Ski Club 2.0 Home
Snow Reports
FAQFAQ

Mail for help.Help!!

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

Resort / Trip Reports - Alphabetical index

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Resort: Alpine Meadows

Country: USA

Author: hd

Date: Saturday 23 January 2010

Our holiday: Annual trip with 2 powder hungry snowboarding mates to North America. We have toured the Alps extensively and are now looking for new challenges across the pond. Previously in NA we have visited Panorama, Lake Louise, Whitefish and Fernie.

Basics: We visited Alpine on a day trip from Squaw Valley which was our base for a 10 day Lake Tahoe holiday. Alpine is a 15 minute drive from Squaw Valley.

Lift system: Mixture of fast and slow chair lifts. No footrests Sad

The snow: Superb. We were there towards the end of a monster storm that dumped a total of 250cms. Moreover the snow was much less tracked than at next-door Squaw and we scored loads of freshies in spite of visiting on the busiest day of the season so far.

The terrain: Alpine was one of the most fun mountains I have ridden. Difficult to put a finger on exactly why but I much preferred it to Squaw. The whole area felt like a big playground for snowboarders. Although the quoted area is not huge (about 2000 acres) it felt like there were endless places to explore. We only scratched the surface on our day trip. The gradient of the whole of the upper mountain was perfect for us i.e. steep. No flat spots.

Costs: Weekend day ticket = $69. There are various deals available midweek if you look on websites such as Sliding On The Cheap and Liftopia.

Conclusion: Loved it. Would definitely go back. 9/10

Alpine Meadows Resort Report Feedback Thread
ski holidays     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Resort: Mount Rose

Country: USA

Author: hd

Date: Wednesday 27 January 2010

Our holiday: Annual trip with 2 powder hungry snowboarding mates to North America. We have toured the Alps extensively and are now looking for new challenges across the pond. Previously in NA we have visited Panorama, Lake Louise, Whitefish and Fernie.

Basics: We visited MR on a day trip from Squaw Valley which was our base for a 10 day Lake Tahoe holiday. Mount Rose is a 50 minute drive from Squaw.

Lift system: There are 3 main chair lifts; 2 fast 6-seaters and one slow 4-seater. No footrests Sad

The snow: We visited at the end of a monster week long storm which dumped 250cms on the Tahoe region so the base was excellent. However during the 2 days prior to our MR visit temperatures in Squaw had increased significantly and we had got absolutely drenched by horrible wet sticky sludge-cement. Plus it hadn't snowed overnight in Squaw so we were amazed on arrival at MR to find 3 inches of overnight fresh on top of a light and dry base. MR is the highest of the Tahoe resorts (2400m) and the snow quality was excellent; much better than in Squaw. Furthermore it was much less busy than Squaw and we had no trouble finding fresh tracks.

The terrain: The main attraction for us were The Chutes; 16 steep or very steep chutes/gulleys with good snow and a great test of technique. I had great fun charging down them weaving between the trees and hunting for the un-tracked spots whilst trying to link my turns smoothly and not brake. Definitely the most challenging and satisfying terrain I rode out of any of the Tahoe resorts. The rest of the mountain was the usual "ride anywhere" terrain that NA resorts do so well - open bowls, glades, trees, all great fun.

Costs: $65 for a day ticket. If you look on websites such as Sliding On The Cheap and Liftopia you might find a deal.

Conclusion: Excellent resort and the best snow in Tahoe. The Chutes rock. 9/10

Mount Rose 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: Homewood

Country: USA

Author: hd

Date: Thursday 28 January 2010

Our holiday: Annual trip with 2 powder hungry snowboarding mates to North America. We have toured the Alps extensively and are now looking for new challenges across the pond. Previously in NA we have visited Panorama, Lake Louise, Whitefish and Fernie.

Basics: We visited Homewood on a day trip from Squaw Valley which was our base for a 10 day Lake Tahoe holiday. Homewood is a 30 minute drive from Squaw.

Lift system: The principle lifts are 4 chairs; 1 fast and 3 slow. One of them (Quail) wasn't running when we visited so instead there was a frequent shuttle bus running from there back to base. No footrests on any of the chairs Sad

The snow: A recent monster 200cm storm meant the base was excellent. It hadn't snowed for a couple of days and everywhere in Squaw was tracked out plus it had been quite warm so we were very surprised to find the snow in great condition at Homewood with loads of untracked stuff plus nice and light/dry at the top of the mountain and on the north/east facing runs under the fast Old Homewood chair. The grooming of the trails was superb and it was a delight to alternate between scoring fresh tracks in the bowls and trees and then carve full speed down the groomed trails after having been suffering the chopped up bumpy un-groomed runs at Squaw.

The terrain: Most of the area is wooded with great fast cruiser trails (see above) and some cool between the tree stuff. The off-trail tree runs near the Old Homewood chair were the best I'd done all trip due to the excellent snow (loads of fresh tracks). There is also an open bowl double black diamond area accessed by a traverse/hike. Like the rest of the mountain this area was great fun - steep and freshies galore. Smile

What put the icing for me on top of the already very tasty cake were the stupendous views. Homewood is situated right by the lake and frequently I found myself just stopping mid-run and staring in stunned amazement at the panorama in front of me. I rate the scenery up there with Chamonix, Zermatt, Murren etc in terms of "wow-factor".

We visited midweek and the resort was very quiet. I overheard some lifties saying that the 10.30am skier count on the hill was 434. Apparently that was busy - the day before it had been only 237.

Food: There is a tent half way up serving hot-dogs, sandwiches, drinks etc. Nothing amazing about the food but worth it several times over for the view as you eat.

Costs: $40 for a day ticket including a $5 voucher from the back of a supermarket receipt we picked up the day before i.e. by far the cheapest of any of the Tahoe resorts we visited. Various other deals for Homewood can be found on websites such as Sliding On The Cheap and Liftopia.

Conclusion: Amazing scenery + empty slopes + great snow + glorious sunshine = one of my best days riding ever. 9.5/10

Homewood 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.
1. Resort: Mayrhofen, Zillertal

2. Country: Austria

3. Domain: Zillertal 3000

4. Author: Eyeopener

5. Date: 16-23 January 2010

6. Our Holiday: Annual ski trip with friends

7. Website: www.mayrhofen.at

8. Basics: Mayrhofen is quite a large village in the Zillertal-valley. It has a base of aprox. 650 meters, but most of the skiing is done at 1400m and higher. The skipass gives you access to skiing in the whole valley. Mayrhofen has two separate area's, the smaller Ahorn and the large Penken-area. The only descent to the town is at Ahorn, from Penken you have to take the gondola back to town.

9. Lift System: Fast, efficient lifts throughout the area. There are some slow and old chairlifts, but these make sure the runs to them are quite and very nice.

10. The Terrain: A lot of intermediate terrain and a few blacks. The Harakiri isn't as steep as some French (non-groomed) runs. For absolute beginners the choice is slimmer. Particularly nice are the tree-lined runs.

11. The Snow: We encountered a lot of hard packed snow, but it had not snowed for more then a week when we arrived. Above 2100m or so, the snow was excellent.

12. Off-piste: Didn't spend a lot off piste due to conditions. It looked barely touched however, even while it had not snowed for a long time.

13. The Resort: Great apres-ski, nice bars and a lot of shops. It isn't the prettiest town in Austria, but it is quite nice.

14. Food: Cheap! Decent food at most mountain huts, excellent food at the Schneekar-hutte

15. Accommodation: Anything you want. We stayed in a very large apartment, about 300m from the main Penkenlift.

16. Costs: Accomodation and food on the mountain is very cheap. Drinks during apres-ski and in bars is reasonable. Liftpasses are the same as everywere.

17. Conclusion: I liked Mayrhofen a lot. It has a great atmosphere, nice pistes and outstanding apres-ski. Will certainly go back.
ski holidays     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Resort: Laax

Country: Switzerland

Domain: Flims Laax Falera

Date: Half term, 13 - 20 February 2010

Our holiday: My 14 year old daughter and myslef, both reasonable skiers (my daughter more so than me now).

Website : www.laax.com

Basics : On the eastern side of Switzerland. we flew to Zurich then train to Chur and Post Bus up to resort, very efficient and economical with a Swiss transfer Pass. there is also a shuttle directly from the airport but it works out more expensive with children.

Lift system : it's a big area, 220 km, and the lift system on the whole is pretty good. Mixture of cable cars, gondolas, chairs and a few drags. One or 2 annoyances with the system but couldn't really complain. Despite it being half term week and Fasching we didn't wait more than 10 minutes for a lift all week.

The terrain : Main lift stations are at Laax Murschegt (where we stayed) and Flims. Crap Sogn Gion is one of the big intersections with a huge snowpark, bars, rental shops etc. We found the best general piste skiing to be around the Nagens area and for snowy days there are several nice runs down through the trees to Flims and Laax. There is a small glacier (didn't go up as didn't fancy the long drag up) at 3000m and the run back down to Flims is 17km long.

Laax

Run down to Laax

The snow : It had snowed a fair bit before our arrival but didn't snow whilst we were there until the last night. Pistes were getting pretty icy in places and the home runs (Flims and Laax are only 1100m) were getting slushy in the afternoons.

Off-piste : This was completely tracked out. There are several lift served freeride areas which are avalanche patrolled etc I believe and a good compromise. This includes La Siala which we tried out.

Laax

The resort : Laax Murschegt is basically a collection of apartments, hotels, bars, shops, etc built up around the lift station, not a great deal of character really but really easy to get up the mountain from. Flims is a larger more traditional town with more character and plenty of hotels, bars, places to eat, etc.

Food : Laax Murschegt is limited for eating, mainly restaurants in hotels. We had a Pizza in Hotel Cristallina (pizza £10 upwards) which was fine. We ate in the rest of the week. There is a resort shuttle though which could get you to Flims for more choice. We ate mainly up the mountain in the self service places which were pleasant. We diid like the Rock Bar at Crap Sogn Gion which is a tropical themed bar with thumping music and amphitheatre style seating.

Laax

Accommodation : Booked a studio apartment (in Val Signina) which was around 100 m walk to the lift. It was very well equipped and plenty big enough (in France an extra bunk bed would have been squeezed in I'm sure).

Costs: Flights £200 each, Transfer £75 for the 2 of us, Apartment £350. Lift passes £320 (1 adult, 1 youth). Mountain meal about £10, hot chocolate £3, beer up the mountain £3.50.

Conclusion: Very good area, not too busy despite peak week, very reasonably priced trip. Be careful where you stay though if you want to be out and about in the evenings.
snow report     
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Resort: Predeal
Country: Romania
Domain:None
Author: davkt.

Date: Feb 2010
Our holiday: First trip to the mountains for me and the 3 kids (ared 6, 10 and 14) after learning to ski at Tamworth Snowdome, went with single parent holiday specialists www.mangokids.co.uk
Website : http://www.brasovtravelguide.ro/en/predeal/predeal-resort.php
Basics : Predeal is in the Carpathian Mountains in central Romania, flight from London to Bucharest is around 3hr, 2hr coach transfer or the sheduled rail service connects Predeal to Bucharest.
Lift system : 3 lifts, 150m drag lift (with handles that clip onto the rope to make things easier) which serves the easy blue beginners move onto after the nursery slopes, a 640m button lift linking to the top of 2 of the blues and a 1650m chairlift to the top of the reds and black. No queues for the lifts (well maybe 2 min wait once or twice in the whole week)
The terrain :Predeal is a fairly small resort with 1 black which even the instructors say is more like a hard red than easy black, 2 very nice reds down from the top of the mountain (2250m and 2100m long) and 4 blues of varying length, 200m (from the drag lift) 670m (from the bottom of the black, only way to this blue is down the black or on foot!)) and 790m and 800m long from the button. The shorter but slightly steeper run from the top of the button lift is floodlit all the way for night skiing.
The snow : Good snow getting a little icy and thin in patches towards the end of the week as it turned a bit unseasonably warm with no snowfall from mid week, nothing to spoil the skiing though!
Off-piste : Was on a single parent holiday so we stayed in the hotel (Cabana Fulg de Nea) which didn't mind the gang of kids running riot while the parents were in the bar! Plenty of bars and hotels round the town though
The resort : Nice enough east European village with a typical small town range of shops plus quite a few specialist ski shops. Gear prices ranged from cheap to similar to UK prices
Food : We had full board but there were plenty of nice and reasonably priced places to eat and drink ranging from mountain top hot choc (or hot wine!) kiosks to rather posh hotels
Accommodation : Stayed at the Fulg de Nea, a good low to middle end hotel, warm (too warm at times), dry and clean, friendly and helpful staff and literally just across a small road from the bottom of one of the button lift blues, about a 100m walk in ski boots from the lift. Used the ski school of the hotel which had excellent English speaking instruction and at least 2 former Romanian national slalom champions and one 2008 Romanian Olympic slalom team member on the teaching staff. All patient and great at getting the best out of both kids and adults. Took me from parallel straights with snowplough turns at the Snowdome to skiing the reds parallel all the way by the end of the week. Don't seem to have a website but pm me if you want their email addy
Costs: £3000 for the 4 of us, package included full board except one lunch on a day trip to Dracula's castle, 5 days full day ski school, equipment hire, lift passes during lessons.
Conclusion: Predeal is a great resort for a first trip to the mountains (or even second trip for a nervous skier). By the end of the week me and the kids were confidently coming down the reds pretty fast and though we didn't have time to do it would have managed the black no problem. Didn't get bored with skiing in a week but probably won't go back as we've done it nearly all. And for any other single parents looking for skiing holidays me and the kids had a fantastic time with Mangokids, you'll all know what I mean when I say they achieved something nearly impossible by ensuring the parents had as good a holiday as the kids!
ski holidays     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Resort: Koenigsleiten
Country: Austria
Domain: Zillertal Arena
Author: Deliaskis

Date: 6th – 13th March 2010
Our holiday: A group of 8 of us (7 skiers and one boarder), all intermediate to advanced level who between us enjoy a variety of terrain, on and off-piste, cruising to steeps.
Website : www.wald-koenigsleiten.at and www.zillertalarena.at

Basics : The village of Koenigsleiten is close to the top of the Gerlos pass, which runs from the Zillertal (also where Mayrhofen is) over to Wald/Krimml in the Salzburg province. The village is situated at 1600m which is high for Austria. It is lift linked to Filzstein, Gerlos and Zell Am Ziller. We flew to Munich with Lufthansa for £100 each including ski carriage, and then hired 2 cars through Holiday Autos which were rented from Thrifty. The transfer from Munich should be about 2hrs 10 mins but we arrived on a snowy day so it was slow and a little painful. Innsbruck is just an hour away but more difficult to get flights to.

Lift system : The lifts are on the whole chairs, some fast detachable 4 and 6 seaters, but also a lot of older slower chairs. There are a few gondolas, one up from KL, one from Gerlos and one from Zell Am Ziller. There are also a few T-bars, but not at crucial places, and can be avoided most of the time. On the whole I would say the system is fairly efficient, although upgrading of some of the crucial link chairs to detachable would help a lot, particularly those longer slower chairs which are also high and exposed to cold wind. We only encountered one queue all week which was on the Ebenfeld chair above Gerlos, which accesses a wide blue section which is always quite busy, and used as a link lift between areas as well.

The terrain : There are four main areas, as follows:

Hochkrimml/Gerlosplatte - an area with lots of blues, great snow, and wide open areas ideal for nervous intermediates and beginners. There’s also some nice tree skiing and mild off-piste available at the southern/eastern end of this area.

Koenigsleitenspitze - the main area above ski-in/out KL village, made up of blue and red runs, and one or two blacks. The bulk of this is above the tree line, so wide and open, but skiing back to the village dips down into the wooded areas. The piste grading on the whole (and I think throughout the whole area), is on the overgraded side, so there are a lot of runs here that are red which would normally be considered blue, and none of the blacks we skied really had anything to fear for an average intermediate. From the edge of this area you link via the Krummbach express lift to Gerlos.

Gerlos - There are some red runs directly above the village (although the main lift isn’t in the village centre), and a wide area of blue runs higher up, which are popular with ski schools and are ideal for beginners and nervous intermediates. From Gerlos you can link via the high Stoanmandl and Teufeltal to the long Krimml Express lift over to the Zell Am Ziller area. This area is really the highest skiing in the area, and offers some spectacular scenery skiing in the rocky high areas. There’s also some great off-piste over here which we really enjoyed.

Zell Am Ziller - An area of mainly easyish red runs above 1300m both above and just below the tree line. We only made it over here on two occasions.
The linked area offers a great variety of skiing and scenery, from high rocky terrain to tree lined runs, and it gives a really good feeling of travelling as you move from one area to another. The trip from KL to Zell Am Ziller can be done in a couple of hours by any intermediate, so there and back in a day is easily doable. The link back from Gerlos to KL requires using one black run, but it’s again overgraded and would normally be classified as a red run in all but the most challenging conditions. An early/nervous intermediate might be put off by the piste map as it is mostly red, but actually I would say that most of the red runs are very easy and would be blue anywhere else.

The snow : It snowed heavily on our arrival so we had a bit of a dodgy drive over from Munich and up the mountain. This meant we had fresh snow on arrival, and a few top-ups in the week. The snow was excellent all week and throughout each day, and as most of the skiing is above 1600m, we didn’t suffer with slush at all. It seems like a good area for a late holiday as it’s high up for Austria and so the snow seems to be pretty reliable.

Off-piste : We enjoyed some nice tree skiing above Filzstein on Gerlosplatte, and lots more between the Zell Am Ziller area and the Gerlos area, in the high up Krimml Express section. We had an amazing last day playing off-piste in the new snow there.

The resort : KL village is unusual for Austria in that it is a purpose built resort. It’s built in pretty chalet style and is quite attractive, but not at all real! It’s really convenient for ski-in/out accommodation, but in other respects feels a little like a holiday park rather than a proper village. There’s really nothing there at all for non-skiers, and very little after-hours for skiers. We didn’t mind as we were a group and had planned to eat in most nights, but it’s not the place to go for nightlife. There were a couple of bars open at après time which were fun and lively, and there were a couple of bars open later, but it isn’t the place to go for a wild night out. It was ideal for what we wanted though, and it was nice to have lots of snow on the ground at resort level. The resort is mainly visited by Dutch and Scandanavian guests and we hardly hear another English voice all week. Locals didn’t speak much English, which we quite like, but may be a consideration for some. There is a local village bus which ships people to and from lifts from the outskirts, and there is a bus link to Gerlos and to Wald/Krimml. The bus service was honestly not that great. It was on time, but there was often less than one bus an hour, so it’s not one of those places where you can hop on and off buses up and down the valley, but with the skiing from KL being as convenient as it is, it was never an issue for us.

The resort is also ideal for families - there are a lot of kids facilities - covered magic carpet lifts, ‘kinderland’ ski areas right in the village with reliable snow cover, and believe it or not, kids après ski, including the bizarre under-6s disco, which was a sight to see, all dancing in their ski boots, hilarious! The lack of other English speaking guests (and staff) might be an issue though.

A couple of the hotels have wellness centres with sauna, jacuzzi, massage etc., although none with pools that I know of. One of our group had treatments at the hotel near the Spar and reported that it was excellent.

Food : We only ate out twice, pizza on the first night and Austrian fayre on the last night. These were both at the big hotel by the Spar supermarket. The rest of the time we shopped in the Spar and ate in. The Spar is open just for holiday makers - until 6pm on week nights and only 3pm to 6pm at weekends, it’s even open on Sunday afternoon which is very unusual for Austria. On the mountain, there are lots of huts offering a wide variety of food, mostly Austrian style, but some pizza and other options. A highlight was the rotisserie chicken at the Larmach-Alm which was amazing, and our favourite hut was the Prolleralm on the black run on the way back from Gerlos to KL. It was a rare restaurant that offered table service, as most were self service, and the owners/staff were super friendly and helpful.

Accommodation : We self-catered in one of the Ferienwohnungen Simone, which had accom for maximum of 10, but is more comfortable/suitable for 6 or 8. Great facilities, newish building with all mod cons. Some of them have saunas. There is a bread roll delivery service in the morning which saves someone from having to do the early morning scurry for breakfast.

Costs: We paid £300 for flights, accom and car hire. We took our own gear (no carriage charges on Lufthansa), and so then paid for the liftpass (EUR193 - quite expensive for Austria), and for food at the supermarket and on the mountain. Meals on the mountain were from about EUR3.80 for Goulash soup, to about EUR7 for Schnitzel or roast chicken and chips, or Tirolergroestl, to about EUR11 for an enormous rack of ribs and potatoes and salad. A large beer was EUR3.80.

Conclusion: We had a fab week and enjoyed the variety of skiing and the convenience of the village. It’s not for everyone, but for groups who aren’t looking for nightlife, and for families, it is great. The skiing is varied enough to keep many busy for a week, and the liftpass covers the rest of the Ziller valley including Mayrhofen so there’s lots to keep people occupied.
snow report     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Resort: Cervinia
Country: Italy
Domain: Cervinia - Zermatt
Author: Doogo

Date: Feb 18 - 22
Our holiday: The wife, her brother and myself - mid 30s, keen but limited skiers!
Website : www.cervinia.it
Basics : Flew into Milan Bergamo, hire car to resort - easy 2hour 15 min journey, all motorway except last 30 mins on relatively good single lane road which was well maintained and didn't have a huge amount of nasty hairpins / steep climbs, exposed drops etc.
Lift system : Multiple points of departure from village - cable car, bubbles, chairs. Up mountain - excellent system to get to top of lift system - only worry is the wind aspect on the way into switzerland - if the cable cars shut down, you're either (a) stuck on the swiss side with a taxi cost of €600 to get back to cervinia or (b) on 2 of the longest T-bars to get back to the italian side!!
The terrain : Excellent wide intermediate pistes on Italian side, excellent off-piste and steeper pitches on the swiss side. No7 Red - Ventina from top of Italian side is probably the best fast cruiser I have ever been on
The snow : Stunning!!
Off-piste : Limited in Italy - mainly off to side of the pistes
The resort : Family oriented, limited apres-ski, but excellent food and good cafes for coffee etc.
Food : We stayed HB so cannot really comment - except to note that there is a great take-away cafe beside the main roundabout in the village where you can get a slice of pizza and a beer for €3.50 - excellent quality and value!!
Accommodation : Stayed in Hotel Chalet Valdotain - about 5 mins by car from the town centre - excellent place, wonderful food, really good pool etc. which was a bonus
Costs: Hotel - €115 pp HB (so not the cheapest option - albeit stayed during peak half-term period); 5 days car hire about €150 from arguscarhire.com - super value; flights from Ryanair - €120 ex Dublin
Conclusion: Not a charming resort architecturally nor a place for singles looking for a lively apres scene but everything first rate - can't wait to go back
snow conditions     
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Resort: Tignes le Lac
Country: France
Domain: Espace Killy
Author: Freddie Paellahead

Date: 3-10/4/10
Our holiday: A diverse group of 20 novice, intermediate and advanced skiers staying in a Skiworld catered chalet. Youngest child aged 9, oldest adult aged 52. Most of us did not take lessons, the exceptions being two of the children and two of the adults who each took 3 days of private lessons
Website : www.tignes.net
Basics : It is in the Tarentaise, the nearest larger town being Bourg St. Maurice. We flew from Gatwick to Chambery and the transfer was about 2 hours. Other years we have taken the train to Bourg, and the transfer from there is about 45 mins.
Lift system : Generally high-speed chairs or gondolas. Occasional button lift, a few slow chairs (especially on the Aiguille Percee side), one T-bar on the Val d'Isere glacier
The terrain : There are three main skiing areas in Tignes itself - looking at the piste map the area on the right has a good volume of blue slopes leading potentially all the way down to Tignes les Brevieres. A lot of the blues on this side are matched by parallel reds so there is scope for an "easy" group and a "hard" group to be skiing to the same destination via different routes. On this side the skied link to Val Claret includes a red (Cyclamen) which always seems to be stoney. In the "up" direction on the piste map is the Grande Motte glacier, accessed either by a funicular or two chairs, followed by a gondola. Return from the top of the funicular is via blues or a long red (Face followed by Double M). To the left on the piste map is the liaison to the Val d'Isere part of the Espace Killy. This is most easily accessed by the Aeroski from le Lac, or using Fresse or Tufs from Val Claret. If you take the Fresse lift, this gives access (via the Borsat lift) to a "ski tranquille" area of greens which are excellent for developing beginners. Return from this valley (which has the la Daille part of Val d'Isere at its base) is via an eight man chair, Tommeuses, which often has large-looking queues later in the afternoon which actually don't take long to get through.
I am not going to give a detailed description of Val d'Isere but just to mention some high and low lights.
The access to Val d'Isere itself can be frought for an early intermediate. There is a "blue" called Santons which is south-facing so can become very slushy relatively early in the day. It is in a ravine so there is no lateral escape and it has to accomodate skiers of all abilities. The alternatives are a parallel black (Epaule du Charvet) which often has an immense mogul field, or the black down from the Bellevarde called Face. The non-skiing alternative therefore has some appeal - the Olympique gondola.
Going up the other side from Val d'Isere takes you to the Solaise plateau. From here you cab access the le Fornet valley and the Pissaillas glacier via an up-and-over chair. The le Fornet valley has some long cruisey blues and a challenging black under the gondola. In between Val d'Isere and le Fornet is a smaller valley (Laisinant) served by a new lift. The red going down this valley is of a consistent gradient and width once it is in the trees and a great run.
The snow : We had a good snowfall over our second night and superb on-piste powder the next morning. As the week progressed, the snow became more typically "spring-like" low down with boiler-plate first thing, and heavy slush by the late afternoon. However higher skiing remained excellent all week.
Off-piste : Virtually none tried, however huge opportunities
The resort : Tignes le Lac is really a small town, but nowhere is more than 10 minutes walking from anywhere else. There are free bus connections to Val Claret and Tignes les Boisses
Food : We were in a catered chalet, so only ate out one night at la Ferme - an active fromagerie - good Savoyard food. On the mountain I would particularly recommend l'Edelweiss in le Fornet on the side of the Mangard piste - you need to book at busier times, l'Ancolie (in le Fornet itself) and le Trifollet (in la Daille valley - though eye-wateringly expensive)
Accommodation : We stayed in Annapurna 2 in les Almes. It is a luxury chalet with an outstanding dining and living area. The maximum 20 guests are looked after by three chalet hosts. Lift passes approx £200/adult (though look out for family deals).
Costs: Not cheap. Most meals >10euros for a main course, >3 euros for a hot chocolate, >3euros for a small beer
Conclusion: This was our fourth week skiing in Tignes and it is undoubtedly a great resort for late-season skiing. The lift system is mainly modern and the pistes well-tended. Don't expect any bargains anywhere if you go at Easter as we did.
ski holidays     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Resort: Canazei
Country: Italy
Domain: iDolomiti Superski
Author: Freddie Paellahead
Date: 2-9/1/11
Our holiday: We were celebrating my wife's "significant" birthday and we had not been to the Dolomites before
Website : www.canazei.com www.dolomitisuperski.com
Basics : It is in the South Tyrol (north-eastern Italy) and can be accessed from Verona, Venice and Innsbruck airports. We hired a car from Innsbruck, the drive was about 2.30.
Lift system : Links directly into the Sella Ronda. A very modern set of lifts, nearly all high-speed chairs or gondolas
The terrain : The Sella Ronda is a circle of pistes and lifts which can be skied clock-wise or anti-clock-wise using intermediate slopes. Above Canazei itself is a moderate-sized plateau called Belvedere which has a bowl of red runs.
The snow : Perfectly adequate
Off-piste : Not sampled
The resort : There is a single gondola towards the eastern end of the town, and from there another lift is necessary (either another gondola or a cable car) before you can start to ski. We didn't realize beforehand that the week that we had chosen included Russian Christmas and that this is an area popular with them. As a result, it was heaving and we usually took more than 45 minutes to get skiing - a 10 minute walk from the centre of town (the ski bus was always full by the time it get to the centre of town), at least 20 mins queueing and then the time in the two lifts. On our last day, most of the Russians had gone and we were skiing within 25 mins of leaving the hotel.
The town has a permanent population, a moderate sized Co-op, a small Spar and numerous touristy shops especially of the deli-type (dried wild mushrooms, speck, polenta and grappa seem to be the local specialities).
Food : We ate at our hotel (the Croce Bianca) in the evening, but lunch-times were on the slope. Frederola's pizzas (just off the Belvedere plateau in the direction of Arabba). The best (almost solid) hot chocolate that we found was in a newish place called Margherita's on the reds above Campitello. Peter's in Canazei next to the bottom of the Gondola had gorgeous patisseries,
Accommodation : Hotel Croce Bianca. Very posh and fairly pricey. Completely lacked atmosphere when swamped by Russians. Woke up on the last night when they had left.
Costs: Hot chocolate 2.50-3.50 with cream, espresso 1.50-2.50, capuccino 2..00-3.00. Wine 0.5l 5.00 upwards. Main dishes slope-side 7.00-10.00.
Conclusion: We would not visit this area during Russian holiday time again.
snow report     
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Resort: Valmorel
Country: France
Domain: Grand Domain
Author: DavidYacht.

Date: W/C 15th January, 2011
Our holiday: Boys week, 4 adventurous intermediates, 2 advanced.
Basics : Next valley down from the Belleville Valley, easy drive from Chambery
Lift system : 150km of slopes linked by slow chairs and drag lifts. However heavy investment anticipated in 2011/12 following opening of new Club Med resort
The terrain : 150km of pistes between Valmorel and St Francois Longchamp, can cruise from piste to the next chair all day long. Bigger verticals from Col du Mottet and Col du Madeleine with nice reds and blacks
The snow : Given the freeze thaw conditions and the lack of recent snow, the snow cover and piste grooming was surprisingly good. We had a couple of midweek days in the 3-Valleys and were expecting our last day at Valmorel to be a disappointment … but it was not.
Off-piste : Conditions were poor, but a couple of our party went off the back of the Col du Madelaine with skins and enjoyed themselves. In better conditions we might have travelled into the Belleville valley.
The resort : The village is comparatively modern and is formed as a traffic free precinct, it has a wide variety of shops, bread shops, supermarkets, ski shops, bars and restaurants in an attractive and safe environment. It would be ideal for families with young children or young teenagers.
Food : L’Alpage above the L’Altispace is accessible by non-skiers and offered waiter served good food at an excellent price. Ski Roc in the Village offers a range of good food including fondues and is probably the best night out. The Bar in the Hotel Du Bourg has a good atmosphere, and the hotel is a good place to stay.
Accommodation : Stayed in an 8 bed self catered apartment above the supermarket. Ideal.
Costs: We drove up to the Three Valleys on a couple of days. My guess is that Valmorel was about 25% cheaper and in some cases a better experience.
Conclusion: Good For
Value
Families with beginners
People with cars to have a couple of days in the 3 Valleys
People who like to speak French and not having a reply in English!
Very friendly locals
Long weekenders; easy links to Chambery ... stay in the Hotel du Bourg which has a very cosy bar
Less crowded and less out of control skiers than 3 Valleys

Bad For
Lots of drag lifts (some have slow chair alternatives) as a result we skied about 30% further on our days in the 3V's
Many runs do not have a great amount of vertical

I would come back to Valmorel as long as I had a car to enable a couple of away days to give a bit more variety. I was surprised how much I enjoyed my last day in Valmorel after two days in the 3 Valleys. It is definitely worth considering if you are a family with young beginners looking for an affordable, quintessentially French venue.

Club Med are building a new hotel and apartments in the town, due to open next year, linked to this will be new and upgraded lifts. It is this investment that the resort could really benefit from.

Improved lifts (planned) and a backdoor link into St Martin De Belleville would make this resort so much better.
snow conditions     
 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: Revelstoke

Country: Canada

Author: hd

Date: 22-24 January 2011

Our holiday: Annual trip with 2 powder hungry snowboarding mates to North America. We have toured the Alps extensively and are now looking for new challenges across the pond. Previously in NA we have visited Panorama, Lake Louise, Whitefish, Fernie, Lake Tahoe and Sunshine Village.

Basics: 6 hour drive from Calgary airport. We stayed in Banff for a couple of nights en route.

Lift system : New resort so new lifts. One gondola, two chairs, all fast. Gets you to the top of the 1700m vertical very quickly and efficiently. The mountain was moderately busy on Saturday but no queues. Virtually empty on Sunday and Monday.

The terrain : Amazing. 3000 acres, 1700m vertical, constant mostly steep gradient, long long runs. Very varied terrain. Groomed pistes, tree runs, hikes to steep chutes and open powder bowls. This mountain has the lot. Stunning views from the top of the Columbia river valley.

The snow : Loads of snow everywhere but slightly tracked and mogulled when we arrived. It snowed on our last day providing loads of fresh tracks...nice. Revelstoke claims to average something like 500 inches of snow a year and indeed it always seemed to be reporting a lot more snowfall in its daily reports than other resorts that we visited on our trip. (Lake Louise, Sunshine Village, Kicking Horse)

Off-piste : Loads of great open powder bowls and tree runs. Some hiking and flat spots but overall not too bad.

The resort : The mountain base is still a building site. The town is 10mins away and very quiet for nightlife. We went for beers in the Village Idiot pub on Saturday night and it was nearly empty.

Food : We ate lunch at the mid mountain lodge which was the usual north american self-service stuff. The Rockford bar at the base of the mountain was very nice and a great venue for apres-ski beers. Good food there too.

Accommodation : We stayed in the town at Revelstoke Gateway Inn which met our requirements fine but was a bit run down and shabby. I would probably stay somewhere else if I ever go again.

Costs: We had a ski+stay deal for about $120pppn. Generally I found Canada to be very expensive this year, mainly due to the strength of the Canadian dollar against the pound.

Conclusion: A truely epic mountain with a massive vertical and great snow. If they continue to expand it with new lifts it will be even more amazing. A shame it is so far from any major airports. Our only other gripe was the very early closing times of the lifts. (between 2.30-3pm)


Last edited by And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports. on Sun 30-01-11 17:09; edited 1 time in total
latest report     
 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Resort: Kicking Horse

Country: Canada

Author: hd

Date: 25-28 January 2011

Our holiday: Annual trip with 2 powder hungry snowboarding mates to North America. We have toured the Alps extensively and are now looking for new challenges across the pond. Previously in NA we have visited Panorama, Lake Louise, Whitefish, Fernie, Lake Tahoe and Sunshine Village.

Basics: 3 hour drive from Calgary airport. We also visited Banff and Revelstoke during this trip.

Lift system : One fast comfortable gondola gets you to the top of the 1200m vertical very quickly in under 15mins. Much better than freezing on cold
chairlifts! There is one other chairlift at the top, and a couple of slow chairs at the bottom which are mainly for beginners. The mountain could do with some more lifts so that you can stay at the top of the mountain instead of having to descend to the bottom on every run.

The terrain : Very steep chutes at the top from ridges which are accessed by traverses and some lung-busting hikes. Then generally mogulled runs in the middle of the mountain and very well groomed pistes at the bottom. The top of the mountain was great but I felt that overall the mountain lacked some variety and after a while I got a bit bored of doing exactly the same type of run again and again. (hike to a steep chute, short powder run underneath it, moguls, groomer, back on the lift, repeat)
We were there midweek and the mountain was almost empty. Apparently it gets much busier at weekends, and indeed there was a long queue building for the gondola as I was driving away from the resort at 9am on Saturday morning.

The snow : Good coverage across the whole mountain but unfortunately no significant fresh snow just before or during our visit which almost definitely had a negative impact on my enjoyment of the riding. The snow quality was generally very good - light and dry - but mostly well tracked and mogulled.

The resort : A small and very quiet village at the base with a handful of bars and restaurants, none of which were particularly special.

Food : Eagle's eye restaurant at the top of the gondola is the most plush mountain eatery I have ever visited, with some excellent food but also prices to match. On our last night we went up on the gondola to have dinner there which was a great experience - well recommended if you want to splash out. (approx £40 for a 3 course meal excluding wine)

Accommodation : We stayed in a condo on the hill booked through VRBO.com

Costs: Overall very expensive, partly due to the strength of the Canadian dollar against the pound. Like most resorts in North America the lift pass was extortionate ($80/day) but I had purchased a Lake Louise card prior to my arrival which knocked the price of a day pass down to $56. (see Lake Louise resort website for details...has to be purchased before the end of December and is supposed to be for West Canada residents only but I used my mate's Canadian girlfriend's address when applying for it online and it worked fine thereafter.)

Conclusion: Some amazing terrain at the top of the mountain which would be superb in fresh powder. I would love to go back the day after a big dump. Needs more lifts.
snow report     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Resort, Katschberg

Country, Austria

Domain, None

Author, Ianbradders

Date, 29th Jan to 5th Feb 2011

Our holiday, Family trip, Me Wife and 2 girls aged 8 and 5. All experienced to some degree except 5 yo.

Website, http://www.katschberg.at/en/winter/

Basics, Flew to Salzburg, hire car from Megadrive through Holiday autos. Hour and a half leisurely drive to Katschberg.

Lift system, Some great express lifts with covers. Unfortunately plenty of drags which do let it down for begineers in a family resort.

Terrain, A great progression of slopes to allow begineers to gain confidence and move on in a compact area all right next to the hotels. Spread over two mountains in a valley which are linked over a road with a ski bridge. The ski bridge is a bit of a pain as it is very flat leading to it although in one direction it has a moving carpet. Okay if you can skate and pole but i had to pull my kids along. Couple of blacks which were wide and not very challenging.

The snow, Had a fair few inches jst before our arrival but no fresh while we were ther. It is a high altitude resort for Austria so with low temps snow held up brilliantly. A bit packed but only the very rare scraped part. Great pisting. Nearly seven days of total bluebird sun with a bit of wind one day.

Off piste, Pretty non existent but that is not the raison d etre of the resort.

The resort, Small family resort, only heard one other English family all week. Only one shop in the village apart from ski shops. Couple of bars but not really for apres, although the Jaegermeister tour came to town one day which was quite lively. Mostly hotels with food laid on so not a single resteraunt in the village.

Food, Dont know as there is nowhere, Stick to your hotel.

Accommodation, Hotel Funimation, Falkensteiner chain. Excellent hotel, 3 storey kids play area. Entertainment in a little theatre nightly. Lovely spa with indoor/outdoor pools. Great kids pool with slide, which we mostly had to ourselves. Lovely food, even had champagne and smoked salmon for breakfast one morning. We were all inclusive light (beer/wine with meals). Location wasnt great for me with kids but fine for experienced skiers. Right on the piste.

Costs, 2K for the hotel but well worth it. Beer on mountain a reasonable 3.50 euro.

Conclusion, Great place for families lovely skiing and a great hotel. Wife and kids all loved it. We swam or played in the mornings and skied in the afternoon so no one was too tired or cold. Would recommend but use Falkensteiner Hotel Cristallo which Nielsens operate from. That really is in the perfect location.
snow report     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Resort: Obergurgl / Hochgurgl
Country: Austria
Domain: None although you can upgrade the ski pass to include Solden
Author: ajwilson
Date: January 2011
Our holiday: Family holiday with mom & dad (40's) and three kids (d 8, s 11, s 13). We self-catered as we are not party animals and prefer to spend time with our kids in the evening. Also we hate small cramped hotel rooms - can't do that for a week with three kids and have fun. Because we are coming from South Africa and using British Airways miles for the flights, we couldn't do a package tour so organised everything by ourselves.

Website : http://www.obergurgl.com/ and www.otztal.at

Basics : Obergurgl / Hochgurgl is on the Austrian border next to Germany but somewhat difficult to reach from Germany due to the Alps blocking the way. Some roads may be closed in the winter. Flying into Innsbruck would be better but we were touring in Germany after skiing so chose Munich. We took the train from Munich to Innsbruck and on to Otztal. From Otztal, took the Postbus to Obergurgl - check the schedules for Austrian trains and buses on www.oebb.at. You can't book the bus tickets online, but just coordinate your schedule. If you travel with kids, buy tickets on the bus. Drivers sometimes give you a better price for kids than the machines in the train stations. They will never charge you more. We paid 33E going (train station machine) and 22E coming back (bus driver). Train from Munich to Otztal was 49E for us, we could have gotten a cheaper price - even as low as 20E. Must buy tickets early enough - use www.bahn.de to book. Cheap German train deals come out 3 months before travel and sometimes disappear quickly. From Innsbruck, train was 19E for all to Otztal but since there is a Postbus from Innsbruck to Obergurgl, probably better to take the bus if you fly into Innsbruck.

One can book a bus/taxi transfer from Munich but it was quite costly, can't remember the price. We had packed to take the trains with everyone having a suitcase on wheels that they could pull - for the kids that means carry-on size. Kids also had a backpack with their books and toys. We tend to travel light. We found that the Postbus and trains were full of skiers so there is no problem with taking your gear as long as you can carry it yourself.

Lift system : 3 gondolas, (one connecting Hochgurgl to Obergurgl) and lots of large chairlifts. A few draglifts but unnecessary to use them unless you want to do so. Didn't use the bunny slopes but the ski instructers we saw looked great with the kids on the mountain and my husband and daughter took a private lesson one afternoon and had a good time. (Our accommodation was managed by a ski instructor and his wife, they were very friendly.) The lift system was well connected and easy to navigate. It is possible to ski from the very top of Hochgurgl on easy runs down to the village and from high up in Obergurgl all the way to the village. From Hochgurgl, one skis down on fairly easy red runs or you can take the gondola down to the base station (well below the village) where the ski bus to Obergurgl passes or where you can park your car.

There are free ski buses that run every 20 minutes during most of the day from the center of Obergurgl to Festkogelbahn, on the a couple of small villages and finally to the gondola station below Hochgurgl. There are also Postbuses that run from Obergurgl to Solden and the surrouding areas. They begin around 6 am and end at 10 pm or slightly later.

The terrain : This resort is great for beginners and intermediates. The pistes are very well maintained and fairly well marked and laid out. We did have one foggy day and it was more difficult to find your way down as it was our first time down from the top but not impossible. I just had to stop a couple of times and check the map and/or the sign boards. Didn't want to get off on something too difficult for my 8 year old.

The snow : The snow was great. We had some new snow several times during out week there. Nothing heavy, but light snow on and off a couple of days.

Off-piste : Lots of room for off-piste skiing, some of it could be quite risky. Not due to avalanches but more due to cliffs....

The resort : Because the majority of the hotels are 4*, Obergurgl and Hochgurgl are expensive especially those that cater to ski tour groups. There are some 3* hotels too but they aren't cheap either. Hochgurgl is basically only hotels so there isn't really even a village there. Nothing to do other than ski. But these two resorts do provide lots to do for families. The resort has 2 nights of toboganning/night skiing each week at Hochgurgl and one night of skiing at Obergurgl along with a ski show by the instructors. There is also an ice skating rink.

In Austria and Germany unless you stay at a big hotel that has a family pool and caters to the English more than locals, your children will not be welcome in the 'wellness' area because of textile free rules. Basically their wellness area doesn't allow you to wear clothes hence the no under 16's rules on most places that cater to more Austrian/Germans. So we were a bit more sore here than on ski trips in the US where we had access to hot tubs in the evenings.

Food : Restuarant prices are expensive. 10 E for a plate sized pizza, 8-9E for a plate of pasta and 11-15E for schnitzel. Hot chocolate 2.70E to 3.3E, Coffee 3E, coke 3E and up. We self catered for breakfast and dinner. There is a Spar that has everything you could want in the upper village and another smaller supermarket at the lower end of Obergurgl. There is a bakery in the middle of the village but their bread wasn't great - rolls were always hard and seemed to be more than 24 hours old. Perhaps that's how they make them. We ate on the mountain at lunch time. There is a cafeteria style restuarant above Hochgurgl called Wurmkoglhutte. You could get two hotdogs and some bread for 3-4E and a plate of chips for 4E. We also ate at the Nederhutte halfway up Hohe Mut Bahn, which is a proper restuarant so the food was slighly better than the cafeteria. The Kaiserschmarrn and Apple Strudel were really good but pricey. Best bargain was the huge plate of chips (french fries) for 4E. Hot Chocolate with cream was big and no more expensive than elsewhere.

Accommodation : Stayed at a flat managed by Alpenresidenz am Mulbach. The flat was a couple of houses down from the Alpenresidenz. The flat itself was great - dishwasher, oven, everything to cook, towels, bath/shower combo. Very nicely furnished for a week holiday. Only missing item was a toaster. Probably could have organised one if we had asked. The flat wasn't cheap though at 1326 Euros for the week. The location was good but not great. Definitely not ski in/ski out. The hotels for the most part have the best locations at the resort and most of the self-catering accomodation is either at the high end of the village 100-200 m from the ski lifts or below the main street which also isn't far from the lifts and/or bus but it is a walk up the hill. On a map it doesn't show that the village is on a hillside so you don't realise that you are going to have to walk up and down a fairly steep hill to get to many of the the apartments that are below the main road. For adults, this isn't a problem, but if you have kids and have to carry their ski gear up and down the hill you might regret staying here. Fortunately we rented from Schieber Sport and they allowed us to leave our gear at the bottom of Festkoglbahn where they had a shop. They have locations at Hochgurgl too and in order to night ski, we moved our gear there later in the week. I didn't compare the rental prices on the gear (there are 2 others ski rental companies), but if you self-cater, the storage location might be more important than the rental cost. The ski school is at the bottom of Hohe Mut Bahn so storing gear at Festkoglbahn would not be an option for beginners at the ski school. If you are a beginner, check with Schieber about their upper village location and find out if you can store your skis there too. Probably can, we just didn't go into this location. (If you are on a package tour at a 4* hotel, ski storage location will not be a problem - the hotel will provide for you, but make sure your hotel is near the lift you want to go up.) If you are a beginner, make sure your hotel is close to either a bus stop or Hohe Mut Bahn. Carrying all your gear and that of your kids is a pain. It is the one thing I dislike about skiing.

We took the Postbus to and from Obergurgl. If you arrive on the bus, ask which stop you should get off at to avoid walking around too much. The bus stops in three places in Obergurgl so it is nice to get off at the right place even though it is feasible to walk from one end of the village to the other, doing it with lots of gear is not so much fun, especially if there is slushy snow on the ground.

Costs: Restuarants and hotels are expensive. Food prices at the Spar were a little more than in Germany and even Otztal but not excessively so. There was a big Spar near the train station in Otztal so one could bring food up on the bus with you if there was time to do your shopping. Not sure it is worth the hassle of carrying all though. The lift tickets were 659E for the 5 of us - kids 8 and under are free on the lifts. Ski rental with poles and boots was also 600E for the week for all 5 of us. Hubby and I had midrange skis for the week for that price. Make sure you have all your gear with you before you arrive. The ski shops in town will happily sell you something, but the prices are very high. My daughter forgot her scarf and a new one was 19E!

Conclusion: We loved it. Don't know for sure that we would return just because going to the Northwestern US is more viable for us because of family even though it is further. But if we had a chance, I'm sure we would go again. Obergurgl/Hochgurgl is simply great for families and well organised. Having skiied in the US as well, we really liked Austria BUT feel that the US is more family orientated. The hot tub is really a vital part of the experience for us!
ski holidays     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Resort: Seiser Alm (Alpe Di Siusi)
Country: Italian Dolomites
Author: jimmybog
Date: January/February 2011
Our holiday: Me, wife and six friends.
Website: http://www.alpedisiusi.net/en/alpe-di-siusi.html

Journey Details:

Flew Friday lunchtime with Easyjet to Innsbruck. Check in was straight forward and flight left about 5 minutes late. From Innsbruck we caught the airport shuttle bus to Innsbruck centre and walked to our hotel (Hotel Innsbruck). Even though much of Austria had snow during the previous week it was not that apparent in Innsbruck. The snow line on the surrounding mountains was quite high and hardly any snow was lying in the centre (which may be normal for winter). Next morning we caught taxi to train station and caught the 09:27am Euro City train to Bressanone across the border in Italy. Train on time and only half full. An hour and a half later we arrive in Bressanone and wait only ten minutes for the bus to take us to Seiser Alm. The journey on the bus takes approx 50 minutes.

The Village:

The village we stayed in is called Siusi and is the Valley Station for the gondola up to Alpe Di Siusi which is the main skiing area. The village is quite small but very nice and also very quiet day and night with very little through traffic. There are a handful of restaurants and a pub right in the centre of the village. There is also a supermarket, deli, bakers and a few souvenir shops in the village. The nearby village of Castelrotto ( 5 to 10 minutes away on the bus) is bigger and has more shops, restaurants accomodation etc and from there you can get the free ski bus to the gondola station in Siusi or a bus directly up to the Alpe Di Siusi.

Transportation and gondola to Alpe Di Siusi:

The gondola station is at the edge of the village of Siusi and can be reached on foot in ten minutes from the village centre. However when you get to it, there is a steep path you have to climb to get to the entrance and car park. So not really advisable to walk to it in ski boots carrying skis. Instead we used the free shuttle busses which literally take about 5 minutes and drop you off at the gondola entrance and ticket offices. There are two bus numbers you can use and both run every 20 minutes in the morning and afternoon. Most you have to wait for a bus is 10 minutes.

Gondola Station (Valley):

At the gondola station are several ticket booths where you can purchase your ski pass, gondola pass and regional transportation tickets. The ski pass will also cover you for the gondola or you can just get a weekly gondola pass if you don’t intend to ski. Also at the gondola station are the ski school offices where you can conveniently book your ski schools. There are also several ski hire shops here where you can sort out ski hire without having to go up to the ski area first. The gondola to the ski area takes approx 15 minutes


Gondola station (Mountain):

At the top gondola station on the mountain you immediately come out right in front of the two ski school meeting points and learning area. Also here are more ski hire shops and the Nordic Ski Centre where most of the cross country trails start from. All of this I found to be very convenient. The ski hire shops also provide lockers to store your skis and boots overnight which was a huge plus for me as I didn’t have to wear my ski boots and carry the skis until I was ready to ski. Also here are several hotels, restaurants and cafes. The hotels do cost a lot more than the ones in the village where we stayed but you do get the extra conveniance of staying right near the slopes.


Ski Area:

I’m sure many of you who have visited the Selva, ST Christina and Ortisei villages will have already skied in this Alpe Di Siusi ski area so will know what it is like. For those who haven’t skied here, the area has approx 60km of piste. Most of these are red and blue with I think two black runs. Most of the slopes I skied on were wide and not too steep. Some of the run through slopes that linked the main slopes were narrower and quite busy. Some sections on both the blue and red runs were quite steep and caused a few problems for less experienced skiers especially later in the day. I thought the beginner slopes weren't too bad but I preferred the beginner slopes in Selva the year before. Of all the slopes that I skied or walked past I can only remember two that were ever busy. These were both main runs that take you back to the gondola station and were busy later in the day when people were heading back to the gondola. Otherwise (especially on the week days) the slopes were very quiet.


Slope conditions:

I thought the slopes were in good condition with the man made snow overnight improving things. Once the snow was scraped away later in the day the busier slopes were a lot more tricky and icy. Once the sun in the morning started to soften the snow then it also became much easier to ski on. On the trickier sections I tended to stick to the sides of the slope where the snow had not been scraped away and found it much easier.

Weather:

Sunny and warm all week with maybe one partly overcast day. Cold in the mornings and evenings in the shade but otherwise no need for any thermals during the day.


Snow Levels:

No lying snow in the village (1050 meters ASL) except in a few shady parts. The snow line on the mountain was at approx 1400 Meters. On the mountain itself (from 1600 to 2100 meters) there was still lots of snow. I didn’t see any bare patches except in some car parks and the road that runs through the area. All footpaths and ski slopes were covered in snow. Based on what I saw on a walk one day where the snow was ploughed through, I’d estimate the snow depth to be just over two feet deep. Not sure what the average is for this area at this time of year though.


Food & Drink:

Food overall was very good wherever we ate. Prices ranged from about 7 Euro for Spag Bol or pizza to 12 Euro for Schnitzel & Fries. Coffe & small coke was 2 Euros virtually everywhere and large beers were around 3.80 Euros. During the week nearly all of the mountain restaurants, huts, cafes etc away from the top gondola station had spaces to sit at outside during lunchtime, even though the weather was warm and sunny.

Non Ski Activities:

Apart from Downhill skiing, this area has many km of cross country trails. They do cross over some of the ski slopes in several areas so you do have to keep your eyes open. There are also many walking trails and there were lots of people just enjoying the weather and walking around. Also there are about 6 sledging runs, some of which run beside some of the longer ski slopes. Overall an excellent area for non skiers who can easily meet up at lunch time with their skiing partners/family at many of the lunch spots. Non skiers can get a points card which will cover all of the lifts apart from the button ones.


Access to Sella Ronda & val Gardena Ski area:

There are three possible ways to do this. A) You can ski and get the chairlift to a gondola station which will take you down to Ortisei from where you get another gondola and cable car up to Seceda/Col Raiser ski area. Or from Ortisei you can get the ski bus to St Christina and get the gondola up to the Sella Ronda route. B) You can get a bus from the top gondola station of Alpe Di Siusi to the hamlet of Saltria, from where you get another bus to Monte Pana. At Monte Pana you can ski down or get the chairlift down to St Christina and back up to Sella Ronda circuit (Apologies if this is not entirely correct as I don't have the slope map in front of me but I know it can be done by chairlift and/or skiing). The third option is to take a bus from the valley villages of Siusi or Castelrotto to Ortisei which takes about 30 minutes but it is free. Either way I probably wouldn't base myself where I was if I wanted to do the Sella Ronda but you do have the option if you want.


Costs: All for two people unless stated: Flight: £248 Hotel: £800 Half Board for 7 nights Ski Pass (1 person): £170 for seven days Lift & gondola passes (1 person): £122 for seven days. Transfer to resort (train/bus): £42 Transfer to airport (shared taxi): 52.


Summary:

I think this is an excellant area for beginners and early intermediates but probably wouldn't be enough for more advanced skiers. The km of slopes certainly doesn’t match some of the bigger linked French areas though you can access the Val gardena ski area and Sella Ronda if you want. The accomdation in these valley villages is in my view an absolute bargain especially compared to the prices charged in Val gardena for equivalent accomodation. You won't hear many British people in this area, it’s mostly Germans and Italians. I think the infrastructure of the whole operation here is very good though they could do with upgrading some of the existing button lifts and 2 seater chair lifts. I hope I have covered everything but if you have any questions then let me know and I'll answer best I can.
snow report     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
jimmybog, Excellent report thanks. I am in San Cassiano in a couple of weeks' time with a non-skier in the party, so very interested in what you say about non-skier options. Do you know if the "points system" you mention applies to all the Dolomiti area? How does it work exactly? Are chair lifts open to pedestrians?

Thanks.

snowHead
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?
Hello All,

We are traveling to Kaprun for a 1st time family ski holiday, does anyone know if there is child care provisions for a 4 year old in the resort. Maybe a mix of ski school & then child care either side of the lessons.

Many Thanks
Bad Knee. Puzzled
ski holidays     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Resort: Panorama

Country: B.C., Canada

Domain: None

Author: holidayloverxx

Date: 6th - 11th March 2011

Our holiday: Regular skiers in Canada; previous trips to Whister, Banff, Fernie, Big White, Tremblant, Mont Ste Anne, Stoneham

Website : http://www.panoramaresort.com

Basics : Canadian rockies, in British Columbia, 4 hours transfer from Calagary. Ski Independence package, inc flights from Gatwick and transfer bus which turned out to be a Panorama shuttle bus - typical North American school bus type, rather than coach. Freezing cold on the bus, stop at Banff for 15 min break. Flight is 9 hours out and about 8 hours back. Thomas Cook flight; just what you would expect from a charter. Reasonable leg room, leather seats with seat back video but very limited range of films. Luggage allowance 20kg inc ski boots in a separate bag, skis (charged) 10kg, hand luggage 5kg - all were weighed and added up to make sure we were under - we were, just.

Lift system : 3 quads to take you to the summit, not really high speed but ok, 1 3 seater to cover the Sunbird side of the mountain. quite slow. Each lift has acess to a variety of runs. Mile 1 quad, the main lift out of resort, has green and blue groomers and 1 single black diamond groomer, it also accesses the main terrain park and a smaller park. The Mile 1 links to the mid lift, the Champagne Express, which has blue & black groomers and some gnarlier runs, also a few double black diamond runs; it accesses the Founders Ridge area. The top lift is the Summit Quad which takes you to the one blue run (escape route!) and single and double black diamond mogul runs to the right and the double black diamond Taynton Bowl. The Sunbird lift covers the right hand part of the mountain with green, blue and black groomers as well as some mogul runs. It also coves the Sun Bowl which is a good introduction to glade & bowl skiing. The remaining lifts are baby lifts or linking the lower and upper village. Lifts are open till 4:00pm (Summit till 3.30), but Mile 1 has night skiing till 9.00pm on the green Showoff piste. There is a cabriolet linking the upper & lower village which runs till 10:15pm, which is as late as you need to be on the whole.

The terrain : The layout is typical Canadian – a compact ski area with few lifts and all runs join up and ultimately end up back at the resort. Green is easiest & always groomed, blues are harder and may not be groomed, single black diamond more like hard French reds or easy blacks sometimes groomed but mostly unpisted or mogulled, double black diamond is totally gnarly stuff.

The runs are seriously quiet, often we would be the only people on the piste, the queues are non existent apart from maybe 2 minutes at the Mile 1 between 9 and 10.

The easiest runs are at resort level (Mile 1 Quad) and to the right (Sunbird), The runs get more difficult, by and large, as you move up the mountain becoming steeper, narrower and mostly mogul runs. The most difficult is the summit where there is double black diamond tree skiing to the right and the Taynton Bowl to the left, which is back country skiing inbounds – the double black diamonds are very clearly marked and have roped off narrow entrances so you can’t accidentally find yourself on a cliff band! The Founders Ridge, to the left, is a mix of blue and single black diamond off-piste experience, uneven terrain, moguls, gulleys, trees etc.

We skied up to single black diamond and tried a little glade skiing for the first time in the Sun Bowl. The groomers are fast and quite easy when there is good snow cover, the easiest groomed black diamonds we skied were Fritzes, off the Sunbird chair – I would hesitate to call it a French red – and Hay Fever (ladies world cup slalom slope) which is accessed from the blue Old Timer run. The harder ones are Millennium and Shobers Dream, both of which start as black and become blue lower down – the camber is awkward and there are some very steep short stretches. Of the mogul runs, I enjoyed Whisky Jack (Sunbird) – not too steep and the moguls were lovely and soft so easy to turn. We also did the 1000 Peak mogul run from the summit, again with soft bumps so felt easier than it would have been if it had not just snowed. Roy’s Run from the top was challenging as it was steep and very long – we dipped into it lower down as the top half looked too scary! The Sun Bowl blacks (Stumps Farm) give a good introduction to glade skiing – an off-piste experience but without being scary.

The blue runs are great, ranging from fast groomers to virtually unpisted tracks across the mountain. The groomers we liked were Old Timer, off Mile 1 quad, which is a ladies world cup GS run, all of the runs off the Champagne Express (World Cup Way, Skyline, Roller Coaster,). The cut-across tracks were as you’d expect on the whole but the Sun Bowl trail was more of a piste than a cat track and gives good access to the Sun Bowl runs so you can dip in and out. Schobers Dream blue was not much easier than the black section! We skied some of Founders Ridge blues – Madsons Mile, which is the track round the ridge, and Ostrander Alley which was completely unpisted. We found it more challenging than the Sun Bowl and were knackered when we got to the bottom

The green runs were lovely warm ups, Horseshoe from the Mile 1 quad was my favourite, good rolling groomer with enough pitch to get some whoo hoo moments. The Showoff piste is the night skiing piste but I did nto find it sufficiently well lit once I got dark; also the chair broke down and MrHL was stuck of 30 mins in the dark on his own.

The report has “Mountain Friends” who are volunteers (retirees mainly) who take groups around the mountain for 2 hours for free. The groups split by ability up to single black diamond and each group has 2 “friends”. I think the biggest group we saw was about 6 skiers. You can go with them as often as you like; they meet at 10:00 and 13:30 near the Mile 1 quad – you can’t miss the signs.

The snow : Snow was great all week. Panorama was having an epic (for them) season. It can suffer from lack of snow but there had been a major dump the previous week and it snowed 2 days we were there which freshened things up nicely.

Off-piste : You can ski anywhere you want inbounds. The bowls are basically off piste even though there are named sections (maybe they compare to itineraries?). There is some seriously challenging stuff but we aren’t good enough for that.

The resort : Panorama Resort bought out Intrawest last year but it still has that sort of feel. Almost everything is owned byor licensed through the resort so there is no real choice of anything. There are daily activities listed for families but to be honest I never saw anyone taking part, nor indeed were there enough people to make it worthwhile. There are only 4 shops – and one of those is a bead making craft shop! The others are the general store (ok for beer & crisps, which is all we really wanted), skiwear shop and the ski rental shop which has some retail. There is a Nordic skiing centre at the Greywolf golf course, ski to base of Sunbird lift and walk 100 yards – we saw a few folk doing cross country and snow shoeing. There is a (free if you are staying in resort) large open air hot pool complex slopeside which looked really nice but I didn’t use it – too much effort!

The lifties are great, but there really are far too many staff – to the point where the lack of work to keep them occupied creates a spiral where many of the kids are so bored they don’t bother to make sure the real work gets done, e.g. activity signs out of date, water fountain not cleaned.

There is a shuttle almost every day to Invermere if you feel the urge to have a wider range of restaurants or to do real shopping for self catering. Also, an evening trip to Radium Hot Springs one day a week and a day trip to Kicking Horse on a Thursday

Food : Most of the restaurants are owned by the resort, but the Earl Grey Lodge in the upper village, run by Brits Phil & Claire Marshall, is gorgeous with a Table d’Hote menu served at 7:00pm daily. It changes every day and costs from $55 per person. Phil is an excellent host and makes a mean “Caesar” (I’ll still be sticking to bloody mary though). http://www.earlgreylodge.com

Of the other restaurants, the burgers in the Jack Pine pub are fantastic (that’s all they sell, beef, lamb, nut or mushroom). The T Bar grill was so-so; we ate there a couple of times as après merged with supper time. The Wildfire Rustic Grill has a good menu and nice ambiance. The Great Hall has a breakfast buffet for $7.75 which 2 can easily share. Carrick’s, at the Greywold Golf Course was nice for lunch but I couldn’t be bothered to go that far for supper (although they do run a shuttle). We didn’t try any other village options. On the mountain we only used the Mile 1 hut for coffee stops; it’s fine.

What we did like was the prices! Even with the tip we thought the food very reasonable, we rarely spent more than £8 on lunch, inc beer, and £25 on dinner including wine, we usually spent much less. The T Bar Grill has a great beer selection including lots on draft at about £3 a pint.

Accommodation : We stayed in a 1 bedroom condo at the Tamarak Lodge in the upper village (free upgrade). All the facilities were there (fridge freezer, proper oven, microwave, coffee maker, TV, dishwasher etc) but the décor felt a bit tired – it was very beige! The location was excellent, about 45 seconds walk to the Mile 1 quad. The lodge has ski lockers (no room for boots) and a laundry room. All of the lodges are operated by Panorama and there are no staff on site; all contact is through central check-in at the lower village, but we didn’t need anything so no problem.

Costs: Once you are there we found it fairly cheap. Also there is nothing to spend your money on really!

Conclusion: We enjoyed it but feel we have done it as far as our abilities will take us. We are more likely to go back to Big White or Fernie. There is certainly something for everyone but it is a hell of a long way and other resorts are very similar. The main plus point is how few people are there and I suspect it’s not sustainable
snow report     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Resort: Peisey (links into the middle of Paradiski)
Country: France
Domain: Paradiski
Author: Freddie Paellahead
Date: 13-20/3/2011
Our holiday: Mrs Paellahead and I chose (for the first time) to take pot-luck in a mixed chalet, partly in order that we would not spend all day and all evening with just eachother for company. We stayed in Chalet Chazalet (link below)
Website : www.blancvert.com/
Basics : Peisey is off the main road between Moutiers and Bourg St Maurice. We drove via the Tunnel, stopped at Brides les Bains on the way down (to get 7 days skiing in) and managed 13hrs door-to-door on the way home.
Lift system : A well-linked lift system, but after a holiday in the Dolomites in January, we were surprised how many older-fashioned lifts there were. The Vanoise Express (linking to la Plagne) was incredibly smooth.
The terrain : Peisey links into the les Arcs resort via the "Lobster Pots" right beside the Vanoise Express, so both les Arcs and la Plagne are very easily accessible. Les Arcs is in four basic areas - Peisey Vallandry, above 1800, above 1600, and the 1950/2000 bowl.
The snow : Despite several weeks without snow before our arrival, most runs were still open but lower runs were patchy especially as the day wore on. Top-ups in the last 3 days improved snow conditions considerably.
Off-piste : Loads - even I fiddled around between pistes if I could see where I was skiing out to once the snow improved in the last 3 days
The resort : Peisey still feels like a real French village with a butcher, baker, fromagerie, Spar and ski shop. There are a few small bars but don't expect raucous apres-ski.
Food : l'Ancolie in Nancroix (evening meal on the chalet day-off) was special with 'special' prices, the self service at the bottom of the Vallee de l'Arc run below 1950, and a restaurant on the skiers left at the bottom of 1600 were the highlights.
Accommodation : Chalet Chazalet is a single-chalet operation run by Paul Kipp, a chap who had a career change and spent a couple of seasons employed and now leases Chazalet. Unfortunately, just before our arrival he had had to sack a couple of employees at short notice and was trying to run the chalet with just one employee. This became more of a struggle as the week progressed and the original ten guests became sixteen and then nineteen. The food was not special and portions sizes a bit small (the cooked breakfast consisted of, on various days, one sausage and some cooked tomatoes, one boiled egg, two small rashers of bacon and some cooked tomatoes, some scrambled egg). The other options at breakfast were cereal and baguettes. A bit of fruit or croissants (served only on the day off) would have been nice. At tea-time a very nice home made cake was served.
The evening meal was of three courses, none of which were large. An allocation of wine was provided, but once that was drunk, guests had to buy more from the "honesty bar".
The chalet itself was clean and there was a large dining and living room area with a real fire that was lit most nights.
Costs: We thought that the late booking reduction that we obtained brought the price down to a fair level, but I would have been very unhappy if I had paid the full price.
Conclusion: The decision to take a late availability chalet holiday was a good one, and one that we would happily repeat. I do like the skiing in les Arcs but not the prices.
ski holidays     
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Hairy Boy, Just read your blog of your visit to Les Gets in 08. Interestingly both Mt Chery Hotel and Shuss have been knocked down now to make way for new appartment blocks.
ski holidays     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Resort: Soll
Country: Austria
Domain: Ski Welt
Author: emamcl

Date: January 21st - January 28th 2012
Our holiday: There were 6 in our group of vary levels - 2 x complete beginners and 4 'intermediates' Smile
Website : http://www.skiwelt.at gives loads of info about the area. http://www.skischule-soell.com/ has price info about ski school. https://blacksheepski.co.uk/ also provide lessons.
Basics : Flew Dublin -> Salzburg and approx 1.5 hr transfer. We transferred by bus but also an easy drive. Other option is train to Westendorf and short taxi/bus ride from there to Soll. Alternatively it is an easy transfer from Munich or Innsbruck.
Lift system : Modern lift system - lots of 4/8 person chairs (fast). Button lift on nursery slope. Gondola upto slopes (gets really busy in morning so get up early!). Really well linked - approx 6 villages in Ski Welt area.
The terrain : The Ski Welt area is generally wide pistes up top and vast (270km). The runs around Scheffau, Brixen im Thale I particularly enjoyed - really wide reds and some really nice tree lined runs. Whole area is really for intermediate level skier - advanced skier probably not so well catered for....limited black runs but not really my forte! Really cool iglu village to ski to in Hochbrixen area - nice for look around and drink. Nice blues for beginners and red lower down easier for beginner to attempt.
The snow : Amazing! It snowed for 2 days prior to us arriving so really perfect when we arrived. Snowed again on our second day (all day) but managed a great day's skiing. Days after were fantastic and had some sunshine also Smile
Off-piste : There was loads of off piste skiing but I'm not a big fan. I done some but alot of people were off piste and good fun.
The resort : Soll is pretty and very compact village with traditional Austrian church in center. From village center it is approx 10/15 minute walk out to slopes but there is also a regular free shuttle although I didn't use it personally. Personally didn't see alot of the village center itself. There is a large supermarket and also a Spar shop - Spar shop pretty expensive. Few shops around selling usual kit but wasn't in them. Other activities I saw offered were toboganning and night skiing - both looked great but we didnt find time for either.
Food : We stayed B&B so some of the places we liked for dinner were Bella Vita, Rossini's, Hotel Austria and another fab restaurant attached to hotel close to Hotel Austria (didn't catch name of it Sad ), but we all loved it. My advice would be stick to local fare - tastes good and reasonably priced.
Accommodation : Stayed in Pension Kaufmann - great location beside slopes and was virtually ski in/ski out. Breakfast fine and place really clean. Have own lockers and heated boot room. My only complaint was lack of proper shower - bath with shower head thingy - no curtain so unless you wanted to flood the bathroom not possible to have a proper shower Sad Other than that it was perfect and I would stay there again no probs if it weren't for shower problem. Friends stayed half board in Hotel Austria and they loved it - good room and food was plentiful and good every evening.
Costs: Lift pass for Ski Welt area (6 days) €195. Ski school for 2 hours per day (5 days) was €100. Lunch in mountains cost approx €12 per day (soft drinks expensive - bring your own water!). Dinner was anything from €15 -> €25 depending on drinks included etc. Probably a pizza in around €10. Overall costs seemed reasonable in village restaurants. Overall we got a deal for €700 for flights, transfers, accom, ski school, ski hire, lift pass which I thought was ok.
Conclusion: We all had a brilliant time and would all go back to Soll as it is so vast with such a great number of runs for intermediates and beginners. Locals are very friendly and doesn't feel forced for tourists. Prices ok in resort also. Don't think I mentioned it already but nightlife is good fun also - particular bars we went to were Red Horse, Underground (just ok), Salven Stadt (v.noisy but always seems to call in on way home). Just above Gondola station is the Moonlight Bar which we really enjoyed for apres ski Smile Highly recommend Soll overall.
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: Ardent (below Avoriaz)
Country: France
Domain: Portes du Soleil
Author: mgrolf

Date: 7 - 14 April 2012
Our holiday: Family of 3, first ski for my wife & 7 year old daughter. I'd last been on snow 15 years ago, at which point I'd say I was past beginner but definitely not expert.
Website : I didn't find any links to Ardent itself, but there are a couple of webcams for Lindarets (the nearest ski area) and Montriond (next village down the valley) here http://www.valleedaulps.com/goodies_webcams_montriond_lake_lindarets_saint_jean_aulps-webcam-1677-HIVER-UK-ADMIRER.html. There's more info about Avoriaz here http://www.avorinet.com/.
Basics : Ardent is a very small, quiet village on the French side of the Portes du Soleil. We flew into Geneva, and it was a 1.5 hour minibus transfer from there to Ardent, going through Les Gets on the way. I'm not sure how easy it would be to reach Ardent without driving - probably not very.
Lift system : Ardent has one bubble lift (each bubble apparently takes 10 - it'd be very cosy) up into the Les Lindarets bowl, which takes about 6-7 minutes. From there, there are express 4 & 6-packs up to Avoriaz and a range of chairlifts going up to the border with Switzerland. In addition, there's a small nursery slope with a short button. Access into Avoriaz with its more extensive beginner areas is very easy. Compared to my previous experiences 15 years ago, most of the lifts were fast and comfortable but there were a couple of old slow triples still remaining.
The terrain : Les Lindarets has mostly blues, ranging from wide easy pistes to a couple that are steep and verging on red. Some are above the treeline, others go through the trees. There are also a few reds, which seemed relatively easy to me. The home run back to Ardent (Parchets) is nominally a blue but was pretty unpleasant for most of the week, getting slushy, chopped up and very busy in the afternoons. The ESF instructors reckoned it should really be a red. From Avoriaz there's a much bigger selection, again many suitable for beginners but also more for more competent skiers. The experts in our chalet spent a lot of time in the Fornet area above Avoriaz, or over towards Chatel. I can't personally comment on these as I didn't get there. The view from the Pointe de Mossette (across France one side and Switzerland the other) was spectacular and Abricotine, the blue run back, was very nice as long as you don't mind long schusses (or walking). While we were there, Proclou (a very gentle blue below Avoriaz) was perfect for beginners. The younger element in our chalet had a great time in the Stash, an informal park in the forest in Lindarets. Many of the rails etc were carved into animals, making it blend in very nicely with the forest.
The snow : We went expecting typical spring conditions, with hard frozen pistes in the mornings giving way to slush. Instead, it snowed most of the Sunday, and then after a couple of blue sky days it snowed, and snowed, and snowed. Wednesday we had 30cm of fresh powder, and the brown patches disappeared under a blanket of white. It did get softer in the afternoons but was still very skiable and not too heavy. Skiing back to Ardent (1260m) was very possible all week and it looked like the following week would be good too.
Off-piste : I can't really comment, I'm not good enough, but others in the chalet seemed to enjoy skiing in the trees around Lindarets and certainly didn't struggle to find suitable terrain.
The resort : Ardent is very small - perhaps 15-20 chalets, 2 hire shops, 2 apres ski bars that closes around 7, and the bubble station. There's a huge car park too. This suited us down to the ground, as we were in a catered chalet and weren't interested in going out in the evenings. However, if you want this isn't the location for you - the seasonnaires drove down to Morzine every night. The village is dominated by Family Ski chalets.
Food : The Escapade serves adequate snacks; I can't comment on the other bar because we didn't use it, but it's basically just a service counter. Apart from this, don't expect to eat out in Ardent - there's nothing. Les Lindarets village (the "goat village" - apparently in summer it's full of goats) below the Lindarets top bubble station has a number of restaurants for lunch which get good reviews (we didn't use any). There's a self-service restaurant (Les Alpages?) just above the ESF hut at Les Lindarets which was OK, and a hut next to this that did panninis that were reasonable value (7 euros). The creperie near the bottom of Bleue du Fornet was popular and cheap, though we didn't try it.
Accommodation : We stayed in Chalet La Grange, a Family Ski Company chalet just across from the lift station. A 50m level walk to the lift in the morning, perfect for us. The chalet itself was very nice - 5 bedrooms, all bar 1 ensuite, a big dining area and smaller lounge plus long balconies. There was a sauna (not very hot) and hot tub (very nice, and great views up and down the valley). We never had a problem with hot water, despite the chalet being full. The only slight criticism I could have was the lack of a boot room (all our boots were in the hallway) but this didn't seem to matter and wasn't a problem through the week. The food was superb, even when the oven broke on the penultimate night. I could go on and on about the whole Family Ski set-up and how much we enjoyed it, but suffice to say that I would heartily recommend them and we'll be looking at them first if we can afford to go again next year. I would highlight the ski school and childcare system - Family Ski used ESF but also had their own instructors who stayed with the kids and gave us feedback on the first night and twice more through the week. This made life much easier for us; otherwise we would have been trying to find the right instructor at the end of our own lessons which often finished slightly later.
Costs: Seemed reasonable - we got a deal on lift passes (free child pass, discounted PdS passes) that week, ski hire was cheaper than high season and we booked last minute so accommodation was cheaper. Going fully catered with a child-friendly TO is definitely not a cheap option but for us it meant we could relax and enjoy our holiday too so was worth every penny.
Conclusion: Fantastic first holiday, the girls are now hooked so job done Very Happy . We were extremely lucky with the weather, other guests in the chalet and our lessons and it might not be as good again but we'd happily go back.
snow report     
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Resort: Les Deux Alpes (A.K.A L2A)

Country: France

Domain: Ecrins national park

Author: Specialman

Date: 21st - 28th January 2012

Our holiday: Due to the missus’ work being totally crap at sorting out holiday allotment, we didn’t actually get round to booking until two days before we flew (we flew on a Saturday) so besides it all being a rush, we didn’t have a massive amount of deals to pick from.
The other factor in our holiday was leaving our (then) two-year-old with his grandparents near Hull; this meant we had Leeds-Bradford, Robin Hood and Manchester to choose from as the easiest airports to fly from.
Big thanks to Igluski who worked tirelessly to find us a deal, ringing me back several times when deals appeared due to its website not updating as quickly as it should have.
In the end we lumped for L2A, a deal offered by Ski France, because one of the criteria my other half sets is the need for our own bathroom – the place we got in L2A had that (more about it later) and for £299 we had flights, catered chalet and transfers. We had to pay £20 each for board carriage but it meant we could carry extra boards and a lot of clothes changes without incurring fees.

Website: http://www.les2alpes.com

Basics: Flight from Manchester to Grenoble was hassle-free and took about 100 minutes with Monarch.
Had a minor scare at Manchester when we tried to check in – there was no record of us for the flight because we booked so late but it was quickly sorted.
We had two board bags plus two large duffels with clothes in. They all went through fine but my camera backpack was deemed too heavy for hand luggage so I had to unpack, put some lenses in my pockets and re-weigh. The lenses went back in the pack afterwards and all was well.

Met by Ski France rep at Grenoble who was really scatty and we stood around like plums for about 25 minutes. Eventually, it transpired that there were issues with the transfer buses not being where they should be, so Ski France hired some MPV taxis (with ski trailers) to get us to resort instead – this was great because it was lots quicker, plus it meant we didn’t have to do multiple drops in the resort. It took us about 90 minutes and to be fair, cost Ski France several hundred Euros to do this, which showed they actually cared about the guests. It also meant we got to talk to some of the other guests in a more intimate environment.

Lift system: Some really fast chairlifts, older bubbles, a pair of new(ish) large telecabines plus a fair few drags on the low slopes.

It’s well documented that the L2A lift company have a very conservative view when it comes to wind and we found this out mid-way through the trip when there were strongish winds that meant the large Jandri Express and the small Diablo and Oeufs Blanc bubbles were shut for the whole morning. In other resorts I’m sure they would have still been running (other people agreed, including our rep) so it meant either using a combination of drags to get up the main mountain, or going up the smaller Vallee Blache mountain. Thankfully, we were situated a minute’s walk from the Super Venosc chairlift that accesses the VB

Once you are up the main mountain though when the bubbles/telecabine are working then there are lots of chairlifts that give you access to the different sectors of the resort.

The terrain: L2A is well-known for being a bit of ‘upside-down’ resort in that the majority of the steep, black runs are the ones that take you back down to resort level.
Aside from some sparse tree cover near to the resort, the whole area is basically open snow with some large bowls and equally gnarly cliffs that are really imposing.

As said, the runs down into resort off the main mountain are blacks and especially late in the day, can get mogulled and icy so it’s worth having a bit left in reserve to get down safely. There is a long green run down from the ‘Cretes’ area that snakes its way across the mountain. This is quite a nice route because it’s verging on a blue in most places so for boarders you can hammer it down without having schuss along. Mind you, in places it’s narrow and gets full of beginners so care has to be taken. You also have to do a short section of the ‘Valentin’ black run if you want to get further across to the Venosc side of the resort, eventually picking up the green again and ending up near the Oeufs Blanc (white eggs) bubble lift.

Once you get up the main mountain then things are more geared towards easy cruising, with some really nice blues and reds. The area around the snowpark has some brilliant runs that are nice and wide and all interlink so there are loads of different ways to get down the hill.
The ‘La Fee’ area was good in places but had too many flat areas for my liking as a boarder.

The glacier has some straightforward but fun blues and reds that give amazing views of the surrounding terrain plus you can access the top of the mountain where there are snowcats that give access to the famed La Grave area, a freerider’s paradise but a bit too full on for me and the missus. Going up and down the glacier runs is easy on the underground funicular, although there are drags also.
The Vallee Blanche mountain is very pleasant and offers amazing views and the runs are normal cruising blues and reds that are very wide. There is some really nice off-piste between runs but it was tracked out and churned up when were there, so not brilliant.

Aside from this you also get extra on the lift pass, which are: one day in Alpe D’huez, one day in Serre Chevalier and One day in La Thuile over the Italian border. We didn’t take advantage of any of these extras because you need to catch buses that run at specific times and we weren’t too fussed about it at the time. There is also the option of getting a Helicopter transfer to ADH, although it means you have to be up to the heliport (halfway up the mountain) very early and that involves hauling ass across the resort in double-quick time. Some of the other guests did it and said it was brilliant – it cost somewhere in the region of £60 return.

The snow: We went late January when it didn’t snow at all through the day (save for a few flurries up top), although we had a few snow showers in the nights to keep things topped up. It was very sunny all week so things got slushy, especially in the afternoon, and then refroze in the night so some areas went very icy. All in all though there was plenty of snow.

Off-piste: Tracked out quickly and not particularly nice to board through, being chopped up and quite heavy. Obviously there’s an amazing amount of off-piste to be done but much of the really amazing off-piste required good knowledge of the mountain, as it looked to my uneducated eyes that this was a mountain that took absolutely no prisoners. I stuck to the lame off-piste in between runs.

The resort: Long and spread out along the valley floor between the two mountains. Easy to navigate in reality because it was just one main road with access roads off it and you could always see the lifts as reference. Signposting was good. From our situation at the Venosc end of the resort it only took us 10 minutes to walk to the Oeufs Blanc bubble, which is situated in the middle of the town.

Lots of ski shops, including a few discount ones that had decent kit in for a lot less than the branded shops. The main con about these places was the beady eye of the shop staff being always on you and you couldn’t touch anything without getting an interrogation. We were looking for a new jacket, as the missus suddenly found she didn’t like her current one, so spent one evening looking, although in the end she found a really nice Burton one for €120 in one of the more upmarket shops where the staff were brilliant and helpful.
There are plenty of grocery shops that have the essentials, and an inordinate amount of shops geared around selling you a marmot toy, a flask with a marmot on it, or Genepi and Chartreuse.

Loads of places to drink, all running happy hour deals between 4pm – 7pm, usually 2-4-1 on specific beers and/or shots. We stuck to the Red Frog under our hotel (a mix of English and French staff who were great) and ventured out on an organized drinks night where we had vile shots at discount prices and then ended up in a club until 3am. I felt rough as nails the following day but it was a good laugh.

Food: We were in a catered chalet-hotel so food was taken care of. I have to say that portions weren’t mammoth – I always needed to snack afterwards – and the food, although edible, wasn’t exciting. I suppose for what we paid it was to be expected but a few of the people we hung out with on an evening had paid £450+ so were understandably unimpressed.

We did some eating on the hill, but mainly snack stuff with a coffee or tea, and every day we headed back to the chalet at noon to make use of the free tea and coffee, and the free cakes (which were delicious). We also bought meat, cheese and baguettes at the local shop so took sandwiches out with us so we didn’t have to keep eating at busy restaurants. It was less of a money-saving thing, more about eating as and when we wanted without queuing up.

The one night we had to eat out we popped to a place about 50 yards away (Le Cellier) – the food was gargantuan in proportions and tasted good. I can’t remember the price but it was something like €100 for a few beers, fondue plus a main each. Service was efficient and the atmosphere was good.
I sampled a few takeaway for crepes and fries – typical ski resort prices and there are lots of places strewn out along the main drag.

Accommodation: Hotel Les Airelles is run by Ski France and is one of those hideous 1970s places where there’s far too much smelly wood and flock wallpaper. It was warm though and was in a great location, about 200m from the Diablo bubble.

We had a twin with the bed pushed together and an ensuite bathroom. The bathroom was clean but needed serious TLC, with cracked tiles on the floor and walls. Hot water wasn’t an issue but the heater worked intermittently and despite several staff hitting with a hammer and bleeding the radiator, it remained tepid for the whole week. Thankfully, we didn’t get too wet so our clothes managed to dry every night.
The beds were fine – a bit creaky but I slept like a log. Storage space was limited to one big cupboard and two bedside tables so most stuff went under the bed, with boards and boots in the bath when not in use.
One peculiar ‘design’ of the room was our built-in cupboard also housed the waste pipe from upstairs’ toilet so when they when to the khazi we knew about it.

We had a balcony overlooking the main road and the mountain and also had a built-in alarm clock, which was the JCB of the resort staff shoveling snow around, moving it randomly from one spot to another!
There was a ski room downstairs but it wasn’t heated and the lock broke so this was a no-no.
Les Airelles wasn’t and isn’t the kind of place I’d pay a lot of money to stay and despite manager Terry doing his best to put a positive spin on things, it undoubtedly needs reinvestment to at least clean it up a bit.

Costs: £299 for the flights, transfer and accommodation plus £20x2 for board carriage. The lift pass was about £180.

Conclusion: As with any snow holiday, it’s the snow that matters and there was plenty of that to go around despite it not snowing through the week we were there.
L2A is a resort that has its plus points – big area, lots of reds and blacks for more experienced riders, plus it’s snow-sure thanks to the resort height being 1800m and the glacier being 2400m. On the downside though I was never ‘wowed’ by the terrain like I was in neighbouring ADH and the closure of the big lifts as soon as there was a wisp of wind really annoyed me.

Here are a few pics from the trip:


This was the start of the week and the snow in resort got less and less until the day of departure, when absolutely dumped!


I think this was taken from the 'white eggs' (Oeufs Blanc) bubble lift.


This was looking up the mountain on the Diablo bubble


Lots of clouds rising up from the Venosc valley made a tremendous backdrop.


The green run that snakes across the mountain to take you back into resort.


Looking up towards the top of the glacier... after that is the descent down into La Grave.


Me overlooking La Grave and the rest of the Alps


Who need a Dakine Helipack?


A gorilla on a snowboard.


This was taken from the Super Venosc chairlift up the Vallee Blanche - quite a steep gradient really and real good fun, despite the chopped up snow.


This is a photomerge from the top of the funicular station - loved this view.

Full album here: http://www.snowmediazone.com/the_zone/g1135-les-deux-alpes-january-2012.html
snow report     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Specialman wrote:
....It’s well documented that the L2A lift company have a very conservative view when it comes to wind and we found this out mid-way through the trip when there were strongish winds that meant the large Jandri Express and the small Diablo and Oeufs Blanc bubbles were shut for the whole morning. In other resorts I’m sure they would have still been running (other people agreed, including our rep)


There's a darn good reason for that
snow conditions     
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Resort: Tignes Les Brevierre

Country: France

Domain: Espace Killy

Author: Specialman

Date: 19th – 26th January 2013

Our holiday: Couple of 30-something snowboarders doing their annual visit to the alps – both with 7+ weeks on the snow so confident on most pistes, looking to do a bit of off-piste but nothing serious.

Website : www.tignes.net

Basics : Due to dropping the nipper off at his grandparents’ house for the week, we were limited to flying from one of the northern airports but finally settled on Leeds-Bradford because it was only an hour’s drive and the flights were good value.

In the past we have done a mix of TO and DIY chalet holidays but because we were late booking – the missus didn’t get the okay for her holiday until the Tuesday before we were destined to fly – the best deals seemed to be those from specialist chalet companies where we’d have to organize flights and transfers separately.

8am flight from Leeds-Bradford was delayed by 50 minutes due to the heavy snow but the Jet2 staff were informative and the Captain gave lots of updates. In the end we managed to land at Grenoble just 30 minutes late (11.30am French time) and that was well within the 90 minutes we’d allotted to catch a transfer to the resort with BensBus. As it happened, due to late flights from elsewhere in the UK an Europe, the coach didn’t leave until 1.30pm so we needn’t have worried about missing it.

The transfer was excellent; this was the first time we’d used BensBus so didn’t know what to expect; the BB guys checked us in, dealt with the (slightly) grumpy French driver and kept us informed of what time we were leaving and the stops involved. Surprisingly to me, for a ‘.co.uk’ company there were lots of languages being spoken on the transfer by a variety of age groups and group types (couples/families/single sex groups), which made it a pleasant change to the UK tour operator transfers. In all it took four hours to get to Les Brevieres, with stops at Moutiers, Aime and Bourg St Maurice, before winding up past Ste Foy to the resort… a lovely journey as the sun set over the mountains.

Accommodation was booked through Chalet Chardons, a company that deals specifically with several properties in Tignes Les Brevieres. Booking was easy – I just e-mailed them initially with the dates I wanted and the room criteria and they got back to me within minutes. Once I’d settled on the accomodations I just rang through and paid over the phone and the confirmation e-mail was sent through with chalet details, directions, check-in times etc…

Lift system : The Espace Killy is pretty special, as you’ll read in most reviews about the domain. We’d previously stayed in neighbouring Val D’Isere and had only had a taster day in Tignes. For this holiday we were going to do the reverse and really give the Tignes side of the EK a good bashing.

Les Brevieres has two lifts going out of it; the Sache bubble lift that take you up to catch one of two chairlifts and then a ski down into Tignes Le Lac, or a short chairlift that lakes you up to Tigtnes 1800/Tignes Les Boisses from which you can catch a bubble up higher or catch the free bus into Le Lac. The free bus picks up from 50yards away from the top of the chairlift approximately ever 30 minutes.

We took the Sache bubble up every day and then the Marias chairlift up to Auguille Percee (AKA ‘the eye of the needle’, a large rock with a hole in the middle) and this put us up at something like 2700m with some nice long blue runs down into Tignes Le Lac. That trip up the hill takes about 30 minutes if there aren’t queues at the bottom station and to be fair, it was only on the first day when there was a queue for the bubble, as there was a technical hitch.

Once down in Tignes Le Lac or Tignes Val Claret there loads of fast chairlifts and bubbles to take you up the surrounding hills. The links to Val D’Isere are easy – either get the Aeroski bubble up from Le Lac or the Fresse chairlift from Val Claret. Neither were that busy unless it was late in the afternoon when people from Val were trying to get back to that side of the domain.

The terrain : Staying Les Brevieres you have to do the same runs back down into resort; there’s a choice of a red that is easy although narrow in places, a winding blue that is excellent for beginners, as it’s not steep (but has a few flats), or the horrific Sache black run.

The Sache is a run of two halves; up top it’s wide, flowing and with extensive off-piste. But once you get halfway down there is a (manageable) mogul field then some of the worst ice I’ve come across. It really wasn’t a pleasure to board down and in honesty, after two snowless days, it was only for highly experienced skiers and boarders.

The Tignes side of the Espace Killy features wide, open bowls that have loads of off-piste inbetween runs and plenty of freeride routes that are basically patrolled but unpisted red/black runs. These runs were the ones with the gnarliest terrain, where rocks show through the snow and cliff drops appear from nowhere. The best snow we found was either above Les Brevieres on the descent from the bubble, or up in the area around the snowpark and the Grand Huit lift, although most pistes got plenty of sun to soften them up through the day. The descent backj into Les Brevieres does fall into shade in the afternoon but the red and blues back into resort weren’t very icy.

We made some forays into Val D’Isere but Tignes has more than enough terrain to fill a week for the average skier/boarder and that was without us even heading up the Grande Motte glacier on the funicular, which was closed every time we decided to head over that way.

Like any resort with extensive terrain, you do have to plan your routes via lifts but it becomes second nature after a day or two, as the lift system seems logical and spread out.

The snow : It snowed on arrival and on the second night, followed by a day of bad visibility with more snow through the day. The rest of the week was bluebird and although the off-piste was quickly tracked (even in seemingly inaccessible places), the snow on the piste was soft yet grippy and the off-piste remained fluffy and easy to board through.

Off-piste : We’re not confident in doing extreme off-piste, although there is plenty of lift-served terrain that with a bit of a hike, looks amazing. There are also off-piste days that can be booked with several of the coaching companies and in Val D’Isere there’s the opportunity to do an off-piste day with a helicopter transfer back to resort for about €100 with Evolution2 ski school.
The off-piste we did do between runs was excellent – really soft, fluffy, dry snow that just brought and instant smile – and it was easy to dip in and out of it from runs without feeling out of your depth.

The resort : Les Brevieres is a small, traditional village that has rustic charm for want of a better description. It’s set at 1550m but had great snow coverage and is really breathtakingly beautiful; the mountains tower over the resort and the dam further up the valley is imposing and dominates the skyline.

We stayed in one of the Belvedere chalets up the rear of the resort, which give great views over the town, the lake and the slopes. The walk up the hill is a bit of a grueller but there’s a new ski lift that takes you down to within 100yds or so of the main lifts and it’s free. There were no times displayed for when it’s supposed to run, but through the day it worked – it didn’t on the few times we’d been out to the bars.

In the village there are two ski hire shops, an equipment shop with a limited selection of clothing and other hardware, a tabac/gift shop, a cash machine, ESF office, a Sherpa grocery store plus several bars and eateries; Vincents, a Dutch-run bar, was excellent, as was Chalet Chardons’ own bar and the Underground Bar. Beers were around €5 a pint and Vincents did a three-pint jug of Amstel for €14.

There isn’t a chemist/pharmacy in the village and the nearest one is in Tignes Le Lac, close to the foot of the Palafour chairlift.

There isn’t a bus service from Les Brevieres; you have to get the chairlift up to Les Boisses/Tignes 1800 and then catch the free bus into Tignes Le Lac, which takes 20 minutes or so. To get from Le Lac to Val Claret you change buses, which are regular.


Food : We ate out at L’Armailly, opposite the ski lifts and a meal for four comprising four beers, two pizzas, and two steaks (with dauphinoise) came to a reasonable €116 – good value I thought. Drinks at the foot of the slopes were okay price-wise (€4-5 for a vin chaud) but you could go up the mountain for better views at the same price.

Out on the hill we had a few beers and vin chaud at the mountain bar just down from the Aguille Rouge chairlfi – theis then gives a blue run back to both Les Brevieres or down into Le Lac.

In Tignes Le Lace we ate at the Marmottes Pub (bottom of Palafour lift and right for 100yds) and it came up trumps; €3 for a good coffee and €14 for a massive cheeseburger and basket of chips. Perfect.

We also ate at a place that had a blue canopy emblazoned with ‘FAST FOOD’…. Cheap food but no service in reality. Very student and bog standard, albeit tasty.

The cheese and wine bar next to the tabac in La Rosset (La Palette de Boulélé I believe) is a great place – I just put money into a kitty with friends but had excellent wine and big platers of cheese and cured meats. Alpaka and Loop Bar are excellent places to drink, very lively and decent value.

Accommodation : We stayed in Chalet Chardons’ Belvedere property, which was it’s highest rated chalet and lived up to the rating. Like-new inside, it’s compact but really nice and sociable. The rooms are small but have everything you need and the food was plentiful, as was the wine. Our host Aly and chef Janine were first-rate, as were Dan and Clare from Chardons who even invited us out for a bit of a ski around the area and a trip to La Folie Douce above La Daille. A great day that I’ll remember forever.

Costs: Flights from Leed-Bradford to Grenoble with Jet2 came to £290, checking in two bags up to 22kg and one board bag up to 20kg (this was £25extra each way). I found a voucher code online that gave me to board carriage for free so in reality we paid £240 and that included £32 of booked seating that in reality we didn’t require because the plane wasn’t even half full both ways. I booked extra legroom because I’m 6’ 4”.

Transfers from Grenoble to Les Brevieres were £79ea return. Booked via the BensBus website and very easy because you book the transfer that corresponds with the flight numbers so there’s no guessing as to how much time you have to give yourself. Transfer to resort was four hours, arriving at 5.30pm and the transfer back to Grenoble was a little shorter despite changing at BSM. Pick-up time in the morning to correspond with a 12pm flight was at 6.35am from the car park at one end of Les Brevieres.

We booked the last room in the chalet (we stipulated a double/twin with en-suite) and of all the Chardons-owned properties this was the only true fit due to high demand. We were offered a quad with bunks in Chardons for about £160 each but Belvedere looked better and came to £240 for the week. This was fantastic value I felt. There was a €10 returnable deposit for a key to the chalet.

Lift passes were €225 each for the 6-day Espace Killy pass, saving €10 on the advertised price. This was dealt with at check-in by the Chardons staff.

So, aside from spending money, it came to £440 each for flights, transfers and accommodation each, then approximately £185 for the lift pass each.

Parking at Leeds-Bradford was through APH with an online discount and we used the off-site Sentinel parking that came to £30. It’s literally a 1-minute coach ride to the terminal with a pick-up point right outside the terminal doors. No fuss whatsoever and highly recommended.

Aside from that, we spent a ‘mere’ £350/€420 on drinks, food on the mountain, and pack-up, although I did forget my boarding trousers so had to fork out €150 from some new ones at the large SkiSet at the foot of the Palafour lift in Le Lac. They are nice though Wink

Conclusion: Without doubt the best holiday we’ve had. Great company in the chalet is never guaranteed but we lucked out this time with lovely people who shared our sense of humour and had an equal propensity for wine and beer!

The chalet location was made a no-brainer thanks to the free lift down to the slopes and the quality of the chalet belied its low price tag. The staff were ace and deserve heaps of praise fro their friendly, relaxed professionalism.

As a resort, Les Brevieres is perfectly quaint yet superbly located. Yes, it take a gondola and a chairlift to get high enough to ski down into Tignes but it’s a few more minutes than it would take from Tignes itself and the runs back into Les Brevieres were stunningly beautiful.

Some might argue that a 4-hour transfer is hard work but I feel it’s worth it, maybe not with really young children, because the quality of the terrain is exceptional.

We’re going back, for definite - 10/10
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: Warth-Schröcken
Country: Austria
Domain currently Bregenzerwald but Arlberg Ski Area from the start of the 2013/14 season
Author: DT68
Dates: Jan 2011, Feb 2012, Dec 2012, Feb 2013
Our holiday: We are a family of 5 – two adults in their early (cough) 40s and children aged (as at March 2013) 7, 10 and 12. The children are all proficient skiers able to cope with anything on piste. The eldest child races on dry slopes and is now tackling off-piste with gusto. My wife and I enjoy skiing off-piste.
Website : http://www.warth-schroecken.com/en/startpage-skilift-warth-schroecken/.
Basics: Warth-Schröcken is in the Vorarlberg, about 6km to the North of Lech, but the road between the two is normally impassable in winter. The area is therefore accessed either from Dornbirn to the West or Reutte to the East. It is about 2½ hours drive from Zurich airport and 1½ hours from Friederichshafen.
Lift system: Generally very modern: there are 3 base stations, each of which has a 4 or 6 pack with canopy. There are two other canopied 6-packs and three uncanopied 4-packs. There are three 2-man chairs which are either short or relatively short and a couple of drag lifts at valley level serving beginners’ slopes. We have not experienced any issue with queues, even – much to the amazement of friends with a chalet in the 3-Valleys – in February half-term (max 2-3 mins if you time your departure from the base station to coincide with the ski school groups). A new gondola (the Auenfeldjet) will be installed in summer 2013 and open for the 2013-14 season, connecting the ski area to Lech (it will link into the base station of the Weibermahdbahn, just below the speed check).
The terrain: 65km of pistes and marked itineraries, reasonably split between blue, red and black. The pistes are generally quite wide and well groomed. A couple of the black runs are certainly worth their grading for reasons of steepness. Some of the itineraries (3 – Wolfegg, 4-Auenfeld Mulde and the itinerary through the trees under the Schaukel-Falken 2-man chair) are very entertaining in good snow conditions. My view is that there is as much of interest to be found on piste at Warth as there is to be found in the nominally larger Obergurgl. A permanent 600m-long GS course and a snowpark are next to the Sonnenjet chair; there is a second snow park in Warth under the Wannenkopfbahn and a speedcheck at Hochkrumbach/Salober starting from the top of the 2-man Kuchlift.
The snow: The snow was hard packed on piste at the beginning of our first trip. Otherwise it has been excellent, although the piste bashers sometimes struggle to keep up with overnight snowfalls (30cm falls are commonplace). For reasons of geography (first valley into the alps from the northern edge) the ski area gets huge amounts of snow and claims to be the snowiest in the Alps (with an average snowfall in excess of 11m). Most of the pistes are north facing so hold their snow well.
Off-piste : There are endless opportunities for newcomers to off piste skiing to ski in between and slightly off the pistes, where good powder can often be found several days after the last snowfall. For the more adventurous, especially those with a guide, there are some great off-piste runs down to the valley floor although some involve lengthy traverses or a calorie-burning hike. There are lots of ski touring opportunities including routes over the top of the Wartherhorn and down to Lech.
The resort : The ultimate in unspoiled chocolate box. There is a cluster of 4 hotels close to the main base station in Warth, set about 400m to the West of the village centre. The village centre bosts a couple of more hotels, one bar and the Dorfcafé. There is another bar close to the lift pass office, but this seems to be frequented mainly by saisonnaires. There is a terrific toboggan track which is open on Tuesday and Thursday nights (helmets definitely recommended). There are 3 ski hire shops in Warth, and others at the Jaegeralpe and Hochkrumbach/Salober base stations. Schröcken (at the Western end of the area) has about 3 hotels in or just outside it, but there is no lift base station in the village.
Food : Most of the hotels have decent restaurants for lunch. On the mountain the Hochalp Hϋtte and Auenfelder Hϋtte are both excellent (Goulash soup about €5.60 and the former has a Skifahrer Rösti "to die for" at €9) and the self-service Punschϋtte is highly recommended as well. For those making the descent to Schröcken (either off piste or via an itinerary), the Hotel Tannberg on the far side of the main (but quiet) valley road has fantastic food.
Accommodation : We have now stayed in the Lechtalerhof and the Steffisalp twice. Both good offer 4* accommodation with wellness areas. If some rooms at the Lechtalerhof (10% discount for SCGB members) are not as modern as those in the Steffisalp and the food is perhaps not quite as good, it nevertheless offers the charm of a family-run hotel. The Steffisalp is 20m from the eponymous base station, while the Lechtalerhof is about a 2 minute walk away. The 4*+ Wartherhof is also just across the road from the base station. The well-equipped Familienhotel Jageralpe is located on its own about 1 mile to the West of Warth, and has its own 6-pack on site. There is plenty of cheaper accommodation (including self-catering) which can be found via the resort website.
Ski School : the Skischule Warth used to be run by Warth dairy farmer and Olympic gold- and silver-medallist (Calgary 1988), Hubert Strolz. It is now run by the friendly and ever-helpful Mathias Fritz who is happy to try arrange private tuition, group lessons, guiding and even race-training. A guide costs about €290 for a standard day. Book well ahead for peak times. Email: info@skischule-warth.com
Costs: a 6-day pass in peak season costs €192. Children’s passes (“children” are determined by birth year and are up to the age of 16) are half the cost of adult passes. Expect changes from the 2013-14 season when the link to Lech opens.
Conclusion: A gem of a resort, offering much to all grades of skier.
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: La Tzoumaz
Country: Switzerland
Domain: 4 Valleys
Author: msej449
Date: Annually Since 2003
Our holiday: Couple skiing / walking / cycling
Website : www.latzoumaz.ch
Basics : La Tzoumaz ia a 'satellite' resort of Verbier in the 4 Valleys Domain, connected by télécabine and pistes to the Western side of Verbier. It's quieter than Verbier, especially at Weekends and afternoons and you're skiing the same slopes as people paying 2x-3x as much for accomodation in Verbier. You can completely by-pass the crowded centre of Verbier at Medran, and get to/from slopes as quickly or faster than Verbier residents (but not if the link piste is shut due to poor snow). It has a supermarket and two boulangeries, ATM, choice of intermediate restaurants and a couple of bars, plus the more chick new Vitho bar. Outdoor ice rink and small swimming pool. Many of the apartments are within walking distance of the main télécabine. There is a 10Km toboggan run (snow permitting) which is fun to try out at least once, and three marked snowshoe routes for non-skiers.
Lift system : Modern lifts and chairs, only one drag. The gondola back up to Savoleyres from Verbier is quite old by comparison with the LTZ equipment, and will be the first to shut in high winds. The new gondola from LTZ to Savoleyres only takes 9 mins.
The terrain : Intermediate. Also good for someone progressing from Beginner to Intermediate, as it's realtively quiet with some nice long blues to build confidence.
The snow : 2012, 2013 snow was terrific. North-facing means it's OK in poorer years.
Off-piste : LTZ is the end-point of the Vallon d'Arbi off-piste itineray from Lac de Vaux in Verbier. Otherwise not a lot and would be fatal in some directions.
The resort : The Village has a selection of middle-of-the-road restaurants and bars and is more family-oriented and biased towards self-catering with the majority of accomodation being apartments. There are some nice luxury chalets, however, which are very competitively priced compared to Verbier (see articles below). Here, you can do Switerland at a cost that's comparable with France but without the French crowds and lift queues - just don't expect a glamorous apres-ski experience. The largest Swiss thermal resort is nearby in the valley at Saillon, and would make a good day out if you fancy a change form skiing.
Food : In resort: Les Fougeres for family, couples; La Poste is lively Italian/Meaty; Les Trappeurs for meat-lovers. On Piste: Chez Simon, at the base of the 6-man chair up to Savoleyres. The summit building has a big restaurant which is fine for families and budget-conscious eating, and a good palce to hang out if weather is bad. Also has a picnic room, which is spartan but OK. Croix de Coeur has fantastic views and is above the heliport, but pricey as it's a favourite of Verbier celebs.
Accommodation : Biased - we own an apartment here.
Costs: Expect to pay around CHF 1450/week for a 2-bed 4-person apt. with a sofa-bed for additional 1 or 2. Swiss apts are generally more spacious than French ones of the same m² On-piste eating/drinking is comparable to France at the lift summit of Savoleyres, but expect to pay above-average at an on-piste restaurant/cafe like Chez Simon and more so at a chic venue like Croix de Coeur.
Articles, Reviews and Links
The London Guardian 2014 http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2014/dec/06/satellite-ski-resorts-verbier-four-valleys-switzerland -
The London Mail Online 2013 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2296527/How-Verbier-cheap--stay-little-sister-La-Tzoumaz.html -
London 'City A.M.' 2015 http://www.cityam.com/article/rich-pickings-poor-man-s-verbier
Videos:
View from Croix de Coeur Restaurant and Heli-ski Altiport
http://youtube.com/v/Rzc5QF7Syug
Telecabine from village to summit in summer & winter
http://youtube.com/v/r6jCH3mmJwM
Conclusion: La Tzoumaz is suited to couples and younger families who prefer apartments to hotels and are happy to self-cater or eat-out. Also for those whose focus is on intermediate, on-piste skiing rather than apres-ski. However, heli-ski types do have easier access to the altiport at Croix-de-Coeur than if in Verbier. Summer visitors will ilke the extensive walking and MTB available (but best visited in July/Aug when lifts are running). This is a good satellite-type base for trying out the Verbier ski area but without the pretentions and costs of Verbier.
[/list]
snow conditions     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Resort: St Anton
Country: Austria
Author: rossyl
Date: 21 February - 1 March 2015
Our holiday: Group of 8, mainly couples in 30's.
Website : http://www.stantonamarlberg.com/en

Basics :
Nearest airport is Innsbruck and it is roughly 1.5hrs in a coach. Ski areas include St Anton, Rendl and Lech, all included in one ski pass. When we went it was German and Dutch half term, so there were a of of kids, mainly Dutch.
There is also a 2km toboggan run which is a bit of fun.

The terrain: In St Anton the grading of runs means very little. Reds can often be harder than blacks. Blues can be as hard as Reds and so on. Piste Bashing does not seem to occur often, and many reds (including Blues) are full of moguls. Some of the runs are quite narrow and it was busy when we were there.
Rendl is a quieter area but similar to St Anton in terms of ski terrain and the grading issue. The blacks being steeper.
In Lech everything is much wider, more gentle slopes and far quieter. It is also more picturesque.

The snow: It snowed on and off the week we were there, having 2 blue sky days. When the sun was out it got warm fast and the fresh powder became slightly more difficult to ski. All in all the snow was excellent all week, with all lifts open (at least the ones I wanted to go on).

The resort: St Anton is famous for its Apres and rightly so. The Mooserwirt kicks into life bang on 3.30pm thundering out "The Final Countdown". Unlike other resorts big on Apres there is absolutely no hierarchy here, unlike Val d'Isere where there is often a VIP area looming over the rest below. It is down to earth and a lot of fun. There is a the feeling that you'll make friends, especially when you end up in a conga-line. I loved the table service while it lasted, it just was a lot more fun than a mad rush queuing at a bar. Drinks were also more reasonable. The Fluegels flew down and got us merry. No one batted an eyelid at quite extensive drinking games!

One thing the resort misses is a decent bus service. there is a large bus terminal (Terminal West) in St Anton, but buses in general are not that regular. There is no dedicated "ski bus" going from one end of the resort to the other, which is a necessary oversight.

Food on Mountain : This was ok, but it's never going to be like being in France.

Accommodation & Food : We went with Ski Total. We Stayed at Chalet Janus a catered chalet (which is the top floor of Ski Total's Mountain Star chalets). The "chalet" looks more like a modern 4 storey block of flats, but a nice block. It faces the road. So the outlook is not that pretty, that said, across the road is a mountain range, and from our balcony we looked directly up the slopes, so we had mountains on both sides.
The trade off for picture perfect to modern is a very large chalet by my previous experience. Big rooms that you can happily chill out in without feeling claustrophobic. A very big bathroom with a lovely walk-in shower. A Wellness Area with a decent sized sauna and a 4 person large bath with bubbles (not a hot tub) within and just for the use of your chalet.
The Ski Total staff were all polite, friendly and very down to earth. I was very happy with the service.
The quality of food was pretty good, the quality of the afternoon cake even better.
The wine was certainly drinkable and a sensible approach was taken to consumption.
It's a 10min walk to the Nasserien bubble. This is perfect for accessing a lot of the mountain and is one of the main bubbles, it is also ideal for beginners and the baby slope is there.
The ski rental shop next to the bubble also does ski/boot storage which is perfect at Eur13 a week. You walk in with your shoes, hand them over they give you your boots and skis. At the end of the day you drop off your skis and boots and get your shoes, meaning a much more comfortable drink in the bars. Without this the 10min uplhill walk may have been a bit more trying.
From Nasserien it is a 15min walk into town proper but that walk is flat.

Costs: £720pph (LGW -> INN) . Lift pass was about 250 euros for the week.

Conclusion: A lot of fun, but difficult for early intermediate skiers.
latest report     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Resort: Flachau.
Country: Austria.
Domain: Ski Amadé
Author: sharon1953

Date: 21st Feb 2015

Our holiday: This was our ‘once a year’ 7 day ski holiday. We usually choose high altitude resorts but wanted a change from wide open, often bleak runs and to ski near trees. Went with another couple that we go with each year. We are all over 60. We use Snowbikes as our knees and backs make skiing impossible nowaday, our 2 friends still ski, but we don’t go beyond reds. We have been skiing in Austria for over 15 years.

Website: www.skiamade.com/en/

Basics: Flachau is about 50 mins drive from Salzburg Airport, motorway most of the way. There train stations in St. Johann, Radstadt, Altenmark, Eeben, Bischofshofen and a Shuttle bus service from Salzburg. We booked a private transfer costing 200 euro round trip for 4 passengers from www.taxi-jaeger.at Flew Manchester to Salzburg with Jet2. Booked everything direct as UK TOps don’t go to this resort.

Lift system: Very modern, chair lifts often with heated seats. Few drag lifts but only on nursery slopes. We did find one other but they are rare. Lift system links well often with more than one lift travelling to the same area. New G-Link cable car now links to Wagrain and Alpendorf. The ski bus takes you to 9 other satellite towns with their own runs. Flachauwinkl links by mountain to Zauchensee.

The terrain: 760 kilometres of pistes (275 km blue, 390 km red and 95 km black) 270 lifts. Pistes go up to 2,700 m above sea level. Flachau on the mountain is a very child-friendly place and if you accidently go during the Dutch holidays, it’s very busy with lots of little people! Flachauwinkl and Zaunchensee were much quieter. Mostly intermediate skiing. The lifts don’t leave from the town of Flachau itself; you need a ski bus or longish walk. There are a few hotels clustered around the base of some lifts (where there are lockers) so you need to decide what your priorities are, being in town, or near the lifts. The last part of the red home run #4 under the Achterjet gondola lift is very busy at the end of the day and pretty cut up despite is being very wide.#2 Blue from the top of the Starjet 3 is a lovely long run through the trees. #33 from the top of the Flying Mozart is challenging for a red and the markings disappear as soon as you leave the lift and don’t appear again until you reach the G-link to Wagrain. In general we found the runs to be far longer than average, nearly all can be skied from the top of the mountain to the town so less time on lifts, more time skiing. For some strange reason they have named the majority lifts with the suffix “jet” at the end. This makes for quite a lot of “map out of the pocket” time as you try to remember if you need Spacejet 1,2 or 3 or Starjet 1,2 or 3 and the Achterjet, especially in bad weather when you can’t see well. Why they didn’t give them all completely different names I can’t think.

The snow : Snow making covers 90% of the runs – we had amazing snow for late Feb, even though everywhere in Europe had a really late start to the season. Couldn’t have asked for better and it snowed heavily whilst there. This has restored our faith in low-altitude resorts. Pisté management was good, no ice, no bare patches.

Off-piste : Not sure how much of this there is but we did see lots of tracks through the trees, under the lifts and anywhere that you could get off the runs and back on again. There is a pretty good Snow Park (we are told) in Flachauwinkl.

The resort: The village itself sprawls out along a busy road, not a typical chocolate-box town and no real centre from what we could see, but we didn’t venture into town other than to the Spa Supermarket. But it’s not a purpose-built concrete jungle either. There is a local farming community and this is a summer resort too. Usual facilities available ski shops, hire shops, doctor, pharmacist, places to eat, a few bars/clubs, apre ski umbrella bars - but certainly not St. Anton.

Food: Our hotel food was so good that we didn’t eat out and they also served afternoon tea so didn’t even stop for lunch, until the last day and that was in Zauchensee.

Accommodation: Stayed at Gourmet Hotel Montanara and gourmet it was. Each evening we were greeted with a 5 course meal that can only be described as “fine dining” as well as a salad buffet and cheese selection of over 20 cheeses. This wasn’t the cheapest of hotels but well worth the price. We chose it on the strength of TripAdvisor reviews and location - right next to the Achterjet Lift. The ski bus stop to the other resorts was at the back of the hotel. The hotel rooms themselves weren’t anything special but perfectly adequate. Staff were amazing in every way. There are lots of self-catering options and smaller hotels, just get the tourist office to send you their accommodation brochure.

Costs: Food prices in Supermarket about the same as UK, Hotel £650 per person, per week ½ board, bar prices/wine in the hotel expensive. Lift pass £171.00 for the whole Ski Amade area, Transfer worked out at £40.20 per person.

Conclusion: We loved this place and even after a week we had hardly touched the Ski Amadé area. We will return in 2016, avoiding the Dutch holiday week! We’d love to move the hotel to Flachauwinkl/Zauchensee but it’s not that far so will take the bus or the taxi to the Flachauwinkl Highport lift, which was only 8 euro for 4 of us. If anyone out there is interested we hired our Brenter Snowbikes from www.sportamjet.at
snow conditions     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Resort: Popova Shapka (Mountain Tracks), and Solunska Glava / Patishka Reka
Country: Macedonia
Domain: none
Author: hamilton

Date: 1.2.16 -7.2.16
Our holiday:
Trip organised by Mountain Tracks, a UK company specialising in off-piste and 'ski adventures'. They use the local firm Eskimo Freeride who run several snow-cats (piste bashers with a cabin on the back) at both PS and Solunska Glava.
MT provide a qualified IFMGA guide for this week - it is possible to ride with Eskimo with their own staff, and our runs were mostly shared with other Eskimo clients.
We're both confident off-piste skiers, and having done several SCGB off-piste Freshtracks holidays, were looking for something more adveturous. We'd seen signs for the ski resort whilst driving back from Lake Ohrid on a summer holiday, and found the writeup on snowheads and a few youtube clips.

Website

http://www.hotelscardus.com/
http://www.mountaintracks.co.uk
http://www.eskimo-freeride.com
http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/PopovaShapka
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=popova+sapka

Basics :
Popova Sapka is a small town about 90 minutes SW from the capital, Skopje, by taxi. Mountain tracks provided this, otherwise you'd need to book in advance, either via the hotel,

Lift system :
You don't go to PS for the lifts! (see picture of piste map).

Whilst there are 7 or so lifts, only a couple were in regular operation in our visit,

and we never saw the 'higher' chair, which give access to the snowcat terrain, operating. Probably due to a combination of wind, and not many customers
We used the snowcats exclusively, except for an afternoons pleasant skin up to one of the bowls.

The terrain :
There are effectively 3 main areas Eskimo use - facing the resort, the 'other' side of the same mountain, and then an adjoining mountain that also faces the resort. Each area effectively has an 'upper' (above tree line, ~2000m-2500m) and 'lower' (tree line, 1500-2000m) area - in times of good snow, there is a third lower level where it is possible to ski down to the villages.

The snow :
Poor. Generally that area of macedonia measures snowfall by the foot, but the 2016 season has been poor here as in the rest of europe.


The pistes

were in what we would consider 'dreadful' condition, the offpiste varied from grass, rock, to hard frozen ice, to the odd patch of powder. Generally conditions were 'spring skiing', so the routes were rock-hard first thing, and for the first 3 days would soften nicely by mid-am in the sun to allow some enjoyable soft-snow skiing in the coulouirs.
Typically we'd get maybe 10-20 turns in a 'nice' run,

having had to navigate to get there, and then a 'navigate' through narrower routes/less snow/gullies back to the cat, or sometimes we'd ski back to the lower levels e.g. for lunch.


As we had 3 ares to play with, Eskimo and the guide would choose depending on conditions etc. On the adjoning mountain, there was a longer pitch on a south facing slope, we spent a good portion of Thursday here, doing the route several times, including a hike to the top to enjoy the view, and lunch at the bottom. Other fun routes were in the trees, particularly towards the end of the week when we had ~10cm of fresh to play with.

Off-piste :
See above - it's all about the offpiste!

Solunska Glava
On the Saturday, we skied here, as Eskimo comped us the day due to the poor conditions earlier in the week.

This was firmly in the 'adventure' category, only being confirmed late on the Friday night. Saso, the cat driver, picked us up from our hotel, and we picked up another couple of skiers en-route, one of whom was a regular and knew the mountain, or so we thought. A drive through the industrial wasteland that is the outskirts of Skopje, and then onto a beaten up track, rising slowly until at about 1000m the 4WD comes on... through a very small village, and then across a stream to the end of the 'road', and the snowcat is there.

Quick unload, fill up the cat with diesel, and then a solid hour up a farm track that had not been passed in the last few days, and then we're on the mountain proper... it felt like Chronicles of Narnia!


Lots of fresh snow, blue skies, wild horses in the distance, and some thousand acres of mountain for the four of us.


We basically lapped the mountain on the west face from about 11.00-16.00,


varying the routes to make the most of the snow,

with only one ill-judged route finding more rocks than we'd hoped for.

Suffice to say, skis will need a thorough base treatment.

Terrain was open as we were above the trees,

we could see for miles,

and the snowcat was always visible - I'd leant the driver my walkie-talkie, and other to one of the locals, so we were able to maximise our time.

On our 'last run', we were told we could take a shortcut thro' the forest below us to pick up the mountain track and ski down....

this was the only bad decision of the week, as we got lost. The radio came in handy, but we spent a good hour scrambling through dense forest, skis on our backs, trying to navigate. With the assistance of the cat driver, the noise of the reversing indicator, we eventually got down to the track, but it was starting to go dark, and cold, and we realised we'd had a close call. By the time we'd got back to the car, it was properly dark, the temperature had plummeted, but the clear skies were shining with stars.
We got back to the hotel about 8 - a solid 12 hour day!


The resort :
you don't go to PS for the resort! it's very small, and winter is probably not their big season.
There are a couple of ski shops by the main lift, but it wasn't clear if or when these open. Most locals hired skis and boots from the handful of people with boxes of kit, or rented sleds.
The general ambience was of a faded, badly maintained and down at heel ex communist retreat.... so much as expected. There is a limited amount of 'cafe' action at the Hotel Kohak, but not what you'd call 'apres ski'.

Food :
There are a few dining options other than Hotel Scardus. We had lunch one day in Hotel Bora, which used to be the Mountain Tracks base. Pleasant local food. Nights out were at whichever of the local places was cooking, either Snow Patrol lodge (Shopsa salad followed by lovely 4-meat stew), or the Hotel Kohak (Shopsa salad followed by lamb), or in the army barracks restaurant (shops salad followed by fish...). on each occasion, the restaurants were open and cooking because we and other groups had booked - if you do this trip DIY, expect to book dinner a night in advance to ensure service!

Accommodation :
The hotel Scardus is 4 star....

this means they have an indoor pool (maybe 15m long), Turkish steam room (not working), 2 saunas (one worked), a 'fitness room' (carpeted garage with an array of equipment that possibly worked at some point....) it's really more of a weekend retreat for Skopjians who want to impress, and also hosts a few few 'conferences'. Rooms were functional, TV's and fridges, good wifi, but our shower leaked terribly and mgt not interested in fixing it so we had to keep borrowing towels from the service room. Not a major issue, but it's not really a western 'four star' place.
Breakfast got better as the week progressed - the local food (ham, cheese, peppers, aiva etc) being supplemented with cereals, fried eggs, pancakes one day. Coffee was 'instant' only, or about £1 for a decent cappucino from the bar. The tea from the urn was like paintstripper.
Dinner in the evening was lovely - our package meant we could pick from the menu, and 'steak scardus' (two decent fillets and a blob of cheese) was about £9. Good local wines were about £9.

Costs: Some idea of relative costs
Macdonian dinar is linked to the euro - we got £200 / 18000 at the airport in Skopje where there are several ATM's. Most big shops/taxis/restaurants will take euros too.
Beer - 80dn / £1
wine - 700dn / £9 -for a decent bottle of red.
coffee - 80dn in the hotel scardus
main course - anything from 400 - 1200dn

Skopje prices are bit higher, or a 'lot' higher if they think you're rich and give you a price in Euros. Fancy cafe's in the centre might be £6 for a nice pizza, and £3 for nice glass of wine. In Temov, the winebar near the hotel Koko where we stayed on our last night, they'll open a bottle from their extensive selection, and its about £3 a glass.


Conclusion: Overall comments
Difficult to summarise. If you're use to 'western' standards of organisation, cleanliness etc, it's probably not the trip for you. If you're prepared to 'go with the flow', don't mind cutting chunks of cheese off a shared piece, aren't a fussy eater, and are happy to learn a few words of the local language, you'll have a great time. Our last day in particular was special, and there is a lot to be said for taking a few risks. Having said that, our guide Klement was a godsend, and he made a huge impact on the enjoyment of the trip.
I'd love to go back when there's a bit more snow, and we'll probably go back to Macednia in the summer as the countryside is so beautiful.

Happy to answer questions!
snow report     



Derived from phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group & 2004-2013 snowHeads.com Terms and conditions  Privacy Policy