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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Resort: dubai ski
Country: dubai
Domain: u.a.e
Author: neilski

Date: 25/11/2007
Our holiday: stop over on way back from thailand
Website : www.skidxb.com
Basics : at the emirates mall near juhmera beach in the bur dubai
Lift system : slow four seater chair/ poma tow / magic carpet
The terrain : one easy black/two blues/ nursery slope/tubing and toboggan runs/half pipe and rails
The snow : good groomed man made
Off-piste : n/a
The resort : the fastest growing holiday destination in the world, a bit flash but quite exciting
Food : to many to mention
Accommodation : one and only royal mirage, luxury beach resort hotel
Costs: 150 dirhams(approx £21.00) for two hours inc all gear (except gloves)
Conclusion: best indoor slope in the world, great value,and great snow, go on a weekday morning and have the place to yourselves

Dubai Ski Resort Report Feedback Thread
ski holidays     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
1. Resort: Kitzbühel
2. Country: Austria
3. Domain: Kitzbueheler Alpen Pass covers 5 resorts between 700 and 2000 meters
4. Author: Whitegold
5. Date: Dec 2007 / Christmas
6. Our holiday: Small group of couples
7. Website: kitzbuehel.com
8. Basics: Western Austria. Around 90 mins from Salzburg Airport
9. Lift system: The lifts suck. They are old and slow. The buses are infrequent and unreliable. The system is a disgrace. Scorecard = 3 / 10
10. The terrain: The onpiste is bland. It is mostly blues and reds. Very few steeps. The Hahnenkamm is vastly overhyped. 4 / 10
11. The snow: Good snow, despite its low height. Nonstop sun. Coverage top to bottom, but icy and patchy lower down. 7 / 10
12. Off-piste: Useful offpiste. Plenty of open or gladed powderfields. Just don't expect Chamonix. 6 / 10
13. The resort: Goodlooking village. It is busy and buzzy. Vibrant nightlife. Lots of trophy wives. Not as rich as St Moritz. 9 / 10
14. Food: Restaurants are plentiful, from McDonald's to Michelin Stars. 8 / 10
15. Accommodation: Everything is here, from onestar to fivestar. Go to Aschau for that middle-of-nowhere seclusion. 9 / 10
16. Costs: Prices are surprisingly competitive for such a rich resort. 8 / 10
17. Conclusion: If you are going for the skiing, then forget it. If you want a cool town with some skiing thrown in, then Kitz is a solid choice.

Total Scorecard = 54 / 80 (68%). For comparison, St Moritz gets 65 / 80 (81%).


Kitzbuhel Resort Report Feedback Thread


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Sun 6-01-08 15:37; edited 1 time 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: Val D'Isere
Country: France
Domain: Forms part of the huge 'Espace Killy' ski area, linking Val D'Isere's slopes with the Tignes ski area to provide 300km of ski runs.
Author: Skier-Nick
Date: Early April
Our holiday: Annual family ski trip with skiers of varyied ability and age.
Basics : Flew to Geneva where we took a coach. Changed over into a smaller mini-bus before ascending up into the mountains.
Lift system : At that time of year, it wasn't too busy at all, apart from queues for the main lifts out of Tignes and Val Claret. Most lifts are fairly quick apart from the 'Col Des Ves' chair lift which is apparently the slowest in the espace killy (20mins)
The terrain : The ski area is heaven for intermediate and advanced skiers, however you'll find better resorts if you want beginner slopes. There is some nice skiing on the Grand Motte glacier for intermediates as well as the slopes around the Aiguille Percee in Tignes. For advanced skiiers, don't miss the tough Val D'Isere black runs such as Face, Epaule du Charvet, Piste S and 3000. For easy-going intermediates, the slopes around the bellevarde area are great for cruising around as well as the Solaise runs. My favourite run in the whole of the Espace Killy area is the long 'Sache' black run on the eastern side of Tignes. Start at the top of the Aiguille Percee before dropping 1200 metres on steep and varied terrain, ending up at Tignes Les Brevieres.
The snow : For April, the snow was fantastic and the only times when the snow was slushy or icy was at the end of the day when descending back down to La Daille. The height of the resorts means that they're reliable in terms of snow cover. Any shortages in snow are covered by snow-cannons stationed around the main pistes.
Off-piste : Although I didn't do much off-piste skiing in Val D'Isere, the resort has a reputation for having some of the best off-piste runs around. However, it is best to take a guide, as there is often a high avalanche risk.
The resort : The village has a nice atmosphere and the buildings weren't an eyesore unlike some of those in Tignes.
Food : At lunch times, the restaurents are packed and the pistes deserted, so leave your lunch an hour or so later than normal and enjoy lovely quiet runs. There is great food at the restaurent at the top of the solaise express chair lift.
Accommodation : Stayed in a catered chalet which was comfortable and within walking distance of the resort lifts.
Costs: As with all big resorts you often have to pay a higher price to stay and ski but it's worth it. Definitley spend extra on an Espace Killy pass unless you're an absolute beginner.
Conclusion: 10/10. Love the resort and the skiing is just brilliant. Will return in 2008.

Val D'Isere Resort Report Feedback Thread
ski holidays     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Resort: Zermatt
Country: Switzerland
Domain: none but 3 seperate mountain areas in Zematt and you can ski into Cervinia in Italy
Author: Lynseyf
Date: 29/12/07 - 05/01/08
Our holiday: This is my 7th week on snow in 4 years, Boyfriend a bit more experienced and a lot more confident
Website : www.zermatt.ch
booked apartment at http://www.holidaynet.ch/sonnheim/
Basics : Travelled with easyjet from Edinburgh to Geneva then used Swiss transfer ticket for return journey by train to Zermatt, all very easy to book online.
Lift system : excellent, lots of lifts. I am not fazed by t-bars or pomas but only used 1 t-bar once all week. No real queues either despite this being new year
The terrain : Quite spread out between all the mountains and it can be a bit complicated to work out how to get where you want to go, we also got stuck poling along a couple of flat bits which were down as reds on the map, don't know if we were going up them or what but couldn't ski??
My favourite bit was the reds from the Matterhorn area down to Furg, the reds on the glacier were nice as well but the long blue at the bottom of the glacier was the flattest thing I have ever skied.
I would agree it is not for beginers and the grading system is nonsense the blue on KM is sooo flat while the one at Sunnegga is steeper than some of the reds.
I skied most of the reds and blues and some were pretty steep in places but they are generally very wide so I was never in over my head. The worst runs were the ones down to the village which got icy by the end of the day and were usually very busy. My favourite bit was probably KM and it seemed to have the best snow when we were there
The snow : good at the start, then icy for 3 days then good for the last 3 although this meant the matterhorn area was shut due to high winds Sad
Off-piste : NA
The resort : The Village was lovely, lots of expensive shops selling lacroix skis for £3k and Prada jackets NehNeh , on a more practical note there is a very good supermarket, Migros if your budget is more Primark than Prada
Food : We ate in our partment every night. We were initially going to go out some nights and eat in the rest but we skied so much during the day that we were quite happy to stay in every night. On the mountain we ate at the restaurant at Furg, 2 at Furi, the self service at Riffleberg and twice over at Sunnegga, one of them was called the Paradies (sp) and can't remember the name of the other. Don't think we quite did the cuisine justice as I would find it impossible to ski after a huge lunch with wine etc. so we mainly had a couple of hot chocs and rum and some soup through out the day and it was all very nice.
Accommodation : The apartment was really nice and in an excellent position, approx. 300m from the KM lift and we could ski to about 50m from it on the way home
Costs: Apartment was just under £400 for the week, ski pass was just under £200 for 7 days including 1 day in Italy. We spent about £250 each for the week which was living quite frugally, lunch out most days of soup, couple of drinks and dinner in the apartment.
Conclusion: This is the first "proper" alpine ski holiday I have been on having been to Bulgaria, Slovenia and Slovakia in the past ( and Scotland). The lift system here was far superior to anything I had seen before and there was a lot more piste and they were generally longer than in the resorts I have been to. The village was beautiful and the views were amazing and it was a lovely holiday experience. However I got a bit fed up looking at my piste map all the time trying to work out where I was and the lifts close ridiculously early, 3.30pm for some of them!!!! I was prepared for spending more than on previous holiday but NOTHING was cheap. I would compare the prices to Edinburgh or probably any big UK city but most UK cities have cheaper options, BYOB restaurants etc, I didn't see anything like that in Zermatt. I would go back, there was so much skiing and the pistes were lovely, but I think it would be far harder to keep costs down in a big group. I will also go back to Jasna in Slovakia tho Smile

Resort Report Feedback Thread for Zermatt


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Thu 10-01-08 22:41; edited 1 time in total
ski holidays     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Resort: Ovindoli (in Abruzzo nr Rome)
Country: Italy
Domain: None
Author: Gilberts Fridge
Date: 21 Dec 07
Our holiday: Living in Rome for the moment which has allowed me to look at these small resorts on day trips. As I work shifts I am able to avoid the weekends.
Website : http://www.ovindolimagnola.it/
Basics : Ovindoli is one of the small resorts in the Abruzzo /Lazio regions of Italy about 90 min drive from Rome. Left home about 7:15 and got there about 8:45 after a very nice drive (Italian driving excepted)up through the hills. Pretty quickly once you are through the Roma Est toll you are in the mountains, it still suprises me how mountainous a country Italy is. The Auto Strada is 2 lane and windy all the way,who said the Romans built straight roads.
Lift system : One Gondela, 3 Fixed grip 3 man chairs and One 2 man. Couple of drags on the nursery slopes and one for the snow park. Also a covered magic carpet lift for the nursery slope.
The terrain It’s a pretty small area of about 40 kms of marked trails. Spent most of the morning skiing from top to bottom using the Gondella with the Anfiteatro and CappanaBrinn chairs. Had hoped to have some fun in the bumps but there were none to be found.In the afternoon the 2 man Montefrredo chair opened but only to access the Panoramica red, The long Pistone black run was kept closed, I guess to keep it in good condition for the week end.
The run grading was on the generous side, the reds were not that challenging and neither was the one black I skied. Overall Id skied out what was open(about 2/3rds) by the end of the morning. The lifts were slow and the runs short but I had great time.
The snow : The pistes were well groomed but did have a little bit of ice around. Because most of the skiing is in a narrow valley a lot was in the shade due to the height of the sun at this time of year.
Off-piste : Off piste is not my thing yet but most of the slope side was already tracked. Did see a couple of Ski tourers about as well.
The resort : The ski area is a little from the main town, which is a living town not a resort. I did not get any time to explore it though.
At the bottom of the lifts there are about 6 or 7 hire shops, nothing too flash and they all tend to only stock one manufacturer so you get the Head shop, the Rossignol shop etc.
Food : A little disappointing only one of the two mountain restaurants was open plus a self service cafe at the base. I’d promised myself a good lunch but sad to say didn’t get it. The Staff were all very friendly
Accommodation : As this was a day trip I can’t say much about accommodation
Costs: Tolls from Rome, €8. Ski Hire €25. Lift ticket €21 plus €3 for hands free card
Conclusion: I enjoyed my day out a lot, not the most challenging resort ever but it’s still skiing. Ovindoli is not somewhere you go for a week or base a holiday around but if you are in the Rome area and have a spare day then check the conditions, hire a car and give it a go. I will be taking my kids there(5 and 7) just for a pootle around.

Ovindoli Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Resort: aspen/snowmass
Country: u.s.a. colorado
Domain: aspen/aspen highlands/buttermilk/snowmass
Author: neilski

Date: 10th to 17th january 2008
Our holiday: first trip to aspen just me and the wife, aim to spend optimium time on slopes to improve level of skiing
Website : www.aspensnowmass.com/ for all resort info from weather to eating out to booking passes and ski school etc
Basics : travelled with bmi from manchester via chicago to aspen
Lift system : aspen mountain 1 gondola/1 high speed quad/1 high speed double/2 quads/3 doubles
aspen highlands 3 high speed quads/ 2 triples
buttermilk 2 high speed quads/3 doubles/4 ski school lifts
snowmass 1 gondola/1 high speed six seater/6 high speed quads/2 quads/1 triple/4 doubles/6 ski school lifts
the lift system is a bit dated which is a bit of a suprise in such a high class resort, but its so quiet here i never had to wait for more than a minute for any lift. the higher chair lifts at snowmass can be a little uncomfortable if the wind gets up.
The terrain : aspen/ steep and deep with great bump and glade skiing, but also has fast top to bottom blue cruisers. favourite runs back of bell 1 and ruthies run and f.i.s.
aspen highlands/ excellent allround hill with steeps at the top and nice easy blues at mid station. favourite runs steeplechase and the olympic bowl
buttermilk/ probably the best begineers area in the world with perfectly groomed greens and blues all over the hill, but with a seperate area of easy black runs for intermediate skiers, favourite runs everything off the tiehack chair plus red's rover freestyle park
snowmass/ only spent one day here and probably only skied one tenth of the terrian, it has everything steep/deep/moguls/terrian parks/long long cruisers, could of skied for a week and still not seen all snowmass has to offer. favourite runs reidar's moguls and the whole big burn area.
The snow : new snow each morning for the first three days then blue sky days for the next two, finishing with a perfect cold powder day on our last day. the snow is so light and dry it makes your skiing of the steeper slopes a real pleasure
Off-piste : didn't get to hike the bowl which is the real off piste challange in aspen, but this place has so much in bounds ungroomed terrian you can find safe off piste shutes and runs on every mountain, the glade skiing is the best i have ever done and something everyone should try as they have easy glades to try at first then on to the steep glades of snowmass and aspen
The resort : the town of aspen is a rel town with every facility you can imagine, it has a great free bus systems which takes you to all the four mountains day and night
Food : too many to list, the web site has a great page for seeing all the different types of food and styles, our favourites where the local places like little annies and the double dog and steak pit, on the mountain stops are all of good quality, the cliffhouse on buttermilk did a mongolian bbq which was fab and had the most incredible views.
Accommodation : the little nell , slopeside with a ski concierge , very expensive and now we have had a good look around there are loads of very convienent alternatives that do not cost the earth, staying at snowmass would be a great option .
Costs:$486 six day lift pass for all four mountains,great free bus system beer and food about the same as uk high street, but overall good value for money , as you can get in so much skiing with literally no wait times.
Conclusion: this was my first experience of the american rockies and all the hype about the quality of the snow is not exaggerated . i had simply the best skiing holiday of my life so far. aspen is an expensive place to visit but i think with a little research and some good forward planning i could now cut my costs in half. we stayed for a week but would do ten days next time , spilting our stay between snowmass and aspen, and taking the oppertunity to see more of the valley, incuding the beautiful cross country walks and woulld definatly take a snowcat powder skiing trip and hike the highlands bowl. i was lucky enough to have some private ski lessons which gave me an invalueble insight into skiing at aspen, with a quality of instruction which took me from a unconfident intermediate skier to being able to tackle almost all of the expert terrain aspen has to offer in all kinds of conditions.
i will definatly be back there soon snowHead

Aspen Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Resort: Zell am Ziller
Country: Austria
Domain: Zillertal Superski
Author: Alex_Heney

Date: 05 Jan - 12 Jan 2008
Our holiday: Traveling as a single with Crystal (48 years old, married but wife doesn't ski).
Website : http://www.zell.at/en/zell/winter/start_winter.html for the local area (Zillertal Arena) or http://www.zillertal.at for the domain
Basics : The resort is about 1 hour from Innsbruck, in the same domain as Mayrhofen. I flew from Bristol to Innsbruck, as part of the package - which for that flight uses Autruian Airlines - far superior to Thomsonfly IMO.
Lift system : The majority of the lifts in the area are fast chairs, with a gondola for initial entry in each of the individual areas. I found very little queuing, although it was low season. The various areas within the domain are not lift linked, but all of the buses and trains in the valley are included with the lift pass, and are frequent and convenient for accessing different areas from one centre.
The terrain : The large majority of the pistes in the Zillertal are red, although there are a few more blacks in the Mayrhofen area than in some of the others. In the Zillertal Arena, there are only two full length blacks, one of which is required if you want to ski from Zell to the other end (unless you bypass it by taking a chair down). The blues are even more limited though, with only the nursery slopes above Zell itself, plus one long blue that you can't get back from without a long drag and then skiing a red. There are a few more over twoards the far end of the Arena at Kongsleiten and Gerlos.
The snow : I really could not have asked for better snow conditions during my week. It snowed on the Sunday and Monday, leaving about 10-15cm of fresh snow for the rest of the week, and tempratures stayed just about low enough to keep it in good condition.
Off-piste : Difficult for me to realy comment, as I was sticking to the pistes after injuring a leg on the first day. From what I could see, there was plenty of it, but it got tracked pretty quickly in te areas between the main pistes. there still appeared to be quite a lot with very few tracks once away from the busiest areas.
The resort : Zell am Ziller is a working town, although with quite a few hotels and the usual "chocolate box" look of the Tyrol. Most of the hotels are near the centre of town, while the Gondola station is a little out of town, so the free ski bus is pretty well essential.
Food : If you are in town for lunch, there is a very pleasant cafe/confectioners next to the bridge over the river. The Lammach restaurant on the mountain near Konigsleiten does a really nice grilled half chicken for 6 Euros.
Accommodation : I stayed in the Hotel Brau, which is currently the only one offered by Crystal. It is a 4 star hotel, and IMO was excellent. My room itself was nothing special, but was OK. The staff were always pleasant and helpful, without being obtrusive. The food at dinner was always excellent, with 5 courses most nights, four on the two buffet nights. And they have a very good wellness area with Sauna, Steam room, whirloppl baths and large relaxation area (all free) plus magsage and solarium at extra charge.
Costs: Difficult to say as I have little recent experience of other ski areas. Prices generally seemed comparable with those I found in the Dolomites 2 years ago. A large beer was generally around 3 euros, a Hot Chocolate usually around 2.50. Gulaschsuppe was between 3 and 5 Euros, with Spaghetti Bolgnese usually being around 6-7, main meals with chips usualy being around 8.
Conclusion: I would very happily go back to that resort and hotel, even though my enjoyment of the specific trip was somewhat curtailed by injury.

Zell am Ziller Resort Report Feedback Thread
ski holidays     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Resort: Les Contamines

Country: France

Domain: Les Contamines/Hauteluce

Author: Sarah Roberts (magic_hat)

Date: 11th January - 14th January 2008

Our holiday: 2 female thirtysomethings, both good Intermediate skiers, looking for a nice French resort with varied skiing

Website: www.lescontamines.com; www.lescontamines.net

Basics: BMI Baby flight from Manchester to Geneva, Alamo car hire booked through HolidayAutos (with the 10% discount link from this site),
short drive to the resort (just over an hour including getting slightly lost after selecting the wrong Les Contamines in the sat nav!). Easy.

Lift system : Efficient. A couple of bubble cars get you from the car parks up to about 1900 metres. From there it's all 4 seater chairlifts -
fairly quick ones, no major problems. Only a couple of drag lifts in the resort, although these are marked "difficult" and are not for beginners.

The terrain: Wide open pistes, pretty much all of them with awesome views across to Mont Blanc. A nice mix of blues, red and blacks - would probably suit skiers of all abilities (although a section of black runs was closed when I was there). Easy to get to and from the Hauteluce domain above Belleville on the opposite side. Les Contamines itself is at about 1100m, but most of the skiing is above 'Le Signal' which sits at 1900m. I'd say this pretty much guarentees you snow-sureness. When I was there you yould ski right the way down to the village without any problems at all, although if you can't there are a couple of bubble lifts down from either 1900m or approx 1500m.

The snow: Awesome. Absolutely awesome. Friday afternoon was nice and well groomed with hardly any people around. Fairly packed snow, but still nice to ski on. The snow came down by the bucketload on Friday night and all day Saturday, so although the
conditions on Saturday were far from ideal, the conditions on Sunday more than made up for it (glorious snow, fabulous sunshine, clear skies). They were about as perfect as you can get.

Off-piste: I'm not one for heading off into the wilderness with a guide and an avalanche pack, so I can't comment on any of this shenanigans. However, I do like venturing into the soft stuff between the pistes or to the sides of the pistes or shortcutting through "off piste" areas to get to where I want to go…. There are plenty of possibilities for this sort of thing in Les Contamines. Large areas of untouched, safe, deep white stuff to muck around in and practice your powder/off piste skills.

The resort: I was only in Les Contamines for a long weekend, so this meant that we tended to ski hard all day, eat, then sleep, then ski hard the next day. This doesn't allow much time for mooching about in the village so I can't comment too much on this. However, what I did see I liked very much. Les Contamines is a real, traditional French village that just happens to sit beneath some amazing pistes. It was not purpose built and has a nice friendly feel to the place. The church in the centre is beautiful, and the buildings are all your classic wooden french chalet style (with some original and unrenovated ones still scattered about)

Food:

On Piste:

La Rosellette - Just of the Rosellette lift, down the Friedze piste. Nice and cosy, good food, good service. Had a very good onion soup.

La Ferme de la Ruelle (Hauteluce sector) - Divided into 2 halves, a bar (serving snacks and drinks) and a restaurant (serving your standard savoyarde type fayre). We opted for the bar (to cut down on costs) but the guy in front of me got the last 2 sandwiches, so we had a drink and then left. What I did see of the food looked quite nice.

Le Signal - Didn't eat at the self service restaurant, but did get a waffle with chocolate from the cabin outside - very good value and very tasty for a quick snack.


Off Piste (Evenings):

Le Glacier - Our first night in Les Contamines. The cheapest of our meals out. We had Tartiflette - simple, but tasty and filling. Eat downstairs
where it is cosier, rather than upstairs in the window.

Le Huski - A really nice, good quality restaurant that is far better than it's name suggests. I had steak, Selina had Duck and the starters were
pretty good too. The food is laid out all fancy and the dauphinoise is the best i've ever tasted.

Le Barratet - We reserved a table at this restaurant for our final night based on a recommendation, but ended up going elsewhere because you had to pre-order any of the decent meals on the menu and we hadn't!. A shame because it looked like a really nice little family run restaurant.

L'Op Trakken - Pricey, but pretty nice. We had "La Rebloche" which is a sort of fondu made with reblochon. You get a whole reblochon cheese each and a mini grill to cook your cheese under. Also, the vin chaud in the bar here was the best in the village.

Accommodation : I stayed in a little B&B (gite) called "La Ferme De Bon Papa". It was a converted old farm run by a wonderful French lady who joins you for breakfast as she likes to chat. Her son is into freestyle skiing, her husband is a mountain guide, and her cat Nemo is lovely. It cost 65 Euros a night and I thought it was a wonderful place to stay. A real "French" experience (she speaks no English).

Costs: Have been trying not to add it all up for fear of terrifying myself at how much i was willing to spend to fit in 2.5 days of skiing!
However:
Flights - £72 Each (including the extra for ski carriage)
Car Hire - Approx £30 Each for a Peugeot 207 (big enough for 2 people plus
luggage and skis)
Accomodation - Approx £70 each (3 nights).
Car Parking at Manchester Airport: £5.50 each
LIft Passes - £60 Each
Food - Probably about £100 Each (but we are greedy and tended to order the
most expensive things on the menu)

Conclusion: Am tempted to say that the place is a hell hole with crap skiing. That way no-one will go and it will stay just as it is, but
i'd be lying. A truly lovely place with some amazing skiing. Gorgeous. But not for people who want lively apres-ski.

Les Contamines Resort Report Feedback Thread
ski holidays     
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Resort: Klosters
Country: Switzerland
Domain: Davos-Klosters Mountain, part of Silvretta Alpine chain.
Author: plectrum
Date: 5th - 12th Jan 2008
Our holiday: Part touring, part piste cruising
Website : www.klosters.ch www.davos.ch www.parsenn.ch
Basics : Flight to Zurich followed by hyper efficient Swiss train to Klosters Platz in 2-1/2 hours
Lift system : Lifts are high quality swiss set up, initial access to mid mountain is very new and then combo of lift styles. Some mountains areas are predominantly long t-bar lifts.
The terrain : 5 skiable mountains only 2 Parsenn & Klosters are connected. Madrisa is fantastic for beginners. Jakobshorn is fantastic for fast skiing and all weather visibility skiing. Rinerhorn is a intermediate mountain quite undulating and bumpy. Pischa open terrain better for off piste.
Bus connection is well serviced and always on time. There is also many long descents to intermediate villages which are either bus served or train served.
The snow : 2007/08 season is fantastic and we had a perfect week with mix of clouds and snow to sun and blue skies. The off piste had 60cm new snow and the on piste was the best I have skiied over the last 5 years in January.
Off-piste : This mountain region is famed for off-piste and touring and it lived up to the reputation with some awesome guide accessed descents and high mountain passes.
The resort : I stay in Klosters rather than the nearby Davos town as I prefer the quiet life. I do not get the view that Klosters or even Davos is a particulary party based resort and so those wishing for late nights should try elsewhere. This though should be music to the ears for many others who want a relaxing village orientated experience in a tree line resort. The whole mountain range is very pretty and services such as ski shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, opticians, doctors etc etc are all nearby and of high quality. Klosters Ski School is redundant if numbers in teh resort are low but it is possible to book at the busy Davos office which entails taking a 25 min train ride every morning to ski with the school.
Food : We ate at the Gentiana, Davos for fondue, and they also specialise in snails! In Klosters there are a few fine dining establishments that are Michelin or Gault Millau recognised.
Accommodation : Haus Annina, 147 Landstrasse booked through www.klosters.ch - 6 person self catering 5 min walk to train/main cable car and on the bus route to Madrisa lift station. Clean apartment, big rooms, natural wood fire alongside central heating, good bath and high pressure shower, only 1 toilet for 6 people though. Groundfloor with terrace for storing beers and catching an after dinner ciggie! Reasonable views of the mountain pine trees!
Costs: Entire holiday = £500- Flight-£90, Train-£15 UK, Train-£40 Swiss, Accomodation-£150, Food-£50, Beer-£10, Ski Pass 7 days-£145
Other costs to include are ski hire if needed and spending money for pubs, lunches and restaurants
Conclusion: I love this mountain it really has a bit of everything. It is fantastic for all levels of skiers and has superb areas for ski touring, from day tours to multi day hut to hut tours.

Klosters Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Resort: Tignes Les Boisses

Country: France

Domain: Espace Killy

Author: Furbag, also see my other reports here http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewpost.php?p=161772 for Tremblant and here http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewpost.php?p=552603 for 2007 trip to Bulgaria.

Date: 13th Jan 2008

Our holiday: This is my 3rd trip skiing trip so I feel I can place myself as a intermediate skier now, again my mate Andy came with me and our wives stayed at home ( how DO we get away with it) This time I took the back seat and Andy did all the booking for this trip. One thing we did find was due to it being just the 2nd week after the New Year it was very quiet which I found to be lovely.

Website : There are lots of good sites if you google Tignes but the company we went with was Mountain Sun Ltd http://www.mountainsunltd.com/tignes.htm a fairly small company but they give you what I can only describe as a very personal touch to your holiday.

Basics : The resort is in France and we grabbed a Gatwick scheduled flight to Geneva which I would recommend as although this bumps up the transfer times it does mean you land outside the EU and means you are able to buy Duty Free on the way out and back, where as if you fly into Chanbery in France you cannot. The transfers got a bit tedious as you can end up having to pick up others along the route but as the tranfers arent that expensive you cant really complain especially when you've got a stash of duty free on you wink

Lift system : Loads all over the place, we never queued but then the whole resort was very quiet anyway. All the attendants where helpful and if you looked a bit dodgy getting on the lift they would slow it down. I would advise if you are not a competent skier to get someone who knows the area to show you around as the lift system can be a bit complicated around the mountains and you could end up at the top of somewhere with only a red or black run back again !!!

The terrain : Ah now this caused at bit of a problem for us at the start, we found their piste marking a tadge odd compared to our other trips. Blue runs could be anything from what I'd classify as an up hill green !! to a pretty nasty black with moguls !! They appear to mark the runs by the worst part of the run, i.e. you could have a run that was marked as a red but that was just a short 200m section of it and the rest of the run could actually be classed as a green, but due to the nature of the first bit they marked it Red !!! Unless you are a competent at skiing I would again suggest you grab someone who knows the area to show you about, as on the first day we ended up on something known as Piste H and that’s a blue but on the day I felt it was like a red and more traffic on it that the M25 in rush hour !!! ( M25 is a UK motorway) I had an awful time getting down that one. There are just loads and loads of runs and I recon you would have to be a real expert to get bored in a week. The one really good thing about the runs are they are all very well marked and have round discs every 100mtrs or so giving you the colour/name of the run and each disc is numbered in a descending order so you can tell how far you have to go roughly on each run which I found very helpful.

The snow : They had a big dump a week or so back and then we had a day of another 3", the rest of the time it was bright sunshine and the snow was fantastic. The runs appeared to be well groomed every night although if it snowed after they had been groomed then the runs seemed to get chopped up a lot during the day due to the fresh snow being pushed up into small moguls.

Off-piste : I would think there are loads, saw lots doing it but didn’t do any ourselves. Many people seemed to be getting lifts to the top and strapping the ski's to there back and walking off over the mountain , there totally mad but if its what your into then I recon its the place to go.

The resort : Our Chalet was located in Tignes Les Boisses which was a short 10min (free) bus ride to Le Lac which was the main town area which had loads of bars etc in it, we didn’t really check that part of it out as most days we where just too tired after skiing to go back into town and generally stayed in our chalet.

Food : The food as expected on the mountain was a bit pricey although I felt wasn’t that over priced considering you where up a mountain, all the food we had was very good. They offered a good selection of euro food and we never really had any problems getting something tasty.

Accommodation : This was our first experience of a catered chalet, although I would classify the property as more of a small hotel that was run in a catered chalet style, as flat out it would hold about 50 guests over 20 or so rooms. When we where there it was very quiet and we almost had one member of staff per guest as there was just ourselves and one other family staying there. But I felt that if it had been full our experience would have been just as good if not better. Our room was of a good size and had a nice bathroom and balcony, No TV or Coffee or phone in the room though, which was new to us as we have always stayed in hotels. This was by no means a problem as there was always coffee or tea on tap downstairs, there was a nice size TV in the lounge with Sky and a playstation, best of all for myself was free wi-fi access AND a computer that you could use, I took a wi-fi laptop and was able to upload my daily pics and video to a site for my wife and friends to look at, also I was able to keep up to date with e-mails etc and all for free. There is also a hot tub and sauna available for free as well, although we didnt use these. They do have what I felt was a great in-house ski/boot hire etc and currently have a great range of Atomic ski's and boots for hire at a reasonable fee although we didn’t need the boots as we have now got our own now. The food, is what I can only describe as top quality home cooked meals, very well presented and just soooo tasty along with plenty of it, full English brekkie along with the continental stuff, afternoon tea is served from about 4pm which is lovely homemade cake which you could help yourself to and coffee/tea is also served. Dinner was a 3-course affair, there wasn’t a choice (something new to us but apparently this is how the catered Chalet side of things work) but every night was a total taste bud experience and couldn’t be faulted, along with a very drinkable red or white wine which made the whole dinning experience as good as any restraunt I felt. Don’t forget that Wednesday is the staff's day off so although brekkies are limited you will need to find our own evening meal on that day either up in Le Lac or as we did from the small bar/restraunt next door. The Chalet also had its own bar which would work as a cash bar or you could run a tab against your room number, the total could be checked pretty much anytime if you where concered about your beer consumption Laughing also it fully itemised all your purchases at the end.

Costs: Flights worked out at about £125 PP Chalet was something like £300 , I dont think its the cheapest option but I liked the fact its was inbetween a full blown hotel and a small catered chalet, but having never done the catered chalet thing I can only go by what friends have told me and I feel this was well above a catered chalet.

Conclusion: I really cannot fault Mountain Sun and their Les Melezes chalet, the staff are really helpful and are always willing to give you as much or as little help as you needed, they came out skiing with us on two occasions as well, although I can imagine that if they where full you wouldn’t have quite as many staff coming out with you as they would need to share themselves about a bit over the other guests. The resort was lovely and the skiing was very good. On leaving I felt I couldn’t wait to return and with the resort being so big I cant wait to get back and try some different runs and do even more exploring. Real beginners may find it somewhat daunting especially as some of the green runs being at the top of the mountain which makes them tricky to get to, but having said that there are a lot of blues which could actually be classified as greens really, just be careful which you go on and ask for advice. Cant wait to get go back to Tignes and the Les Melezes chalet run by www.mountainsunltd.com both myself and my mate Andy both commented this was the best skiing holiday either of us have ever had.

Furbag

Tignes Resort Report Feedback Thread
snow conditions     
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Resort: Les Gets

Country: France

Domain: Shares the local area with Morzine but also part of the Portes du Soleil

Author: Hairy Boy

Date: 16th - 19th January, 2008

Our holiday: Arranged this break for my wife and I (no kids) so we got 3 nights and 3.5 days ski-ing. I've done about 6 weeks ski-ing (learnt when at school) and my wife has done 3 weeks (learnt as an adult). We are still at the stage where my wife feeling comfortable with the slopes is a major requirement - we chose Les Gets as it appeared to have lots of Blues and a few greens to start with on day 1 all linked quite nicely so you could get around without having to use reds to link up - this proved to be the case, it was perfect for us.

Website : www.lesgets.com

Basics : We flew to Geneva from Leeds Bradford and hired a small car for the 2 of us - takes around 1.25 hours to drive to Les Gets from Geneva.

Lift system : I think this area gets a bit of stick for its lifts but we found it fine (although we did go at a quiet time I guess). From where we stayed, Mont Chery Hotel we could jump on either the Telecabine Chavannes (small cable car) or the Chavannes Express (6 man chairlift).

The terrain : The pistes really suited us for this trip (see above comments about lots of linked blues). Up the Chavannes Express takes you to a really great area with gentle, wide greens and blues, you can stay in this area using the TS la Croix Chairlift or pick up the Gentiane blue run back down to Les Gets. There is also a beginner's area and kids area called the Indian Cry or something up here. From the top of the Chavannes Express Chair you can also take the Violettes blue run down into the main Les Gets bowl. There are 5 chairlifts up out of this bowl with red, blacks and blues back down into the base of the bowl. On day 2 we worked our way over to Morzine. My wife loved the wide open blues around the TS Raverettes Chairlift - we spent a bit of time doing this loop - nice carving territory for me and plenty gentle enough for my wife. Ski'd down to Morzine, ski-ing across the narrow footbridge in the process. After lunch at Morzine, ski'd back over to Les Gets, Belvedere Cairlift and then down the Crocus and Bruyere blues to Les Gets. Did a bit more of everything on Day 3 - this area was the perfect intermediate's paradise we hoped for.

The snow : Very Good, we ski on-piste so can't comment on the off-piste but the snow was very good on-piste. My wife thought it was fluffy and light - she hates ice and we didn't find much ice around.

Off-piste : can't comment

The resort : Beautiful village with a main street with most of the restaurants/shops being based on or just off this street.

Food : We didn't have a bad meal while we were there:

Lunch:
Le Lhotty's - top of the Nauchets Express Chair out of the Les Gets bowl was great, we had a light lunch of soup with cheese and crouton which was delicous, all the bigger meals being served looked scrummy.
L'Equipe - In Morzine, just off the slopes at the Pleney Telecabine. Good Lasagne and Salad (waitress was bit miserable) with a big cauldron of soup bubbling above a log fire outside the front of the restaurant.
Le Choucas - great pizzeria/cafe on the main street of Les Gets. Lots of french eating there, we shared a lovely Pizza and salad - well recommended for lunch - this place didn't look busy on an evening, more a lunch place.

Evening Meal:
The Tyrol Hotel - just off the main street near the centre of town - we got there a bit early and orded goats chees starter and Lasagne main. when things got busier we saw people having beef which was brought out raw for people to ok and then cooked over a fire on a grill - looked gorgeous. We really enjoyed our meal here.
La Coptaux - on a small crossroads on the main street, centre of town. Very, Very nice place -very rustic and woody. we had a raclette (cheese melted on grill brought to the table, served with salad, cold meats, potatoes and fresh bread). This was a real experience and would really suggest trying this place - worth booking a table though.
Le Schuss - main street almost opposite La Coptaux. Very light and looked a little cold looking up from the street below into this 1st floor restaurant - don't be fooled ! Very good service and great food, I had Tartiflette which was really yummy - followed up with fresh patisseries brought up from the shop below after closing. Highly Recommended.

We really didn't have an average meal - everywhere we ate was great - try any of the above and I'm sure you won't be disapointed.

Accommodation : Hotel Mont Chery (3*). just off the base of the slopes at the Chavannes Chair and Telecabine. Perfect location at the heart of the village and just off the slopes. This hotel was happy to take a part week (3 night) stay and also gave the option of Bed and Breakfast which we took. There is a lovely pool with Jacuzzi and Sauna/Wetroom. Good Locker Room for skis/boots. The bedrooms are nice and the breakfast were good (continental). The staff were courteous and helpful and there was parking for the hire car. Well recommended hotel - 480 Euros B&B for a double room for 3 nights.

Costs: Hire Car (Corsa) - £120 for 4 days, See hotel above for accomodation costs. Lunch - 30Euros for 2 light lunches, 1 beer and 1 glass wine and a crraffe of water. Evening meal - ranged from 50 - 70Euros for 2 including a bottle of wine.

Conclusion: Really enjoyed Les Gets - we will definately return, possibly with the kids in February 09. Great place for a couple and also great for families - can't comment on the lift queue's at busy periods as we went when it was quiet. Also, the village and the ski area are quite low so possibly not the safest bet for good conditions early/late season.

Les Gets Resort Report Feedback Thread
snow report     
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Resort: Whitefish Mountain Resort (previously known as Big Mountain)

Country: Montana, USA

Domain: None

Author: hd

Date: 24-27 Januaray 2008. (4 full days on the slopes)

Our holiday: Part of a 10 day trip that continued with a week in Fernie. (see next report)
I travelled with my usual 2 snowboarding mates. We are fairly experienced powder-hungry riders who have explored the European Alps extensively and are now looking for new challenges across the pond.

Website:

Whitefish Mountain Resort official website. Daily snow reports are logged at 6am and a summary of today's conditions is added around midday once the reporter has spent a couple of hours on the slopes. (local time = GMT-7hrs)

7 day local weather forecast

Basics : Whitefish Mountain Resort is located 20 minutes north of the town of Whitefish, in the far north of Montana 75 minutes from the US/Canada border. My two mates live in Germany and Switzerland so travel logistics were complicated. We decided to fly to the local Kalispell airport which is only 15 minutes south of Whitefish. My flights were with Northwest from Gatwick. Outbound involved two stops via Minneapolis and Seattle, 18 hours, departing Gatwick midday, arriving Kalispell 11.45pm local time, yuk. The return journey was not so bad with one stop in Minneapolis only, 12 hours, departing Kalispell 2pm, arriving Gatwick 9.10am (next day). Fare = £475 Sad

Lift system: Is excellent. Three out of the four main lifts are fast quads. All of the lifts are very well linked meaning that you spend far more time on the slopes than on your bum.

The terrain:

The resort claims that the area covers 3000 acres.

Piste maps

In summary; steep at the top, much flatter at the bottom. A perfect mix of immaculately groomed pistes and vast areas of ungroomed open, gladed and forested terrain. As is the norm with North American resorts all of the area within the resort boundaries is patrolled and avalanche controlled - the "if you can see it, ride it" mantra very much applies here. The area is divided into 4 main sections:

Frontside
Accessed by Chair 1 (a new fast quad) which covers the 800m vertical in only 7-8 minutes. There are endless different routes back down to the bottom. Toni Matt, Inspiration, and Moe-Mentum are long wide groomers of European red-ish run gradient at the top moderating to blue-ish gradient at the bottom. Of far greater interest to us were the large areas of ungroomed terrain. Big Face is a wide open moderately steep run with very few trees directly under the normally disused Chair 5. This continues into pisted (but not always groomed) red-black-ish runs under (also normally disused) Chair 4, with tighter trees between the pistes. This is the quickest (not groomed) route down to the base and was superb in good snow. To rider's left from the summit is East Rim which accesses some seriously steep chutes between rocks/trees into more open bowls below. Evan's Heavan is an area of tight-ish trees with a multitude of routes through it. Bigfoot T-bar is open at weekends only and serves a few short yo-yo runs but more importantly provides access to a vast area of tight trees on the backside. (see below)

Backside
Served preominantly by Chair 7, a fast quad, 7 minutes. Straight down are several groomed runs the steeper of which were heavily mogulled at the top. To rider's left from the summit are some scarily steep runs that moderate to almost complete flatness at the bottom (board off and some walking is required Sad ) To rider's right is the most interesting area (accessed from the Bigfoot T-bar). A vast expanse of mostly tight trees with numerous long routes down. Great and challenging tree-dodging fun after a moderate snowfall, a bit more complicated after a big dump, as it's easy to get stuck! All fall-line routes lead down to a cat-track to Chair 7 so there are no worries about getting lost.

Hellroaring
My favourite area. Very steep lightly-gladed runs at the top that were superb in good snow. These all lead down to a long long trail of blue-ish gradient that was equally good - the perfect gradient for full speed turns all the way down with trees a plenty to weave between and big pockets of powder at the sides of the run. Felt like a proper race-track. Smile
The only downer about Hellroaring is the chair out which is a slow old triple with no foot-rests i.e. uncomfortable.

Chair 2 area
A seperate hill accessed by Chair 2, another fast quad, 4 minutes. The runs here aren't particularly interesting although the Swift Creek blue is a good fast cruise. However this chair was my preferred route to the two excellent terrain parks and the (massive, biggest I've ever seen!) half-pipe.

The snow : Superb. Already a 200cm+ base when we arrived. Our first day (Thursday) was illuminated by glorious sunshine (amazing views from the summit) and it hadn't snowed for a week. Nevertheless snow all over the mountain was in great condition with plenty of soft spots off-piste. It then snowed Friday, Saturday afternoon and megadumped Sunday so that by Sunday afternoon we were swimming in oodles of knee-waist deep pow. Smile
The backside faces north and on Thursday after the dry sunny spell this area had the best snow. I would imagine that snow conditions on the south-facing frontside would deteriorate fairly rapidly in warmer late-season weather.
I had heard tales that Big Mountain is often troubled by fog. However this wasn't a problem during our visit except for only a brief period at the summit on Sunday afternoon when it was dumping.

Crowds: Overall a crowd-free resort. There was sometimes slight-moderate traffic on the main lifts and in the lunchtime eateries but once on the hill you would often be the only person on a run from top to bottom. After some overnight new the snow would normally become tracked reasonably quickly but was never excessively choppy or mogully. Much easier to find fresh tracks than in Fernie. Never any queues for the lifts.

Off-piste : Vast and varied although not quite as steep, exciting or extensive as Fernie. See the above area write-ups for more info.

The resort : There is a well-developed slope-side village with plenty of accommodation and a few shops, restaurants and bars. Lots of activity immediately after the lifts shut but I was informed that it goes dead later in the evenings.
We stayed in Whitefish town. A typical touristy American town with a very attractive main street. Lots of character. Plenty of bars and restaurants and a brewery which provides free samples of its products.
There is a regular free bus that links the town and the resort.

Food: For lunch we ate in either the Summit Hut which is a big self-service restaurant serving the usual burgers, salads, nachos, chilli, baked potatoes, burritos, etc. Or in The Chalet just above the base which is table service but similar stuff. Both were very good.

In the evenings in Whitefish we ate in:
Great Northern Bar - burgers, cheap but not Great
Mackenzie Pizza Company - decent pizzas.
There are also plenty of more upmarket (and expensive) restaurants.

Apres-ride
At the end of each day we went for a beer in the Bierstube which was always busy.
Later in the evenings there were lots of good and well-populated bars which remained lively until the early hours. The most popular appeared to be the Great Northern which sometimes had live music. The local brewery means that there is a wide range of beers to try.

Accommodation : We stayed in the Pine Lodge which is a comfortable albeit characterless hotel 10 minutes on foot from the town centre. $85 per night for a room that sleeps two in two big double beds, plus a third can be squeezed in although I wouldn't recommended this as the extra rollaway bed is small and springy.
The rate includes breakfast. (cereal, pastries, coffee, fruit juice, bananas/apples)
There is a small not-very-warm swimming pool.
The hotel offers a free shuttle service to/from Kalispell airport between 5am and midnight. So if you arrive on the 11.45pm from Seattle make sure you phone the hotel straight away or you risk being stranded at the airport. I couldn't see any taxis when I arrived. There is a free direct line phone from the airport to all local hotels.

Costs: Probably the best value resort I have ever visited, helped by the weak dollar. Futhermore prices on the hill were no more expensive that those in town. Lift pass = $56/day dropping to $51/day if purchased for 3 consecutive days or more. Pint = $3. Lunch including a drink = $10. Dinner including beer = $15-20. Hotel = <$30pppn if 3 sleep in one room.

Conclusion: Big varied area, 4 days wasn't enough to explore it all, superb snow, excellent lift system, no crowds, cheap. I would visit again. Smile

Whitefish Resort Report Feedback Thread and pics


Last edited by And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports. on Sat 9-02-08 20:49; edited 3 times in total
ski holidays     
 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: Fernie

Country: Canada

Domain: None

Author: hd

Date: 28 January - 1 February 2008 (5 full days on the slopes)

Our holiday: Part of a 10 day trip that was preceded by a long weekend at Whitefish Mountain Resort. (see previous report)
I travelled with my usual 2 snowboarding mates. We are fairly experienced powder-hungry riders who have explored the European Alps extensively and are now looking for new challenges across the pond.

Website:

Official resort website snow report - updated daily at 5am and 8am.

Orricial resort website snow forecast - apparently written by a bloke who is paid by the resort to produce twice daily forecasts. Normally very accurate.

far.redtree.com - a superb website, including a regularly updated blog of conditions, and a detailed description with pics of every single run on the mountain, produced by a local Fernie resident.

Powderwatch - reports on conditions around the Canadian Rockies written by a keen Calgary skier. Because of its snow record a close watch is kept on Fernie. There is also a seperate page where readers post their own Fernie snow reports.

Basics: Located in southern British Columbia. We flew in to Kalispell which is 2 hours from Fernie over the border in Montana and hired a car. See my Whitefish trip report for more info.

Lift system: Is poor. Slow and inconveniently laid out. Travel time to the top of each side of the area from the base is at least 20 minutes. Getting out from the bottom of Cedar Bowl for another lap takes ages. The two slowest lifts (Elk and Boomerang) don't have footrests. Why hasn't the resort spent some of the money it has made from the expensive lift passes on lift upgrades?

The terrain: Is steep and deep but access to most of the good stuff is slow and difficult due to:

- slow lifts (see above)
- lots of traversing on long narrow bumpy tracks is required. A few of these traverses were often not possible on a board after a big dump as some walking uphill is necessary, and this can't be done if the new snow doesn't support your weight. The traverse across the top of Currie Bowl to Currie Chutes and Easter Bowl was the worst.
- poor trail marking. The complicated topographical layout of the mountain means that it's not at all obvious how to get to a lot of the best runs/areas - without local knowledge (thank you Phototim!) we might not have found much of the good stuff.

The end result is that far more time is spent on lifts, traverses and pistes to the next lift than actually on the runs you want to ride.
However these runs are superb. Mostly steep, deep and designed especially for an off-piste powderhound.
The following are the runs that we did the most (from left to right looking at the piste map):

Morning Glory - my favourite run. Accessed up from the Timber chair by a short hike. This plus a long flat run-out at the other end might explain why it wasn't so popular and consequently always seemed to have very good snow? Every time I rode it fresh tracks were laid. Smile One of the few runs that doesn't need to be reached by a long bumpy traverse. Starts with a steep-ish lightly gladed section that takes you down to a wide open motorway style run of generally blue steepness but with some interesting variations in gradient. This funnels into a flat cat-track back to base on which I was always able to keep moving without having to take my back foot out although some riders with less-well-waxed boards had more trouble Wink. Still much preferable to a traverse though IMHO. Top tip - do Morning Glory first thing when it catches the Morning Glorious sunrise. Very pretty. Smile

Big Bang - the direct route down from the Timber to White Pass chairs hence a run that I had to do several times each day. (why didn't the resort build the Timber chair terminus at the same place as the White Pass chair, then add a seperate drag/chair to take you to where Lost Boys cafe is? Confused) Big Bang normally had good snow but got tracked out very quickly. Traversing to rider's right meant fewer tracks but there are lots of nasty rocks and tree stumps to avoid en route.

Surprize Trees - accessed from the White Pass chair via a long very bumpy traverse that starts under the lift. A very nice long run of a perfect steepness in moderately spaced trees that always seemed to have good relatively un-tracked snow. Leads onto a cat-track that can either taken to the right to get back to the White Pass chair (with a bit of walking) or to the left to return to base.

Anaconda Glades - reached from the same traverse as Surprize Trees. Seriously steep tight trees at the top - very hairy - but the reward is a wide open short but sweet powder run that always had perfect very deep snow. Leads into Currie Bowl then back to base (Via Bootleg Glades if desired - see below). For me the short powder run at the bottom wasn't normally worth the effort of the traverse and the nasty tree bit at the top and I always preferred to drop into the other side of the ridge down through Suprize Trees.

Bootleg Glades - accessed by turning hard right onto a cat track immediately at the bottom of Anaconda Glades. Another very steep tree run but much more open than Anaconda and therefore easier. Usually well tracked but good snow could often be found to extreme rider's right. A more interesting route through Currie than the main runs down the centre that were invariably uncomfortably tracked and choppy due to heavy traffic.

123s - The first run from the top of Currie Bowl immediately to rider's right. Good gradient and variation between trees and open slopes but normally ultra-tracked thanks to it's easy access. But was great fun when I scored it in good snow on our first day in Fernie (Monday 28th Jan) soon after Currie was opened.

Currie Chutes - accessed from half way along the long traverse across the top of Currie Bowl, normally after having given up trying to make it all the way to the end of the track to drop in to Easter bowl. Numerous short routes down into the centre of Currie, steep but not excessively, trees but not too many, was always good fun.
Lizard Bowl - a wide expanse of not-very-steep ungroomed snow with very little foilage accessed via the traverse from the Great Bear fast quad. Our favourite route down was to take the traverse all the way to the trees at the end (at the bottom of Easter bowl?) which then provided a steeper route into the centre of Lizard. Unlike others this area can be lapped easily by returning to Great Bear (the best of the chair lifts; fast, only 5 minute journey time, comfy seats, footrests).

Boomerang runs - lots of long steep exciting runs under the Boomerang chair either in trees or out, but the snow never seemed as deep as in other areas and tracking/mogulling always occured quickly after snowfall.

Cedar Ridge - in spite of its easy access from the top of the Boomerang chair Cedar Ridge always seemed to have surprisingly good and very deep snow. Reasonable steepness in gradient and tight packing of trees but neither excessively so. Leads into the centre of Cedar. One of my favourite runs. Very Happy

Cedar Bowl - there are lots of routes into Cedar from the traverse along the top from the Boomerang chair. As always taking the traverse all the way to the end usually paid dividends. Not too steep, few trees.

Unfortunately some of the areas were closed throughout the week due to too much snow e.g. Snake Ridge and the upper part of Currie Bowl. The Face Lift apparently never opens now unless snow conditions have really stabilised.

Terrain park - no longer exists! A rail park remains but as in all resorts run by RCR all of the man-made jumps/kickers have been removed. Not good. Sad

The snow: Absolutely incredible. 172cms fell in the 5 days that we were there, on top of an already above average for the time of year base of 200cms+. Some locals were calling it one of the best weeks that they could ever remember at Fernie. Basically between 20-40cms fell every day and/or night resulting in fresh tracks every morning for the early risers. But we were lucky. The week before had been dry with almost no new snow at all.
Visibility was never a problem even during the heaviest snowfall.

Crowds: Busier than I had expected. Much more so than in the other North American resorts we have visited (Panorama and Big Mountain, Whitefish). Although not at all crowded by French-school-holiday standards there was usually a lengthy queue for first lift in the morning and traffic on the slopes was always noticeable. Consequently the snow got tracked out very quickly and by mid morning many of the runs had been turned into a choppy/mogully mess. To get fresh tracks you either had to make sure you were on first lift, or rely on luck to be in the right place at the right time when one of the bowls were opened, or know where to look with the help of a bit of local knowledge. We visited Monday-Friday; apparently crowds were getting even worse during good-snow weekends and becoming excessively busy, to levels similar to Whistler. I'm not sure if this is down to an increase in Fernie's popularity or just that other resorts nearby this week weren't getting as much snow?

Off-piste: Pretty much the whole mountain is "off-piste" by European standards. There are very few groomed runs. See my run descriptions above for more info.

The resort: There is a small, attractive slope-side village with lots of apartment complexes and a few shops/bars/restaurants. We stayed in Fernie town which is a 10 minute drive from the hill and full of character. The town has a long main street away from the busy main road where all facilities are available.

Food : Actually on the hill there is only one place to eat, Lost Boys Cafe, which has a very limited and overpriced menu. We always had lunch at the base in the cafe in the Snow Creek apartment complex. Great nachos, wraps, much better value, and big comfy sofas by an open fire.
Because getting down to base and then back up again takes such a long time the resort would really benefit from more huts/restaurants on the hill.

For evening grub in Fernie there was a wide variety of restaurants. We ate in:
Grand Central - one of the main bars also has a very good restaurant attached (called Corner Pocket I think).
The Royal Pub - Tuesday is beer and a burger night for $8.
The Old Elevator - on our penultimate night we decided to treat ourselves to the poshest restaurant in town. Glad we did. A great atmospheric location in an old (allegedly haunted...) mill, with excellent service and a varied menu. The salmon and elk were both delicious. Not too expensive - $60 per person for a main course, dessert and drinks (albeit beer not wine).
El Guapo Mexican Diner - directly opposite the hostel, in an odd location attached to a snowboarding shop, but a real find. A wide choice of Mexican grub (burritos, tostadas, nachos etc), all very fresh and tasty, and very cheap. Each night has a special offer e.g. Wednesdays = two burritos for a bargain $10.

Apres-ride At the end of each day we went for a beer in the Griz Bar which was always busy, sometimes to the extent that finding a place to sit was difficult.
Evenings in Fernie appeared to be quiet on first impressions however there were plenty of bars that were made lively by the large population of resort workers and long-term visitors. Tuesday nights in The Royal were an example - rammed, due to the beer+burger for $8, and then Beer Bong Bingo, which was several games of comedy bingo run by an enthusiastic DJ/compere to precipitate drinking games and muchos general drunken hilarity. Great fun. The Grand Central had live music and a good crowd on one of the nights that we visited.

Accommodation : We had a lot of trouble finding availability in a reasonably priced and well located hotel or apartment over the internet. In the end we decided to do it on the ultra-cheap and stay in the Raging Elk Hostel which is a 5-10 minute walk from the centre of town. Very basic accommodation but by normal hostel standards not too bad. The rooms were small and the beds not all that comfortable (although sleeping wasn't difficult after a hard day on the slopes) but facilities were very good - a large kitchen and dining/communal area with comfy sofas, a seperate social room with a big flat screen TV, and a sauna. We slept in 4-bed dorm but the hostel also has private en-suite rooms, none of which were available for our stay unfortunately. The main draw was the price; the hostel offers a package including accommodation and lift-pass for $90pppn which translates to a saving of about $10 per day on the normal lift-pass rate.

Costs: The lift-pass is very expensive at $72/day otherwise costs are reasonable if you know where to go.

Conclusion: We had a great week thanks mainly to the amazing snow. The terrain is superb for an advanced rider however accessing much of it is very difficult (especially on a board) and fresh tracks were hard to find on many days due to excessive crowds. Would I visit again? Probably not for those reasons, and also because of the expensive lift pass and lack of terrain park.

Fernie Resort Report Feedback Thread and pics


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 Sat 9-02-08 21:07; edited 4 times in total
snow conditions     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Resort: Courmayeur

Country: Italy

Domain: Not lift linked

Author: NBT

Date: 13-20 Jan 2008

Our holiday: 3 blokes, all been skiing for about 10 years. Happy on most pistes and dabbling off piste.

Website :
http://www.courmayeur-montblanc.com/inglese/home_ing.htm
http://www.courmayeur.com/
http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Courmayeur/
http://www.j2ski.com/snow_forecast/Italy/Courmayeur_snow_report.html


Basics : Courmayeur is at the head of the Aosta Valley in north western Italy, at the foot of the Mont Blanc and at the other end of the tunnel from Chamonix. We went with a tour op via Turin airport, which gave us a pleasant transfer of just under 1hr 45: having traversed a few Torinese housing and industrial estates on leaving the airport, we got on the autostrada (motorway) which took us all the way to the resort. The autostrada continues through the Mont Blanc tunnel and on to Chamonix in France. This means it's also quite feasible to get here from Geneva in around the same timescale, and a reasonable transfer is also possible from Milan.

The resort : The village itself lovely, as it's a popular weekend destination for the genteel foks of Milan and Turin: quite a number of the people who come up for the weekend never actually don skis, although they may well go up the mountain for a spot of lunch. There are plenty of boutique shops and things for non-skiiers in the village, and easy access by public transport to the thermal springs in the next village or ont to the old Roman Garrison town of Pila.

The terrain : The ski area is incredibly small for such a well known resort: only 24 pistes in total! The skiing is divided into two main areas, the open bowl of Chécrouit and on the other side of the ridge the wooded Val Veny. The Chécrouit area gets the sun earlier in the day, with Val Veny getting the last vestiges of the afternoon sun: as a result the slopes can be very quiet in the early afternoon as the Italians take a long lunch. Although there are technically 4 blacks in Courmayeur I really wouldn't have rated any of the as a true black: in fact only the unpisted mogulled "Pista Dell'Orso" really made us work, the other 3 blacks were regularly bashed and posed no problems at all. The majority of the runs are graded red and again I think the grading is being a little flattering, with a few "blues" thrown in to complete matters. The terrain really is very limited in terms of pistes, a mediocre skiier will easily ski every piste in one day.

Lift system : It's a very small area: only a dozen lifts on the mountain, plus 3 access lifts. The ski area is concentrated almost entirely up the mountain: there's a big (125 person) cable car from the middle of the village, which is the main access to and from the slopes. This leads out into Plan Chécrouit, a large flat area at the foot of the Chécrouit bowl, and there are several hire shops at the top of the gondola, plus lockers where it's possible to store your gear if you have your own or have rented in the village. There's also a 6-man bubble from the suburb of Dolonne on the other side of the river (which it's possible to ski down to) and then a separate cable car at Val Veny, up at the head of the valley, just before you hit the Mont Blanc Tunnel. Note to day-trippers from Chamonix, this is by far the best way for you to access the skiing as there's a big car park and far fewer queues. Again, there are lockers at the Val Veny cable car where you can store gear overnight. From the Plan Chécrouit, the Chécrouit bubbles take you more or less to the to of the ski area: only one piste lies above this, a singe red snaking down the Youla bowl served by a cable car of the same name. From the top of the Youla Cable car, as well as the single red run there's plenty of off piste available either by traversing round the bowl and dropping back ino the ski area, or by heading out of bounds down to Val Veny. In addition there's a third cable car, the Arp, which serves only off-piste. From the top of Chécrouit however it's possible to ski either back down into the Chécrouit bowl, or drop over the ridge into Val Veny. Half way down it's possible to take the slow fixed 2-man Bertolini back up to the same point - if you don;t take this, you have to dro all the way down and the go back via Plan Chécrouit which is quite time-consuming. THe alternative route to reach Val Veny from Plan Chécrouit is take the brand new detachable six-pack Pra Neyron and drop straight down the "black", or potter down the blue and take the creaky old fixed two man Dzeulena. This dichotomy continues, with a mix of old and new all over: I can imagine it would be quite frustrating with sizable queues in busy periods, but as we were skiing straight onto the lifts, we were often glad of the recovery time! First lift up is usually 8.45, with last lift down at 17:00. A free bus service connects the Dolonne cable car with the town centre if you should ski down and need to get back: I'm fairly sure that theres' a free bus up to Val Veny as well but never went up that way on this trip. Completely separate to the ski area, there's a 3-stage cable car running from the very head of town up to the Punta Helbronner, the highest part of the Italian side of the Mont Blanc. In summer there's another stage which connects over to the Aiguille du Midi, but in winter it doesn't run as the winds are often too fierce.

The snow : ahhh the snow. The snow the snow the snow, all of it. Visibility was bad on our first day, but the snow was good. nice, firm, plenty of it, well groomed as it more or less always is in Italian resorts. As we descended at 4pm after the forst days's skiing, if started to rain in the village, which meant snow up the mountain: and it continued to snow for around 36 hours, putting down around 60cm in total I guess. THe piste bashing must have happened early in the evening as we had lovely bashed pistes with a layer of around 10- 15cm of fresh snow or "hero snow" as it's known: it was almost impossible to ski it badly (although we did have a good try!). As I sdaid the snow continued into the early hours of Wednesday, which boded well for a visit from our friends in Chamonix: my friend Gavin is working for Ski Weekend and decided to pop across to play. What a choice: the lifts were closed for avalanche blasting (love that sound!) until 9.30 for us, but we of course got on the first lift up and immediately up Pra Neyron to get first tracks down the black run towards Val Veny: again a pisted run with around 20cm of fresh on top, absolutely fantastic. Quick hot chocolate at the bottom of Val Veny while we waited for Gavin and his companions to join us (their lift had opened later than ours) then off to play - and play we did! First couple of runs on piste (face shots on a red run - unheard of!) and then as the pistes became tracked out, diving off into the trees to get the deeper stuff. We mostly stayed on Bertolini which runs up the Val Veny side of the resort, and it provided us with some of the best skiing I've ever had in europe. As the day went on, we lost people who couldn't keep up with the pace: although there was plenty of powder, it was in truth quite moist and heavy, and once your tips sank it became increasingly hard work to fight to stay afloat, and we were getting more and more tired. The final straw was the "short" hike from Maison Vielle to the old lift line: only 200 yards, but going through knee deep heavy powder it was very hard work, and without the flotation provided by skis it was too much for Gemma the boarder who had to turn back. Good job too as once we started descending the snow was chest deep on me, it would have been head height for her Very HappyVery HappyVery Happy

Off-piste : In good snow conditions there's plenty of lift-served off piste to be had in resort, either within the resort boundaries (see above!), or outside the resort: dropping down into Val Veny off the Youla Cable car, or using Arp to access runs back to Dolonne or down towards the road leading up to the neighbouring resort of La Thuile. On top of that, you can access the famous Vallée Blanche run down into Courmayeur, or for better skiiers it's possible to ski back from Helbronner towards Courmayeur. We didn't try any of this as the conditions in resort were very good, then the conditions went very bad and it wasn't worth trying off piste!

Other resorts nearby A multi day lift pass in courmayeur offers you one day of skiing in Chamonix (although you need a little card which must be validated to get your chamonix ticket) and two days in any of the other resorts in the Aosta Valley. There's even a free bus down to La Thuile, leaving the town centre at 8.30 and getting you to the slopes just after 9am ready for a full day: see elsewhere for more details on La Thuile, but once you realise it's lift linked to La Rosiere and you can thus ski over into france (providing the link is open - luckily it was for us) you may be more temtped to give it a go. I'll be honest, I've never previously felt the need to go on an away-day to a nearby resort and didn't bother with the tour-op trip to Chamonix, but having skiied every piste in courmayeur several times over we decided to give it a go on our last day: by mid-day we were regretting not having done it earlier to get use of both of our free days; very much worth doing.

Food : On the mountain we only tried two places. Day 1 we tried "Da Geremia" over on the Val Veny side and were heartily un-impressed. The next day we actively sought out Maison Vieille as had been suggested to us, and never ate anywhere else: great pasta and pizza (proper wood fired oven!) at very reasonable prices. Booking is advised unless you eat early in quieter weeks! In town we ate in the hotel most nights, one night we went out to "L'Etoile", very very nice pizzas. According to the reps, Apres ski "concentrates on the main street, the Via Roma". In our experience, it was quite limited: only really three bars in town. The Bar Des Guides is €6 per pint (or rather 50cl), but offers free wifi, and little nibbles of cream cheese and garlic sausage on bread. Next up was the American bar: a selection of beers here, at €5 for 40cl (cheaper, but less beer), much better music, and a small selection of nibbles including a killer paté with chillies. At the far end of the Via Roma is Bar Roma, much bigger than the others with plenty of comfy sofas and a table full of nibbles you can go at - again €5 for 40cl.


Accommodation : We stayed in the Albergo Dei Camosci, as part of a package with Crystal. Nice enough place, it's a 15 minute walk out of town but they offer a minibus service to the lifts, and will drop you in town if you want to go out in the evening. Lots of hot water, rooms quite comfortable, lovely bar, food was passable - starters and puddings great, main course acceptable.

Costs: We got an absolutely insane bargain on the trip, so that probably isn't relevant. €199 for a six day lift pass is very expensive for such a small area - a week in the espace killy is only €212 I think. Beer and food is around or even slightly below average fr a mountain - and having experienced the food on our day trip to La Thuile, the food on the mountain is of infinitely superior quality

Conclusion: I had a stonking trip. The ease of access, limited ski area and "friendly" gradings make this an ideal resort for progressing skiiers and boarders, and an excellent choice for a weekend. Avoid if you're a high-mileage piste-basher


Re-read and quickly updated to include more info and clarify points.

Courmayeur Resort Report 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: Whistler Blackcomb
Country: Canada
Domain: Whistler Blackcomb
Author: Muzza77
Date: 26/01/08-06/02/08

Our Holiday: A delayed Honeymoon. The missus and me. I am 30 and skied since I was 14 going usually upto 3 weeks a season and the missus has been skiing for the last 6 years.

Website: www.whistlerblackcomb.com

Basics: Whistler is in British Columbia (West Canada) and a 2 and a half hour transfer from Vancouver Airport on the Sea To Sky Highway. We flew BA from Heathrow to Vancouver. Be warned, there are a number of higher elevations on the route to Whistler so if hiring a car it might be worth getting some snow chains.

Lift System: The area is broken up into 2 main areas Whistler and Blackcomb. Starting with Whistler, there is 2 entry points into the ski area, Whistler village and Creekside. Whistler village has a Gondola which can be taken from the village to the Roundhouse Lodge at 1850m the total journey will take a minimum of 24 minutes so always allow plenty of time, longer if high winds. The lift can have long queues during peak times in the morning 0830-1000 especially at weekends. You can get off the Gondola at about 1/3 up but this only takes you to the nursery slopes and lower runs into the village. From Roundhouse you have access to the whole ski area. The Creekside gondola takes you about half way up and then you need to jump on the Big Red Express to get up to the Roundhouse, this can be busy at peak times. The Orange chair was never on during my visit and the Franz Chair was only used at weekends. The rest of the lifts are 4 man chairs with a couple of T-bars that only seem to be used at weekends.

Blackcomb mountain can be accessed from blackcomb village via the Wizard Express a 4 man chair, again busy at peak times. A second lift the Solar Coaster takes you to the Rendezvous Lodge at 1860m. From Here you can access the whole ski area. From Whistler you take the Blackcomb Excalibur Gondola and then the Excelerator chair and then the Jersey Cream Express to get to Rendezvous. The Crystal chair on the far left of the mountain is an old slow 3 man chair but takes you to some good runs. Most of the lifts are 4 man chairs with the exception of the T-bars on the Glacier. There will be a peak to peak gondola from Whistler to Blackcomb, which is due to open in December 2008. Hope it doesn't have the same troubles as La Plange/Les Arcs.

The Terrain: Firstly, Canada has a different grading system from Europe. Greens are for Beginners, Blue intermediate, black advanced and double black expert. Under Europe classification I would say Greens are Green/Blue, Blues are Blue/Reds, Blacks are Red/Black and Double Black are Black. Hope that makes sense.

Blackcomb has loads of Blue (Canadian) runs mostly through the trees, most of these are nice cruising runs and are fairly wide. The greens tend to be cat tracks and are narrow and flat. The best area is 7th Heaven a bowl on the back right side of the mountain. There is an open upper bowl which leads to 5 or 6 runs as well as a couple of black runs that go through the trees to the lift. A good place if there has been overnight snow. I did not ski the glacier or the bowls of the back left of blackcomb due to weather conditions, but I was told there is some great skiing for experts over this way. The piste map has most of them as double black.

Whistler again has loads of cruising green and blue runs. Be careful on the greens as these are mainly in the "learning zone" the ski police will take your pass of you if skiing to fast or out of control. There are also a number of black runs including the Dave Murray and Wild Card, which are the men’s, and women’s downhill runs. Again they are fairly wide and cruisey and can be skied by someone who is fairly confident. At the top of the peak chair you get access to the Whistler, West and Bagel Bowls, which offer good off piste, as well as the Peak to Creek run which is the longest run in North America. This take you all the way down to Creekside and on the way there a few interesting black runs through the trees. On the other side of the mountain you have the Harmony and Symphony areas. The Harmony Chair allows you into a couple of off piste bowls on the front side and Symphony Amphitheatre at the back. On powder days these areas are very busy but offer some fantastic skiing. The route back from Symphony is a cat track, which can get busy and is flat in places.

Overall there is plenty of skiing for all abilities. Before I went I read everywhere how Whistler prides it self on the amount of groomed pistes. There was only 1 day in 10 when the runs were groomed. This was probably due to the snow but the marked runs soon became lumpy and bumpy and made skiing for beginners and early intermediates hard work especially in bad light.

We skied with a number of boarders who enjoyed the terrain as well, but found there are a lot of flat spots at the top of lifts and on some runs, get ready to unbuckle and walk.

The Snow: We had snow 4 out of the first 5 days and again on the last 2. So in a word plenty.

Off Piste: Whistler and Blackcomb both offer a vast number of areas were you can ski/board off piste safely. Before the lifts are opened for the day all areas are checked by the ski patrol and you hear them blasting most mornings. The main areas for off piste are Blackcomb glacier and 7th Heaven on Blackcomb and Symphony, Harmony, Whistler, West and Bagel Bowls on Whistler. On powder days these are very busy and become tracked out. There are a few places where you have to do a bit of hiking to get to the virgin powder, Flute Bowl and the Bowls of Spankys Ladder.

The Village: Whistler has a vast number of bars, restaurants and shops. The apres ski starts early about 3pm as the lifts close at 3.30pm The bar prices are cheap compared to Europe with most bars offering a 4 pint pitcher for around $14-18 dollars. The restaurants range from cheap and cheerful to expensive with menus for all tastes. The shops are mainly ski/ board shops with some of the big brands having there own outlets. There a number of other shops as well art galleries. There are plenty of other activities on offer from snow shoeing to heli skiing.

Food: This is not Whistler's strong point. On the mountains there are only about 6-7 mountain restaurants and most of them are self service. The main choices are burger and chips, pizza slices, soup, chilli other junk food. They are all very busy between 11.30 and 2 so finding a seat can be a challenge. Some of them do have serviced eating areas but we didn't use these but the prices look similar to Europe for a main meal.

At Creekside there is Dustys a busy bar restaurant which again offers the above mentioned food as well as some wraps and sandwiches. We went here 3 times but on the last occasion the service was very poor and the waitress chased us for a tip!!!! I hate paying for bad service, some should tell the North American's to stop this begging process. Overall the food was good. There is also a subway here if you are missing it!

At Blackcomb village there is Merlins it offers the same food as Dustys and prices are the same. The service was good here. Both Merlins and Dustys get very busy.

Whistler village has everything from deli's to Mcdonalds to sushi to fine dinning. We ate at Earls one evening, which offered a wide range of things, the food was good and not to expensive. We had to wait for abbot 20 mins for the table but the bar man sorted us out with a drink at the bar.

We also ate at The Old Spaghetti Factory. You choose a main dish and get a free bowl of soup and ice cream. A 3 course meal for about $13. Food and service was ok.

Accommodation: We stayed in Crystal Finest Chalet, which was located at Nickulas North. It was a 10 minute bus ride into town. The bus service was very well run. The Chalet was being run by a 19 year old girl who was doing her first ski season and an ozzie guy (the chef) who use to drill for oil. The chalet was comfortable but would have been better if it had been run by a seasoned chalet host. The chef severed up some strange food considering it was minus 10 outside and we had been on the slopes all day.

Costs: For an 11 night holiday including flights, accom, and food in the chalet with wine was about £1000. Lift Pass $83 For 1 Day we arranged a 10 day pass before we went and received a discount so only paid £250. Check with the Whistler website or your tour operator. Beer $3-8 a pint or $14-18 for a 4 pint pitcher better value than buying single pints. Shots were about $6 upwards and wine from about $17 upwards in restaurants but local stuff in bottle shop $7. Food from about $3 upwards. A burger and chips at Merlins was $12.95 and a single slice of pizza on the mountain $4.50.

Conclusion: I really enjoyed my first trip to Whistler and I am sure I will go again but not for at least 5 years. I don't understand people who tell you once you ski in North America you will never ski in Europe again. Europe has lots of great resorts with different characters and skiing for all abilities. I actually found most of the skiing unchallenging in Whistler with the exception of some black/double black diamonds and I know some areas of Europe where you can get a better challenge on a good red or black run. Overall, I think Whistler has a very good PR machine, some good skiing, and great snow but lacks some character of some of the European resorts.

Whistler Resort Report Feedback Thread
snow report     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
first time i have done one of these so please bear with me!

Resort: Kronplatz
Country: Italy
Domain: Dolomites/South Tyrol
Author: Nick0861
Dates: February 2008
Website: http://www.kronplatz.com/en/skiarea/
Basics: About an hour and a half hour trasfer from innsbruck - we travelled there from Venice by car via Cortina - about 3.5 hours although could be a lot worse in heavy traffic as long stretches of the road are narrow and windy - that doesnt stop mental italians overtaking you on the blind bends though!
Lift system: immense - not a t bar or button in site and very few chairs - i would say 75% of the lifts are high speed bubble/gondolas - we did very little waiting
The terrain: I'm a reasonably confident intermediate piste basher so i am not qualified to say what it would be like for an expert! in my view the mountain is quite impressive - kronplatz is basically a large dome shaped mountain with lots of nice wide runs in all directions from the top - within a few hundred meters you are into nice long cruising tree lined runs. There is a nice mix of blues reds and blacks - i would say this is a perfect resort for a mixed group - we found that the less confident skiers and intermediates had plenty there to practice on (very long wide and gentle blue into st vigilio is perfect for beginners) with lots of great cruising blue runs that were on the steepish side but very wide - my wife isnt that confident but found these slopes perfect to get some practice on and improve her technique. there are a few great long reds (two good ones on the slightly challengin side into olang valdoara) and a number of good blacks - the best two are runs 4 and 1 (sylvester) which both drop into riscone (just outside brunico) - the two blacks are both around 5k long with a drop of around 1250m. they are on the shady side of the mountain in the aftrenoon though so i would suggest skiing them around lunchtime for the best conditions. for the stepping up skier there is also the perfect run to do your first black - a run near st vigilio (in think it is 32r) has a red which runs virtually parallell to a black down the same strecth of slope - intermediates can ski the red and if happy with it then do the only slightly harder black on the other side of the fence.
The snow: we were there for three days with bright sunny skies and without any recent snow although i understand that they have had some good recent dumps prior to us getting there. we found conditions to be fine with pretty well groomed nicely packed pistes - didnt encounter too much icy bits and the slopes only really got cut up in places on the well tracked runs at the end of the day - not bad considering it was fairly warm at resort level. kronplatz claims to have 100% snow cannon coverage - we went there for new years day in 2007 and every run there was open despite us not seeing any snow at all on the way until we reached the slopes! i believe last year it was ther first major resort to be 100% open (but i may be wrong on that!
Off-piste: as said above i cannot comment on this at all - didnt see too much that looked obvious although there were warnings around about the risk of avalanches for off piste
The resort: you can stay in one of a few villages at the base of the mountain including st vigilio, riscone, brunico, olang vadaora and others further afield. we stayed about a 20 minute drive away in a village called terenten - it was VERY quiet but we only paid 75 euros for an aprtment for three nights Very Happy the apartment was fantastic. we drove but it is on the ski bus route - one a day! www.treyer.it
The whole south tyrol although in italy is very german with most people there speaking german as their first language. we got by as we were with italian speaking friends but you can tell that british popel do not get there too often - menus were not in english and few people spoke english - that all adds to the fun though.
we didn't see too much apres because we had the car but it looked pretty good.
The food: I loved the food - a mixture of italian foiod whcih is always good and more traditional tyrolian food - mountain restaurants are good and typically not too busy - we were a group of five and always got a table together even on sunday which was pretty busy on the slopes. We tended to pay about 15-17 euros for a couple of bowls of pasta and some drinks.
Accommodation: see above
Costs: pretty reasonable - we flew into venice on a cheapie easyjet flight and then hired a car fr the drive - £100 for the four days we had it - lift pass was about 110 euros for the three days (its 194 for six) but you can pay more (about 15 euros extra) and have the dolomiti superski which covers the whole region (1220 km of pistes)
Conclusion: we loved it - its off the beaten track for a lot of british skiers but in my view well worth the visit.

Kronplatz Resort Report Feedback Thread
snow conditions     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Resort: Selva di Gardena
Country: Italy
Domain: Dolomiti Superski
Author: hoppo
Date: 9th-16th February 2008
Our holiday: HappyMouffe and I are approaching 40 and on our 13th week of skiing. We are competent on-piste skiers.
Websites :
Dolomiti Superski Website
Some webcams in the area
Val Gardena Website
Hotel Pralong Website
Snow-Forecast page for Selva-Val Gardena
Basics : The Dolomites in Northern Italy, not far from Innsbruck in Austria. We flew into Bolzano airport (with Inghams). Best transfer times should be under an hour, however on our inbound trip we hit the traffic queues at the bottom of the valley as the Italians (and Germans?) departed their half-term break and took 2.5 hours. On our outbound trip we spent about an hour picking people up around the resort.
Lift system : Hands free lift pass, modern lifts throughout. Since the introduction of a new four seat chairlift the Sella Ronda uses no draglifts in either direction. Queuing pretty minimal (in British, but not local, half-term). Maximum queue this year for us was ~10 minutes although for the cable cars up to the Marmolada glacier and the Hidden Valley queues can be rather longer. We had the Dolomiti Superski pass, which covers ~1200km of piste, although spread across unlinked areas, the size of the linked area around the Sella Group is about 500km.
You can see our route through the lift system over the week by putting my lift pass number 101/05733 into the performance checker here.
The terrain : Pretty spectacular! The Dolomites are characterised by huge chunks of craggy rock stuck all throughout the landscape, nestled around the bases of these great crags are forests, valleys and boulder fields where the skiing takes place. The Sella Group is a big chunk of rock around which the resorts of Selva, Colfosco, Corvara and Arabba are found, the resorts are linked by the Sella Ronda ski route, an on piste tour which can be completed in clockwise or anticlockwise directions - taking us about 3.5 hours. In addition to the Sella Ronda circuit we visited the Alpe di Siusi, a huge alpine meadow above Ortisei with a return to the linked lifts of the Sella Ronda via a rather exciting bus ride from Saltria to Monte Pana. The Col Raiser area above St Christina is also nice, accessed via an underground railway from the bottom of the Saslong world cup run, from this area you can drop down into Ortisei down the 11km Seceda piste with a short walk across town getting you onto the gondola up to the Alpe di Siusi area.
The area above Colfosco served by the Colfosco gondola (46) is rather good for meeting snowHeads from other parts of the circuit, it is a small, quiet area with some good restaurants.
The Hidden Valley (Lagazuoi) is also worth a visit, this requires a short bus ride from Hotel Armentarola or tour operators organise trips from resort by coach. This is probably doable on skis from Selva in a day. I understand the Marmolada glacier is worth a visit, others at the hotel we stayed in just about managed to do the trip from Selva on skis in a day (but only got back at 5:30pm!). They were at the Marmolada base station by noon.
The snow : Lovely snow for us, reasonable natural snow fall a week or so before we arrived and reasonably but not very low temperatures. Piste-ing very good, and copious snow making if necessary
Off-piste : Can't comment on this
The resort : Selva is a pleasant resort, moderate in size with a good range of shops and restaurants. It doesn't have the character of Kitzbuhel or Saas Fee but it isn't ugly like Val Thorens. It does feel like it is lived in out of the skiing season.
Food : Not sure you can go too far wrong here, we visited several places in the mountains and found you could get a plate of pasta for something between 5 euro and 10 euro and it was always very good. If you don't like pasta then there was always something else to try. We used the Rif. Valentini, near the bottom of the Ciampinoi chairlift a few times.
Accommodation : We stayed at the 3* Hotel Pralong, at the upper end of Selva, a small, pleasant family run establishment. Walk across the road (~150 metres) to the old Ciampinoi chairlift which gets you onto the ski area (Sella Ronda counterclockwise), or ski down a track from there to the Costabella chairlift for Sella Ronda clockwise. Return from the Ciampinoi side the same 150 metre walk, return from the Costabella side a bit of a walk, but avoidable by taking the newer Ciampinoi gondola back up the mountain and skiing home.
Costs: We normally managed a, rather nice, main course and a small coke on the mountain for 20-25 euro.
Conclusion: We love the Dolomites! Enormous, modern linked lift system, spectacular scenery, fine mountain food and excellent hospitality. On balance I think we prefer Selva to Arabba (which we visited this time last year), there is a bit more to the town; there is easy access to more ski areas although Arabba has good access to some harder skiing.

My photos on Picasa Web Albums

Selva Resort Report Feedback Thread


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Mon 18-02-08 20:57; edited 1 time in total
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Resort: Montgenevre

Country: France

Domain: Milky Way

Author: Jo66

Date: 9th-16th February 2008

Our holiday: We were a mixed ability, broad age range (16-60) group of 8 - 3 skiers and 5 boarders. We wanted a resort with something for everyone. We went semi DIY, booking flights independently and the rest with a small company called Ski Etoile.

Website : http://www.montgenevre.com/accueil.html?&L=?&L=4
http://www.vialattea.it/en/
http://www.skietoile.co.uk/

Basics : Montgenevre is the only French part of the Milky Way ski area. It’s 2 miles from the Italian boarder and links directly with Claviere and from there on to Sansicario, Sauze D’Oulx and Sestriere. We flew from Stansted to Turin with Ryanair. Ski Etoile arranged a minibus transfer for the group and the journey time was approx 1 ½ hours.

Lift system : On the north facing side there were 5 button drag lifts on the lower slopes, which some of the boarders in our group didn’t like, but these could be avoided by taking the Chalmettes gondola or the Prarial 4 man chair lift. The latter was the most convenient and centrally located and therefore busy, particularly at the start of ski lessons. The Prarial linked to 2 other fast chair lifts – Le Brousset and Tremplin. In Les Gondrans bowl there were 2 further 4 man chair lifts. The faster of the 2, Les Gondrans, was out of action for 3 days, but by Tues a new motor had been helicoptered in. Also in the bowl there were a further 4 drag lifts which made some runs inaccessible to a couple of the boarders in our group who refused to use them!
The south facing side, Le Chalvet, was reached by a gondola which looked quite old. At the top there were two 2 man chairs (one belching out smoke one day!) and 4 drags.
Lifts in Claviere were modern and all chairs.
I was less impressed with lifts in Cesana, Sauze D’Oulx and Sestriere. Some investment in new, faster lifts wouldn’t go amiss.
We experienced very little queuing, in fact Montgenevre and Claviere were so quiet it was hard to believe it was half term. The first weekend was quite busy (mostly Italian day trippers/weekenders) and the last Friday was becoming busy, but the rest of the week there were no queues to speak of.

The terrain : The local ski area is split between north and south facing slopes. The north facing area is the more extensive. A mixture of tree lined runs and runs above the tree line up in Les Gondrans bowl. A good mixture of easy greens, blues, reds (some more challenging than others) and blacks (again some more difficult than others). The link over to Claviere via Eagle’s rock involved either a difficult red or a difficult black leading to a red. I was told that this black was one of the only true blacks in the area. On the first occasion I took the red – it started as a narrow track which was patchy/rocky in places and led on to moguls. On the second occasion I was persuaded to take the black. I have never been more scared on a pair of skis, but I made it down with only one fall but needless to say very little style!
The link back from Claviere from the Col Boeuf chair involves a fairly flat section at the end, which wasn’t popular with some boarders (they’re never happy are they?)
The piste from Eagle’s rock back in to Montgenevre, is a lovely long red with fantastic views from the top.
The south facing slopes in Montgenevre are mostly above the tree line, so quite exposed and the area is less extensive. The gondola is a little way out of the centre of the village, so a walk carrying skis is required. I’m told there is a navette which connects the 2 areas but I didn’t see it! For these reasons the area is a lot quieter.

The snow : The snow conditions were very good. It had last snowed in Montgenevre on 4th Feb and this was topped up every night by snow cannons. We had blue skies and sunshine every day. By the end of the week some pistes were hard packed and would have benefited from new snow. We skied the Milky Way circuit on Thurs and can confirm that Montgenevre and Claviere had by far the best snow conditions of all the resorts. Cesana and lower parts of Sansicario were patchy with some pistes closed. Sestriere was quite icy and in higher parts there was a lot of bare ground, presumably where the snow had been blown away.

Off-piste : Cannot comment.

The resort : Apparently the first ever ski resort in France. Small but not too small. Very French. We had 4 fluent French speakers in our group and I’m not sure how well we would have managed without them. There were very few English people around as not many of the large tour operators go there, thankfully! Lots of Italians in town, particularly at the weekend, as it’s only 2 miles from the border.
Plently of ski hire shops. Plenty of cafes and restaurants, mainly along the main street facing the main ski area. 2 supermarkets, pharmacy, newspaper shops, bakery, butcher etc. An outdoor skating rink. No swimming pool.

Food : I was surprised at how few mountain restaurants there were. There was just one in Les Gondrans bowl – can’t comment on the food but the hot chocolate and the vin chaud were good. Most people seemed to ski down to the village for lunch. Le Graal was one of the most popular places at lunchtime. This has free wi-fi also.
Again just one restaurant in Le Chalvet area (watch out for the hole in the ground loos!)
There were 3 mountain restaurants that I saw in the Claviere ski area. We had lunch at La Coche. They serve typical Italian food- I had the minestrone soup which was lovely.

Le Transalpin- Ski Etoile offered a sort of half board option here which we pre-booked for two evenings. We ate a 3 course meal with wine and coffee for £12 per head. The food was good, but not fantastic, but then what would you expect for £12?
Three of us ate here again on Weds as many other restaurants in the village were fully booked or too expensive for us. The menu was standard French fare – steaks, tartiflette, raclette etc. On this occasion we paid around 20Euros each for 1 course and wine.

Le Graal – offers food at lunchtimes only. Again standard fare; burgers, omelettes, tartiflette, croque monsieur etc. Typical cost for 1 course and wine approx 12-15Euros.

Le Capitaine – authentic Italian pizzas. Very busy restaurant – we couldn’t get in on the Weds so booked for Fri. One of the group said “this is possibly the best pizza I have ever had”. Very reasonable prices too – the average pizza was 7-8Euros. We paid 25Euros per head for pizzas all round, salad, dessert and wine.

One evening we had take-away pizza (before we found le Capitaine). I can’t remember the name of the restaurant they came from but they weren’t the best – they were quite odd e.g. Bolognese on a pizza, potatoes on a pizza! They were also more expensive than La Capitaine.

One night we bought freshly roasted hot chickens from the butcher. We ate these with salad and bread at the apartment and they were delicious. They were approx 13Euros each and for 8 of us worked out at less then 4 Euros a head – a bargain!

Finally, on Thurs we ate raclette in the apartment – the charcuterie (unfortunately I can’t remember the name but it was next door to the Free Ride ski hire shop, opposite the main ski pass & ski school offices) offered a fantastic service. For 7.50Euros per person we got hire of 2 raclette grills and loads of cheeses and meats to grill. With salad and potatoes prepared ourselves the meal worked out at about 10Euros each.

Accommodation : Ski Etoile organised a 3 bed apartment (top floor of a chalet) and a Studio flat for us. 5 stayed in the apartment. It was quite small but perfectly formed, with a fantastic view of the pistes, it even had a dishwasher and a washing machine, but no kettle. 3 (including myself) stayed in the Studio, which was tiny but adequate for us. There was a bunk room, a double in a side room (no door) and a sofa bed in the living area/kitchen. Given the lack of space on the nights we ate in we did so up at the apartment. Location of both couldn’t be faulted though – 2-3 mins walk from the lifts and the ski hire shop where we stored our gear courtesy of Ski Etoile. Leaving equipment overnight in lockers was great - no walking up hills in ski boots or carrying skis.

Costs: Good value for Feb half term. 7 of us drove from Cheshire to Stansted (lack of flights from North West), 1 came from London. Uodate Oct08 - Ryanair now fly to Turin from Manchester and East Midlands.
Yew Tree Inn B&B for 7 near Stansted, incl 8 days parking for 2 cars - £24 each
Ryanair flights Stansted-Turin £215 each
Ski Etoile ‘package’, incl private transfers, accommodation & 2 evening meals- £264 each
Other costs – Mont de Lune lift pass 149Euros, equipment hire (skis or board & boots) approx 105Euros.

Conclusion: A lovely resort with terrain for everyone. John Adamson of Ski Etoile was a great host – he met us on arrival, organised lift passes and equipment hire, checked in with us most days to ensure everything was OK, provided free ski guiding on 3 days, including a full day skiing round the Milky Way circuit and saw us off at 7am for our return to the airport. I found the ski guiding invaluable – I went to places I would not have ventured on my own, I skied with people outside the group I travelled with and I was challenged to keep up with better skiers and to try black runs as early as my second day (I had only previously done one black), subsequently improving my own ability. I would definitely go back as there is plenty of terrain the ski and the Milky Way is a huge area, although I wouldn’t want to stay in the studio again! I hope that an airline starts to operate flights to Turin out of Manchester, Liverpool or even East Midlands. Right now you can only get tour operator charter flights out of Manchester.

Montgenevre Resort Report Feedback Thread


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Sun 5-10-08 17:18; edited 1 time in total
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Resort: Davos
Country: Switzerland
Domain: I dunno!
Author: NDunny#1

Date: 16-23 Feb 2008
Our holiday: Just me a 16 year old quite experienced Skiier and my dad were skiing.
Website : www.davos.ch Live cams on there.
Basics : WEll we got therer by Plane obviously then we had a private coach from Inghams, but that was only cause we were the only people going from innsbruck, then on the way back we were told we had to go on 3 trains and 1 taxi, and a bus, but in the end the bus crashed so we got a taxi back, look out for transfers.
Lift system : Well the ski areas are very spread out, there are 5 different ones. The lift system is to be honest not what i expected. A bit outdated and the train to the parsenne is ok, and we didnt have to wait but it might be an issue sometimes. There are a few too many T bars for my liking, not a lover of them, they are more tiring than a chair lift or anything, and one on the rhinnerhorn is about 15 minutes long, which is waay to long and it goes up some very steep stuff. The rhinnerhorn is good skiing but the lifts there are all T Bars part from the gondola up there, not great.
The terrain : The pistes seem to be very wide and open. The runs are quite close together in there specific area, but the ares themselves are spread apart. The grading of the runs is a bit dodgy aswell, i was one a blue somewhere and it seemed worse than the black that i went down to get to it!
The snow : Snow was good, because it is so high there is usually good snow i guess, lots of it and still on the rooves of buildings even though it hadnt snowed in over 2 weeks! Pistes where well prepared but only 5% snow making.
Off-piste :Umm i dont know
The resort : Well, There is no charcter to the place, just a very big village with lots of shops! There are a lot of facilities aswell, just about everything!
Accommodation : We stayed in the Central Sport hotel. A fantastic hotel, probably the best one we have stayed in going skiing. Staff are very friendly, facilities good and food is excelant and they do childrens meals
Costs: It isnt cheap. You are paying to go to "Davos" although i didnt no tha when i booked it! The lift passes are quite a lot...
Conclusion: A nice place, Very big, lots of skiing altough spread out, and usually good snow. Little Angel
Not that long as i havent gt time, will add to it Smile

Davos Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Resort: Haus, well actually Aich, erm where? A lovely village near by. We skied in Schladming region and Salzbuger Sportwelt covering these areas
Hauser Kaibling
Planai
Zauchensee
Flachauwinkle
Kleinarl
Wagarain
Alpendorf
Hochwursen
Reiteralm
Flachau

Country: Austria
Domain: Schladming & Salzburger Sportwelt = Ski Amade
Author: Hobbiteater
Date: 23rd February 08 to 1st March 08
Our holiday: Used Haus (Aich) to explore the eastern Ski Amade. We skied a different area each day, going back to Zauchensee on the last day as the only time we doubled up. We liked it but it’s the highest and snow/rain was forecast – and arrived so we stayed high to stay in the snow. In hindsight and although we enjoyed the hotel in Haus being at the far end of a region is not ideal for exploring an area in this way. That said the roads were good and the longest “commute” was 30mins. Radstadt or Altenmarkt would be better located.
Website :
http://en.skiamade.com/
http://www.holidayautos.co.uk
http://www.flybe.com
http://www.grafenwirt.at/
http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=34719
www.austrian-adventures.com – flangesax was helpful to me in the above thread so here’s a plug
Basics : Middle of Austria. Flew FlyBe from Southampton to Salzburg and picked up a hire car from Holidayautos. Took 10mins to get out of taxi, check in and go through security and get a bacon buttie. Flight back was delayed by weather and a freak occurrence to the plane coming to get us (it suffered a broken windscreen caused by the 80mph storm that apparently prevented them from opening the doors for 90min after they landed – having diverted to Linz where the weather was better than Salzburg!!!) but it was <10mins from the plane’s landing at Southampton to us having our luggage and being out of the airport.
Lift system : Schladming was fast and excellent. The other had a few slow lifts but mainly fast chairs. BUT we queued for about an hour to get up the Grafenbergbahn 6 seat 1980’s gondola out of Wagrian. Strangely Confused on the same area they have just put in a new 8 seat gondola out of an area not linked to the valley and served by 2 runs… I guess the Grafenbergbahn is due for replacement (I hope!!!)
The terrain : Most pistes were, thankfully, south facing and through the trees. In the Salzburger resorts they tended to open out into lightly wooded bowls at the top. Mainly reds but I didn’t think they were too challenging. The Blacks were fine too. At least the ones we went on.
The snow : Spring snow - lots of it though. Very well maintained in all resorts.
Off-piste : As an on-pister and with spring snow not qualified to comment but Zauchensee in particular looked to have lots of lift served potential.
The resort : Aich - village? No a hamlet. Lovely.
Food : 4 course evening meal as part of the hotels "Pauschalen" package. Excellent. It’s Austria so mountain food was excellent except for the Koglalm above Wagrain which had poor food and gave us change in Romanian Rubbles, when we complained the proprietor laughed, routed around in his change pot and tried to pass off some Slovakian Barts to us… Evil or Very Mad Evil or Very Mad
Accommodation : Graffenwirt in Aich. Lovely hotel in a small hamlet with big rooms, a shower with scary attachments, great food, Schladminger beer von fass.
Costs: "Pauschalen" package at hotel gave 7 nights halfboard, Ski Amade lift pass, Sleigh ride for €572pp. Flight £150pp, Car £125 for 2, Petrol €40 for 2
Conclusion: Great holiday – loved the area and exploring it. Great flights through Southampton with FlyBe.

Ski Amade Resort Report Feedback Thread
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Resort: Zell am See
Country: Austria
Domain: Europasportregion http://www.europasportregion.info/ Kitzteinhorn, Zell am See and Kaprun . Also here http://www.schmitten.at/
Author: fatirishman
Date: March 2008
Our holiday: Advanced intermediate skiers. 2 of us. Half board 3 star do it yourself holiday. Cost approx £550 including flights and ski pass.
Website : Got the accomodation form here http://www.zellamsee.at/ just scanned what was free and called up. Not too difficult at all!
Basics : Ryanair. Who are now taking the biscuit charging £50 to transport a pair of skis! Tansfer to hotel with a shuttle service here http://www.holiday-shuttle.at/europasportregion/ 35 Euros a head. We extended the lift pass for a day for a reasonable 26 Euros, so got a full seven days skiing in.
Lift system : http://www.bergfex.com/schmittenhoehe-zellamsee/panorama/ Lift system at Zell is good, it's got better this year as the TrassExpress is now operational and you aren't dependent on cable cars at the far side of the resort. There are a couple of drag lifts but they are not arterial. There was no queuing at all.
The terrain : If you're looking for desperately challenging skiing forget Zell. If you're looking for something up to advanced intermediate it's not bad at all. Black 14 was maybe the only true black on the map, and even then it was light red in places. Off piste is possible but limited. We skiied a day on the Kitsteinhorn which offered more off piste possibilities (and better snow actually)
The snow : We were kucky. There ws good snow coverage, and it snowed whilst we were there. Only one run to the village was closed later in the week (black 15) as it was too brown in places. Zell is a low resort, yes the Kitzteinhorn is there as a reserve, but if you want to ski the Schmittenhoehe, do it by mid March!
Off-piste : Limited at Zell.
ResortLovely wee resort, full of charm and character. There isn't a great deal of Apres Ski on the slopes (which is a bit of a dissapointment for me as I like cheesey German music). Plenty to do for the yoof, in the way of bars and clubs, but we were there for the skiing so although I'd like to regail with stories of drunken nights out, I was in bed by midnight every night to ski early. Plenty of decent restaurants, and lots of take away places too. Zell is very resonably priced and I never felt ripped off at all. You'll pay about 3.5 Euros for a beer, and on the slopes luch with a beer and coffee cost me about 12 Euros a day.
Food : Blaickner's Sonnalm was the best place for food on the slopes. Cosey inside, nice sun terasse outside, and great value. We tried a few others. but they didn't hold a candle. In town Kupferkessel is where the locals were eating for a nice meal out.
Accommodation : Hotel Martha. In out skiing, half board. http://www.holidayinzellamsee.at/index.asp?lang=en Accomodation is basic but decent, great sauna area, food was adequate but reheated pre preprepared stuff. The cook needs a does of Gordon Ramsey... The staff were brilliant.
Costs: Done on the cheap everything including accommodation, passes, flights and spending money... cost about £750 for a week's skiing.
Conclusion: Good resort, I enjoyed it, and will go back in a few years. I'd recommend earlier in the season

Zell am See Report Feedback Thread
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
1. Resort: Mount Sunapee
2. Country: New Hampshire, USA
3. Domain: Mount Sunapee Ski Resort
4. Author: Whitegold
5. Date: Feb 2007
6. Our Holiday: A few buddies hanging out
7. Website: mtsunapee.com
8. Basics: Northeast USA. Around 90 mins from Boston
9. Lift System: Just 9 lifts, mostly slowish chairs. Scorecard = 5 / 10
10. The Terrain: The onpiste is bland... save for a handful of brilliant double-black diamonds. The Cataract Glades, right through the middle of a dense forest, is one of the most enjoyable runs in the world. 7 / 10
11. The Snow: Good snow. Everything was white. They have had a record season. 8 / 10
12. Off-piste: There is a modest number of tasty runs through the trees. 5 / 10
13. The Resort: It is a carpark at the bottom of a (picturesque) hill. 2 / 10
14. Food: There is a lowgrade canteen near the main lifts. 2 / 10
15. Accommodation: There are a few cheap lodges nearby. 2 / 10
16. Costs: The price of a skipass is relatively high, at US$64 for one day. 6 / 10
17. Conclusion: If you are in Boston on business, then Mount Sunapee is a good choice. Its gladed black runs are excellent fun. Highly recommended for a daytrip.

Total Scorecard = 37 / 80 (46%). For comparison, Kitzbuehel gets 54 / 80 (68%).

Mount Sunapee Resort Report 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!
1. Resort: Klosters
2. Country: Switzerland
3. Domain: Davos-Klosters Mountains
4. Author: Whitegold
5. Date: Mar 2007
6. Our Holiday: Small group of couples
7. Website: klosters.ch
8. Basics: Southeast Switzerland. Around 150 mins from Zurich
9. Lift System: The lift system sucks. It is old, slow and disjointed. Lots of walking needed. Scorecard = 3 / 10
10. The Terrain: The onpiste is average. The steepest stuff is in Davos. 6 / 10
11. The Snow: Good snow. Everything was white, down to roughly 800m on northerly slopes. 9 / 10
12. Off-piste: The offpiste is plentiful. Like Lech in Austria, an older crowd means acres of pow go untouched for days. 8 / 10
13. The Resort: The town is attractive but not beautiful. Nightlife is almost nonexistent. 3 / 10
14. Food: There are few decent restaurants. It is one of the quietest stations in the Alps. 4 / 10
15. Accommodation: Most hotels and chalets are in the 2- to 4-star range. 6 / 10
16. Costs: Klosters is simply the priciest resort in the Alps. Costs are ridiculously high. But it keeps out the riffraff. 5 / 10
17. Conclusion: Klosters is overpriced and overrated. Just because Prince Charles goes there does not make it good. Only the huge, untouched powderfields are its saving grace.

Total Scorecard = 44 / 80 (55%). For comparison, Kitzbuehel gets 54 / 80 (68%).

Klosters Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
1. Resort: Verbier
2. Country: Switzerland
3. Domain: The 4 Valleys
4. Author: Whitegold
5. Date: Mar 2007
6. Our Holiday: Small group of couples
7. Website: verbier.ch
8. Basics: Southwest Switzerland. Around 120 mins from Geneva
9. Lift System: The lift system is wholly inadequate. Lines are huge at peak-season and weekends. Scorecard = 3 / 10
10. The Terrain: The onpiste is rubbish. It is bland and disjointed. Only Mont Fort is worth mentioning. 6 / 10
11. The Snow: Poor snow down low, good up top. The town was green. 6 / 10
12. Off-piste: The liftserved offpiste is among the top 3 resorts in the world. Steep and deep everywhere. 10 / 10
13. The Resort: The town is very busy. The nightlife is always popular. Lots of chavs, however. 9 / 10
14. Food: There are some decent restaurants, but you have to search for them. 7 / 10
15. Accommodation: It is mostly chalets. Hotels are rare. 7 / 10
16. Costs: Verbier offers reasonable value, considering it is Switzerland's top resort. 8 / 10
17. Conclusion: Verbier has some of the best offpiste and afterski on the planet. This makes it a must-visit destination. But be prepared for huge liftlines, overcrowded pistes, tracked-out powder and gangs of pikeys singing soccer chants.

Total Scorecard = 56 / 80 (70%). For comparison, St Moritz gets 65 / 80 (81%).

Verbier Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Resort: Samoens
Country: France
Domain: Grand Massif
Author: MissRibena

Date: March 2008 (9 ski days)
Our holiday: This was our second ski holiday this season (wayhey! first time to ever manage 2). There were a lot of firsts involved in this holiday for us; first time skiing in France (Austria on previous occassions), first time staying in a chalet etc.
Website : www.samoens.com
Basics : We flew to Geneva and were picked up by our chalet hosts. The transfer was about an hour and all went like clockwork.
Lift system : Oh dear - this was the worst part of the whole stay for us. The lifts are old, with a few exceptions such as the new Grand Massif Express gondola. Many of the chair lifts were wooden backed/seated, tend to cut the calves from under you and were generally very slow and none were covered. The drag lifts (of which there are too many) were often long, turned corners and inclined to lift you off the ground. Generally speaking the capacity on the lifts was not as good as in other (Austrian) places we have been. Where there should have been chair lifts, there were drags and where there should have been gondolas, there were chairs. The links to the other resorts forming part of the Grand Massif (Flaine, Morillon and Les Carroz) are prone to closure. Also smaller simpler things are not up to scratch: if it's snowing/raining, the lifties don't brush off the seats, something which we have found par for the course in Austria. Chair lifts are not (cannot be?) slowed down for learners to disembark so have to be stopped often to mop up the roadkill. Ski buses run at less than one an hour but are timely and comfortable and driven by very helpful and friendly drivers.
The terrain : We skied every run that was open while we were there. Unfortunately the 14km Cascades run was closed, as were a couple of pistes down to the resorts due to the lack of snow low down. That still left a massive amount of ski area open and we had a ball. Flaine is all that people say it is but to my mind, if the conditions are right, the runs above the other resorts are more interesting and better fun and often less crowded. We loved the red (Chamois) from Tete de Sais towards Les Carroz, Stade and Bergin in Morrillon, Marmotte in Samoens, Mephisto in Flaine. The signposting is fantastic - it's very easy to navigate around the area and a real relevation to us as the Austrians seem to like you to be something of orienteers.
The snow : We had every kind of condition during our stay; lovely blue ski days with perfect pisted snow and lovely blue ski days with spring snow starting icy turning to slush and three days of fantastic powder. We also skied in lashing rain, hailstones and snow and on Monday, the fog was very heavy leaving visibility very low (and scary) at times. At all times there was still plenty of snow on the pistes. Pistes are not re-groomed during the day which they are in most places I've been in Austria so even easy runs get mogully and tricky if it's busy. I quite like bumps but sometimes I haven't the energy at the end of a long day for them and it would have been nice to have the choice to avoid them.
Off-piste : I don't partake but himself does and between his reports and the general look of the area, it seemed a fantastic off-piste place.
The resort : Beautiful village with a lovely atmosphere in the evenings. The village square hosts all kinds of low-key events in the evenings from games to mini stalls. There's a proper French market on a Wednesday morning at the Tourist Office, ice skating every evening on a covered rink. It's a lot quieter than the Austrian type of apres ski we were used to but lovely and chilled out. We stayed in Les Vallons (about a mile to the east of Samoens but easily walkable) and lots of the Savoyard farmhouses retain the original features (including cattle inside the barn part of the house).
Food : We were fully catered but being the savages that we are, still had sizeable lunches every day in the mountain. In Flaine, we liked Le Blanchot and La Cascade. In Morrilon we liked L'Igloo and the one close to the Les Molliets carpark on the Les Carroz side. All served lovely food - well above standard but at prices comparable to the canteen type places also available.
Accommodation : Our chalet was called La vieille Ferme and was a real gem of a find. The house is beautiful, the hosts helpful and the food to die for. Can't praise it enough really.
Costs: Food on the mountain is expensive by comparison to Austria (or Ireland). A lunch (even something like sausage and chips) will come in around 15 euro. Some of the places are real rip-off merchants, especially in Flaine. We were charged 15 euro for 2 espressos and 2 mars bars at the cafe beside the smaller of the 2 gondolas in Flaine and I was charged 3.50 for a can of Sprite at the top of the DMC. We also saw packets of crisps with a price tag of 3 euros!
Conclusion: We loved the place and would like to return but will probably wait until there has been some investment in the lift system. It's a place we would also certainly consider for a summer holiday.

Samoens Resort Report Feedback Thread


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Thu 20-03-08 10:05; edited 1 time in total
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Resort : Poiana Brasov
Country : Romania
Domain : None
Author : Kristof
Date : March 2007
Our Holiday : This was my other halfs first ski trip (age 24) and my second trip (My first trip was when I was 16 and this gap was far too long!

Website : http://www.poiana-brasov.com/index.php?page=home

Basics : We flew into Otopeni airport in Bucharest. The transfer was approx 3.5 hours. There are rumours of a new airport in Brasov to cut down transfer time but that could be an urban myth...

Lift System : Two Gondolas, one of which is fairly new with the usual pomas on the mountain but no chairlifts. There are a few other resorts such as Sinaia within 30 minutes of Poiana.

Pistes : There is a dedicated nursery slope next to the bottom of one of the Gondolas where all the instruction takes place. This is a good size for instuction and is well managed by the numerous instructors and lifties. The rest of the mountain is dominated by a number of red and blue runs which wind their way through the forest to the bottom of both gondalas. There are a small number of blacks but I can't comment on those

The Snow : We went in March and it was spring snow, icy in the morning turning nicer then slushy in the afternoon. At lower levels the cover was patchy but this was the same for every resort in 2007

Off-piste : Did not sample and being my first trip since I was 16 its not something that even crossed my mind Embarassed .

The resort : Small village with a few hotels. As you can imagine most people will eat and drink in those but there is a small nightclub and pizza place for the restless which are both very good value.

Food : The pizza place is very good and the mountain restaurant provides decent food. There are also a few cafe places at the bottom of the gondolas which get busy at weekends.

Sport Hotel: All inclusive food, drink, ski hire and tuition. (A bargain for a first week skier). Very comfortable hotel with decent size rooms and it was kept very clean. As it was all-inclusive it had a chalet type feel where everyone got to know each other.

Costs: £380 each for one week with everything included.

Conclusion: Great for a first timer and improvers due to the cost but it may be limited for the more advanced skiers (although I can't comment on the off-piste). One thing I've not mentioned is the instruction. The group sizes are fairly small, the instruction is fantastic and you get the instructor for the whole day!!

Apart from the skiing you can pop into Brasov for some bargain basement shopping, they also run a few trips, one of which is a visit to Draculas castle which is certainly worth the relatively small cost.

Poiana Brasov Resort Report Feedback Thread
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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: La Tania

Country: La France

Domain: The 3 Valleys

Author: magic_hat

Date: 15th - 22nd March 2008

Our holiday: A group of 10 people - mixed ability and mixed disciplines.
We were: 2 advanced skiers, 2 advanced intermediate skiers, 1 intermediate skier, 1 complete beginner skier, 1 good intermediate boarder, 1 basic intermediate boarder and 2 beginner boarders.

Website: www.latania.co.uk has everything - weather reports, webcams, advice, tips etc etc.

Basics: Flew from Manchester to Chambery and then a short and easy 1.5 hour transfer to La Tania.

Lift system: Excellent lift system - fast, easy access to anywhere within the network and no real queues to speak of while i was there.

The terrain: We stuck to the Courchevel area lift pass and found the slopes here enough to entertain us for a week. Slopes range from difficult blacks, mogully reds through to long, lazy, tree lined blues. There was also a StopZone (with a speed gun to measure how fast you're going), a SnowCross (a mini, winding, banking track), a SnowPark, 2 Fun Areas and an off piste bowl/natural half pipe thing.

The snow: It snowed the first two days, then glorious sunshine the next three days, then snow the last day. Conditions were close to perfect, with about half a metre of powder on the last day!

Off-piste: Plenty of off piste opportunites - ranging from "safe" off piste (like i try and do) right through to the hardcore stuff with shovels etc.

The resort: The village of La Tania does what it says on the tin. It's cheaper than staying in any of the Courchevels, but has everything you would need on a skiing holiday. Bars (with Happy Hour at the Ski Lodge selling Vin Chaud for 2€50), restaurants, a cash machine, general store, etc etc. It's not chocolate box, but has been sympathetically designed and built.

Food: We ate lunches in La Tania a few times - Snow Food and the Creperie at the foot of the main slope both do good, reasonably priced food (e.g. 8€ for a pizza at Snow Food and 4€50 for a gallette at the Creperie). I also lunched at the Ours Blanc in 1650 (at the foot of the slopes) a couple of times - their Goats Cheese and Honey Panini is awesome (and only 6€). Didn't eat up high in the mountains at any point, mainly because he tended to head down to meet people from lessons etc, but also because we saw some of the prices on the menus!

On the Chalet staff night out, we ate at Le Farcon, the Michelin starred restaurant in la Tania. Thoroughly recommend it, very good food. Excellent in fact. They do an A La Carte menu, or two set menus (48€ for 5 courses or 95€ for about 12/14 courses). I had the biggie and it was fantastic.

Accommodation : We stayed in Chalet Chardon, owned and run by Ski Activity. It's joined with Chalet Mouflon next door (a couple of our group were in here). Chardon is a fairly basic chalet, but has everything you need for a skiing holiday. There's no TV, no jacuzzi or sauna and the rooms are small and simple, but who cares? I was warm, comfortable, fed good food and unlimited wine and had a big lounge to chill out in. The chalet hosts (Bern and Elizabeth) were helpful and friendly and introduced a couple of us to the joys of tobogganing down a blue run on just a piece of small plastic sledge. Thankfully they recommended we wear our helmets.... good job really.

Lessons I didn't actually have any lessons, but a few people in my group did so i thought i would write a bit about them. One girl prebooked her beginner Ski Lessons on the internet with ESF. She had never even stood on a pair of skis and ended up in a group with a big fat man (who was out of breath just putting his skis on) and a middle aged german lady. She advanced a lot during the afternoons practising with her husband, so felt that the lessons were a bit like Groundhog day.

The others in their group all booked their lessons in resort with ESF. They booked SnowBoarding lessons for 4 and each paid 160€ (I think). ESF initially put them all in the same group but one was quickly dropped to a beginner group. Another person was blatantly too good for the group and he asked to be moved up - ESF explained that because La Tania is only a small resort, the ski school does not always run Advanced Snowboarding lessons and would not run a course just for him. His options were to stay in the group he was in (which was useless as he was learning nothing) or he could have a private lesson. One. He argued and complained and got his money back. I think the lesson here is to prebook to make sure you get what you want, and consider travelling to Courchevel for your lessons where you may get more variety and better groupings.

Costs: Chalet plus flights plus transfers was £540 each. Ski/Board Carriage was £15. Lift pass was 168€. Happy hour at the Ski Lodge was 4-6pm with beers at 2€. Lunches worked out at about 7€ each on average a day (but eating on the mountain was a LOT more).

Conclusion: A brilliant holiday, I loved it. Great snow, great skiing, brilliant. I want to go back tomorrow.

La Tania Resort Report Feedback Thread
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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: Val d'Isere
Country: France
Domain: Espace Killy
Author: Hullite

Date: 15th March '08 to 29th March '08
Our holiday: Second time in the resort but 1st time with the kids. It was the 11 yr old's first ski trip and the 17 year old's third. I have a Sale & Leaseback apartment in La Daille.
Website : Valdinet.com is great for webcams and snow reports.
Basics : Val d'Isere is at the very end (in winter) of a valley in the Savoie area of the Rhone Alpes. For the first time we drove to the resort from Hull using the P&O North Sea ferry to Zeebrugge. This was terrific; we left work at 3.30pm Friday to gather girls etc after school and boarded the ferry at 5.30pm. The girls watched a film at the cinema while we had a very civilized dinner at the Langan's Brasserie on board. After a great night's sleep we disembarked at around 8.30 am in Zeebrugge. The drive down avoids Paris and was relatively trouble free until we approached Chambery. Notwithstanding the stop/start traffic from here to after Moutiers we arrived in resort at about 7.00pm. The girls were kept happy by their portable DVD players. On the return journey we took the ferry back from Rotterdam as the later check-in time made up for the additional 80 kilometres distance in convenience. We broke the return journey with an overnight stop in Villlefranche-Sur-Saone which enabled us to ski until 3.00pm on the Saturday and be at our desks on Monday morning having disembarked at 7.45 am.
Lift system : Brilliant. We had very few queues during the busy 2nd school holiday week. The Espace Killy really does connect up and there is usually more than one option of how to travel between the different areas - very important when you need to be meeting children for lunch or after ski school. One shock was the friendliness of the lifties, they must have all been sent to charm school as I lost count of the "Bonjour"s and other amiable greetings we received, and the older, faster lifts were gallantly manually slowed down even for us adults.
The terrain : My only previous visit was in late April last year and even then I was impressed, but to experience it in its full winter glory was something else. The terrain is incredibly extensive at all levels from wide, gentle motorways to steep, narrow bumps. Despite its fierce reputation our non-athletic, girly, beginner loved it and her Dad appreciated the free lifts on the extensive Front de Neige that meant he didn't have to pay for a lift pass for her for the first 2 days. The Madeline green on Solaise was a wonderful "first mountain" run for her to progress to and there were plenty of others after that. Favourite Reds were the Arcelle on Solaise and the OK on Bellevarde. The Red Piste M down to resort from Solaise was essentially a nice long varied run but suffered from heavy traffic for much of the day and was unpleasant from 3.30pm to 5.00pm. We encountered terrible skiers and boarders endangering others on this run. The Black Le Face was a blast and easy in good conditions as was the Trolles on the Tignes side. The Sache black was a different beast entirely when we did it, bumpy and ungroomed from first to last, we managed it without falling but it won't have been pretty. Other skiers were falling like skittles on the trickiest section and we only saw 2 or 3 people really ski it, as opposed to just get down it as we and the rest did. We couldn't believe that the Blue run from the top of the Aguille Percee chairlift in Tignes all the way down to Tignes Le Brevieres is not more feted as it is glorious. The views are the best in the Espace Killy and it affords a great sense of travel to the novice skier or anyone else. We did it with the girls on our last day and celebrated with a hot chocolate in the deck chairs at the bottom, it was a brilliant end to the holiday.

Having been to jaw-dropping Zermatt at New Year which is unbeatable on the scenery front I was surprised at how beautiful and dramatic the Espace Killy was, more so than I remembered from the previous visit when it will have been more brown.
The snow : We were very, very lucky with the snow. There was a big dump before our arrival and it regularly snowed throughout our visit, thoughtfully mostly during the night. There was only one afternoon when the snowfall was so heavy as to make skiing unpleasantly difficult and fortunately for us it was the very afternoon of an unmissable derby game between the great Hull Kingston Rovers and their bitter rivals Hull FC. We had plenty of blue skies and near perfect conditions preserved by cool temperatures that prevailed until the last day which felt like Spring.
Off-piste : We didn't really sample this but we could see lots of it very easily accessible. The Tignes area looked particularly promising and their fondness for ungroomed itinerary routes looks like a safe way to enjoy the sensation without stumping up for guides. The well known Sache black run in Tignes clearly hadn't been groomed for days. It was bumpy from top to bottom and indistinguishable from the off-piste in in places apart from the posts marking the route.
The resort : Val d'Isere was buzzing and very attractive. The town doesn't rest on its laurels and puts on lots of events such as the Thursday night "animations" during which the main drag is pedestrian only and there is live music; ice sculpting; stilt walkers etc...-great for families. It is however very expensive and it is worth seeking out the many Happy Hours and offers to reduce the devastating impact on your wallet.

It is a boring thing to rave about but the free bus service is just fantastic and made a big contribution to our holiday. It means that the location of your accommodation is much less critical than in many resorts and made meeting up between friends and children so stress free. Our apartment is in La Daille which is incredibly convenient for the slopes and has nice restaurants and bars that are much cheaper than central Val, but the free bus service meant we were only ever 10 mins away from the centre if the bright lights were calling.
Food : On the mountain, La Fruitiere on Bellevarde and Le Signal on the Fornet side are good for a splurge. Pleasant surroundings and excellent food. The Ouiellette at the bottom of the Madaleine is inexpensive and does good cakes and savoury snacks with a savoyarde slant.

We often had lunch at the Petit Danois in town as we had to meet the girls at the Front de Neige. The Petit Danois is relatively reasonable and does good quality diner type staples like burgers and salads. The Maison Chavallot, a chocolatier and patisserie on the main street does divine hot chocolates and superb cakes and savouries plus soup and lasagne for ludicrously cheap prices. It is a bit cramped but worth it.

The central Spar does a very good value hot dish every day cooked in a huge wok/cauldron affair and also sells baked potatoes. We had the Salmon en Papillote which would have passed for restaurant food.

We really liked the Tufs restaurant in La Daille at night. There were a lot of French people eating there and the food was very good and the atmosphere very friendly. The meat was cooked over an open wood fire. The Samovar, also in La Daille, is very warm and welcoming and very good value, -the pizzas were the same price as from the takeaway in central Val but served in charming surroundings that were hard to tear yourself away from.
Accommodation : We stayed in a 2 piece apartment I own through the Pierre & Vacances Sale & Leaseback scheme, so I may be biased but have no financial need to "sell" the apartments. It was very comfortable with all the essentials well covered such as warmth, unlimited hot water, proximity to the lifts. The bedroom (where the girls slept) is surprisingly spacious and the sofa bed we used in the living area is thankfully foolproof and good quality. The kitchen is very well equiped and the lighting throughout is sympathetic and the decor pleasant. There is plenty of storage space and the flat screen TV and bathroom feel quite luxurious. The reception staff are very efficient. My main gripe is that the ski lockers are cheap and a bit skanky with insufficient chairs/benches to get boots on and off. It is quite cold and there are no boot warmers or sockets so I ended up taking my boots up to the apartment at night to ensure they were dry the next day.
Costs: There is no escaping the fact that it is expensive. There are ways of ameliorating this and I hope I have given a few useful tips but despite good intentions and planning I am still unable to bring myself to check my account online just yet.
Conclusion: Not cheap but bloody good value. This was a terrific holiday in every respect. Four very different people had a great time at different levels of competence. The skiing was out of this world and the resort great fun. We found it very friendly and not at all snooty despite the huge numbers of very plummy Anglophones around.

Finally I can't recommend The Development Centre too highly. We did the 3 morning Development Plus Clinic with Colin. The maximum group size is 6 and we had some of the best skiing of our lives. The tuition was brilliant and we achieved our desired goals of skiing blacks and bumps with smiles on our faces instead of with trepidation. They have a very good website, just Google tdc+val d'isere.

Val D'Isere Resort Report Feedback Thread
ski holidays     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Resort: Les Gets
Country: France
Domain: Portes Du Soleil
Author: Specialman
Date: 23rd March - 30th March 2008
Our holiday: Me and Mrs Spesh heading out to catch up on some much-needed snow action, me wanting to master the snowpark, the missus wanting to suss out red runs.
Website : www.lesgets.com
Basics : Haute Savioe region of French Alps, an hour from Geneva airport. Fairly direct route and I expect anyone into self-drive would love this because of the easy access. Very scenic drive too.

The Lift System
Extensive with good, fairly quick links from both Morzine and Les Gets to the highest points in the local area.
Chavannes chairlift out of LG gives you access to just about anywhere in the 110km area in just 10 minutes and the brilliant La Rosta bowl has more fast lifts than you can shake a stick at. Some old two-seaters still exist but aren’t really a problem unless you’re impatient. Beware though – some four and six-seater lifts are turbo-charged and don’t slow down for you to get on so be alert!!
Didn’t head over to Avoriaz and the rest of the PDS but was told that it can be enjoyable to explore although careful planning is a must to get the most out of it in a day.

The Terrain
Hugely varied with a real emphasis on encouraging novices onto higher grade runs without scaring the wits out of them.
Lots of blues and reds, some brilliant blacks and just a handful of greens – these are in the ‘Grand Cry’ kiddies section but for novices, the blues above Les Gets (Gentiane, Bruyere) will be fine. There are quite a few blues that have flats in them so are less suited to inexperienced boarder. We basically ditched the blues for the week unless we had to use them, as the reds are so smooth and more enjoyable for snowboarding.
Navigation is okay but the map isn’t the best I’ve used, although if you’re lost it’s always easy to get back to where you need to be as it’s not a complex area.
Every lift has a map at the gates showing accessible runs and closing times are generous, normally about 5.15pm in late season.
There are lots of trees in between runs that experienced skiers will love to go through and there’s so much off-piste between runs it’s great to go down a run totally through powder, safe in the knowledge that you’re not really going to run into trouble like you would in ‘freeride’ country.


The Runs
Here's a breakdown of some great runs to try:

Livre (Mt Chery): Fast, steep, sweeping red run that does suffer from shadowing late in the day so there can be ice. However, it’s an amazing run that’s great for giving you an adrenaline boost. It comes out of the bottom of the snowpark/Chamois run.
Chamios (Mt Chery): From the top of Mt Chery near the snowpark, Chamois is a red run that meanders down nicely, more of a blue than a red. However, it’s the main run that gives access right down to the village but suffers from being south facing so can thaw through quickly. We caught it just right and although demanding on the lower half, is a great run for anyone who wants to go fast. Watch out for the roads that cross it towards the bottom!
Epiviere (Mt Chery): On the far left of Mt Chery it’s accessed by a fast chairlift (beware getting on – it doesn’t slow down) and is one for speed demons. Fast and sweeping at the top, it gets mogully and steep at the bottom (obviously where its red classification comes from) where it joins the slalom course. A classic.
Gentiane/Orchis: The main blue run into Les Gets from the Chavannes chairlift, this is a good run despite some flat areas. It can also be accessed from the lifts out of the La Rosta bowl, but it’s very narrow right at the top and you need to put in quick, fast turns on a board to keep going.
The middle section is great and once you reach the kiddies training area and the slopeside eateries, you have the choice of carrying on down the blue to the right (gets crowded at peak times) or going straight under the chairilft as a red, which is the Orchis section. Orchis isn’t that long, maybe 800m, but it’s a great run that’s fast, mogully and great for carving. If you want to show off to the peeps on the chairlift, it’s awesome!
Belle Moulle: Left off the Chavannes Express this short red run takes you down to the lifts that service the main peaks above Morzine (Pont De Nyon and Chamossiere). It’s flat for about 80m in the middle but is steep and good for carving elsewhere. The final run down to the lifts is a wide valley where you can open up the throttle and do some serious overtaking.
Tulipe: Catch the Ranfolly Express chairlift out of the La Rosta bowl and up to Le Ranfolly (1826m). This red run is seriously fast, can get mogully but it’s a joy to burn down. Loads of off-piste surrounding it and links with several other reds that give you numerous entry options into the bowl.
Arbis: From the top of Chamossiere (2011m) this is a killer red if you have late afternoon legs. It’s famously steep (more like a black), offers superb views over Morzine (if you’re looking) and is a carver’s delight. Lots of moguls but it’s brilliant. Plus it seems to retain its snow cover well and remains soft being north facing. Joins up with blues above Morzine that are flat and boring, but necessary to get back to main lift system. The best view of Mt Blanc by far is from the top.
Myrtiles: Take the Grains D’or Express chairlift out of the bowl up to Point De La Turche and it’s a straight down, balls-to-the-wall black that’s not overly demanding unless it’s really busy. Short but one for practicing technique on.
Melezes: A very long red that takes you out of the bowl and to the outskirts of Les Gets. Very fast but not too technical, there’s a wealth of off-piste that can be accessed. It’s best to take the run down, then spot off-piste chances from the chairlift on your way back up for a second run. The lift back up is fast with great view.

There are a lot of other runs that will strike a chord with many. Piste B into Morzine is very long, not too challenging but great for carving… if you don’t happen to hit peak time when every ski school seems to use it! Bruyere back into Les Gets is also good but has a bloody awful flat section that’s a boarder’s nightmare. This is where the boardercross area is. The bit below where the Crocus run joins is good though, when you head through a tunnel under a road (pop an ollie off the bumps inside). Rhodos is a good run into the bowl, as is Viollettes, a mix between a blue and a red and one for razzing down. The snowpark on Mt Chery is also worth a pop, as there’s a wide range of jumps and they even had an airbag setup for €1 a go – great fun and a safe way to experience massive jumps.


The Snow
In the run-up to the trip we had the fear that the snow was going to be a bit patchy due to inconsistent temperatures – how wrong we were.
Got there on the Sunday and it was cold with light snow, heavier in the evening. The Monday was snow on/off all day, with a huge dump on the Monday night and Tuesday morning – this set us up for the whole week.
Temps rose mid-week so there was a bit of a crust on some off-piste as it thawed then froze again. The last few days the temps rose and the slush was amazing to carve through. Really secure, soft and forgiving for going down steep reds and blacks on the snowboard.
Les Gets really does have the edge over Morzine when it comes to snow; the village slopes were still brilliant by the end of our stay and well maintained by the pisteurs. Morzine on the other hand was totally rubbish mid-week below 1250m and we didn’t head back because it was such poor snow that demanded a lot of concentration to board.
Mt. Chery is fabulous when it snows and when we had the big dump, the powder was amazing – the best I’ve ever seen. There’s acre upon acre of it and because all the runs can be accessed from each another, you could board across the whole mountain face and feel you were doing off-piste without the danger. This really is the gem in the LG/Morzine area pass.

Off-piste
Never done off-piste properly before but Les gets made it sooooo easy!
Mt Chery has it in spades – a definite for anyone who wants ‘safe’ off-piste snow thanks to the fact that most ‘off-piste’ was actually on the runs themselves.
The bowl above Les Gets and the off-piste above Morzine is trickier but you never feel you’ll run into trouble, it’s fun and you never feel you’re in avalanche territory.

The Resort
Les Gets is based around one main street with several streets running parallel. It has bags of charm (very chocolate boxy) and has everything you need in terms of services.
The cash machines actually ran out of money on the Monday were there because of the Easter weekend (and too much snow blocking the roads). This was sorted by the Tuesday. There are several dotted through the town.
Access from the main chairlift/cable car over to Mt Chery is by either a little train that circuits the village or a two-minute walk.
There are loads of hire shops and lots of equipment shops, although they’re typical of France in that they aren’t the cheapest. ‘RIDE IT’ is a good snowboard shop at the end of the ice rink that was very small but friendly and did a full wax and edge mid-week for only €10.
There’s a €1 bus to/from Morzine if you don’t want to ski/board over (or if you get stuck) and there are also buses to Avoriaz to access the rest of the PDS.

The Food

Amazing! We didn’t eat everywhere but where we did eat, we were seriously impressed. The numerous crepes shops were good value (€5 - €7) and if you’re self-catering, there’s a Casino next to the Irish Bar and there’s also a SHOPI that’s very cheap for beer, wine and supplies.
The best restaurant we ate at was the L’op Traken in the main square next to the ice rink. Our hotel staff ate there and suggested it. The humongous Calzone pizzas were only €15 and the giant salads were a brilliant €11. Great service and great food… oh, and they have wine’s up to a stupendous €2,500!!!
If you’re up for a beer there are loads of places. The Hotel Stella always seems to have a few people in the plush bar, the Black Bear and the Irish Bar were always full, as was the Golden Lion (British-owned with footy on TV). A pint is about €4-5 on average.

Accommodation
We stayed at the Hotel Chamois. We’d read a few bad reports about it but these were obviously from people who didn’t realize it was a 2-star hotel. Yes, it’s a bit like Fawlty Towers in that the walls are paper thin and the staff are a bit Manuel-ish, but it was a great place to crash with a really relaxed atmosphere and the staff couldn’t do enough to help you. The food was good but portions were a bit small at times. Plus, we had some bizarre concoctions: fruit salad with hot, runny custard (odd) and the beetroot salad that was literally, just beetroot with two bits of lettuce!! Mind you, we got a bargain for the whole holiday so we didn’t expect 5-star treatment.
Loads of other hotels exist in the village and there are many chalets dotted around so there must be quite a few tour operators who run to LG. Plus, we heard a rumour that Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman have place here.

Cost
We booked through www.alpineelements.co.uk and paid £430 for flights, transfers and accommodation. The hotel offered breakfast (cereals, croissants, bacon etc), tea and coffee all day, afternoon cakes for your return from the slopes and a three-course meal at 8pm. The bar stayed open until 1am, although we never made it past 11pm – we were that knackered! Beer was €4 in the hotel bar with a bottle of good wine costing €10.
You could easily get lunch for less than €20 with a drink and dinner was just a tad more depending on how many courses you wanted.

Conclusion
Thanks to meeting like-minded people who found the Hotel Chamois’ quirks hilarious, we had a whale of time.
The snowboarding was out of this world, the village was great, with a totally different atmosphere to the ski-in-ski-out La Plagne I’d been to before (LG is more intimate), and the whole set-up was efficient and charming.
Anyone who hates drag lifts (being a snowboarder, I do) you’ll be sorted, as you can pretty much access all the points in the area without having to use anything but a chairlift or bubble. Some chairlifts are slow but who cares when you have such great views of the Mt Blanc range – you can even see Lake Geneva from Mt Chery on a good day!
Definitely get yourself up to Pont de Nyon and Chamoissure for amazing views and try Mont Chery for traffic-free red runs that are the most enjoyable in the whole area.
I’m not sure if we’ll be heading back to the Hotel Chamios – the fun we had we never be repeated I fear – but I think we’ll definitely head back to Les Gets, as it’s so much better than Morzine but still has loads to offer as a small part of the PDS.
A totally amazing place with first-rate boarding and skiing.

Les Gets Resort Report Feedback Thread


Last edited by You know it makes sense. on Thu 7-08-08 17:02; edited 1 time in total
latest report     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Resort: St Gallenkirch
Country: Austria
Domain: Silvretta Nova - Montafon. You can ski Hochjoch and Golm too on the same pass.
Author: fatirishman
Date: March 2008
Our holiday: Advanced intermediate to advanced group of skiiers. Party size of 20 + 6 kiddies under 7. We're all mid 30's to early 40's (well one of us is over 40)
Website : http://www.silvrettanova.at/EN/Winter/Home/ http://www.montafon.at/
Basics : It's the Montafon region of the Vorarlberg. Not a Brit in sight, and it was great. You can reach it via Friedrichshafen and a bus, or train to Bludenz.
Lift system : Mostly chairs, three drags and one gondola. I only queued once all week, and that was because we stupidly skiied to the gondola middle station early morning and caught the traffic coming up the mountain. The lift system has been heavily modernised of late and all the old drags are dissapearing.
The terrain : 127 km of piste, well laid out suitable for all levels. We let the kids cruise some really easy blue stuff, and even the red around Brunella Wirt was easy for them. There is nothing too black on the runs though, and even their statutory black was a dark shade of red. Off piste this place is the dog's bits.... I'd a cracking time in fresh snow, powder up to my armpits, I just luvvved it!
The snow : Late March and I was thinking, this could be dodgy.... but it snowed and even though the resort closes this week there is enough to ski there for another month. We'd powder galore.....
Off-piste : Party on - plenty of it though heavily used. Fresh tracks got hard to make by the end of the week.
The resort : The village has no character, no soul, no nightlife worth taling about. Apres is OK, and takes place mainly at the Bella Nova or for a more subdued affair at Brunellla Wirt. Remember you still have to ski down the mountain for both of them..... Ski schools for kiddies, better to use the on on the mountain as you can ski past the little dears and check their smiling faces. The standard there has improved dramatically in the last four years. The mounbtain school by Nova Stoba was better, but it meant you had to eat there if you wanted to have lunch with them.
Food : Bella Nova decent Italian stuff at reasonable prices. Zur Brezn - Bavarian specialities???? Weisswurst und Weissbier! Nova Stoba was a bit rubbish, take away pre prepared fodder but fast.
Accommodation : Stayed in self catering Daerfli http://www.daerfli.com/inhalt.htm forget about it if you haven't got a car. If you have it's cracking, clean, friendly, loads of space and Martina who runs it is a wee cracker.
Costs: Cheap (130Euros a lift pass, Beer 3.5 Euros, Lunch 10 Euros, Hot chocolate and Rum 3.8 Euros ... off the slope 25% cheaper.)
Conclusion: I shouldn't be writing this report, don't go there ever.... leave it to me. I love this resort and although it's in many ways not ideal I adore it. There is little to no nightlife, the pistes can be too flat at times, and the infra structure to get there needs improved... however it's super for families, it's great for mixed abilites, it's cheap, it's got cracking off piste, and it's not over crowded. I'm going back, definately. Go here if you're going skiing, don't go here to party.

St Gallenkirch Resort Report Feedback Thread
snow report     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Resort: Nevis Range (also known as Aonach Mor)


Country Scotland


Domain Western Highlands: second ridge East of Ben Nevis.


Author snowball


Date 11-14th April 2008


Our holiday 3 days of skiing plus the Friday driving up, snatched at a day’s notice on hearing of good snow. Monday 5pm, after the skiing I drove back to London, arriving 2.30am.

Website http://www.nevisrange.co.uk/winter/ and for snow conditions and photos: http://www.winterhighland.info/2006/pix/pixalbum.php?pix_id=59 and http://ski.visitscotland.com/conditions/

Basics Just north of Fort William. I gather there is an occasional bus from Fort William (3 miles to the south) but a car is an advantage (and allows visits to other Scottish ski resorts, especially Glencoe just to the south. There are overnight trains to Fort William from London but they arrive after the start of skiing. Driving from Glasgow airport to Glencoe takes an hour and a half (north half of Loch Lomond is winding ang slow but very scenic) and Fort William (via spectacular Glencoe itself) another 35 minutes.
Due to global warming, all Scottish resorts, unless you live nearby, should be visited only on an opportunistic basis when you hear good snow reports. They are small by alpine standards and prone to bad weather and especially high winds. In consequence the pistes are usually between snow fences to help collect and hold the snow. However when conditions are good they can be wonderful – most especially (if you are a good skier) Nevis, because of the Back Corries skiing and generally large open slopes with few snow fences. Access is by a good Gondola lift from near sea level up to 650 metres. Top of lift served skiing is at 1200 metres.
When visibility is good there are spectacular views all the way to Skye.
There is a good Café with hot and cold food and drinks at the top of of the Gondola.
Ski / board / boot hire at the bottom of the access gondola.

Lift system Small and generally antiquated with many drag lifts due to frequent high winds. A modern access Gondola lift takes you up nearly 2,000ft from the car park to the ski area. Braveheart, in the back bowl is seldom opened (only in good snow conditions at weekends and holidays). Day ticket £24 Lifts open 9.00, lifts on slopes close 4.15 (4.00 summit tow, 3.30 Braveheart but will run-off any queue). Gondola closes 5.30

12 lifts, Runs: 20km pisted 35km unpisted. 575m vertical - longest run 2km
For piste map see: http://www.nevisrange.co.uk/winter/mountain/map.asp


Terrain Snow level tends to be around or just above the Restaurant / gondola top-station where the easier slopes are. Consequently they can suffer from lack of snow. The best is probably accessed by the Great Glen chairlift off to the left if it is running (as it was when I was there). Really beginners are better off at other Scottish resorts.
For better skiers the Goose is the best run and Warrens when there is enough snow. There is a black which follows the ridge which also needs good snow.
For very good skiers, however, the glory of Nevis skiing is the back-bowls (or Back Corries) of which the patrolled part is beyond and to the left of the summit tow (follow the line of poles which diverge - right - from the path). For further off-piste options (some requiring a longish walk) go right from the summit tow. They end in long runs down the valley to the Braveheart tow. However beware that all this area has very steep entries and frequent cornices and between these is high cliffs – so do not explore except in good visibility. Ski out by a long traverse around the mountain to the left.
For much more detail on these areas (and photos) see my Back Corries TR at the bottom of the page.

Views from the ski area can be stunning. In good visibility you can see the mountains on Skye.

The snow See The Basics and my TR but good when I was there – starting at the level of the Restaurant. The deepest snow is usually in the back corries.


Off piste See “Terrain” above but when snow is good there are also off-piste options between lifts on the front – particularly to skiers' right of Summit tow and and Goose.


Resort Fort William is a rather dour place with many grey stone buildings and an old castle you have to hunt for. The centre has been bypassed with a big road between the town and sea and several roundabouts – one built on top of the eponymous fort (some remains still visible beside it) built originally by Cromwell but named after William III.
Nevisport at the north end of the High Street is the largest ski shop and has a good lunch and tea room on the first floor with a bookshop, and a pub underneath.

Food Hot and cold food (eg chicken curry, chile con carne, mutton pies, sandwitches, cakes) and hot and cold drinks at the top of the access gondola.
At fort William there is a very good fish restaurant, called Crannog right on the sea edge (tiny with orange roof) £40 each with wine and well worth it. There is also a lovely new award-winning Hotel the Lime Tree, with an award-winning restaurant by the first roundabout (coming from the south). Also Indian and Chinese restaurants etc. (and see Nevis Sport above)

Accommodation Fort William has a few hotels (including the grand “Inverlochy Castle”) and many B & Bs, especially on the road in from the south. But see the Lime Tree mentioned above. It is run by a mountain guide / stuntman who also paints. It is £40-55 - plus dinner - per person in a double or twin. See also North Ballachulich (between Glencoe and Fort William) and Speen Bridge (North of Nevis Range)


Costs Getting up there is not cheap – you could fly to Glasgow airport and hire a car, or go up by overnight sleeper – which is expensive (a one or 2 berth sleeping compartment with breakfast doubles the price). Driving up from London takes about 9 ½ hours, or 10 hours with a meal stop.
B & B is quite cheap (my single – in a twin room – cost me £25, but many are a bit more). A day ticket for the slopes is £24


Conclusion If you live in Scotland or can go up at short notice when the snow is good it can be very good fun. Good weather such as I mostly had should be seen as a bonus as it can be bleak. Don’t expect an Alpine size ski area or a proper ski resort close to the lifts, but these are real mountains with substantial challenges for those who are adventurous.

My photos: http://www.snowmediazone.com/the_zone/showphoto.php/photo/11907

Nevis Range Resort Report Feedback Thread





NEVIS BACK CORRIES detailed TR



Edit: For good piste map click on http://www.nevisrange.co.uk/winter/mountain/map.asp
(photos off my phone so not high quality)


I drove to Fort William on Friday and found a B & B at £25 on the seafront – one of a long string of them on the southern road in.
The next morning I kitted up and realized I had left my boots in the front hall at home. Luckily I discovered that Nevis lift station rents them and, against all expectations – after trying 7 pairs - I found some that were OK if I did them up tight.
Andrew (“Jungle” on Winterhighlands website and a regular ski companion) met me, and discovered Craig, someone he had met while doing steep gullys solo on Ben Nevis, who was also kitting up in the carpark. We were told there was some new snow up top.
The 3 of us, together with daveqpr, did a couple of runs on the goose (is that a couple of geese?) and fresh tracks down Warrens a few times, and then went over the back.
The top of the mountain was in thick cloud and the cornices large so we decided to start with Backtrack. Entering the steepish and deeply cut traverse completely blind was rather unnerving.
Returning to the top we then trecked for about a quarter of an hour along the crest to the right to Summit Gully. It was in dead flat light but we made first tracks down it, and then the cloud lifted for the highly scenic descent down the long valley ending at the bottom of the Braveheart Lift.




(Andrew)

Braveheart was still closed so we had a bite to eat (I relying, I’m afraid, on stuff the others had brought). During this the lift started, at first almost imperceptibly and then a bit faster (its normal speed). Only one person is now allowed on each double chair or it breaks down – did I mention this lift is called Braveheart?
There was no Liftie: should we get on? Craig phoned the lift office. The lift stopped. “No, no” he was told, “this is just a test, you can’t get on”. “There are a dozen of us down here now”. After a pause the lift started again and a liftie skied down: “OK, we’re opening”.
In the afternoon daveqpr left us, not fancying another treck to Summit Gully. This time we crossed to the further bowl - and then we did Chancer on the main back bowl. The cornice was large, and the entry required a jump in.
All the back corries entries are steep to varying degrees, but Chancer is the steepest of those on the piste map. I decided to try an entry from 20metres further up the ridge, the very top of the slope, which nobody had tried. I could only see the slope by leaning out.

Edit: just seen this fantastic picture on Winterhighlands.

It was very, very steep, starting vertical and landing on a slope of, I think, over 50º. I thought I’d landed it but trying to turn across the slope my heels skidded away and I did a yard-sale. Despite the hard snow under the sprinkling of new stuff the steepness made it hard to climb back up to my skis and even harder to put them on. I thought I’d managed it finally but when I started to ski they both came off again.

or see this much better photo from what...snow

In the evening Andrew and I went to the Crannog fish restaurant on the seafront. I had halibut on a bed of leaks with a delicate cream and Pernod sauce. Andrew had local langoustines with herb and garlic butter. £40 each for 3 courses with coffee and a good wine – but certainly worth it.

The next day was similar, a sprinkling of new snow and occasional glimpses of sun but often the top obscured by cloud. Braveheart again opened. We did 2 more Summit gulleys (the first time blundering around in thick cloud trying to find it) but heard that Easy Gully (ironic title for the hardest of the main entries – not on the piste map) was icy and pockmarked by climbers boots so gave it a miss. We did Chancer again (I took the normal entry this time). We thought we would try Spikes near the end of the day, since the snow had softened (it involved a jump in off a cornice and the snow had been harder than on Summit gully) but decided we couldn’t do it before Braveheart closed, which would have meant a long climb out.

On the Monday the others had all gone home and I was expecting an anticlimax, especially as there was no hope that Braveheart would open, however it turned out the best day of the lot. I met a Scot called Stuart in the car-park who had never skied Nevis but had skins with him (as I did) and wanted to explore the back corries.
The sun was bright and there had been some new snow to fill the old tracks but it started poorly. The warm, churned up snow from the day before had frozen into hard rubble over which we rattled, first down the Goose and then the lowest run down the back which starts from the top of Warrens tow (I think it's called Winger Wall). However the snow soon warmed up and things got better and better as the day went on. I showed Stuart Summit Gully and it was positively enjoyable walking there on skins in the sun with huge views in every direction.



We made first tracks all the way down and returning to Braveheart, which was closed, as we had expected, found that the walk out was only 10 minutes to a point half way up the lift where we could traverse out.



So of course, we had to do it again in the afternoon. Someone had dug a loop-shaped trench (called a Bollard) to hold the top of a rope as they lowered themselves into Easy Gully.




This time I entered further left (as you look down) and, except for our own, we saw only one other track in the valley.



(This is Stuart with Spikes top left and Easy Gully entry top right in the slight cleft.)

We also noticed a big off-piste area to the left of the Goose and Summit tows (as you look up) with enough snow and only a few tracks (and a few rocks to avoid) which we skied twice top to bottom (see map). As you converged with Goose gully near the bottom you just traversed right a couple of times and started another pitch.
Stuart said goodby and I finished by jumping in to the right of Backtrack, all alone on the backbowl, and traversed out in superb softened snow to find all the lifts closed. A marvellous end to my last ski of the season.

I started home through Glencoe and beyond feeling exhilarated, the sunny mountains looking glorious with ribbons of snow reaching down between the rocks to the crushed-velvet mossy greens of the slopes and lower down the deep dark green of pines and the orange of budding birch twigs.



Notes on the Back Corries.




(map squares are 1 km)

(Please bear in mind that you shouldn’t go exploring here in bad visibility as there are high cliffs to fall off and many extremely steep slopes. Much of it is off-piste where the normal caveats apply, and very few people ski there who could rescue you.)

To access the main back bowl turn left at the top of the Summit tow and follow the line of poles which diverge slightly right from the pisted path. You will arrive at Chancer the highest and steepest entry point. Beware, most of the bowl edge usually has a cornice. Backtrack is an easier traverse in, at the lower end of the bowl.
If you do neither and continue down you will arrive at the top of Warrens T bar and the path you originally diverged from. Continuing down the ridge bear immediately right where you will find yet another, usually slightly easier, entry to the back (I think called Winger Wall) , separated from the main bowl by a rocky bulge.
If you ski the main bowl and Braveheart chair is not running you cannot ski down the line of the chair unless you are prepared to climb out half way (ie the steeper part).
To exit the bowl you must turn left (anywhere between level with the top of Braveheart and about 1/4 down it) and traverse out. It is about a mile of traversing and occasional small slopes to ski around to the lifts on the front. You can use a small beginners’ draglift (before the final path beside a chairlift) if you get a bit too low.

To reach the off-piste entries into the back corries turn right at the top of the summit tow (by the ski patrol hut). Except for the first bit slightly uphill, most of the walk along the wide ridge is flat.
Walk parallel to the cliff edge till you reach Easy Gully, after which the cliff edge turns sharply away from you. Easy gully is extreme skiing, involving a jump onto a steep slope or an extremely steep forward travelling side-slip (about 60º?). Below the entry is a short gulley with rock sides which opens onto a huge slope about 500 yards wide and with a vertical drop of over 1,000ft.
Watch out, the cliff edge directly behind the gulley is currently about 6 metres back from the snow edge which is breaking away from it. Better to avoid walking on it.

From Easy gulley head a bit to the right of the slight hump ahead. Passing this you will see in the far distance ahead some rocks which mark the entry to Summit gulley. However, if instead you go left you will find the edge curves back towards you after the cliff-promontory and gets lower.
This section is not a cliff but Spikes, which is a wide steep slope, usually with a cornice entry. Currently the least cornice is near the left end, but the snow is harder than at Summit Gulley, which is somewhat easier skiing.


(Summit Gully)

The rocks and slight bump on the left of the ridge (almost level with the summit Cairn of Aaonach Mor) mark the Summit gulley entry. You can do a short, steep traverse under it, from a dip just before, which will bring you onto a short snowy spine. Either turn left into the obvious bowl or continue the traverse into the next bowl. Alternatively you can enter about 40 or 50 yards further left (as you look down). I gather you can also go beyond the rocks and bump and access directly into the second bowl. In any case, after the first few turns these are all relatively easy and most enjoyable slopes with a vertical of about 850 ft.
Emerging from the Gully either follow the middle of the valley down very gentle slopes towards a wide dip ahead and then a nice wide gully, (or perhaps, even better keeping slightly higher to the left for another short, steeper slope) continuing down the valley, keeping always left of the stream for a total run of about 2 km till you see the bottom of Braveheart chair just above you to the left.

Alternatively after the Summit gully turn immediate left, traversing as high as possible around the slopes below Spikes and down into the bowl below Easy gully. Watch out if the weather has been warm - there is a Lochain (small lake) at the bottom of the bowl. Keep right of it then keep high left. You will eventually join the other route. There are several alternatives and no great problems if you take another way.

If instead you keep to the right out of the Summit Gulley till you reach the col you can climb up the left of the ridge ahead and ski the obvious big slopes from the top.


(by Easy Gully)




Edit: I just had these from Craig: Easy Gully the next weekend when he skied it:



click to enlarge

and looking back at it:

That's a 1,000ft vertical slope.

PS I skied Easy Gully twice on my next visit in 2012. You can enter most easily from the furthest left where the cornice is smallest, though on that particular year we were also able to enter from the furthest right. Only extreme daredevils jump off the cornice - I wouldn't consider it.


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Mon 17-09-12 10:58; edited 27 times in total
ski holidays     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Resort: Glencoe Mountain Resort
Country: Scotland
Domain: none
Author: what...snow (Neil)
Date: Janary-April 2008, 5 visits. Occasional visits in 1980's and 2007
Our holiday: I live in the Northwest of England currently. I usually drive up for the weekend and stay with a relative (obviously this isn't an option for everyone). I've skied here with friends, with people I met on winterhighland (all good company) and on my own.
Website : http://glencoemountain.com/store/snowreport.php
http://www.winterhighland.info/
http://www.haggistrap.co.uk/
Basics : On the A82 about 1 1/2 hrs drive from Glasgow, about 30mins before you reach Fort William. (See snowball's Nevis Range report for further info. From the South, Glencoe is 40mins closer on the same road)
Lift system : 7 lifts: From the Carpark at 300m it's a 2 man called the Access Chair. Then the Plateau draglift (accesses the green run & is used all day by beginners), then a green run (Mugs Alley) which takes you to the (parallel) Cliffhanger Chair and Wall T-bar (near here there is a tiny trainer tow). Between the top of these are the Main Basin T-bar & Top Button draglift. All are antiquated, this area has the worst infrastructure in Scotland (& that is some stiff competition). The Top Button was broken in a storm in January & never ran in 2008. There do tend to be queues for the Main Basin on busy weekends. Up to 15mins wait on opening (bluebird) day but much less on all other days.
The terrain : This has been a ski area since 1956 and it was with good reason that they chose here for the first ski tows in Scotland. From the top numerous natural gullies form. No snow fences or signage, to get to many runs you may need to ask for some directions. Don't worry, everyone speaks English (well sort of...). On the right from the top of the tows are 3 blues, all of which can be skied back to the start of the higher or mid-mountain tows. Pisting is somewhat lacklustre but most likely to be done on the Main Basin, which may also have some terrain park features. At the top on the left there is a small 'expert skiers only' sign, marking the start of the traverse. This leads to 2 reds & 1 black and a few off-piste options. Even the end of the traverse feels like backcountry. From here a variety of routes lead back to the Plateau or mid-mountain tows.
Particular features of note include the Black run (The Flypaper) which is the steepest in Scotland for its short steep section, the Haggis Trap at the bottom of the Main Basin run (a natural feature which disappeared due to snow buildup in mid January this year, but can be seen standing about 20ft high on the right of the Haggistrap frontpage) and the short but steep reds at mid-mountain level.
Although not always possible, Glencoe really comes into its own when there is snow to the Carpark level. This gives >800m vertical descent & a choice of 2.5+km runs. This was possible for about 4w, mid Jan to mid-feb IIRC in 2008. More usual is 430m vertical to the Plateau level.
The snow : Despite Scotland's reputation for ice & wind, I had days of proper snow and proper sunshine. Up to date unbiased info on the snow is readily available from Winterhighland's Public Reports section and the weather is Britain's favourite topic of conversation. Vast amounts of meterological information is available online. If there are gales & the hill is stormbound (or if there's no snow) it is likely to have been forecast.
Off-piste : Has its own dedicated website! Haven't done any over the back of the mountain but you will frequently be alone from the end of the traverse. The on/off-piste distinction is very blurred. There are two rusting poles marking the top of the pistes but no other markings.
The resort : In 2008 Glencoe shut 2 days each midweek - check their website for information. Kingshouse Hotel is within 1 mile, Bridge of Orchy Hotel to the south or Clachaig Inn to the north. Fort William about 30mins away or some villages closer, but this is really Glasgow's ski centre. Drive north through Glencoe proper is spectacular and decent scenery starts at Loch Lomond, within 30mins of Glasgow on the way north.
Food : Cafe at the base station is OK, Plateau Cafe near the base of the Cliffhanger could do with (considerable) improvement. The Real Food Cafe about 30 mins south in Tyndrum is a top fish'n'chip shop with a large menu (this is West Coast Scotland, no Raclette etc).
Accommodation : Maybe some climbing websites would give unbiased reviews of the local hotels, hostels & hostelries. It's on the West Highland Way & Glencoe is a major climbing & hillwalking centre.
Costs: Day ticket is £25. Access chair starts about 8.30am, lifts start shutting about 4pm. I again recommend self-catering for lunch but pie'n'chips + drink>£5. For most of us, the expensive bit is getting there. It is possible to get there by Public Transport. A bus from Glasgow takes 2hrs & leaves about 7am. Return is either about 3 or 7pm (check stagecoach website) which has put me off trying it.
Conclusion: Closest ski centre to most of the UK's population, easiest to drive to, small but with a very special atmosphere and great views. First 8 photos here were taken at or of Glencoe, then other areas in the UK: http://picasaweb.google.com/neil2829/SeasonFavourites

Glen Coe Resort Report Feedback Thread
snow report     
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Resort: Gstaad Superski (Chateau d’Oex, Rougemont, Saanen, Gstaad, Schonried, Saanenmoser, Zweisimmen, Glacier 3000 etc.)
Country: Switzerland (Vaud and Bernese Oberland) . The significance of the cantons being that the first 2 towns above are French-speaking and the others German-speaking.
Domain: Gstaad Superski ( 260 km). Not really a domain as you would expect in France, but rather a series of villages/towns that are managed by the same company. The company itself being a PPP with the towns and cantons.
Author: Agenterre
Date: Mid-December 2007 - Early April 2008. However personal commitments meant that neither of us were there all the time and I only ski every other day or so.
Our ‘Holiday’/Background: Most readers will already know this. For others – Better Half has skied for many years, I started 3 years ago and have become obsessed with improvement/catching up. We decided to take a small apartment to increase the regularity of our skiing. Choice of resort was largely driven by train connections to Geneva airport although we discovered Zurich airport was also a useful option.
Website : Gstaad and other BO villages website includes webcams
Rougemont
Chateau-d’Oex and
Interactive Piste Map
There is not a SCGB presence there.
Basics : The villages and slopes are easily accessible by Plane/Train and Car. Flying to Geneva the train leaves from the airport. You change in Montreux onto the Goldenpass panoramic and the train accesses all the villages, a stunningly picturesque train ride. The whole journey about 2 – 2 1/2 hours (dependant upon your destination). Train from Zurich airport is about 3 1/4 hours but you do change more often. – The interactive piste map is a little confusing as the areas are quite disparate. Driving from the airport is less than 2 hours … the quickest route is Autoroute to Lausanne then heading towards Bern leaving at Bulle. You can also access via Aigle.
Lift system : The lift system is similar to the mix that you will find in any Swiss resort that I have been to (imv this being generally older/inferior to those in France). There are still a number of T-Bars and some of the mountain links are older chairs. This being an important consideration as one of the important links broke down over UK holiday half term. The lift company recently announced a major replacement program for the area. They also said that 5 years ago apparently!
The Trains/ Post Buses and Ski Bus form an important part of the area’s infrastructure. All are included in your ski pass and you will use them extensively to access the different unless you have your own car.
The terrain : The ski area is really 7 different unlinked ( by ski or board) areas. The piste marking in the whole area is atrocious even by Swiss standards. Frequently the map and slopes are different and finding your way around initially is a tedious affair. Two of the areas are large and probably worthy of a week’s holiday in their own right. I’ll deal with them ‘Left-to-Right’ as you look at the ski map.
St Stephan - Zweisimmen-Saanenmoser-Schonried
– This is by far the largest area and accessible from any of the villages/towns above. The area ranges from 1000-2000m , but most access the area in Saanenmoser that is on a beautiful plateau at about 1250m, there also many kms of Cross-country skiing there as well. The area is intermediate country with an excellent Beginner’s area in Saanenmoser and many will be able to progress further up the mountain very quickly. There are a few token blacks … and all runs back to the villages and around ‘links’ are blue …. A feature of the area! This is nonsense as there is little difference between some of these ‘Blues’ and the few Blacks. My favorite runs are the motorways leading to Zweisimmen and St Stephan – the red from Saanerslochgrat down to the Chaltebrunne lift ( not shown on the map!) , which is very steep . The Hornberg-Saanenwald red ( despite the impossible (for me to get up without stopping) uphill section!) and the red from Hornfluh back to Schonried. This isn’t to belittle any of the other runs as I cannot think of a ‘short’ bad one.
Rellerli A small area accessed from Schonried from 1200-1900m. Almost South-facing so a fun place for a few hours on a Cold , sunny day . The Grossi Vorchess red is a great run here with nice wide slopes for improving beginners in the area as well. We loved it.
Wasserngrat A very small area from about 1100 – 1900m. It only has 3 runs (Blue, Red and Black) but worth a visit for the Black (allegedly the steepest slope in the area) and the superb restaurant at the top.
Gstaad-Wispile ( 1000-2000m) This area always seems to be the busiest as it the easiest area for Gstaad-based holidaymakers to access. It is also where most of the ski schools are ‘based’ and has another big Beginner’s area. When I discovered how busy it could get (by the area’s standards ) I avoided it.
Gstaad( Eggli)-Saanen-Rougemont
The second biggest area (1000-2200m) and , for my money, the most demanding skiing. Don’t let the ski map fool you with its preponderance of ‘Blue’, some ( like the run back into Saanen Rubeldorf) would surely be red if it weren’t for the fact that is the only way home. The runs from Videmanette to Chalberhoni are a blast ( and long ) but the best run in the area imv is the Videmanette to Rougemont Red/Blue. I don’t recall how many kms, but it is again very long and one of the best runs I have ever had the pleasure of doing. I loved this area and as most is protected and/or North facing was very snow sure and high quality for all of the season.
[Glacier 3000
12kms from Gstaad by Bus or Car, although also accessible from Col du Reusch ( near Gsteig). I can only compare with Les Deux Alpes’ glacier and L2A knocks into the shade. The slopes are flat and boring. Only exception being the ‘Olden’ – 14km down to Reusch from the glacier itself.
Chateau-d’Oex Frankly the slopes here were closed for much of the winter for various reasons .. some may like it but given the choices elsewhere in the area I couldn’t get too excited.
I didn’t ski Lauenen or Gsteig .. although both are very pretty , authentic villages.
The snow : We were very worried initially about the snow conditions due to the relative low altitude compared to other resort areas; this was accentuated when we learnt that the previous season had been a disaster. We were very pleasantly surprised. The Jungfrau isn’t very far ( as the crow flies) away and thanks to the threads on snowHead I was able to ‘compare’ with what was being written there. My conclusion was that Gstaad had at least as good as if not better conditions generally than the Jungfrau. There were days I didn’t want to ski due to lack of new snow or sleet/rain and a day I recall lost to high winds. Yes there were some icy patches early mornings in January and February in particular. There were times when I thought that the slopes would go green but the late March conditions were absolutely amazing.
Off-piste : I just don’t do enough to be able to comment. What was very clear though that unlike other resorts what off-piste there is accessible by lift lasted a long time due to relative lack of use. I enjoyed what I did.
The resort : The area itself is stunningly beautiful .. the best ‘views’ are from Schonried but Gstaad, Rougemont and Saanenmoser all enjoy beautiful sunny positions. The whole area is still quite lightly developed and agriculture is still the main profession of locals and only Gstaad is ‘touristy’. My take on the various villages and towns :-
Chateau-d’Oex Beautiful sunny disposition but the town has a ‘run-down’ feel with the architecture more Savoyard than the classical ( and much more beautiful) Swiss feel in the other villages.
Rougemont Great views and sunny. Only a small village but charming with everything you need for a week. Maybe too quiet for most.
Saanen Although the capital of the region, it has a rather run down feel again. Not the greatest views from the town compared to its neighbours and the sun sets earlier on most of it. Many of Gstaad’s tourist workers live here and so it has a totally different feel to its more illustrious neighbour.
Gstaad
Everything you may have read about ‘the tourist hub’ that is this small town is probably true. Not as trendy and quite as full of designer shops as say Courchevel but its Chalets, ‘Tea Shops’, Hotels and Restaurants cater primarily for the rich.… Alas during peak holiday periods the clientele need to be seen rather than ski, not that I was complaining as that meant that the slopes were invariably empty. My better half remarked several times that we were the only folks wearing ski gear / carrying skis when we stopped in Gstaad. It does have the best supermarkets and general shopping in the area though. So you will go there at some time during a stay… great atmosphere most of the time with something always going on.
Saanenmoser and Schonried More ‘outposts’ than real villages or towns. They were my favourites so that if/when I were to return I would probably stay in one of those villages due to the proximity to the best skiing. Access and travel by train was always easy anyways.
I didn’t really get to see much of Zweisimmen nor St Stephan. I didn’t like Zweisimmen’s location ( a busy rail and road hub) and St Stephan is very close to Lenk.
Lauenen and Gsteig are both small villages in the general area. They are both Swiss ‘chocolate box’.
Food and Après-ski : Food I’m no fan of Swiss food. Over a prolonged period this ‘got’ to me and I avidly shopped for anything resembling salad or vegetables in order to avoid cheese and dried meats. Nevertheless there are some great restaurants both on and off the mountain. Our favourites were ….
Mountain Saanen-Rougemont. The small restaurant in Chalberhoni at the bottom of the link ( not shown on the map!) . Cheapest food by far with daily specials Wasserngrat – The Berghaus ( should be Michelin – starred according to some) but normal mountain prices. Schonried-Saanenmoser. The Kubelialp – specials every day. Very small, difficult to find if you don’t know where it is. Book in Advance. The Hornberg ( but see below as there’s one on the mountain and one off) . Great views, beware there are 2 restaurants next to one another … the one on the left is the one you want!
Off-Mountain We didn’t eat out very often but there were a few that we were recommended and visited a few times which really were excellent.
Rougemont – The Café Cerf. Best ‘mountain’ food ever. Based upon cheese.. and local cold meats are a speciality with a limited menu. Amazing value , the ‘entertainment’ you can tell me about after you’ve been. Advance Booking is essential every night.
Gstaad – Hotel Post. Included as it is excellent value by Gstaad standards with daily specials.
Saanenmoser – Hotel Hornberg ( not up the mountain but you can ski to it) . Great menu (which changes) . International cuisine and good value as well.
Gstaad – The Burger Bar under the railway bridge … cheap when you just need protein or fries!
Après-ski Not our thing to be out very late but the nightclubs are centred on Gstaad. Our favourite bar was ‘Hardy’s ‘ (Thanks Thomaz!) in the Bernerhof Hotel also the cheapest!! The Saanenpub in Saanen was OK, but the tenants have decided to go elsewhere soon.
Accommodation : We didn’t stay in any holiday apartments or hotels although we did get to know a few hotels through their restaurants. My choices would be driven by access to slopes/ transport so would probably suggest the following.
Saanenmoser – Hotel Hornberg
Gstaad – Hotel Bernerhof and Hotel Post ( latter being cheaper with good food but 250m from the train station)
Costs: Our season ski/train pass was CHF 990. In general we found cost of living to be slightly cheaper than Wengen and on a par with Zermatt and the 4 Vallees. Having said that our (limited) experience of all Swiss resorts in terms of ‘On mountain prices’ is that they are very similar.
Conclusion: We had a great time – the only drawback was the lack of people to ski with when I was there alone. We met very few Brits who were resident – and the ones we did didn’t ski. The scenery and ambience are wonderful and the residents/locals are charming, but that is something I've found everywhere in Switzerland.. I have to say I prefer it to the Jungfrau in terms of skiing, no crowds and more slope variation and in general ‘life’ was excellent. The drawbacks --- an ageing lift system in some bits (but is that just a Swiss thing?), atrocious piste marking (if you for a week maybe get a guide for the first day who has a car and get him to show you as much as possible) and the fragmented nature will put some off if they just want high mileages … but the trains/ buses are excellent when you work out how to link everything together.
If you are thinking of going the biggest consideration and highest expense will be accomodation. Only at New Year and I assume Xmas were more than 2 of the 6 flats in our chalet occupied and most of the time we were alone. January and March ( after Easter) were very, very quiet and probably the best and cheapest times.
I'm sure I've missed some pertinent stuff out . If you are planning on visiting and would like some advice or help then pm and I'll help if I can.

Gstaad Superski Resort Report Feedback Thread
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Resort: stayed Banff (skied Mt Norquay, Sunshine Village, Lake Louise, Kicking Horse, Panorama)

Country: Canada

Domain: n/a

Author: luigi

Date: 22nd Feb-4th Mar 2008

Our Holiday: A mate and I wanted to experience some Canadian hospitality, we took a Thomson package with BA flights from Heathrow to Calgary and stayed B&B at Irwin's Mountain Inn on Banff Ave.

Website: http://www.skibig3.com/

Basics: Banff is a small mountain town in the Canadian Rockies with everything a skier might need set in stupendous National Park scenery, it is used as a bed base for visiting nearby and far-flung ski areas.

Lift System: All the resorts had modern gondolas and chairs, just a few drags on the beginner's slopes. Sunshine, the most lift-endowed ski area we visited, has 1 gondola and 9 chairs, so these aren't huge areas compared to some european destinations, you could probably ski out the pisted areas of each of them in a day or two, very enjoyable nonetheless. Very little queuing even though it was peak season. The Sunshine gondola first thing in the morning on the holiday weekend was the worst, use the singles line. All the resort staff including lifties are very helpful, friendly and eager for you to enjoy your day.

Terrain:
Sunshine: the "village" at the top of gondola sits in a bowl where chairs fan out to several surrounding peaks with a variety of runs for all abilities above and below the tree-line.
Lake Louise: from the impressive base lodge lifts and long runs fan out up the front-side, off the back-side there are lots of steep off-piste possibilities and the link into the Larch area of enjoyable tree-lined runs. Views from the top across the valley to Lake Louise superb.
Kicking Horse: main gondola delivers you to Eagle's Eye with many steep and deep ways down (some need a hike along ridges) the chutes and bowls of the top half of the mountain, the lower mountain has some tamer terrain for the less adventurous.
Panorama: a series of chairs work their way to the summit accessing Taynton bowl for experts and a plethora of empty runs down through the trees for anyone else.
Mt Norquay: only skied on Fri evening, one chair is open with floodlit pistes either side and fun park directly underneath, entertaining watching the fearless local kids on the jumps whilst riding the chair.

Snow: 2008 wasn't a vintage season in the Canadian Rockies (Delirium Dive expert area at Sunshine wasn't open when we were there). Nevertheless, the snow at Sunshine was about the best I've skied on, squeaky, fluffy and forgiving.
We had several top-ups during our stay and air temps stayed near freezing, on sunny days it was pleasantly mild, even warm. We didn't experience the unbearable cold that you can get in midwinter. The pistes were a bit hard-packed lower down at Louise, Kicking Horse and particularly Panorama. Snow was always best at Sunshine.

Off-piste: Many lift-served and hikeable possibilities within ski area boundaries, snow conditions permitting.

Resort: Banff is a lively place, bars, restaurants, clubs, shops, malls. A proper town compared to village resorts and ski-stations I've visited in the Alps. Very friendly service from everyone we met, no language barriers-a bonus.

Food/Apres: excellent choice at reasonable prices:
On-mountain Trapper's Saloon (C$12 Beef Chili) at Sunshine and carvery (C$13) upstairs at Great Bear Room in Louise's Lodge of 10 Peaks stand out. Starbucks outlets at Sunshine gave large cup of quality fresh coffee or chocolate for C$4-5.
In Banff town, steaks at Saltlik (C$26 steak main), greek night at the Balkan(C$60 a head, 3 courses & 1 drink), Elk & Oarsman(C$12 pizza), cheap eats at Old Spaghetti Factory(C$14-20 3 course pasta & 1 drink) stand out. Magpie & Stump tex-mex let us down with over-cooked chicken and inexperienced service. Grizzly House was OK for hot stone (pierrade) & fondue 4-course set menu (C$44) but not as good as the genuine article in France and they added the service charge automatically, everywhere else left us to decide on a tip, of course 15% is pretty much expected in N America but they really work hard to please (and help you spend more, so beware). Friday night at Aurora's was a lively place to be.
There are many other activities other than skiing; Snowmobiling day trip near Kicking Horse (C$250 inc transport, food and 4-5 hrs snowmobiling), Ice skating on Lake Louise, driving up the Icefields Parkway, Snowshoeing across frozen lakes in the backcountry, hiking to frozen waterfalls in Johnston's Canyon, Cross-country trails everywhere. We had a car for 4 days to access some of these, equipment and advice available from the hire shops in Banff.

Accommodation: There's something for all budgets in Banff, just make sure you're not so far down Banff Ave that it's a long way to walk into town. Irwin's was basic but OK, good location not too far from town, it was handy having breakfast included, self-service coffee, juice, cereals, toast, muffins set us up for the day. Ski buses stopped 25 metres from the door.

Costs: Our B&B package cost (£580pp) barely anymore than the cheapest I ever saw the corresponding BA flights at. In fact, on the flight back, got chatting to one fellow passenger who was surprised to find that he had paid more for his flights than the package I was on. Charter flights from Gatwick may be a little cheaper, these sometimes get discounted too. It is probably going to cost more in total than a Europe trip from the UK, though.
On the ground, I found everything reasonable (exchange rate around £1=C$2), similar or slightly cheaper than home, even good value compared to resort prices in the Alps. Liftpasses are a bit pricey, but lack of crowds and queues made up for this.
Day trips to Kicking Horse and Panorama cost little more than lift ticket price so definitely worth it if you don't mind spending some time on a bus, awesome scenery makes up for it.

Conclusion: Recommended, you must try it once and then you'll probably be hooked:
Plus points: scenery, good snow, English spoken, reasonable costs, friendly service, uncrowded pistes, wilderness within touching distance.
Minus points: jetlag, bus travel to and from ski areas.
I'd definitely go again if I could afford it.

Banff Resort Report Feedback Thread


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Tue 23-12-08 11:16; edited 1 time in total
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Well have eventually got round to it Embarassed, but perhaps a good time to post such a thing Cool

Resort: Radstadt - Altenmarkt

Country: Austria

Domain: Ski Amade

Author: Frosty the Snowman

Date: 2-5th Feb 2008

Our holiday: A Family of 2 adults and boys aged 13 & 11. Parents fairly comfortable on all pistes, kids fairly comfortable on anything white. Took one other snowHead with us and meeting up with other snowHeads who had spent a week in Saalbach

Website : http://www.radstadt.com/ http://en.skiamade.com/

Basics : We flew http://www.thomsonfly.com/ from Manchester to Salzburg using an early morning flight and an evening flight home. This allowed us to do 3.5 days skiing with only 3 nights accommodation required. We had pre booked a taxi for 5 and this worked very well. I would suggest a link from whichever resort you choose to their local taxi companies. It was €20-25 pp per journey

Lift system : have a play around on this to see how big the Ski Amade is: http://www.skiamade.com/en/winter/skiresorts/slopepanorama/?region=ss
In general this area of the ski Amade is chock full of the most wonderful high speed lifts. 4,6 7 & 8 person detachable chairs (many with covers), and high-speed gondolas. The local hill (850m-1570m)has 2 sides to it: Radstadt and Altenmarkt. Radstadt 2 superb lifts: A stonking 8 man gondola from Radstadt, all the way to the top of the hill via a mid station, and a covered chair high speed quad from a separate area half way up the hill to the top. Altenmarkt side has similar high-speed quad from half way BUT an ancient 2 man chair from village to mid-station. This was the cause of our biggest queue of the week

The terrain : The Radstadt-Altenmarkt hill has two sides to it, each side running down to the respective towns. The Radstadt side has two ways down; red or blue. Both are lovely runs through the trees. The blue splits at the top with one going down to a nice hut and a covered chair. It has a free, timed slalom on the left hand side near the bottom which was huge fun……….for the kids who whupped my, Mrs FtS’, Jerry’s and You Raang’s respective butts. The run then rejoins and runs parallel to the red down to the bottom. The blues are not flat but confidence building for the nervous skier. The reds are not that steep but can be ripped by the better skier. One morning we were ripping the red near the bottom and I got a bit casual and was not getting enough edge in. Near the bottom it was very crisp due to the warm weather the previous afternoon and I had a most enjoyable 50-metre slide on my arus!. The Altenmarkt side is much the same but again has lovely variety. There is an easy blue route down which is huge fun and goes through gardens, over roads, across pasture and has rollers bends, the lot. The skiing is limited on this hill but it is good skiing, and we skied it for 2 full days and had HUGE amounts of fun doing so.

At Altenmarkt we crossed the road, hopped on a ski bus and within 10 minutes were in the resort of Zauchensee. Almost purpose built, this resort has about 60 km of skiing and was a massive surprise. Stunning lift system, both gentle and challenging pistes, and off piste potential thrown in. I was blown away by this place with its ski in (not many places are ski out) capability. Everything looked brand-new and the quality and variety of piste, coupled with an altitude between 1350m and 2100m, resulted in great snow for this super resort. To say 60 km is misleading as from the top of the Lackekcogel one can take red or blue down to Flachauwinkel. From there one can catch the ski bus down to Flachau or the Tractor tram for the short hop under the motorway to the main part of Flachauwinkle. Lovely runs, and an alledgedly great snowpark here, plus the ability to ski over the top and down to Kleinarl, with guess what?….loads more great skiing.
We caught the ski bus down to Flachau but being new to the area we got off at the wrong stop and had a long walk to the ski area. If doing this journey then get off at the stop next to the StarJet lift and save yourselves the walk. Flachau has a superb lift system. Very popular as it is 35 minutes drive from Salzburg and just off the motorway. We managed to visit Ski Amade bang in the middle of the busiest period of the year – Fasching. Yes it was busy in places, but the lift system that good, and the pistes that wide, that it was never a problem. I have never seen such a lift system. The pistes at Flachau are mainly red/blue with some steeper stuff over the back towards Wagrain. Some may say the skiing is a bit “samey” but hey, I have been to La Ros 4 times and so I know “samey” Laughing

The snow : We had two powder mornings. Perhaps a 20 cm fall one day on top of freshly groomed slopes. This was a truly beautiful experience. The weather was unseasonably warm and by the afternoon on a couple of days it was getting a bit heavier below 1200m, but nothing bad. The slopes were superbly groomed, but everywhere got a bit chopped up my mid afternoon as we were skiing on the busiest weekend of the season. I enjoyed this variety as the snow was, in general, superb. Snow making seemed good, but was never needed.

Off-piste Not really my scene, but there did seem a lot of opportunities in Zauchensee. Waynos seems to speak highly of it. We tried a bit, and even got some in on the Radstadt hill, which was gentle and excellent. We also had an adventure on a path through the trees towards Altenmarkt. This was in 40 cm of fresh powder and was an absolute hoot. I have rarely laughed and hollered so much. I know that my fellow snowheads felt just the same. We really hadn’t a clue where we were going but flangesax had said it was safe and we couldn’t go wrong.

The resort : Radstadt is a pleasant, historic, walled town. We didn’t do any sightseeing but enjoyed wandering its quite streets to and from our B&B. The restaurants were pleasant, serving wholesome, traditional, well cooked local fayre at very reasonable prices. The bars were fairly quiet, but friendly and again... CHEAP. The ski bus was very prompt, always running on time. It was about 10 minutes to the ski hill on the bus. It was livelier than usual due to Fasching. We saw some great sights as we wandered round; A blacked up Jamaican bobsleigh team with a bath as a bob and a bunch of authentically dressed cannibals with a blow up doll suspended from a carrying pole. Not for the mad après crews, but a nice place to visit.
Flachau: More Apres, a real ski town, lots of ski shops, and the home of The Hermanator
Zauchensee: A total ski town with fabulous looking hotels, skiing on the door, and would be my pick for a luxury week away. An absolute gem and the home of Michael Walchofer.

Food In Radstadt we ate on or just off the main Square. One place we liked was in the left hand corner as you approach from the B&B. Smoking allowed but all the food was tasty and some places less smokey than others.

Accommodation http://www.austrian-adventures.com/ Chalet run by snowheads flangesax , Ben and Ange ( and now TWO children) We went B&B but they also now do a catered service as an option. Haus Suzanne is a 100m very easy walk from the ski bus stop. Their garage is a ski room with boot racks underneath the stairs/ there is a sauna (small extra cost) and a big walk in shower area on the garage level. The rooms were a good size and comfortable and ensuite. The whole place was clean and very serviceable. Obviously a work in progress, the haus is slightly dated but I am sure that this will change over the years. There were slight problems with hot water running out on a couple of occasions, and the hallways and landings were sometimes quite cool possibly due to the large areas of glass bricks on one outside wall. That said we the beds were comfy and the rooms massive compared to France. This is not intended as a criticism, but don’t go expecting a 5 star boutique chalet. We went out to eat every night and so cannot report on the communal areas, a small lounge, and a dining room.
What set this place apart for me, was the obliging nature of our hosts. Ange was well into her 2nd pregnancy and Ben had knackered his back whilst trying to do a rail, but nothing was too much trouble. On the first morning they took all those requiring gear to a great hire shop in Altenmarkt, and then dropped us at the slopes. Similarly on the last day they took all the gear back so that we could maximise our ski time. They arranged taxis, gave local advice, and on the last day they allowed us to leave all our gear there and to come back, shower and change, before the taxis picked us up to take us to the airport. All of this was a huge help and bonus to us all. Sadly Ben’s back meant that he could not ski with us. They even let some of us watch the Engalnd v Wales rugby match in their private section of the Haus on a satellite TV. Sadly this was in Welsh, and we lost!.

Costs: Lift pass - http://www.skiurlaub.travel/liftpreise/liftpreise.htm I cannot see anyone needing a larger area pass than this.
http://www.thomsonfly.com/ were about £125 pp, I have just booked 8th –13th March for £110 pp
Taxis were about €25-30 pp each way from the airport
Taxi back from Flachau to Radstadt after the Apres was €20 (about €4 each for us)
Large beer on the mountain €2.50
Main course on the mountain €4-8
Same prices in the towns
A wonderful change to France. I thought it was HALF the price of Tignes
The B&B worked out at £18 pp per night, although we did take up a bunk room for the kids and have 3 in a room which kept down the price. I believe that the adult price this year is 28.50 pp per night

Conclusion: Totally blown away by the experience. We had a great time both on and off the mountain. It is fantastic value, has great snow, the worlds best lift systems, and fairly quiet on the piste. If you want gnarly skiing then it may be a bit tame, but if you want an experience far removed from a French Mega resort then fill yer boots. Any good for kids? Well my two loved it.
The ski and Post Bus idea works well but if there for a week then consider a hire car. A short drive gets you to Falchau, Schladming, Dachstein, Rohrmoos, Filzmoos and a bit longer gets you to the Gasteins, and the further reaches of the Ski Amade. Radstadt is bang in the middle and makes for an excellent base.

A huge recommendation from me and the family.

Some bits on You Tube taken by snowHeads.
http://uk.youtube.com/v/Z64c3iKSnHo Watch how the man walking up flashes by at 1.45. Listen to the comments at the bottom; Charlatanefc – “fantastic”, Fenlandskier – “oh yes” Ripping an empty slope like that is just sooo much fun

http://uk.youtube.com/v/qZDKtkwKHlk Not so quiet in Radstadt


http://uk.youtube.com/v/XtIKcUzSBl0 My youngest at the Altenmarkt mid sation

Also have a look at other Radstadt videos on there.
Happy times Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy snowHead Oh I have booked to go back again next year Very Happy

Radstadt - Altenmarkt Resort Report Feedback Thread


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Tue 6-01-09 19:23; edited 1 time in total
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Resort: La Rosiere
Country: France
Domain: San Bernardo
Author: Matilda.
Date: 20-27 Dec 08
Our holiday: Family ski trip with group ranging from 3 to 60 years old. 5 year old attended ESF 5 6 mornings and made a real improvement. He had attended swiss ski school when younger; think I prefer the swiss methods but ESF did a good job on improving and engaging him.
Website : http://www.larosiere.net
Basics : Flew to Chambery from Gatwick with SkiWorld.
Lift system : Mix of chair and drag lifts.
The terrain : La Rosiere side of San Bernardo mainly blues and reds. More challenging skiing to be found on Italian side of ski area. Perfect for our needs - more advanced buddies had got a little bored of this resort in the past. Marmotte a favourite for our group. Some great fun to be had once you cross the border into Italy.
The snow : Big dump the week preceeding out trip no fresh snow during the week - glorious weather for 5 of 6 days we were in resort. The weather was very kind to us with snow before we got there and blue skies for the rest of the week. However the last 2 days were incredibly windy and I believe this is not uncommon?! Lifts shut down and ski school curtailed sessions - perils of December skiing I guess?
Off-piste : Not my scene yet.
The resort : Nicely balanced resort with mixed accommodation sensitively constructed in keeping with local style. Noticeable expansion of the Les Eucherts end of the resort with new chalet apartment complexes being completed just in time for 08/09 season. We would return as we liked the resort and the way it was laid out.
Food : We were catered in chalet (excellent) but gave the kids lunch at the main cafe by the Les Eucherts chair lift. 8.50 euros for a monster pizza poved best value. Budget on 10 euros per head for lunch.
Accommodation : Les Balcons, chalet Choucas through SkiWorld. Did the job for us.
Costs:Ski hire through Intersports broke down to 89 euros per adult with an internet discount. Coffee / Vin Chaud 3.50 Euros. Lunch 10 Euros for chicken and chips. Overall the exchange rate was hurting us rather than the local prices.
Conclusion: Was nervous about La Rosiere as I had chosen it on the strength of some strong recommendations from the forums! It was the best fit resort that could meet most of my criteria for a xmas trip with a mixed group. It exceeded my expectations and offered something for a wide ranging group of skiings grandparents, 27 year old cousins plus a family of four with 2 kids under 5 - that's no mean feat. Staff in resort were v.helpful and that made a real difference. We will return at some stage.

La Rosiere Feedback Thread
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Resort: Zermatt
Country: Switzerland
Domain: Valais
Author: Nick L
Date: Christmas 2008
Our holiday: We went as a family - self, wife, sons aged 22,19 and 17, parents-in-law "older". We had picked Zermatt because of its reputation for catering well for non-skiers (my parents-in-law). I have about 18 weeks of skiing under my belt, my wife similar, our lads a bit less. We rarely ski off piste.
Website : www.zermatt.ch
Basics : We went on a package with TotalSki and flew with Monarch to Geneva, transfer bus to Tasch and final stage by train. Apparently it is relatively easy to do the transfer by train from Geneva
Lift system : The resort is linked to Cervinia, Italy. Having done a lot of our skiing in the Tarentaise, we noticed that there were quite a lot of (quite crowded) large cable cars and less small bubble lifts and chairs. Also the lifts seemed to stop with monotonous regularity. The link to Cervinia relies on either (yet another) large cable car, which often stops if there is wind, or two immensely long T-bars.
The terrain : The resort is in three basic areas served by the three lifts out of town. To the left is the Sunnega funicular accessing Sunnega with Rothorn above, in the middle is the Gornergrat train which also accesses the Riffelberg area, and to the right the Klein Matterhorn lifts up to Furi which then accesses the Schwarzsee, Trockener Steg and Matterhorn Glacier and Cervinia. It took us 1 hour to take the three lifts necessary to get right to the "top" at 3883m.
We particularly enjoyed red pistes 35 Gifthittli beside the Gifthittli chairlift, and 51 Weisse Perle in Scwarzsee. The blacks 62 Furg-Furi and 8 Obere National were "suitably challenging"
The snow : Avalanche warnings were at 3 all week following a large amount of snow in the preceding 2 weeks. Piste skiing was excellent and augmented in Christmas morning by about 6".
Off-piste : Not attempted except "piste-side"
The resort : Very picturesque and chic. The Matterhorn seems to be visible from everywhere and is extremely photogenic. There are many expensive shops and you could buy a diamond-encrusted Mont Blanc pen for 200,000CHF if your Bic needed replacing. There are also lots of wooden animal sheds which were part of the original village and are protected.
Food : We were in a chalet so only ate out at lunch-time. We enjoyed the Rosti at Sunnega and had a particularly pretty (and expensive) lunch at Ottmar's Hutt on the side of piste 2 Ried. The Hennu Stall on the red down from Furi seemed to be the "happening" end of the day place for a drink and loud music.
Accommodation : We stayed in Chalet Perelia on Oberdorfstrasse. This was actually a modern catered apartment on the first floor. It suffered from not being anywhere near the ski bus route and was about 10 minutes walk to the nearest lift (Klein Matterhorn). It was advertised as for "up to 7" people so we expected it to be fairly crowded with the 7 of us, but in fact it was much much bigger than you would expect for a French apartment for 7.
Costs: Ouch. I didn't spot any bargains.
Conclusion: We were very happy that Zermatt fulfilled all our expectations, and I would be happy to recommend it as a very suitable resort for a party of mixed skiers and non-skiers. It is not cheap however, and although there seems to be a fair degree of investment going on in the lifts, at this point it is not the most comfortable place to get up the mountain. Definitely not a resort for beginners as the beginner slopes are all higher up. As mentioned by others, the piste gradings are not especially consistent and there are quite a lot of narrow tracks.

Feedback Thread for Zermatt
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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: Cervinia
Country: Italy
Domain: Breuil-Cervinia/Valtournenche/Zermatt
Author: MissRibena
Date: Christmas 2008
Our holiday: MrRibena and I flew went on a package deal with Crystal from Dublin. The outbound flight was delayed by 6 hours which was a right pain but other than that I can only praise Crystal. The reps were everywhere and couldn't do enough for us. We were phoned in advance from the resort to let us know about snow conditions and what they would be organising on the trip which really got our buzz going and is not something that I've seen before on a package holiday.
Website : www.cervinia.it
Basics : Crystal flew into Turin and the transfer was under 2 hours by coach. MrRibena is an expert skier and I'm an intermediate on my 6th trip.
Lift system : There is a mixture of gondolas, cable cars and chairs with only a smattering of drags. There were zero queues for our entire holiday (except when we visited Zermatt), the lifts were mostly modern and pretty swift and the lifties were helpful. A couple of chairs could do with replacing but the slopes from these were so quiet that I wonder if a quicker lift would ruin things. There's a choice of chairlifts, gondola or cable car up from the village in the mornings. There was plus and minuses to where you would arrive but having never had a choice like this before all within 5 minutes walk from our door, we were thrilled. There are steps leading up to the Gondola & Cablecar that could be lethal in ski-boots, however we got a tip to rent skis from Genzianella sportshop (which is to the right of the main gondola office http://www.genzianellasport.it/) and they allowed us to leave our own boots there at night too. Superior skis came out at €78 for 6 days with no pre-booking/discounts - quite a bit cheaper than what the TO was offering.

Going over to Zermatt is much more do-able than we expected and we avoided the famous drag with a cablecar back (still a bit of a pain with queues for this though). There ware horror stories of 600 euro taxis for people missing lifts on their return but I think if you go early enough, there shouldn't be any problem.
The terrain : Cervinia is at 2000m and is in the centre of a bowl with Valtournenche over to the right and Zermatt across the ridge. The only black slope of any length was closed while we were there because of avalanche issues, I think. The rest of the area is mostly long, wide blues and reds. The reds are bit on the blue-ish side for the most part but not all are and over the Valtournence side there was some fantastic reds. There are 2 beautiful long pistes from the top: 7 back to Cervinia and 1 back to Valtournenche. No 1 gives the most variety from big wide sweeping pistes to tree-lined tracks and back skiing through houses in the village. We loved this. We skiied 2 of the areas in Zermatt (Schwarzee and Gornergrat/Riffelberg) and enjoyed these too, especially the black 62 from Furgg and Furi. You could ski more of Zermatt but it is much more spread out than Cervinia so navigating over to Sunnegga/Rothorn is a bit of a trek.
The snow : It snowed like billy-oh before we arrived so we had 3 fabulous blue sky days, then a top-up on Christmas day and further gorgeous weather for 2 days.
Off-piste : I'm not an off-pister so don't really know. Off-piste activity was definitely greater in Zermatt and a lot of what was going on in Cervinia was between pistes and tinkering at the edges.
The resort : Cervinia is small but there is a swimming pool and ice-skating rink if the snow goes wrong (unlikely because of height though). The buildings are a bit rubbish but the natural mountain skyline more than makes up for it. For Christmas week the town had laid on extra stuff like free horse-drawn carriage rides with Santa for kids. The nightlife looks quiet but it seems to only get really going after 11 and there is a niteclub called the White Rabbit which we were told by other guests in the hotel was out of this world. But by and large, the Cervinians don't do apres ski as I know it (Austrian or even French style). We are not major party people and usually only have one or 2 straight after skiing but love the atmosphere and the end of the ski day was a little bit of an anti-climax without it.

Mr Ribena was ill one of the days so I decided to take a lesson to work on my fresh-snow skills and for a bit of ski company. Found the instructer really listened to me and was positive and encouraging and I seemed to improve without any stress. MrRibena was impressed the following day. It was €70 for 2 hours which i thought was great value.
Food : Our favourite place was the Matterhorn restaurant. Lovely laid-back, friendly atmosphere with fab food. We tried some of the other places recommended like Chalet Etoile, Grivola, Linos and there were all pretty good too. There's a patisserie called Samovar which is amazing for apres-ski goodies.
Accommodation : We stayed in the Hotel Meynet and were delighted with it. Great location, lovely breakfast, nice coffee-shop/bar etc. It was only 2 star but this undersells it quite a bit, I think.
Costs: Generally speaking, Cervinia is not expensive. Coffee was about €1.50 and lunches €10. The contrast when over at Zermatt where we felt decidedly shabby without a Spyder or D&G suit was pretty stark.
Conclusion: Huge thumbs up for Cervinia: quick transfer, stunning scenery, yummy food, Italians. Some of the skiing isn't that hard but it's fun and you can clock up plenty of miles and the Swiss link gives more variety. It was recommended here to me by Snowheads and they were all spot-on. It would be the absolutely perfect 2nd or 3rd week ski destination as you'd really get to spread your wings but that is not to say there isn't plenty for more advanced skiers. We loved it!

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Resort: Zermatt
Country: Switzerland
Domain: Matterhorn Ski Paradise
Author: Eyeopener

Date: 20 - 27 December 2008
Our holiday: We chose Zermatt as a substitution for our yearly ski-holiday to the St. Anton. Me, my two brothers and my dad wanted to try something else after having a wonderfull time in there a couple of years.
Website : www.zermatt.ch
Basics : We drove from Amsterdam (Holland) to Zermatt and back, which we will not do again. We didn't anticipate on a drive of 11 hour including transport with car-train through a mountain, parking in Tasch, take a taxi to Zermatt and then take another (electro)taxi to our hotel. As our drive to St. Anton took us an average of 7,5 hours usually, we shall fly next time. Note however that our return-journey was way quicker: we went up early, got the 2 taxi's en managed to catch the car-train by two minutes, blasted through Germany and were home in about 8,5 hours Smile.
Lift system : The system is really not as bad as commented on the web, it's quite good in fact. The lifts are mainly new and there are usually a couple of ways to get to the main ski-area's (excluding the peaks). The Gornergrat-train adds a really classic and luxury feel to the area. The connection to Cervinia is horrendous however: we had to choose between two very, very long drag-lifts on the glacier (cold!) and waiting > 30 minutes for the gondola. Skiing in Cervinia wasn't too special either so I'd recommend you to stay in Zermatt.
The terrain : Zermatt had the best, most varied and extensive terrain I've ever seen. It's truly huge. The three/four main area's all are great to ski on, the pistes that connect them are not crowded and even better. Because of the high altitude of the mountains, pistes are very long. It's not for the fainted hearted though: the piste grading is inconsistent and the only really beginners-pistes are high up the mountains.
The snow : The snow was great. Due to the enormous amount of snow that fell in the Alps early and mid-December, the snowcover this time of year was allegedly the best in years.
Off-piste : Only tried a bit of next to the piste, so can't comment on that.
The resort : There was a James Bond-type of atmosphere in town. It's looks really charming and very, very upmarket. There were dozens of watch-stores, a lot of designer-clothingshops and the people seem to wear those luxury goods too. It was nice though, although we missed a bit of the Austrian skiing/apres feeling. Hennu Stall and Papperla-bar were nice, but couldn't match their opponents in St. Anton.
Food : I certainly didn't loose any weight this week. We had dinner in our hotel nearly every night (which was good, for a change) and the mountain restaurants were fantastic. I'd recommend Stafelalp (Schwarzee) which had really good food and service and Othmar's Skihütte (Sunnega) which specializes in Alaskan salmon and other fishdishes. Also went to the famous Chez Vrony and while the food was good, it's overpriced.
Accommodation : Stayed at a hotel next to the Matterhorn ski lift. Good service, fairly good rooms but not cheap.
Costs: Zermatt has to be extremely expensive by anyone's standard. While a beer is reasonably priced (about 4 CHF on average), hotel, skihire and the skipasses are very expensive. We spend at least 3000 euro per person in total.
Conclusion: Zermatt is a great place and I can highly recommend it. The skiing area is huge, the atmosphere is one of a kind and the food exceptionally good. If you can afford it GO!!!

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Resort: Le Monetier les Bains
Country: France
Domain: One of 4 villages/towns that make up the Serre Chevalier area.
Author: Christopher
Date: 20-27th December
Our holiday: Annual family ski holiday and my last family holiday.
Basics: Serre Chevalier is in the Southern Alps, under 2 hours from Turin airport if the Col de Montgenevre is open. It is pretty much unheard of it being shut for a sustained period; however it was shut on our day of arrival till 5 o’clock. We decided to drive around and go over the Lauterat pass, which was a 4 hour detour through the Frejus tunnel. Things went wrong when our hire car broke down.
Lift system: Large area, with a mixture of some very antiquated gondolas, chair lifts and cable cars. On the other hand there are quite a few 6 pack chair lifts. The link to Briancon is rather quick, however the same cannot be said about the link to Monetier. I didn’t experience any queues of more than 5 minutes over the Christmas period.
The terrain: Monetier is an intermediates play ground, lots of interesting reds. I particularly enjoyed the red from the top of Yret, wonderful views and a fairly long descent. The Cibouit black got heavily mogulled and was brilliant fun. The Tabuc was closed, but I believe this was so it could remain as an off piste run. A bit of poling to a steep face with moguls. A picturesque run in the trees. In my family we have two timid intermediates, I don’t think that Monetier is particularly suitable for progressing intermediates. The only blue piste back to the resort was rather icy. Looked like good offpiste from the top of Yret, however as I’m only just starting to go off piste, I didn’t attempt any of it. The cucumelle were I got my introduction to off piste, is one of my favourite areas.
They preferred the skiing in the bowl above Serre Ratier. The Luc Alphand is worth doing earlier in the day, as it becomes horrible icy. The echaillon red was memorable which links Chantemerle and Villeneuve.
Only managed to ski to the mid station of the Prorel gondola in the Briancon area. Once again lovely reds, with some steep pitches.
To summarise a wonderful large area, with great intermediate skiing in the trees.
The snow : Heavy snowfall for early in the season. A light top up of snow on Christmas day was well received. Above the treeline the snow on the piste was like a dream. But where freeze-thaw was occurring it made the piste rather hard and icy.
Off-piste : Only being introduced to off piste, so I can’t comment extensively. Although I can say that there looked to be good off piste from the Balme chair and in the Cucumelle valley. It was all tracked out.
The resort : Monetier is a picturesque traditional french village with thermal baths. The new baths were a disappointment compared to the old ones. Although they may be larger, the water temperature in the main baths and the ones outside were significantly reduced.
Food : Avoid the restaurant at the bottom of the slopes, cheap nasty crap. We didn’t eat out at much at lunch time. However Caribou restaurant behind the church, serves much recommended traditional mountain fare.
Accommodation : stayed in a self catering apartment, about 5 minutes walk to the slopes. Left skis and boots in the lockers at the bottom. Relatively expensive at 18euros per person for the week. This was worth it though for the convenience.
Costs: The holiday wasn’t particularly expensive. We were in fairly basic accommodation. The lift price isn’t cheap, but for the amount of skiing cannot be complained about. The only thing which made in more expensive that previous skiing holidays was the exchange rate. At nearly 1:1 it was a mistake not booking lift passes etc in the summer.
Conclusion: 7/10. A rather stressful holiday for a few reasons. However the skiing was wonderful and I’m sure I’ll return in the future.

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