Website : http://www.lesarcs.com/spip/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=125 and http://bsm.alpesprovence.net/index.htm
Basics : BSM is a French town in the Savoie region of France, up the valley from Albertville. Travelled by Eurostar, and flights to/from Geneva and Lyon. The Geneva contingent hired a car for the first week.
Lift system : Les Arcs consists of two/three main areas, separated by a ridge. One side has Arc 1600, Arc 1800 and Vallandry-Plan Peisey, while the other side has Arc 1950/2000 and Villaroger. The first side has a more tree-level skiing and the second side has the high, Aguille Rouge section. Both are reasonably extensive and well linked by several chairs and a gondola. Les Arcs is reached by a Funicular, which normally takes less than ten minutes to reach Arc 1600. From there there is a mixture of older, two man chairs and a quicker, four man that gets you up and into the main area. There are also free shuttle buses to 1800, which is in the heart of this side of Les Arcs. Generally the lifts are good, fast and in January we never waited more than a couple of minutes - and that was rare. At the end of the day though you do sometimes rely on one specific chair to get home, so make a note of its last run time.
The terrain : The 1600/1800 side is a long ridge with runs running down the length of it. There is a slight concentration of runs above each of the three centres, linked by reds. The whole area is crossed by two, long blues running diagonally left to right (Belvedire and Foret) and right to left (Foret and Sources). There are places on these blues where you may have to walk. Cachette is the big red above Arc 1600 which has a lot of snowmaking facilities but gets a lot of use so can cut up towards the end of the day. More fun is Arolles (I think) which comes off the right at the top of the Cachette chair and takes you down, through the trees to meet up with the blue, Mont Blanc, which is very good for second weekers and fun to play around in if the weather's bad. Further into the area, a trip the Arpette chair gets you to a point where you can take some good runs back down into the Arc 1800 area, or down into the Arc 2000 bowl. Both are good. If you're a good skier the unpisted, steep red Cachette looks a challenge. There are a number of good runs around and between Vallandry & Arc 1800 all of which end up through the trees lower down and a good afternoon can be had around and between the Plan Bois chair and Combe button. In Arc 2000 the runs off Varet, Grand Col are very good with some good views, if a little short (don't bottle the schuss at the end or you'll end up walking). However the best part of Arc 2000 are the runs off Aguille Rouge and especially those down to Villaroger. The latter ones cross and mingle all the way down giving you the opportunity to mix difficulty as your legs see fit. Finally, don't miss a trip to la Plagne, but you're unlikely to want to go more than one or two times.
The snow : thin, bare, patchy, icy and rocky for the first few days. We had a top-up on teh first Tuesday, then loads of fresh stuff and high winds over the weekend, followed by clear skies and very cold. After the Tuesday the snow was generally very good but got a little firm in places in the cold towards the end (not massively so).
Off-piste : Didn't do a lot but there's loads of it on the Arc 2000 side and plenty of shorter runs and trees on the Arc 1800 side. Gets tracked out very quickly though.
The resort : BSM was very quiet though there were plenty of decent restaurants and one or two bars got reasonably full at the weekend. Arc 1600 we only saw immediately off the slopes and seemed just as quiet. This was January though. BSM has two decent sized supermarkets on the road to Val d'Isere, and a Lidle not far from the funicular stop. The town centre generally has bakeries, clothes and more touristy shops. It also has a market on Saturdays. Arc 1600 has a small shop of everything you'll need (though several equipment shops), but is obviously more expensive than BSM. The Arcs centres are all ugly, and functional (but are very functional).
Food : Chalets Des Arcs above 2000 was the best of the restaurants we ate in. We also liked L'Arpette (bottom of Arpette chair). The Fying Squirrel was good (if a walk) and worth hunting out if you're on that side of the mountain. Also the Arcelette (???) at the bottom of the Combette chair (by the ski school) in Arc 1600 is very good. In BSM the Edelweiss, La Tartiflette, the Hotel Savoie, and Le Notte were all very good.
Accommodation : Stayed in PG's self catering apartment. Close enough to the funicular and station to make it easy in the day, but also in town for the evenings. The biggest problem was ensuring you made the funicular you were aiming at as a slight delay in leaving the flat could add twenty minutes. Didn't take long to guage the times though. The apartment was clean, large and well kitted out. Very good value for money and ideal for anyone with a car who wants to check out any other resorts in the area, or a group with non-skier(s).
Costs: Apartment, Eurostar (1st class), lift pass & ski hire for two weeks came in at (very) roughly £750
Conclusion: The biggest downside was the early lack of snow and the weather over the middle weekend. I'd recommed getting an apartment in Arc1600/1800 if ski in/out is more important, but staying in BSM meant we were able to make it a two week holiday instead of a one week one. Get the Paradiski Doscovery pass (one day in La Plagne) as you're unlikely to spend more than one day there (on a one week holiday), but do go as it's definitely worth a trip. Mixed ability groups can do a day out to Arc 2000 (over the Arpette chair and back via Comborciere), stopping Chalets Des Arcs for lunch without restricting the better skiers to flat tracks but giving the beginners relatively easy runs. For absolute beginners I'd recommend Vallandry or Arc 1800 to 1600, but BSM/1600 is good for second weekers (and remember there are free shuttle buses - Navettes). Other levels of skier will enjoy any of the centres.

Paradiski Feedback Thread
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.
Resort: Serre Chevalier
Country: France
Domain: Serre Chevalier
Author: Helen Beaumont
Date: Jan 24th-28th 2005
Our holiday: A trip to check out progress on our apartment, see friends and SnowHeads, and of course ski,
Website : www.serre-chevalier.com
Basics : Hautes-Alpes, we flew to NIce, but Turin is easiest .
Lift system : Mixture of cable-cars, chairlifts, and some nasty drags, but these are gradually being replaced
The terrain : Great intermediate territory, and I believe, some good off-piste,.
The snow : Had 30cm of new snow the day we arrived, so 1st days skiing was excellent, but extremely cold . The wind blew a lot of the new snow away, and some of the exposed runs were rocky.
Off-piste : Haven't tried it.
The resort : Stayed in Monetier-les-Bains, the highest village in the reosrt. A typical working village, not a typical ski resort. Has a thermal spring, so there are hot baths to enjoy after skiing.
Food :We were half-board in the hotel,but non-residents can eat there, but recommend Peyra Juana, Echaillon, Cafe Soleil, and Le Troll when skiing.
Accommodation : Stayed in the hotel Alliey, excellent food and extensive wine list, also has a pool, and large hot tub. Rooms newly refurbished in traditional style. About a 5min walk from the lifts but the excellent ski-bus stops regularly outside the hotel.
Costs: Small Beer 2.5 euros, Kir 3 euros, Plat du jour 10-15 euros.
Conclusion: A great holiday with some good if cold skiing. Journey from Nice a little long but so would the trip to Stansted.

Serre Chevalier Feedback thread
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
Resort: Silver Star
Country: British Columbia, Canada
Domain: n/a
Author: RobW
Date: Jan30th -Feb 5th
Our holiday: 2 adults - experienced skiers, and 3yo child.
Website : http://www.skisilverstar.com/
Basics : In the Okanagan valley, above Vernon. Nearest main airport is Kelowna, an hour to the south. We flew into Vancouver and drove up (takes about 5 hours). Also driveable from Seattle (about 7 hours from Seatac).
Lift system : Two main lifts - a sixpack and a quad - both only a few years old, covering the front and back of the mountain. Also 2 T-bars and a smaller quad serving the village piste.
The terrain : Frontside is mostly intermediate terrain, with green and blue runs with some easyish gladed skiing, but also the Face (black) and Attridge (mostly short blacks). Backside is totally different: steep blacks, and very steep (and mostly narrrow) double blacks which are usually full of bumps. Some of the blacks are reguarly groomed and this means they can be intimidating as if you fall you are going to slide a long way - fortunately the snow is usually very grippy!
The snow : Despite the recent warm weather, plenty of snow depth (average for the time of year), although the doubles were mostly closed due to them being dangerous because of the hard snow. Last few days bought fresh snow (about 2' in total) which opened up everything.
Off-piste : Plenty of (gentle) tree skiing on the frontside, and Attridge is always quiet. Plenty of ungroomed runs on the backside. No off-piste in the European sense.
The resort : Very colourful resort - literally! Everything is painted in 7 colours. Centre modelled on a victorian mining town - sounds disney-esque, but works very well. Not many shops - but you are here to ski, and Vernon is only just down the road. Most skiers are locals and this means weekends can be busy and prone to lift queues - but only 5-10 minutes absolute max. Kids well catered for at Star Kids - Daycare takes them from birth, and can start skiing at 3 or sometimes younger.
Food : Clementines (above the Saloon) is good for lunch and usually quiet. Paradise Camp on the backside is a must coffee stop and very welcoming. Weekly buffet is Silver Lode hotel is good. In evenings generally necessary to book a table in most places, esp at weekends.
Accommodation : We stayed at Putnam Station Inn: model train goes around the ceiling in the dining room. Rooms spacious but not luxurious.
Costs: Lift ticket CA$60+tax/day (about £30). Discount for multidays. Coffee $2/£1 (usually free refills). Lunch $10/£5. Dinner $20-$30/£10-£15.
Conclusion: We must like it. This was about our 10th visit!
snow report     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Resort: Big White
Country: British Columbia, Canada
Domain: n/a
Author: RobW
Date: 6th-11th Feb
Our holiday: 2 adults - experienced skiers, and 3yo child.
Website : http://www.bigwhite.com/
Basics : An hour east of Kelowna (nearest airport) in the Okanagan valley. We flew into Vancouver and drove up (takes about 5 hours). Also driveable from Seattle (about 7 hours from Seatac).
Lift system : Four detachable quads (main lifts), a double and a triple (both quite old) and two new doubles serving the terrain park and cliff area. Also another quad and newish gondola serving the village.
The terrain : Groomed is mostly intermediate terrain. Masses of tree skiing available from the easy 'Enchanted Forest' to some tight and/or steep runs all over. Open bowl skiing (some very steep) in the Cliff area and off Falcon chair. SunRype bowl off Gem Lake lift is superb.
The snow : Despite the recent warm weather, plenty of snow depth (average for the time of year) and just about everything open, although no Snow Ghosts (trees plastered in snow) this year.
Off-piste : Only off-piste in the European sense is East Peak. Lots of opportunity for trees and fair amount of ungroomed open bowl skiing means fresh snow can be found days after a snowfall (which means almost always!).
The resort : Modern apartment blocks and some hotels. Quite a lot of very nice new developments (apartments and chalets). Some older properties. Kids well catered for at Kids Centre in the middle of the village. Daycare takes them from 18 months, and they can start skiing at 3 or sometimes younger.
Food : Snowshoe Sams is very popular pub/restaurant (kids in upstairs restaurant only). Beano's (village center mall) good for coffee/sandwiches/soup. Chinese Laundry has excellent buffet many nights. In evenings generally necessary to book a table in most places, esp at weekends.
Accommodation : We stayed at the Inn at Big White. Rooms spacious and well equipped although you clearly aren't expected to us the kitchen area for much more than just breakfast.
Costs: Lift ticket CA$60+tax/day (about £30). Discount for multidays. Coffee $2/£1 (usually free refills). Lunch $10/£5. Dinner $20-$30/£10-£15.
If you are organised and plan ahead, consider getting a Season Pass the summer before your trip: if you are skiing here (or at Silver Star, owned by the same people) for 2 weeks or more it cheaper to buy a season pass before september, than pay per day, and you also get good discounts on resort-owned accomodation.
Conclusion: We must like it. This was about our 10th visit.
ski holidays     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Resort : Soll
Country: Austria
Domain: Ski Welt
Author: Johnboy
Date: 5/3/05 - 12/3/05
Our Holiday: My 10th week on the snow and my wife's 7th. First time to Austria
Website: http://www.soell.at/
Basics: Flew from Belfast to Salsburg with Transavia Airlines (Through directski.com) 2hr 20min flight followed by 1.5 hr transfer. Would have been quicker but we had a lot of dropoffs in Ellmau and other neighbouring villages.
Lift System: I was well impressed. I'm sure there were over 80 with a modern gondola system from each of the villages to take you to the 1200m level. After that alot of pretty new high speed quads and a few T-Bars to connect runs. I found the system to be excellent and only had to que once for about 1 minute.
Terrain: Over 250km in total and there was plenty to keep me happy ski-ing 7 hrs per day. Easy reds and crusing blues. Perhaps limited for advanced but a massive amount to choose from. We were based in Soll, but I visited Schaffu, Ellmau, Going, Brixen, Hopfgarten and Itter. Didn't get a chance to visit Westendorf (It is on the Pass but not linked) Plenty of Mountain restaurants to choose from (Over 90) and I found this type of ski-ing very enjoyable, skiing from village, having a beer, stopping for lunch etc.
The Snow: My 10th trip and it is the best snow I have ever seen. I was worried about going to such a low (700m) resort in March. (We usually head above 1800m in January) We were extremely lucky with the snow.
On arrival there was 80cm at village and 180cm above 1200m. We had over 48 hrs of non stop snow and I'm sure over 1m was dumped in placed. Visability was a problem, but the sun came out on our last day. generally betreen -8 to -3 degrees but with the sun out I did notice the snow getting soft on our last day below 1000m on some south facing slopes.
Off Piste: I did't ski any extreme off piste, but there did appear to be a lovely stash of powder down from the Hove Salve (The highest point at 1800m). However there was loads of pow at the sides of the piste to play in safely.
The resort: Soll is quite small off the main road, 900m from the Gondola Station (there is a locker room at the station and I quite enjoyed the walk, although there was a bus, but it was always jammed) Great apes ski in the Whisk(e)y Muller, but my favoutite was the Salven Stad just below the nursery slope, Great craic betreen 4pm and 7pm. Equipped with outdoor heaters and BBQ. Hotel Austria was also good for a pint and a game of pool. there is also a swimming pool and outdoor hot tub, but we didn't get a chance to visit. Beware the Sauna is Au Natural Shocked
Food: We stayed in Hotel Eggerwirt 3* with pretty basic H/B (Be warned they are very fond of pork) We ate in Giovannis Italian 3 nights. Very friendly people and excellent value quality food. Pizza and pasta for less than 7 Euro.
Accommadation: Hotel Eggerwirt, Meduim sized family Hotel on the main street. Rooms were a bit small, but who cares I was there to ski. Owner (Claudia) is the grumpiest woman I have ever met. She didn't smile once all week, and on questioning other guests and folk who had stayed there before everyone was in aggreement that she was a grumpy old bat. Twisted Evil
Costs: Booked through directski.com (Wasn't a late deal)
£330 Sterling H/B + lift pass.
Only spent £230 on food and drink and I ate and drank very well Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil . So was one of the best value trips ever. Beer was pretty cheap and pasta lunch for less than 6 Euro.
Conclusion: Had an excellent time. If opportunity arises we will go back. We had fantastic snow, but met a load of good people and the craic was mighty. If you like touring villages, eating and drinking, Soll is the place for you Very Happy Very Happy
ski holidays     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Resort: Yad Moss, Alston, Cumbria
Country: England
Domain: Yad Moss
Author: Saikee
Date: Sunday 13 March 2005
Our holiday: Got bored on Sunday and drove 46 miles to the resort to see what the heck it was all about.
Website : http://www.skicarlisle.skiers.co.uk/
Basics : Car or a motorbike
Lift system : One drag lift (the longest in England)
The terrain : What you see is what you get
The snow : No complaint
Off-piste : a possibility if one is not afriad of peat
The resort : Alston is the highest town in UK, no disco but enough pubs around
Food : Packed lunch only mate
Accommodation : Excellent and good as home (sleeping own bed too!)
Costs: £10 for ski pass and about 4 gallons of diesel
Conclusion: Snow making machine = an old man scooping snow and bash it flat on the slope. The restaurant has table and chairs but nothing was sold there (toilet & warm room only). Make one hell of a claim for having skied another country and tried its longest lift too. Good skiing when there is snow. One lift is boring but beats staying at home.
snow report     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Resort: Obergurgl
Domain: n/a
Country: Austria
Date: 5/3/05-12/3/05
Our holiday: We're a thirtysomething couple who started ski-ing a few years ago, this is our 7th week ski=ing and the second time we have not spent the whole week in lessons.
Website : www.obergurgl.com
Basics : Obergurgl is at the end of Oetz valley which runs south from the Inn valley. The coach transfer was about 1.5 hours from Innsbruck airport, the second half of the transfer is up the valley and is a bit twisty in places. We were on a package deal booked through Inghams.
Lift system : A range of fixed and detachable chairlifts, a couple of gondolas – including the link to Hochgurgl and 2 really long drag lifts in the Hochgurgl area, which we didn’t try. The only time we saw any queues were when a lift stopped for a short time and around 2pm, when the second session of the daily ski school starts. The ski pass can be extended to cover a day in Solden which is a half hour bus trip away.
The terrain : Here is a piste map: http://db.intermaps.com/im/skimaps/obergurgl/
The ski area can be divided into three chunks; the area above Obergurgl; the area above Hochgurgl and the area reached by the Gaisberg lift from Obergurgl, below Hangerer.
This third area provides some nice tree lined pistes served mainly by the Steinmannbahn lift, although several of them are marked as reds they are fairly gentle except for the shortest of sections, there are in fact many routes between the trees and its not really clear what is piste and what isn’t. A nice area for some warm up runs; ski-ing between the trees or if the wind is a bit too strong in the two higher areas.
The area above Obergurgl is based on an enormously wide blue piste served by the Rosskarbahn and the Feskogl gondola, above this are a couple of red runs accessed by the Plattachbahn – these get their grading through their steepness – they’re both quite wide and there’s nothing scary about them.
The link over to the Hochgurgl is pretty straightforward and takes about 10 minutes, there are some beautiful views up the side valleys. The blue piste down to the Obergurgl end is on the harder end of the blue scale. The Hochgurgl side feels like more varied terrain, rather than being a single slab of blue piste there are several smaller areas. If you take the Top Wurmkogl II chairlift you’ll find yourself at the summit of the Wurmkogl, looking over into the Dolomites. It’s an exposed position, not ideal for those concerned about heights but the views are fantastic. There are both black and blue routes descending from the summit, the blue is a long zigzagging road piste. We didn’t try out the Schmerspitzebahn or the runs fed by the two long drag lifts (Kirchenkarlift and the Vorderer Wurmkogllift).
The snow : Temperatures in Obergurgl have been very low for several weeks now, with a strong wind. We had a couple of light dustings of snow. Generally snow conditions were good, although a few pistes were stripped back to ice, in places, by the wind.
Off-piste : Can’t comment on this
The resort : The resort appears to have been purpose built in the early 1970’s and runs in a rather extended strip along the road. It is not unattractive but doesn’t have any real character. It has a number of large ski equipment shops, but we found few places to buy tourist essentials, such as cowbells wink It seems to cater mainly for the older, wealthier visitor and consequently there aren’t many snowboarders around.
Food : David’s Hutte, at the bottom of the Steinmannbahn is a small but pleasant service restaurant – it can get rather busy. The Neder Hutte, at the top of the Gaisberg lift is renowned for its après ski. We enjoyed lunch at the large self-service Wurmkoglhutte restaurant above Hochgurgl. These were all nice places to visit. The Schonweishutte is a 20 minute walk from the top of the Steinmannbahn, open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday – this was recommended to us but we were too lazy to make the walk Shocked
Accommodation : We stayed half board at the Hotel Gotthard (http://www.gotthard-zeit.com/), which is ski-in / ski-out right next to the Rosskar and Gaisberg lifts. Largish rooms, good food, friendly staff, a ground floor level boot room! They also offer a free après ski cake buffet, although sometimes the cakes are sausages or meatloaf rolling eyes
Costs: Accommodation in resort is relatively expensive. Food is pretty good, with very uniform cost, we paid about €3 for hot chocolate, €5 for a bowl of soup, €7 for a pasta or grostl dish pretty much wherever we went. A 6 day adult lift pass is €187 and superior ski hire €109 for a week. Unusually Inghams allowed us to use pretty much any ski hire shop in the village for the one price.
Conclusion: We enjoyed Obergurgl, there’s a nice range of pistes, the mountain food is good and the Hotel Gotthard was friendly.

Obergurgl Resort Report Feedback Thread


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Mon 2-04-07 19:04; edited 2 times in total
latest 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?
Resort: Mayrhofen
Country: Austria
Domain: Ziller Valley
Author: hayley t
Date: 26-2-05 to 3-3-05
Our holiday: Group of 9 (6 intermediates with between 6-9 weeks skiing and 3 beginners).
Website : www.mayrhofen.at
Basics : Flight to Innsbruck and 1 hour and a bit transfer.
Lift system : Excellent, nearly all modern high capacity and speed chairs or gondolas with hands free lift pass. Mayrhofen is lift linked to 3 areas (150km of piste) but buses to other resorts in the Ziller Valley. Buses are free, regular and punctual and there is also a tram to some resorts.
The terrain : Long reds and blues, some reds were nearer blacks and perhaps more difficult than other Austrian resorts. Perfect cruising terrain for intermediates. Runs well maintained. Some flat bits between a few lifts but ok for skiers as they were short. Overall there are 600km of piste in the Ziller Valley included under one lift pass including transport. At £126 for 6 days this is brilliant value.
The snow : Perfect! Absolutely freezing temperatures but lots of fluffy snow and little ice.
The resort : Large village, not quite a charming as other Austrian resorts but plenty of traditional buildings. Otherwise friendly with excellent apres ski between 4 and 8pm. Try Nikki's bar at the top of the village. All the hotels appear to offer good facilities and there is a good choice. Prices are fairly reasonable for locally brewed beer (€3). Other drinks quite expensive e.g. spirits from €5 and upwards.
Food : Not an abundance of mountain restaurants but most were large and inexpensive with a good choice of food. A great restaurant near the bottom of the Resterkogel gondola (as you ski down to it), plus the main restaurant at Finkenberg (top lift) does great pizzas and chicken on a spit. Lunch between €4-7 for a decent meal plus drinks.
Accommodation : Hotel Neuhaus: 4 star, situated at the bottom of the village, near bus stops and the train station, 10 mins from the main Penken lift. Great hotel, good facilities and fantastic, high quality food - the dessert buffet is amazing. The staff were friendly but rooms were on the small side. Quite a large hotel so not as cosy as some typical Tyrolean places but this seemed typical of Mayrhofen and would go back there nevertheless.
Costs: One week half board plus lift pass £630 (includes discount).
Conclusion: Great resort. Would definitely go back. It does not offer skiing convenience but the variety of runs and good tranport links outweighed this for me. Great value overall with some of the best alpine scenery I have ever seen - breathtaking.

Mayrhofen Resort Report Feedback Thread
snow conditions     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Resort: Les Arcs 1800
Country: France
Domain: Paradiski
Author: Slikedges
Date: 5th - 12th March 2005
Our holiday: Family. 4yr old kids’ second week on snow. 38yr old kids’ 15th –23rd week on snow.
Website : http://www.lesarcs.com/spip/-Ski-area-or-mountain-of-hapiness-
Not the easiest to navigate but lots of info/links.
Frequently (sometimes too frequently) updated weather predictions
Basics : East of Lyon, Chambery and Albertville, perched above Bourg-St-Maurice at the north-eastern end of the Tarentaise valley in the Savoie departement of the Rhone-Alpes region. 3 hours from Geneve and 1.5 hours from Chambery in decent traffic. We went Eurotunnel, Calais, then A26/A4/A26/A5/A31/A6/A46/A42/A432/A43/A430/N90. Not a good journey out this time largely due weather in France. Need to leave resort early (before 0800) or late on changeover day to avoid traffic out.
Lift system : Efficient system linking each of 3 valleys (Arc 1950/2000/Villaroger, Arc 1600/1800 and Peisey-Vallandry). From main centre in each valley can pretty much get to the next valley by using just one lift. All stations have big fast lifts out. Still some old ones around the system but no significant queues except for the cable car up to Aiguille Rouge. Very few drags, good for kids. Paradiski link from Vallandry to La Plagne – Vanoise Express – I’m told it’s very good.
The terrain : Pretty skiing amongst the trees on the Peisey-Vallandry side. Gentle reds and not too gentle blues to practise on. Great place for a top-up lesson. Arc 1600/1800 not too exciting but good selection of blues and reds, steepish and shallow, wide and narrow. Arc 2000 more interesting. A few good blacks off Aiguille Rouge (3226m) - good snow so confidence building on both pisted steep and unpisted mogulled. Mogulled black under Bois de L’Ours 31 good for practise, as is Lac and Edelweiss and Cascade down to bottom of Pre St Esprit 39. Watch out for long flat Nordic style blues in both 1800 and 2000 valleys though! Didn’t go to Villaroger 1200, though Aiguille Rouge run goes from summit down to it and I understand is one of longest pisted runs in Alps (2000m vertical). The Flying Kilometre Olympic speed skiing run at Arc 2000 - didn’t look into it but it is apparently 45deg and open to the public for a taste of speed skiing (starting half way down with special skis and a parachute). Family and slow skiing areas not bad at 1800 though with occasional blue run racer (a racer with only enough skill to race on a blue run).
The snow : 1st half of week, good, light, dry powdery (though not lots). 2nd half scrapey, though good cover on piste and sun had got his hat on. Lots of high skiing and good snow record.
Off-piste : Fairly extensive but I only did side-of-piste. Fun had on large mogulled sections between pistes, and between trees but snow cover a bit dodgy for the latter imho, so didn’t do very much. From what I could see, most of lift-accessible reasonably sane off-piste terrain largely tracked out. Hairy stuff at top of Aiguille Rouge out of my league. I’m sure a guide could find things though esp in 2000.
The resort : We were based in 1800. Largely fairly ski convenient. Some big blocks though so even if you can start/stop at the door of your bldg there’s still a short trudge with skis (good to warm-up in the morning but no redeeming benefit in the pm). We were in the Villard area of 1800 and didn’t feel the need to walk round to Charvet on the left and definitely had no urge to walk up-hill to Charming Todger on the right. Villard is surprisingly small for a major resort centre. It isn’t unattractive and is car free and very easy to get around. There are a handful of bars, several restaurants, several clothing/accessory shops, a handful of ski hire shops and one decent supermarket. I guess double the numbers if you include the other parts of 1800, and of course the other stations have their own centres. 1600 is connected by a funicular to Bourg-St-Maurice, a proper town with lots of facilities and choice.
Food : We lunched at Les Alpages du Chantel off the lower section of the Carreley family area run - excellent food but quite small so limited seating and steep stairs to toilet difficult for little ones in ski-boots. Also at L’Arpette off bottom segment of Arpette run – very good food, very popular/crowded, get there early or late. Also at the self-serve La Creche at top of Transarc – decent food not too crowded. Also on the terrace at the Hotel du Golf in 1800 – very convenient immed after 1800 ski school, decent food, pretty popular/crowded. Dined at Le Triangle – very good food, made an effort to please, rather tight squeeze. Also at La Cloche a Fromage – very good food and diverse menu. Also at Le Chalet Bouvier nice surroundings, decent food.
Accommodation : We stayed at La Nova apartments in 1800. Booked directly with Maeva as it’s in the same block as the ski kindergarten Pommes de Pin. Functional and clean apartment, not a chicken coop but more of a sheep pen. TV with remote and choice of channels incld BBC World. Enough space to live, cook, rest. Not what you’d call living it up but we wanted proximity to ski kindergarten and we’d come to ski, not lounge. Ski to door of your part of the block down narrow scrapey but bumpy so fun path (from where it was 10metres to the door of my apartment! Uninspiring but not unpleasant 2 minute walk up covered rubberised path in the morning straight to ESF HQ smack in centre. Loading and unloading at these apartments always a bit of a pain.
Children: The Slikedgelets were booked into Pommes de Pin ski kindergarten for the mornings. Having skied blues with us last year, we wanted them taken up the mountain during their lessons, but were told that they didn't usually take 4yr olds up. This is not made plain in their advertising. We tried speaking to the ESF instructors allocated to the kindergarten and were told no problem. Despite this on the 1st day they spent a frustrating morning once again going up and down ramps and stuff. I spoke to their particular ESF instructor and she said their group would go up the mountain but only later in the week. Rather than to rant, I immed went to ESF HQ and booked a pvt lesson for the kids with this instructor that same afternoon and another for the following pm. She was then able to appreciate that they could control their skis and were themselves controllable. The very next day they were promoted to the 1st star group and were taken up the mountain. Looking again at the kids' ski school blurb, ESF do say that group lessons start at 5 (which is a hint), whilst ArcAventures start at 4. Actually, if going for group lessons up the mountain there is probably little advantage to P de P. You can drop off at 0900 instead of 0930 I guess is the main one! as well as having somewhere near slope to leave the kids equipment. But it's 230euros/wk for P de P (incld equipmt hire) c.f. 121euros/wk for the gp. lessons alone.
Costs: Neither an exorbitant nor a thrifty place. We did it on an amazing budget though, thanks to 6 person apartment for 792euro direct from Maeva and driving (admittedly primarily for kids’ clobber).
Conclusion: Had a great time. Plenty of skiing whatever your level. Enough to do unless more wild party animal than diehard snowhead. Not uneasy on the eye. Not expensive. Reasonably ski convenient. Snow safe. Good for kids. Good all round resort.

Paradiski Feedback Thread


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Tue 15-03-05 23:22; edited 1 time in total
snow conditions     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Resort: Solden
Country: Austria
Domain: None
Author: Lager
Date: 5th February - 12th February 2005
Our holiday: Group of 12 blokes. The majority of us are around 30, although we had a couple of slightly older gents with us. 9 boarders, 2 skiers and a skier/boarder.
Website : http://www.soelden.com
Basics : Solden is situated in the Otz valley a few miles away from Obergurgl. The nearest airport is Innsbruck, though Munich is also fairly close. The resort has 2 glaciers which are linked by a ski tunnel. It boasts skiing across the Big 3, which are 3 peaks over 3000 metres. It offers summer skiing on the glaciers and it is therefore very snowsure. The village is around 1300 metres so in winter Solden offers some of the largest vertical in Austria. It is very close to Italy and also Switzerland and on a good day there are spectacular views to be had of the Dolomites and the Swiss Alps. I believe Neilson are the only British TO who go to Solden so British voices are rare. Although it is not linked to Obergurgl you can add a day there to your lift pass for 10 euros. A free bus runs every hour between Solden and Obergurgl.
Lift system : 34 lifts (7 gondalas, 19 chairs and 8 T-bars). There are two gondolas at either end of town which get you into the main system. These can be very busy in the morning, especially if you get there after about 8:30. They can also get busy at the end of the day as the runs to the resort are quite narrow and busy, so as a result many people take the gondolas down. Other than that there are few queues (we visited during Austrian half term week as well).
The terrain : 147 km of pistes (45 km blue, 73 km red, 23 km black, 6 km skiroute). While there is a good amount of easier terrain it often requires some skiing/boarding on reds to get to/from it and therefore Solden is not ideal for absolute beginners, however they would probably get by. However there is plenty of terrain for intermediate/expert skiers and boarders.
The snow : Stopped snowing the day before we got there. Temps were cold all week meaning the snow kept very well through the week. Blue sky most of the week then a powder day on the Friday before we left. Ideal.
Off-piste : Some good off piste opportunities, but snow was so good on piste we didn't stray off piste that often.
The resort : Solden is all about apres-ski. People in our group who had been to both, say that it pushed St Anton close for night life. The town isn't as pretty as some in Austria, but it has a certain charm to it. The atmosphere in the bars was incredible. It has a better male/female ratio than many Alpine resorts. Thoroughly recommended for all but the pipe and slipper skier.
Food : Mountain restaurants seemed reasonably priced and the food was very good.
Accommodation : We stayed in the Birkenhof hotel. It is a friendly, family run hotel. There is free use of a sauna, steamroom and swimming pool. Breakfast was available until 10am and the evening meal could be had between 6pm and 8pm. The breakfast was a buffet, however there was a great deal of choice to be had. The evening meal was a 5 course affair (2 of those courses from the buffet). If I was to say that the food was excellent I would be doing it a disservice. The best food I've had on any ski holiday by miles.
Costs: I think the cost was 565 each (LGW -> INN) but we had discounts and extra supplements as some of our party flew from Manchester so I can't remember exactly. Lift pass was about 190 euros for the week (with a day in Obergurgl included).
Conclusion: One of the best holidays I've ever had. Thoroughly recommended.

Solden Resort Report Feedback Thread


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Wed 6-04-05 13:50; edited 1 time in total
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Resort: Grimentz
Country: Switzerland
Domain: Val d'Anniviers
Author: T Bar
Date: end Feb 2005
Our holiday: Skiing with Mrs T Bar both enthusiastic and reasonably experienced though definately non expert skiers
Website :
Basics : The Val d'Anniviers is in the Valais area of Switzerland it is francophonic. The valley lies above the town of Sierre opposite to Crans Montana whose slopes are visible from some of the Val d'A.
The valley is steep sided running approximately North-South from Sierre. There are a number of villages in the valley several of which have lift served skiing. The lift pass covers all areas in the valley plus a day at either Crans Montana or Leukerbad (difficult to reach by public transport from Val d'A).
At the Northern end of the valley lies Vercorin whose pistes look to face North and East with a reasonable amount of tree lined skiing. However it was not eaily reached by public transport from where we were staying and we did not ski here.
Slightly further upon the other side of the valley facing West is the linked area shared by the villages of Chandolin and St Luc.
Further up the valley on the opposite side facing east are the areas of Grimentz and at the top Zinal. The lift systems are separate though it is possible to ski from the Zinal area to Grimentz down a black run followed by a gentle path. There is also a free but infrequent though well timetabled shuttle bus beween them. To get between Grimentz/ Zinal and St Luc/ Chandolin by public transport takes approx one hour by post bus

We stayed in Grimentz flying to Geneva and getting the train to Sierre and post bus onwards total land journey ~3hrs; the connections are obvious.

Lift system,The terrain,The snow,Off-piste :
Grimentz: A stand up gondola from one end of the village(1570m) accesses the midpoint at Bendolla 2130m, from here lifts fan out above the tree line with two high speed chairs and the rest mainly drags. The area faces mainly East and south East and goes up to a height of 2900m The skiing has a moderately steep overall gradient with most runs being accurately marked red or black. I am too much of a chicken to give a personal account of what looked a good snow park Smile
There is an excellent sheltered black run from the top of the area back to the resort mostly straightforward though with a steeper section near the bottom.
There is a limited amount of snowmaking though the main runs to the resort are covered.

Zinal: Slightly further up the valley from Grimentz the area also looks East. A cable car (apparently occasionally queue prone) takes you from the valley 1670m to the midpoint at 2440m. The runs are mainly served by drags with a couple of chair lifts, as in Grimentz reds and blacks predominate. A freeride area at the south end of the skiing was closed during our visit I assume because of thin snow cover (The avalanche risk was low during our stay) Once again there is a fine sheltered lone black run taking you from the top either back to a bus in the valley floor or to Grimentz in its own bowl.

St Luc / Chandolin: Facing west the areas connect well and are predominately easier than on the other side of the valley most of the runs being blue or red. Access is either by Funicular from St Luc or by two chairs from the road north of Chandolin all other lifts are drags. This combined area interlinks well and is larger than either of the others. The highlight for me was a very beautiful red from the top of the lift system 3000m going well away form any of the other runs; with beautiful views all the way to an isolated Gite a short free bus ride back to St Luc. There is some steeper north facing skiing from a ridge separating St Luc’s area from Chandolin, including some serious looking couloirs (Not to be touched by me)

Whilst we were their all areas shared quiet slopes, little and usually no queuing and spectacular views of the high mountains

The snow surface was good with low temperatures during our stay. The depths were however thin and an instructor informed us that the offpiste base was to thin in most places to be enjoyed, we did not attempt any off piste. (Mrs T Bar is not a fan of anything other than good spring snow) I have however heard that there is excellent off piste to be had particularly between the resorts for which I would think a guide would be most useful for all except the experienced.

The resort : We stayed in Grimentz whose narrow streets and old buildings held considerable charm, there is modern development taking place above the village however this is largely in character. There is a small swimming pool though little else for the non skier. The shopping is typical of a village rather than a resort. Night life is limited and the resort is for locals most skiers were Swiss or French with a few Dutch and Germans we heard one other English voice and saw one English registered car all week.
Food : Typical Swiss , we ate in the hotel being half board. The Etable du Marais above Grimentz served excellent Rosti,Kaseschnitte etc.
Costs: I am not good on translations CHF Euros £ etc but it seemed reasonable.
Conclusion: If you like an exciting nightlife , English speaking skiers and a large interlinked area stay well away. I loved it and intend to go back. If you want good views, traditional villages quiet slopes and can cope with the odd T Bar it may be for you. Early in the season or for lower intermediates I would stay in St Luc. Going later in the season Zinal Grimentz would be my choice. If you are intending doing all the areas your own transport would be beneficial but be aware that the roads are steep narrow and winding; snowchains a must. If going for the off piste I would be inclined to check snow depths before booking.

Grimentz Feedback Thread
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Resort: Saas Fee
Date: 27/12/03-3/1/04
Our holiday: We're a thirtysomething couple who started ski-ing a few years ago, this was our 5th week of ski-ing lessons. We were on a package tour with Inghams.
Website : http://www.saas-fee.ch
Basics : Saas Fee is in the Valais region of Switzerland, it lies near the head of a valley branching off from the Rhone valley. Italy lies beyond the end of the valley and Zermatt is over the mountain. The coach transfer from Geneva took about three hours, the first two hours a relatively fast run along the shore of Lake Geneva and the final hour up the twisting Saas valley from Visp.
Lift system : The main gondolas out of the village Speilboden, Alpin Express and Plattjen seemed a bit prone to queuing in the mornings. We were departing with the main ski school and there were cases when the first lift was delayed for avalanche clearing. There was only one chairlift of the mountain, the remainder of lifts were draglifts. Including the Feechatz “mother of all t-bars”, which runs on the glacier.
The terrain : The nursery slopes close to the village are surprisingly pleasant. The remaining ski=ing divides into 3 broad areas. The area on the glacier, the area below the top of the Felskinn lift, and the area served by the Plattjen lift. We didn’t visit this third area, which is a little divorced from the other two areas. It’s over a year since we were in Saas Fee, my memory is that there were a range of gentle blues with some steepish reds linking them, little in the way of exposed, scary ski=ing. I thought ski=ing on the glacier was fun, although there was little in the way of steep gradients. The red 4a run down from Morena can get a bit tricky around lunch time, when the ski schools are making the home run for a 1pm finish, compared to much of the rest of ski-ing it is moderately difficult (relatively steep and narrow in places)
The snow : The snow for our trip was great, there had been a bit of a famine before we arrived but around 25cm fell on our first day. Clearing the avalanche risk in the morning seemed to take a while.
Off-piste : Can’t really help here, believe they are limited due to the glacier.
The resort : The village of Saas Fee is, without doubt, the most pleasant alpine resort I’ve been to. It is surrounded by 13 peaks over 4000m Shocked which do feel like they are bearing down on you sometimes. The village is littered with ancient barns, and there were ice sculptures at every turn for our visit. There is a bustling heart to the village and a hotel dating back to the early days of British tourism to the alps. The walk through the trees to Saas Almagell is very pleasant and so is the gondola to the top of Hannig and the walk back down (the Hannig lift serves a non-ski=ing area). We also visited the glacier “Eispavillion”, exhibits varied between artistic, scientific and tat – but definitely worth the modest entry fee.
Food : None of the on slope restaurants we visited particularly impressed me, they all felt like slightly run down transport cafes. The Bodmen, which is on the walk to Saas Almagell is quite pleasant. We didn’t try the Gletscher-Grotte (part way down the 4b), which I hear is better than the others.
Accommodation : We stayed at the Hotel Bristol, very close to the bottom of the nursery slope lifts. Price not too bad, food pretty good, room fairly small – but well appointed.
Costs: Food and drinks were eye-wateringly expensive, in fact I’ve blanked the experience of paying approaching £10 for a plate of sausage and chips out of my mind Shocked Accommodation and ski gear weren’t so noticeable over priced.
Conclusion: Saas Fee is definitely the prettiest and most characterful ski resort I’ve been to, the scenery is stunning. I’d definitely like to go again to catch a few of the runs I missed this trip but can’t see myself coming back repeatedly.

Saas Fee Feedback Thread


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Tue 9-05-06 19:21; edited 2 times in total
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Resort: Wengen

Country: Switzerland

Domain: Jungfrau Region, Bernese Oberland

Author: D G Orf

Date: 30/01/05-15/02/05

My holiday: This must have been the 32nd year [I've visited Wengen, the vast majority of those times being in the winter.

Website : http://www.wengen.com/ and http://www.wengen-muerren.ch/ as well as my own humble effort at http://uk.geocities.com/david.orf@btinternet.com/Jungfrau_Pages.html

Basics : Wengen is a small village, with less than 1200 locals, the population swells to arround 5,000 at peak times due to tourism most of whom stay in hotels, it is situated on a sunny south facing plateau about 1,500 ft above the Lauterbrunnen valley floor with fantastic views all arround. This year I took the train there all the way from the UK, whilst travelling by train is great from the time you board the Eurostar onwards the one downside of the route is that with the current timetable you have to change trains at Basle station at 04.50, not a good time to have to get up, everyone even those coming to the resort by car has to get to Wengen using the Lauterbrunnen to Kleine Scheidegg train as there are no roads to Wengen

Lift system : The lift system integrates trains, cable cars, gondolas, chairlifts and t-bars to cover some 200+ km of pistes, whilst many of the lifts have in recent years been replaced there are still a number of fairly old lifts that really could do with being updated

The terrain : Because of the allignment of the ridges the vast majority of the slopes face either North (Murren and Mannlichen) or South (Wengen and First), certain areas do get very popular in particular the top pistes between the Mannlichen Chairlift and the Lager Chairlift plus those on the Lauberhorn, they can be absolutely packed on a busy weekend, however there are always areas of piste where you will see hardly anyone arround, the Tschuggen run to Grund or the Blue run from Kleine Scheidegg to Grund via Brandegg are both quiet runs often with good snow

Off-piste : Being rather heavy I don't do much off piste myself but a number of friends commented on the very nice conditions they found

The resort : The village of Wengen is very pretty and as long as the clouds are absent, tends to be very bright being on a South facing terrase, although there are several bars and a cinema (english movies frequently on), plus an ice rink, apres ski and nightlife in particular is somewhat limited, Sinas Pub and Chilis being a couple of the better locations.

Food : In the resort the hotels Eiger, Brunner, Alpenrose (set menu) and Hirschen all do very good food but the same could be said for of the hotels there, up the mountain the Mannlichen restaurant and the Brandegg restaurant (apple fritters a speciality) are both very good, the restarant at Allmend is a good stop at the end of the day

Accommodation : I stayed in the Alpenrose Hotel, this is the oldest hotel in the resort though you'd not know it if you'd stayed there and has been owned by the same family since it was first opened over 100 years ago, they really know how to treat their guests and are very friendly, the food (something I really enjoy) is superb although there is a set menu it changes each day and with the exception of Thursday night when a buffet is provided, is a five course meal. Whilst they will cope with vegitarian diets or xxx intolerant diets, you would be well advised to let them know in plenty of time so they can order in any special ingeedients

Costs: Whilst Switzerland is commonly regarded as expensive I find the prices in the region to be comparable to those found locally to me in the UK, mind you I do live on the edge of the New Forest so prices hear are not cheap

Conclusion: Another fantastic holiday for me Little Angel

Jungfrau Feedback Thread
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Resort: Reberty (actually Reberty Village or Reberty 2000 on piste map)
Country: France
Domain: 3 Vallees
Author: stevew

Date: 6-13th March
My holiday: Second time to the 3 Vallees this year
Website : www.lesmenuires.com
Basics : Reberty Village is linked to Les Menuires but has the great advantage that it faces up the valley towards VT, so no ugly tower blocks, went with Ski Olympic to Chalet St Michel, early morning (7:00am) flight so managed to get a couple of hours skiing on Sunday afternoon (well we would have apart from the C**P ski shop that my mate Phil had to get his skis from .. queued longer here than any lift, so 2 hrs went to 1 1/2!
Lift system : 3 Vallees! Big tip avoid Bruyeres Gondola in morning head for Doron chair at bottom of La Masse and then take Mont D'Chambre covered chair .. far faster, otherwise Etele chair or Reberty drag make same link (drag quicker but a b**l breaker!). Liked the new lifts at the St Martin end (Becca and Granges)
The terrain : Went to Les Menuires as it's the only bit of 3V never been based in before, busier than anticpated even though school hols had finished, discovered bits not done before.
The snow : Snowing on way in Monday was a great powder day (just wish I could do it more justice), did Piste M in Courchevel on the Wednesday which was awesome. Lots of very hard patches and a little bit of ice 3V 100% open a first for me, in general brilliant conditions if at times a little cold. Best fast bit was doing the two chairs at the top of the Fourth Valley (Peyron & Bouchet) in one go back to the bottom, cracking snow and no one there, full speed ahead chaps!
Off-piste : Great on the monday but otherwise a little crusty
The resort : 1 Horse town, 3 bars, The Ferme - nice bars - excellent food in evening, Igloo bar just below it shuts early (10pm), Cote 2000 a french bar .. went in one night loads of French in who sang Happy Birthday to someone and promptly left, leave 6 of us alone in bar .. we didn't go back. 1 Bad ski shop and a spar! Advantage on the side of the piste. Back to VT or Courchevel next time.
Food : Ferme is great, both lunch and evening, other memorable lunches Eterlou in C1650 and oz place in La Tania can't remeber name.
Accommodation : Ski Olympic Chalet St Michel .. ensuite rooms (a little small maybe) .. good public area, sauna and jacuzzi, great staff .. Phil (ski buddy) wasn't impressed that there were some kids there but he has lead a sheltered life. Food was great.I've been with SO x times, this was one of their best chalets so far for me.
Costs: Not as discounted as it might have been but quality accomodation.
Conclusion: Great hols only spoiled by the weather being a bit cold at times. Won't go to Reberty again, too little night life and nothing else to look at, but I've got it out of my system. Having said that great skiing from the door and if you don't want to you don't have to go into the centre of Les Menuires at all.
Very Happy Very Happy
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
Resort: Soll
Country: Austria
Domain: Ski Welt
Author: Mountain Mad
Date: Mar 12 - Mar 19
Our holiday: Have skied for 5 years, but decided to try the darkside on this holiday - so report based on a beginner viewpoint...
Basics : Biggest linked area in Austria
Lift system : Seemed excellent - but as beginner only actually used about 5 lifts - a gondola and 4 chairs!
The terrain : Nursery slopes at the bottom of the gondola, but snowboarders start their lessons at the midstation as you need a bit more of a slope to start on. At mid station there was 1 blue and a few reds - but the reds weren't severe - steep but wide - just how I like them!
The snow : Arrived after day of snowing - first few days were excellent - nice crunchy snow. Sun didn't stop shining so by the end of the week though it started turning to slush. Comments from locals was that its been the best season in years - and they haven't had to use their snowmaking. (Apparently in previous years they've had to rely on the snow making around mid station to ensure the resort is viable)
Off-piste : No idea - but expect it was excellent!
The resort : Reiterate Johnboys comments - its a fab place. Got a village atmosphere - cute looking church in the middle surrounded by pretty austrian style hotels, shops and houses. Great pubs - Johnboy mentioned the main 2 but we also liked Rossinis. No doorstep skiing - gondola is a short walk out of town. Skibus takes you there but we would use the walk as a way of warming up the leg muscles. Rental place just before the gondola has a garage service so don't need to do the walk in boots or carrying gear - which makes it easier. The rental place was huge and although we only hired beginner snowboards, the quality looked excellent and a massive choice. (Although a bit of a scrum on the first morning if you need to rent all your gear - give yourself lots of time if you need to make it to a 10.00 am lesson)
Food : On a half-board basis so didn't eat in the town. Mountain food was excellent - based on previous trips to French mega resorts it was cheaper and better quality. Fantastic hamburgers and roast chickens...
Accommodation : Stayed at Hotel Tyrol. On arrival we were 'upgraded' from the annexe and ended up with an excellent large room, balcony and big bathroom. Owner and receptionist were grumpy sods and not particularly accomodating for people around us that had kids - although we had no complaints. The waiter and waitress on the other hand were lovely
Costs: €3.40 for large beers. Lunch and drinks for 2 people was usually about €15-$17 on mountain.
Conclusion: Loved it... would like to go back to Ski Welt - although would only book last minute if I knew the snow conditions were good. Fantastic snowboard instructors at the ski school... made learning fun even though we were all in pain!
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Resort: Serre Chevalier - based in Villeneuve
Country: France
Domain: None
Author: Carled
Date: Sunday 20th - Sunday 27th March
Our holiday: Group of 20 I organised, mainly from a volleyball club in Leicester. 4 kids, 7 skiers and 9 boarders. Of those, 1 skier was total beginner, 3 boarders were total beginners. Laughably, with hindsight, I selected Serre Che back in December as being the place to go with its historical snow record and North-facing slopes!
Website : http://www.serre-chevalier.com/ "Official" site - a bit sprawling but usable. Metcheck forecast site for Serre Che
Basics : Southern French Alps. Got flight with Easyjet to Turin, A-T-S transfer via bus to the resort. All ran smoothly, no significant delays.
Lift system : Serre Che is badly in need of an overhaul on several of its lifts. Far too many drags are in evidence and these need replacing with detachable chairs asap. As with many French resorts, even when large queues are in evidence, the lift attendants let too many chairs go up unfilled. Can't really comment on links to other parts of the resort as the snow was so bad they were shut, but judging by the map it looks like a bit of a trek!
The terrain : Again, poor snow leaves me unable to comment on much of the available skiing. When I've been previously, I thoroughly enjoyed the Echaillon sector, but this was utterly shut, unfortunately, along with much of the rest of the resort. The pistes were in very good condition first thing considering the state of the snow, but inevitably deteriorated badly after only a few hours. The impression I get is that only the deep chill from earlier in the season that allowed a significant depth of artificial snow to be built up has allowed the resort to stay open now. The best skiing we found by far was the Prorel area with its detachable 6-seater. Few queues and far better snow than other parts of the area and the added bonus of several "jumps" to play around on! First thing in the morning, the blue run "marteau" from the Aravet area down to the open section of the Casse du bouef were great. 2 or three runs were all you could get before the slopes got cut up though.
The snow : Almost disastrous. Hardly anything was open that hadn't got artificial snow on it. Much of the upper part of the resort is closed (ironically enough) and the only cohesive slopes are those that are covered by the snow cannons in the main part. By the middle of the day, there were huge slush/water puddles all over the place that you had to keep your eye on. The bottom of the slopes (particularly "mickey") were visibly disappearing as you sat and watched!
Off-piste : Non-existent in these conditions.
The resort : Developed from traditional villages so fairly attractive in the most part. Lots of restaurants, plenty of tree-lined skiing lower down and, when covered in snow, very attractive!
Food : Well... unless you're rich, avoid the "D'Abord" at the top of the Aravet chair. 3 cans of fanta, one hot dog and one panini... 19 euros! Jeez... nasty. 3 euros for a small can of drink? The rest of the week saw packed lunches! We spent a lot of time in the Yeti bar at the foot of the Mickey run - a good convenient meeting point. Happy hour from 4-6 (pint of Amstel just 3 euros) and a big plate of chips for 2 euros 50. Burgers were apparently good, although I didn't try any personally. Tried several restaurants in old village which were much of a muchness. Not cheap - you pay around 20 euros a head for main/dessert with drink. The Cafe Soleil at Serre Ratier did good hot choc at about 3 euros a cup.
Accommodation : Privately owned apartments in "Le Bez" and "Grand Pre" apartment blocks. A bit grubby and badly furnished/utensiled. Wouldn't stay there again.
Costs: Happy hour beer 3 euros a pint at the Yeti. Elsewhere 4-5 euros a pint. Pizza in Pre Long at 7-11 Euros for a medium/large - very good pizza. What I would call "London Prices" on most things - not cheap. Although I did pick up a nice Billabong rucksack at 22 euros!
Conclusion: Well... it was good overall. One of the group of 20 broke her wrist on the first run of the second day... ouch... The ironic thing was that she'd just done the tough bit (the Casse du Boeuf as a beginner boarder!) and was just going across the flat bit back to the chairlift when she caught an edge and slammed... Kids had a good time in ski school (Buissonniere) with friendly instructors and made good progress. Shame the snow wasn't better. All of the group agreed they'd love to go back when the snow was good and all runs/links were open.

Serre Chevalier Resort Report Feedback thread


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Tue 13-01-09 20:01; edited 1 time in total
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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.
Resort: Vail
Country: USA
Domain: none (but your lift ticket is valid in Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone)
Author: WTFH
Date: 20-27th March 2005 (not all the time was spent at Vail)
Our holiday: This was a birthday present to myself, and only booked in mid February
Website : http://vail.snow.com
Basics : United and BA fly direct to Denver, but due to my late booking, the best option for me was to fly via Minneapolis on NorthWest. From Denver Airport it is a 2 hour drive by car, or about 2.5 hours by Colorado Mountain Express (Transfer coach) It is possible to fly to Eagle airport which is about 30 minutes away.
Lift system : Most of the lifts are high speed quads, there’s one gondola, and a couple of button lifts.
The terrain : Vail is big by US sizes. There are three main bases in Vail – Golden Peak, Vail Village, and Lionshead. From these you can easily access the front side of the mountain, consisting of a variety of piste and bump terrain, and plenty of trees. Behind the front side are the 7 bowls. Only one of these, Game Creek, has marked runs. Beyond these bowls is Blue Sky Basin, which has two intermediate runs, and the rest are advanced/expert, and are mainly through trees.
The snow : Before I arrived there had been a steady fall of light snow for over a week. During my stay, around 60cms fell, and there were fresh tracks to be had every day.
Off-piste : As mentioned above, most of the bowls are “off-piste”. Because of the different faces on the bowls, it was possible to get good snow all day, even if the sun was shining. A couple of times I was in “Sun Down” bowl which was crusty, while “Sun Up” was in perfect shape. There is a cat track around the bowls so that intermediates can make there way to Blue Sky Basin.
The resort : Most days I finished up in Garfinkels or the Lion’s Den at Lionshead, but after skiing with Martin Bell, he got me to buy him a drink or two in the George, an English pub (The bargirl seemed to like the Irish accent, as we managed to get a round of Jagers on the house). I wouldn’t recommend going to Vail to spot Gaudi or Foster’s influence on the architecture, but neither is it La Daille.
Food : There are several eateries on the mountains. Most provide standard US ski fare. But when you get to the top of Blue Sky Basin, there is a hut with barbecues outside for anyone to use. These are great if you happen to have a couple of ranch owners with you who brought organic T-bone steaks…
Off the mountain, if you have a car, I’d recommend going to Chilli Willie’s in Minturn, which, as well as excellent Mexican food, does some very potent Kiwi margaritas. My main haunt in the evenings was the Sand Bar, which had live music every night, a great atmosphere, and a pretty good pint of Guinness.
Accommodation : I stayed in the Holiday Inn, West Vail. This was conveniently located across the car park from the Sand Bar. The hotel had hot-tub, sauna, outdoor pool, and three restaurants, along with a transfer bus to the various bases, which ran every half hour at peak times, and hourly the rest of the day.
Costs: Lift tickets are $77 per day, but become cheaper the more days you stay. Flights were booked late and cost around £550. Accommodation should have been around $200 per night.
Conclusion: A great resort. Big enough to have a lot of fun
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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
Resort:WHISTLER
Country: BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA
Domain:Whistler/Blackcomb
Author: Helen Beaumont
Date: 21-30th March 2005
Our holiday: Family trip, 2 teens and ourselves
Website : www.whistlerblackcomb.com
Basics : Flight to Vancouver via Heathrow, hire car from airport to Whistler.
Lift system : 3 gondolas from each base (Blackcomb, Whitler and Creekside), rest all chairlfts and a couple of t-bars
The terrain : Awesome terrain for all, but I would probably not recommend it for a beginner, although there is an excellent learnign area at the Whistler Gondola mid-station. YOu wnat it Whistler has it, bumps, steeps, and immaculate grooming
The snow : Awful before we got there, fantastic when we arrived, but you still couldnt ski back to the base.
Off-piste : Endless off-piste opportunities.
The resort : Nicely laid-out, large pedestrianised village (more like a shopping centre really). Excellent free shuttle to base of the mountain (Max 10 mins)
Food : Endless possibilites. Lack of gourmet options on the mountain, but Steeps Grill (Whistler ROundhouse) was the best . Good noodle bowls in Glacier Creek (Blalckcomb) . In the village, Zeuski's(Greek), Brewhouse (Steak, etc),and the Crab Shack (seafood) were all excellent. Apres ski, Garibaldi Lift company, Blacks, and the Brewhouse(real ale), are all excellent.
Accommodation : Private rental, Glacier's Reach. 2 bed apartment with hot tub on patio
Costs:10 day lift pass £230 approx . Meal for 2 with wine £40-60(huge portions) . accom 100 per night low season , up to £250 high season (for 2 bed 2 bath apartment, sleeping 2-6, with private hot-tub
Conclusion:A fantastic place, exellent skiing , excellent restaurants, excellent shoping. The only thing that lets this down is the long flights and the subsequent jet-lag.


Last edited by 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 on Tue 5-04-05 21:19; edited 1 time in total
ski holidays     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Resort: La Rosiere
Country: France
Domain: Espace San Bernado
Author: Frosty The Snowman
Date: 27/3-3/4
Our holiday: 2 families, with 2 kids each, youngest 8 eldest 10. 2 advanced adults, 2 intermediate kids and adults, and 2 learner kids.
Website : http://www.larosiere.net/uk/index
Basics : Above Bourg St Maurice in the Haute Tarantaise, France.
Lift system : 2 x 6 man detachable chairs, 4 & 3 fixed chairs (try and avoid the Landelieres chair as it is very slow) and a few tows. Link into Italy is either 2 long but gentle drag lifts, or one drag and a fast chair with a cover. Italy has some good lifts with plenty of chairs and even 2 with covers that are in a susceptible area. The much talked about link can be cut down to one long but easy drag as you can ski off to the left at the top and down to a choice of 2 covered high speed detachable quads. Les Ecudets and Le petite Bois were closed due lack of low altitude snow
The terrain : Most of La Rosiere is on the side of an evenly sloped mountain and is mainly blue or gentle red in. The harder black and red runs were closed but did look very tempting. In most case a lift has to be taken after each run, with my favourite being the Blanchot which is best accessed by going left from the Fort chair, heading down the Choucas blue and then first left. The Choucas blue is the main run back from many areas and is a dull narrow road that crosses 7 other pistes and a drag lift. Not great fun.
La Thuile has the easier skiing at the top but with some cracking reds and blacks from 2200m down to the base at 1400m through the trees. Due to weather we did not explore La Thuile to its full extent.
The snow : The snow was abundant, but spring in nature with ice in the morning and slush in the afternoon. The slush was particularly thick after 2pm due to the very high temps. On one day we did have great conditions in the San Bernardo pass area, with nice piste and lovely off piste snow. La Rosiere had plenty of snow depth whereas La Thuile had very little. La Thuile had worked very hard at managing the piste and much of the resort was skiable.
Off-piste : The off piste is probably superb. The only area that I can comment on is in the San Bernardo link area served by the Bellcombe drags and the San Bernardo Piccolo, and Fourclaz chairs. This was the only area that had safe and acceptable snow and this was only on one day thanks to an overnight snowfall. All runs in this area have bucket loads of off piste ranging from challenging to that manageable even by me!. We were restricted to the above due to 2 preceding week of roasting temps. I was told by our ski hosts that the off piste is the real attraction for good skiers due to its abundance and lack of crowds.
The resort : The village itself is pretty with low rise buildings. Resort bus service runs every 15 minutes and appeared reliable. Plenty of nice eating houses but not much else. If you want lots of apres, clubs, ice rinks etc then go elsewhere. The village is compact and very user friendly. there is no through roads and so the village is quite night and day
Food : We had good grub at Le Petite Relais in resort, excellent grub at the L’Ancolie in Les Eucherts and Traversette at the bottom of the Fort chair (great views to), and outstanding grub at La Rascard in back street La Thuile. Much has been said on this forum about La Rascard but I will say that the pizza is the finest I have ever had, and it has a very nice “feel” inside. Kids had a superb Margeurita Pizza for 4.5 euros. The waitress was a bit grumpy but apparently she is always like that!!. Hugely recommended. It also makes for a great day trip. Drink highlights were thick hot chocolate and Bombardinos in Roxi’s bar/diner at the bottom of the Fourclaz lift, and barely liquid hot chocolate and Bombardinos in the San Bernado bar, nr the bottom of the San Bernardo Piccolo chair. Have the Bombardinos with cream. They were fab on a warm day, but must be heaven when it is cold.
Accommodation : Stayed at le Roc Noir with Ski Olympic. Tired hotel that is being dropped by SO for next year. This is a shame as it is in a great spot but itdoes need updating. We were aware of the limitations of theplace from the brochure, but was still better than many I have stayed in. Food ( Mexican feast was historic) and staff were excellent as were our ski hosts Richard and Tess. Ski hosting really can be a great feature of the holiday if you get a good host and good guests. Costs: £475 pp for 4 adults and 4 kids, good flights and quick transfers. Lift pass has gone up this year due to the new lifts but still only E146.00 for adults and E102.00 for kids
Conclusion: There is a lot of snobbish twaddle spoken about skiing areas and how BIG is best. La Rosiere / La Thuile blows this theory out of the water. A very interesting resort with something for all. OK la Rosiere doesn’t have the steepest terrain, but if its not “hard” enough for you then do the off piste, or ski the empty blacks quickly. It was Easter and the statisticians told me that there were more in la Rosiere than during New Year. At 9.15 at the bottom of the excellent Roche Noir chair the longest queue we encountered was 2 minutes, and this was only because people were putting on skis in the lift queue, chatting, or getting on in twos and threes.

La Rosiere is the best place I have ever been for beginners and kids, with superb facilities, excellent ski schools, and the quietest pistes you will ever encounter. This is such a HUGE bonus for learners and kids alike. There is limited accommodation in la Rosiere and the day-trippers and short trippers all do the more famous local resorts. The village is very pretty, friendly and reasonably priced with massive return business. Go before it gets “discovered”.

La Rosiere Feedback Thread
snow report     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Resort: Tremblant

Country: Canada

Domain:Laurentians, Quebec. East Coast Canada

Author: Furbag and his wife Gerb

Date: 16th Feb 2005 - 23rd Feb 2005 (USA Presidents week started 18th )

Our holiday:We are a UK couple aged 37 and 51 and have never skied before. We chose Tremblant due to good reports on skiing instruction and it was a mainly English speaking resort. Having said that, French is really their main language, they will greet you in French but will soon swop to English for you without any worries. It is worth noting that the resort is very low at just 875mtrs which means you have no trouble breathing due to the height, another big plus for my wife.

Website : www.tremblant.ca

Basics : Mount Tremblant is about one and a half hours drive north of Montreal airport in the Laurentian mountains. We booked with Inghams and flew Air Canada from Heathrow on a scheduled flight leaving about 14.00hrs. This meant a pleasant start in the morning instead of the usual early hours wake up call. The flight was 7.1/2 hrs and we had two good meals on board. The leg room on this flight was the most we have ever had on a transatlantic flight and being an Airbus rather than a Jumbo the seats were arranged 2-4-2 so nobody had more than one person to disturb if they needed to get up for anything. The 5 hr time difference and the 1.1/2hr transfer by coach from the airport meant we arrived in the resort in the early evening with plenty of time to settle in our hotel and then spend the evening exploring. We even had time to buy some milk from the local store before it closed. We went to bed early after a very long day travelling but woke up refreshed and ready for the adventure before us.

Lift system :South side: 2 x Gondola's, one 6 person stand up (Cabriolet) for moving up and down the village which is FREE and one 8 person fully enclosed mountian lift. 3 x high speed quad chairs, 1 x triple chair, 3 x magic carpets ( nursary slope moving walkways)
North side: 2 x high speed quad chairs, 1 x triple chair, 1 x quad chair
They say the system can run at a maxium of around 27,000 people an hour but personally I would not want to be anywhere near the place if it was that busy. When we went there was only one day when we had to queue for the mountian Gondola due to high winds shutting the high speed base quad and even then it was only for about 45mins. Within a couple of hours the queue was down to just 5 or 10mins. I never queued longer than a few mins at any of the other lifts and considering it was USA's Presidents week and everyone said it would get very busy, I found it to be fine. I must mention the hugh traffic light type board which is on the top of the summit, this will inform you of any delays on the lifts and hence you can choose which runs to go down and aim yourself at the lift with the least que but to be quite honest we never needed it and I only ever saw one of the lifts with a red light on it ( +20mins delay I think) and that was the time the closed one of the southside chairs due to the weather.


The terrain : The resort has a total of 94 pistes, 16 x green, 31 x blue, 37 x black diamond and 10 x double black diamond but I think this marking system maybe slightly different to European systems as some people were remarking about it. There are also 2 x snowboard parks. This was another reason we chose Tremblant as you can ski from the top of the mountain both north and south side on the easy green runs right to the bottom. These will take you about 20mins depending on your skill level. After 3 days from not even knowing what a ski was I could do top to bottom in just about 20mins on the greens, through lovely wooded areas. I managed to move on to do a few blue runs which were fun. I cannot comment on the blacks as my abilities did not get that far.

The snow : Tremblant had been a bit short of snow earlier in the 2004 season but had plenty over Christmas and then about 5ins of fresh powder a few days before we arrived. It all seemed perfect to us but we are novices remember. There always seemed to be snow fluttering in the air a bit especially at night and first thing in the morning but nothing very much. Then on the Monday it blew up a bit of a storm and snowed all day. That was the day they shut the chair lift on the south side (Flying mile) and recommended everybody ski on the North, which we did and it was fine. They do have snow making machines so I don't think lack of snow is a problem here. The surrounding areas were well covered and the journey from the airport was through snow covered roads so I think they had enough to go around.

Off-piste :Unknown as we did not reach that sort of level, but I would say it is limited due to the fact the mountian is covered with trees, it did look like some people were messing about under the lift runs which did not appear to be proper pistes.

The resort :Imagine Alton Towers (UK Theme park) or Disneyland and you won't be far wrong BUT don't let this put you off. It is, after all, a purpose built resort which does mean its laid out rather well, with the hotels and chalets being around the outside and everything else in the middle i.e. bars restaurants, shops etc. This means you should not get disturbed by noisy late night pubs and bars. Except possibly at closing time when people are returning to their rooms. Nothing is really more than a 5 mins walk away and with the village gondola running from top to bottom in 2 mins (which is free) you can get about very easily. Do remember that it can get very cold, while we were there it never got above about -11C at the base and -20C at the summit then add a wind chill to that and you could easily see -30C and according to some staff it had warmed up!! Having said that we were never really cold, as long as you dress correctly and I would definitely recommend a face mask of some sorts then you should not have a problem. I was particularly worried as I feel the cold very easily but certainly as beginners we were normally too hot, and to be able to easliy cool down quickly was fantastic. We never had to resort to hand warmers etc. The village contains Bars and Restaurants to cater for most, from small 30-40 seaters to large 300+ ones. It did seem to lack, from our point of view, bars on there own. Yes, there were bars with restaurants attached but bars alone there only seemed to be about 3 or 4. All the bars seemed very lively and full of all ages but we were too tired most nights to indulge. You will find people wandering about with large question marks on their backs, you can ask them almost any question like what time do the chairs shut, or anything about the resort, and they will be able to tell you the answer.

Food : There was one mountain restaurant at the very top but we didn't sample this as we were busy throwing ourselves down the mountain. At the bottom the resort has many places to eat and we tried PizzaTeria, Spag & Co, the Creperie, Oeufs & Bacon and the cafe attached to Les Voyageurs whose name we cannot remember. They were all delightful and good value for money. The Creperie got a bit full while we were there and people were queueing outstide as it was such a popular place to eat, especially families with kids. It was only a small place so you have to be quick if you want to eat there at the busiest times. We don't do mornings very well so my wife made porridge and coffee in the room most days for breakfast. On the days we didn't have ski lessons to rush out to though we did eat a later breakfast at the cafe attached to Les Voyageurs and also across the path at the Oeufs and Bacon chalet. My wife had a bacon, lettuce and tomato toasted baguette which was delicious and strangely came served with bits of fruit. She also tried a 'bowl' of coffee which came with a big pile of foamed milk on top. The coffee was beautiful and fresh and the froth was lovely, creamy and thick. Apparently the place to be in the evening is Le Petite Caribou but as we were in bed by the time it all kicked off in there so its difficult to say what went on. We did drink in there earlier in the evening for a couple of nights and you could tell it was the nightclub to be seen in, oh and they had a special support over one of the bars for the ladies to hang onto when they 'danced on the bar'.

Accommodation : We stayed in Le Tours de Voyageurs on the third floor in what they call a studio. This was the smallest of the rooms they offered and we weren't expecting much but we were pleasantly surprised. The room was ample for two although I wouldn't have wanted to be four adults in there, which it was supposed to accommodate. With the sofabed folded down and the double bed out, you could hardly move round the room. Still enough for us. It came with a fridge, microwave, toaster, kettle, coffee maker (you had to pay extra for the ground coffee sachet), sink for washing up and all the crockery and cutlery you would need x 4, including kitchen implements like pyrex dishes, sharp knives, can opener and cork screw. My wife had bought porridge oats, instant coffee and sugar with us so with the milk we purchased on the first evening we managed to survive all week quite well. We took the one dollar bus into St Jovite a couple of times to explore and go Tubing so picked up some microwave lasagne from the superstore for a couple of meals, which was handy and saved some money. Voyageurs has two spacious lounges with log fires, a small but well appointed gym room, sauna and outdoor hot tub with changing rooms. The cafe is run independantly but is attached by an internal door so you don't have to get all your outdoor clobber on to go to breakfast if you don't want to. It is situated at the bottom of the resort but because of that you are just a few steps from the Cabriolet which takes you straight over the rooftops to the base of the ski runs where all the ski schools and mountain lifts are.

Costs: Not that cheap, total trip cost for the 7 days inc ski-boot-lesson for 3 days was around £1400 for the two of us. Breakfast will set you back about 10 dollars each and a evening meal 25 dollars but it does depend on what you have and drink. But I think it was well worth the money and the accomodation seemed to be well above your europe stuff after showing friends the video back home.

Must do things Tubing is a great way to kill a few hours, its located about 30mins on the one dollar bus and costs about 15 dollars for 2hr pass but we found that if you book it through the Inghams reps you got 4hrs for the price of 2hrs. Its not just for the kids......
Snowmobiling, yep its a bloke thing but my wife did enjoy being a passenger, cost about 245 dollars for the two of us which included the transport fuel and clothing for about a 3hr trip on the machine, they are fast bits of kit and can easily get to 50-60mph !! Dont expect much off roading its more like driving along roads that are designed for the machines that run along the side of normal roads, if machines of the petrol veraity is your thing its still a lot of fun. We went first thing in the morning and were the only ones the guide had on that trip so we ended up with a VIP trip for the price of a group one.
Dogsleding, this was one for my wife, wasnt really my scene, and certainly you had to be animal friendly as you are expected to fetch the dogs from the holding areas and take them back at the end. On our trip we had 10 sledges with 6 dogs a sledge, meaning there were 60 dogs all barking there heads off waiting for us to get on and mush them off it all got very noisey but once on the move they all quieten down and its rather nice, as long as you keep an eye on the dogs because if they think your not paying attention they just seem to run out of steam and stop. Similar priced to the snowmobil but only lasted about hour and half which was enough for me.


Conclusion: A great place that I would recomend to anyone but not to die hard off piste people, also if you can ski very well you might find the runs a little restricting in there lenght, I was doing the complete mountain in about 15-20mins on the green runs but recon if you did a black you could be done in under 5mins. So this is a must for beginers I recon and if have not done it for awhile and want to get back into skiing. The resort very themed (Alton Towers/ Disneyland) if you know what I mean and as long as you realise this then you will be fine. The dollar bus will take you out and about to the local town for the supermarkets etc and is very good so dont think you are stuck there the whole time. All in all a great place that we are returning to in 2006.
snow report     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Resort: Alpincenter 640m indoor snow slope
Country: Germany
Domain: Bottrop, near Essen in a particularly industrial and not very picturesque part of the very industrial and not very picturesque Ruhr valley (see pictures)
Author: slikedges
Date: 10/4/05
Our holiday: I was attached to some surgeons at the university teaching hospital in Nijmegen, Netherlands for a few weeks and popped over the nearby border (what border?) one day.
Website : http://www.alpincenter.com/
Basics : I caught the InterCity IC3022 from Nijmegen to Arnhem, then the brilliant 330km/h InterCityExpress ICE 123 (see pictures) to Oberhausen Hbf, then the PEG81217 to Bottrop Hbf from where it is a short and cheap taxi ride or a long and very cheap bus ride into town and out again! Google Earth 51.5236784365, 6.96589959667 On the way back, I met a Dutch girl carrying skis at Arnhem station, we shared a pleasant wait and short ride together talking about my day out in Bottrop and her whole season! in Meribel. She was going to surprise her parents who didn’t know she was arriving back that day.
Lift system : Two noisy but efficient rubber travelators – easy to use but one major proviso – don’t get snow between your bases and the slick rubber as you’ll suddenly find it’s really rather slippery and a looong slide down. Can be funny if someone falls, as unless you step off you'll be taken out as well, and maybe even then if the other person is sliding down. I tried jumping over onto the parallel track as I saw some others do. I didn't make it and took out that track myself. Embarassed Also, can’t help the feeling that you’re about to get shrink-wrapped and shipped out to the Far East. (see pictures)
The terrain : About 125m nursery slope at the top. Hence a warning sign...which should probably be a bit larger (see pictures). Then, like a river leading to a waterfall there is a point of no return! It gets significantly steeper ~250m including a bends to the right, then sharp left and gets even steeper ~125m (though this can be mitigated by skiing the outside curve), then sharp left again ~100m, then ~50m run -out/-up to finish. You actually enter the slope near the bottom of the nursery slope. You ski down the main slope to the bottom and come up the lift then ski down the nursery slope to where you came in. The nursery slope itself is served by a rope tow on the right of the slope as you are skiing down. (see pictures)
The snow : Somewhere between MK and Tamworth. Not good but not bad. Carveable with decent skis and a little attention to technique, or a lot of aggression.
Off-piste : concrete and rubble – not for the faint-hearted...or the sane; attempt only if armour available - something like a Challenger 2 MBT would be about right. (see picture)
The resort : Marc Girardelli co-partner in the business. A large shed built on a hill. A bit dark inside, like all sheds. Cheap and cheerful really. Parking area at the bottom, then take a separate rubber conveyor travelator up, or parking at the top and walk straight into ticket and equipment hire place. Usual dome rental equipment but there was a shop where you could negotiate a 'demo' for a small fee. I got some Dynastar slalom skis with gooood edges. (see pictures)
Food : Big area for feeding and watering with separate bar area. Unlimited food and drink included in the price! Decent choice, quantity and quality. You can stuff yourself all day from 1130 when the restaurant opens until it closes 2200 (and some people did – I wondered if they knew that you could ski there too), going in and out as many times as you like. Unlimited free soft drinks and beer (not sure how wise that is but witnessed no problems on slope) with spirits extra. (see pictures)
Accommodation : Golden Tulip Val Monte with pool quite nice but 60 miles away in another country (Berg en Dal, near Nijmegen)
Costs: 40 euros all in for all day (0930-2400) skiing - take note HH/MK! And with free food and drink included. And it’s 30 euros on a weekday. It's the deal of the century.
Conclusion: Why can’t they build one here?!? And those prices? I’d move in. I’m sure it’d be cheaper than running my household!
Pictures: On snowMedia Zone. Sort by filename to go through them logically.
ski holidays     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Resort: Gulmarg
Country: Kashmir, India
Domain:Himalaya
Author: Sherpa
Date: Jan-March 2005
Our holiday: Another year waiting for the big gondola to open, imported loads of snowboard kit for a ski shop, persuaded a few people to come up there, guiding, snowboard instructing
Website : www.himalayanpowderdreams.com
http://www.jktourism.org/cities/kashmir/gulmarg/
Basics : In the very North of India, try and find it on google earth: 34 02 29.00 N 74 23 20.00 E Fly to New Delhi Indira Ghandi Airport (8hrs) and connect to Srinagar over some pretty high mountains (1hr). stay in luxury floating caravan with original Rogan Josh and Sheesh Kebabs and head up farting to Gulmarg in a 'Sumo' thinking, what the hell am i doing? This is insane, i can't see any mountains! I cant see any snow. I've been had. Gondola my paaaaaaarp. Get to little town of Tangmarg, still in one piece. Not even the echo of a gunshot. damn i wanted to hear gunshots. or not. Stock up on local fruits and dates and cakes. Eat another kebaba, have another saffron tea and say goodbyeee to rain and say hello snow! Up to Gulmarg, up and up and up and into the cloud, and suddenly it opens out it front of you, and you say wow, its like a little playground.
Lift system : Two connected gondolas, looks secondhand, old 80s model that squeezez 6 and does not carry snowboards. First Gondola goes 2700, to 3100m. Second gondola goes 3100m to about 4100m, varying reports on the altitude. 3 button lifts on small hill/slopes. More dangerous than any other part of Kashmir. I was carrying 2 trays of eggs home once and got totally wiped out as i walked down. I was then attacked by some dogs.
The terrain : Big wide open gully from 4100 to 3100. Many gullies coming off the mountain. I counted 21 from left to right. All accesible from the top, max 75 min hike to the furthest. 3100m to 2700m thick conifer trees and quite mellow thourgh shepherd huts but with loads of jumps and tree stumps, nooks and crannies. Other off piste areas too.
The snow : 2005 we had anything between 4-8+ m. biggest storm to hit kashmir in 30 years. snowed almost everyday for a month. Fresh snow is super light but packs down quickly, especially when the sun is out as it is strong. Can rain by mid march. and snowfalls become scarce
season length end of december to mid march
Off-piste : All off piste from the gondola. Other hiking opportunites around with excellent north facing aspects, tight tree gullies loads of jumps -
The resort :10-20 hotels, 4 in good skiing location. Pine Palace, Hilltop and GReen Heights all close to the gondola. Highlands hotel has its own ski slope and lift. No discos, no bus service within Gulmarg, taxis for hire, market for shopping. Beer available in 1 or 2 hotel bars, but they arent as well stocked as they should be. Buy beer in the valley or off the army barracks. The army train to ski all day and wion all the competitions. NO BARS really, at least no discos though we have parties occasionally.
Food : any shack making Paratha and omelette, The Green Punjabi for real chilli education, and Snow hotel in tangmarg for sheesh Kebabs. Otherwise your average meal is Rice and Lentils, with Curried vegetables, Garlic Nan bread and some Mughal Chicken. Beans, Curd and Custard for desert.
Accommodation : Stayed in a JK hut, had a lounge, a fire, hired a batman to cook and make tea, chop the wood. It was sweet!
Costs: cheap as you would expect
Conclusion: I love the place and i can't imagine going anywhere else. There's no attitude, no park, no binge drinking ... at least no binge drinking that involves walking between drinks. Fantastic stars, locals are crazy, loads of nice trades and crafts. But electricity can be a bit of a bitch and it is a way away from wherever you are now probably. Can be pretty cold and it is India which doesnt quite have British standards anymore. I think it is just mental it even exists. and still this crazy gondola i have not ridden yet.
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?
Resort: Megeve
Country: France
Domain: Monc Blanc area, I guess.
Author: Erica
Date: 17th - 20th Dec
Our holiday: Impromptu weekend break before Christmas for husband and wife (9 weeks skiing over the past 3 seasons - reasonable intermediates, both over 40)
Website : www.megeve.com
Basics : 70km from Geneva, we flew EasyJet from Bristol. Excellent service by EasyJet - very efficient. The self service check-in at Geneva was a doddle.
Lift system : Gondolas, chairs etc. - all the usual
The terrain : Three ski areas - Rochebrune and Mont D'Arbois (linked by gondola) and Le Jaillet.
Miles upon miles of tree-lined reds and blues. Narnia!! True intermediate stuff. Longer runs from top to bottom than, say, Courchevel. A particular favourite would be the red 'Princess' on Mont D'Arbois, and the picturesque green down to Le Bettex. On 19/12/05 we were the only people on these two runs. Stunning views of Mont Blanc.
The snow : Just amazing - about 40cm fell whilst we were there.
Off-piste : Loads of it. We just played in the edges of the piste.
The resort : Megeve is very pretty. Lovely traditional shops and a load of designer stuff too.(Expensive) The village square was lit up with a tree and fairy lights and Le Pere de Noel was in a little chalet, in the centre! There was free vin chaud and hot bread out of a little oven.
Food : I have never seen so many mountain restaurants - all looking like chalets! Food on the mountain ranged from cordon-bleu to basic.
Accommodation : We stayed in Rond Point chalet(www.stanfordskiing.co.uk) Exceptionally good staff, very good food and very nice ambience. But the chalet is in need of a major makeover. Good transfer from the airport included.
Costs: £500 for 4 nights for the two of us. Plus EasyJet fares.
Conclusion: We will definitely return.

Megeve Feedback Thread
snow report     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Resort: Flaine (pronounced 'Flen' I believe)
Country: France
Domain: Grand Massif
Author: Wrongsideof30

Date: April 03 & April 04
Our holiday: These were cheap as chips DIY breaks intended to supplement our meagre one week a
year snowboarding holiday. Criteria was minimum cost, maximum slope time
Website : www.flaine.com
Basics : In the Haute Savoie we took the 6am flight from leeds to Geneva picked up a car and it was about
an hour to Flaine. We had snowchains but didin't need them on either occasion although the snow tyres were put to use on both trips as it dumped both times we went
Lift system : Lift system is generally modern and efficient with one or two museum pieces such as the 'eggs' lift Cannot comment on the rest of the Grand Massif was all but closed for the year so we pretty much stayed in the Flaine bowl
One point to note is the fun park is served by a particularly brutal button lift which my friend could not cope with
however I beleive it was due for replacement (the upside of this was the fun park was very quiet!)
The terrain : Pistes were varied and on the flattering side mostly open terrain with a few tree runs lower down. Off piste is famously iffy without a guide due to the number of holes in the limestone rock. At the top of the
large GM? gondola there is a long flat bit which boarders will find a pain however you only have to do this once
as you can take chair lifts back up from then on. I actually appreciated the walk to start off as I never warm up properly as a rule.
The snow : As it was April on both occasions spring snow prevailed which was slushy lower down , being on a board though this is almost as much fun as powder, the pistes were empty (and I mean empty) so we had a lot of fun, on both visits it dumped on the last night however visibility is not great without the trees
Off-piste : see above however now I am a bit braver (foolhardy) there are some safe-ish OP below the eggs lift you can scope out as you travel over it (even here you can see one or 2 deep holes (they are fenced off though)
The resort : We weren't there for the character which is just as well, as it is a bit like skiing out of basildon town centre, plus being late april it was exceptionaly quiet. I must say that the people are very friendly though and as a resort it does exactly what it says on the tin
Food : My friend is a vegetarian so he struggled with lack of vegie options that didn't revolve around melted cheese. There is a decent pizza place in the main square next to the black grouse? pub other than that pretty much your average Savoyard fare
Accommodation : Self catering apartment which was dreadful but very cheap at £40 each for 4 nights (this was april) this was just the thing for 2 lads to crash in, but as my mate said if he took his girlfriend there she would not be impressed. I think much of the accom is shabby like this so if it was high season and I had to pay top dollar for it and was there for a week I would be severely disappointed.

Costs: £200 + spends (thats lift pass, car hire, accomm, flights, sat am to monday pm)

Conclusion: There are so many other resorts with better charm or better skiing or better places to eat but I love the place! it's perfect for a short break out of season if you are like me and primarily there for the snow. I can see us going back as long as it stays cheap and cheerful.

Flaine Resort Report Feedback Thread
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Resort: Sauze d'Oulx

Country: Italy

Domain: Milky Way

Author: drkpower

Date: Late February/Early March 1999, 2002, 2004 & 2005

Our holiday: Learned to ski here in 1999 and been back 3 times since. Have now had about 9 weeks experience. Each trip was part of a large mixed ability group (20 to 30) of 20 and 30 somethings.

Website : http://www.skiclub.co.uk/skiclub/resorts/gssg/resort.asp
http://www.comune.sauzedoulx.to.it/

Basics : About 1 hr 15 mins north of Turin Airport in the Aosta region of northern Italy. We travelled with Panorama on each occasion.

Lift system : The lift system does leave a lot to be desired. Far too many antequated 2 man chairs and drags. However, for the most part these can be avoided by using routes with (relatively) high speed quad chairs. Gondolas (very few) are primarily reserved for links between the different Milky Way villages.

The terrain : Sauze has a host of varied blues and reds with a sprinkling of relatively mild blacks. They are predominantly tree-lined except for broader motorway pistes higher-up. As far as i recall, they are predominantly north aand north-west facing. Most routes lead to Sportinia, the ski school and main restaurants area. The Milky Way (including Sansicario, Sestriere & Montgenevre) has approx. 400 km of piste and has a hge amount of cruising intermediate fare with a few scarier blacks sprinkled throughout. The ski from Sauze, the most westerly of the linked areas, to Montgenevre (in France) was a particularly enjoyable (long) day. Montgenevre, however, is not on the standard Milky Way lift pass but thanks to one of the groups fluent French we managed convince the lift operators to allow us to do a couple of runs there!

The snow : Sauze has a notoriously unpredictable record but for the first thre of my trips there (and hence the primary reason for returning) the snow was as close to perfect as one can get with good depths and fortunately good snow falls on the days leading up to my trip. The weather was generally beautiful with long sunny days. For me, one of the primary joys of skiing is doing so with the sun at your back so i was particularly pleased. The kicker came last year where there was almost no snow in the resort. The busride up to the village was particularly dis-heartening as it looked like an Irish country village we were arriving at rather then a chocolate box ski village. All links to the sister Milky Way villages were closed so we had to make do with Sauze and occasional (short) day trips to Sestriere and Claviere. Although we managed to put a brave face onit, this experience made me very nervous of pre-booking far in advance a trip to Sauze, but as i always say, you can't control the weather.

Off-piste : I tend to stick to the pistes so my word on this is not particularly authoratative but the little bits i did were enjoyable.

The resort : The village is fine, if a little uninspiring, and can be quite rowdy late on. On each occasion i stayed in Jovenceaux - just below Sauze - which is much much prettier and is as far from "purpose-built" as you can imagine. Naturally, it is a bit quieter but its charachter makes up for the lack of apres here. To get to the main slopes from Jovenceaux requires the skibus and a quad or two slow 2 man chairs through the trees (and leave your skigear at the charming restaurant/bar Chi-chis half way up) which does tend to blast the hangover off you!

Food : Most of the mountain restaurants are standard fare, fine for filling the void but thats about it. Chi-chis and the retaurant at the top of Clotes lift are probably the best going. Del Falco is without doubt the best restaurant in Sauze village (but i heard a rumour it was closing or at least that the ownership was changing). In Jovenceaux, Etoile de Neiges is an absolute must. Beautiful cheap pastas and pizzas and good craic for apres as well.

Accommodation : I stayed in the Des Amis and Edelweiss in Joveceaux. Good 3 star 50 room hotels with good service and lifts to Sauze each evening (the 15 minute walk uphill is painful but the sozzled 10 min downhill was generally the best part of the night!!). The food (we were HB) is OK, but thats about it - we tended to eat out about 3 nights anyway.

Costs: On the cheaper end of the spectrum, about 450-500 for flights transfer and accomodation. Booze prices are comparable to home (but with much larger measures) and a lot cheaper than French resorts.

Conclusion: When the snow falls, it is a great spot. Endless intermediate runs, great apres and lovely sunshine. Downside is the unpredictable snow record and dodgy lift system which is due an upgrade due to the staging of the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Sauze d'Oulx feedback thread
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Resort: Haute Nendaz
Country: Switzerland
Domain: 4 Vallees – but what you hear is correct. The 4 Vallees is not a ‘seamless’ link - although Nendaz is best placed of all the stations
Author: E Evans.

Date: 18 Dec 2005- Jan 2 2006
Our holiday: Firstly , we are now buying there although this trip was 2 families travelling independently ( plus my daughter flying over from USA) staying in an uncatered chalet. All adults Beginner-Intermediate with 15 YO and 4 YO skiing for 1st time.
Website : www.nendaz.ch My Nendaz pics.
Basics : Nendaz is in the Valais region of Switzerland. Sion is the closest airport (only 18 km when open) although Geneva is a short and easy drive away. I did the trip resort to Geneva airport easily under 90 minutes on a number of occasions. Access is very easy from the autoroute – and the roads to the station well maintained as there are a number of communities on the road ‘up’ from the autoroute. VERY easy as ski station access goes.
The station has two main access points . Tracouet is accessed via a Telecabine while Siviez ( aka Super Nendaz) is serviced by a free 10 – minute shuttle ride from the main telecabine. The benefit of the latter is that Siviez is a fast access point to Mont Fort, Verbier and the 4 Vallees extensive off piste ( which is closer to Nendaz than Verbier).
Lift system : Much of the system is under a phased replacement program ( and about time too). The resort does however have few queues although in Xmas week the nursery slopes were busy.
The terrain : Frankly, if you are looking for French-style interlinking piste/infrastructure then Nendaz is not it. Until you know your way around it is quite easy to end up having to make dreary short walks between installations. Allegedly this is due to commitments made to a strong ‘Green’ lobby. Howver the pistes themsleves tend to be longer and very interesting. Personal favourite is the circuit to Siviez from Tracouet and the simple run back to the village. 'The National' has a 'fun' entry in Fresh snow.
The snow : Perfect. The only downside that towards the middle of the second week there were a number of bare-ish patches on some of the higher more exposed pistes.
Off-piste : I don’t do it but you only have to look around you to see that the opportunities are endless. As soon as you are in Tracouet or Siviez you can quickly access vast swathes of powder-type territory.
The resort : I like the village. It has everything you need as a skier and has a thriving community and loads of things to do. A large open-air skating rink (ice hockey team), extensive restaurant and shopping facilities. This is NOT however Verbier and ‘local produce’ i.e. Weil watches, Mont Blanc pens and the like are noticeable by their absence. The resort is primarily apartments and chalets with only 3 hotels. Recent growth has been very –focused on chalet construction. Access to Siviez and the Tracouet telecabine is by shuttle bus if you are very far away, although frankly you can walk anywhere in the town in five minutes.
Food : Didn’t have a bad meal there although do try and eat at the ‘off-beat’ locations in the mountains. Tracouet and Siviez themselves are formulaic and over-run with German , Dutch and Brit picknickers. In town you are spoiled for choice. Le Grenier, Le Deserteur and The Italian (name??) restaurant all worth a vist. PMU is my favourite bar while Chin-Chin is a ‘classy’ piano bar ( for old fogies!!)
Accommodation : We stayed in a chalet booked via the tourist office website. Great value for money and a superb and clean location. We arranged early am deliveries of fresh produce ( Milk, croissants etc.) , the local butcher did hot roasts and Xmas dinner - delivered each evening to the chalet. AMAZING local service and not pricey.
Costs: Apartment rental 1/3 of Verbier. Food and general living similar to any ski resort. Ski passes a little more pricey than France.
Conclusion: I liked it. Very much a launch pad for real skiers as opposed to posers. The resort attempts to appeal strongly to families and the infrastructure recognizes this but note the shortcomings above.

Haute Nendaz Feedback Thread


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Tue 20-11-07 10:51; edited 5 times in total
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Resort: Ruka
Country: Finland
Domain: None
Author: net_masters

Date: 08/01/2006-15/01/2006

Our holiday: Mainly a family holiday, with a couple of Hubbies work colleagues along for the ride too.

Website : www.ruka.fi

Basics : Finnish Lapland, 20kms from the Russian Border

Lift system : Mostly chair lifts, with some poma's and t-bars thrown in for good measure. The main 'bubble' chair lift seems almost brand new, but all the lifts are well maintained. High winds meant some of the higher lifts were closed on some days, but on the whole, the system worked well, with pretty good links to other areas of the mountain.

The terrain : Quite a small resort so the different ski areas were fairly close together. A lot of the runs cross over each other, so once on a run you could easily change your mind and head in a different direction, although the piste markings were not brilliant (very small, and covered in snow and ice!) so at times it was difficult to see where you were headed!

The snow : Quite a firm base, but it stayed nice and powdery on top despite the lack of snowfall while we were there. There were snow cannons on the main runs daily, and the piste basher could be seen regularly. On the whole the snow was excellent, although it was a little to hard in places on some of the harder runs for my liking (but I'm only a novice-my Hubby had no problems with the hard stuff at all). For beginners, or nervous skiers, then the blue runs are kept in what I think is perfect condition. Nice and soft on top, with a reassuringly firm base.

Off-piste : Lots of opportunities to nip off the main runs and through the trees or down below the lifts. It's only a small area so not really anything in the way of true off piste, but I would say that there is enough to keep even the most adventurous skier amused for a few days.

The resort : Ruka is a tiny resort about 20 minutes drive from Kuusamo airport. There is a reasonably choice of good accommodation, from Hotels to Log Cabins, and although the choices for shopping are minimal, you can get everything you need. There is a Spar shop for general groceries, and Alko shop for alcohol, a couple of nice little gift shops, a ski hardware store, a few restaurants (including a kebab and pizza place) and a couple of nightclubs. If you want Ibiza with snow then don't go to Ruka, but if you want a relaxing weeks skiing with the chance to blow off steam at the end of the day, then you should be fine. Lots of photo opportunities as the place is absolutely beautiful, and has quite a lot of character.

Food : We were half board so breakfast and our evening meal was provided for us in the Hotel, but we stopped each day at the Hillside Grill on the Vuoselli side of the mountain for lunch-where they served a gorgeous cheeseburger and chips! We didn't try the pizza place, but it looked clean, and smelled very good! The small restaurant near the hire sop did good food, but was also quite pricey. Much better value for money if you eat at one of the on piste bistros.

Accommodation : We stayed at the Rantasipi Rukahovi Hotel, which is right at the foot of the main slopes. Lovely room with the best beds ever, and all rooms have a shower room and also a drying room which came in very useful for drying out soggy gloves! The food was excellent, although the choices did get a little mundane after a week (buffet breakfast which was excellent, then a hot buffet in the evening, which only gave 2 or 3 choices-if you didnt like any of them it was frankfurters and french fries all week!)

Costs: Can't really remember specifics, but on the whole not much more than UK prices-although bar prices were a little steep for spirits, but happy hour gives good value for money. Didn't do grocery shopping as we were half board, but crisps/sweets etc were fairly cheap.

Conclusion: Lovely resort with some excellent skiing, but could be a little 'mundane' for very experienced skiers, or if you are there for more than a week at a time, as it is only a small resort. Black 23 looks like an awesome run on the piste map, but sadly it didn't want to be found-Hubby spent almost all week looking for it, but couldn't find it!

Ruka Feedback Thread
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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!
Resort: Crans Montana
Country: Switzerland
Domain: none
Author: wrongsideof30

Date: 3 day break Jan 06 Weds to Saturday
Our holiday: 8 gents all 30+ 1 boarder + 7 skiiers
Website : google Crans Montana and you will find it
Basics : Flew to Geneva, picked up a car and it was a surprisingly easy drive of under 2 hours to the resort around the top of lake Geneva
Lift system : The lift system is pretty modern with 4 bubble cars spaced along the length of the whole area getting you up to the main ski jump off points. From there, there are numerous chair lifts not too many high speed ones. (very few drags, of which none were really needed to get around and none I used were particularly off putting to a snowboarder) In addition a gondola took you up to the highest part of the resort the Plain Morte glacier at around 3000m

The terrain : The entire area was south facing, which meant it is sunny all day (assuming the sun is out!) and could get soft lower down in warm weather. The vast majority of runs were reds (from my limited experience they were on the easier side of the classification) so for intermediates this place is ideal. There are plenty of wide open pistes as well as lots of tree lined runs for all abilities if the weather got bad. There were only a few of flat/uphill spots for boarders. 2nd weekers might find it a bit limiting though as the few blues were in a sea of red. Really tough slopes are few and short, so not the place for extreme skiers, having said that an off piste expert with a guide could do worse.
A particular highlight was the descent from the glacier which was, apart from a 20m walk for boarders long and great fun with lots of opportunity to nip off the piste in relative safety. It is not always open due to avalanche risk, so keep an eye out and head up there as soon as they have the gondola running. The fun park was on the far side of the area in the Aminona sector, and had a good mix of jumps and rails for all abilities and was served by a high speed chair at the bottom, I would say the piste along side the park was the best place for learners being wide and having a nice even gradient.
I probably had to queue for a max of 1 minute all the time I was there and that was at only 2 lifts

The snow : The snow was fantastic for our trip in that around 20+ cm fell the day before and then we were treated to blue skies for the next 3 days. Grooming was very good with all runs apart from the blacks being bashed every night.

Off-piste : I would say it’s a good place to start practicing off piste as there is lots to scope out on the way up from chairs and never a problem to nip back on piste, this got tracked out pretty quick though.
The resort : We stayed at the far side of Montana near the violettes sector and found Montana in general very quiet. Aparently there are a lot of second homes so the whole town felt very dead. Thing picked up slightly on the Friday night, but for partying I think this is not the best place. I was told Crans is probably the livelier of the two villages.
Food : Mid way up the La Toule? Chair lift/piste was a really nice suntrap great for a coffee or vin chaud. Also right next to the mid station gondola up from Montana was a great terrace restaurant which we smelt before we could see, superb service and fabulous views (but not cheap)For best value a self service cafeteria at the top of the fun park piste had a cool atmosphere and loads of seating inside and out
Accommodation : we stayed in the Hotel de foret which was on the extremities of the resort & as with most hotels a bus was needed to take us to the lift. The hotel summed up the feel of the town in many ways, in that it was clean and tidy but slightly stuck in the 70’s the number of tour operators was surprisingly low in the resort,one of the best parts of the place very few Brits, so you really feel like you are abroad
Costs: For Switzerland it was probably on the cheaper side of things but still pricey, and probably comparable to large French resorts. Mountain restaurants were not great value and as usual someone made the mistake of ordering Raclette
Conclusion: Great ski area and plenty to keep us occupied. As far as the evenings, If you need others to make an atmosphere you will struggle out of high season. But as my first Swiss ski trip I will definitely come back, and I am adding Crans to my short break list.
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Resort: Les Arcs
Country: France
Domain: Paradiski
Author: NBT
Date: 14-22nd Jan 2006
Our holiday: Mrs NBT and Me, plus two mates. All experienced but by no means expert skiiers
Website : http://www.lesarcs.com/
Basics : 2 to 3 hours southbound transfer from Geneva, in the Haute Tarentaise region of the Fench Alps. Shorter transfer from Chambery, and Jet2 now fly there from Manchester. Be warned if you fly Jet2 that they're quite strict on luggage - however even taking into account the excess baggage, it was still cheaper and easier than flying to Geneva! We used Aarthur taxis for our transfers rather than renting a car, as we didn't want the hassle of driving and didn't think we'd need the vehicle during the week. As it turned out we were right, the inter- and intra-station navettes (free shuttle buses) ran regularly and frequently and enabled us to go shopping and to eat out without any problems at all. Pascal (owner of Aarthur taxis) speaks English well enough if your french is limited.
Lift system : Les Arcs is a big domain in and of itself, but when taking into account the link to La Plagne to form Paradiski the lift system is stupendous. We bought a Les Arcs lift pass, with the intention of hopping over to La Plagne one day. In the end we skiied the whole week (7 days on snow) in Les Arcs, and still didn't ncecessarily cover every run, although some runs were so good we ended up doing laps up the chairlift and back down the same piste!
I can't recall seeing any surface lifts outside of the beginner areas, with the expection of a single drag lift at the far (Peisey-Vallandry) end of the domain. There are still a few slower fixed grip triples around, but many of the chairs are detachable quads and even six packs. Often where there's a choice, the pistes served by the slower lifts are in much better condition as they're less well used. There are also a couple of gondolas and a big cable car up to the Aiguille Rouge, the highest point of the domain, and a funicular linking the resort to Bourg St Maurice down in the valley.
As mentioned abve, free shuttle buses run regularly and frequently (and from early in the morning till quite late at night, I think they finish at around 11pm) linking the major areas. The exceptions to this are the villages at either end - if you;re in Peisey Vallandry or Villaroger when the lifts stop running, you're in for an expensive taxi ride down to Bourg St Maurice, and if you're not there by the time the Funiclar stops at 7pm then another expeisive taxi ride up to Arc 1600! At least from there you can get one of the free navettes which run till around 11pm.

The terrain :

Les Arcs is divided into four main Areas. Most of the skiing is open, bowl skiing, with the main exception being the forest above Peisey Vallandry and to a certain extent the lower slopes below Arc 2000

Arc 1600 is the area at the top of the funicular, and from here one can also catch a shuttle bus accross to Arc 1800, or round the mountain to Arc 2000. There are a few slow lifts serving the local terrain and one high speed lift out of Arc 1600 which allows you to ski down to Arc 1800 (further right on the piste map), or to catch a second lift over into the Arc 2000 bowl.

From Arc 1800, again slow lifts serve the lower areas while High speed lifts take you higher, allowing you to head back to Arc 1600 (left on the piste map), over into the Arc 2000 Bowl, or down to Peisey Vallandry (further right on the piste map).

From Peisey Vallandry, the Vanoise Express double decker cable car allows you to reach La Plagne, or you can ski back to Arc 1800. I seem to recall all the chairs here are high speed. Here too the terrain is forested, whic makes it a good choice when visibility drops. the forest is quite sparse in places allowing for a bit of tree skiing if you;re adventurous enough for that kind of thing.

Arc 2000 is a big bowl over the ridge from the other three areas, and contains the Aiguille Rouge, the highest point of the domain, from where you can ski the 7KM Aiguille Rouge red piste all the way down to Villaroger, lowest point on the domain (I think). This is certainly worth doing as it's a fantastic run. A word of caution though, although thepiste map shows a blue run heading from Le Planay down to Villaroger, in actual fact the run drops down so far the last few hundred metres are back uphill - a good few minutes walk Sad

I did notice a marked lack of "green" runs, although maybe that's because there are beginner areas marked out instead. Many of the blue pistes (especially those linking the different areas) look suspiciously like they're roads when the snoe has melted) and make me think that boarders may not be quite as fond of the area as skiiers.

The snow : When we arrived it hadn't snowed for a couple of weeks and was getting thin and bare in places. On day 2 it started snowing and over the next 48 hours laid down around 12". This absolutely transformed the whole resort and made things far far better

Off-piste : There's bags of off piste skiing in the area, but we didn't do very much of it. One morning was spent doing laps of an off piste run under the vagere chairflift - what had previously been a huge mogul field turned into a beatiful field of bottomless powder - then the piste markers appeared, it turned out to be the "golf" piste!

As mentioned above, there's tree skiing in Peisey Vallandry, and there are quite a few places where you can cut corners to get just a little taste of off-piste (but as the local safety guy said "a little bit off-piste is like a little bit pregnant - there's no such thing, you're either on piste or not). I know that you can ski from the top of the Transarc down to Peisey-Nancroix, from the top of the Grand COl chairlift you can hike a few minutes, and from almost anywhere on the ridge between the Aiguille Rouge and Villaroger you can drop down into tVillaroger itself

A book called "Les Clés du Paradiski" offers much more detail, but be aware - at the top of the "Lanchettes" lift in Arc 2000 we saw one group going off piste into the Villaroger nature reserve on the other side of the Aiguille Rouge, but later heard two had been killed in an avalanche. If you're going to go off piste, make sure you know what youlre doing or have a local guide, and make sure you aren't being followed by people with less idea then they ought to have! We'd considered a half day off piste but the fatalities were a little offputting, so we stayed on the pistes for the rest of the trip.

The resort : We stayed in an private apartment in the upper reaches of Arc 1800. Arc 1800 is most definitely a purpose built resort, but it's nice to see that in the past few years the developers have been making more of an effort to build in keeping with local tradition, using stone and wood rather than concrete. The same really applies to both Arc 1600 and Arc 2000, but both Peisey and Vallandry are "real" villages and thus less abrasive to the eye, while the new Arc 1950 development just below Arc 2000 is being built by Intrawest and is almost disney-like in the way it seems to fit into the local style.


Food :

Lunch

There's very little in the way of "front de neige" in Arc 1800 - either you need to know how to ski down to it (round the back of the nursery and cut down a footpath), or you have to take skis off and walk up. We only tried this once and having eaten a reasonable lunch in a smoky bar stuck to on-mountain lunches after that. Arc 1600 is somewhet the same, but the bars of Peise-Vallandry and Arc 2000 are easier to reach.

The Arpette, between 1600 and 1800 was excellent. Ther place above the top of the Transarc Gondola / Plagnettes chairlift was also fine. La Poudreuse in Pesiey Vallandry was ok, but don't serve free carafes of water, unlike most other cafeterias.

La Taverne de l'Arc in Arc 2000 was a nice place with the best hot chocolate we found, although it's a bit of a skate / hike to and from it (easiest way to reach it is to get some speed down thelast part of the "reservoir" piste and hang a right!). The Easy Door snack bar under Les Chalets de L'arc in Arc 2000 is also fine for snacks - as a snack bar though, no free water.

Evening
We ate in some nights, ordering pizzas, lasagne and stuff from "Everest" in Chantel 1, all of which were delivered to our door. Not a bad pizza, but some of the party complained of the old "delhi belly" so be careful. The "savoyarde" also in Chantel 1 was a great little place and we ate there more than once.

In Arc 1800 itself we tried:
"Le Grenier Des Arcs". Not particularly friendly service, food was ok (Mrs NBT really liked her "NOrvegienne" Salmon crepe").
"LE Mountain Cafe", tex-mex - an odd choice this in a ski resort, but great food despitr a smoky atmosphere

By far the best place we ate all week was unfortunately the place we ate on the last night, "Casa Mia" was very very good food, great service and very reasonable prices.

Accommodation : We stayed in Rob@rar's apartment and it was great. "Cosy" for four of us, but not tiny by any means. We had enough space for all of our gear, room to relax, plenty of room to eat, Sky TV and Interweb access to get our regular snowheads fix. What more can one ask for! Very Happy

Costs:
A 7 day lift pass cost us €212, which is not cheap at all! but then again it's a big area and we very much enjoyed our skiing.

We booked this holiday ourselves so I wasn't sure what to expect. I know that by booking last minute, we could have done it a lot cheaper, but then we may nothave all been in the same place and we almost certainly wouldn't have stayed in such a nice place. I normally budget on £100 per night for a reasonable standard of accomodation and food, and as it turned out we spent more like £88 per night, which I'm very happy with.

Conclusion: We skiied Arc 2000 at the EoSB in 2005 and it was that trip which made us want to return to ski the whole of the Les Arcs domain. Having had a bad experience skiing the 3 Valleys (poor customer service etc) and heard other tales of woe relating to skiing in france, I've not always been keen to ski France, so it's great to report that the french are pulling themselves together - three successive holidays in the Tarentaise (Val d'ISere Jan '05 was the holiday previous) have been universally great.

We like to experience different resorts so it's unlikely we'll plan another visit to Les Arcs for a few years, but I would unreservedly grab the chance of a cheap trip there. Recommended.

Les Arcs Feedback Thread
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Resort: Westendorf
Country: Austria
Domain: SkiWelt / Kitzbuhel Alps
Author: Ian Hopkinson
Date: 21st-28th January 2006
Our holiday: We're a thirtysomething couple who started ski-ing a few years ago, this is roughly our 8th week ski-ing. We were accompanied by my mum, a non-skier but frequent summer visitor to Westendorf.
Website : www.westendorf.com
Basics : Westendorf is in the Austrian Tirol, we flew from Birmingham to Innsbruck from which it is a 1.25 hour transfer by coach.
Lift system : Westendorf has a generally modern lift system with recent new lifts on the nursery slope (a four man chair) and a new gondola (KiWest) linking to the Kitzbuhel ski area. There is a short skibus ride to the linked SkiWelt area. There are a couple of old non-detachable lifts about. Overall pretty efficient.
The terrain : The Westendorf area is modest, and an intermediate skier could ski almost all of it thoroughly in a day – there is only one short black run down from the Choralpe. The learners and day trippers are generally to be found on the Talkaser side of the area with the Gampen/Fleiding/KiWest side a bit quieter.
The link over to the Kitzbuhel ski area via the KiWest lift is really good, we got to the bottom of the new lift in about an 1.25 hour from the nursery slope at Westendorf - the buses to the Pengelstein I lift are every ~10 minutes until 11am and we never saw them crowded, it takes about 10 minutes to get to Pengelstein I. We reached Kitzbuhel (bottom of the Hahnenkamm lift) in about 2.5 hours. The run served by the KiWest lift itself is rather pleasant in itself - it's nominally a blue but it has a short, steep narrow section towards the end. I don't like the grossly overcrowded buses to SkiWelt from Westendorf (the first few of the day) and I'd prefer to head for Kitzbuhel over taking the bus to SkiWelt. Of the three areas I think I prefer Westendorf.
The Pengelstein I lift is a twin to the KiWest lift (i.e. brand new 8-man gondola), not sure why they didn't run the two lifts to some mutually compatible point in the valley. The Westendorf lift company don't seem to recognise fully the existence of the Kitzbuhel area - they don't keep any full piste maps of the area, nor do they appear to keep the bus timetable, but these are easy enough to get once you reach Pengelstein I.
The Westendorf, SkiWelt and Kitzbuhel areas all have different characters. Ski Welt is generally wide and rolling with vast motorway pistes up top, the Pengelstein/Kitzbuhel side of the Kitzbuhel area has a moorland feel to it, higher, wilder and windier. The Westendorf area is something in between, and a bit quieter than either of the other two areas.
The snow : V. nice snow, Western Austria has had stacks of snow this year and we got a small top up on the first day.
Off-piste : Can’t comment on this
The resort : A pretty village with some old buildings, a couple of supermarkets, relatively modestly provided in ski shops. Mum tested the non-skier facilities; the tourist office offers a range of guided activities snow shoe walking, toboganning and langlaufing all at the cost of the rental equipment. Day trips to Innsbruck and Salzburg are possible and there is a short train ride to Kitzbuhel.
Food : Excellent restaurants all around the Westendorf domain, our particular favourites are the Choralpe which is accessed by an elderly one-man chairlift and is a bit quieter than some. The Fleiding Alm is a beautiful old building, not much room inside though. Brechhornhaus gets a bit busy. The main Talkaser restaurant is a bit factory canteen in scale but not unpleasant. In the village the Café Elizabeth has an excellent selection of large cakes.
Accommodation : We stayed at the Hotel Jakobwirt in the village center. A friendly place which we’ve stayed in twice before. Mum has been going there for years.
Costs: Lift pass is €185 for 6days, including the Kitzbuhel area. Ski school €122 for 6*4 hours. We spent €15-€20 for a large and filling lunch. €79 for 6 days of ‘Gold standard skis.
Conclusion: We love Westendorf! Personally I prefer the Westendorf area to SkiWelt and the Kitzbuhel ski area, during a week it’s easy to spend a couple of days in each. There’s also a fair amount for the non-downhill skier to do.

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