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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Resort: Les Menuires / Reberty 2000

Country: France

Domain: 3 vallees

Author: Frosty The Snowman

Date: 9-16th Jan 2005 (6 nights)

Our holiday: My family: Couple in Mid/ early 40s with 2 boys 10 & 11, Another couple late 40s with 2 girls 19 & 15

(Website : lesmenuires.com www.silverski.co.uk

Basics : In the Belleville Valley between St Martin de Belleville and Val Thorens. We flew into Lyon and Transfer was about 2.75 hours by Tour operator coach.

Lift system : Simply outstanding. The lifts in Les Menuires are state of the art. On top of this they are execeptionally well thought out. Links to Meribel and Val Thorens are swift and efficient

The terrain : Although much maligned for its looks. Les Menuires is a brilliant spot for a ski holiday. Great pistes, superb lifts. Sunny skiing in the morning on La Masse side of the valley and sunny all afternoon on the Les Menuires. This in contrast to Meribel that was always cold and dark in the afternoon. The masse side although intersected by the main road, has 2 ski bridges over the top, and a very clever lift system. Grooming is efficient and regular. Good spot to tour the 3 Valleys from. Must do's in The Belleville Valley are trip down to the delightful St Martin, Multiple runs down Jerusalem but taking a different path each time, and trip to the top of La Masse. Must say that Val Thorens didn't push the right buttons for us, but it was cold the day we went.

The snow : Snow was thin and patchy at the start and we then had 6 days of uninterupted sunshine. Huge differance in pisteconditions. Chapelet on the very far side of Corchevel 1650 was almost bare, despite huge efforts to scrape snow off piste to on by the pistenbullies. Jerusalem was VERY icey for large stretches with unmarked rocks poking several inches through. Right in the heart of Les Menuires however, L'Etele black run had excellent grippy snow throuout its length and was a real joy.

Off Piste Not our scene even if the snow had been fresh. For those that like it there is bucketfulls over on La Masse and lots of easier stuff above St Martin if required

The resort : Didn't venture much out of Reberty in the evening. Reberty is a free bus ride up the hill from Les Menuires and is a very atractive satellite village. If you want nightlife then forget it. We were on a chalet holiday and made our own fun indoors, and had a great time. Doorstep skiing, sunny disposition.

Food : La Ferme is pisteside in Reberty 2000. Excellent and good value lunch stop, and a great meal on the night off. Highly Recommended. La Grande Lac Restaurant at the bottom of thre Granges chair is an excellent mountain stop for both lunch and Chocolate Chaud

Accommodation : Silver Ski chalet Romeo (sleeps 19) and I shall post a more informal report elsewhere. Ski in/out, huge jacuzzi, 2 small saunas, fabulous food and attentive staff, smallish but functional bedrooms, lovely lounge - diner - kitchen are, nice balcony. Lots of floor tiles etc so quite noisey. Great staff and lovely fellow guests made for a memorable week. Silver Ski really are a first class company.

6 nights chalet board with free wine etc. £245 per person for a quad room with the kids, Manchester flights and transfers. 6am flight so 2.5 hrs skiing on the first day. Outstanding value.

Conclusion: Excellent resort if you aren't looking for Apres. Silver Ski superb as ever. I would return.

Les Menuires / Reberty 2000 Feedback Thread
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Resort: Soldeu
Country: Andorra
Domain: GrandValira
Website : GrandValira Website

Author: skisimon
Date: 19th December - 26th December 2005

Our holiday: Group of 7: our family of four plus next door neighbours' family of three. Three parents relatively new to skiing (Group 2 at ski school), one who has done downhill racing and was coached by an Austrian Olympic skier (and I had to keep up with aforementioned neighbour!). Myself (18, on-piste, all run skier), a stroppy girl (15, skiing in Group 2 with parents) and the next-door neighbours' son (11, parallel skiing by the end of the week).

Basics : Usually reached from either Toulouse or Barcelona airports (both usually well over 3hr transfers), it can also be accessed from Perpignan, no-where near as far. The advantage of Toulouse and Perpignan of course is that if your flight is at the right time, you might be able to fit in a good rugby match before returning home! Very Happy Andorra itself is used to having tourists (with over 18,000,000 per year compared to it's population of around 20,000 'natives' - the largest tourist:resident ratio in the world).

Lift system : Very good lift system - too extensive to go into great detail. Plenty of money splashed out on it over recent years. Gondola from Soldeu to the main plataux where the classes etc. meet. There's also a decrepid old two-man chair from the bottom - a great time saver if there's a queue for the gondola (which there usually isn't - very efficient at the bottom). There are very few pomas, with virtually everything serviced by chair lifts, the majority of which are detachable. One chair on the way over to Pas was very quick, but not detachable - instead of replacing this one (which looked in very good condition), they simply cranked up the pace and put a mini magic carpet (moving walkway) to reduce the impact speed! Very nifty. All in all, a quality lift system which makes Italian resorts look like they're in Siberia.

The terrain : Fairly well suited to most skiers. Perhaps a little limited if you're looking to film an out of this world stunt video, but not bad. A great variety of pisted runs and what appeared to be a good mix of easily accessible off-piste. I'm not however in a position to comment any further on off-piste possibilities (not doing much myself). Plenty of blues above Soldeu that the learners in the group had some great fun on and progressed well on. One of the blues then wound down the mountain, providing more adventurous learners a practice route down (as opposed to catching the gondola). Other alternative routes down included a couple of sprightly blacks and some fantastic reds - I'd certainly recommend 'Isard' as a must-do in Soldeu (virtually no-one on it!). As you move above the meeting area and away from it, a selection of 'tougher' blues provided some excellent terrain to progress onto for the learners, with the 11 year old in the children's classes making it onto some decent reds by the end of the week. For myself and my madman neighbour, we had great fun eating up the kilometres at a considerable speed on the numerous reds around the GrandValira area. We also managed to get in a good number of fun blacks, which were in places a bit icy (as demonstrated when we skied past a number of people on one - having watched them fall from the chair lift as we decided which route to take down - our whole chair gave it a go!). There were plenty of reds and blacks available to us, and there were very few runs closed (see 'the snow' below), but those that were closed were mainly blacks. Following the advice of DM Ski & Snowboard Magazine, I made sure to ski down 'Mirador' above Grau Roig as we spent the morning skiing over to Pas. A fantastic run, not particularly challenging, but bliss none-the-less. Taking everything into account, a good, varied selection of runs in the GrandValira's 190+kms.

The snow : Despite being the resorts first fully open week of the season, running into Christmas, the snow conditions were exemplary. The snow-cannons went on well into the morning and the piste bashers did an excellent job distributing the available snow into the right places. A few runs were closed, but those that were open were a joy to ski due to the quality of snow cover. There was even enough to go off-piste in certain areas. A couple of areas were slightly icy (at random, odd times of day though Confused ). Overall, good, early season conditions, with only a small number of steep/exposed slopes closed.

Off-piste : I can't really comment as I'm not really into off-piste. Although what I did do (under a chair-lift looking for the glove I dropped Embarassed ) was quite good - for me at least...

The resort : A pleasant village/resort centre. Stretched out along one main road it is barely more than 300m long. There are a couple of short roads behind the main hotels etc. which contain very little - a few reasonable restaurants, but virtually everything you'd want is on the main road. The buildings are mostly very tasteful - lots of stone and wood (with very little pre-pack looking buildings). In the resort there are endless shops from which to buy skiing goods - at reasonable prices (but don't be fooled, there not 'bargains' as such). A small 'corner' shop sold all the things you might need - water and chocolate etc. There are plenty of restaurants (including an Indian and a Chinese!), an internet cafe and a good selection of bars (I'd highly recommend Fat Alberts'). Oh yes, there is also a health spa for the ladies to be pampered in!

Food : In the resort, I'd definitely recommend Fat Alberts' (yes it has a restaurant too). They have very friendly staff (mostly British, with a Belgian thrown in for good measure - Flemish to be exact). We had our Christmas Day meal there and it was gorgeous - I need say no more. On the slopes, most of the eateries are the same group. There are plenty of them mind, so wherever you fancy a bite to eat, you can probably get it. They do simple things like hot dogs and snacks. A beer and a hot dog came to around €5. At the top of the Gondola there is also somewhere you can get nice burgers etc. At the base of the gondola in Soldeu there is a great restaurant which does nice curries, pizzas, toasties etc. I can't remember the name of the place, but it had two huge decked areas which you can easily see from the gondola. The food in the hotel was fab also (see below). To rate the food in resort, I'd have to say 9 or 10 out of 10.

Accommodation : We stayed in the Sport Hotel which was just over the road from the gondola (the Sport Village - one of the other hotels - is the base station for the gondola). As the Sport hotels are owned by Ski Calbo (who own/run virtually everything in resort) we got lockers too, which meant we only had to walk about 20m in boots etc. as opposed to 40m! The hotel was very nice - being Christmas it was festively decorated, and almost everyone upon entering havin disembarked the transfer coach commented on how lovely it looked. The staff were very helpful, and our waiter at dinner time was very friendly and efficient (and apparantly made an excellent wine recommendation!). The food at breakfast and dinner was of a good variety, and good quality. Three soups to chose from for starters (along with other 'stuff') which were generally warming and tasty. There was plenty of fish (local favourite) and pasta (as you'd expect) and it was all very nice. Breakfast was good too, with the chef cooking the eggs and bacon to order. The hotel really spoiled us on Christmas Eve, with a great 'party', apperitifs, and a lovely meal with bubbly flowing (Cava of course! wink ). The rooms were spacious and with good facilities (ours was a little limited for head-height - and I'm a shortie - as we were in a loft type room). The only problem with the hotel was the one lift's insistance on breaking down frequently.

Costs: Not the cheap haven that some people make it out to be. However, it is still reasonably priced and is certainly cheaper than many French resorts. A slope-side lunch of a beer and a hot-dog will come to about €5, not too bad. If you want a beer with a burger and fries, expect to pay a bit more (probably around €6-7). Resort costs weren't too bad either, and it was good value for most drinks being a duty-free country, although the cheap prices found in the shops weren't always so visible in the bars. I bought a lovely Volkl jacket for €300 (about £200), which was perhaps only on a par or slightly less than I'd expect to pay here. Not cheap, but for a skiing holiday in a pleasant, developed area, quite good value.

Conclusion: Fantastic - I'd highly recommend it to virtually anybody. Terrain for almost all, and a good mixture of quiet and fun nightlife to chose from. Only die hard party-animals of St Anton proportions would think it tame.

9/10

Soldeu Feedback Thread
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Resort: Val Cenis (Lanslevillard)

Country: France, Maurienne Valley

Domain: Val Cenis (including resort of Termignon-la-Vanoise)

Author: agavin

Date: 28th-30th Jan 2006

Our holiday: A long weekend break for four as warm-up for a week booked a few weeks later. Desire was to maximise time skiing and avoid paying the same for a long weekend as for a week which can very easily happen. Hence resort was chosen based on a combination of factors including 2 hour proximity to budget airline served centre, convenient flight times to maximise slope time, cheap lift pass (i.e. smaller area) and budget accommodation that would permit a weekend only. Mr and Mrs agavin (with about 7+ weeks skiing) went with 2 boarder friends, one of whom had done a season in the States.

Website : www.valcenis.fr (Good links to everything you need to know and panoramic webcam of middle mountain station - but apparently no update on weather or current conditions?)

Basics : The resort of Val Cenis consists of 2 villages (Lanslevillard and Lanslebourg) about 1km apart in the Maurienne Valley on the Italian border. We accessed this by flying to Turin with ryanair and driving there. In theory, it is 105km on the motorway from Turin through the Frejus tunnel with a further 23km from Modane up the valley. We took 6 hours due to heavy snowfall and sections of the motorway being closed - unfortunately the snow falling in Italy did not translate to loads of snow across the border in our resort! Total tolls paid were in the region of £40 - make sure that you buy a return ticket for the Frejus tunnel if returning within 7 days which is only fractionally more than the single.

Lift system : The main lift system rises out of the 2nd village Lanslevillard at a Gondola station taking one from 1400m to 2100m from where a variety of routes can be selected down or a further chair ridden up to 2500m from where a final chair can be taken to reach the top station at 2800m. From resort level in Lanslevillard, there are also 2 additional chairs and one of the shortest gondolas I have ever ridden. From Lanslebourg, there are 2 chairs, one going only high enough to permit the link back to Lanslevillard, and another going up significantly higher. None of the chairs are particularly fast, and unfortunately none with Perspex bubbles which would have been desirable given the head wind carrying blown snow off the peaks. A few drags exist, but these can probably be avoided totally, although one mid-mountain drag was doing a good job of lifting one off your feet with a jerk when the slack was eventually taken in - not pleasant! Almost no queues, with the busiest time probably being after lunch on the Sunday with the day-trippers, but even then it was a case of only having to wait a few chairs/cars.

The terrain : In total there is 80km of piste. The majority of pistes would suit beginners and intermediates with lots of greens, blues and easy reds. It is important to note that the piste network bisects the road over the col du mont cenis into Italy that in winter becomes a green/blue piste and it tends to intersect most pistes as it zigzags its way down the mountain. It is also worthwhile pointing out that there are not very many distinct pistes in their own right. There are various pistes that are no more than a few hundred meter diversion before rejoining the main piste. There is a mixture of skiing both above and below the tree line, and a fun park on the lower slopes with a few jumps. Due to snow conditions, I cannot comment on the off-piste nor some of the runs at the top. The best runs are probably the 2 reds to the left of the chair accessed from the main mid-mountain station and possibly the red down to Lanslebourg.

The snow : The snow was not good. Despite it dumping (and having dumped just over in Italy for a few days), and being overcast, the pistes were in desperate need of snow. At altitude, there was a high wind blowing that had denuded all windward runs of snow, and deposited them on the lower / leeward side slopes. Lower down the mountain, some of the steeper sections were showing grass and stones in places. The slopes served by artificial snow were OK, if a little bit icy.

Off-piste : The boarders managed to find little bits of powder off-piste (blown off the top slopes!), but conditions were not great, and if the wind was any indication of prevailing trends, then I imagine the avalanche warning level would be consistently reasonably high?

The resort : We stayed in Lanslevillard, so cannot comment about Lanslebourg, other than that driving through it, it seemed small and pleasant. Lanslevillard is small and relatively unspoiled by commercialism. The locals seemed very friendly and keen to help in spite of the lack of French spoken by us. It is quite pretty with a small river running through it and a few stone bridges and an old church.

Food : We were on full board, but ventured out into a rifuge for lunch on the 2nd day. It appears that there are only 2 restaurants up the mountain. Food was good, but the menu simple and not very extensive. I imagine the larger restaurant at the top of the main gondola would have more of an offering, but would not be half as rustic as the one we tried. There are a few places for drinks spread out along the bottom of the slopes. Tried the creperie at the bottom of the main gondola which seemed to have a nice variety of crepes.

Accommodation : As originally stated, we were on a mission to minimise cost, so ended up booking into the Youth Hostel which is about 200m from the main gondola station. We shared a bunk room which was warm and clean, and the food was very good. On the 1st day, we went back for lunch and were served an excellent steak! They charged us 50 euros per day for full board (picnic for lunch option) and lift pass.

Costs: In total, including flights, car-hire, ski-carriage, tolls, petrol and accommodation and meals (we elected not to go back for lunch the 2nd day and kept the picnic for dinner), we were able to do this at £200 per head for 2 full days skiing.

Conclusion: We achieved our goal of a good value long weekend. Any longer and we would probably have been bored. If the snow conditions were better, I imagine that 3 days would be a good length of time (excluding any off-piste). Add another day for a trip to Termignon to try those slopes and it may be possible to stretch it to a week. Definitely a pretty and unspoiled resort, and with plans to lift link to Termignon taking the total lift-linked piste to 120km, there is a lot of potential for the future.

Val Cenis Feedback Thread
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You need to Login to know who's really who.
Resort: Saas Fee
Country: Switzerland
Domain: Sass Valley
Author: Steve Wright
Date: 22/01/06-29/01/06
Our holiday: Competent Skiier, non skiing wife and 4 3/4 year old first time skiing daughter
Website : http://www.saas-fee.ch/en
Basics : Where it is and how you got there
Lift system : Some really good big lifts let down by lots of boring and very cold T-bars. Bottom to top time on Alpin Express / Metro Alpin 35-40 mins no queues. When we were there it was one of the quietest resorts I ever been to never, repeat never queued, even for funicular, maybe some waiting time for it and the cable cars to fill up. Skiied Plattjen many times on my own
The terrain : Huge vertical in main mountain (1800), mainly easy blues / red at top once past middle station far more challenging. Have to say got a little board after the third day, but on the 5th it started snowing and the terrain became more interesting and varied.
The snow : First day rock hard pack and windblown not pleasant to ski on. End of the day walked past a Intersport shop selling last seasons B2's at 30% off. Bought a pair - next day snow was better as less wind blown and new ski's transformed my skiing. Skiied with TO guide on 2 monrings and SCGB lady on 2 mornings. Some of the runs had rocks and stuff showing through, 11a red from Speilboden unpleasant most of week (black above it was great as hardly used) but better than Plattjen red at end of the day when hard pack all week - even after snow - bottom black brilliant most of the time as had snow cannons on all the time. Started snowing on Friday conditions much better nice to try B2's on soft snow. Did the top of the funicluar Friday pm - big mistake could hardly see anything, made way down quickly. saturday morning must have been one of first off Plattjen. Awesome, did 2 runs then tried Spielboden better but still not brill. Alpin Express only open to mid station in morning then shut. After lunch did Speilboden and Langfluh .. black was brilliant. Harldy anybody around. Hannah skiied in nursery garden all week and was really happy could do "pizzas" (snowploughs) by end of week, stop and turn. But she wouldn't ski with Daddy on the Saturday, wanted to play with her friends in the snow club
Off-piste : None "open" to little snow cover
The resort : Incredibly pretty .. Jane and Hannah found enough to do, the town pool was great according to Jane
Food : Ate every lunchtime in the village (prime motivation for going, top - bottom 20mins for me) ate at the revolving resturant one day - lift ticket for Jane cost as much as food - but having said that food was very good value all things considered.
Accommodation : Ski Esprit - Annahof, would have said the best chalet hotel ever stopped in if the basement hadn't been a buidling site for the incomplete leisure facilities .. indeed some of the work practices of the builders left a lot to be desired considering the number of young children around. Having said that food was OK but maybe too much attention to presentation over taste / cooking time. Snow club and staff / kid ratio for everything was great. This was a test of whether I would risk going with some one like Ski Esprit with just me and Hannah next year and I think the answers yes (Jane's a committed non skier).
Costs: All in arrgh how am I goign to afford St Anton in March? Beer / food prices better than expected.
Conclusion: Not some where I'd choose to go for myself, but fitted the bill for family holiday and skiing in truth was better than I expected. Didn't get to Zermatt as I would have liked (Kramer etc thanks for all the advice) - felt I needed to be local to family. As I'm having another this year it'll do! Very Happy

Saas Fee Feedback Thread
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Resort: Morzine
Country: France
Domain: Portes du Soleil
Author: Erica2004
Date: 4th - 11th February 2006
Our holiday: Intermediate skiers, the wrong side of 40.
Website : www.morzine-avoriaz.com
Basics : We travelled with Inghams, charter from Exeter to Geneva. 1.5hr coach transfer to Morzine.
Lift system : Huge lift system, slow chairs. 2 bubbles out of Morzine - 1 to the Morzine/Les Gets area, the other to Avoriaz(and beyond). You can ride 'le petit train' between the bubbles, otherwise 10min walk. The train is like something Noddy would drive.
The terrain : Miles of easy blues and reds. Mont Chery (across the road in Les Gets) has a great terrain park. Really great facilities for beginners in Les Gets and Morzine.
The snow : It hadn't snowed for a couple of weeks. It did snow whilst we were there, but the pistes were quite packed. The weather was great and we enjoyed the skiing. We skied all the reds/blues in Morzine, Avoriaz, Les Gets, Mont Chery, and did a bit in Switzerland. We set off from Morzine in the sun and arrived at the top of Avoriaz in a blizzard !!
Off-piste : Snow conditions weren't good enough, but there looked to be a lot to do.
The resort : I thought Morzine was a bit tired looking. However, this seems to be a French thing. Why can't they pick up rubbish and de-ice the pavements? The Austrians do.
Food : Point de Nyon restaurant on the mountains has to be the best eating place we tried. I had a great mushroom risotto and my other half had the best beef bourgignone ever. We did eat out every night in Morzine and had great meals wherever we went. There's a small place called 'La Flamme' near the Super Morzine bubble that I liked, and one in the main street - can't remember the name, but has a fire burning outside the door. But, you need to book.
Accommodation : Les Champs Fleuris - ghastly food, ghastly room.
b]Costs[/b]: £800.00 each.
Conclusion: Great resort to learn to ski and take the family.Great intermediate terrain. I would go back again but would stay in Les Gets or on the Swiss side. I would opt for self catering because the restaurants were great, and I couldn't find a better hotel than the one we stayed in. And you needn't worry about feeding the kids, because every restaurant we visited made wonderful, fresh pizzas.

Morzine Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Resort: PIla
Country: Italy
Domain: none
Author: Shane45

Date: 5th Feb 2006
Our holiday: Wife & myself both attended ski school both relative newbies.
Website : www.pila.it
Basics : Aosta Valley in the Alps, fly into Turin than approx 2hr transfer.
lift system : One cable car 75 capacity, various 3/4/6 man chair lifts only one button thats is on nursery slope.
No direct link to other resorts, you need a hire car or multiple bus trip to reach other resorts nearby.
The terrain : Approx. 60km of piste, 80% reds at a guess, 3 blacks, several long blues
The snow : No snow for several weeks before we arrived, was told that the snow was all man made, held up well in the mornings, but afternoon after the top was worn off difficult for beginners. All the blacks were closed and several reds due to lack of snow cover.
Off-piste : Unable to comment on off piste.
The resort : Very quiet, only a few bars & restaurants. Lots of locals ski at the weekends. 'Commercial centre' practically deserted, no shops to speak of. Must be difficult if you are self catering, one small supermarket.
Food : Hermitage was a popular mountain restaurant, has a self service type canteen good value.
Accommodation : We stayed at the Chalet Des Alpes, 27 room family run hotel. Very clean and comfortable. Food excellent. Good position ski down to Chamole chair lift & ski home.
Costs: Approx. £500 per person for hotel & flight.
Conclusion: Nice quiet resort, no queues during the week, much busier at weekend. However unlikely to return as only 6okm piste when all open, we could as novices ski every run in less than a day. Good views of Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn. Would make a good family resort, prices very reasonable to eat & drink. But if you are not skiing then there is nothing else, unless you want to visit Aosta town which you can get to via the cable car, without a lift pass this is 6 euros each way.

Pila Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Resort: Morzine
Country: France
Domain: Portes du Soleil
Website : Morzine Website, Morzine-Avoriaz Website, Portes du Soleil Website

Author: skisimon
Date: 11th February - 18th February 2006

Our holiday: Just me this time, last minute deal for half-term (a late 18th birthday present). I'm a competent skier who'll ski virtually anything on-piste. Due to my (previous) dislike of off-piste and desire to do some racing, I decided to sign up for the ESF's 'competition course' which was very good - moguls, racing and off-piste all covered.
Basics : One of the shortest transfers around at only 1.5 hours, although, due to holiday traffic this became more like 2 hours on the way in, and on the way back, holiday traffic and huge amounts of snow conspired to make it more like 2.25 hours (still very good).

Lift system : Much as it (sort of) pains me to say it, I'd have to say that its pants! I say that it pains me to say it, and that's because I didn't have to use a drag-lift all week! So good right? No! Plenty of chair-lifts, but they are virtually all bum-numbingly slow with only a limited number of detachables to make up. However, the system is well set out and linking between areas of the resort is the proverbial piece of cake. Also, surprisingly for half-term week there were few queues worth mentioning, although trying to get up the mountain in the first place took a lot of patience, with the queue for the main (Pleney) bubble being awful. Overall, quite poor, but being well laid out is its saving grace. There is also a bubble giving easy access to Avoriaz (which you can also reach by bus), from whence you can easily drop into Switzerland or Chatel (worth a visit).

The terrain : Well, firstly let's point out that Morzine is in the Portes du Soleil, the largest, linked skiing area in the world - so it's got virtually anything you might want. In Morzine alone there is a good selection of simple blues, exciting reds and varied blacks. There are some good mogul-fields that I was introduced to by the ESF instructor as part of the competition course, and I got a little hooked! There are also a couple of good steeps to be had, one starting virtually from the Pleney lift. The reds are quite varied and can be challenging. The blues became slightly crowded and a bit icy by the afternoon (when I started using them to get to the chalet). Perhaps the best run I found was on the Les Gets side of the area, which was a fantastic red called Meleze which was fantastic fun to bomb down without stopping (three times in a row!) - everyone stayed over to the left of the wide run, leaving the right side open for a few of us to hurtle down! Plenty to do just in the Morzine/Les Gets area, but almost infinite possibilities if you want to explore Avoriaz and beyond. (I'd avoid the Swiss side though, in Morgins there was more snow in the cafe than on the runs!).

The snow : Snow was pretty good all week. Lovely conditions at the beginning of the week after the sprinking of snow the week before, however the heavily used blue down at the bottom got a bit icy late in the day. From Wednesday onwards it was a virtually non-stop snow-storm (it rained a bit at resort level though, but everything higher was snow). Almost no-one ventured out on the Thursday, leaving the runs up at the top as good imitations of off-piste! Inches of untouched powder on usually busy runs. All of the snow made it a little more intersting ( rolling eyes ) and a little bit hard going. However, the off-piste, which our host told us was good at the time anyway, entered the realms of fantasy (provided you were willing to risk the avalanches!). Even on some off-piste close to the main runs which the instructor showed us, we were constantly in shin deep powder (at one point I hit a pile that went up to my waist!).

Off-piste : Having now seen the light, courtesy of some fantastic snow and an ESF instructor, I can now comment on the off-piste - due to the snow late in the week, it became superb, and throughout the Portes du Soleil there is plenty of it. To be honest, there isn't all that much in Morzine/Les Gets themselves, being mostly tree-lined, but some sections, particularly higher up were pretty good, and easily accessible.

The resort : A nice small town. Not a village, but a living town, so even if there is little snow, you can find something to be doing. Not an 'alpine charm' resort, but certainly quite easy on the eye for the most part. Most of the shops and restaurants are in the main centre, but there are a few bars (including the Dixie Bar - worth a visit, I watched the rugby there, meeting a fellow rugby referee as it happens!) which are also together, but just a short walk away from the rest. There is plenty going on near to the bottom of the Pleney lift, and there are a couple of 'supermarkets' if you need something.

Food : Staying in a chalet, I didn't eat all that much out. For lunch on my first day's skiing I ate at Les Mouilles at the top of the chairlift which departs from next to the Pleney bubble. Not the best food, reasonable enough though, slow service (and I was there before it got particularly busy). The price was pretty good though for a slope side restaurant in France! About €12 for sausages, chips and a can of diet coke. From then on however (as in everyday!) I ate at the Burger Place at the bottom of the Pleney lift just on the edge of the main centre. This was on our chalet host's recommendation (a very good one at that). A cheeseburger, chips and diet coke came to €8.70; a double-cheeseburger, chips and diet coke was about €10 and a royal-burger, chips and diet coke was about €9. The burgers were lovely, the service very good and the price very reasonable. Opposite the burger place was a creperie stall which did quick, cheap and tasty crepes served by a friendly woman (I presume the proprietor). I had these crepes as well on a couple of days... Blush On the chalet host's day off I joined some others from the chalet for a pizza which was very nice, and again well priced for a ski resort (again about €10), however they insisted on paying (thankyou Greg/Tim if you're snowHead !).

Accommodation : Last minute deal booked through Ski-Oasis for the Crystal's Chalet Coralie. Basic is probably the best way to put it, but that somehow does it a dis-service. It was comfortable and warm, and there were balconies aplenty. It was a 'shared facilities' chalet, but there were more than enough to prevent queuing fot the shower! (Oh yes, and there was a sauna). Thanks to Rob, our host who was forever giving great advice and generally being useful. Good food too. The location was fairly good too, a short walk to the Pleney lift (and very little further for the lift to Avoriaz), and you could ski virtually back to the door, with a snow covered 'slope' dropping down from the blue used as a return route, directly opposite the chalet.

Costs: Pretty good actually. A 'full' lunch for under €10, if you eat lighter, you could get a top-of-the-range crepe for under €5. A good pizza dinner could be got for under €15 including drink, and I suspect little more for something more substantial. A pint came in at €5 in the Dixie Bar, and that was about the norm around the resort. Other things came in at good prices too (memorabilia etc.). Definitely a good value resort - at least as far as ski resorts go anyway! For the holiday itself, I paid the measly sum of £480 (for half-term week!), but as I say, it was a last minute deal, for the same details, booked well in advance (half-term, single room), it would have been just under £900 - not so great value. The lift pass is fairly good value given the massive 650kms it covers and the ski school wasn't too bad either.

Conclusion: Overall, a great resort. Some fantastic skiing, good apres-ski activities (not just drinking), excellent value if you desperatly want France and a good feel.

8/10

Morzine Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Resort: Meribel
Country: France
Domain: 3 vallees
Author: Paul-B

Date: 11-18 Feb 2006
Our holiday: Large group of 5 families consisting of 5 beginners, 5 improvers, up to some folk with 10 week's experience
Website : www.meribel-alpina.com
Basics : We flew Gatwick to Chambrey, early Sat, 1.5 hour transfer, and were on the slopes by the afternoon
Lift system : Impressive. Much has already been said about the lifts in the 3V. Some queuing at peak times mid morning and afternoon. Generally free of queues at lunchtimes and during bad weather. New hands free lift pass system works very well, but we had a very damp day and some had problems when their passes got wet and needed to be replaced.
The terrain : All runs funnel into the Chaudanne which makes traversing out of Meribel difficult if the upper lifts are closed due to high winds. Some linking runs to Mottaret are a bit flat for boarders, but generally there is sufficient scope for most skiers without needing to go out of valley. Most bought 3 valley passes but were not able to make the most use because of adverse weather. Excellent snow park in Mottaret under the Plattieres gondola.
The snow : For the time of year, conditions were very poor. The beginner slopes were surprisingly good at the start of the week despite no large snow falls for nearly a month. It was noticeably better on the runs with snow making. When it snowed mid week it was accompanied by a huge rise in temperature which caused melting at resort level, which graudually improved on the last 2 days as the temperature fell again - though we had hight winds which closed the upper lifts. Runs back to parts of the resort were closed.
Off-piste : Simply not enough snow most of the week for off piste. Later in the week high avalanche danger. In a good season there would be plenty of scope.
The resort : Pretty, services generally available and convenient. The free shuttle bus service was reliable but crowded at peak times - on one occasion we waited for the third bus before being able to get on.
Food : Catered chalet. Prices in bars and restaurants generally very high. No specific recommendations.
Accommodation : Skiworld catered chalet. Food was excellent, service in general good. Bit cramped in shared areas for the whole party of 23.
Costs: Approx £850 plus lift pass (€210 for 3V) & ski hire (€100 approx). Expensive but reflects the resort and peak week, and early booking due to exclusive takeover.
Conclusion: Great holiday despite poor conditions, organised and pretty, if busy, resort.

Meribel Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Resort: Zell am See

Country: Austria

Domain: Europasportregion

Author: Elizabeth B

Date: Feb 2006

Our holiday: I went with a school trip which consisted of around 30 13-16 yr olds. The ski school at Arietbahn were really good.

Website : www.zellamsee.at or www.europasportregion.info

Basics : Zell am See is 80km from Salzburg, and can also be reached easily from Munich. It has a train station in the centre of town. We travelled by coach, and it took around 16 hours from Calais.

Lift system : The main uplifts into the Zell area are either cable cars or godolas. Despite going at a busy time, lift queues for the gondolas were well managed, and each cabin went up full. The cable car up to Schmittenhohn is a long ride, and had the longest queues. Once up the mountain, there are a couple of T-bars, but mainly chairlifts. At the Kitzsteinhorn, there are more draglifts, due to it being a glacier, but these can be avoided by taking a cable car up to the top.

The terrain : The ski area is split into three sections that aren't lift linked. The main Zell area, Kaprun and the Kitzsteinhorn glacier. On this trip, I only skied the main Zell area, but have previously skied at the glacier. Most of the skiing is intermediate, but there a couple of good black runs...no 14 being a good one that maintains a reasonable pitch for the descent.

The snow : We had great conditions, with fresh snow before we arrived. Part way through the week it snowed again, keeping the pistes fresh.

Off-piste : Because I was with a group of kids, I didn't explore the off piste opportunities. I suspect that they are't too great, but may be wrong.

The resort : Zell am See is a town that has plenty of character. It is a year round resort, with much of it's business in the summer, so is well suited for non-skiers. There are a range of shops, good sports centre (swimming/sauna/ice rink), cinema and plenty of places to eat. There is also the opportunity to go walking on the lake when it is frozen.

Food : Other than the hotel, the only place we ate was the ArietAlm mountain restaurant. Was happy with this place, and they had a picnic area (outside).

Accommodation : We stayed at Club Kitzsteinhorn which is purpose built youth accommodation. If you ever need to book for a group of teenagers, then this is the place! It is a couple of minutes walk from the Arietbahn lift, and has all the faciities (and more) that you could ever want. There is a full sized sports hall, squash court, pool & table tennis room, bowling alley, disco room, cinema and pizzeria on site - most of which are free to use. In the summer they have a swimming pool, climbing wall and volleyball court outside. The owners are friendly, and the place is geared up for kids. Would recommend it to anyone running a school/youth trip.

Costs: A plate of chips on the mountain was €3. A bottle of coke in the hotel was €2.

Conclusion: Loved Zell. Had previously been in the summer, and enjoyed the experience. It was nice to go back in winter. A great family resort with tree-line skiing and beautiful scenery.

Zell am See Report Feedback Thread
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Resort: La Rosiere
Country: France
Domain: Espace San Bernado

Author: Frosty The Snowman

Date: 19-26 Feb 06

Our holiday: 9 Adults , 9 kids all between 8-11 yrs old, 1 child has cerebral palsy

Website : http://www.larosiere.net/uk/
http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/La-Rosiere.0to3bot.shtml
http://www.evolution2.com/rosiere/gb/default.asp
http://www.skiolympic.co.uk

Basics : On the French side of the Italian border. In the Tarentaise Valley on the opposite side to Les Arcs 2000. We flew into Lyon with a 2.75 hr transfer. Touchdown to coach departure-55mins.

Lift system : 2 new high speed chairs have helped to drag the resort into the 21st century. Why they did not install a cover on the main Roche Noire chair is a mystery as a cold in your face wind is often present. A fairly long drag links into the Col du Petite San Bernard area where there are some excellent covered chairs and some superb skiing. The resort would really benefit from another high speed covered chair up to the Fort as this is widely used and can become monotonous. The area used to be dominated by drag lifts but these can now be avoided if you require. The La Thuile system is perfectly adequate with all the main lifts being high speed chairs, with the exception of a gondola.

The terrain : Most of the runs in La Rosiere are on one side of the mountain with a fairly constant pitch and are nearly all fairly easy reds. All are fairly interesting but my favourite is Blanchot which is always deserted but offers great bends and contours. The main fault with this side of the mountain is that the Choucas piste, which is the main returning piste from the Italian side. Choucas crosses 8 other pistes and a drag lift and unless you are careful can result in collisions.

Green pistes are handy for the learners at resort level and there is a lovely easy fun run called Le Foret in and through trees.

The 2 main lifts are well placed for the 2 main blue runs: Tetras runs from the top of the Roche Noire chair back down to La Rosiere and is an excellent first run of the day confidence builder. 5 Piste go from the top of the Roche Noire with the Chevreuil black being the trickiest with a steep mogul section at the top. Another lovely blue, Gelinotte, runs from the top of Les Eucherts Express back down to the Hamlet of Les Eucherts.

The jewel in the crown of the La Rosiere side are the 2 runs that end up at the lowest point of the resort. Marmottes runs from the Roche Noire top down to the Petite Bois and drops about 800 metres down a very nice red. The run from the Roche Noire top down to the slow Ecudets chair is about 1150metres and can be done by either black or red in the mid section. The Fontaine Froid red is one of the nicest runs I have ever done. All though trees, it bends through various pitches and fun curves, an absolute cracker wither a lovely drink stop at the bottom to prepare you for the slow chair up. Great fun can be had on "Foret" through the trees back to resort, and you just try getting the kids OUT of the snowpark. Superb skiing for the better intermediate off both the lift in the Col, and some stonking blacks through the trees down into La Thuile. Black 5 and red 6 being my favourite way down.


The snow : For 4 days before we arrived the whole domain had heavy snowfalls. On our first morning we had brilliant sunshine. The snow was magnificent but the off piste was a bit battered in La Rosiere by stong winds and warm temps on the first day. Higher up in the more secluded Col area even I managed a little of piste and the snow was simply fantastic. The pistes were in magnificent condition apart from the at the end of the 4th day (of consecutive sunshine) & 5th day (strong winds and poor viz), where theybec\me a little hard packed in places. The right conditions and some good grooming saw them perfect again on the 6th and last day.

Off-piste : There are loads of off piste opportunities in the domain. The hardest and the easiest are in the Col area where the easy stuff that our party did was moth convenient and safe. La Rosiere is very lucky with avalanche danger, but the Col is first to close when the risk is high. No need to say where the off piste is, just go there and look to the side of the piste. Our party had loads of fun messing about in this area, but if you want the serious stuff then hire a guide. Heliskiing is available but the one in our party that fancied it was having too much fun without the whirlybird. Strong winds and highish temps had left lots of snow off-piste back in La Rosiere but it had wind blown crust on the top and was not pleasant.

Ski School Evolution2 We had experience of David last yr and booked him again this. I will say no more than all the kids loved him, looked forward to lessons, and they all improved dramatically. We gave him 8 kids of varying abilities for 2.5hrs each morning. The cost was €100 per child. After the first morning he suggested splitting them into 2 groups of 4, with one better than the other. He then alternated the groups for 2 days each and then took them all again on the last day.

The resort : The village itself is fairly basic, If weather was atrocious and all was closed then there is little to do. What it does have is a wonderful setting, on a ledge of a bend in the Tarentaise valley. The views are spectacular. The local workers have to be the friendliest I have ever met whilst skiing facilities, whether it be instructor or bus driver. We had with a boy with Cerebral Palsy and he can ski as long as he is held from behin=d bu a strong skier. This worked amazingly well. One day he “hit the wall” and arrived at the “off” bus stop with his mum just as the bus arrived. The driver motioned for them to walk 50 metres to the “on” stop, When mum srated to walk to the stop he saw that the boy was tired and stopped the bus, jumped out of his se3at and helped them on to the bus, seeing them to a seat before continuing. This type of attitude was reflected throughout resort. There is a nice selection of good eating houses but Apres does not seem lively. One of its great plus points, and why we chose to return is the quietness of the slopes. Perfect for those with families who don’t want to live with the fear of collision all day. 9 adults, 9 kids, and not one collision. Larosiere is also quite an attractive village.

Food : In La Rosiere there are 2 mountain eateries, Traversette, and Plan de Repos, both of fairly good value and very good grub. At the base of the slopes in LR there is McKinley’s (formerly Le Petite Relais) and One next door (?) both again have similar food. Best food IMHO is L’Ancolie which is a short walk from the base of Les Eucherts chair. Great grub and a lovely terrace. In the Col, Roxi's ( a little unorganised) and The San Bernado Bar (soup & pannini) are both great value. Lo Riendet on piste 7 is supposed to be excellent but we never made it. Top o’ the pops however is Le Rascard which is in La Thuile which serves the best pizza in the world (7 pages of pizza). Can be tricky to find but worth the effort. Lunch for 10 inc drinks €130. O superb little Italian Restaurant.

On our chalet staff night off we ate at Le Petite Danois in LR. Again very good value €8-10 for a dish or pizza.

Accommodation : Chalet Quatre Saison with www.skiolympic.co.uk. First stop on the ski bus so always empty. Lovely chalet, a little dated in place but a very authentic feel about 80 metres to the bus stop. Bus every 15 mins, Very punctual. The best staff and food we have ever had. This is praise indeed as we have had some wonderful staff & nosh. Charming, friendly, helpful, and all superb at their jobs. Danny a qualified chef gave us some wonderful 3 course meals. These were NOT your bog standard Spag Bol but quailty meals, wonderfully cooked by an experienced chef.

Costs: £494 per person including flights and transfers. Full chalet booking included shared room discounts, and erly booking discounts

Conclusion: All 18 agreed that this was our best ski jolly ever. Everything was in our favour: The right resort, the weather, the chalet and staff, the ski school, the tourists. La Rosiere is not without its faults, but for a family holiday it can be simply magnificent.

La Rosiere Feedback Thread


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Tue 9-05-06 9:58; edited 1 time in total
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Resort: Alta, UT
Country: USA
Domain: Alta/Snowbird
Author: David Murdoch
Date: 25/2/06, 27/2/06, 1/3/06
Our holiday: Had a 7 ski day trip to Utah, based in Salt Lake City and Park City. 5-8 of us (varying) all good recreational skiers.
Website : Alta
Basics : Middle of the Rockies, daft transfer through Houston, TX. There are many routes to choose from though. Better suggestions include transferring through San Francisco or Newark.
Lift system : Chairs exclusively, not many in number but in US fashion serving many runs off each. Greeley bowl is a fresh track paradise, anything off "Supreme" is interesting. Be aware that there aren't any chairlift bars. I.e. Safety bars. In high winds in can get quite disturbing.
The terrain : Alta is not your typical one size fits everyone resort. Snowboarders are banned and the entire area is "in bounds". Closest EU analogy is the Grands Montets I think. Lots of steep, powder filled, tree lined, tree filled, "off" piste. We spent two days having an absolute ball there. The entrance to some of the chutes is a little interesting in cases.
The snow : Not classic Utah powder, we did have a minor storm Tuesday but only blessed us with about 6-10" of fresh. Still very nice though. What was very interesting was that even in mild temperatures compared to Europe. the snow is very soft and dry.
Off-piste : Off piste is amazing. Everything is considered in bounds so you can ski off piste on the "open" runs to your hearts content. The splendid ski patrol "open" the off piste as though it's a piste so you know you are "relatively" safe.
The resort : There are two rental shops, a couple of hotels and a couple of bars. I mean, you're there to ski aren't you?
Food : See above.
Accommodation : We stayed in Salt Lake City and Park City. There wasn't a very big difference in transit times so I'd recommend Park City as more fun.
Costs: $80 for lunch for 5 hungry adults. (We'd spent 6 hours tracking fresh powder).
Conclusion: Why did I come home? Not for pussies.

Alta Resort Report Feedback Thread


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Tue 7-03-06 23:05; edited 1 time in total
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Resort: Solitude, UT
Country: USA
Domain: Solitude/Brighton
Author: David Murdoch
Date: 26/2/06, 2/3/06
Our holiday: Had a 7 ski day trip to Utah, based in Salt Lake City and Park City. 5-8 of us (varying) all good recreational skiers.
Website : Www.skiutah.com
Basics : Middle of the Rockies, daft transfer through Houston, TX. There are many routes to choose from though. E.g. through San Fran, Newark, etc.
Lift system : Slow chairs: not many in number but in US fashion serving many runs off each. Most have "gated" off piste that is patrolled and safety controlled.
The terrain : I am afraid that we fell very much in love with Solitude. It's very quiet (a real locals resort) and has no queues so slow lifts not a problem. Both Powderhorn and Summit lifts give access to some tremendous steep and tree skiing. If you stay on piste it;s a good 2 day resort for anyone who doesn't want to play off piste. I don't think the pistes warrant a longer stay by European standards.
The snow : Not classic Utah powder, we did have a minor storm Tuesday but only blessed us with about 6-10" of fresh. Still very nice though. What was very interesting was that even in mild temperatures compared to Europe. the snow is very soft and dry. Even after a full on powder day at Alta there were still some fresh lines to be had the day after at Solitude.
Off-piste : Off piste is excellent. In common with other Utah resorts, the off piste is gated and hence open or closed. We carried ARVAs, etc. but that wasn't, I don't think, strictly necessary.
The resort : There are two rental shops, a condo, a pub and a restaurant. The restaurant (Creekside) is exceptionally good.
Food : See above.
Accommodation : We stayed in Salt Lake City and Park City. There wasn't a very big difference in transit times so I'd recommend Park City as more fun.
Costs: Hmmm. On the hill a chilli burger was about $12. Creekside worked out about $50 a head.
Conclusion: Small, low key, charming and great off piste opps.

Solitude Resort Report Feedback Thread


Last edited by And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports. on Tue 7-03-06 23:08; edited 1 time in total
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Resort: St Sorlin D'Arves
Country: France
Domain: Les Sybelles
Author: Colin B
Date: 11th - 18th February 2006 & 10th - 17th February 2007
Our holiday: My 10 year daughter, myself and her mother (my ex). An experiment in keeping my daughter happy which worked out OK.
Website : http://www.saintsorlindarves.com/
Basics : It's in the Maurienne Valley, 2006 - I drove down taking it slowly with overnight stops in Troyes and virtually on the doorstep in Aiguebelle avoiding Saturday traffic and gaining an extra days skiing 2007 - Similar to 2006 but stayed in the valley town of St Jean de Maurienne and caught the bus up after my awful descent the previous year.
Lift system : Les Sybelles is a huge area of 310 km. However there aren't really any fast chairs and there are quite a lot of drag lifts. The link run out of St Sorlin was very bare and bumpy at the start of the week (and closed at the end) and links out of Le Corbier and La Toussuire relied on drag lifts which got very congested. Although it was half-term week the lifts in St Sorlin itself coped well without any horrendous queuing (2007 was busier than 2006 but queues were tolerable).
The terrain : Blacks are virtually non-existent and there are not too many reds either (and some of these were closed). The blue runs from the top down to the village were good and must have been around 5 km I would guess. At the end of the week Les Blanchards was fantastic with at least 18 inches of fresh snow and virtually no one else on it (perhaps it was the fearsome drag lift which lifted me off the ground which put them off). Longe Combe back from the other resorts to St Sorlin has a great reputation, it was included in a list of "best runs" in Dail Mail Ski & Board last year although it was very bare the couple of times I tried it.
The snow : 2006 - For the first half of the week it was pretty bare and icy as there hadn't been any snow to speak of for 3 weeks. Then it snowed virtually non-stop for the second half. 2007 - Snow was as OK as anywhere in France. Snowed before we got there and another 2 days whilst there.
Off-piste : Not my bag but some of the pistes had 18 inches of fresh snow and were virtually untracked at the end of the week. Higher up was closed due to avalanche danger at the end of the week. 2007 - Quite a lot of off piste activity during the week although there was a death in an avalanche in the next resort of Le Corbier that week also.
The resort : The village is full of character, quite small with plenty of old traditional buildings. Most of the newer ones are also pretty sympathetic. A few restaurants and bars but nightlife seemed pretty sleepy, not for party animals.
Food : Ate in most of the time but tried La Table de Marie which was very popular and lively and served up mainly traditional Savoie fare which was pretty good. Had a couple of lunches in La Bergerie at the top of one of the chairs which served a good spag bol.
Accommodation : The apartment we rented was excellent and the locals we rented it from were lovely. It had tremendous views of the mountain and pistes and was in a good location. In 2007 I also tried out the wood burning stove in the apartment which was very cosy and dried our clothes off well.
Costs: Far cheaper than the more popular resorts. I booked my apartment directly with the french owners and for half term it was only 600 euros (and would have slept 6). It wasn't your usual french box , it was around 50 sq m on 2 floors in a pleasant small development. A 7 day area pass was around 175 euros. The ex had ESF lessons which seemed pretty good and were only 88 euros for 6 days. Prices had not increased much in 2007 and my daughter and I had private lessons with the ESF which were good value given my daughter's progression
Conclusion: A great place, not swamped with Brits. Not particularly challenging best suited to intermediates. I've been 2 years now, maybe time for a change next February though.

St Sorlin D'Arves Resort Report Feedback Thread


Last edited by So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much on Tue 20-02-07 20:23; edited 1 time in total
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Resort: La Clusaz

Country: France

Domain: Massif des Aravis (La Clusaz/Grand Bornand)

Author: homphomp

Date: 13 March 2006 to 17 March 2006

Our holiday: A quick grab at a few days skiing....no time for a whole week away so this was a four night/five day skiing trip. We're strong on piste skiers looking for a challenge and went to La Clusaz as somewhere new we've never been before.

Website : http://www.laclusaz.com/ and http://www.legrandbornand.com/

Basics : Close to Geneva airport and with fairly easy access from the motorway network. We drove down with an overnight stop south of Dijon, set off early next morning and were on the slopes by 10:30. The road up from the A40 is a bit of a winding, narrow affair....must admit to finding it hard work!

Lift system : Lifts generally ok, the area has one of the most comfortable chair lifts I've sat on! The link between the two halves of the Aravis area was poor. The bus went only hourly between the La Clusaz gare routiers (which is a considerable trek from the slopes) & Grand Bornand lifts. There was nothing to tell you where to catch the bus or what time it left at the La Clusaz end resulting in us wasting almost an hour at each end of the day struggling between one resort and the other. Didn't bother on the other days, which was a shame as the skiing at GB seemed to be pretty good.


The terrain : We were impressed, there were some seriously challenging reds and blacks, more than enough to keep us happy even if we'd been there a full week. We started each day with a blast down the red run from the top of the Etale telepherique....see comments on accommodation....which was a great way to start the day. The runs on the Balme are excellent. The only downside to the resort is that the absolutely spectacular views (and they really were!) triggered off Mr HH vertigo to a massive extent and he spent much of the time trying to conquer his fear as well as the slopes themselves. Piste network signing and the piste map leave much to be desired!

The snow : Utterly fantastic, there had been some massive dumps in the couple of weeks before our arrival, the off piste was getting tracked but generally conditions were excellent. Continuous blazing sunshine added to the pleasure but was beginning to damage the heavier used lower slopes by the end of the trip.

Off-piste : We don't really do off piste but from the slopes it looked like there were masses of easily accessible off piste areas....we saw several hardy groups treking away up the peaks so I assume there was something out there well worth the effort! Scarily there were a couple of signed red runs that petered out into off piste sections....interesting for us, scary for some people!

The resort : La Clusaz has a pleasant town centre with a number of decent restaurants and the usual resort attractions. The accommodation seems to be very spread out and the navette stops running early evening making the trek to town from the outlying areas a pain and we didn't spend a lot of time in the centre as a result.

Food : We didn't have a bad meal anywhere, which is a real result! My memory isn't what it was so I can't remember the names of the restaurants we ate in but we never went anywhere twice and the food was excellent all over the mountain and in the resort centre.

Accommodation : We stayed in the Hotel U'Fredy which is located only four steps away from the Etale telepherique and you could ski back to the door. The downside would be that the only choice of run from the Etale is an unpisted black or a steepish but beautifully pisted red....not a good choice for those who like to warm up on a blue run! The hotel was also a long, long, long uphill walk out of town....evening meals were followed by a 40 minute walk home as the navette stops early evening. That said the food at the U'Fredy is very good so it's a good choice for half board (we don't do HB due to being awkward fussy eaters!!) The hotel is comfortable with a nice bar and friendy management and was good value.

Costs: We paid 72 euros a night for two people B&B, excellent value for a ski to door hotel. Five day lift pass was only 116 euros per person for the full area - excellent value! As for food, 2 Main courses, 1/2 pichet of plonk and two coffees on the mountain ran in at 35 to 40 euros, evening meal (two courses, decent wine, coffees) were 50 to 70 euros. We felt that these prices (comparable with the mega resorts) were a bit steep for a less well known resort.

Conclusion: We enjoyed our stay and will certainly be going back at some point, particularly when we can try some of that off piste that looked such fun. Highly recommended as an alternative to the usual French mega resorts.

La Clusaz Resort Report Feedback Thread
ski holidays     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Resort: Davos

Country: Switzerland

Domain: Linked with Klosters

Author: dasher

Dates: 11/3/06 to 15/3/06

Me/My holiday: I have been skiing for about 25 years and am probably averaging close to a week a year. I normally manage a long weekend with the boys (old men ?) or a week with the family, last year I even managed both. This year a big family vacation at Christmas/New Year and decision by one of the boys to use his holiday for his honeymoon instead of weekend skiing left me facing the prospect of no skiing. Decided to fix something up on my own taking in a 3 day intro to off piste course. Flew early Saturday arriving in time for a couple of hours skiing in the afternoon, skied Sunday with the Ski Club of Great Britain and Mon, Tues, Wed did an excellent off piste intro course with a company called White Heat before jumping on the 4.00 pm train to return to London that night.

Websites: http://www.davos.ch/home-001-00-en.htm (has a really efficient hotel and apartment booking system)

http://www.parsenn.ch/?lang=en (more detail on the runs/lifts)

Basics: Flights from Heathrow on Swiss (good selection of flight times) then transfer by train which all went according to timetable.

Lift System: The skiing is split over 5 locations:- Rhinerhorn, Jacobshorn, Pischa, Parsenn (shared with Klosters) and Madrisa (far side of Klosters). I managed to ski in all locations except Pischa and found good skiing everywhere. An efficient bus service links resorts in Davos and links Madrisa with the bottom of the Parsenn on the Klosters side. I don't know if Davos and Klosters are linked by bus but they are linked by train. All services including the buses run to a timetable, which being Switzerland actually means something. Most areas have a big lift at the start (cable car, gondola etc) and most of the other skiing is served by T bars. There are some chairs/non T bar lifts (especially at Parsenn) but I think they could do with more. Having said that I can't remember queuing for any length of time and most lifts you just ski straight on to with no queue.

the Terrain: On Piste there is abundant intermediate terrain. Very few black or green pistes. Snow conditions were excellent so skiing to the base stations was great - lots of perfect corduroy first thing in the morning. Some of the return runs were a bit track like meaning you had to be careful not to loose your speed at the wrong moment. The black to Davos Wolfgang was fantastic in these conditions. Pistes were relatively empty in fact on numerous occassions they were completely empty allowing lots of carving practise. Off piste terrain was excellent - perfect learning territory although I'm sure there are plenty of harder routes if you want. The best day was the last which was a stunning descent to St Antonien off the back of the Madrisa. the valley was virtually untracked and we saw no one else in it all day Beautiful scenery, sunny day, a great sense of being away from it and rounded off by a fantastic lunch.

the snow: I arrived after some good snowfall the previous week. This left pistes with packed snow and no ice to be found anywhere. Off piste was mainly wind packed. Chopped up in places but still plenty of untracked even near to the piste. Our guide managed to find plenty of great snow.

The Resort: A proper town catering to a much wider range of budgets that expected. The resort has everything from smart hotels to plenty of apartments.

Food: I can't remember the names of any restaurants but I would say the food was of a good standard. Hotel breakfasts were pretty standard continental fare - exactly what is required to set you up for the day. Mountain lunches were just what was needed - pasta, rosstis, nice salads - popular spots were busy so it may well be worth booking ahead. Evening meals ranged from pizza to steak in restaurants and from 4 course set meals to (so I'm reliably informed) fine dining in hotels. Evening meals were all good but beginning to be a little more pricey. The hotels where many of the restaurants are seem a little overly formal.

Accommodation: I booked via the Davos website which is excellent. Everything from apartments to 5 star hotels can be booked through the website and for I'm pretty sure that there will be a hotel that will offer accommodation for any length of stay making it ideal for short/flexible breaks. I stayed b&b in the Hotel Heiss, close to a bus stop which means that you can get anywhere with the minimum fuss. The room was perfectly comfortable but decor very dated, the bed was nice and firm, plenty of hot water, decent breakfast however I can't help think that there are better/more inspiring options amongst the huge range available.

Costs: flights were just under £100 and train transfer just under £50. (For cheaper option with a group fly to Friedrichshafen and hire a car). I paid about £45 per night for a single room and breakfast. Lift pass was quite pricey but includes quite a good range of uphill transport and also covers the train trip back from Kublis/Saas etc if you ski the long run down these places (unfortunately didn't get a chance to do this). Food and drink were reasonable. A large beer in a mountain restaurant would be about 5 to 6 Swiss Francs (just under £3), a small soft drink about 3 to 4 Swiss francs and a main course of something like spag bol or rossti being about 15 Swiss Francs (£7). In the town prices rise depending on location but a large beer (Monstein - fantastic local brew) still only cost 7 Swiss Francs outside at one of the nicer hotels.

Summary: Great skiing with plenty of on piste cruising for intermediates including plenty below the tree line. Powder beside the piste remains untouched longer than many resort and if you hire a guide and go further afield then there are plenty of fantastic descents to be found. The ski bus that links the areas is a revelation - its worth getting the timetable as the bus runs on time. The town itself has all the facilities you will need. The resort atmosphere is less frenzied than many due to the large proportion of the clientele over 45 (many of whom don't ski or don't ski full time which explains the lack of lift queues and relatively untouched powder). Lends itself to short breaks. I had a fantastic time and hope to go again

Davos Resort Report Feedback Thread
snow conditions     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Resort: Whistler Blackcomb
Country: Canada
Domain: none
Author: nbt

Date: 25 Feb 2006 - 11 Mar 2006
Our holiday: a group of just 8 this time - 4 strong intermediate skiiers from the uk, one strong intermediate Australian snowboarder, one australian skiier (expert level), one strong intermediate uk snowboarder out for the season, one cautious skiier out for the season - the pair out for the season had their own apartment, the rest of us stayed at the same place
Website : The official website is http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/index.htm. There are lots and lots of other places that pop up if you google, many offering accomodation

Basics : Whistler is the venue for the alpine events of the 2010 Olympic Games. It's on the west coast of Canada, abot 2 hours drive north of Vancouver. Transport is easy enough, there are regular scheduled bus services from Vancouver (both city and airport), or you could hire a car and drive - it's a good highway all the way which is being widened and improved in time for the Olympics.

Whistler mountain (originally called London mountain, fact fans) opened as a ski resort in 1966 in an unsuccesful bid for the 1968 Olympics. Blackcomb was opened as a ski resort 15 years later, and in the late 80s (I think) the two became available on a single lift pass.


Lift system : For a north american resorts, the lift system is huge! 3 gondolas, lots of detachable quads, a few fixed triples and a handful of t-bars. These latter are mostly in the very high alpine and can be avoided in most cases, although one provides the only access to the blue run down the Blackcomb Glacier. Lifts can be accessed from four separate points : Creekside give access to Whistler mountain, Blackcomb daylodge and the Excalibur Gondola midstation give access to Blackcomb, and from the main village you can access either mountain. Lifts open (and close) early by european standards - 8.30am til 4pm midseason, with earlier times early in the season and later opening towards the end. We found that lift queues to access the mountain were low at 8.30, and by 9am began to build until well after 10am, if you start at the main village and take either gondola - a quicker way to get up the mountain is often to use the chairs (Fitzsimmons and Garbanzo up Whistler, or go up to Blackcomb Daylodge and take Wizard Express and Solar Coaster up Blackcomb)


The terrain : The terrain is absolutely huge for a north american resort. Two full mountains to choose from, although you do have to ski right down to the bottom to swap - although there are plans to build a gondola at mid-mountain level connecting the two mountains. Not personally sure this is necessary, and this opinion seems to be shared by a lot of locals, but the plans are steaming ahead and the new gondola should be in place in a couple of seasons - but I digress

On both mountains there is plenty of variety, with open bowl skiing, gladed tree skiing, bumps and groomers. Whistler has the more "extreme" high alpine (above the tree line) with some quite nasty escarpments and the like, while Blackcomb has the better tree skiing for most people. Like most North American resorts, Whistler has a great advantage over more traditional european resorts in that anything within the ski area boundary is open for skiing (assuming you're good enough) unless specifically marked as closed - more on this later.

The piste skiing is quite extensive and in a very nice touch, each morning you can check out which pistes have been grooomed overnight using large maps at each access point, or checking online if you have interweb access. Normally, all the green runs and the majority of the blue runs will be groomed, along with a handful of the more popular black diamond trails. Sometimes the whole trail will be groomed, but accasionally only one half of the width will be flattened, leaving moguls to form for those who wish to try that kind of thing. The double black diamond runs are not, as a rule, ever groomed as far as I'm aware.

Some black diamond runs are groomed more frequently, e.g. the Dave Murray Downhill, which will host the Men's Downhill and Super G in the olympics.

The Dave Murray downhill, done top to bottom, is a real thigh killer, although it is not as hard as the proposed ladies course, the blue spite called "Franz's" - this features a few more twists and turns with rollers thrown in for good measure. These two pistes are on Whistler and can be a real challenge - Franz's was not groomed the last time we tried it so beware, they're not always pisted! Bear Paw and Tokum are also good rune for those who like to let rip.

Over on Blackcomb, Ridge Runner and Rock'n'Roll pistes are great if you like to let it fly, although the road out at the end can be flat, icy and congested - this is the trail which leads out of the Blackcomb Glacier, 4.8km long and if I guess rightly, a road in the wamrmer months. The pistes over in the 7th Heaven area are also great fun when the weather permits, although since this area is right in the path of most incoming weather it's not always the best place to ski as it's a wide open bowl - we only really skiied it one day!



The snow : We had fantastic snow! Whistler had something like 4 metres of snow in january, an all-tiome record for snowfall in a single month, so there was a good base which kasted well through february when little snow fell. The snow started falling the day we arrived and to our joy, it then snowed every single day - even if only a few flakes fell on a couple of days so we did get to see some sunshine (and the scenery) on a couple of occasions, thankfully. The snow was mostly light and fluffy up at the top of the mountain, but given the relatively low altitude, could become a little wetter and heavier towards the village ski-out. Still perfectly skiiable though, and the freezing level did reach above mid mountain on one day.




Off-piste : As mentioned above, all terrain within the ski area is available unless explicitly marked as closed. We had a great time skiing plenty of trees and chutes wherever we could see tracks, as well as all the open bowl skiing. We had the advantage that one of our group had not only skiied whistler several times before but was out for the season and had seven weeks before our arrival to check out the best skiing, including runs not shown on the official map, some of which were graded triple black diamond! There's plenty of off piste for those with less experience though, if the weather opens up I'd suggest a short hike into the newly-opened Flute Bowl (off the top of Harmony Chair) to ski Boundary Bowl (turn left as soon as you pass through the marker gate), or even all the way round if you fancy yourself - that's what we did and my 30 minute hike up was rewarded by my descent of Flute Nose, which is the best snow I've ever skiied. Mid-thigh all the way down, soft and fulffy, and not a sign of anything solid under my feet until the pitch shallowed - heaven! Easier to access are the bowls and chutes (couloirs in european terms) in Harmony Bowl (I'd recommend the Gunbarrel to skiier's right as you descend Harmony Ridge, most people drop in number 1 or number 2), like Low roll and McConkeys, or those off Peak Chair such as Whistler Bowl or Mrs NBT's favourite, Cockalorum (like we did you can traverse skiier's left along the "cliff" signs to find the traverse into the bowl avoiding the cornice jump).

In short, terrific!



The resort : The resort is owned by Intrawest and to a certain extent has a kind of "disney" feel to it, and it also means that the same food and shops are dotted all over the place. It's all well signposted though and eceryone is really friendly. If you;re not in the village itself, there are several outlying "suburbs" or estates, al of which are well served by the local bus routes which run frequently and fairly promptly



Food :

On mountain we tended to eat at either the Roundhouse (on whistler, I'd recommend the pasta from the "quick food") and Galcier Creek over on Blackcomb. I've heard that on Whistler, the Chic Pea (top of Garbanzo chair) is a really nice venue, while on Blackcomb, if you can get into the Crystal Hut the food is superb - they have oven roasted steak sandwiches with vegetables, and great waffles - it's very popular and very small though so there are often queues for tables.
Mostly, the same food is served in all the restaurants with the odd variation. By european standards the food is passable but no great shakes, but by North American standards, it's pretty decent. ONe point I did note (in conversation with a local) is that since my last visit, although the choice has increased (e.g. burger, fish & chips, rice, nooodles, salad, bagels, chili, pasta etc), the quality has declined inversely. Shame.

In town, food is plentiful and cheap. We tried Earls (twice) which had great food (and nice eye-candy waiting staff), Arthur's restaurant in the Dubh Linn Gate pub (not bad at all) and the Old Spaghetti Factory (nice if you order from the menu, less if you try the "all you can eat" buffet). We also ate ate Merlins one night, at Blackcmob daylodge - nice burgers and good salads at excellent prices, we stayed there to watch the "king of the rails" contest held on the slopes just outside.

Sachi Sushi went down well with those who like sushi, I personally found my chicken teriyaki to be rathr overcooked and rubbery. The Brewhouse was also a disappointment as I found my pizza to be rather like eating cardboard, although to be fair the previously consumed beverages may have affected my judgement somewhat Blush

Pick of the trip though had to be Val d'Isere, we were lucky enough to get the special price menu thanks to the Dave Murry Camp I attended (see review elsewhere) and the food was simply delicious. The tarte a l'oignon was light and fluffy, while the venison steak was like butter. Similar tales of good food were shared by all who ate there. *highly* recommended.

Best food of the holiday was cooked by Joern who runs the B&B we stayed in, but I'm not sure that he cooks for non-residents unless they're dining with residents, so I won't tell you how yummy it was. Oooops Wink

For apres we tried several locations - Merlins and the GLC are both owned by the resort and really do have an "apres" vibe to it (Merlins has the best nachos in town too!), but also have very loud music meaning you have to shout to hear each other. Tapley's, at the far end of the village on Golfer's Approach was a great place as it was easy for us to get picked up, but the overall favourite was the crystal lounge which had both good beer, low volume on the music and easy access from the pistes.



Accommodation : We stayed at the Cedar Springs Gourmet B&B ( http://whistlerbb.com ). It cost a fortune but it was worth it. Rooms were spacious, beds were huge, breakfasts were bigger... Joern and Jackie pride themselves on pampering you and feeding you great food and they lived up to that while we were there. After a hearty breakfast (cereal and toast if you want it, freshly squeezed fruit jiuce, fruit salad, freshly backed pastry and a hot plate of omelette, waffles or the like - all bread home made too), we would be ferried to the lift of our choice, and collected again at the end of the day - providing we didn;t decide to stay in town following the apres and eat in our ski gear. we found ourselves doing this on more than one occasion, as having returned to the chalet and luxuriated in the oht tub on the verandah with a cold beer, getting ready to go back out can seem less than appealing Wink


Costs: We kind of blew the budget on this one Embarassed I normally count on £100 per person per day once I've paidfor everything (including lift passes, beers, food, transfers, accomodation, flights, etc). This one was over £130 each, but the higher cost was anticipated and very much worth it. You can do it a *lot* cheaper, especially if you shop around


Conclusion: Whsitler is just fantastic. It's the first resort I've ever revisited, and with the joys of all the snow that fell and the comfort of our accomodation I've had a great time. Since I love trying new places I doubt I'll be going back soon, but I will 100% return at some point, and I would very much recommend that you visit too if you haven;t already done so....

Whistler Resort Report Feedback Thread
ski holidays     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Resort: Val Cenis (village of Lanslevillard particulalry)
Country: France
Domain: none
Author: Pendodave
Date: 11th - 18th March 2006
Our holiday: A week family holiday. Participants were
Pendodave - intrepid off-piste adict, speaker of dodgy French, trip organiser (for sins).
Wife of Pendodave - skier of gentle blues/greens.
Three children 10 (quite handy skier), 7 (becoming quite handy) 4 (never skied before this).
Trip was all DIY - arranged own Eurostar, metro, TGV, bus and apartment.
Website : They have got one, off the top of my head it's valcenis.fr, but if it isn't it would be easy enough to google. Site is in English as well as French and contains links to skischools, nurseries and allows booking of properties (we used this to book ours).
Basics : It's in the Maurienne valley, about 30 minutes by bus from Modane railway station. We took the TGV from Paris to Modane which takes pretty much bang on 4 hours. Bus links seamlessly in with train departures and we were able to book it online at transavoie.fr (I think). Tickets for both posted to the UK well before the hols. I get trains aboard cheap because I work on the railway, so it was a both a pleasant way to travel and cheaper than flying/driving. Apartments booked via the Valcenis website are all pretty reasonable priced (see below).
Lift system : Not a vast lift season, but worked well enough. A couple of gondolas, a few high speed chairs, ordinary chairs and drags. Few queues of any note except at the bottom of the gondola and the connecting high speed chair in early morning and afternoon, but cleared soon enough. Quite a cheap ticket (<100 euro for adults for 6 days). We also got one child free becuase it was off-peak. 4 year old was also free.
The terrain : I though for a smallish resort (80km) it had a really good mix of pistes. There were excellent green learning pistes above Lanslevillard and particularly Lanslevillard le Haut. Don't think it was as good for learning above Lanslebourg where the runs were a bit steeper. There were then a number of nice runs of various levels of difficulty through the forest and then a good alpine bowl area above the tree line. In summary, for a mixed family group it was pretty well perfect (but see comments about snow). The variety of terrain also gives options for all different types of weather, unlike the above-the-tree-line resorts.
The snow : Brilliant. It had a snowed a lot the week before and we then had 6 solid days of sunshine and low temperatures which meant that the snow stayed good all week. Unusually good for March considering the sunshine. Meant that all impressions of the place were as favourable as they could possibly be !
Village altitude is 1450m, slopes are north facing, but I would imagine that lower down it gets a bit soft/rainy as the season progresses. However, there is quite a bit of skiing above 2000m all the way up to 2800m accessible from than main gondola, so you'd be pretty unlucky if it was all rubbish.
Off-piste : Not bad at all, being not skiied out to any degree and having easily accessible o/p above the trees and a number of good lines through the trees as well. The presence of a meandering (and very pleasant) run through the trees meant that you could strike out pretty certain that as long as you kept going downhill you would hit a piste sooner or later. Not exactly Chamonix, but good fun for a competent off pister who finds the odd couple of hours to himself or gets the chance to do a run here and there while the rest take a rest or do a blue. Bureau de guides runs a guided program through the week which may offer cheap guiding for those not able to group together and hire a guide, but unfortunately family committments prevented me from checking out the service !
The resort : Lanslevillard is a quiet, attractive village off the main road up the valley (which isn't particularly busy anyway). It has the normal range of French shops, a couple of bars and a few restaurants. No nightlife beyond these, but for families it is perfectly adequate. There is also a good public swimming pool and ice rink in the village. There are a couple of apartment complexes on the edge of the village which are either new or being built which are not quite as scenic as the old village, but not quite Les Menuires either.
Food : Standard savoyard fare available. Not that many on piste stops that I saw (but we self catered for lunches).
Accommodation : We paid about £400 for a place 80m2 with two seperate bedrooms, a mezanine with beds and a good sized main room. It also had a balcony and you could walk out out of the front door onto the Lanslevillard front-de-neige. As the place is French, I always think you need to overbook apartment occupancies. They'd sleep people in the bath. I think that apartments generally are quite cheap and easy to book. Not sure that there is much hotel or chalet accomodation in Lanslevillard, but there may be more (including the snowcoach hotel) in Lanslebourg. Not many Brit operators in either.
Costs: Cheap for what you get. Without travel, our accomodation/lift pass/skischool for 3 and ski hire for 5 came to about £1000. Sundry expenses (beers/coffees) were cheap too.
Conclusion: Really good resort for a family trip. Which isn't meant as damning with faint praise. We had a great time and the ski area is good for all abilities providing the better skiers are prepared to exercise a bit of imagination. Ability to speak some French is definitely handy, as even esf desk staff are not all that fluent with English. When booking ski school you really need to investigate the english speaking capabilities of the teachers, as there are not as many anglophones as bigger resorts. Particularly impressed by the esf school in Lanslevillard-le-haut who took my never-skied 4 year old and turned him into Herman Meier on 5x21/2 hours group sessions !

I think that Lanslevillard might well be a better place to stay than Lanslebourg for families as it is more compact, has better access to the easy slopes and has a gondola rather than a long chilly (albeit quick) chair up to the mid mountain. It also has the pool/rink complex. However, there are more shops/restaurants in Lanslebourg.

Val Cenis Feedback Thread
ski holidays     
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Resort: Arabba

Country: Italy

Domain: Dolomiti Superski

Author: agavin

Date: 11th - 17th March 2006

Our holiday: This was actually our 3rd trip to Arabba in the past 5 years. The 1st time was in my 2nd weeks skiing and is probably the reason I so love the area because it was the place I 'got it'.

The 1st time we went with a TO and stayed in a chalet with folks we didn't know, the 2nd time was an independent trip by ourselves and this specific trip was as part of a group of 20 who hired out 2 adjoining chalets from a TO.

Me and Mrs agavin are roughly 9 week skiers and confident / capable on pretty much anything on-piste. The rest of the group consisted of all types from beginners to a few similar level skiers and 4 boarders - 3 of the boarders done seasons in the US a few years back.

Website : The Italian Dolomites domain website is at http://www.dolomitisuperski.com/. This contains info about all the resorts (and links to their websites) in the domain including webcams (some live streaming ones for Selva), interactive piste maps, accommodation, transport links etc. One cool feature, is that you can go onto the website and type in your lift pass number, and it will provide a history of the lifts you used giving the times you rode them, the start and end altitude and an estimate of the distance covered on skis - http://217.199.29.129/jsp/applet/findTransit.jsp?Lang=ENG (because it is a little hard to find!).

The specific Arabba website is www.arabba.it. Once again it has webcams and a load of local information. You can download some PDFs which are essentially a list of local accommodation on a map in the same form as the brochure you would pick up from the tourist information office.

Another good website for the area with pretty accurate weather forecasts, avalanche information and some additional webcams is at http://www.arpa.veneto.it/ (follow the Neve e Valanghi link).

Basics : Arabba is in the heart of the Italian Dolomites (NE Italy) right on the Austrian border. We travelled with a TO from Gatwick to Verona followed by a 4 hour (stop included) coach transfer. In the past, we have flown to Venice and driven by car which should be no more than 2.5 hours.

Arabba is located at 1600m and has about 70km of its own local piste rising to around 2900m and facing North and South depending on which side of the valley you are skiing. It is one of 4 main villages on the Sella Ronda which is a route around the giant Sella Massif of around 46km (half on skis - half on lifts) over 4 mountain passes and can be skied in either direction. The other resort areas the Sella Ronda passes through are Selva val Gardena (about 1.5 hours from Arabba - the largest town and ski area), Canazei (The 2nd largest and probably lowest of the resorts) and Corvara (The most 'characterful' and easiest local skiing).

A 6 day ski pass for the entire domain (1200km of piste) costs around 170-250 Euros depending on the time of year and is 'hands free'. Of this, probably about 500-600km are lift linked or easily accessible with a short ski-bus/taxi ride - the remainder being satellite resorts which could take anything up to an hour to reach (e.g. Cortina).

Lift system : From Arabba, 2 lift stations send off 3 sets of lifts. Heading in an anti-clockwise direction for the Sella Ronda and above the nursery slopes is a new quad chair. A 5 minutes walk away on the other side of the road is a cable car to the top of Porta Vescova allowing access to the slopes on this side of the mountain as well as the clockwise Sella Ronda route. From the same lift station, is a gondola (25 man capacity!) which allows the link to the Marmolada glacier if exited at the mid-mountain station, or the top of Porta Vescova just above the Cable Car station.

Considering the entire area, there are very few drag lifts left. Chairs are a mixture of old and new, but in general copes very well even at half terms despite a few bottle necks. The Sella Ronda can be skied entirely in an anti-clockwise direction without using a drag - and there is one drag left in the clockwise direction.

The terrain : The area is predominantly intermediate with a large number of relatively untaxing Reds and Blues. Skiing is both above and below the tree-line rising to its highest point at the top of the Marmolada glacier at 3300m (and highest point in the dolomites). The great thing about it is that you can ski a lot without ever touching the same run 2x. The poor thing about the area is that it has a lot of very short runs as well!

Arabba is probably not the best resort on the Sella Ronda for beginners as the jump up from the nursery slopes to the next blue is quite large.

Arabba also has the steepest runs on the Sella Ronda on the North facing Portavescova side both above and below the tree lines with a few medium difficulty blacks (pisted daily) which can end up moguled and icy later on in the day, but generally have good snow on them.

Best Runs:
o All the reds and blacks down on the Porta Vescova side are fun
o There are a selection of 3 reds back down into Arabba from Bec de Rocces which are wide and cruisey
o A trip over to the Marmolada gives a good long run through a pretty valley to Malga Ciapela
The red down from the top of the Marmolada is about 12km long giving a decent from 3300m back down to 1400m for a good long ski without riding a lift
o There is a Red down into Corvara from Boe that is wide and not too steep and begs to be carved at speed
o The Red down from Dantercepies into Selva is a good fun descent with some slightly steeper bits winding through the trees
o The Reds and Blacks down into Selva including the Saslong World Cup downhill run are good fun descents through the trees that can get tricky when mogulled.
o The runs Red/Black down to Tana Del Lupo above Canazei in both direction on the Sella Ronda are fun
Laguzoi (The hidden Valley) is a 12km Red through a non-lift linked valley below stunning cliffs and past frozen waterfalls - and you get to be towed by horses on the flat bits for that all-round holiday experience!
o There is the ladies Slalom course at La Villa which has a little bit of everything with steeps, windy bits and is usually nice and cut-up for a bit of a challenge
o Personally think that the Sella Ronda route in the anti-clockwise direction is better as you get to follow the sun through the day and I think get one more significant run in than on the clockwise direction.

'Warnings':
o The 'Alta Badia' area above Corvara is 'blue land' which has some wonderful confidence building blues - but also some areas you may need to pole!
o The Red on the clockwise Sella Ronda at the top of Porta Vescova is the only way down initially before it branches meaning that it can be very busy and heavily moguled by lunch time despite being a joy first thing in the morning. Not good at that time of day for the nervous.
o On the anit-clockwise Sella Ronda, there is an annoying bit between Corvara and Selva with a lot of very short runs between a set of chairs gradually taking oyu higher up the pass to above Selva.
o Returning from the Marmolada and starting to ski down to Arabba, there is a short top section of a piste that is steep and narrows into tight left hander. After lunch this can get very busy and icy with great big moguls at the bottom where it turns into a track. Saw a 6 man domino pileup happen one day!
o May not be the best resort for boarders as there are often flatish sections between lifts and for me it was fine to Skate this, but for the boarders in our group it was a pain.

The snow : The snow this year was excellent - probably the best of any of our 3 trips. However, it is also worthwhile pointing out that the entire area is very well covered by snow-cannons (in fact the entire Sella Ronda can be opened on artificial snow!) and the grooming is generally immaculate - so even in 2001 which was a bad snow year, everything was very skiable and the conditions were very good on-piste (even for a 2nd week skier wanting 'ideal' conditions).

Off-piste : Didn't do any, but some of the boarders did a day with a local guide and thoroughly enjoyed it. I believe they did the Val Mesdi descent - but be aware that there is a 45 minute hike to get to it.

The resort : Arabba is small, but has a decent supermarket and a variety of small restaurants and bars. There are a few banks/ATM's, a pharmacy and 3 hire shops. Most hotels permit use of their 'wellness' facilities even if not staying there.

Food : Food was generally good being a mixture of Italian and Austrian. Particular mentions go to Scottonis in the hidden valley, The hotel at Tana del Luppo for gorgeous valley scenery and Boe for a last drink on the way back to Arabba.

In the resort, we had excellent Pizzas at 7-Sass - and others said that Al Table made great pizza and pasta and a few others praised the local grill for their mixed grill. Bar Peter is a good place for an early evening drink.

Local specialities include Bombardino for warmth/dutch courage (got to try it!) and 'spek con patat con uova' (a fry up of potato, bacon and fried egg!).

Accommodation : Stayed in a Neilson chalet. One of their more basic ones, but comfortable and convenient nevertheless.

Costs: Our mountain meals (drink, dish and desert) were coming to between 20-25 euros for 2.

Conclusion: Probably still my favourite resort for convenience, scale of skiing (for those who like 'travelling') and the most awesome mountain scenery I have seen (Prettier than Zermatt - but maybe not as 'rugged').

Arabba Resort Report Feedback Thread
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Resort: Lech
Country: Austria
Domain: Arlberg
Author: jd

Date: 30 March - 2 April 2006
Our holiday: Self and beloved. Both early 30s, intermediates - skied about 10 weeks. Never before been skiing just as a couple.
Website : http://west.skiarlberg.at/english/
Basics : Flew with BA to Zurich (Innsbruck timings lousy for weekend as too late in season) and then a nice man called Jean-Christophe drove us. Considered hire car, but decided this allowed more drinking, which is important when I get on a plane to chill me a bit. All organised by Elegant Resorts, who were pretty efficient. I would probably have done it all direct, but the hotel was rubbish at responding to email.
Lift system : Lifts mostly fast chairs, very new, very few queues. Several of them are heated, which was probably overkill for late March, but I am sure we would have liked it earlier in the season. Some cable cars and we used one T-Bar - which we almost messed up from lack of practice. We used the Hexenboden and Trittalp chairs a lot in Zurs.
The terrain : On piste was pretty gentle - it felt like 95% of the runs we saw were red or blue. As long as you didn't get the super icy early morning nasty, they were all fine. We skied mostly in Zurs (free bus in 6 mins as well as ski there from Lech). The lift pass covered lots more than we did. In particular, we did lots of circuits of piste 3 in Zurs. Very gentle but good fun. Watch out where a blue and a red cross - someone got helicoptered off there...
The snow : Was quite warm, so hard and icy first thing and slushy later on. Pretty poor after about 2. So we had lunch instead Smile Small top up on Sat night higher up
Off-piste : We didn't venture off piste much. At least on purpose.
The resort : Lech is small and reasonably pretty, shops OK. We hired one set of skis from Strolz.
Food : Food in Lech good - we only tried our own hotel (Kristiania) and Krone. On the mountains Trittalm above Zurs and Kriegeralpe above Lech both nice. Esp. the former when its sunny. Both had very 80s soundtracks.
Accommodation : Kristiania in Lech. Smallish room, but had a nice view and was in good nick. Mattresses a bit hard on first night, swapped out (no hassle) for softer one after that. Bathroom nice, but shower curtain / wall not quite long enough. Beloved had nice massage on 2nd night, in the hotel.
Costs: Hideous, but worth it.
Conclusion: We loved it, probably in part because we had not been away "just us" before. We'd do it again, but not sure there's enough terrain for our style of week long holiday (we like lots of runs).

Lech Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Resort: Snowshoe, West Virginia,
Country: USA
Domain: none
Author: Roger C

Date: 26 to 29th March 2006
Our holiday: My wife and I flew into Baltimore to spend a week with friends in the USA. Luckily they have been getting into snowboarding this winter so we decided to take our skis over and head for the closest/best skiing we could find. It really is late in the season for skiing the mid Atlantic/East Coast area of the USA so choices were limited and local site www.dcski.com had recommended Snowshoe
Website : www.snowshoemtn.com
Basics : In deepest darkest West Virginia, took up about 6hrs driving from Washington DC including stops. We were in our friends' monster 4wd thing so regular fuel stops were the order of the day! Driving up into the resort we spotted 2 deer and one wildcat.
Lift system : About 10 lifts, all chairs, some fast. Ski area includes smaller Silver Creek area which was closed for season.
The terrain : Only resort I have ever been to where the village is at the top and you get the lifts back up to your accomodation. Runs generally easy and fairly short but there were a couple of black runs over in the "western territory" that were around 1.5 miles long but they would be red at most in France. Most runs overlooked frozen lake at the bottom
The snow : Snowed the night we arrived then got exceptionally hot during first day so melted and got v slushy. Then snowed loads so was some powder on day 2 then slushy again by lunchtime on day 3.
Off-piste : None as far as i could see. Everywhere covered in dense trees apart from the pistes
The resort : Great location and panoramic view. Took about 1 minute to be on piste after leaving our 4th floor "condo". Heated outdoor hot tubs etc. I think the whole place is owned by Intrawest and probably explains why the restaurants didnt really have any atmosphere. Looked like all the familes there were enjoying it mind....
Food : all pretty similar!
Accommodation : Stayed in Highland House. 2 bed condo to suit 4-6 and there were 4 of us. Best self catering i've ever stayed in! Very well fitted out and large as you'd expect in USA. Units seemed to be privately owned and individual.
Costs: As it was end of season lift passes included foc with lodging. Think it was about £65 pppn.
Conclusion: Great fun. Not the place to visit specifically from the UK but if you are ever in the Washington DC area and have a couple of days to spare i'd recommend the trip. Some pics in my gallery http://www.snowmediazone.com/the_zone/showgallery.php/cat/500/ppuser/530
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Resort: Meribel
Country: France
Domain: Les Trois Vallees
Website : Lift Company Website, Meribel Website, Trois Vallees Website

Author: skisimon
Date: 9th February - 15th February 2006

Our holiday: This was a school trip. One that I helped out with the organisation of. Over 70 people in all from the school (must be one of the largest school ski trips in the country?). The range of abilities was immense. From first timers (although we organise and insist on lessons on the dry-slope in Gloucester prior to departure) through to a group of exceptionally competent skiers (I like to class myself thus). We also had boarders too, beginners to advanced. Most people went into lessons, whilst the more seasoned skiers/boarders ski in either the 'Academy' or 'Flying Squad' - both groups led by teachers - can't have 20 kids just going off and doing their own thing!
Basics : Most people travelled on the coach from Gloucester (hefty journey, and one I was glad to avoid) whilst four of us flew and hired a car. We then got lost between Geneva and Meribel, taking about 2.5 hours! The coach stayed in resort to ferry everyone around as and when was required (a mention here for Les and Pete of Watts Coaches who were fantastic all week) how often can you say that about coach drivers!?

Lift system : A very good lift system. I used one drag lift all week (and didn't even need to use it!). An array of gondolas whisk you off in many directions from the base of Meribel. Chair-lifts also leave the main area, meaning you can get to your desired skiing zone within minutes of putting your skis on. Quite well laid out, and you can do plenty of skiing before needing to use another lift. You can also avoid the flat run from Mottaret to Meribel with a quick lift ride allowing you to come down a red (the flat bit not being too bad - unless your towing boarders along it!).

The terrain : If you go for the whole 3V pass you've got over 600kms of runs to choose from, but there really is little need to upgrade from the Meribel pass (maybe one day of exploring Courcheval...). There is a huge choice of runs covered by the Meribel pass above Meribel and Meribel-Mottaret. There is very little in the way of beginners slopes. There are plenty of blues, some slightly more challenging than you'd expect. There was a large selection of reds to chose from, some of which could be described as slightly tame. There were suprisingly few blacks for such a major resort, and the one we did do was a straight-forward red really. A few mogul runs, and that was about it. I'd definitely recommend heading out to Mont Vallon and trying the two runs up there, wonderful reds to bomb it down, wide, good snow and in the sun, beautiful!

The snow : Mid-April, if I hadn't known, I'd have said it was February! Absolutely out of this world for the most part. We arrived Saturday afternoon and there was plenty of snow on the runs, a bit barren otherwise - we even lounged on the hotel balcony! Then for two days it was snowing non-stop, delivering tonnes of the stuff, powder everywhere, but poor visibility being a sad side-effect. The next two days were probably the best skiing I have ever experienced, all the fresh, beutiful snow had been bashed out, the temperatures stayed low and the sun was out with virtually no clouds. Perfect. Then, on Friday it started to warm up a bit, and got heavy and slushy by the afternoon (and too hot to keep much more than a t-shirt on!). Saturday it had obviously iced up over night, but the clouds were back, bringing a horrible flat-light with them. Just as I was getting upset at the thought of missing the afternoon's skiing (in order to get back to Geneva for our return flight), the heavens opened and it started to rain heavily - not such bad timing after all - most of the group returned anyway.

Off-piste : We used limited amounts of off-piste, but what we did was very good with the fresh, deep snow.

The resort : A reasonably sized village, was able to walk from one end to the other within about ten minutes. Very few shops other than ski or souvenir shops. Nice atmosphere, particularly when I walked through in the warm sun on Friday with live music being played on the balcony of one of the bars. It's an easy place to work your way around, with a number of free bus routes. There are a number of things to be doing, swimming pools, bowling, ice skating (or even ice karting) to name but a few apres-ski activities on offer (other than the obvious!). Very pretty - with the traditional look requirement really creating an exceptionally attractive village.

Food : The food in the hotel was pretty appalling - the starters and puddings at both lunch and dinner were vile and the breakfast was limited to some cardboard cereal (so bad was breakfast that mine consisted entirely of 5 cups of tea and 4 cups of orange juice each morning!). The main courses were okay, but that may be a bit generous. I did eat 'out' one lunch time - it was decided to have a packed lunch for the slopes rather than returning to the hotel. So I and a few teachers took the opportunity to bankrupt ourselves above Meribel and Courcheval with a €17 lunch (a bit of pasta and a diet coke) - it was however bloody lovely and very filling. Best meal of the week, all I wanted to do was sleep that afternoon.

Accommodation : With the exception of the food, the hotel we stayed at (Chalet Jeunesse et Famille) was fantastic. The staff very friendly and all (except the manager rolling eyes ) spoke excellent English - one of the bar staff even taught us some fantastic drinking games, including 'Grande Poulet' (big chicken). They also went to great lengths to prepare the disco for our theme night (well, it was a school trip). The hotel itself was just around the corner from a lift and a home run, but being the end of the season, both were shut. We also had a bar (with karaoke) about 15m from the hotel! We used our coach to go down to the slopes each morning, but there wasn't much need as the free ski bus stopped literally outside the hotel's entrance.

Costs: The price of the trip for paying pupils was a fantastic £580, including a full apres-ski programme, full board (including three-course cooked lunch), ski hire, lessons, accommodation, transport and ski pass. Essentially everything. Other costs however were quite high, as opposed to the €3 for a pint in Bardonecchia last year, it was not unusual to be paying in excess of €5.50 - nearly twice the price. Also, the mountain restaurants were a bit expensive, nice though it was, my pasta and coke was worth (even by mountain restaurant standards) far less than €17 (a bowl of chips was €7 alone!).

Conclusion: We agreed that this was probably the best ski trip the school has run for a number of years, the resort was fantastic, the skiing exceptional and the general feel of the place really good. Queues at lifts were unlike anything I've ever encountered in France before, even with short queues you expect pushing and shoving in France, and there was none that I experienced.

9.5/10

Meribel Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Have only read a few of these but they alll seem to lack the second most important bit of info after the skiing, apre ski!
For instance the St Anton report mentions the Moose and Crazy K which are wild but close at 9 or 10 but there's no mention of the Picadilly in town for the late night disco dancing activities and general misbehaving. . . . .
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Resort: Zermatt
Country: Switzerland
Domain: Matterhorn Ski Paradise
Author: Elizabeth B

Date: April 2006
Our holiday: Was slowly making my way across the alps to the EOSB. Spent 4 days in Zermatt.
Website : http://www.zermatt.ch/index.e.html
Basics : Zermatt is in the Valais region of Switzerland. I drove there (you have to leave your car in Tasch and get the train up to Zermatt), but the easiest way to transfer from an airport is by the train.
Lift system : The lifts are all modern on the Swiss side, but Cervinia has numerous lifts that could do with an upgrade. Zermatt have introduced a chondola for this season, where gondolas alternate with chairs on the same cable.
The terrain : Zermatt has surprisingly few black runs for an advanced resort. It has a glacier up at Klein Matterhorn, and you can ski into Italy.
The snow : The snow was great high up, and okay lower down. The runs to resort were just about open, but were far too busy for the amount of snow.
Off-piste : Zermatt has quite a lot of "ski routes" that are marked on the piste map, and avalance controlled, but not pistes. There is also heliskiing available around Zermatt.
The resort : For a car-free resort, Zermatt has an awful lot of traffic! It is a superb place, that is dominated by the Matterhorn. Everywhere you go it dominates the skyline. The village is a mix of traditional alpine and more modern, but has a good balance of stuff.
Food : On the mountains, eat on the Swiss side...they have proper toilets!! The restaurant at Sunnegga was very nice with a good view (but then they all have good views!)
Accommodation : I stayed in Tasch at the Best Western Alpen Hotel. This included free parking, and I got a very nice double room. The hotel has it's own bakery, so breakfast was nice!! It also has a whirlpool/sauna, and free wireless snowHeads. Tasch isn't the most exciting place, but when you buy your lift pass, you can get a rail pass that allows you to make unlimited journeys to Zermatt, so you can go back up of an evening.
Costs: The hotel cost CHF 77 per night b&b.
Conclusion: Zermatt should be on everyone's "must do" list. The skiing is superb, and the scenery is something that you can't get anywhere else in the world.

Feedback Thread for Zermatt
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Resort: Saas Fee
Country: Switzerland
Domain: Saastal
Author: Elizabeth B

Date: April 2006
Our holiday: I was travelling across the alps, and met up with some friends in Saas Fee for 5 days
Website : http://www.saas-fee.ch/en/welcome.cfm
Basics : Saas Fee is in the Valais region of Switzerland. I drove there and stayed in Saas Grund as Saas Fee is car free. It can be accessed on public transport by getting a train to Visp and then a post bus. Sion airport is the nearest, but Geneva is within reasonable travelling distance.
Lift system : The main lift up from Saas Fee is the Alpin Express. This is a two stage "people eater" (large cabin gondola), followed by a funicular. The other way into the main ski area is via an antique gondola. There is another small area accessed by a modern gondola. Due to the glacier, most of the lifts are t-bars. There is one chair lift that has been modernised this season, and there are plans to add another this summer.
The terrain : The Saastal area is split into three - Saas Fee is the largest, Saas Almagell and Saas Grund. These are linked by a regular bus service. Saas Almagell and Saas Grund have enough terrain for a day, but not much more. Saas Fee isn't the biggest in the world, but has a glacier so is snow sure.
The snow : Despite being late in the season, the snow conditions were good right the way down to the resort.
Off-piste : Due to the glacier, off piste is not allowed at Saas Fee. There are some opportunities at Saas Grund
The resort : Saas Fee is a pretty place with spectacular scenery and alpine charm. Saas Fee is car free, and the village is quite spread out....so expect to do some walking. The Alpin Express is a couple of mins walk from the car park/bus stop - this is worse at the end of the day when the walk is up hill! This year they have introduced some resort buses (electric milk float type) but they are not included on the lift pass.
Food : They've just rebuilt the Morenia restaurant (half way up the alpin express) and that was very nice. In Saas Grund, the Roby and the Dom both did nice food at a good price.
Accommodation : I stayed in Saas Grund, as I had a car with me and this was a cheaper option. The first place I stayed was the Hotel Roby, right in the centre of Saas Grund. This was a pleasant, but basic hotel, that had a nice restaurant. As this was fully booked for the Easter weekend, I then moved to the Hotel Touring which was superb. I had a large double room (with sofa) and free access to the swimming pool/whirlpool/sauna.
Costs: The Roby was CHF 44 per night b&b, the Touring was CHF 73 per night b&b
Conclusion: I think a week in Saas Fee is too long (for the size of the ski area), but 5 days was about right. I'd happily go there for a long wekend.

Saas Fee Feedback Thread
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Resort: Davos
Country: Switzerland
Domain: Linked to Klosters
Author: Elizabeth B

Date: April 2006
Our holiday: Was making my way slowly accross the alps and decided to stop off in Davos. I only skied the Parsenn area.
Website : http://www.davos.ch/home-001-00-en.htm
Basics : Davos is in the North East of Switzerland. I drove there, but it has two train staions and is easily accessable from Zurich airport.
Lift system : There appeared to be a mix of lift types and ages. The main funicular from Davos to Parsenn has recently been upgraded, but the second stage of it hasn't. It was quiet when I was there, so there weren't any queues.
The terrain : The Davos ski area is split into 5 sectors. These aren't lift linked to each other, but there is good bus/train connectivity. The Parsenn and Jakobshorn are the main ones that have lifts from the centre of Davos.
The snow : Perfect powder
Off-piste : There is a fair amount of accessable terrain, but due to them not pisting the black runs of Weissfluhjoch the day I was there, I stayed in the "on-piste" powder.
The resort : I wasn't too impressed with what I saw of Davos. It is a reasonable sized town that is quite spread out.
Food :
Accommodation : I turned up at Davos without having pre-booked accommodation. The tourist office was shut, and I couldn't find an information board anywhere. I eventually found the youth hostel (not that easy) and stayed there. It was okay, but nothing great, and not particularly cheap.
Costs: A bed in a dorm room with breakfast cost CHF 63
Conclusion: Would like to go back for the skiing - could live without going back to the town

Davos Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Resort: Saalbach
Country: Austria
Domain: Alpincircus - Saalbach Hinterglemm
Author: Elizabeth B

Date: April 2006
Our holiday: I had just skied a week in Zell am See, and was slowly making my way across the Alps. I was on my own and skied 2 days (stayed 3 nights) in Saalbach/Hinterglemm. I had bought a SuperSalzburg lift pass, which allowed my to choose my resorts on a daily basis.
Website : www.saalbach.com
Basics : I had a car, so drove there, but access is easy from Munich and Salzburg airports. The nearest train station is in Zell am See, and there is an hourly bus service to Saalbach & Hinterglemm.
Lift system : Most of the lifts are modern detachable chairs, or gondolas. They have plans to upgrade several others during the summer.
The terrain : Saalbach is in a valley, that has pistes on both sides. There are numerous ways back down to the valley, or it is possible to stay high. Leogang is lift linked "over the back" of Saalbach. HInterglemm is further along the same valley as Saalbach. It is possible to do a full circuit in an anti-clockwise direction.
The snow : I went late in the season, but the snow was still good. The North facing slopes had better snow, and there was full coverage down to the resort. On the South facing slopes they had maintained the pistes, but it was hard going at the end of the day. The day I left, they had had fresh snowfall overnight (about 3" on the valley floor)
Off-piste : Didn't try any, so can't comment
The resort : Saalbach is a typical Austrian village. It's a pleasant resort that is popular with the English. There wasn't loads of Apres ski places open when I was there, (most of them had closed the previous weekend), but I believe that "in season" it has a lively atmosphere.
Food : I really struggled to find places to eat. I went into a pizzeria in Hinterglemm to be told that they didn't serve food!! When I finally found somewhere to serve me a pizza, it was undercooked and I left most of it.
Accommodation : I went to the tourist office and asked for the cheapest they had. I stayed in Pension Aigner, a pleasant b&b, about 5 mins walk from town.
Costs: A single room with private shower and breakfast cost €32 per night at Easter.
Conclusion: I'd happily go back to Saalbach, and was delighted with the accommodation, but would aim for the main season next time.

Saalbach Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Stop showing off, liz wink
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Ian Hopkinson, if I was showing off I'd have done reports for Zell am See, Kaprun, Kitzbuhel and Val Thorens wink
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Resort: Kitzbuhel
Country: Austria
Domain: None
Author: Ski Bat.
Date: 21-28th January 2006

Our holiday: We are a mixed group of 30 somethings with a skiing range from cruising red & blue runs to searching out mogul fields, lift lines and off piste paradises.

Website : http://www.kitzbuehel.com/english.asp and http://www.hahnenkamm.com/cms/en/welcome/welcome/index.html.

Basics : A wonderful and truly historic Tirolean town 1.5 hours south from Salzburg. Home of the world famous Hahnenkamm ski race.

Lift system : Their are two main areas to ski. Firstly you have the Hahnenkamm lift which takes you up to the main ski area and links you to Kirkburg and right up to Pass Thurn via the new 3S cable car (which is more than enough for any skier to enjoy). And on the other side of town you can also spend a day or two up on the Kitzbuheler Horn via the HornBahn lift. Up here you have plenty of skiing for begginers and intermediates.

The terrain : There are plenty of reds and blacks to enjoy up in the main ski area (as accessed via the Hahnenkamm lift). Run 23 is an excellent black that is really wide and very quiet as everybody seems to bypass it on there way out. Another place to explore is Jochberg via the 3S which has plenty of good reds and a few good little restaurants for lunch. Down towards Kirberg there is an excellent long wide red 25a which takes you all the way down into the valley, but get on it early as it tends to get crowded from lunch onwards.

Over on the Horn you have plenty of blues and some really nice reds to chose from. Plus there are a few off piste black touring routes and the snowpark for snowboarders and/or spectators.

The snow : We had plenty and there seems to be loads of snow making too.

Off-piste : Seemed okay but didn't really have the opportunity to explore due to the standard of the group we were with. The Horn looked very tempting though.

The resort : It's a beautiful resort and must be seen. A traditional Tirolean village with everything you would ever need. We went during race weekend so the atmosphere was unbelieveable.

Food : We were half board so we didn't eat in the village, but all the mountain restaurants were lovely and traditional. Our personal favourite for food, views and value was the Gipfelhaus on the top of the Horn. In the town we did snack and booze at La Fonda which was good. We were told to try The Londoner but after walking through the door and sampling the smell of dry sick, we decided to try another bar. Some people seemed to like it though?

Accommodation : Hotel Tyrol which is run by Neilson. Well positioned but lacked charm within and the washrooms were a tad minute.

Costs: We have been to the Tirol a few times and compared to France it is cheap. The mounatin restaurants are very good value indeed.

Conclusion: A beautiful and traditional Tirolean ski village that is a real break from the large bland French resorts. Please don't go. We want it for ourselves.
But if you are tempted, then you need to go during the Hahnenkamm ski race weekend to experience the sport at it's best.

Kitzbuhel Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Resort: Kopaonik
Country: Serbia
Domain: Not linked to other resorts.
Author: Shane45

Date: 15th Jan 2006 & 27th Feb. 2006
Our holiday: My 1st trip to Kop. was a 'boys' holiday ages ranged from late 30s to early 50s. Skill range was early intermediate
to 'been skiing for years'.
2nd trip of the year was with my wife (I liked Kop. that much).
Website : http://www.tckopaonik.com/ski_info.html
Basics : Approx. 3.5 hrs flying time + 3.5 hrs coach. Fly into Nis as this is closer than Belgrade (5hrs coach). Nis is
fairly new as a tourist airport and the facilities are limited, however its very quiet with only a couple of flights a day
(only one uk flight a week at present).
Lift system : Kop. has had some significant investment over the last couple of years but needs more. Currently there
are 3 'new' 4 man chairs (2 with magic carpets) + a further 2 2 man chairs all of the chairs are VERY slow even the very new
ones. There are also many buttons and one T bar servicing black 19 & 20.
The terrain : Mainly blues a few reds and 3 black IIRC. Plenty of shallow of off piste between the runs.
Runs are quite short best suited for beginners to early intermediates. Reds & blacks can be very bumpy.
The snow : Excellent 1st week we had 2 white out days and it was very cold. 2nd week warmer but only 2 clear days.
Never seen so much snow though, the trees looked like snowmen.
Off-piste : Plenty of safe off piste for beginners, and some pretty steep stuff through the trees for those mad enough.
The resort : Quite pretty, buildings all concrete but disguised well. Very small resort based around the Konachi complex
where there are a few shops/bars (20?). Small ice rink, quads & snow mobiles for hire.
Food : All the mountain restaurants we tried were all good and excellecent value for money. Special mentions to :
Tuborg Restaurant (Cafe Ninn I think) on blue 7 beer around £1 a bottle try their chicken sandwich.
The 'pig' restaurant (not sure of its real name we called it that after the amount of meat served) on the left of blue 8 as you
go up the lift. Bake their own bread and as most places food is cooked on open fire in the room. Next to no English spoken
just ask for Pig / Sheep / Hamburger. Beer 80p for a large bottle.
The 'new pine' restauarant next to the newest lift, dead opposite the Grand ski hire shop & next to the kiddies snow mobile
park. This is posh, almost to posh to go in with your ski gear on. Prices are much higher than anywhere else but you could
get still a very nice soup for about £2. Well worth a try and the bathroom is what you might expect in a good hotel.
Accommodation : Week 1. Club A 3 star. 1st room we had was shabby to say the least. The shower tray enamel was worn
through. The decor was tatty and tired. The sofa bed I had was knackered and the covering ripped. We moved to another much
smaller room that was better. The hotel has a small lobby where you store your skis and boots, lockers for boots only and
some were too small. There didn't seem to be a problem with any gear going missing. Club A is a short walk approx. 50m before
you can ski. The food, there was always plenty of it and it was quite tasty the disappointing aspect was that it was nearly always
cold. The best bit was the cold buffet, the selection was great and quality good. Wine was a reasonable £5 a bottle.
Week 2. The Grand Hotel, supposedly the best hotel in the resort I certainly noticed the difference with Club A. reception
and public areas are pleasant as is the large conservatory on the ground (suprisingly the cheapest place for a pint I found £1)
We took a late booking and had to pay a supplement for our room (£90) so our room had a lounge with sofa and tv and small balcony
The room wasn't bad but again fairly tired. Food was better than Club A in that it was hot but there wasn't the variety and the
atomosphere of the dining hall was much like a school canteen..Not somewhere you'd spend an evening. All rooms have are allocated
a full size locker on the ground floor by the hire shop straight out the door onto snow. Very nice pool complex. Gym is like an old
school gym pretty much weights and wall bars only not worth the cost to use in our opinion.
Costs: Week 1 was £327 h/b including lift pass & ski hire
Conclusion: Highly recommended for beginners & intermediates, to us it was so different to Italy & Andorra where we'd been before.
Probably the biggest difference is the food & restaurants are so good. The lift system still needs improvement and we were that one
of the 2 man chairs will be replaced for 2007 easing some of the congestion. At times the queues were bad, 20 minutes wait.
We had some private lessons whilst in Kop. paying £16/hr, the tuition was very good and well worth the money, I contacted the
same instructor on our second for lessons for my wife. Having been there twice I probably wont return as there isn't
enough skiing. Take sterling or better still use an ATM, don't worry about queuing at the airport to get cash. Keep some cash on your
return as the Airport cafe is very good and very cheap, then exchange any left over cash at the exchange office.

Kopaonik Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Resort: Passe Tonale
Country: Italy
Domain: None I think
Author: Shane45

Date: 11-18th March 2006.
Our holiday: Group of 6, 40 somethings. From beginner thru to experienced.
Website : www.adamelloski.com
Basics : Edge of Dolomites. 2 3/4 hr transfer from Verona
Lift system : A few buttons for nursery slopes, mainly 4 man chairs and a gondola to access the Paradiso glacier.
The terrain : Most skiing on one side of the valley, good selection of reds, less blues. Other side of the valley
Only has a couple of reds and a nice black under the gondola. The Alpino 4.5km red is very nice run, from here you can
cross the road and ski onto the next village (Ponte Dilegno) down a 4km track. Beginners should avoid the first chair
in Ponte Dilegno as the ski down to the village is steep, but continue the track approx total 7km.
The snow : Good. Reported as 200cm at best, optomistic I believe. All pistes in excellent condition though.
Off-piste : Some but Avalanche warnings in place. There is a local company that offer off piste guiding.
The resort : Purpose built, not particularly attractive. There is a natural ice rink. Dog sledging available but I
thought very expensive.
Food : Food wasn't great in any place we tried. The reps pushed the Vittoria (think that's the right name)
(across the road from the main car park) which did a pizza/pasta & drink for 8 euros. I wouldn't want it every day as it was filling
but it was good. The pizza was better value than the pasta
Accommodation : Hotel Gardenia. Very clean family run hotel. Boot room underneath with heaters. Courtesy bus ran very
regularly dropping & picking up from the main car park..I wouldn't have wanted to walk this everyday. Some of our group found the food
tedious but there were 3 choices of starter / main / dessert everyday and a cold buffet as well. I think we were offered veal everyday
good if you like it.
Costs: £529/head h/b including skis & lift pass including £50 internet booking discount
Conclusion: Definitely plan to go back in the future but would probably plan to ski more on Pont Dilegno as its
very quiet over there and the runs are a bit more challenging and picturesque. Having said that there were virtually no
queues in Passe.

Passe Tonale Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Resort: Courchevel

Country: France

Domain: Three Valleys

Author: Kosciosco

Date: Feb 18 - 25 2006

Our holiday: This was our first time skiing.

Website : www.courchevel.com

Basics : Courchevel is the largest ski area within the 3 Valleys. There are four resorts - At the bottom lies 1300 (Le Praz), which is an old farming village with few amenities. Then comes 1550 which is quiet but more services available. Next is 1650, which is out on a limb a bit but is pretty much self contained and has a wider array of property. Finally there is 1850 which is where all the action happens and has the best access to the slopes.

Lift system : 63 lifts: 1 Cable car, 10 Gondolas, 16 chair lifts, 36 drag lifts.

The terrain : There are a wide variety of runs on piste, 124 in total - 31 green, 41 blue, 40 red, 12 Black covering an area of 150km, however there is easy access to Three Valleys which has 327 runs covering 600km of pisted runs.

The snow : Was good for us, although it didn't snow while we were there. 562 snow cannons help with conditions

Off-piste : I have not been off piste, so can't comment except to say that more experienced skiiers were going off piste and seemed to be having fun!

The resort : We stayed in 1850 which is a good resort. Don't believe the hype about it being the millionaires playground. True, if you want to pay a fortune for a pint there are plenty of places that will let you, but there are also plenty of places that are more reasonable. A good example is the jump bar right next to the ski school meeting point.

Food : The food is a real mix. There are a lot of expensive places and fewer cheap ones. We were staying in a catered chalet hotel, so it wasn't an issue for us. The bars all served food which was more reasonably priced and what we tried was good.

Costs: Ski pass was 192 Euro for 7 days covering Courchevel, but you can upgrade to a 3 Valleys pass which costs 240 Euro. You don't need a photo as they have an electronic swipe card system which makes the process of getting on and off lifts much easier. We went to the Supreme Ski school, who I can highly recommend and we had 12 hours of lessons - Sunday - Thursday (double lesson on Thursday) for £132. They also rent out skis (£75 - £90) and I heard good things but we rented through Freeride who were also very good and charge similar amounts.

Conclusion: We are already planning the return trip as I write this!

Courchevel Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Resort: Raise, Lake District, Cumbria

Country: England

Domain: Helvellyn Massif

Website:
http://www.ldscsnowski.co.uk/index.html

Access : Within day range of Manchester, Newcastle, Durham, Southern Scotland and North West Yorkshire.
M6 to Penrith then A66/A592 to Glenridding. Take the mountain road up to Greenside Lead Mine. Park in the Ski Club car park (must be a member of the Club see below). Walk for 1hr up to hut at 750m asl.

Lift system : One Montaz Mautino fixed grip button lift. length 350m. Rise 100m

The Runs : Moderately steep North east facing open gulley. Two main runs and at least 5 other runs (in good conditions). Slope Cambers to East - Left turners preferred !. Run length from 350m to 600m.

The snow : Variable record. 15 feet to 1.5 inches. Ice to wind packed powder. Usually in excess of 15 skiable days per season (More than 21 during 2006). Expect to get at least 5 reasonable weekend days between end of November and mid April.
Off-piste/Touring lots of possibilities in good conditions. Good touring on the Dodds to the north. Extreme skiing on Helvellyn to the south. Long decents possible to Greenside Mine and down towards Thirlspot.

The resort : Glenridding is a charming Lakeside Victorian resort and former lead mining village. Good eating places and one outdoor shop. Ambleside – outdoor retail Mecca - 25 minutes away.

Food : Bring your own but don’t forget your mug and teabags. There is an electric kettle and the spring water is highly recommended. Gluhwein making facilities available for special occasions.

Accommodation : Hotels, B&Bs, Hostels, Camp Sites and Friends Second Homes available nearby. Excellent Après Ski at the Travellers Rest.

Lift Pass: Must join the club for compulsory insurance. 2006 membership = £23. Season ticket = £17 or day ticket £5

Raise Resort Report Feedback Thread
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Resort: Valmeinier 1800
Country: France
Domain: Valmeinier/Valloire
Author: oasis13

Date: 24-31 January 2005
Our holiday: This was a school ski trip for 50 students
Website : http://www.valmeinier.com/
Basics : We flew to Lyon and had a 4 hour bus journey to get to Valmeinier - we got there at about 11 o clock at night.
Lift system : On the Valmeinier side of the valley nearly all of the lifts were express chairlifts - we never experienced any big quees. There were a couple of older charilifts. On the valloire side of the valley there were some very good lifts but also quite a few drag lifts. These were not ideal for beginners. It wasn't that easy to get to Valloire from Valmeinier.
The terrain : The Valmeinier side of the valley had mostly blue pistes which were great for beginners and it also had a few trickier red pistes. Not one black piste at the Valmeinier side though. The red run into Valmeinier 1500 was great fun! The Valloire side was much bigger and had a bigger variety of pistes - featuring a few tricky blacks. There were a few green pistes which i didn't enjoy, they were narrow and not very steep at all - sometimes poles were needed to keep going forwards! Apart from that, they were in good condition and graded accurately. It was my first time skiing, and i found the resort great. My friends who were in the advanced group also enjoyed it immensly.
The snow : It snowed solidly for the first two days which made it hard to ski, but for the last 4 days we had clear blue skies with loads of fresh powder! It was very cold - normally between -10 and -25 degrees!
Off-piste : We didnt go off piste but we saw plently of people doing it and it did look good. The masses of snow we had probably aided it. There were lots of great off-piste oppurtunities just next to the piste also.
The resort : The village of Valmeinier 1800 is purpose built and very boring if you're looking to party. The advantage is that most hotels can be skiid to and the lifts are central.
Food : There werent very many mountain restauraunts - nothing compared to Austria anyway. They looked quite good, but we didnt actually eat at any of them.
Accommodation : We stayed at the hotel 'Les Carettes'. Its major plus point was the location. It was on the side of the piste so in the morning we could just ski straight down to the lift and in the afternoon we could just ski straight to the hotel. The rooms were basic but adequate and the food was okay. We enjoyed the ping-pong and pool tables!
Costs: Ski pass for the whole area is £100. Everything in the supermarket was very expensive apart from Volvic water which was amazingly cheap! 80 cent for two litre bottles!
Conclusion: I really enoyed the holiday and the snow made the skiing amazing! The village was a bit boring - i would recommend Valloire over Valmeinier.

Valmeinier 1800 Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Resort: Borovets
Country: Bulgaria
Domain: None
Author: stevec

Date: Feb 06
Our holiday: 4 lads, 3 intermediates, 1 beginner, late booking
Website : www.bulgariaski.com
Basics : Booked a late package with Ingams, 3 hours flight (I think) and a 1hr coach transfer
Lift system : 1 big gondola, plenty of chair lifts and a few button lifts. Not the greatest or quickest but not to bad. Beware that when the gondola is closed then the queues everywhere else are horrendous.
The terrain : Limited. A good few green and blue’s, and a reasonable amount of reds but not many blacks at all. Plenty of terrain for the beginner, but the more advanced amongst felt we were getting to the end of what was to offer in a week. The piste wasn’t that well maintained either, a few bare spots even first thing
The snow : Lots, had 1 day when we were running low but a huge amount over night soon sorted that out
Off-piste : Didn’t indulge myself but I would guess that there isn’t a whole lot of it
The resort : Not a bad place, but a bit seedy. Plenty of bars and places to eat, but mixed in with plenty of lap dancing clubs….
Food : We ate mostly out our hotel and so long as you like meat is was very good, not sure about the resort itself
Accommodation : Stayed in Hotel Edleweiss and was very impressed. Rooms were clean, beds were comfy and the food was good and plentiful. It was 15 mins walk from the town which kept us away from the nasty bits, and gave us a walk in the morning to wake us up from the nights fun and games. If anyone else goes there it is the one thing of the holiday that I would recommend without hesitation
Costs: CHEAP! The trip itself was not very much money, and you don’t spend huge amounts whilst you’re there either. 1 week lift pass was about £70, £1 per pint and a meal will cost about £5 per head. It is getting more expensive though as more people go.
Conclusion: Well it’s ok and nothing more. If you are a beginner and can get over the seedy feel of the town then you will be fine and it is worth the money saved from a Western European resort. Any more skills than that and you may struggle with the lack of variety. In honesty we had a very good trip, the hotel was superb and the skiing conditions were good to, but we didn’t mind doing the same piste 2 or 3 times in the trip and I know some of you will see this as a big problem. The hire equipment is not great quality, functional but not in the same league as other more expensive places. I think it comes down to the budget you have. If you’re skint but must have your ski fix then do it, but accept that it is cheap for a reason. If you’ve got a few more £’s in the pocket the go else where as the variety and feel of the town make the money well spent.

Borovets Resort Report Feedback Thread
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Resort: Turoa
Country: New Zealand
Domain: Mt Ruapehu
Author: Roger C

Date: 5th August 2006
Our holiday: In NZ on a work trip so couldnt resist some out of season snow fun
Website : www.mtruapehu.com
Basics : about 4.5 hrs drive south of Auckland. I think there's a daily coach but hire car probably best bet, this also gives the opportunity to explore on the way there and back
Lift system : slow chairs, t bars (not seen them before!) and drags
The terrain : wide open slopes on side of the volcano, pretty much go anywhere as long as you watch out for the numerous cliffs! Turoa has the longest vertical of any resort in NZ or Aus but at 722m it's not particularly long by European standards. Longest runs are about 4km.
The snow : variable, hard first thing, softening up in the afternoon
Off-piste : plenty of off piste including two dedicated "lift accessed backcountry areas". Had an absolutely amazing run in the "Solitude backcountry area" with a couple of the local ski hosts
The resort : sprawling town with plenty of hire shops, bars, cafes etc
Food : chips on the mountain were quite good!
Accommodation : can highly recommend the Miro Ridge at Okahune (closest town to slopes) www.miroridge.co.nz
Annie and Peter were great hosts and made me feel very welcome. Had a fantastic BBQ on Sat eve and Peter treated us to an amazing set of folk singing with his various acoustic guitars
Costs: NZ is generally excellent value for european visitors, eg soft drink on slopes about £1, beer £2, beef burgundy "dish of the day" £3.50 (would have been 10 quid in France for sure!)
Conclusion: had a great day skiing, was planning to visit sister resort Whakapapa on following day but slopes at both places were closed that day due to poor weather. I understand this is quite a common occurence.
If you are in Auckland during the NZ winter and have a spare day or two i'd recommend heading to Mt Ruapehu!

Turoa Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Resort: Rogla
Country: Slovenia
Domain: None
Author: Lynseyf
Date: 1st week in february 2006
Our holiday: 11 adults, 1 child. 3 good skiers, ie. will try anything, 1 2nd week skier, 3 beginer skiers, 4 beginer snowboarders
Website : http://www.slovenia.info/?smucanje=0 http://www.rogla.si/cgi-bin/cms.cgi?doc=12870&sid=lgOOmgc2HyC9RbxF http://rogla.dober-dan.si/index.php?lang=en
Basics : Flew from scotland to london, london to ljubliana, minibus trasfer to resort arranged through chalet hire
Lift system : 2 4 man chairlift, rest are pomas
The terrain : Pistes were quite short but this wasn't a problem as the queues were non existent so you skied right onto the lift then straight back up to the top. Not great for complete beginers as the blues have some steep bits in them but all our group could do them by the end of the week. The better skiers didn't get bored despite the limited number of runs, again because there were absolutely no queues so they could ski constantly.
The snow : not much fresh but good base layer so no dirty patches or rocks showing at all.
Off-piste : didn't really go
The resort : village down in the valley didn't seem to be worth the visit. Our chalet was about a 40min walk from the resort but there was a regular ski bus which we got up every morning. We stayed in the resort for dinner most nights, showering in the swimming pool or having a massage (about £15 for 1 hr), you could then get a late bus back to our chalet.
Food : Everywhere was excellent. The little local style bar in the hotel was especially good, on the first night we ate there I had a beautiful steak dinner and a bottle of wine for under £10. The local specialities were the best options, as long as you liked meat, venison goulash and squid stuffed with ham and cheeses were especially memorable Smile
Accommodation : chalet was good value for money, £60 each for the week, The lower level of the chalet had a bit damp in the bedrooms and the showers were rubbish but we never complained about any of this so not really fair to start now!
Costs: Flights, £80 return from scotland via easyjet, chalet £60 each per week for 12 of us in a 5 bed chalet, lift pass £70, ski hire and individual lessons about another £100 for the week ( private lessons were about £10 per hour for 1 person, less the more of you there were in each group, everyone thought their lessons were excellent) spent about £100 on food and drink for chalet, lunch and dinner out every night, lots of hot chocolates and rum on the slope, massage, use of the swimming pool, ski bus and everything else.
Conclusion: excellent value for money for those looking for something a bit different. I liked the fact that no one bar the instructers and 1 guy in 1 cafe spoke english, other people might not. Absolutely no british peeple, we were told by the 1 english speaking guy that we were becoming a tourist attraction and everyone was coming to see the happy scottish people Smile Guys in Hire shop very unfriendly and unhelpful at the start of week but like our best friends by the end of the week? Maybe just not used to tourists??? Lessons were excellent, instructors really friendly and helpful and really pushed you to improve. There is only 2 million slovenians and apparently 1 million of them ski so they have all been doing it from a really young age, prepared to be embaressed by kids that can't even talk properly skiing down runs better than you!

Rogla Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Resort : Courchevel 1850
Country : France
Domain : 3 Vallees
Author : FraserP
Date : 3rd week January 2005 (late posting but still relevant)

My holiday : A 44 year old on his first ski holiday in 20 years. Past holidays have been: Soll x 2, Mayrhoffen, Obergurgl x 3, and Sauze D’Oulx. This was my first time to France, first time alone. I decided to drive all the way from Manchester. Initially this was so I could do a beer and fags pickup on return, but mainly so it gave me an extra day of skiing. I only decided do this trip 3 weeks prior to departure. It seemed a bargain, but was it? Read on….

The journey : Manchester – Courchevel, 900 miles driving. Started on Saturday morning, crossed via the tunnel. Stayed overnight in a 40 Euro establishment near Chambery. Left Chambery v’early next morning (5:15 am) for the short drive (65 miles) to CV1850. I had estimated 2 hours, this actually took nearly 3 hours! Please don’t under estimate mountain driving conditions! I dumped my bags at the hotel, parked car undercover, grabbed breakfast, and with a quick change was ready for the lifts opening at 8:45. (Did I say I was keen?). By 9:15, 1 gondola and 1 cable car later, was at 2,700+ mtrs overlooking an ‘interesting’ red run. I was certain I’d never seen a red that steep before but hey ho…..! By 10:00 am, was in mid mountain restaurant with drink in-hand wondering “was it always that difficult”! The week got much better as it went on!
The return journey was a pain free. By driving it allowed me an extra 4 hour ski session on departure day. Arrived Calais late Sunday evening and over-nighted there. Shopping in Calais the next morning, finally across the water in the afternoon. I arrived home late Monday. Poorer, very tired but well skied!

Website: www.courchevel.com

Other useful sources:
www.les3vallees.com/uk/index.php#
www.maddogguides.co.uk
www.viamichelin.com/viamichelin/gbr/tpl/hme/MaHomePage.htm

Basics : To the east end of the 3 Valleys area approx 3 ½ hrs from Geneva. Other nearby airports are Lyon Saint-Exupéry 2 hours, Chambéry/Aix 1 ½ hrs .
Driving - 10 hours from Calais, less if stops are minimised. With 2 drivers easily do-able in one day from UK.

Via the main access road from Moutiers, you go through CV1300, CV1550 and CV1650 on the way. CV1850 is considered the hub of a group of resorts common referred to as Courchevel. Primarily chalets of all grades and prices, but a scattering of medium quality chalet hotels and a few very expensive hotels.

Lift system: Part of the interconnecting 3 Valleys domain. Mainly gondola and chairs, thankfully, it has very few drag lifts. It also has one of the largest cable cars I’ve ever seen, connecting the Verdun station to the top of Saulire. Inside 1 ½ hours you can be ski-ing in the far Val Thorens area. If you do consider doing such a trip to the far valleys, just don’t get stuck in a far valley. Unless you want a very expensive taxi ride back.

A hands free automated system now covers the whole 3 Valley area. Photos only required on season and concessionary passes. Passes can now be purchased over the internet before you travel and posted to your home address. You can buy single valley or full 3 valley passes. 3 distinct valleys, Courchevel, Meribel, and Val Thorens \Les Menuire. Actually 4 if you count Orelle. You’re also allowed a one day upgrade to other valleys. Also you can also use the same pass for one days experience in La Plagne area.

In CV1850, the Croisette is the centre for lifts up and down the mountain. 3 main gondolas take up the mountain, Verdons, Chenus and Jardin Alpin. Verdun connects to the Vizelle gondola or the Saulire 150 person cable car. From here you can drop down into Meribel or remain in the CV valley Chenus provides an alternative link, via Col de la Loze, to the Meribel valley.

A gondola and chair connect from CV1550 and a gondola from CV 1300. La Tania and CV1650 have no direct connection to the centre of CV 1850 but connecting gondolas, chair and slopes make the transition a breeze. Alternatively a bus service links all the CV resorts, but they can get busy.

All but beginners should consider a 3 Valley pass. For better intermediates or advanced skiers it’s a ‘no brainer’ get a full 3V.

A mini map is prepared daily that show which pistes have been groomed. You can get this from La Croisette and main lift stations. The reverse of the form even has a weather forecast.

The terrain : Vast! and primarily north facing. Not as sunny as is neighbours but this apparently helps snow retention. Tree lined around the main resort, well prepared open wide pistes as you get higher. It can feel very bleak and exposed on some of the higher chairs such as Creux Noirs. Ensure you wrap up well.

In the first few days of the week, Monday onward, the immediate village slopes seemed busy. As the week went on and people became more adventurous (or more tired) the local slopes became noticeably quieter. An exception was the start and end of day rush when everyone congregates at CV1850. On two mornings the upper slope access was closed off while the pisteurs gas cannoned the avalanche risk areas.

Surprisingly I found it very quiet on the slopes at weekend. This was particularly the case on Saturday and Sundays in the CV1650 area. I had the Chapelets and Bel Air pistes almost to myself! These are both tour company change-over days. In good weather the views from Saulire or Vizelle are breathtaking.

This was my first experience of France and I found some of the slope categorisations different to my past experience in Austria. It was ‘very open’ to alternative interpretation. On several occasions I found myself asking, this cannot be a red? Surely a black? Or is this a blue? Surely a red! With such an extensive area, widely ranging altitudes, open slopes, tree lined etc, you can experience different slope conditions on the same slope on the same day.

For Expert, and good intermediates, from Saulire and Vizelle you can access a myriad of red, black and off piste areas. Runs such as Suisse, Turcs and ‘M’.

The area is an intermediate skiers heaven, too many to mention all. Flattering red runs like Creux and Bel Air in CV1650 are a delight. For me, the more sedate route down Creux allowed access to the Chandrossa chair, this links to the area above CV1650. IMHO an excellent intermediate area worth a mini report all on its own!

For beginners the Jardin Alpin gondola takes you to beginners’ slopes below the altiport. The 3 main access runs to CV1850 are all green, several connecting blues.

Several Snow Parks, Epicea, Pralong and Verdun. Boarders should be aware of several flattish areas – Last sections of Bellecote, Col de la Loze and Indians.

Think you can ski fast and can stop safely? Above Prameruel, they also have a speed camera ‘Stop Zone’. A prepared fenced off area created to test you out. Full blat down the run, and then you have to stop within the defined area. A display then reports your speed.

Finally, below Loze, a world cup quality Slalom course that can be flood lit. Worth a bash.

The snow: Extensive snow cannons coverage on the main runs makes it almost snow sure. It hadn’t snowed a great deal since mid December 2004, the village still had snow on pavements but the roads relatively clear. Pistes were still good, very few icy patches, and these only on steep highway sections. Each night the piste bashers are out creating that perfect corduroy finish to the pistes. Definitely worth getting out of bed earlier for!
One particular nasty point was just after Vizelle ridge on the way down into Meribel, a whole width of the slope blue ice and it was the only way down! On the Thursday pm it started to snow and it did that for the next 2 days. This resulted in delayed openings of upper slopes while gas cannons dealt with avalanche risks. On the PLUS side, the main pistes had a 4 to 8 inch covering of ‘real’ power each morning. True almost surreal floating experience, almost off piste experience.

Off-piste : Didn’t try this myself this trip, as I was still getting back into it and didn’t know the area. There are excellent off piste areas, but real care is required. They run a weekly Avalanche camp training area, usually Wednesday PM. Definitely worth a look, if you are considering any off piste adventure.

For real adventurers (experts only) there are the couloirs. To get to Grand Couloir is an experience in itself and not for the faint hearted. I had a look but stopped at the barrier. You have to pass under the Piste Closed barriers and tapes, along a ridge from Saulire that has drop offs on either side. Definitely one for the experts or with a guide. Some of the steepest ski-able slopes in Europe.

The resort : The Forum centre has several fast food, sandwich, croissant outlets, coffee bars etc. Bowling, indoor climbing wall, disco. Bars range from basic such as Le Jump or TJ’s through to the expensive Piggys and Les Caves. If you are with people the immediate après ski amble (from slope to hotel) can some time become a bit of a journey. Dont get stuck in Le Kalico its open until 4.00 am. Most venues seemed too small and well overcrowded, but a good time was had. Recent reports and experience relate an increasing number of visitors from Russia. With, apparently cash to burn and an associated bolshy attitude. Anecdotal reports of Russian, London football club owner hiring the restaurant at the top of Saulire for his entourage, everyone else out! Hopefully this will not be allowed to spoil the ambience of the resort. You are as likely to see a Russian menu as an English one.

All the usual range of après ski activities, with the odd expensive alternative. Why not try ice driving in a Porsche 996? Only 230 euros per hours. “I’ll take 3 hours mate!” (Joke!).

Shops of all kind, but don’t expect a bargain. You’re more likely to see Prada rather than George quality clothing. Its’ also not the resort to consider buying ski gear in.

Food : Many local restaurants available, just depends how much you want to pay! With the many chalets, booking may be required, an essential on the staff night off. Prices tend to start expensive and get even more so. For meals during the day you can find reasonable café food options. Expect to pay > 10 euro min for everything though. If you are budget minded read the menu \ price list before you enter if you don’t want a nasty surprise. No McDonald type establishments (hurray!) so no ‘Royale avec fromage’.

On the mountain, the usual stodge is available with a few notable exceptions, but be prepared to pay the price. Keep your eye open for PDJ – Plat du Jour or for fixed price menus. These are sometimes the best value.

One establishment off the Bellecote piste charged 12 euros for a small bottle of beer, 20 euro for a whisky! For lunch time, if you wish to have group meal, ensure you book, it can get very busy. Recommend the Savoyarde speciality called Tartiflette. A mixture of potato, bacon, cream and reblochon cheese (apparently) I just thought it was great!

Accommodation : Huge variance in accommodation types from basic hotels, chalets hotels, chalets large and small to true French 4 star hotels with Michelin quality restaurants. You get what you pay for! Those establishments by Bellecote and Jardin Alpin allow you ‘ski from’ access to the CV1850 centre. Please remember when it reports a 10 minute ski to resort centre; it does really mean a 1 hour walk back up the hill!

I stayed at 'chalet hotel' Catina run by SkiWorld. It was just as described in the brochure, "simple accommodation, centrally located". If you stay here don’t expect anything more or less. General condition of the hotel Catina was tired and it definitely required much more TLC. The sort of place where they ask you for a deposit for your room key, I couldn’t believe it! Not what I’d describe as a family hotel, and at times rather noisy. Apparently you cannot expect adult behaviour from young Brits abroad nowadays, but then I am an old git, who cannot remember ever being young! I can hear the ping of PM’s arriving already!

Plenty of hot water and French ‘sit’ demi-baths \ shower unit ensuite. Room was plenty warm enough after they got the radiator fixed!

One downer was that a collective group (30 +, and it seemed more), were staying at the same time and monopolised the meal times. Again, maybe to be expected in such an establishment. Food was an attempt at quality but IMHO failed to get the grade. Too little and too tarted about, the ‘free’ wine with meals was out of a 5 gallon plastic keg. Breakfasts poor and very basic – generally disappointing. Several evening events on offer from torch lit ski-ing to the ubiquitous tobogganing (where would a ski holiday be without that!). Only minor injuries ensued.

The front of the hotel overlooks a mini roundabout; this turned out to be the chosen turning place for the snow movers throughout the night. This wasn’t conducive to a good nights rest. If you stay here just request a rear facing room. Its proximity the CV1850 centre and nightlife and the main slopes just 200 yds away made it a winner.

Staff very helpful, on day of arrival at 8:30 am, spoke to the manager and she offered to arrange my ski pass. I had breakfast and following ski collection, when I returned I found it waiting on reception! They did this while they were trying to get the hotel ready for the mid afternoon arrivals from Geneva. Well impressed!

Would I go back to the Catina? Maybe, but only after a refurb. and only if I could not afford somewhere better.

Worth the money? Despite my earlier comments - Yes! Location and helpful staff made the difference.

Costs :
Accommodation: £400 for one week (booked late and got a bargain). Single, ensuite, balcony.
Road tolls (Peage): approx £75
Fuel for 1700 mile round trip: approx £130.
Undercover parking (a must): £50
Ski pass 3 Valley 7 1/2 days (not usual of 6 days with a tour operator): £185.

Conclusion : From the comments you can probably detect I’m well impressed with the area, its space and uplift capacity. Bear in mind this was mid January and not peak season. So the space I found may not be the same in school holidays or Easter. In driving I wasn’t trying to save money, just give me greater flexibility and additional skiing. CV1850 is an excellent base, ideally suited for skiing the wider 3 valley area.

It is supposed to be the resort for the rich and famous, sports stars, film stars, football club owners etc. If you are sensible then it needn’t cost the earth but don’t expect real budget trip. If you want to spend £4,000 on a bottle of 1972 Petrus be my guest!

Would have preferred a better quality accommodation and a longer stay but at the price and easy late booking I was very happy.

The satellite resorts deserve a full report on their own and I could write a book on the car and travel preparation. But it was a real blast and I’d recommend such a trip to anyone.

Would I go back to Courchevel again and by driving? I have already been back!

TTFN.

Courchevel Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Resort : Orelle and La Tania
Country : France
Domain : 3 Vallees

Date : 3rd week January 2006
My holiday : Only my 2nd ski holiday in 20 years. Past holidays have been (not in any order): Soll x 2, Mayrhoffen x 2, Obergurgl x 3, and Sauze D’Oulx and last year Courchevel 1850. Approx 17 weeks in all. Own skis and boot now, following bad hire experience in past years. Both fully tried and tested before the holiday.

Following a good trip last year I decided to return to the 3 Valleys area. Leading up to the main holiday I got extra time off and decided to tag on 4 extra days. La Tania was the only place I could get into at short notice and a reasonable price. The Courchevel part may appear as a separate report later.
This report covers the 5 day period up to my main holiday in Courchevel. Specifically a day in Orelle and 3 days staying in La Tania.

The journey : Done this sort of trip before, each one has its own character, never the same!
Manchester – Courchevel, total driving = 900 miles.
Wednesday PM - POSL ferry – Dover Calais.
Overnight Chalon-sur-Saone.
Thursday - Early start, (5:00 am) and, on a whim and en-route to La Tania decided to slide in (it was really out of my way though) to the far end of the 3 Valley system to a place called Orelle. The 4th Valley! Why? Because I could!
Arrived just in time for a breakfast, coffee and the lifts opening. See the Orelle short report below.
Left mid afternoon to arrive in La Tania in daylight.
Friday - Saturday, based out of LT.
Sunday - Journey to Courchevel, just a short hop up the hill, road conditions excellent. Dropped bags at hotel, park car in the Croisette underground car park (hotel provided voucher, saved 20 euros on price, only 70 euros), went ski-ing……..
Sunday (7 days later) - Return journey to UK, after 3 hours ski-ing, decent lunch at Le Tremplin.
Overnight in Calais.

Website: www.latania.com and www.latania.co.uk/

Other useful sources:
www.orelle.fr
www.les3vallees.com/uk/index.php#
www.maddogguides.co.uk
www.viamichelin.com/viamichelin/gbr/tpl/hme/MaHomePage.htm

Orelle Mini Report : Orelle is at the very western end of the 3 Valleys system, sits off the A43\ E70 road to Tunnel de Frejus and Italy. Approximately 1 ½ hrs from Chambery. Wouldn’t consider holidaying here, this was purely whim and a flying visit. It gave access to slopes high above the village and the area above Val Thorens. 3 Valley pass purchased. The weather was clear and sunny. The 3 Vallees Express gondola and the Rosael chair, walk along the path and though a ‘gap’ in the rocks and…what a view! Below lay the huge white expanse that is the Val Thorens valley. Worth the trip, for that view alone.
Decided to ski down into the main Val Thorens area, although time didn’t allow any real exploration. People I spoke to reported patchy conditions until a recent snowfall. To me it was fine. Many lifts an runs tried, but of note: Cascades. Moraine (Col was closed), 2 Lacs, Moutier, past a mini altiport, up Cime Caron cable car, then down to Funitel Grand Fond and back to the Orelle side of the mountain. 3 hours of almost non-stop movement!

La Tania:

Basics: A satellite resort of the Courchevel area, it was created as a competitor’s accommodation resort for the Albertville Olympics. Access is via the main road from Moutiers, you go through CV1300 (Le Praz), take a right passed the unused ski jump, sign posted La Tania \ Meribel. 1 ½ miles later you are in La Tania. It consists of 8 self catering apartment blocks of various sizes, two hotels, and a large amount of traditional chalets set in the woods above the resort. On the road, if you get to Meribel you’ve gone too far! Commonly referred to as ‘nestling in the trees’, this isn’t far wrong. It’s also said to be traffic free and an ideal beginners and a real family resort. Except for the main road, that’s almost true. Under cover car parking has limited height, so cars with roof boxes beware! I ended up in the road side near the chalet, but I got away with no tickets and no damage.

Lift system: This is a part of the interconnecting 3 Valleys domain, detailed information in contained in my 2005 Courchevel 1850 report. The main La Tania gondola is really the only viable way up. Alternatively a free bus service links all the CV resorts, but be aware they can get busy. All but beginners should consider a 3 Valley pass. Even early intermediates will want to tour other resorts. A mini map is prepared daily that show which pistes have been groomed. You can get this from La Tania lift stations. The reverse of the form even has a weather forecast.

I used it as a base to access the larger area. Also used the Magic In Motion Ski School for a 3 hour private lesson. Excellent tuition, well worth the money. Easy return access from the slopes above, but near the end of the day, as with most resorts, the few runs to the village can be busy. I spent my time across in the Meribel valley, hunting the sun.

The terrain : Tree lined slopes lead down from Chenus and Loze summits. Two main runs down into the resort, a roller coaster blue (called Folyeres) straight down through the forest, a wide red run (Bouc Blanc\ Moretta Blanche) down to the gondola station. There’s a free drag lift and a short run for absolute beginners right in the heart of the resort. Limited in its scope, there are better beginners’ areas in nearby resorts. 38 snow cannons cover the main run into the resort; this apparently ensures it is kept open from the start to the end of the season.

The opportunity to ski the much larger Courchevel and 3 valley system is the draw, but without paying the premium prices that are prevalent in the main CV resorts.

The snow: It had been a poor start to the 2005 \2006 season but a recent top up had helped. No doubt the snow cannon to La Tania had helped prepare the pistes. At 1350m it’s one of the lower 3 valley resorts, so some of the main runs were still rather icy particularly early morning. Little additional snow, just dustings, during my stay. The cold weather helped retain what was there.

Off-piste : I thought there was little opportunity near La Tania, how wrong I was. For instance, the aptly named ‘Plumbers Crack’ above Col De La Loze is one of the more famous off piste runs. The Courchevel Free Ride competition is held here. There are 3 routes down the Col De Loze to the right of the Lanches accessed by walking across the ridge at the top. These are known locally as Gasex 1, 2 & 3. There is even a route through the trees to the Folyeres piste. There are numerous options from the top of the Col De La Loze into the Meribel Valley (3 Valley pass needed). Keep away from going directly under the Rocher De La Loze chair though - it ends in a cliff, oops! Please take great care, every year there are deaths attempting such runs, even the experts get caught out! Get advice, get a guide and get the right safety gear. In this week alone 2 people died off piste in this region.

The resort : The main street has a limited number of shops and it would take you no more than 10 minutes to walk along it! There is even a supermarket. Rather small and expensive but what can you expect at 4,000 ft and half way up a mountain.

A small, close knit resort, it would be difficult to loose someone on a night out. On the whole, a good family resort. Several bars, the Hotel Telemark, Hotel Montana and Pub Le Ski Lodge are the most popular. PLSL is a family place during the day but gets a little livelier at night. Time didn’t allow this year, but another common night out is a trip to Meribel (taxi or car required) and a session in Dicks Tea Bar. Apparently, it’s the sort of place that you should go into training for, in order to do it justice! Cocktails 241, food, pizza, DJ and regular live acts. Opens 21:00, free entry before 23:00, remains open until 04:00. Another one for another time.

Food : Several local restaurants available, a good choice I found was La Taiga, classic Savoyarde dishes at reasonable prices. Basic Pub fare is available at very (for the area) reasonable price, try the Ski Lodge. Another good place to eat was the Hotel Telemark, up the hill, or via the lift in the main apartment block.

Accommodation : It only consists of 8 self catering apartment blocks of various sizes, two hotels, and a large amount of traditional chalets set in the woods above the resort. There are excellent quality catered and self catering chalet or apartment options. Just take your choice, but you only get what you pay for. I stayed at a place called the Mountain Centre. More like an advanced youth hostel than a true chalet. There were two such chalets, interestingly named A and B. Only one was operating. Some ensuite rooms, mine was not one. Found the accommodation rather spartan and lacking in atmosphere. It served its purpose, but I would not have liked to have been here for an extended stay.

Would I go back to the Mountain Centre? No Edit: Mountain Centre Ceased to operate in 2006 . There were better places locally, BUT not at the price they offered. I would stay at the Hotel Telemark or Montana; I have heard good reports about both.


Costs :
Accommodation: £140 for 3 nights. Twin, single occupancy.
Road tolls (Peage): approx £80
Fuel for 1700 mile round trip: approx £140.
Ski pass 3 Valley 4 days: £120.

Conclusion : This was an add-on to my main week’s holiday; I had a few spare days. The Mountain Centre chalet was the only place I could get into at short notice, so really I had little choice. I would have preferred a better quality accommodation but it served its purpose.

The dash to Orelle was a daft idea that worked out, I’ll forever remember coming through the gap in the rocks to see Val Thorens for the first time.

Would I go back to La Tania again, YES, but only for a few days and in better accommodation.

TTFN.

La Tania Resort Report Feedback Thread


Last edited by You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net. on Sun 16-03-08 9:39; edited 2 times in total
snow report     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Resort : Courchevel 2006
Country : France
Domain : 3 Vallees

Date : 3rd week January 2006
My holiday : Only my 2nd ski holiday in 20 years. Past holidays have been (not in any order): Soll x 2, Mayrhoffen x 2, Obergurgl x 3, and Sauze D’Oulx and last year Courchevel 1850. Approx 17 weeks in all.
This was a return trip to the 3Valleys and Courchevel, different accommodation though and wider ski-ing base.

The journey: Manchester – Courchevel, independent travel, driving. My 900 mile journey is listed in a 2006 La Tania report. No dramas.
4 days on La Tania prior to this period.
Sunday - Journey to Courchevel, just a short hop up the hill, road conditions excellent. Dropped bags at hotel Dahu, parked the car in the Croisette underground car park (hotel provided voucher, saved 20 euros on price, only 70 euros), went ski-ing.
Sunday (7 days later) – The return journey to UK as per last years trip. This followed 3 Hours ski-ing on the Sunday, return to UK via overnight stop in Calais. Remember no shops (retail\ supermarkets) of any worth, open in France on Sundays. Beer and cigs top up prior to PM ferry

Website: www.courchevel.com

Other useful sources:
www.les3vallees.com/uk/index.php#
www.maddogguides.co.uk
www.viamichelin.com/viamichelin/gbr/tpl/hme/MaHomePage.htm

Basics : To the east end of the 3 Valleys area approx 3 ½ hrs from Geneva. Other nearby airports are Lyon Saint-Exupéry 2 hours, Chambéry/Aix 1 ½ hrs .
Driving - 9 hours from Calais, less if stops are minimised and speed maximised. With 2 drivers easily do-able in one day from UK.
Via the main access road from Moutiers, you go through CV1300, CV1550 and CV1650 on the way. CV1850 is considered the hub of a group of resorts common referred to as Courchevel. Primarily chalets of all grades and prices, but a scattering of medium quality chalet hotels and a few very expensive hotels.

Lift system: See my Courchevel 2005 report for detail. Summary:
Part of the 3V’s domain.
Mainly gondola and chairs, 1 large cable car to La Saulire
A hands free automated lift pass system.
Passes can now be purchased over the internet.
All but beginners should consider a 3 Valley pass.
Intermediates or better skiers it’s a ‘no brainer’ get a full 3V.
Daily mini maps of groomed slopes.

The terrain : See my Courchevel 2005 report for detail. Summary:
Vast..
Amazing views from La Saulire and Viselle.
Huge range of slope type, for ALL levels.
Expert and off piste delight.
Intermediate skiers heaven.
Excellent for beginners, slopes below the altiport.
Several Snow Parks, Epicea, Pralong and Verdun.
Speed camera ‘Stop Zone’.
Floodlit World Cup quality Slalom course.

The snow: Extensive snow cannons coverage on the main runs makes it almost snow sure. It was another poor build up to the season, with little snow up until mid December. It looked like it was going to be a poor holiday. The resort pavements and roads were snow clear. Pistes were still good, very few icy patches, except for the odd heavily trafficked areas. Despite no snow during my stay, ski-ing didn’t disappoint. Just make sure you keep your edges sharp, what a difference it made.

Off-piste: There are many excellent off piste areas. They run a weekly Avalanche camp training area, usually Wednesday PM. Definitely worth a look, if you are considering any off piste adventure. Many Ski schools offer off piste group, when conditions allow.

The resort : CV1850 centre. Most of the main facilities are in a 15 minute walk from the Croisette lift office and the resort centre. The Forum has several fast food, sandwich, croissant outlets, coffee bars etc. Bowling, indoor climbing wall, disco. It also has the Kalico restaurant and shooters bar, live music and theme nights, open till 4:00 am. Other bars range from basic, such as Le Jump, bar l’Equip or TJ’s through to the expensive Piggys. Most venues seemed too small and well overcrowded. You are more likely to speak to someone from Russia as you are a Brit. The number of visitors from Russia appear to be increasing; and you are as now as likely to see a Russian menu as an English one.
All the usual range of après ski activities, with the odd expensive alternative. Why not try ice driving in a Porsche 996, to Parapenting. Such activities are only limited by the capacity of your wallet. Shops of all kind, but don’t expect a ski bargain.

Food: How much do you want to pay? For other than stodge, prices tend to start expensive and get even more so. For meals during the day you can find reasonable café food options. Expect to pay > 10 euro min for everything though. Snacks and sandwiches are available from Le Forum. Still no McDonald type establishments, the nearest to a takeaway was bar L’Equip and Kalico, who do pizzas to go. You can get everything here from Breakfasts to full meals. It’s one of the more reasonably priced establishments in CV1850. Do not forget to make bookings for the weekly staff night off if you want any real choice. The reasonably priced restaurants book up early.

On the mountain, keep your eye open for PDJ – Plat du Jour or for fixed price menus. These are sometimes the best value.

Accommodation : Huge variance in accommodation types from basic hotels, chalets hotels, chalets large and small to true French 4 star hotels with Michelin quality restaurants. You get what you pay for! If it reports a 10 minute ski to resort centre or quiet hillside location or ‘you can ski from’; it does really mean a 1 hour walk back up the hill!

I stayed at Chalet Hotel Dahu run by Mark Warner Travel. It is located no more than 100 yards from the main ski lifts. The staff were all very friendly and professional, they couldn’t do enough for the guests. For example, although the room wasnt ready, (it was only 8:15 am), they pointed me at the breakfast and even offered to send someone for my ski pass (I already had it though), provided me with a discounted car park ticket. I dumped my bags, parked the car, grabbed a bite to eat and went off ski-ing. When I returned mid afternoon, bags were in my room ready. One disappointment was the quality of the room - clean but rather dated. The paper thin room doors allowed ‘every sound’ in from corridor, and presumably out. The shower was the smallest cubicle I have ‘ever’ encountered. Apparently, some of the larger, front facing, rooms are of a better standard.

If you stay here just request a front facing room with a balcony, rear facing room views are uninspiring. Unless that is, you prefer looking out over the back end of other buildings.

Another major plus was the excellent ski ‘guiding’ service provided by the hotel, Two daily group options available (intermediate and good), were available 5 days out of 6, during my stay. This isn’t a substitute for lessons but it does give you a crash course on the resort area. Despite little fresh snow, the conditions allowed visits to ALL the 3V’s, with strategic lunch and rest stops. If you are past the ‘must have ski school’ stage then this is highly recommended opportunity. Many other companies only offer such a service on 2 or 3 days of the week. Be realistic on your ability and you will not be disappointed. I only went out with the groups on two days during my stay, I wish I’d been on more.

Would I go back to the Dahu? Yes. Tried to book for January 2007, but the dates I could go (and afford) were already booked. This was only May 2006, so, book early. Apparently they were accepting bookings as early as December 2005!

Worth the money? Yes, the convenience of its location, was worth the money.

Costs :
Accommodation: £700 for one week (booked Nov 2005). Single, ensuite, rear facing.
Road tolls (Peage): approx £110
Fuel for 1700 mile round trip: approx £150.
Undercover parking (a must): £60
Ski pass 3 Valley 7 1/2 days (not usual of 6 days with a tour operator): £185.

Conclusion : Similar to my 2005 report. Driving gave me greater flexibility, and allowed me to visit other local areas. Key difference this year was a distinct lack of fresh snow during the stay. Despite this, conditions remained good. An excellent location, I continue to be impressed with the area, its space, uplift capacity and also snow. It’s never impossible to have very bad snow weeks anywhere, but in the last two years, despite relatively poor November \December snow falls CV1850 appeared pretty good to me! Easily drivable from the UK. Resort can be expensive but on balance, the ski facilities it offers make it worth the money.
I can recommend Mark Warner Chalet Hotel Dahu and would have preferred a longer stay.
Would I go back to Courchevel again? Definitely.

TTFN

Courchevel Resort Report Feedback Thread


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Sun 16-03-08 9:37; edited 2 times in total
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