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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Resort: Krippenstein - as seen in Warren Miller's Off the Grid
Country: Austria
Domian: Dachstein West
Author: Debbie Manuell
Date: Xmas 2005
Group: Mixed group
website: www.dachstein.at (Currently german only)
Basics: 1 1/2 hours south east of Salzburg
Lift-system: Krippenstein gondola to the top not much else, Gosau excellent set of modern lifts good capacity
Skiing: Krippenstein longest Austria run 11km, but top off-piste area, no wide open spaces requires good technical level. Gosau 140km wide intermediate piste. Neither resort at all crowded.
Snow: Surprisingly perhaps, at only 2000m snow all the way down to resort at 600m, at Xmas! Excellent
Off-piste: Good level of ability required, no wide open spaces, but a real thrill.
Resort: village of Obertraun, small freindly place. 1 shop for provisions. number of restaurants/bars + disco. but not for those looking for wild apre-ski
Food: excellent value, eat for under £10 per head including drink
Costs: lift pass under £100 for the week, rooms from £20 a night, very good value, considering the range of skiing available in the 2 areas.
Accommodation: stayed at Obertrauner Hof, clean, very freindly, B&B £20 per night, no high season
Conclusion: going again January 2007. be prepared to travel 15 min to Gosau, for Off-Piste 'Rip the krip' as locals would say.

Krippenstein Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Debbie Manuell, welcome to snowHeads Smile
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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: La Parva / El Colorado / Valle Nevado + Portillo + Campo de Ahumada + Termas de Chilan
Country: Chile
Domain: Chilean '3 Valleys' + others
Author: Plectrum

Date: 26/08/06 - 12/09/06
Our holiday: 3 Valleys NE of Santiago, then Portillo and Campo de Ahumada near Argentina border N of Santiago followed by long haul south to Termas De Chilan finished off by drive back north via colchagua wine valley and punta de lobos surf spot on Pacific coast
Website : www.skilaparva.cl , www.vallenevado.com , www.elcolorado.cl , www.skiarpa.com , www.skiportillo , www.termaschillan.cl
Basics : Flight from London to Madrid, then Madrid to Santiago, then a 1.30 hr 4x4 hire car drive to Farellones staying in the Refugio Aleman. Farellones is just below the main resorts and a good base for all three in the system.
Lift system : in 3 valleys - Good, easy access limited queues, chairs (even a poma) and button lifts a little painful on the groin / butt for snowboarders as some button lifts are steep and long. La Parva is connected to Valle Nevado and La Parva is connected to El Colorado but for some reason El Colorado is not connected to Valle Nevado. You can ski it but there is no 3 valley lift pass just these dual versions. Portillo lifts are hilarious as due to avalanches they need to utilise slingshot 5 man drags! Ski Arpa in Campo de Ahumada was snowcat and Termas De Chilan was archaic chairs.
The terrain : El Colorado piste's are all very similar as you are just skiing down the same profile on different parts of what is a shield volcano cone, quite fast but not challenging. Valle Nevado is fast skiing, possibly the busiest
and has different levelsof piste available from average beginner to advanced. La Parva is my favourite of the 3 resorts as it has what feels like the largest terrain and some really great long runs. I felt La Parva was more for intermediates and above, and there is certainly some very quick runs for the advanced skier. Portillo was small but real fun especially in good powder. Ski Arpa is discussed in off piste. Termas De Chilan was large but really a beginners to intermediate resort, after a dump it could have been more enjoyable but I preferred to relax in the thermal baths offered by this active volcano resort.
The snow : It was great, we were there for the end of the winter equivalent to European mid March to beginning of April and we felt the fabled Santa Rosa dump on our last day at the three valleys and our first day at Portillo where about 20 cm dumped as we skied during the day continuing into the night. Further south we found conditions packed and icy and learnt about how The Ski Club of UK wasn't always getting the correct information as it certainly wasn't snowing when they said it was!!! Our last day here it started to snow / sleet but this was to late for us and the vineyards of the Colchagua were calling us.
Off-piste : We wern't confident to ski without a guide but was told Valle Nevado had an awesome off piste route. At Portillo they have unmarked double diamonds which we did ski, these are short steep but great great fun especially in the powder. The highlight and I would certainly recommend every visitor to Chile checks this place out was SKI ARPA, it is a snow cat skiing experience for groups no bigger than 14, we were in total with instructors 7 .... only on the entire mountain .... at the peak drop off point (3600m) you can enjoy the famous Mt.Aconcagua in the background. The skiing was the most fun I've had in my life and the instructors were superb, made you feel very safe. At Termas there was alot of offpiste potential but it all seemed a little basic /
The resort : Valle Nevado and La Parva were small and pretty, Portillo is self contained and Termas was a cheesy holiday resort. Don't expect the Alpine Apres Ski, these places are designed either for ski nuts at La Parva, rich foreigners at Valle Nevado, Santiago locals at El Colorado, Americans at Portillo, and Rich Chileans and Brazilian families at Termas de Chilan ...... and wise ski sages at SkiArpa!
Food : Local speciality on the pistes are thin cut steak sandwich with guacamole, or a full meat bbq grill!
Accommodation : We stayed in lots but I will only mention HOSTEL ALEMAN in FARELLONES, the host george and the chef Chaquana are very sweet and so the atmosphere in this backpackers hostel is awesome. The beds are army style bunks, the rooms are a bit cold, only one of the 4 bathrooms really output hot water ..... but this was my favourite stay by far as to keep you warm the hostel has 2 large wood fires and Chaquana the chef makes the besty home made bread and hot SALSA sauce I've ever eaten!!!
Costs: Skiing is similar price to Europe, but food, drink and transport is about 1/2 the price.
Conclusion: Great way to spend the end of the Northern Hemisphere summer, much better crack I feel than summer glacier skiing in Europe. The off piste offered by Ski Arpa is a must, for all serious skiiers so peaceful so much fun. I would like to have gone to Las Lenas in Argentina instead of Termas de Chilan but overall it was an unforgetable trip. If I had to choose only 1 resort I'd take La Parva for overall quality and proximity to Santiago.
A 4x4 is costly for 2 weeks (£900) but it allowed us so much freedom to travel 600km down south and back again which gave us many different occassions during the trip especially horse riding in the wine valley and chilling out at the coast where the surfers hang in Punta de Lobos

Various Chilean Resorts Report Feedback Thread
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Resort: Ischgl

Country: Austria

Domain: Tirol / Silveretta

Author: Deliaskis

Date: January 2006

Our holiday: I organised a group of 9 intermediates and above (8 skiers, 1 boarder), plus one non-skier

Website : www.ischgl.com is the tourist office website, www.ischgl.at is also similar.

Basics : Ischgl lies in the Paznaun valley in the west of the Austrian Tirol close to the border with Switzerland (the skiing is cross-border). The nearest ‘well-known’ resort is probably St Anton. Convenient airports are Innsbruck (1.5 hours in a taxi (very good value Little Angel ), Friedrichshafen (1.5 hours in a taxi, and Munich and Zurich are also both feasible, although longer transfers. We flew into Innsbruck with Austrian and then took taxis to resort. Via public transport the nearest train station is Landeck im Arlberg and a post bus runs up the valley, but this is not very regular and the last one is about 7pm.

Lift system : Ischgl was in the DMS&S magazine last year quoted as having one of the most modern, fast and efficient lift systems in the whole of Europe. It is almost exclusively chairs (most of them high-speed), the only draglift we found was one that was to help skiers along a flatish section so not actually used for uplift per se. Access to the area is via one of the three gondolas which leave the various points of town. No queues to speak of the week we were there, apart from at skischool time getting out of town in the morning, but these were easily avoided.

The terrain : The lifts access over 200km of piste, and plenty of off-piste so there is plenty to be going on with for a week. We had a mixed group including mile-hungry piste-bashers, off-piste powder hounds and middle intermediate cruisers, and we were all still discovering new pistes on the last day of our holiday snowHead . Most of the skiing is above 2000m but there are a number of pistes which run down into town so ski-in accommodation is possible. These pistes are nice to ski in their own right unlike some resorts where the runs back to town are only skied at the end of the day when you absolutely have to. From the Idalp plateau and above the landscape is treeless (difficult in bad weather), and below the plateau, the skiing is treelined so better for bad weather and also very pretty.

There is a long run over to Switzerland away from the lifts which is quite dramatic, running between rock faces in dolomite style. This does have a long flat section at the bottom though which kind of ruined our morning Mad !

The terrain offered so much variety that it was suitable for all standards, with some great blacks from dramatic high lifts and plenty of cruising for the relaxed skier. Although, total beginners probably wouldn’t get the most out of the admittedly expensive liftpass.

The snow : Loads and loads of it, right down to the village. Piste conditions and grooming were exemplary.

Off-piste : There is plenty of off-piste, either from the plateau or through the wooded areas. Two in our group spent a lot of time off-piste and loved it.

The resort : The resort itself is quite big by Austrian village standards and very high spec with a wide range of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets (although real ‘budget’ accommodation is not very easy to find). It is not yet very well-known amongst british skiers and the majority of guests are German, Austrian and Dutch.

Despite its size, Ischgl does feel traditional in terms of building style and atmosphere. The centre is pedestrianised and there is an underground moving walkway linking one side of the village to the other. Apres ski is reputedly amongst the best in the alps - the village does rock with skiers (mostly still in skiboots) until the morning so night owls should find plenty to amuse them.

We had one non-skier with us and would say there isn’t a lot to do in the day, although there is a leisure centre with pool and treatments, and it’s easy to get up to Idalp to meet skiers for lunch.

Food : There are plenty of restaurants in the village, from pizzerias to traditional Austrian, to general alpine cuisine, to quite modern styles so something for all tastes. The ‘Salz & Pfeffer’ restaurant by the lift station is quite modern in style and very popular. On the mountain there are a couple of excellent pizza restaurants as well as the usual self-service affairs. Eating on the swiss side is very expensive and therefore not recommended - expect to add about 50% to the cost of everything.

Accommodation : We stayed at the Tanzer B&B which was just outside the centre of town. We skied back to the door and had a five minute walk in the morning. The B&B was excellent with all modern facilities and a wellness room including sauna etc.

Costs: Ischgl isn’t as cheap as some Austrian resorts, and as an example, we paid EUR45 per night for B&B (about £30). The standard of accommodation and the location was worth it though, but you won’t pick up any EUR20 a night bargains here. Ischgl is in general a very high spec resort and so isn’t cheap. However, we never paid more than EUR29 each for an evening meal which usually included three courses and more wine than I care to remember, so that’s actually quite good value.

Conclusion: I loved the place - very high standard of accommodation and facilities and masses of skiing, with not very many brits.

Ischgl 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: Risoul

Country: France

Domain: Foret Blanche (Risoul/Vars)

Author: Deliaskis.

Date: March 03 & 05

Our holiday: Cheap late season cheeky second ski holiday - three of us.

Website : www.risoul.com is the tourist office website.

Basics : It’s in the southern French Alps (nearest bigger / better known resort is probably Serre Chevalier). Risoul is linked with neighbouring Vars over the mountain, offering a reasonable sized area. We have been two different ways - flew to Paris then caught the night train to Montdauphin De Guillestre, and flew to Turin and hired a car for the 3 hour drive across the border, over the mountains and far away. Not a very convenient place to get to by air and the train was by far the better (and cheaper) option.

Lift system : Huge variance in standard of lifts - there is a mixture of fast chairs, very slow and old chairs, and horrendous long drag lifts that can take you by surprise as they are not gentle! Due to a knee problem though I try and avoid drags where possible and it’s possible to get most of the way around the resort using chairs.

The terrain : The skiing is relatively extensive: On the Risoul side there are slopes of varying difficulty (although nothing out of the scope of a confident intermediate), above and below the tree line, which almost all end back at the village, due to the ‘bowl’ type mountainside. There are lots of easy and very easy pistes for beginners and near beginners to build confidence, but not much on-piste to challenge experts. However, due to the bowl effect it’s a great place to start to explore safely off-piste as it’s almost impossible to get lost. The Vars side is more open and treeless, and most slopes seemed to be of fairly similar pitch and length. There are some great high runs over the Col Sans Nom which are usually quiet but can be terribly cold and exposed.

The snow : Both times there has been plenty of snow, but Risoul gets more than the average amount of sun so the quality can deteriorate by about 2pm. Grooming has on both our visits been poor with pistes and lifts not opening for sometimes days after falls, with no obvious explanation.

Off-piste : As stated above, it’s a good place for those looking to start venturing off-piste snowHead , as on the Risoul side at least, you would have to go seriously wrong to end up anywhere other than the village. Skiing is above and below the treeline so some variety.

The resort : It’s purpose-built, but not as ugly as many other purpose-built resorts. Most buildings are wooden clad and the village meets the piste on a huge sun terrace area. There’s not much to do in the village apart from ski, but it’s a great place for beginners and families and kids in particular at very well catered for. However, not much English is spoken so in terms of skischool / kindergarten etc. perhaps that would be a big drawback. I know that some of the tour ops go there though so maybe they would have some options.

Apres is not particularly special, but there are a couple of nice bars open until late and a few nice restaurants selling local specialities.

Food : There are not many restaurants on the mountain - most people return to the village for lunch, where there are about a dozen options all with sunny terraces next to the piste. Menus are pretty much the same at most of them though, but food is tasty and inexpensive. In the evening, the piste-side restaurants are quiet and most people seem to eat in their apartments. On this note, there are several fab pizza takeaways and chicken rotisseries plus shops selling ‘homemade’ meals in trays like lasagne etc. So lots of choice for self-caterers who don’t want to eat out every night.

Accommodation : Most accommodation is self-catering although there are a couple of hotels and a couple of tour op run chalets. SC apartments are like many French resorts fairly poky and shoe-box like, but adequate and very reasonably priced.

Costs: This is a low-cost place to go, except that getting there isn’t easy. We have paid around £100 each per week for accommodation in an apartment and the train from Paris costs around £70 so you can put together a fairly cheap holiday here.

Conclusion: We went back for a second time snowHead , because the skiing is pleasant, it’s sunny and cheap. It’s not in my top 10 list but has its attractions, especially for beginners.

Risoul Resort Report Feedback Thread
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You'll need to Register first of course.
Resort: Obertauern

Country: Austria

Domain: None, although is included on the Salzburg Superskipass

Author: Deliaskis.

Date: New Year 04/05

Our holiday: Two couples new year trip away, two later intermediates, one early intermediate and one almost beginner

Website : www.obertauern.com and www.obertauern.at both have accommodation booking. www.tauernrunde.at has lift info and piste opening details.

Basics : Obertauern is one of Austria’s few purpose-built resort set high on the snowy Tauernpass which goes from Radstadt south to near Villach. It’s about an hour and a half from Salzburg and can be reached by train (to Radstadt and taxi (or bus – not late at night) or by direct taxi transfer (good value and convenient if split between a few of you). It’s also possible to talk the Planai bus driver (headed to Schladming) into picking you up and dropping you off in Radstadt from where you can get a taxi to OT wink .

Lift system : Almost exclusively chairs apart from a couple of access gondolas and from memory two draglifts (in nursery areas). Mostly modern high-speed chairs with some slower ones.

The terrain : The ski area is based on the ‘Tauernrunde’ or mountain circuit which can be skied in either direction. It’s highlighted on the piste map in red or green and you can follow the red or green signposts when you’re out skiing. The resort is at about 1700m which is great for snow reliability snowHead but the only drawback is that it offers a fairly short vertical. There are 95km of piste and because of the circuit, you do get a fairly good feeling of travelling, but the extent of the area is not massive so you do end up skiing the same pistes over and over, albeit having great fun doing so snowHead . The pistes are mainly red and blue with only about 4 blacks, one of these being the fearsome Gamsleiten piste – not for the faint-hearted. The top is steep and mogully and once you have got on the lift, there’s only one way down Twisted Evil ! There isn’t however a lot of expert terrain, but what there is, is quite good fun.

My sister was an almost beginner (had one day in Scotland 15 years ago) and was able to ski the circuit pretty well by mid-week (I flatter myself that my tutoring had something to do with it), so learners can ‘travel’ almost as much the experts.

Most of the skiing is above the treeline and the area offers some stunning views. We were there for new year and did unfortunately have some problems with visibility due to the cloud and snow.

The snow : Absolutely buckets of it, and it tends to stay around too and stay in pretty good condition. Grooming whilst we were there was excellent (despite the fact that it snowed solidly for a week).

Off-piste : We didn’t do much off-piste on this holiday as I was spending much of the time tutoring my sister who was a beginner, and to be honest, I didn’t see a huge amount of ideal off-piste territory, although there was some. Because the skiing travels around the circuit, you always need to be sure you end up at the right height for the lift you were aiming for.

The resort : As stated above, this is one of Austria’s only purpose-built resorts, so it doesn’t have the typical charm and character of the Austrian villages with their onion-dome churches etc. Most of the buildings are fairly high-rise chalet style hotels, including some really gaudy buildings in lurid pinks and yellows. That said, it has a lot more charm than the other purpose built resorts I’ve been to, and the Austrian après-ski means that the atmosphere around town is fairly jolly. The area around the Latschenalm seems to be the hub of après-ski activity. Most guests are German, Austrian and Dutch and you don’t see a lot of brits around. I don’t think it would be a great place for non-skiers as there isn’t much else to do, although this is a good resort for skiers to meet non-skiers back at the village for lunch, as you are never that far from it.

Food : We ate in the hotel every evening, but on the mountain, the Edelweisshuette was good and the on-piste Austria hotel. The two restaurants up at the Seekar area were also great. There are lots of lovely traditional table service restaurants here which is nice when you’re tired. Food is almost exclusively Austrian and pizza/pasta based.

Accommodation : Accommodation is a mix of hotels, B&Bs and apartments, with most being hotels, all of a fairly high standard. We stayed at the Wisenegg which is a little bit out of town. It was great in terms of food and service, and we could ski in at the end of the day which is the main things. The local taxi service is very cheap and efficient (we called them at 9.30pm on new years eve and they arrived in 5 minutes!) so it’s easy to get around if you’re staying out of town. The village is a bit strung out along the main road, so if you are a family group, make sure your combination of accommodation, rental and skischool works as there could be some longish walks, although the place isn’t that big!

Costs: As it’s a high resort for Austria (and especially for this region), it is quite popular, and is therefore not cheap, but it also isn’t expensive! We paid EUR75 per night for HB (New Year week) in the Wisenegg which compared with lots of bigger resorts is a bargain. There is also a wide choice of accommodation with some youth and sports hostels for those on a tight budget, to luxury hotels costing five times as much. Cost of food and drink on the mountain is fairly uniform - EUR5 for soup, EUR7/8 for pasta or sausages, EUR10 for something bigger.

Conclusion: A great all-round resort, not typically Austrian but a lot nicer than many other high-altitude high-rise resorts. Good value overall.

Obertauern 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: Whistler-Blackcomb
Country: Canada
Domain: Whistler-Blackcomb
Website : Official Site (Excellent Site)

Author: skisimon
Date: 7th December - 16th/17th December 2006

Our holiday: This was my first DIY trip. Two birds were being aimed at with this one stone: Firstly, to visit Whistler in the winter, having visited it in the summer years ago. Secondly, to take the CSIA Level 1 Instructor's Course (which I passed Very Happy ). I was going to head to Soldeu for the course, but lack of snow lead me to head out Whistler way snowHead . (Terrible shame... rolling eyes ). I booked the flights about two weeks before departure, and the prices shot up a week later. I held off on the accommodation, and the prices plummeted just before I bought! I really lucked out. I then found the transfer via the official website (which, as I say is an excellent resource - you can book just about anything in Whistler on it). I went straight to Whistler Thursday evening, skied Friday through Saturday for nine days then went back late on Saturday. I spent Sunday in Vancouver meeting some distant relatives before catching my flight.
Basics : Whistler is in breathtaking BC (British Columbia), about two hours outside the world's most beautiful city (Vancouver). You may already be able to tell that this may not be the most unbiased report ever, as I have an affinity with Canada. Being coastal it gets tonnes of snow, and doesn't get bitingly cold like the interior. The flight from Heathrow is around the 9 hours mark, and I travelled with British Airways, having a good experience with them. There are numerous ways to get to Whistler, and if you want to hire a car (though I can't see the point), it couldn't be easier than following the Sea to Sky Highway (99) all the way from Vancouver to Whistler via Squamish. However I'd say the transfer bus is definitely the way for any sane-minded person to go (as the Village is fairly compact, and there are free-shuttles anyway).

Lift system : When compared with European resorts, the lift system looks very small. BUT, it is exceptionally well laid out, almost entirely detachable quads and gondolas and gives you so much vertical between having to catch lifts that it really makes up for it. Being (very) early season I can't comment on how it would cope with huge crowds, but it dealt with the numbers there quite satisfactorily.

The terrain : Okay, Whistler-Blackcomb is the biggest skiable area in North America, it's huge, even by European standards it's quite large. There is tonnes of good intermediate terrain, and there are advanced runs in abundance! I wouldn't really recommend it for beginners, but there are some nice areas if you really want to head there for your first tentative 'steps'. It helps if you like powder, as there's lots of it! If you can't ski it before you get to Whistler (a la moi), you'll certainly be able to at least link a few turns by the time you leave! Blackcomb (aka Mount Mogul for their complete lack of piste-bashing) contains the more advanced skiing, a gnarly mountain full of fall-line runs. Whistler on the other hand is aimed slightly more at the intermediate. The skiing from the Roundhouse and Rendezvous is fun and you can find some challenging terrain if you look, or if you prefer, you can put in quality laps on the Green and Red chairs on Whistler. However, the best stuff comes off Glacier Chair on Blackcomb and Peak Chair on Whistler.

The snow : It would probably be best not to mention the snow. Having seen the effect it has had on some people... rolling eyes I'll just refer to one night when 58 cms fell. (Okay, I'm in the dog house too...)

Off-piste : You name it, you can find it. Almost limitless. (But don't follow hels_t's snowboarder mates, you might end up in a hole... Embarassed ).

The resort : A very nice ski village. Split into three main areas: Creekside (the most detached), the Village and Upper Village. Village and Upper Village are separated by some parking lots, but free shuttles or a short walk are all it takes to make it between the two. Most of the stuff is fairly centralised and the villages are easy to find your way around, whether you be looking for a burger, a beer or a balaclava.

Food : I'll start on the drinks. I'm afraid that the Canadians may in fact be even worse than the French when it comes to making a good cuppa. They really should hang their heads in shame... The beer isn't too bad, with a few coming in as a nice half-way house between an ale and a lager (like Whistler Ale or Kokanee Gold). There is a wide selection available for breakfast, shortbreads and the like in Merlins or you can head up to one of the on-mountain restaurants for breakfast. I missed breakfast on a few mornings, so it's not my strongest subject. Lunches up the mountain are excellent. The restaurants may lack the atmosphere, or culinary pazaz of one of their French or Italian counterparts, but the food is still very nice, with a good variety at excellent prices (and I mean fantastic prices, even before whacking it through on someone's season pass at 50% off...). Try the chili in a bread bowl with all the trimmings, and then liberally apply tabasco to a soup to go along with it. Mmmmm. Tasty and filling. At the end of the day, nachos or poutienne (sp?) at the GLC is a nice way to round off six hours of skiing. For dinner, burgers are available everywhere, and they appear to be the main option. I also tried some lovely quesadillas at my hotel, and they were very tasty. Big, club style sandwiches can also be picked up fairly readily.

Accommodation : I stayed at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. I got a (very) good rate and a free upgrade, so I was happy all-round. The hotel has a ski storage/valet centre inside the hotel right at the base of Blackcomb mountain, so it is pretty much literally ski-in/ski-out. My room was very large and had a view of, um, well, trees... oh, and lots of snow! The only problem I had with the room was the fact that it took me about ten minutes to work out a ridiculously designed shower! The hotel has a bar, restaurant and deli-style restaurant (the latter due for opening any time soon). It also has a complimentary health-club, including pools, jacuzzi, sauna and gym. There is also a fairly pricey spa.

Costs: Okay, I splashed out a bit... all-together, including flights, transfers (at both ends), instructors course, lift passes and my night in Vancouver, the holiday came to about £2000. This of couse includes all eating, and of course drinking costs. Madeye-Smiley

Conclusion: Well, I got a qualification, I started linking turns in powder, I free-skied with eight people I had never met before (including two 'locals' I just started chatting to in my hotel's bar), met some snowheads (a first for me) and generally had a whale of a time. The long flight time, and overall cost, as far as I am concerned was well, well worth it. The question is, had I not met up with snowheads whilst out there, and been on my lonesome each evening, would it have been as good? I doubt it. Whistler may well become my first re-visited resort - Easter sound good!?

11/10

Whistler 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: Tignes Val Claret
Country: France
Domain: Espace Killy
Author: Shello
Date: 24th to 30th Dec 06
Our holiday: A week away with the wife to explore an area we had not been to before. With the Espace Killy reputation for off-piste and the SPOT zone, we were hoping to have a few off-piste lessons with Evolution 2 and check out some the more easily reached ungroomed but due to conditions (see below), settled on a couple of improver clinics instead and enjoying what skiing there was to be had. There were 3 booked on the clinic we attended so the instruction was very attentive and I can recommend Arnoud, not only his knowledge but also his good humour which made it a lot of fun.
Website : http://www.tignes.net/ http://www.evolution2.com/tignes/
Basics : Booked a late deal early December with Crystal and although they were pretty good for a major TO, check which airline they have you flying with. We travelled out with Astraeus (eventually a day late and only then to the wrong airport!) and the experience was so bad that in future, I will honestly never travel with this airline again. Coming back was with Excel which was much better.
Lift system : Lifts were mainly fast and modern – a few old bangers (literally on the back of the legs) towards L’Aguille Percee above Les Boisses and towards Roche De Bellvarde above Val D’Isere. Very few drag lifts in the area and the only drag lifts we used were the T’s on the glacier when the cable car was not running.
The terrain : Terrain to suit all levels although most of the pistes would be better suited to those more confident with a few weeks under their belt. Quite a few pistes were shut due to the lack of natural snow but by and large those that were open were holding up OK given the conditions. Highlights were around the Grand Motte, particularly the Leisse run and some softish stuff off the side of Grand Pre. The one grumble was that they kept the Cyclamen run open yet it was nigh on impossible to avoid the rocks coming through (as my ski bases testify). The links between the various sectors were open with generally minimal waiting time.
The snow : Given the general snow cover in the rest of Europe it was better than I thought it would be. With little over the autumn and no new snow for a couple of weeks there was little to be had off the groomed runs but these were generally OK with few rocks/stones that could not be avoided (note exception above) and the pisteurs did a fine job backed up with artificial to preserve what was there.
Off-piste : Very little and even when it did look inviting, it was pretty crusty.
The resort : Val Claret was OK (it looked better in the flesh than I thought it would) with a few shops/bars/restaurants around – enough going on with out being overly rowdy.
Food : Best place we found for a decent lunch was the Evolution 2 café (we ended up there 3 different days) in Val Claret. There are a few places opposite the Evo2 Café which were OK but nothing special as was the place next to L’Olympique cable car in Val D’Isere (so memorable I can’t remember any of the names) for a quick omelette or baguette – can’t comment on the places up the mountain as they did not look inviting enough to fight the crowds so we did not stop - it was quicker and far more fun to blast back to the bottom. For a top meal and night out La Caveau, also in Val Claret, was very good, if a little pricey choosing a la carte but was worthy of a blow out – also played live late night Blues.
Accommodation : Stayed at the Hotel Curling which is owned and run by Crystal. It’s appearance was a little tired but the rooms were a good size with bath, shower and balcony and the food and service pleasantly surprised me – the only thing they struggled with a bit was getting their act together for breakfast by not keeping the food/drink topped up.
Costs: Got a deal on the accommodation – prices below is based on two of us. Lift passes with Carre Neige was 360 euros, two 3 hour afternoon ski clinics was 140 euros, reckon around 25/30 euros for lunch per day and then as deep as your pockets go for eating and drinking out in the evenings (as with any other major ski resort!)
Conclusion: Would definitely go back – the skiing was good considering little natural snow so would like to sample the area with decent coverage. Our experience with the instruction with Evolution 2 was good and we both felt we learnt something as well as had fun. Val Claret was a convenient base with good links for the whole area and had enough going on to keep us amused in the evenings whilst still getting a good nights sleep. Not sure about paying full peak season price for the Hotel Curling but is certainly worth considering if you go low season or get a good deal.

Tignes 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.
Resort: La Plagne (Belle Plagne)
Country: France (Savoie Region)
Domain: Paradiski
Author: Specialman.

Date: 6/1/2007 - 13/1/2007
Our holiday: Five people all together; three total beginners (including myself) and two with roughly five weeks experience each. All snowboarding.
Website : www.la-plagne.com, www.paradiski.com
Basics : Located in the Savoie region of the Alps, La Plagne is part of the Paradiski domain that also includes Les Arcs. It's accessible from Grenoble, Lyon (where our group flew to), Geneva and Turin. The coach from Lyon took roughly three and a half hours but that included dropping off travellers at several different hotels and apartments before we recahced Belle Plagne.
Lift system : Made up of several 'villages' La Plagne is a huge area that is really easy to navigate. Because the majority of our group were beginners, we didn't relish using draglifts but we needn't have feared - most of the lifts in La Plagne are chairlifts and cable cars. The cable car to Roche de Mio and onto the glacier are particularly good thanks to impressive views. The ski pass is a magnetic card (€3 deposit) that activates the gates as you pass though. If you can, wear them on your left though, as this is the side the scanners are on. In one week you can easily do loads of runs without ever going near a draglift andunless you can board already, I doubt you'll do more than a quarter of the blue runs - I didn't!
The terrain : Being novices, we didn't know what to expect but there was a massive selection of runs to choose from. Most of La Plagne is based around blues that vary from 'pleasant' close to the major urban areas, through to 'exciting' further up the mountains. Ice was a problem during our stay and some of the blues were quite hairy in places but we never felt in danger. There's a good number of red runs and a few blacks. Many of the blues above Plagne Centre and Plagne Bellecote feature too many flat sections that are okay for skiers but not so good for boarders. Speed seeems to be the key word and keeping momentum will see you crack most runs without having to step out of your bindings. If you are a total beginner then the long green run at Plagne Centre is a great training area.
The snow : The reds we did were full of moguls and some harsh rocks and became icy quickly. The blues carried a lot of ice on steep sections. We were told this was down to low snow levels in the run up to Xmas and a lot of people compacting it through the week. Still, the flat bits were okay to fall on and there was loads of off-piste that acted as a good crash barrier for some (me!!) and provided some good fun for the more experineced riders in our group.
Off-piste : Plenty to go at but we had a high avalanche risk at the time (4/5) so some areas were a bit sketchy. Would love to give it a go with more experience the next time I visit.
The resort : Our group stayed in Belle Plagne 2050m, which is one of the highest villages and the closest to the Glacier. I'm not well versed in alpine architecture but it was definitely the result of a post-Bauhaus design course! It looks okay and has loads of little alleyways to give it that quaint look, but if stairs aren't your thing then you may be better suited to Plagne Centre or Plagne Bellecote. It was quiet though and thankfully, the French don't seem to have chavs... well, at least in the Alps they don't! There are a few pubs, loads of ski/board shops, a couple of SPAR shops and some decent restauraunts. It's easy to get to Plagne Bellecote – there are a few short runs and the Bellecote cable car that take you there in minutes – but to get to Plagne Centre you have to either board or ski over, or catch the bus, that departs every 30 minutes (it's free). We didn't access Aime La Plagne, Plagne Villages, Plagne 1800 or Plagne Montalbert simply because we had so much boarding on our doorstep.
Food : The restaurants in Belle Plagne were cosy and had a prety good selection of food, although there's a distinct absence of chicken for some reason! Don't worry though, it's not all horse! Everywhere does fondue and raqculette but all meal portions seem to be a bit sparse if you're a big eater. Le Clocke was the best (awesome pasta) but did wierd pizza with a fried egg and bolognese sauce on top... nice but strange to look at!
Accommodation : We stayed at Pierre & Vacances Andromeda building in a 4/6 person apartment. It wasn't the Ritz but we just needed somewhere to crash on a night. The kitchen did us proud (cottage pie for five was our best achievement) and the two bathrooms were a blessing to speed up get ready on a night. There was a double bed upstairs, two bunks in the entrance room and one sofa turned into a double. There was also another sofa so you could have slept 7, but it would have been a squeeze. It was clean, warm and we could ski to our door. We also had the SPAR opposite (great for beer runs) and the ski shop outside the door. The balcony served as our board storage area but there was a drying room downstairs for guests.
Costs: We booked our holiday through Crystal about four weeks before flying, therefore getting a late deal price of £180 each. This included accomodation, transfers and flights with British Airways from Birmingham to Lyon. We had to pay £15 extra for each board bag but BA never checked how many boards were in so between the five of us we only had to take three board bags - result! Ski passes were €192, which works out about £130. Expect to pay €4-5 for a beer (the same for a coffee or a lemonade), €20-25 for a main course,
Conclusion: As a first resort La Plagne is brilliant. It's got more runs than you can shake a binding at, isn't too spread out that you feel lost as soon as you step from your door and is varied to suit many abilities. Okay, it's expensive at times but you can do it on the cheap by staying in and drinking the local brew at home rather than in the pub. Crystal Ski did us proud and I'd recommend them to anyone looking for a good tour operator and although the the snow conditions were a bit ropey towards the end of our stay, never once did my smile fade. La Plagne is definitely going to be my next destination.... roll On March 2007!!! Very Happy Very Happy

La Plagne Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Resort: Breckenridge (+ Vail and Keystone, day each)
Country: United States of Americstan
Domain: None
Author: Hobbiteater

Date: 27th Jan 2007 to 3rd Feb 2007
Our holiday: Hobbiteater (intermediate piste basher) and Mrs (3 weeks plus coming back from knee op)
Website : www.breckenridge.com
Basics : Colorado, Thomsonfly cattle-flight from Gatwick to Denver 10hrs. Bus transfer 2hrs
Lift system : Modern Fast (all 3 resorts) - status board indicates if there is a queue. I have a picture of such an occurrence - there are 20 people ahead of me wink
The terrain : Breck - 4 "mountains" - (read different sectors of the same long hill on one side of a wide valley.) all with similar runs through the trees. Peak 7 blues were rolling - on the other hills pisted runs were flat inclines if that makes sense... Blacks under lift 6 good fun and do-able by intermediates. Generally runs were either pisted or "Bumps". Peak 9 would be excellent to learn on. Peak 10 had some good blue-blacks.
Vail - only a day but Blue sky was awesome with pisted runs through the trees ie lots of clumps of trees in a big area in the piste as opposed to at its sides. Back bowls were huge but pretty similar. Front side had some good runs and a sense of travel but horrible views of the I70 motorway. Claims the most groomed runs on the planet - not sure if this was number, kms or that extent to which each groomed run was groomed - seems a typical US style claim where "world = state or perhaps the whole US"
Keystone - seamed quite small but it was in a blizzard so most exploring was limited to the hot choc purveyors...
The snow : 50cm in 3 days - say no more. Actually before the snow came during the first 3 days some of the slopes where "fast conditions" and a little scoured in a very few places. Last day was 60mph winds and -65F wind chill at Breck which mostly closed down. We went to the more sheltered Keystone but it was still a bit parky
Off-piste : Breck - under lift 6 and the t-bar was unbashed - the high double diamonds were a bit extreme for me but looked good. - some walking
Vail - back bowls tracked out when we where there (before the above mentioned 50cms) but they are huge and not all scary steep - at least in some places. Blue Sky Basin although was in good shape.
The resort : Beck was a nice town with a resort feel. Good vistas and quite quiet with traffic.
Food : Breck Brewery good cheap food, nice beer (and next to Hotel). Mi Casa nice Mexican. Rasta Pasta different and large portions.
Accommodation : Breck Mountain Lodge. Nothing flash but all fair. A bit tired but clean and functional. Good location.
Costs: Eating out was cheap (even cheaper if you tip like a European). Ski Hire was European price. Lift Pass was expensive and I dont abide by the "but the US have to cover insurance against suits etc" as Co law explicitly prevents this. Package was cheap and discounted. Samnaun in March will cost more.
Conclusion: Good holiday, good skiing. Miss the satisfaction of having barged your way to the front of the lift queue - -no sense of achievement wink
Would recommend staying in Breck with a car and doing 2 days Breckenridge, 2 days Vail and 2 days in each of Keystone or Copper mountain.

Breckenridge Resort Report Feedback Thread


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Tue 20-02-07 23:10; edited 1 time in total
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Resort: Borovets

Country: Bulgaria

Domain: None

Author: Furbag

Date: 3rd Feb - 10th Feb 2007

Our holiday: This was my 2nd Skiing holiday the first being in Tremblant with a report here http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewpost.php?p=161772 .
This time my wife stayed at home and I took my best friend Andy with me, who is a total novice apart from a 4hr course in a snow dome. I had not skied really since Tremblant apart from a few snowdome trips. We booked Borovets mainly due to price and good reports including Stevec's one here http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewpost.php?p=360773

Website : http://www.bulgariaski.com/ but also a google for skidvd might throw up something interesting.

Basics : Flight time should have been just on 3 hrs with a 1.5hr transfer but it all started to go wrong when we arrived at Gatwick to be told the flight would not be going to Sofia airport but we are now on a new flight to Plovdiv which now made the transfer go up to 3hrs and the flight time increase by 1/2 hr !!!! all due to rubber band airways who downgraded the orginal aircraft.

Lift system : One gondola, three quad chairs and eight button lifts, two of which are parallel jobs one being faster than the other. Having never really done button lifts I was surprised how fast the high speed buttons where !!! they are not for the faint hearted!!! The top section of the gondola can easily get closed due to high winds, I never suffered this while I was there mind you, but I had heard others say it had been closed for half of the week before due to winds !!

The terrain : There is two main areas, one being right infront of the resort at the foot of the mountain and one being acessed from the gondola on the top of the mountian which does have a really good green run that is wide and very gental and is a must for learners. I would use this every morning to warm up on as I am still very much a early learner. BUT I must warn you the only way back down the mountian from the top is either by the gondola or a so called green run which can in no way be called a green run !!!! so if you go up there and cannot either walk or ski blues with a bit of red back to the middle station of the gondola then expect a hard walk!! The bashers where out two or three times a day so it looks like they have improved the piste maintenance since Stevec's visit.

The snow : We were lucky and the resort had a dump about week before we arrived and then another big one the day after we arrived BUT by the end of the week the lower slopes were pretty much shot and the top of the mountian was wearing pretty thin, reports from the instructors seemed that season was moving later and now the better snow was late Feb to March rather than Jan to Feb. They also where saying that 2007 was the worst year for snow. As we left I felt sorry for the newcomers as there really wasnt much in the way of snow left and by the looks of it they still havent got any more !!

Off-piste : Yeah right , I need to actually ski first LOL

The resort : I found the resort quite nice and pretty especially when it had snowed over night. There are lots of nice little welcoming bars, yes theres the odd lapdancing place and erotic clubs etc but these never bothered us and they didnt really shout at you too much. I did get anouyed with the people standing outside their bars telling me how wonderful their bar/restraunt was and that you must come in for a drink etc etc I cant understand why they do this as it actually puts me off the bar. If I want to go into a bar I'll make my own own mind up and I dont need some bulgarian in broken english telling me that I need to go in their bar !!! Otherwise its fine, yes if you look around you will find the ladies of the night, but to be honest they dont bother you and you have to look quite hard, my mate was asked only the once "do you like" from what he decided later was a pimp LOL and I was asked once if I would like Coke ( not the drink) !! But then I think you can find this sort of thing anywhere really and I certainly felt safe in the resort. Couple of places I didnt like was the "BuzBar" (in the main street) and the "Irish Bar" (at the Flora) both of these in my book are aimed very much at the "I am a sad UK tourist with mug written on my forehead" I won't post in public why I didnt like them but if you PM me I'll tell you why they left me with a sour taste.

Food : We ate all over the place and found all the places to serve very good food, it tended to be quite bulgarian so you have to like meat, Vegies go else where, having said that there is still a fair few vegie options about, its also very cheap and you should be able to get a good meal and a drink for about £6. Watch out for things called meat balls as these are more like our burgers and one of our group ordered 2 burgers thinking he was ordering 2 meat balls and ended up with two plates of food with a burger on each. Hot chocolate with brandy goes down well, also look out for hot wine another tastey warmer.

Accommodation : Right well we stayed at the Hotel Edleweiss purely on Stevec's report http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewpost.php?p=360773 as we had heard some other reports on the big Rila hotel as being not very good. So what did we think of the Edleweiss, to be honest it was what I expected, and fairly similar to Stevec's report but I had hoped it was going to be a bit better. I would say if you can get into the Bor hotel, which is its sister hotel, I would go there as this seems to be a much nicer hotel and talking to the staff the manager of the Bor wants the place to be nice and homely and this really shows, we gave up using the Edleweiss bar that was in the basement after the first night and would take the 2 mins walk to the Bor hotel and use that bar as it was far nicer and homely. Yes both the Edleweiss and the Bor are about a 15min walk from the center and we started by walking everywhere but soon started using the Taxis or horse drawn carraiges which where all 10levs for anywhere in the resort ( about £3.50 ) Food at the Edleweiss was ok and plentiful nothing special but make sure you go for the Bulgrian stuff rather than their attempt to cook UK food as its pretty dire. A top tip if you want a Balcony at the Edleweiss is to book the third floor room and any odd number as these are the ONLY rooms that have a balcony, you might ask why but it just is nice to have somewhere to put stuff or if you are a smoker you can go onto the balcony for your fix.

Costs: As its cheap you cant knock it , we paid about £300 for a week some had paid a lot less and when you look at the fact I paid £350 just for my SkiPack for 3 days in Tremblant you cant go wrong. I would say its a "must" to buy your lift pass or SkiPack when you book, we didnt hoping to get a bargain out there but failed and it cost us about £60 MORE , big mistake. As I've said before food and drinks are pretty cheap with a beer costing about £1.25 and a meal costing around £6. I took out £300 worth of spending money and bought back more than hundered quid. I lived like a king and tipped like a king, which does payoff in the long run. Tipping is about 10%.

Conclusion:Overal the resort was great and as I've only got Tremblant to compare it with, I found it to be very good, certainly a LOT cheaper than Tremblant. It did seem more spread out than I was expecting and I did feel I did a lot more staggering about with my ski boots on compared with Tremblant. Would I go back........yes purely based on price. As for it being a good resort for beginers/intermediates I would beg to differ. I am now fairly good at parallel turns but felt there wasnt much for me there, but this is just a personal thing as I did like the long green runs of Tremblant which you could bumble along over many K's, there only seemed to be one run like this at Boro and that would get overcrowded and ice up, there is another long green but our instructor said even though it was marked as a green its very narrow and shouldnt be marked as a green. The blue runs just seemed too short for my liking and if you are only a beginer and they shut the top of the gondola then you could be really up the creek. I like to do nice long runs (ok they are only green ones ) in shorter and shorter times as this way I know I'm improving but with so little long green runs it proved pretty tricky. Having said that you must remember the price you have paid for the holiday it is dam cheap and its cheap when your there so all in all its pretty good and I'll be going back I think. May be not to the Edleweiss, not that there was anything really bad about it, I just think theres better out there for similar money.
All in all I think my report mirrors Steve's apart from the hotel which I think might have gone down hill a bit and the fact Steve says its OK for the beginer which is true to a point but as I am a little above this I found there was very few green/blue runs, plenty of reds but they are over my ability also a few blacks ( I can only dream of those) So if you want a snow fix its better than a snowdome, cheaper than other places but it does show, its like buying a 12" portable TV and expecting to get a 32" HD LCD picture, it aint going to happen. But its better to see something on the 12" than see nothing at all if you get my drift.

Borovets Resort Report Feedback thread
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Resort: Les Gets

Country: France

Domain: Portes du Soleil

Author: professorpool

Date: Dec 2006, February 2007

Our holiday: We have been to Les Gets many times, though this is the first time back for a few years (kids too small). Mission - to get the youngest kids on the snow and loving skiing.

Website : www.lesgets.com

Basics : Les Gets is the closest French resort to Geneva airport being only 55km and about 1 hr - 1 hr 15 mins away. By far the easiest way for a family of four or five to get there is by car. It is 10 hours door to door from Woking in Surrey.

This report folllows on from a 2004 report where details can be found re travelling, lifts etc: http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewpost.php?p=96740

Lift system : Les Gets town centre has two bubble lifts and an express chair serving the upper Chavanne area. By far the best lift is the Perrieres Express, which is the first chair you meet when driving in from the direction of Cluses. The bottom station lifts are packed at peak times, far better to do one of the following:

1. Get up the piste early and away form the central parts frequented by the beginners and classes.
2. Go up Mt Chery - dead quiet nearly all the time, nice reds and blacks.
3. Use the Perrieres Express to get into the Ranfoilly bowl and beyond - avoid the main centre statiosn at peak times - you will end up in a queue!


The terrain : This resort is definately for beginners ad intermediates, cruisers and families. It is also a huge area that will take the best part of a week for a slow young family to explore. Many o the reds are lovely groomed wide motorways suitable for one week skiiers (especially the young) so there is plenty to see. There are plenty of very very long cruisy blues - ideal for the kids and parents alike.

The snow : Very patchy in December but the main blues were open - meaning the main mission of that week, to have our youngest taught was accomplished. February was very well covered though rain in the early part of the week meant that for horrible conditions early. By the latter part fo the week this was largely ok.

Off-piste : Patchy and much of it was off limits in Feb due to avalanche risks (rain)

The resort : Les Gets itself is a charming Savoyard village. We always self cater so cannot comment inteligently on the restaurants. Prices are typical french, ie, quite high but still low and good standard compared to the uk.

Food : What we did buy was more than adequate.

Accommodation : We stayed in out of town apartments both times. Both about 1km from the main centre, both near the Perrieres Express. As we had a car, this had no impact at all - except to keep the costs down.

Costs: Accomodation was 700 euros per week for the apartment, this dropping dramatically to 200e for other weeks (we went Christmas week and half term so not surprising higher really). 35e per hour for lessons and 50e for 8 days ski hire for the kids (We have our own gear). If you are going for more than 2 weeks in any one season, it is best to get a season pass early (299e per adult and 216e per child). 138e gets you an adult pass for 6 days.

As a self caterer, some bits and bobs are cheaper to buy (by miles!) in the UK: Beans, tea, coffee, energy bars and the like from Sainsbury's are they way forward. Your kids' favourite cereal prepurchased and stuffed into the car is a good call too. Cut down on lunch costs by buying baguettes (2 for 1.60e will feed a family of 4 leaving enough to slice up to go with dinner) for lunch and you favourite fillers. Get your favourite condiments (ketchup, mustard and whatnot) by saving those little sachets you don't use (aherm) when you pick up your meal on the ferry (tee hee)..

Conclusion: This is an excellent resort with a good family focus, the high percentage of brits means that everywhere you go, from bars, to lift queues to problems, you will always hear brit voices around you. This is great if you have young kids and/or you are not a good French speaker.

The lift system and runs are excellent and fast, well managed and not busy - provided you keep away from the bottlenecks. Reds and blues run beside blacks so mum, dad and the kids are all happy - all at the same time..

The family focus makes it an ideal family location. I cannot see the value in paying massive hikes to the tour operators, visit the excellent les gets website and book your accomodation, passes etc, direct. Excellent deals to be had out of season too.

Les Gets Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Resort: Val d-Allos (Le Seignus and La Foux)
Country: Fance
Domain: L'espace Lumiere
Author: Roger C

Date: 16 to 18th Feb 2007
Our holiday: After reading about this area on snowHead s I decided it would be a good place to go for Mrs C's birthday weekend
Website : http://www.valdallos.com/
Basics : We flew to Nice catching an 8am BA flight from Heathrow, were collected at Nice airport and on the slopes about 230pm French time
Lift system : Mostly slow chairs and drags but minimal queueing to get on them so not a problem really
The terrain : Good mix of blues and reds with a couple of blacks in the two resorts of Val d'Allos: Le Seignus and La Foux. We skied the smallest area Le Seignus on the first afternoon and enjoyed the runs both above and below the tree line. On the second day we skied over to Pra Loup and really enjoyed the pistes over there BUT the pistes in the valley linking La Foux to Pra Loup were very icy and not at all fun.
Favourite runs included the blue Renards on Tete Vescal and the red down from the highest lift in the area, the Observatoire (2600m), both of these are in La Foux. The unpisted black from the Observatoire was good fun but a bit tiring as tried this at the end of the day!
The snow : Although like most European areas snow falls this winter are below average they have done a great job to keep the pistes in good condition. We were very impressed with the grooming.
Off-piste : I think the area has some good off piste but when we visited it was powder with hard crust where not groomed so we didnt venture off the pistes too much!
The resort : A bit spread out with the two areas but there was a free ski bus. La Foux is the busier of the two with much more piste and is also the starting point for the link over to Pra Loup
Generally very French and to be honest skiing there was a nice change from some of the places we usually go which are full of us Brits!
Food : snowHead Ben Wright had recommened the pizzas at Le Parapente on the blue run into La Foux and I'm very glad we took his advice. Yum yum, pizza for lunch cooked in a real wood burning oven - fantastic!
Accommodation : We stayed with Roy and Fran at http://www.alpsholiday.co.uk/ situated in Allos about 5 mins in car from the slopes at Le Seignus. Their excellent service includes daily pick up/drop off at the ski area of you choice which works really well. The apartment could sleep 7 I think and was very nice but in my opinion would suit 4 adults very well for a week, 6 if you are good friends and dont mind being a bit cosy! I cant recommend Roy and Fran enough and for a very reasonable 80 euros return Roy did a pick up/drop off service from Nice airport. The drive took about 2 hrs 15 each way.
Costs: Various lift pass options but all good value. Full day pass covering both areas and Pra Loup was I think about 27E. An after 11am reduced price pass was good after a couple of glasses of wine on the Friday night Very Happy
Conclusion: Certainly recommend a visit! I hope we'll get back there soon.....

Val d'Allos Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Resort: Arabba
Country: Italy
Domain: Dolomiti Superski
Author: Hoppo
Date: 10-17th February 2007
Our holiday: Mrs Hoppo (HappyMouffe) and I are thirty-something skiers with 11 weeks skiing experience. Our first UK half-term skiing holiday. We booked through Inghams.
Website : http://www.dolomitisuperski.com/ is the Dolomites Superski website, http://www.altabadiaski.info/ has a fine range of webcams - I used this a lot, the village website is http://www.arabba.it/
Basics : Arabba is in north-eastern Italy, in the Dolomites. We flew from Manchester into Bolzano, the tiniest airport I've ever used. Outbound transfer, by taxi, took just under two hours passing through Ortesi, Selva, Colfosco and Corvara and involved several high passes and twisty roads. Return transfer was by small coach, taking 2.5 hours, avoiding most of the twisty roads.
Lift system : We skied mainly on the area around the Sella Group, which is an interlinked area about the size of the 3 valleys. Nearly all modern lifts, some cute little gondolas with a central pillar with ski holders, number of big cable cars, a limited number of drag lifts - although a parallel poma / t-bar combination lie on the Sella Ronda circuit. The Dolomitisuperski pass covers 1200km of pistes across the Dolomites.
The terrain : Down from the cable car, gondola and old 2 seater chairlift are a great set of reds and blacks on a north facing slope, if you get off the gondola at the mid-station there a couple of nice blues and a link to the Marmolada glacier over the Passo Padon. Taking the 4-seater chairlift quickly brings you to a big blue run area above Corvara. Sits right on the Sella Ronda route, took us about 3 hours to get to Selva in the clockwise direction and about 1.5 hours in the anticlockwise direction, about an hour to Hotel Armentarola for the ski bus up to the Hidden Valley.
The snow : On piste conditions were very good, a small amount of new snow fell before we arrived and a small amount fell on the third day of our stay. South facing slopes (off-piste) were looking quite bare, which I wouldn't have expected in mid-February.
Off-piste : Can't comment on this
The resort : A small village served by a fast detachable 4 seater chairlift, an old 2 seater chairlift, a big gondola and a cable car. The village is pretty small, there are a couple of tiny supermarkets, a butcher, a baker and two small ski shops. Beautiful location.
Food : We ate frequently at the Albergo Pordoi in Arabba - 20euro for two main courses and 2 large cokes, relatively quiet and a pleasant break at lunchtime. Pizza and pasta common, chips and sausage also available! 20euro seemed to be a fairly standard price for lunch across the area.
Accommodation : We stayed at the Hotel Olympia, a three star hotel about 0.5km from the village centre, set a little way up the valleyside. Generous sized room and bathroom, pleasant staff, good food, very quiet at night. The key feature though is the hotel ski room which is located about 10m from the Burz chairlift and 200m from the cable car and gondola. Hotel staff will take your ski gear down on arrival, individual lockers for each room.
Costs: We paid the half-term bonus, which only applies to the UK. Mountainside food was a bit cheaper than France. Lift pass was comparable in price to the 3V's (although in theory it covers a much bigger area)
Conclusion: Loved it! The scenery is fantastic, the skiing is excellent and the list system modern and efficient. Skiing the Sella Ronda is definitely more fun than skiing out across the 3V's and back. Definitely want to return to the area, quite possibly to Arabba - good access to great skiing, loads of uplift from a small village. It is really a very small quiet place though.

agavin has written an excellent report on Arabba here

Pictures here

Arabba 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: St Anton
Country: Austria
Domain: Arlberg
Author: Richmond
Dates: 17-24.02.07
Our group: The OL and me (both 49) and the kids (both 12).
Website: here
Basics: Based on St Anton, includes St Christoph, Stuben, Zurs and Lech (and somewhere called Sonnenkopf). StA, StC and Stuben are linked, Zurs and Lech are linked, but the two groups are not linked to each other. StA includes a second area, Rendl, not properly linked to the rest.
Lift system: Pretty good. An impressive new gondola, the Galzigbahn, in StA replaces the old cable car. Elegant building and unnecessarily fancy engineering, apparently chosen to show off Austrian design and engineering (good for them). Elsewhere, plenty of big fast chairs, a few smaller slower ones. The odd cable car. A few T bars and even a button or two. The old gondola up to Rendl is showing its age but does the job. The buses seemed to be frequent Lech-StA and StA centre-Rendl.
It was half term so there were a lot of people about. The only bad queue we endured was for the cable car up to the Schindler Spitze, although the runs from there are worth the wait, although quite a few lifts had 5 minute + waits. On the other hand, plenty were just ski up and jump on, especially on Rendl.
It is possible to go by ski from close to the bottom of the Galzigbahn to the bottom of the RendlBahn, by a combo of rope tows, magic carpet and skiing. Very nifty. Doesn't work in the other direction, though.
The terrain: The StA area terrain is reckoned to be tough. We found it more interesting than many other areas, but not especially hard. Little or no cruising, and almost all the pistes, whatever their colour, have some ‘interesting’ sections. Not my choice for a beginner or 2/3 weeker, but those who are up for a challenge might enjoy it. There are a lot of ‘itineraries’ (marked, avalanche secured but not usually pisted or patrolled); some appeared to be pisted, some not. One was particularly foul, because of lack of snow and poor quality of what there was.
We skied in Lech one day, Rendl two days, StA/Stuben 3 days. All very enjoyable, although Stuben seemed to be all ice or slush.
Weather: Hotter than hell. Sun, sun, sun. No real sign of snow (it managed a very feeble 5 mins on Friday).
The snow: Someone in StA knows how to look after snow. There was precious little of it, and it was melting like snow in the sun. Virtually everything was open virtually all the time, and in pretty good nick. I cannot imagine how this was achieved. New snow is desperately needed; the lower third of the mountain is brown/green, a few flowers out, all very pretty. The pistes were inevitably as bit icy first thing and soft in the afternoon, but in the circs, the conditions were fantastic.
Off-piste: Off piste was, I am told, ‘spring conditions’.
Instruction: With some trepidation, I booked all four of us into Piste to Powder, an off piste guiding outfit who assured me that they would instruct us in the mysteries of off piste skiing, for two days. Before we started, the OL very wisely bottled it; she really doesn’t like off piste (it was the foul itinerary mentioned above which convinced her). The kids and I turned up to find that we were in the hands of the boss, Graham Austick. We shook hands (I’m having reconstructive surgery on my hand soon) and he showed us how to switch the transceivers on and off, and how to assemble our shovels and probes. We went to Rendl, and did a few runs on piste so he could see what he was up against. He gave us (mainly me) pointers on what I needed to be doing to ski properly. I had said at the beginning that I might bow out on day 2. After a couple of runs with Graham I decided to bring this forward to lunchtime on day 1; I thought that I wasn’t fit enough or good enough not to hold the kids back. On one run, I decided to tell Graham that; unfortunately he pre-empted me by saying that if it was OK with me, he’d like to take the kids off in the afternoon and go for it with them, as he felt that they could really get a lot out of it. Galling, obviously, but spot on. We did a bit of off piste, which I found enjoyable but totally knackering and couldn’t do nearly as well as the kids. We did some transceiver work and had lunch. Graham was at pains to say that I would be very welcome to stay with them, but I magnanimously declined, and waved the kids a relieved goodbye. The OL and I met up and had a gentle, old peoples’ style, afternoon on Rendl.
The kids had a great afternoon and were totally knackered. At Graham’s suggestion, they did just the following morning, rather than all day, and again had a fantastic time and claim to have learned a lot, on piste as well as off piste.
I was very impressed by Graham Austick and his operation. He is good company, and a very good teacher, so far as I could tell, and obviously enjoyed introducing the kids to off piste. The emphasis on safety was good for the kids, as well as adding to the sense of adventure, and skiing with someone of that level of skill in (for them) difficult conditions has given them something to aspire to. They were taken outside their comfort zone, which is good for all of us, and thoroughly enjoyed it. From what I saw of the operation in general, I was impressed; it seemed well organised and professional.
I’m struggling to fing something negative to say about P to P. Graham is very enthusiastic; that’s the worst I can think of. I should emphasise that Graham was perfectly willing to take me off piste, but felt that the kids would get much more out of it if I didn’t clutter the place up being useless and unfit (not quite how he put it). He was clearly right, and I was happy to leave them to it.
The kids and the OL were delighted that I was chucked out for being U/S, and no doubt much amusement will be given to our chums when they hear about it. Do Saga do ski hols?
From our experience, I’d recommend P to P if you fancy learning how to ski off piste, and I’d expect them to be good for all levels.
The OL had an afternoon’s private lesson with an old gent from the Skischule Arlberg, which she found very useful. Annoyingly, she wasn’t chucked out for not being up to scratch.
The resort: StA won’t win any ‘prettiest village’ competitions, but there’s little which is hideous. Since we were last there (17 years ago?), the railway has been moved sideways a bit, which is in most ways an improvement, although having the train running thorugh the town centre was quite fun. The new station is still very near the centre - about 5 mins by foot.
There’s a new and very swish swimming pool complex, indoor outdoor pool with bubbles, currents to whiz you around, that sort of thing, and an outdoor swimming pool, a bit small to be ideal. It doesn’t make the most of the views, but they’re still pretty good.
There’s a good toboggan run at Nasserein (StA), over 4km, which is open two evenings a week, but it’s quite pricey as the lift (Nasserein bahn gondola) must be paid for. The shops looked pretty average to me, but what do I know?
We hired our skis and the kids' skis and boots (and ‘free’ helmets) from Intersports right by the Galzigbahn. Very efficient and pleasant, gave us what we wanted, gear all in good nick and well maintained. For €40 we could leave our skis and boots there overnight (all week); although our hotel had a ski and boot room, it was handy not to have to carry the skis and wear the boots while apresing.
Mountain food: Plenty of choice, but not so many little bars on the slopes as there might be. We ate at:
Berghaus, Stuben: In the hamlet, not up the mountain. Excellent grub - best goulash soup ever, other grub very good.
Some outside hotel restaurant in Oberlech: overpriced (surprise, surprise), dull.
Rendl: Typical industrial alpine catering, charmless but pretty fair quality grub. Watching the old boiling fowl tanning on Rendl beach is mildly entertaining. The only grub on Rendl (I think).
Albonagrat (top of Stuben): Small restaurant, great views, limited range of good quality grub.
Town food: Plenty of places, but good grub underrepresented. We ate at:
Floriana: Italian restaurant opposite our hotel (see below). Food OK, nothing special, reasonable value, good service. We ended up waiting about 45 mins for a table, not the resto’s fault, and they served us like lightning when we did sit down.
Hax’n Stub’l: Austrian grub, near Galzigbahn. Large portions of OK Austrian grub, cheery but poor service.
El Pomodoro: Pizzeria, main drag. Cheap, cheerful, not great pizzas but OK.
Hotel Schindler: Our hotel. Excellent up market Austrian grub, very popular, booked up several days in advance. Not cheap (about €200 for the four of us).
St Anton café: Smart place near the Galzigbahn. Food good in some parts, disappointing in others. Good lunch, less good dinner, and dire, dire service at dinner.
Ben Venuto: Above the swimming pool. Outstanding food in a pleasant place. We were given (rather apologetically) a table overlooking the kitchen, which added enormously to the enjoyment. The four chefs didn’t stop to draw breath during the 2.5 hours we were there, and the pace became faster and faster as the place filled up. One of the most memorable meals we‘ve ever had, cannot recommend it highly enough. Not cheap (about €250 for the four of us, only alcohol one bott of one of the cheaper, though excellent, wines), but worth every Groschen (or whatever they are).
You need to book for anywhere decent in StA, and I’m sure that the same is true in the other villages.
Apres: We visited the Krazy Kangaruh one afternoon. Very jolly, if a bit self conscious and institutional. Good music for old timers like us. We weren’t the oldest there, but only by a whisker (one of the OL’s).
The other main après venue for us was the oudoor Square Bar (or some such name), part of the St Anton Hotel , near the Galzigbahn.
Nightlife: Didn’t indulge. Little evidence of hedonism, but I assume that it all goes on after we were tucked up in bed. The OL and I looked for a quiet bar for a drink one evening after dinner. We tried the Hotel Alte Post bar, but it was like a bloody kindergarten, with (English) kids scampering about to the strains of a (barely) live Austrian C&W duo, so we ended up in Jacksy’s (?) Pub, which was fine (decent old people’s music, Doors, Stones, that sort of thing).
The anti smoking movement seems not to have reached Austria; all bars and most restos were very smoky.
Accommodation: Hotel Schindler, Alte Arlberg Str, about 3 mins from the Galzigbahn. . Small B&B hotel, although with excellent resto. Very comfortable, decent brekkie. We had a mini suite thing, with a sitting area separate from the bedroom, with a good view own the valley, the kids had a perfectly decent room. Very small bar area. The hotel doesn’t offer half board SFAIK. We would (will, I hope) stay there again.
Travel: We booked flights to Munich befor ewe decided to go to StA. Not the best place to fly to. We transferred by train, which worked OK (just) but took a long time. On the way out, we were able to dine in Munich and arrived in StA at 11.45pm (after 2 changes in total). On the way back (2 changes, different route), our train from St A was delayed by over an hour, and we made the ‘plane by about 2 mins (our insurance would have covered the cost of another flight if needed). Next time, we’ll try to find a closer airport.
Costs: About £500 total for the flights, IIRC, about €1700 for B&B and about €100 for the train (good value). Passes €194 each for adults, €116 each for kids. Grub what you make of it. Prefer not to think about total cost, if you don’t mind.
Conclusion: To say that StA is a great ski area will not add much to the sum of human knowledge. We had a great time, the kids loved it and want to return next year. The OL and I rather missed the ambience of eg Kitzbuhel, but we both enjoyed the skiing a lot. For reasonably keen and competent skiers, it’s a very enjoyable place. We’ll be back, I’m sure.

St Anton Resort Report Feedback Thread


Last edited by Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name: on Mon 5-03-07 13:38; edited 6 times in total
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Resort: Foppolo

Country: Italy

Domain: Lift Pass covers Foppolo, Corona and San Simone

Author: Elizabeth B

Date: Feb 2007

Our holiday: Was with a school group of around 35 11-13 yr olds

Website : http://www.brembanaski.com/ingleseski/foppolo.html

Basics : Flew to Milan Malpensa, and transferred by coach. Bergamo airport would be nearer. I'm not aware of public transport links, so it may involve car hire or private transfer.

Lift system : Old and slow. There are 4 chair lifts in Foppolo (one of these takes you from the bottom of the village to the bottom of the ski area), one of which is a 1 man chair!! Corona is lift linked, and is entirely drag lifts. Didn't visit San Simone as that requires a road transfer (via ski bus)

The terrain : Looking at the piste map, the area didn't seem to bad...but it appears that they don't update their maps, as several lifts shown (and their respective pistes) no longer exist!! The terrain is beginner friendly, although the lifts are not ideal.

The snow : 100% artificial....okay, not quite, but it was poor.

Off-piste : There was a small amount of off piste, which in better snow conditions may have been more pleasant than we found it.

The resort : Foppolo is a small resort, that gets well populated at the weekend by day visitors, and during the week is empty. I was there at half-term, and if it hadn't been for 4 groups of English/Irish kids, the resort would have been totally deserted. There was a fair range of actvities available considering the size of the resort (there is a new swimming pool complex, an outdoor ice rink and a couple of discos)

Food : The only place I tried was the K2 bar at the top of the Montebello chair lift. Seemed nice.

Accommodation : The Cristallo was in an ideal location, right next to the lifts. You could ski onto the terrace if you wanted to. Staff were very friendly, and the rooms were basic but okay.

Costs: Chips & mayo were €3

Conclusion: It was a good resort for a school group, as there wasn't really anywhere for the kids to get into trouble. They all had great fun and would go back. I skied the resort in about 3 hours, so wouldn't rush back! I think Ray Zorro did it the right way - as a day trip.

Foloppo 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: Kaprun
Country: Austria
Domain: Die Europa Sportregion (together with Zell Am See)
Author: slikedges
Date: 23-24 Feb 2007
Our holiday: Sneaky couple of extra days.
Website : http://www.kaprun.net/en/winter.html
Basics : Pinzgau, just over an hour's drive south west of Salzburg. Flew Coventry to Salzburg by Thomsonfly 25kg total luggage allowance including max of 10kg as hand luggage with skis extra at £30 return. Airport terminal about half the size of your old high street supermarket. Bigger than a Tesco Metro of today but the Tesco Metro would have better shopping. 0725 flight 1020 arrival. Only hand luggage so first to car rental which is on other side of the pickup/dropoff area outside. In car preparing to go at 1045. Straightforward drive, no signif traffic, good roads all the way until last 3 miles. Kaprun itself is low 775m so even then there's unlikely to be any snow on the roads to worry about. Parked at hotel at 1200. Quick change. Picked up pre-ordered lift pass. Caught bus to glacier dead on time at 1216. Arrived bottom of glacier cable car station 1230.
Lift system : I didn't ski in the Zell am See part of the region. I didn't ski in the small low Maiskogel sector which ends near the centre of Kaprun village itself 3 minutes walk from my hotel and covered in artificial snow up to 1675m. I only skied in the Kitzsteinhorn glacier sector. The system starts with 2 parallel sets of cable cars either of which go up to the 1st station at 1976m. From there you can hire skis and ride the chairlift up to the 2nd station at 2452m or catch the cable car up and hire skis there. Both these rental shops are Intersport and a fair number of the village ones too. You can return your skis to any of them and can leave them overnight in the shop on the mountain for free too, so no traipsing around with them. The 2nd station is also the main focus of the sector in terms of facilities (bars, restaurants etc). From the 2nd station there are 4 choices: 1) you can catch the 3rd stage of the cable car to the 3029m top 2) you can catch a new fast 6 seater chair to the point from which all the T-bar served glacier runs fan out above you 3) you can take a T-bar up half-way from where there's a snowpark or a ski down to another couple of chairs, one of which will take you up to an altitude from where you can get down to where the glacier runs fan out 4) you can ski down to the 1st station. There was only one old chair. The rest were modern detachable 4/6 seaters with canopy. On the glacier proper it's all T-bars.
The terrain : It's a glacier. Nothing very challenging. However nice scenery and good regular wide pistes, excellent for training. Not very extensive - takes half a day to know your way round. Won't need a lift map after that.
The snow : Lots of snow, hardly any bare patches on piste, no ice to speak of. All runs open and the run back down to the top of Gletscherbahn 1 was good - not even slushy. Off piste was variable, windblown crust, small pockets of powder, but actually mostly tracked out and not too different from skiing on the steeper pistes. Also the weather was good, esp on Fri with blue skies and only a little breeze. On Sat it was a little cloudy but still lots of sun and with moderately strongish winds at the top.
Off-piste : Didn't explore much, just the bits I could see from chairs and were well tracked or mogulled. Am told there are opportunities.
The resort : Kaprun is reasonably attractive. It's more of a large village than a small town. From what I could work out, almost all the major hotels are on one or other ski bus route.
Food : Excellent in my hotel and in the self-service Big Apple at the 2nd station. Germknodel, mmmh! And very reasonably priced!
Accommodation : Hotel Orgler right in the centre of town. It was the old village inn next to the river, 4*, well appointed, friendly Englisch sprechening staff, parking, 30metres from the busstop for glacier.
Costs: pretty inexpensive
Conclusion: Excellent place for a quick cheap snowsafe fix.

Kaprun 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: Les Rousses
Country: France
Domain: none
Author: homphomp
Date: 20 & 22 February
Our holiday: Didn't want to do a mega ski resort in the peak of school holidays (been there, done that, got bored in the life queues!) So these were two day trips out of a week mostly spent doing other things. Planned for three days but were rained off the last one!
Website : www.lesrousses.com
Basics : Les Rousses is a little known (outside France) ski area in the Haut Jura. We were staying down below the Jura mountains and drove up for two individual day trips.
Lift system : This is an odd sort of area....there are five or so small lift served areas linked together by a regular bus service. Each of the main stations has one chair and otherwise served by drag lifts (some long and definitely worth of the "Teleski dificile" sign at the bottom! There are a couple of really tiny areas with just a drag lift but we didn't get to these.
The terrain : The terrain is suprisingly interesting for such a small area....ranging from some fairly steepish greens through to a black or two. The largest linked area (La Dole/Tuffes) runs over into Switzerland and had enough skiing to keep us amused for a single day trip. We also checked out the La Serra area which again had some interesting skiing....but only enough for a morning so we hopped in the car and moved on to Jouvancelles in the afternoon. Sadly snow conditions meant the off-piste was skiied out but it looked like it would be great on a good snow day. There isn't enough to keep a strong skier happy for more than two or three days but it would be fun for a long weekend....blue run skiers would find more than enough to keep them happy for a while....the difficult drags would make the resort hard for complete beginners, the number of bodies on the side of the drag runs each time we went up were quite amazing!!
The snow : The area is very low, ranging from 1000 to 1600m so snow is unreliable....bearing in mind that this season has been so awful we were suprised to find relatively good conditions in the area. A couple of the linking sections were getting badly worn but otherwise it was pretty good....sadly the low altitude meant rain on the last day we had planned to ski. I don't think I'd pre-plan a holiday here because of the altitude.
Off-piste : Snow conditions didn't permit any exploration of the off-piste, but there looked to be plenty of opportunties to play in the trees and between the pistes....no doubt a guide would be able to find some good terrain.
The resort : The village of Les Rousses looks quite nice but we didn't stay there so can't really comment. None of the ski slopes is actually by the village itself so its a 5minute bus ride or car journey to the slopes from any of the accommodation in the village.
Food : La Taverne in Jouvencelles was excellent....limited menu (daily cheese dish, daily meat dish or sarnies) the food was delicious and very good value, just 35 euros for a two course meal for two with a carafe of wine. The nameless self service in La Serra was also great with good food and very low prices!
Accommodation : Not applicable
Costs: Just 26 euros for a full area pass for the day....very good value.
Conclusion: We'd definitely go back for a weekend trip but only late availability to make sure that the snow was in good conditions. It's not a mega resort but if you're into something different and don't mind skiing the same run more than once then it's well worth checking out.

Les Rousses Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Resort: Zermatt
Country: Switzerland
Domain: Matterhorn Ski Paradise
Author: doogo
Date: 21/2 - 25/2
Our holiday: Half term sneaky break for my teacher-wife and me
Website : bergbahnen.zermatt.ch
Basics : In the Valais canton of Switzerland (south west) - closest airport Sion but we flew to Geneva and hired a car - 2.5 hours to resort - you drive as far as Visp or Tasch and leave your car in carpark there - Visp: free carpark but 1 hour train journey; Tasch: paid carpark but 12 minute train journey - costs work out quite similar for a couple - if you had 4/5 in a car, it would be cheaper to park in Tasch and not pay the train fare - if the weather gets bad, then there are a couple of interesting turns on the way down the mountain from Tasch to Visp!
Lift system : Lots of cable cars (way too full - if you're claustrophobic, you're not going to enjoy them) but also a good system of chairs (some fast 6 and 4 seaters) and T-bars (if necessary). As the resort reaches the heights of nearly 4000 metres, the cable cars accessing the top are prone to closure in bad weather but there is a good variety of terrain even in that event.
The terrain : Long cruisy blues and reds - especially on the Italian (Kleine Matterhorn/Cervinia) section of the mountain (nos. 6 & 7 were our favourites). Also good reds, if a little tougher on Gornergrat side of mountain (a favourite for me was nos. 29 and 27 linking gifthittli to riffelalp - really good bowl section in the middle - steep but wide- great fun) Terrain on Italian section definitely easier than Swiss but nothing above good intermediate on the pisted runs (didn't try the ski routes so cannot comment)
The snow : Hard but good - anything under 2500 metres was looking a little grim by the afternoons - Zermatt missed the snowstorms of the previous week in France - was snowing on day we left and that freshened the slopes up no end
Off-piste : Very little fresh snow - so stayed on the pisted stuff (though all i would have done anyway would have been playing off the edges of pistes - must get the off-piste lessons soon ....)
The resort : Great buzz about the place - not as la-di-da as it was written up to be i thought - defo some older folks around but also a good range of 20-late 30's as well. Loved the T-Bar pub, the Vernissage 'experience' (bar/club/cinema/restaurant). Thought the Brown Cow Bar was over-rated. Papperla pub and nightclub downstairs the liveliest venue we went to.
Food : In resort, good range of food from reasonable Italian (Pizzeria Broken, Spaghetti Club - both in Hotel Post), rosti (in many of the hotels - we went to Hotel Stockhorn off main street - also Hotel Derby looked good but reservations required) right through to big meals (we didn't do this so can't comment). On the mountain, food so-so - no great recommendations - thought the Iglu Bar in the Riffelberg area was very relaxing - prices on the food as always too high ... but what can you do (we 'supplemented' our lunch with some extras from the excellent breakfast buffet - hey, it was high season - our budget was only going so far ...)
Accommodation : Stayed in Hotel Alpenblick - nice small family run hotel - on B&B basis - breakfast excellent (see above!) - rooms nice and well kept - small wellness area - best feature was its closeness to the lifts up to Kleine Matterhorn and Riffelberg
Costs: Lift pass for 4 days : CHF 268 (€160), Gold skis €60, no lessons, lunch - minimal, dinners - €20 per head plus drinks; great cocktails in Vernissage (not cheap though ...) - best caipirinha I've had outside of Portugal (never been to Brazil) - good value at c.€10
Conclusion: Excellent place - my wife and I are enthusiastic intermediate skiers and we covered a lot of the terrain in our 4 days and really enjoyed the slopes - off slope, the town has plenty of atmosphere - would return in a flash. My only note of caution would be for beginners - didn't see an awful lot of good starter slopes so this place might not be the best place to bring a cautious first-timer (especially if they don't like heights!!!)

Feedback Thread for Zermatt
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Resort: Samoens
Country: France
Domain: Grand Massif
Author: Martin Nicholas

Date: February ‘07
Our holiday: Family trip (2 adults 4 teenage girls
Website: Very clunky old fashioned resort website Samoens , Webcams Grand Massif webcams , Ski Club information here and weather GSF for the area
Basics: Fly to Geneva which has transformed since I was last there 5 years ago into an efficient if crowded airport tuned in to mass transits of skiers. Hire a car through Car Jet who won best car rental agency of the year 2006, and avoid the Hertz / Europcar queues. In less than an hour you are pulling into the square of this listed historic monument of a village, with lots of character and a very French atmosphere, and incredibly welcoming locals.
Lift system: Like the website the Samoens end of the Grand Massif is a bit clunky and poorly thought through. A 4 man egg and 8 man gondola feed a slow non detachable pair of chairs, 1 2-man and 1 3-man, so unless you are up to the plateau at 1600 by 9 am it can ba a wait of up to 30 mins to get out of Samoens. Similarly coming home the 8 man out of Flaine feeds a 4 man up to Les Carroz, Morrilon and Samoens. The area is in need of some more investment to keep pace with Les Arcs, 3V, Esp Killy etc. The crux of the system is the Tete de Saix where Les Carroz, Morrilon and Samoens link together, and 1 lift away is the 1 run in each direction link to Flaine which is vulnerable to poor snow or high winds – be warned!
The terrain: Some lovely tree lined runs. Down to Samoens they are Black or red, but 1 ridge over to Les Carroz or Morrillon and there are lovely cruisy blues and reds. The link to Flaine is a moderate if somewhat ice prone blue. The area suits intermediates rather than thrill seekers, is very scenic, but is short of safe off piste without a guide.
The snow: Thin up top, more like Scotland at Samoens 1600, but they kept it all going in a brown slushy sort of wak on chair lift landings and essential linking runs.
Off-piste: Limited on this trip due to thin snow
The resort: The resort is full of character being an old stone masons town (in contrast to the wood chalets of Morrilon just a few km away), with many restaurants, 2 supermarkets, banks, post office, excellent butcher, hardware shop, the French prize winning bakery of 2006 – Jayasina – fab croissants and reasonably priced pastries. There is a botanical garden in the centre open 2 – 4.30 with fine views from the top, and nice walks up unmade tracks past working farms only a few hundred mtrs from the centre.
Food: In resort Muscade and Basilic excellent quality, menu €45 with extensive wine list, we tried to get in to Louisiana for pizza 3 times and were rudely turned away each time. The girls said Coveys Irish bar was the only night spot in town, the Ice Bar full of middle aged men (vis 30+!) In the mountains lots of choice. The Igloo above Morillon even has dormitory accommodation, very good food. The Epicea above the Centre of Flaine is high quality – arrive early, and the Chalet du Bissac near the Grand Vans lift out of Flaine is newly refurbished and doing good quality fare. Top food also at Les Molliets which must have the prize for the best food served by the roughest looking waiters, but very charmingly.
Accommodation : We stayed in Viking Lodge a very comfortable Ikea on snow run by a Danish guy, but not cheap
Costs: Cheaper than the big names, comparable to Les 2 Alpes, Peisey Vallandry overall
Conclusion: We’ll definitely go again – and probably in the summer too, its that sort of a place.

Samoens Resort Report Feedback Thread
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Resort: Livigno
Country: Italy
Author: Steve C
Date: Late Feb/Early March 2007
Our group: 4 guys + 1 couple. 3 or us are "good intermediates" (whatever that means!), 2 lower intermediates, 1 beginner
Website: http://www.livigno.com/en/index.htm
Getting there: Flight from Brum to Bergamo followed by a monstrous 4 hour transfer. Not the shortest trip to resort that was not helped by the fact that our accommodation was the last drop.
Accomodation: Stayed at La Locanda. It’s a fairly small place, 11 rooms I think. It's right on the free ski bus route, took about 10 minutes to get to the Montellinio side of the mountain, 20 to Costa dal Sol side. The rooms were basic, but clean, with a very good shower and comfy beds. There was a sauna on site that we used, and continental breakfast was included. The in house restaurant was also rather good, though not cheap.
Lift system: Each side of the valley is primarily served by a gondola each. The Mottolino you get about 10 people in standing, the Costa dal Sol side is a 6 seater. Neither were particularly busy even first thing. As for the rest of the resort, the blue runs at the bottom of the valley are served by pomas, whilst the higher runs are mostly dealt with by a good few 4 and 6 man high speed chairs. There is a particularly "interesting" 2 man chair that goes from the top of the Mottolino gondola to the top of that side of the mountain, which I developed something of a love/hate relationship with - love it because there is no better hangover cure, hate it because it is an old, slow and very exposed chair lift. You have been warned... Overall, we were very impressed, there were few queues; the longest we encountered all week was for 5 minutes, most we pretty much walked straight on to.
The terrain: Mostly fairly exposed stuff, high in the mountains. Not very much tree skiing to be had high up, but there was some to be found lower on the slopes. There are lots of reds and blues, mixed in with a few blacks to keep you on your toes. There is a park as well, and some natural pipes to play in. Some of the best skiing (if you like red runs in spectacular scenery) is to be had at a very quiet bowl at the back of the Costa dal Sol gondola, which tends to be very quiet and in the sun is stunning.
The snow: Lots. It snowed everyday and we had no issues. As soon as it looked half thin a new dump arrived. We found waist deep stuff off piste, and some knee deep snow on the pistes first thing. Couldn’t have asked for more.
Off-piste: Not really my bag, but we did have a bit of a play and it was great fun. There was a lot of snow to be played in, waist deep in places, and I’m sure there was even more for the really brave and/or adventurous
The resort: Livigno is a strange places, being sat in a valley with skiing either side, you have a long, but not very wide resort. It takes over an hour to walk from one end to the other, but as there is a free bus it’s not an issue. There are lots of nice restaurants and bars to enjoy, as well as skidoo riding, XC skiing and ice skating. As it is a tax haven there are some very nice deals on booze to be had, like £6 for 1 ltr of Bombay Safire gin.
The Après: Lots. The best place we found was Bar Stalet at the bottom of the Costa dal Sol gondola. Here the served Bombardino’s, Jager and ice-cold lager until 8pm, all to the tune of bad Euro-pop. Most enjoyable. Other than that, Daphne’s was an older looking pub that was good fun, Gulli’s was another cheese fest with a good happy hour on cocktails, and Roxi’s Bar was a superb place which played great rock and Indie music with good beer. Micky’s also deserves a mention due to the fact that you have to slide down a slide to get in. Overall, it’s a great fun place, with plenty of beer and bad music to be found.
Food: In resort, we liked The New Snack Bar, which despite it’s name was a very nice Italian restaurant which did mighty fine pasta and pizza. The restaurant in our hotel (La Locanda) was also very nice, though not cheap. There were plenty of other places in the town that looked ok, as well as most of the bars offering toasted sandwiches and the like. On the piste, the food at the top of the Mottolino was ok but expensive. I ate sandwiches made at breakfast most days anyway to save a few £’s
Costs: Cheap in a word. We paid £300 for B&B, flights and transfers. Lift passed and ski hire added about another £150 to it. Food and drink were ok, not mega cheap, but not in the French ballpark either. Good value for what it is I think.
Conclusion: I liked it a lot. There is not huge amounts of skiing, but there is enough to keep you entertained for a week. The cost was good, as was the snow. If you don’t like to ski the same slopes twice you may get bored, but I certainly didn’t. The food was good, as was the après. The best skiing is definitely to be found high up, and I’m sure there is a good amount of off-piste if you know how to find it. Overall, it’s a great place, I liked it a lot and will I doubt I’ll go back next year, I’ll certainly be back at some point.

Livigno resort report feedback thread
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Resort: Ischgl

Country: Austria

Domain: Tirol / Silveretta

Author: Killeagh - although some of it is taken from Deliaskis' report from January 2006 - this is just an update on that report

Date: 24th February to 3rd March 2007

Our holiday: I organised a group of 16 people from beginners (first trip) to intermediates (upto 7th trip)- all skiers

Website : www.ischgl.com is the tourist office website, www.ischgl.at is also similar.

Basics : Ischgl lies in the Paznaun valley in the west of the Austrian Tirol close to the border with Switzerland (the skiing is cross-border). The nearest ‘well-known’ resort is probably St Anton. We flew from Dublin to Friedrichshafen and got 2 taxis (8 per taxi) from there to Ischgl with alex.tullo@t-online.de or website: www.Alex-Taxi.de at a cost of €1000 return (ie €250 each way for each taxi - NOTE: it is €250 each way even if there is only one person in the car - so this is really only an option if you have a group with 8/16/24 etc or you can pay more!!). It took us three hours to get from Friedrichshafen to Ischgl - the traffic was extremely bad as there was a couple of accidents in tunnels - so we took the scenic route! Other convenient airports are Innsbruck (Deliaskis "1.5 hours in a taxi", although I have heard it's longer - depends on traffic and road conditions I suppose), Zurich (2 others meeting us in Ischgl flew from London to Zurich - got a 3 hour train from Zurich to Landeck and then got a 20 min taxi frrom Landeck to Ischgl). Flying to Munich is also an option and the transfer is apparently about 3 hours .

Lift system :
Ischgl was in the DMS&S magazine last year quoted as having one of the most modern, fast and efficient lift systems in the whole of Europe. It is almost exclusively chairs (most of them high-speed), there are a couple of draglifts (button lifts) and T-bar lifts - although they are not too common . Access to the area is via one of the three gondolas which leave the various points of town. We used the Silveretta Bahn gondola every morning and there was no queue if you got there before 9:10am. Between 9:10am and 10am there could be a 10 - 15 min queue - there was only one morning we arrived after 9:00 but we only had to queue 10 mins. When you get up to the ski area there are very little or no queues, unless the conditions are bad and they close some of the lifts (as with all resorts really).

The terrain : Deliaskis "The lifts access over 200km of piste", but in the brouchures they quote 600km - either way there's plenty to cover, and you would be doing really well to see it all in 6 days. We decided to get lessons for the first 3 days (they were so enjoyabke that we went for a 4th day) - the instructor was excellent and took us on alot of off-piste - it was more of a guided tour of the resort with some lessons rather that all lessons - well worth it and if/when I go back I'll probably do the same again.

What Deliaskis wrote here in their report I will have to change (apologies Deliaskis):
To get to the Swiss there are two options:
1. ski down red 80 - not an enjoyable run as it's narrow and on the morning we went on it there were alot of people and as Deliaskis mentioned there are a couple of flats bits on it.
2. I think the other option is to get chairlift B3 and ski down blue 62 - we did it on the lesson and it was much more enjoyable
3. there are probably other options that we missed aswell!

For skiing back down - red 1 and red 1a get very packed between 4 and 5 - what we found was to ski down red 7, (red 7a was not open) get the chair lift between 7 and 7a upto black 4 (just the end of it) and ski down red 5 to Mittlestation where we had no choice but to go onto red 1 - and try our best to avoid people (definitly not very enjoyable)

Again what Deliaskis wrote here in their report I will have to change (apologies again Deliaskis):
We had 4 beginners with us and all 4 of them seemed to pick up the skiing much quicker than any of the other years that beginners went with us (and we have had a couple of beginners each year for the last 4 years). Admittidely they did not get to do even half the slopes but on the last day some of them were going down black 21 - with one one or two falls (if you're not falling you're not trying hard enough Very Happy ). Ischgl is not aimed at beginners but they certainly enjoyed it - the only problem is that if/when they go anywhere else it will probably not be as good as Ischgl Smile

The snow : On the Sunday the conditions were good - to say that most of Europe is sufferng from a lack of snow, the conditions in Ishcgl were better than expected (although no snow in the village and a couple of green fields, but once we got up the gondola it was good. Then Sunday evening it started to snow and snowed for 2 days solid - so much powder it was brilliant and the lifts stayed open. Then it rained in the village on Tuesday night Sad , but the conditions on the mountain were still good

Off-piste : There is plenty of off-piste, either from the plateau or through the wooded areas. As mentioned out instructor took us on alot of off-piste - if the conditions allow it it's definitely worth exploring.

The resort : A bit of "history": according to the barman in the Eagle pub, Ischgl is owned and run by a consortium of the families living in Ischgl - there is no way they will leave any outsiders buy and of the land/businesses in the town - they also own 51% of the Swiss side - whether this is true or not, all the hotels/restaurants/ski shops all have very high standards.

Food : There are plenty of restaurants in the village, from pizzerias to traditional Austrian, to general alpine cuisine, to quite modern styles so something for all tastes. The ‘Salz & Pfeffer’ restaurant by the lift station is quite modern in style and very popular - the only problem is that you cannot make a reservation - you have to call in and wait for a table - this was kindof awkard with a large group. Where we ate in the village included:
The Ice Bar (or the place with the waiving bear outside) - this is a great spot for apres-ski - then they kick you out around 7 and turn it into a restaurant - the food and service was very good.
Salz and Pfeffer: as mentioned above - no reservations taken - although the food was very good when we did go there (separated the group)
Steak House - beside the Living room bar - lovely food but a bit expensive.
Hotel Sonne: the service was not great (one waiter looking after alot of tables) - although it was worth the wait - most people thought that this was the best restaurant we went to - the food was excellent and they have live music downstairs from 9 (not the best music though Laughing )
Trofanna Tenne - again excellent food - a quite spot but it suited us as we could go in as a group and get a table easily.
Can't think of the other places we went to - but in all the food was excellent. One note: avoid the restaurant at the top of the Silveretta gondola - the food is very poor and expensive - go to the one slightly down the slope from it (think it was called Alpenhause


Accommodation : Most of us stayed in Garni Schmidt (€45 per night per person)- and 4 stayed at the Tanzer (€70 per night per person - I think they ripped us off as it was advertised as €60 on their site)- both were beside each other - very pleased all round.

Costs: cheap Ryanair Flights, cheap transfers, cheap enough accommodation (great value for what we paid for it)
The meals out each night were good value in all places except the steak house.
The expnsive part of Ischgl I thought was the cost of the lift pass - even the VIP liftpass - but in the end it was really worth it - pistes are so well looked after.

Conclusion: Brilliant resort - could not knock it for anything. Aleady thinking of going back again next year - a first for the group to go back to somewhere we've already been.

Ischgl Resort Report Feedback Thread


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Wed 2-01-08 22:32; edited 1 time in total
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Resort Le Grand Bornand ( Le Chinaillon)

Country France

Domaine Aravis - La Clusaz/Le Grand Bornand

Author Annie

Dates 25th Feb - 3rd March 07

Our holiday

A motley collection of a dozen mixed ability skiers with 3 kids thrown into the pot.

Website www.legrandbornand.com

Basics 45 mins - 1hr or so from Geneva airport or a dead easy drive from the channel ports. Some of the party flew and we, living in Kent, drove. Stopped overnight in Annecy and had dinner in the Brasserie hotel du ville - flashy neon outside lighting just off the lake, delicious food (a mean creme brulee!) and all the staff dressed up in a venetian theme. I know it doesn't sound very tasteful but it was - honest! You have the option either to take the Annecy route and then through Thones or down the A40 to Bonneville and up the D12. The latter is the more dramatic and scenic route - but the former is without question less perilous on the nerves!
When you get there you have around 90km of local pistes from 1300 - 2100 and a further 110km if you venture over to La Clusaz

Lift sytem A mix of chairs and drags with a gondola down to Le Grand Bornand. Nothing stood out as being either particularly bad or good. There were however virtually no queues anywhere....and this was the first week of the Northern French school hols.

The Terrain A good combination of long, short, treelined, narrow, wide. Some 'interesting' piste gradings - a lot of the greens are bluish and a lot of the blues are decidedly purple. Reds generally though were red or even bluish. Although our absolute beginners more than survived I'd pitch the terrain at 2nd weeker plus to get the most out of it - It suffers from pistes that require some very big leaps in progression and it's not easy for a beginner to get from one side of the resort to the other. La Douche a definite red (though marked as blue) over the other side of the mountain was good fun and had a cracking chocolate stop at the end. Never made it over to La Clusaz ( well not strictly true, a couple did but they went Saturday morning on the bus and hit the tail end of a 3km changeover day tailback, so looked at it rather than skied it!) - Chinaillon had plenty to keep us entertained.

The snow Well, being 2007 and having had intermittent rain and +8 temperatures all week, it could have been better. That said there was snow right down to the village which is more than can be said for Le Grand Bornand itself. Porridge, wallpaper paste and treacle were some of our favourite similes but nonetheless 99% open all week and perfectly skiable.

Off piste With avalanche risks of 4 most of the week and 5 on 2 days not even the normally crazy amongst the party were tempted to even go looking....and while it's not my bag I'm not sure there would have been much to find in the current conditions!

The resort Without question the prettiest, friendliest least busy little resort that I've ever had the pleasure to visit. It's described as a 'ski station' but is a proper little village with soul and a big heart. Enough bars and small restaurants - The Green Monkey is extra friendly and does a great tarte a la tartiflette if you want the taste but can't manage the whole fat and calorie laden affair. Probably not enough for the die hard party animals but if relaxed apres in really beautiful chocolate box, twinkly lit surroundings staffed by people that really seem to want you there is your thing you'll love it here. A mention here for reves d'hiver ski hire at the bottom of chatelet lift. Prompt and professional, no argument about the shoulder/chin height skis for beginners, free ski storage, easy exchange and when we came to pay asked us how many days we'd skied and only charged for that number. ( so 1 of the party that had the skis for 7 days only paid for 4)

The food Well I self catered for the 12 of us so of course the food was flipping marvellous! For lunchtime, in addition to the Green Monkey, The Solaret ( Starski hangout) just above the main chatelet chair deserves a mention - both salade paysanne and tartiflette were very good and the restaurant at the bottom of the Terre rouge was nice. I'd give Le Neve (?) a miss ( bottom of violettes) cold, the only miserable resort worker we met and the food was poor.

Accommodation We stayed in Les Refuges des Outalays apartments via www.grandbornand.com. Best self catering accommodation I've stayed in by a country mile with a terrifically practical and well equipped kitchen down to food mixers the lot! The ski in ski out description stretches the definition a little but not by much. Only downside was it was a little remote from the village which was a pain as the last bus was 7pm. On a similar theme, if you missed the last lift the ski bus only takes you to the bottom of what is a not insignificant hill kitted out in the whole ski regalia with your planks over your shoulder. All perfectly work aroundable though.

Costs Flights, transfers, accom, ski school, local pass, ski hire, mainy self catered food around £500 - £550 per person

Conclusion I really loved it here. Absolute beginners may find it a bit challenging and probably not the place for high mileage party animals but if pretty, friendly and traditionally French does it for you I'd recommend sticking it on your list of places to try

Le Grand Bornand Resort Report Feedback Thread
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Resort:SAMNAUN

Country:Switzerland

Domain: Silvretta (Combined with Ischgl)

Author: T Bar

Date: Feb 2007

Our holiday: DIY 2 families 4 adults 4 children. We went in Fasching week which is probably about the busiest time.

Basics : Its in a corner of Switzerland very close to the Austrian border. We flew to Munich and hired a car from the airport.

Lift system :The lift system is very modern a large two tier cable car is the only departure point thought here is an older relief cable car for busy times, this takes you into the heart of the Swiss side of the area.
Most of the other lifts are high capacity fast chairs although the resorts were very busy queues were generally 3-5 mins max.
Pistes were far busier than I have recently experienced and would be the only real negative in my opinion of the area, this was probably exacerbated the week we were there.

The terrain Details of the terrain have been very well addressed in two previous posts in this thread. My own take is that there is a variety of piste that would satisfy most people on both the Ischgl and Swiss side of the mountain. Black runs are ruthlessly bashed as were all other runs and anyone wanting moguls has to search off piste. Personally I found the runs down to both resorts very enjoyable if there weren’t too many people on them, long and varied. From a previous visit though I found the runs to Ischgl at the end of the day busy and somewhat intimidating due to the numbers coming down icier sections with poor control.

The snow : 2007 was not a vintage year for snow in the Austrian and Swiss alps. However it snowed the week before we went and the Silvretta region seems to have fared better than many. The Swiss side had pretty decent snow though warm temperatures meant that the surface was a little firm in the morning as the week progressed.
The Austrian side was thinner with the tops of the mountain suffering due to wind and the bottoms due to warmth, overall depths were low. Despite this piste conditions were generally good with only a few stones/bare patches but runs getting firmer as the day progressed.

Off-piste : Did a bit of easy accessed between the piste stuff on the Swiss side, but the depths on the Austrian side were not good. There were tracks under the cable car to Ravaisch which looked er ‘exciting’ Definately good skiers only. From a previous trip there is some nice skiing on an itinaire and just off it between Palinkopf and Gampenalp the snow was horrible this time.

The resort : A previous poster complained about Samnaun being a rather characterless bunch of hotels and duty free shops, I can see his point but there is a bit more to it than that.

Samnaun is a string of 3-5 depending on how you count them separate villages. Dorf is the biggest area at the top of the valley with the bulk of the hotels and shops. A little further down the valley is Ravaisch where the cable car departs on one side of the river on the other side is a fairly pleasant village with some attractive older buildings.

A little further down is Plan which is very small

Further down still is Compatsch/Laret where we stayed; a bus or car is needed to take you to the lifts though you can ski back to the villages.
It felt very uncommercial, without a ski shop that we saw. Built on a shelf on a hill it had a rural feel with quite a few farms with livestock. Anyone who wants après ski or convenience should definitely look elsewhere personally I liked it.
English was not widely spoken in the resort, I saw no UK registered cars the hire shop that we used spoke no English nor did the kiosk for passes. We took a private rent and no English was spoken here. Ski school would probably not have had many English speaking classes and we booked the children in with a private instructor for a few days which worked well.

Food : Food on the mountain was pricier than many Austrian and Swiss places I have been to with not many of the smaller mountain huts that can be so pleasant in these countries. Having said that the quality of the food in the Service sections was very good. We self catered in the evening so cannot comment on the resort food.
Costs: Half term Fasching high season it cost us a little under £400 per head for flights car hire diesel extra night in Munich to give us 7 days skiing and decent appartment. Lift passes ski school and equipment hire for the kids were a little more expensive that Obertauern last year. As were prices on the mountain. Not cheap but not horrendous either.

Conclusion: Many people wanting to ski the region will stay in Ischgl which was our first choice but we could not get the accommodation we wanted.

Seekers of lively après ski or ski convenience will probably be very disappointed.

I liked the bit we were in the main drawback to those who like the quieter life of this type of resort is the very busy pistes which were probably particularly busy the week we were there due to Fasching and the indifferent conditions in other Austrian resorts. Non German speakers of which I am one may find communication a little difficult.

Samnaun Resort Report Feedback Thread
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Resort: Whistler
Country: Canada
Domain: Whistler/Blackcombe
Author: Rayscoops
Date: 16th to 23rd feb 2007
Our holiday: Two mates heading out to get some snow after dodgy European conditions. Me a boarder with about 30 days experience, my mate on planks after 40 days experience
Website : www.whistlerblackcomb.com
Basics : Early evening flight from Heathrow with BA for £450 return, no problems with baggage, boots, board etc. We arrived about 7 pm on a Friday and the Greyhound coaches had finished for the night and the private coaches were fully booked (local Friday travellers). I had not booked so me, my mate and another lost soul booked a stretch limo one way for $260 which could seat 8 easily (skis on roof/in boot but not to good for baord bags with clothes in them in the rain) but we had to put one big long wheelie in the limo with us. The private bus is about $70 one way. Limo took about 2.5 hours
Lift system : Typical mixture of Gondolas, Chairs etc. but one really nice touch is that the lift attendants actually put your skis/board in to the slots on the edge of the gondolas. Also there is an incredibly good natured que system mostly manned by attendants that works on the basis of lots of mini ques filtering into each other (left side goes forward, the right side of que goes forward etc.) until you get to the final que. Lots of waiting time at all lifts/chairs etc., which was not what I expected, but it was Presidents Week ?? and college holidays. A lot of the lifts are really long so wrap up warm, also because the lifts are long it means it takes a long time to get about from one area/bowl to the next, i.e. not much lift hopping to middle of runs etc. Ques had a single lane which was good becasue this was filtered to the final part ofm the que so the mainly 4 man chairs were always full. Lifts close early 3.30pm and higher lifts (7th Heaven) closed at 3 pm.
The terrain : Pistes are very good, certain pistes each day are pisted and the lifts have 'pistes of the day' recommendations. I found that I could cope with all pistes I attempted, even double diamond blacks. being a boarder I liked the open 'bowls' of Harmony, Symphony and Seventh Heaven, these being pisted areas of not very steep terraine but with huge between piste areas for barding (not steep so little avalanche risk). Great riding on powder days but these areas had quite flat narrow areas either to access them or to exit them, which on a board is a pain. Particularly liked the Peak to Creak run first thing in the morning followed by a Dusty's back bottom full breakfast. One annoying thing was that the piste marking was not very good, basically after any junction in the the piste it all of a sudden had a new name. I think also only that when you get to a fork in the piste only the new piste is sign posted and the piste you are on is not (assuming that you know piste you are on - which I did not at time Puzzled ). Piste names are also pinned to trees on the edge of the piste but I only noticed this late on in the hoilday
The snow : It tends to rain a lot at village level and the first few days it was very drizzly, but then the snow hit and it snowed every day and night. Great snow conditions but Ihave no idea whether Whistler actually has a sky Very Happy
Off-piste : Never did any off piste but the wide open bowls gave a good approximation for me on my board in up to a foot of fresh snow
The resort : The village itself, facilities and character or lack thereof
Food : Not much on the mountains but loads are restaurants in the town. i liked the Amsterdam Bar in Village Square, plus the two big bars/restaurants at the main Whistler gondola area. Also Dustys in Creakside seemed good but i was only there for breakfast
Accommodation : Stayed in a two bed two bath apartment in Glaciers Reach (15/20 min walk with gear to main gondola area), about £90 a night and was great quality and all the comforts of home, plus a jaccuzi bath and private hot tub on balcony. Booked through www.alluradirect.com/whistler
Costs: See above
Conclusion: The resort is actually the size of a small town, loads of shopping and enough to do on off days (not that I had any or did any shopping). Very slick act for booking lessons, skis etc. Lift pass for eight days was about £35 a day (I think). Basically it snowed all the time, the service was great, pistes were great, the range of skiing was great. Infact everything was great except the jet lag which to be honest might put me off heading out again, especially for anything less than the 8 nights I stayed ...... but there again .......

Whistler Resort Report Feedback Thread
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Just posted this independently but realised I should add to this thread:-

Resort: Morzine

Country: France

Domain: Porte du Soleil

Author: djrlewis

Date: 24th Feb - 3rd March

Our holiday: Me, the other half and 7 others ranging from nervous early intermediate to super-relaxed instructor (Whistler course). No real powder hounds, we all prefer the pisted stuff.

Website : I found http://www.morzine.com/page.asp?saison=hiver&langue=uk and http://www.avoriaz.com/ski-holidays/ most useful behind the snow reports thread on this website, which was invaluable and the locals reporting on it daily, especially PhillipStanton, very informative and helpful (http://www.snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=21821)

Basics : Went with Inghams on pre-packaged deal; very easy, no problems and well looked after. Flew from Gatwick to Geneva then a 1.5hr bus trip direct to the hotel.

Lift system : The lift system has been covered before on other reports from this resort but I found them generally very good and, on the whole, quick. There would be potentially horrific queues to get up in the morning, especially if you went between 9.30 and 11am (when the locals seemed to be getting up) but I got round this by going at 9 every morning, much to the horror of my trip-mates who generally joined me by text-message homing beacon later in the day (just in time for Vin Chaud in my experience!). For the less experienced there are more drags than I've been used to on previous trips (but never skiied France before) and these can be quite long, steep and exposed. They did have the benefit of being open when the chairs were not however. Lots of T-bars in the Swiss sector too, but I avoided these so can't really comment.
Generally good however.

The terrain : There is miles and miles in the PdS area (some 650km I believe) and you really cannot see it all in a week. For the beginners int he group Morzine/Les Gets provided ample skiing for the week. My impression was generally that this side (called Pleney / Chavannes / Nyon) was gentler (not without the odd exciting black though) and pisted more. The Avoriaz area, which is higher up, was more rugged, has less trees (nice excpet in low visibility - more on that in a bit) and seemed to be pisted less,meaning more moguls, even on some of the blue runs.
My favourites were the Ranfolly section of Les Gets (good cruiser reds), the red down from Chammoisierre, Plain Dranse on the Chatel side of Avoriaz and the two blues (Tetras and Zore) running down to the super-Morzine bubble from Avoriaz. The latter two are, however, hugely snow dependent as they are lower down and can (and did) get decidedly agricultural. Having said that, Zore provided my best run of the week after a fresh 20cm dump early on the Tuesday morning in bright sun and newly bashed with soft corduroy. It's maybe a bit gentle for the advanced skiier but was great for flying down four times in a row before the cloud headed in again!

The snow : Having spent three months prior to going fretting, nail-chewing and sleep-losing over the conditions, I was really pleasantly surprised. Our visit coincided with a week-long snow dump, which undoubtedly helped (the pistes were all getting a bit thread-bare prior to that). To summarise, above 1800m the snow was exemplary other than the second-last day when it was a bit icy due to high wind. Between 1300m and 1800m there was plently of snow but it did get quite wet and heavy with occasional bare brown patches on the more exposed or frequented pistes. Below 1300m wasn't worth bothering with or was un-skiiable apart from the Monday/Tuesday when it was snowing down to resort level. After this the 'pluie-neige' limit came back up to 1300m.

Only downside to this snow was that visibility ranged from crap to wee wee-poor pretty much all week apart from 3 glorious hours on Tuesday morning. Didn't dampen the skiing though but picking lines in the lfat light was tricky and hairy at times!

I must say that the piste teams do a remarkable job of organising the snow and making the most of the scant/wet/rocky snow lower down. They managed to keep the run down to Morzine centre open all the time despite some fierce rain, but to be honest you didn't need it as the bubble was the better way down (especially for the skis).

Off-piste : Not really my area of expertise but looked like it varied depending ont he rain/snow/wind mix. Obviously better the higher you were. Many people were doing 'The Wall' off-piste to the sides on the Tuesday, so I guess it was good then. I took the chair!

The resort : Morzine is still a working town but it's also fully geared up to skiiers. Plenty of resteraunt/bar/creperie options and shops for those silly enough not to come and ski with you. Pricing was fair. Appearnce was lsightly drab but this wasn't helped by the endless rain and the two days there was snow it was instantly transformed.

Food : We only ate in the hotel apart from some crepes at a place next to our ski-hire shop (can't remember the name but it's near the main town square and the sports shop is called Le Caribou). This was excellent with fist class crepes of all kinds and excellent cider. On mountain my favourite Morzine-side was Pointe de Nyon. This did get very crowded and you either need to get there early/late or book if you're a bigger group than two. Excellent food and service, good pricing and free Genepis / schnapps as you leave. On Avoriaz side we preferred Les Trappeurs, near the top of the prodain lift at the bootm of the Arare runs. Again, get there early for a good table.

Accommodation : Hotel des Aireilles. Excellent, supreme quality food; included in our package. Very good service especially from the bar staff who quickly got to know your favourites and the waitresses / maitre d. Average rooms, but very clean and perfectly adequate to sleep in, which is all could manage after a full days skiing, eating and drinking! Only downside is that it's on the main square so at 2am - 5am it could get pretty noisy as the bars chucked people out. Best option was just to join in but it made the 9am lifts a bit difficult!

Costs: Package cost was £900 inc. hotel, ski hire, lift pass (PdS), breakfast and evening meal, flights and transfers. So all we had to buy was lunches and drinks - this is then down to personal choice! Lunches could be as cheap (5 euros for a crepe) or as expensive as you liked. Ditto drink!

Conclusion: This was my first skiing trip in France and overall I was pretty impressed. I would ski on binbags in Bognor to be honest but the ambience here was really nice and the skiing was very good, despite a relatively poor season that we all know about. Queueing in the rain for the bubble/cable car was something I could do without and Morzine is a little low ideally, but there's plenty of higher areas you can get to very easily. Participating in the queue is no worse than Austria and signage etc was ok, although not as good as America/Canada. I would thoroughly recommend the whole deal we did, and the resort especially in a better season. Wed Mar 07, 07 23:03 Very Happy Very Happy

Morzine Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Resort: Puy St Vincent
Country: France
Domain: none
Author: Roger C

Date: March 9th-11th 2007
Our holiday: Some friends were taking their kids for their first ski hol so we decided to joing them for the weekend
Website : http://www.paysdesecrins.com/
Basics : In the southern alps, about 30mins from Briancon, ideally fly to Turin for a shortish trasfer of 2 hrs or so, alternatively do what we did and use Milan Malpensa because of the better flight times for a weekend trip but be prepared for some nasty jams on the way back to airport on Sunday eve
Lift system : Chairs (some fast) and drags, even though it was the end of the French hols queues werent at all bad
The terrain : Mostly cruisey blues and reds with a couple of blacks thrown in. One twisty green run down that had a couple of narrow sections and as it got busy later on it was a bit unpleasent
The snow : They had a good dump the week before and was lasting well although lower down was slushy after lunch
Off-piste : Looked ok but didnt try it out
The resort : We stayed at the these apartments in PSV1600 http://www.monalisahotels.com/public/hotels/presentation.php?id=12 Great location, a few yards from the ski lockers to the lift. The resort, at least at 1600 is best described as functional!
Food : Cant remember the names but the place to the left of the top of the main 4 man chair served good food but the service was slow. Only place we visited in the evening was the pizza place through the tunnel and the food there was great
Accommodation : Mona Lisa apartments were of a good standard. Wouldnt recommend that you filled them to capacity though as that would be a real squeeze!
Costs: Flight booked months ago on Sleazyjet about £70 each return inc one ski bag between 2 of us. Our friends who were out for the week sorted us out an apartment at a fantastic £30 a night. Resort prices generally reasonable. Lift pass for example 91 euros for 2 of us for 2 days.
Conclusion: Small place so only good for a couple of days if you like clocking up the kms. Weather was fantastic which certainly helped us enjoy the area. It mainly attracts families and is well set up for this. Friends went with http://www.snowbizz.co.uk/ who seemed to do a good job and allowed parents a couple of hours sking without the kids each day.
There are lots of other resorts close by and we enjoyed Montgenevre/Claviere on the way back to the airport on Sunday. As you literally have to drive past the bottom of the lifts it seemed rude not to try another couple of resorts Very Happy

Puy St Vincent Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Resort: Chamonix
Country: France
Domain: Mont Blanc
Author: Ski Bat
Date: March 2007
Our holiday: Self catering. 8 skiers of various levels and 2 intermediate boarders.
Website : http://www.chamonet.com and http://www.chamonix.com
Basics : 1 hour east of Geneva. Very easy indeed.
Lift system : Cable cars up to high level pistes, resort runs are rare. You need to book the Aguille du Midi cable car, or hire a guide and they will do it for you.
The terrain : Okay for beginners, great for intermediates, but the 'best skiing in Europe' for advanced and expert. We met Glen Plake while there and he loves it!!
The snow : Nothing in resort but loads on and off piste. Most pistes are above 2000m and the highest lift is over 3800m (see note below)
Off-piste : The Vallee Blanche. The greatest ski run in the world!! Enough said really. But there is loads all over the valley, especially in Argentière and La Tour. Take your phat skis with you.
The resort : A traditional mountain town. Brilliant and extensive night life, plenty of shops for the 'ski to lunch' crowd and everything you need for a relaxed holiday too. Perfect all rounder. Can't fault it.
Food : Plenty to choose from in resort. Typical savoyard restaurants all over the place for fondu freaks. Nothing stood out as amazing but we were S/C anyway. The MBC (Micro Brasserie de Chamonix) was excellent and well worth a visit or two.
Accommodation : S/C Chalet through mountainbase.com very nice indeed.
Costs: Mt Blanc Lift pass is about £160 for 6 days. A guide for the Valle Blanche is about £48 each with Evolution 2 (very good).
Conclusion: The best skiing i have ever done by a mile!! The Vallee Blanche is the ultimate, Argentière is amazing too, but so is all of it really. It's best to hire a car to get around to the various resorts in the valley, and its worth trying it all out as there's something for everybody. Get your lift pass before you get there, we had a 2 hour queue on the first morning. But over all... 10 out of 10 Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

Chamonix Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Resort: Obertauern
Country: Austria
Domain: None
Author: fatirishman
Date: April 2007
Our holiday: Mixed group of skiiers all in their thirties. From one weeks skiing through to "been doing that since I was a kid".
Website : www.obertauern.at Excellent weather link there, and forum is good too if you speak German.
Basics : An hour from Salzburg airport by taxi, and a lot more if you fancy using public transport. Nice and high 1700 -2500m, predominantly chair lifts - some are creaky and others brilliant. Saw two drag lifts and one button in the kiddies area. Over 100km of piste, and some decent off piste.
Lift system : 1 Gondola, otherwise mainly chairs. One heated. Some queuing early in the day on the lower slopes otherwise a 5 min wait was the norm. They need to replace the Sonnenlift ASAP - a rickity two man thing that can't take the volumes.
The terrain : Piste map was designed by a blind topographer when drunk! All pistes did correspond to their level of difficulty marked (for once), pistes were well groomed in the morning. Never saw a piste basher on the slopes in the afternoons. Had to pole uphill a bit from time to time.
The snow : The snow was absolutely first class. Moguls formed rapidly on warmer days, and we did have one accident in the group caused by difficult afternoon skiing.
Off-piste Plenty to try, especially at the top of Gamsleiten 2. Top of Seekarspitze was good too.
The resort : Purpose built, no soul, could have been in Banff for all I knew at times.
Food : Nowhere outstanding for food on the mountains. Did like the Schirmbar at the top of the Plattenkar for an end of day hot chocolate. Good Apres ski in the Gruber Stadl, but the air was burning in the Edelweisshuette when I skiied past too. Cost a fortune in both, but cracking fun.
Accommodation : Hotel Schuetz. Excellent. Heated skikeller, great food, reasonable value, very clean, lovely staff.
Costs: Hotel £400 Lift 170 Euros Beer on the slopes 3 Euros.
Conclusion: I'd go again. Right choice for skiing later in the season, the slopes were all well covered, and well prepared.

Obertauern 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: Bad Hofgastein
Country: Austria
Domain: Ski Amade - a whole bunch of Austrian resorts that you can ski on the same pass 860kms in all. Local area is Gastein Valley with 200kms of pistes.
Author: homphomp
Date: 17 to 24 March 2007
Our holiday: Looking for something different with a bit of luxury thrown in to make up for the rotten 2007 snow season, booked last minute to make sure we had a resort with some snow!
Website : The resort www.gastein.com/en-gastein-bad_hofgastein.htm
The skiing www.skigastein.com
The Spa www.alpentherme.com
Basics : The town is just over an hour from Salzburg airport, we travelled with Crystal and ThomsonFly....Crystal were excellent which is a complete surprise! Saltzburg was one of the most horrible airports I've ever had the misfortune to use!
Lift system : A mixture of lifts, up on the mountain mostly chairs and t-bars with gondolas up from the valley (funicular in Bad H itself). Most of the lifts are quick an efficient, many of the chairs have been fitted with weather bubbles. It was very late season and there wasn't one queue all week anywhere on the mountain.
The terrain : The Gastein valley consists of four seperate ski areas, Dorfgastein and SportGastein reached from Bad Hofgastein by bus and Bad Gastein which is lift linked to Bad Hofgastein via Angertal. We loved the skiing in the area, none of it was very steep, the blacks here would likely count as reds in most French resorts. That said, the runs were very interesting to ski with great variation and some lovely long tiring runs available. We particularly liked the H1/H2 run down from Schlossalm in Bad Hof, B11 and B20 down to Angertal in Bad G and Red3 from the Kreuzkogel in Dorfgastein. Despite the Ski Amade pass we didn't venture further afield....for one thing the snow in Gasteinertal was fantastic and there's enough skiing to keep you pretty busy for the full week, for another you'd need a car to go exploring which we didn't have.
Each of the four areas has a different character: Dorfgastein is mainly tree lined runs and an excellent place to head to in bad weather; Sportgastein is high open and exposed, it closes in bad weather and you need to check the reports before heading up there. Bad Hof and Bad G are more similar both have a mixture of tree lined and exposed pistes, in Bad Hof the tree lined runs are below mid-station so weren't open for this holiday, in Bad G they were open right down to the valley and good fun too!
To get between the areas you need to use the local buses, our experience was that they were efficient and on time and we had no problems at all getting around. Between resorts they ran half hourly and the town buses linking the hotels to the lift station ran every five or ten minutes.
The snow : Couldn't have been better! We picked Bad Hof because the snow reports before we went were good. The first day skiing in blazing sunshine proved the reports right, even at this late date and after a horrid season all the runs down to mid-station had great cover and would have been good for the week. Second day dumped over a metre of fresh snow and it snowed on and off all week culminatiing in another couple of feet just before we left.....we had a blinding time playing in the fluffy stuff then blasting down very well groomed pistes before having another play in the fluff before coming home.
Off-piste : Looked fantastic....but as always our timing was off, avalance risk was very high because of the heavy snowfall so off-piste was limited. There was certainly plenty to take advantage of, particularly up at the Sportgastein area, but as Mr HH found himself in a heap up to his chest when playing on piste we didn't really need to go off!!
The resort : Bad Hofgastein is not a ski station as such, it's a valley town with access to good skiing. At times, as it's late season, we felt very odd walking through town in our ski gear when everyone else was dress normally! The majority of hotels are Kurhotels for Austrians coming to take the healthy waters and apres ski is very limited....it's hard to find a bar to drink in at all! Everyone seemed to eat early and go to bed....very little night time excitement. The main feature of the town, other than skiing, is the AlpenTherme centre....a huge water complex with bubbly pools, flumes, relaxation beds and indoor/outdoor swimming....a lovely place to relax the aching muscles.
Food : We didn't have a bad meal anywhere on the mountain, I can highly recommend the following: Aeroplanhutte just above the mid-station of the Schlossalmbahn, the Waldgasthof (or some such?) on the righthand side of B20 on the schuss back down to Angertal and the hutte just above the bottom of lift 39 that I can't remember the name of. Didn't eat out in town so have no idea what the restaurants are like there. We frequented the Sky Bar for our apres ski drinks....a glass box perched three floors up on top of the AlpenTherme....fantastic views out across the mountains and the town, not the liveliest of spots (we were often there on our own) but a nice place to end the day.
Accommodation : We stayed in the Hotel Osterreichisher Hof, excellent food, excellent room, althogether excellent! It was up in the town centre but we didn't mind hopping on the bus in the mornings. Only two niggles: the hotel bar has been taken over by the restaurant so there's no cosy spot for a pre dinner drink; in common with everywhere else you are expected to eat early...last service in the restaurant was 8:15 and the waiters started pacing and looking stressed if you were still sitting there approaching 9pm which was a bit too early for us.
Costs: We paid £350 for the holiday last minute (including an upgraded room supplement). Lift pass was 182 euros for a seven day pass (we were lucky enough to be able to ski on our last morning!), 3 euros deposit for the hands free card. Glass of wine and a pint of weissebeer in the Sky Bar came to 6 euros and two mains and two drinks about 20 euros up on the mountain. All in all a great value place to visit.
Conclusion: If you want ski in/ski out with a huge lift linked area and great apres ski don't go to Bad Hof. If you want somewhere with a different character and great skiing and don't mind the odd bus ride it's great....we'll be going back.

Bad Hofgastein Resort Report Feedback Thread
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Resort: Obergurgl (2007)
Country: Austria
Domain: None although you can share the ski pass with Solden
Author: Fatirishman
Date: March 2007
Our holiday: Group of close friends that holiday up to three times a year together (18 of us - it is very odd). All 30 something, kids also included everything from a new born to a six year old. We went for self catering which suits us as the majority of the group comes from Germany and we pre plan the menus etc, it's also easier with the kids, and saves on paying daft prices for booze. We're not party animals any more, and our idea of apres ski is a hot chocolate and rum and a ski down the mountain with the piste to ourselves as the sun goes down over the mountains.
As for our ability - well we're all fab! Actually in reality it's mixed. We've all got at least 6 years experience with the odd break for parental duties, but mostly piste cruisers with the odd moment of madness thrown in for off piste and jumping. Just the one trip for X rays this time.
Website : http://www.obergurgl.com/ cracking weather on here
Basics : Obergurgl / Hochgurgl is in the Otztal on the Austrian Italian border - most of us got there by car but we flew Thomas Cook from Manchester. 0615 flight was a shocking start time but super service, and we also availed ourselves of their transfer service - excellent and bookable on the TC website. It's effectively two resorts (Hoch and Obergurgl) linked by a gondola. There is an excellent post and ski bus service between the two villages that is thrown in with the pass.
Lift system : Mostly chairs with a couple of T bars and three gondolas. There was absolutely no queuing. The piste map is easy to follow and the lifts are all relatively modern (apart from Hohe Mut)
The terrain : The pistes are well labelled and there is a great selection. Hochgurgl would suit intermediates and new skiiers, and there is the odd very testing run in Obergurgl (Hohe Mut again!). The pistes were superbly groomed and maintained. I never had the feeling the pistes were overcrowded or dangerously busy, and although the lift pass is relatively expensive (190 Euros for 6 days) I was very happy.
The snow : The snow was the best I've ever skiied on. Bit sparse on day six at the base of the valley, but loved it.
Off-piste : Plenty for those who are tired of life. Seriosly the off pist is excellent, and very little used. If you have kids that are beginners the ski school in Obergurgl is loads better than Hochgurgl. Firstly it's accesible for the parent that isn't skiing, it's friendly, it's more sheltered and the teachers are WONDERFUL with the kids. It also has a bar where you can watch your little pride and joy show off as you have a beer in the sunshine. Ski race for the kiddies on Thursdays with medals and ice creams!
The resort : Obergurgl is ovepriced and hochgurgl is dead! There is some excellent apres ski at the Nederhuette, and the odd bar in Obergurgl. This however is a family resort, and not for the serious partmongers out there. Nederhuette and David's Huette both have live cheesy music on various evenings (NH Mon, Wed and Fri and DH on Tue) Obergurgl has all the facilities you'd expect, and some rather nice ski shops that will gladly take your time and credit card.
Food : We self catered so can't comment on restuarants for the evening. David's Huette good for lunch fast friendly efficient and reasonably priced restaurant in Obergurgl. You have ot visit Top Mountain Star in Hochgurgl for the views. We skiied down from here with the sun setting over the Alps, God in his heaven and it was one of those really brilliant moments I'll remember forever.
Accommodation : Schalfblick apartments. Too basic as no oven or dishwasher. Not the friendliest place in the world either - even by Austrian standards. short link No skiing back to the apartment was possible. It was comfortable, clean but don't think I'd go back to this accommodation (but am going back to Obergurgl)
Costs: Resort pricey, very pricey. Schnapps 3.5 Euros, Beer for large wheatbeer approx 4.8 Euros lunch cost about 14 Euros with a drink.
Conclusion: I loved it - I'm going back again sometime. We had cracking weather, excellent snow and the company was magic. It has to be one of the best skiing holidays I've ever had. I'd try and get different accomodation next time but everything else was perfect.

Obergurgl 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: Homewood
Country: California, USA
Domain: none
Author: Wear The Fox Hat

Date: 27/03/2007
Our holiday: This was the last day of my 10 day trip to Lake Tahoe.
Website: http://www.skihomewood.com/
Basics: I stayed at the Granlibakken ( http://www.granlibakken.com/ ) on the outskirts of Tahoe city. Flew Heathrow - San Francisco with Virgin, then on to Reno with United. From there it was a 45 minute shuttle ride to the hotel.
Lift system: 4 lifts. Yes, you heard it right. 4. That means 1 lift to get you out of each of the 4 lowest points. This is not a problem, because there are no lift queues. The lifts are triples and quads. Non-detachable. They give you plenty of time to recover from previous runs, and enjoy the views.
The terrain: From the road you see 1 run and 1 lift. I guess that's what helps keep tourists away. There are a couple of long cruising greens, and a beginner section at the main base. Most of the pisted runs are blue, but the fun comes with the steeper runs through the trees.
The snow: Over 50cm of fresh powder had fallen the night before I arrived (and the report was that they had only bashed 10 pistes). This was on top of a good base.
Off-piste: Given the amount of snowfall and lack of piste-bashing, pretty much every run was off-piste, but the best actual off-piste for me was between White Lightening and Dutch Treat.
The resort: Facilities at the hill are limited - just the bare minimum, but it is a 10 minute free bus ride from Tahoe city on the TART or resort bus from the hotel. The base area is on one side of the road, and Lake Tahoe is on the other side of it, so if you don't stop in time, you might find the conditions under your skis go from powder to water quite quickly! It's not a built-up area, so no concrete monstrousities to create the typical alpine view either. At a guess, there were about 200 people at Homewood the day I was there.
Food: I ate at the resort base restaurant. Service is cafteria style, but slow, as the food was prepared for me once I ordered it.
Accommodation : The Granlibakken is a resort and conference centre in its own right. It has a large hot tub, swimming pool, tennis courts, and even a ski hill. The breakfast is excellent - buffet style with enough hot and cold food to keep everyone happy. It has a bar/restaurant as well, but I didn't eat there. For the first week I was there I stayed in a townhouse - sleeps 6, but there was only 4 of us in it. It was fully equiped, had 2 bathrooms, 3 bedrooms, 3 TVs, lounge, dining room, kitchen and balcony. During the second week, I stayed in one of their standard hotel rooms.
Costs: Hotel: $99 per night during the week, $122 at weekends. This included breakfast and a lift ticket for one of 5 different resorts. Lift ticket (typically overpriced US! Wink ) $27 (if I'd had to buy it). Lunch (two courses + drink) $9. Beer $5. Bushmills $5. Jagermeister $6. (prices at the hill restaurant/bar)
Conclusion: If your prime requirements for a resort are kms of piste, number of lifts and size of queues, then stay well away. If you want to get away from the crowds and have a lot of fun on a "locals hill", then this place might well be worth a visit or two.
Photos: Here

Homewood 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: Zell am Ziller
Country: Austria
Domain: Zillertal Superski. Basically, a long and pretty valley with several ski resorts in, all combined on one lift pass to make 600km of runs. The biggest and most popular resorts are Mayrhofen, Zell am Ziller and Kaltenbach. However, there are also smaller resorts such as Fugen, and the Hintertux glacier is also on the lift pass. There is a very efficient bus/train system which is included on the lift pass, and for 172 euros a 6 day lift pass is very good value.
Author: Markus

Date: 17 Feb - 24 Feb 2007
Our holiday: Family holiday - two beginners, and the rest intermediates.
Website : Zell am Ziller ski area website: www.zillertalarena.at
Zillertal Super Ski: www.zillertalski.at
Basics : The Zillertal is in the Austrian Tirol, just over the border from Germany. We flew with KLM from Durham Tees Valley > Amsterdam > Munich and then got the train to resort. Was fine on the way out, but on the way back we had a cancelled flight which meant a night in Munich and getting home 24 hours late.
Lift system : On the whole, a modern and efficient lift system throughout the valley. There have been many investements in the past few years and the fact that most lifts are fast detachable chairs kept queues at bay since this is a very busy area. Unfortunately, the gondola out of town from Zell am Ziller upto the ski area could not cope with the amount of skiers and apparantly there were collossal queues between 9-10. I never noticed since i was always there at 8.00am sharp. Was not possible to ski back down to town and therefore there were queues to get back down, but i simply skied till last lift and then enjoyed a nice beer before downloading queue-lessly. The Penken Gondola in Mayrhofen is apparently even worse at peak periods, however, on the day i went to Mayrhofen i entered the ski area at the Horberg Gondola which is in teh small resort of Schwendau which was empty and got me into a nice part of the ski area anway.

Zell am Ziller enjoys a lift link with the resort of Gerlos, and this link is on a long and slow chairlift at 2500m. Beautiful scenery but for some reason its always about 10 degrees colder up there than anywhere else! Apart from those niggles, the lift system is pretty damn good Wink

The terrain : Intermediates Paradise. To sum it up, it was perfect for me. Not only was i staying in a resort with 150km of pistes of mainly intermediate standard, i was able to go to other ski areas aswell, which were all very different. Not fantastic for advanced or beginner skiers, but definetely amazing for intermediates. Also, within the valley you can ski upto 3250m on teh hintertux glacier and down to 700m in Schwendau (if the snow is good), so it is very snow-sure with good vertical.

The snow : Well, apparently it was the worst in years, and teh valley was indeed very green but the pistes were in remarkably good condition. Even in the high temps, the pistes were good all day some off-piste could be found.

Off-piste : Obviously, the snow wasnt ideal, but i managed to find some nice powder higher up and on teh glacier. The area is not reknowned for off-piste and therefore it doesnt tend to get tracked out too quickly. However, dont come here if you want lots of amazing off piste runs, but its good if you like to dabble a bit next to the piste Very Happy
The resort : The resort of Zell am Ziller was quite pretty, but quite spread out and the centre was quite far away from the lifts. I was in an apartement right near the lifts so that didnt bother me. The resort was fairly "dead" at night, but it didnt bother us as we were on a family ski holiday. Dont come here if you want apres-ski, go to Mayrhofen instead where its fantastic.
Food : If you're in the area, you must eat at the "Schnitzelhutte" in Zell am Ziller on piste 8. Huge schnitzels at great value Very Happy In general, everywhere i ate was good value and with good food. Defintely way cheaper than France, and cheaper than most places in Austria.
Accommodation : S/C in "Haus Martina". Appartement right near the lifts, and while it wasnt amazing it was good value and very functional.
Costs: Incredibly cheap. 6 day lift pass: 172 euros
7 person appartement: 140 euros per night
Eating out, very cheap, as was the drink Very Happy Cant remember figures, but definetely remember thinking "wow, this is cheap!"
Conclusion: I had a fantastic holiday.

The resort of Zell am Ziller is largely unkown to the brits and was a good base in the valley. I spent my first two days skiing there, which is part of the largest lift linked area in teh valley, the zillertal arena. Had a day at Mayrhofen which was fun, a day at Kaltenbach which i also enjoyed and the highlight for me, my day at the HIntertux glacier. Like previously said, amazing for intermediates who want to clock up the mileage, and whats more, you're in a different resort everyday but they are only a few KMs from each other! Stunning views and nice villages, and nice and cheap too...

Yes, it was full, but that was to be expected at half term, but i managed to avoid the big queues and had a great week Very Happy

A few pics here:
http://www.snowmediazone.com/the_zone/showgallery.php/cat/682

Zell am Ziller Resort Report Feedback Thread
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Resort: Jasna
Country: Slovakia
Domain: none
Author: Lynseyf

Date: March 2007
Our holiday: 2 Boarders, 5 skiers, 1 beginer, 1 hadn't been for a while
Website : http://www.jasna.sk/ http://www.slovakotour.sk/english/index.html
Basics : Travelled with SkyEurope from stanstead to poprad then arranged minibus pickup from there to jasna which was about 40 mins drive away
Lift system : 1 excellent covered 6 man chair, couple of 4 seaters, couple of 2 seaters and some drags, don't have to use the drags if you don't want to.
The terrain : The skiing is spread over 2 sides of a mountain with most of it on the north side. There is 3 main centres on the north side, we stayed at Zahradky and mostly skied around there as well as the long blue and red there were really nice. there is a lift linking the north and south side but it was never working when we were there.
The snow : nice when we arrived then it snowed the next day snowHead which made it nice for the next week. it then started to get a bit icy in the morning, slushy in the afternoon before snowing buckets just as we were going home so we got 2 amazing powder days just before w e left Smile
Off-piste : Off piste is one of the main attractions of this area. The whole top of both sides of the mountain is unpisted and shown as a freeride area on the piste map. This is nice for less experienced skiers as it is lift served and still in bounds. we never did any more than that but there are some excellent videos somewhere online of people doing "proper" off piste and they were running avalanche awareness/off piste courses when we were there.
The resort : we were right next to the piste and never ventured into the nearest town ( Demanovska Dolina). There a few hotels and restaurents next to each main ski area and these were enough for us. The 4* hotel Grand was very nice and had a gorgeous spa which you could use and a posher restaurent and cocktail bar.
Food : excellent Smile we loved the Chata Zahradky, it cost about £2 for really nice pasta, £4-6 for steak etc and 50p for the very good soup. on piste hot chocolate and rum was about £2 for a HUGE measure of rum. There was a really nicxe barbecue at Otupne
Accommodation : Right on piste which was great. it cost £655 per week for 2 apartments, one which was a studio which slept 2 and the other was a 1 bed apartment with a double and single in the main room, it worked out at about £100 each per week.
Costs: very cheap. We got our lift pass in advance with a special offer online for £80 for any 10 days per season. 2 weeks equipemnt hire was £80, private 1 to 1 lessons were £12 per hour
Conclusion: Would definately go back. I found it enough to ski for 2 weeks but people who don't like skiing the same piste twice would be bored after a couple of days. Excellent for beginers as there is a 3km blue which is fairly easy so you quickly progress up the mountain and don't feel you are stuck on the baby slopes. All the slopes are easy to link up and our group skied together quite a lot despite the difference in abilities, the more experienced skiers/boarders made there own runs through the trees

Jasna 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: Winter Park Colorado
Country: USA
Domain: Rockies
Author: Erica

Date: 13th - 23rd January, 2007
Our holiday: Upper intermediates looking for snow
Website : www.skiwinterpark.com
Basics : Travelled with 'Ski Independence' BA LHR to Denver (9hr flight and 1.5hr transfer with 'Home James')
Lift system : Excellent chair lift system, very well organised, sniffle stations
The terrain : Basically Winter Park Mountain (equivalent of green and blue European runs - no steep runs) incl. Vasquez, Mary Jane Mountain (bump mountain).
The snow : Excellent, very well pisted - boringly so!
Off-piste : It didn't snow much whilst we were there, but we busied ourselves popping in and out of the trees
The resort : No village, no character at the resort. Quiet would be an understatement. Even the bar shut at 6.00pm.
Food : The food was typically cowboy fair on the mountain. The food in old Winter Park Town was fine -ish.
Accommodation : Stayed in the Zephyr Mountain Lodge at the base. Excellent room with kitchen. A shame that it didn't have a restaurant.
Costs: Comparable to Europe.
Conclusion: Mmmm..Strange..It was, like, too easily perfect. I hate to say that it lacked the charm and vibe of say, Saalbach. The skiing was easy - we learnt to ski bumps because the pisted terrain was very easy. I found myself longing for a bit of variety. Mary Jane had the better runs - we even struggled down a bump black called Trestle. Winter Park had some good blue bump runs to learn on. We had some lessons - but they weren't as good as the Austrian lessons I've had.
I would thoroughly recommend WP for families and beginners - amazing terrain for them, and for the less abled bodied.
There is quite a lot of development going on at the moment, so hopefully some umbrella bars and the like are on their way!

Winter Park Resort Report Feedback Thread
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Resort - Nice Airport: Well not really, more the resorts most closely accessible from there.
Auron,Greolieres, Isola 2000, and Valberg

Country - France: Alpes Maritime, but get lost and you’ll be in Italy!

No Domaine: although Valberg- Beuil is one location and Auron and Isola do liftpass ‘swaps’

Author: Me (Agenterre) :.

When ? - 2005-2007: Coincides with my skiing ‘life’ but have known all of these places longer ‘cos I live here . I haven’t covered ‘Audibergue’ or 'La Colmiane' although they're closer to me, slightly different area.
How Often? - Various weekends/days etc : Have actually stayed in all but Greolieres but never done any resort for longer than a couple of days at a time
A few links for you :
Greolieres
Valberg
Auron and Isola2000
If you want to know what it’s like to ski there snowHead Davidof has a video Here on his own site, Pistehors, skiing Valberg. You may wish to read his accounts there as well. A regular bus service to all the ski resorts is available from Nice airport. Timetables are Here
Getting There : Unless you live on the Cote d’Azur, the best way to get to these resorts is by air. The drive from the UK is a long one … think another 5 hrs to resorts after Lyon. Nice airport is well served by BA, Easyjet and BMI from lots of UK airports --- the really adventurous might like to take the train from UK – but you will have to change station in Paris.
From Nice Airport you can either hire a car ( Easyjet terminal slightly easier than BA or BMI) or, if you are staying in just one of the resorts, then there is an excellent ski-bus from the airport directly to 3 of the stations. It doesn’t take much longer than driving yourself.
Driving to all the resorts is relatively easy. The first 50 km is on excellent dual carriageway up the Var valley and all roads are subject of contra-flows during busy periods. Valberg ( 75km) has a very narrow , windy last 20km . Auron and Isola re both about 90km and ‘around the corner’ from one another ..again the last 20km or so are rather difficult with loads of hairpins.
Lift systems and Terrain :
Isola 2000 Isola is the highest of the resorts. Its name is however a little misleading as it is only the resort that is at 2000m. The rest of the pistes are between 1650-2650. It claims 140km of pistes, the majority of which are Blue and Red graded, so very beginner/intermediate , spread over 5 discrete areas. The domaine is primarily served by gondolas and chair lifts , most of which are quite modern. Isola is possibly the most snow – sure of the resorts and it does have a view of the Med from the Cime de Sisteron, my favourite slopes are all in this area . Isola’s greatest strength is that it is superbly equipped for 1-3 week beginners. It is ski in-ski out directly onto a number of excellent nursery slopes and gradual ‘improver’ slopes. It is howver practically treeless so not a place to be when winds are high
Auron SSShhhh, you’ve never heard of it. Auron is the other side of the valley ( around the corner as it were ) from Isola but nowhere near as well known to UK audiences. The domaine can be accessed from St Etienne de Tinee ( 1110m?) by gondola but you can drive up to the resort itself (1600-2450m). The same company as Isola manages Auron so I understand but is a similar size but a tad more demanding. The 135 km claimed is really focused on 4 areas all served by decent chairs. The pistes are more demanding than its neighbour – although it has a similar number of pistes. ‘Locals’ go here out of choice. My favourite pistes are Rionet, Clavelet and Melezes ( sp of all !! )
Valberg Valberg and Beuil are one and the same resort in effect. Think VDI and Tignes and divide by 5 ! The resort is really 6 discrete areas which are joined at the ‘uplifts’ … it claims 95km spread over 52 pistes of which nearly 1/2 are ‘red’ or ‘black’ but don’t let that deceive you, it really is a beginner/intermediate resort! Valberg now has modern chair lifts throughout the domaine and ‘claims’ 90% artificial snow coverage. You might ask why, but for some strange reason the area is very ‘cold’ but doesn’t seem to get quite as much natural snow as its neighbours. The downside of the resort is that the only ‘links’ are back down in the valley , so the links get quite crowded and queues can form.
Greolieres This resort is really only of interest if you live here or have a spare day or two ( if you happen to be golfing here for instance !) The resort has stunning views ( of the Bay of Cannes) and doing that is very special ( compared to the limited view from Isola) . It is however a very small resort ---- it has about 30 km and is anything but snow-sure. It had a brilliant year in 2006 but this year was awful… I only went once and it was awful. Runs are spread over 3 areas and the uplifts are ‘old-ish’ with only 3 chairs. However skiing the bowl – which never seems to be pisted is great fun ! Runs are ‘Blue-ish’ by any ‘standard’ with ‘blacks’ being mogul-hell!
The snow : I have to generalize here. First of all , you are very close to the Med; so it has to be said that you are likely to be skiing in the sunshine whatever is under-foot ! Isola is reputed to be the most snow-sure of the resorts … I’m not sure. Although Auron is a bit lower , in my limited experience it enjoys equal or better conditions.
The strange thing is that we do seem to get snow both ‘earlier’ and ‘later’ than further North … no, it doesn’t make sense to me ! However at the end of the day , the season seems very similar to the rest of the ‘Alps’. Greolieres being lower is the exception. When it’s good it’s fun; but last year you really needed a MTB , just – in- case!
Off-piste : I don’t do off-piste other than playing at the edge of pistes. Isola and Auron have opportunity but Valberg seems, to the uninitiated, to offer more. ( Diarmuid and Davidof know a lot more than I)
If you want to heli-ski then it can be arranged ex- Nice airport. No need to go near a resort at all !
The Resorts :
Isola Isola200 was conceived by a Brit and the resort reflects our culture of the 60s/70s – ie it is a concrete monstrosity with the charm of Jack-the-Ripper. It is built as an inter-connected ‘snake’ meandering down the valley albeit ski-in ski-out. Perhaps I’m a little unfair as over the last 5 years the resort has tried to go up-market with chalet and apartment accommodation – failed!
Auron Auron 1650 is also purpose-built ( but much nicer!) , it’s saving grace for me is that is connected via-Gondola to St Etienne- de – Tinee , a real Provencal alpine village. I love the place ---
Valberg Breuil is a real ‘old’ village and again very Provencal. Valberg was developed sometime later around one ‘main street’ but is still a real village that is occupied year around. A bit like L2A without the neon and ‘boom-boom’. A very small village but enough stuff going on.
Greolieres The ‘resort’ is no more than a few apartment blocks and the village is some 12 km away …… if the doctor says you need peace and quiet then a great place to stay … otherwise stay closer to civilization . It isn’t far away and some of the most beautiful hilltop villages are less than 1/2 hr away !
Food : Oh dear … my views are somewhat biased as I ‘expect’ some of the great food that you get during the winter months near the coast. Alas our ‘winter resorts’ serve up the same stuff you get in the winter further North and the quality we get July / August! So, if you like the ‘-lette(s)’ and Steak frites you’ll love it! Isola has a couple of ‘mountain’ restaurants but nothing to write home about. It does however have a couple of ‘on slope’ restaurants that are very good near the monstrosity that is the ‘village’ . Good for both lunch and dinner , but prices are mid-Summer. Isola is the most expensive of these resorts.
Auron has the benefit of St Etienne–de-Tinee, that means that you can eat more cheaply (and better!) … don’t expect Michelin !
Valberg has no mountain restaurants to speak of apart from a small café. However as all slopes lead home then they’re a number of restaurants at the foot of the pistes. Prices are excellent (i.e. cheap). Greolieres has , afaik, just one poxy café/restaurant. Over-priced ‘Hot Dogs and Frites’ …. Take a sandwich and eat elsewhere at the end of the day!
Accommodation : Not an expert here obviously but a few comments on where I have stayed, this limited to hotels
Isola Apartments which are ski-in / ski-out predominate the bed-stock. However I have stayed in The Diva and the Druos. The former is very nice and does an excellent 1/2 board negotiated) rate. The latter is part of the main apartment complex. Ski-in and out but very ordinary
Auron Never stayed in the resort but several B and Bs in St Etienne are great.
Valberg There are several hotels here. Chalet Suisse is good – although its ( unconnected) bar is a dump. Our favourite is ‘Cle des Champs’ --- very cheap and cheerful and excellent is you like ‘local places for local folks’ … also at the bottom of a couple of pistes so best place for lunch imho.
Greolieres Stay elsewhere and drive up there ... it's hardly difficult!
Costs: Isola is as expensive as any other mainstream alpine resort. Auron’s ‘costs’ are 80% of that and Valberg 20% cheaper gain ime. Greolieres is cheap … but so what , it’s small and somewhere different occasionally.
Conclusion: Oh Heck ! I suppose I have to draw comparatives that others can relate to! Firstly , you will undoubtedly see the sun if you’re here. Secondly , flying to Nice in the winter is invariably cheaper than GVA for the independent traveller , coupled to easy bus/car transfers hen it has a few things goinf for it.
Isola – most snowsure skiing but the place is a dump. I personally don’t like the way they make ‘2’ pistes by putting a rope down the centre of 1 slope. If you like Avoriaz you make like it here --- maybe. Excellent for weeks 1-3 skiers. Ski school has a good reputation ( so I’m told!)
Auron A tad more demanding , better accommodation , cheaper …. Enough said.
Valberg My favourite because it’s different! It’s pisteing is ‘occasional’ ; it’s anything but snowsure ; you ‘may’ be the only Brit you hear ( but everyone speaks English in the SoF!) ; it’s a bit quirky ; no mountain restaurants but …. I like it !
Greolieres You won’t go there unless you know about it ‘cos you live there , or are touring or just want to put another ‘notch’ on your skis … or take a photo of the Iles des Lerins and the bay of La Napoule !

Would I ‘choose’ to come here ? I really don’t know … mid-week and less than 7 days is a real option as the resorts are only ever busy during ski holidays and weekends … the flights are invariably ‘cheap’ …. and the hotel accommodation is available. Given the ‘vagaries’ of the snow I wouldn’t book ‘months’ ahead but I would say that about anywhere! I’m just lucky … it’s easy for me I can look out of the round or square window and go when I like !



Feedback Thread on 'Alpes Maritime' Resorts


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1. Resort: St Moritz
2. Country: Switzerland
3. Domain: Engadine Valley
4. Author: Whitegold
5. Date: Mar 2007
6. Our holiday: Small group of couples
7. Website : stmoritz.ch
8. Basics : Southeast Switzerland. Zurich Airport is the closest major hub
9. Lift system : Lots of large trams. Gives a big-mountain feel. Slow at times. Scorecard = 7 / 10
10. The terrain : Good onpiste. Plenty for all standards for a week. Three disjointed ski areas, but served by a regular skibus. Attractive glacial scenery. 7 / 10
11. The snow : Very good snow. Coverage top to bottom. Nine days of nonstop sun. 9 / 10
12. Off-piste : Very good offpiste. Many steepish slopes. Crowds are uncommon. 8 / 10
13. The resort : Unique atmosphere. The place reeks of money. Lots of trophy wives. Walking on the frozen lake is way cool. Nowhere else in the Alps, or the world, like it. 10 / 10
14. Food : It is an upscale region, near Italy. Most places are fine. 7 / 10
15. Accommodation : Make sure you stay in Dorf, the main town. Everything is here, from basic rooms to premium palaces. Avoid Bad -- it is away from the buzz. 10 / 10
16. Costs: Prices are above-average, but not ruinous. You get what you pay for. 7 / 10
17. Conclusion: The world's number one allround ski resort. It is a better experience than Zermatt, Courchevel 1850, Lech, Cortina and Aspen.

Total scorecard = 65 / 80 (81%). For comparison, Zermatt gets 64 / 80 (80%).

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: Plagne Villages
Country: France
Domain: La Plagne/Paradiski
Author: Specialman

Date: 17th March - 24th March 2007
Our holiday: Five much more experienced boarders, dedicated to trying the runs we didn't explore in January, and bossing the ones we did!
Website : www.la-plagne.com
Basics : Savioe region of French Alps, three hours from Lyon airport and about two hours from Grenoble, where we picked two cars up to self-drive
Lift system : Massive amount of runs in the La Plagne area and a huge number of blues to suit the vast majority of us, whether boarding or skiing.
The terrain : Very varied, with a good amount of powder above Plagne Centre and some proper runs coming off the glacier, especially those off Grand Rochette down into Champagny. Will definitely suit everyone, as there are some pleasent blues that will give beginners a real thrill and the mixture of fast blues and hairy reds will be good for those who want a bit more excitement.

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

Mira Up to Grand Rochette and left. Down througha failry steep 'gully' and then expands into a rolling snowfield above Plagne Villages and then through forest into Plagne Centre. A great one fo beginners.
St. Jacques Grab the Arpette chair out of Plagne Bellecote and just bomb it down this route. There is loads, and I mean loads, of off-piste opportunities but the pisted run is nice too - lots of humps and fast turns. The end bit into Belle Plagne can get very icy.
CornegidouilleSteep at times for a narrow blue run, but very fun. Lots of bumpy sections and drop-offs for doing a bit of off-piste, but it's when you hit the tree section it becomes fun; pretty fast, very twisty and just pleasant for beginners who want to learn technical stuff.
Carrella Off Roche de Mio, this run is very busy at the start (as you approach the restaraunt) but once on the Carrella proper, it's a very open run that promotes speedy boarding. Can be flat in places and has a rope drag lift at one point, but it's worth it when you hit the steep sections where it's just crazy because of moguls and a narrow, often crowded descent. Take the Le Levvessatt run down to the Verdon Sud lift, a very ling chairlift - gave me the heeby-jeebies!!
Kamikaze My first 'proper' red back in January and still a bit scary with tie under my belt. Mogully, but fast and steep. Get this one right and you'll be buzzing all week.
Le Serac > Eterlou > La Rossa Great example of a La Plagne blue run; fast sections with lots of space, loads of dups for ollying off of, and a decent eaterie at the end! The La Rossa run in particular is fantastic - get some speed up and you can do it at full pelt and it definitely feels faster than a blue!!

The snow : In March when we went we were greeted by blazing sunshine but lovely thick, soft snow. Okay, some areas were a bit icy or sludgy depending on which direction they faced and how many people were on them, but in general, it was better than our previous trip in January. Runs like the Kamikaze down over Grand Rochette were perfect and the alpine runs down from Aime 2000 were wicked - nice and tight, with fluffy snow that really challenged us.
Off-piste : There was also loads of off-piste (found a wicked little bit coming down into Plagne Centre that went though trees) and despite a few unsavoury looks from safety-conscious skiers and boarders, we had a great laugh. There are apparently some big powder fields above Plagne Centre and below Col de Force but we weren't brave enough to try these.
The resort : Plagne Villages is a collection typical wood-clad chalets and apartment buildings. They are easy to get to by road and parking was ample, but make sure you get in there early if you want a prime spot for the buildings high up the the resort. We stayed in a standard apartment that was literally five yards from the Mira run (my favourite) that goes all the way from Grand Rochette cable car station to the slope-side bars in Plagne Centre - sweet!! Make sure you have your head screwed on when driving up to Plagne Villages - hairpins sems to have been invented here!!
Food : Didn't really search for anywhere to eat out, as we decided on cooking all our meals. We did find a really good sandwich shop-cum-bar inside the mall in Plagne Centre. It did wicked baguettes for about £4 that really were proper energy food. Aside from that, there's a few really nice piste restaraunts dotted around but like in all French resorts, prices can be high.
Accommodation : The apartment was well located, cheap (a friend paid for the lot with a bonus and it came to about £250 for the week) and it was very spacious; two bedrooms, a mezzanine bedroom plus sofa beds. The kitchen was tiny but two bathrooms made everything cool.
Costs: We organised everything ourselves and got the apartment through the La Plagne website. Flights cost £100 with Thomson from Coventry, as we left it too late. Usually they're about £80. Two cars (a 1.2 Clio and a TDi VW Touran MPV) came to just under £300 in total. Ski pass was £130 for 6 days.
We had to budget for tolls and petrol, plus we stopped at a hypermarket at Albertville to get supplies - this saved us about £100 each over eating out - a master stroke beleive me!. Spent a bit on beer from the local SPAR when we got there, but that was to be expected Smile
Conclusion: Great holiday that we never thought we'd manage to fit in so soon after our January exploit. The snow was good, the slopes were crowded in places but it was a case of selecting routes and just taking it from there, finding runs that looked deserted. It seemed the Champagny runs off Grand Rochette were the quietest and the best for snow quality. Driving in France for the first time was an experience (*we got lost in Grenoble city centre) but it was a fun and meant we had cars to ferry ourselves around in and do shopping on the way.
Definitely a great way to end the season.

Specialman's La Plagne Pics

La Plagne Resort Report Feedback Thread
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Resort: Schladming
Country:Austria
Domain: The ‘4-Berge Schischaukel’, and the Ramsau-Dachstein area (not linked), and also part of the massive Ski Amade liftpass agreement (not linked).
Author: Deliaskis

Date: Jan 01 and March 07
Our holiday: First visit just the husband and I, both upper intermediates, second visit H, me and sister, who is a lower intermediate (4 weeks skiing but very sporty and took to it like a duck to water!).
Website : www.schladming-rohrmoos.com , www.skiamade.com, www.planai.at

Basics : Schladming is in the province of Styria/Steiermark in Austria, about 1.25 hours from Salzburg and close to Radstadt, Flachau, Wagrain etc.

Lift system : The system is in general modern and efficient, with lots of fast chairs and very few drags. We haven’t ever really seen any big queues, even getting out of town in the morning. The lifts link the main Planai mountain with the Hauser Kaibling to the east, at mountain level, and with the Hochwurzen and Reiteralm to the west (both valley level links). The resort is only at about 1000m, but the valley links are kept open against all odds, by amazing snow making efforts (see below). The Ramsau-Dachstein liftpass also covers the other regional ski areas, including the glacier, and a number of smaller hills on the way up to the Dachstein, and the Amade liftpass covers this region, Gastein valley, Flachau/Wagrain, Zauchensee, Maria Alm and many more. Flachau, which makes an excellent and easy day out, also has lots of modern fast chairs all over the mountain.

The terrain : There are a lot of miles to cover between the four mountains snowHead so the slopes are quite extensive, but as the four mountains are fairly similar in size and ‘shape’ a lot of the runs are very similar - mainly reds and blues, mostly tree-lined, all at roughly the same pitch. This doesn’t mean it’s dull though, it’s a great place for cruising and is relatively quiet, so that you can work on your technique with no fear of any nasty surprises or big crowds. The world cup slalom run into town is closed until after the race at the end of January, after which mere mortals can ski it. It’s not too scary but is one of the few black runs on the mountain. There are some extensive nursery slopes over at Rohrmoos, which is a village on the way up to the Hochwurzen. If you’re not staying there, it’s a bit inconvenient for beginners to get to, one of the reasons why Schladming isn’t an ideal resort for absolute newbies, although there are some more limited nursery slopes on the Planai too. Mixed ability groups might never see each other if some are learning over at Rohrmoos and the rest tearing around the other mountains. For groups above lower intermediate stage, there’s loads of terrain. Getting up to expert level, there are few real challenges.

The snow : Well we’ve been twice. The first time was in January and we had excellent snow, and grooming was immaculate every morning. The resort is low altitude but north-facing so it holds the snow well. In addition to that, it has the most impressive display of artificial snow making I have ever seen. A large proportion of the pistes are covered and despite daytime temps of over 20 degrees when we were there in March 07, the valley level links between the mountains were kept open. It is definitely a resort where in a poor snow year, you know you will be better off than most of the resorts within a 50km radius, with the exception of glaciers and high and snowy Obertauern. Despite its altitude, and because of the snowmaking, I would always consider Schladming as an option, and would see snow reliability as a plus not a minus Smile .

Off-piste : It’s not an ideal off-piste resort, as a lot of the pistes are lined by thick forest, but there are a few opportunities on the high bits of the Hauser Kaibling and the Reiteralm snowHead.

The resort : Schladming itself is a real town with a life of its own outside of tourism. It’s definitely a small town rather than a village, and the centre is contained within the historic town walls. There are lots of old buildings and many of the hotels have history going back many years. There is a variety of places to stay and eat in town, see below for details. In terms of nightlife, it’s definitely not a rowdy resort full of big groups, but it’s lively enough at après-ski time. Probably not the place if you want to party until dawn though. A number of good ski and skiwear shops so lots of choice if you’re looking to hire or buy equipment. The world cup night slalom in January transforms the town as thousands of visitors arrive. It’s a spectacle and is worth a visit. Hotels don’t seem to hike up the prices for this which is good.

Food : On the mountain, there is lots of choice, from tiny wooden mountain huts, to larger restaurants with big sun terraces. All have a character of their own, but the menus tend to be similar - warming and filling soups, sandwiches, sausages, pasta, pizza, schnitzel etc. those with a large appetite could choose a ‘Brettljause’ - a big wooden board full of slices of ham, salami, cheese, other cold meats, chilli peppers and onions, and several slices of bread. Gravity will get you down the mountain after that! In the town, there are a number of excellent restaurants attached to hotels, including the Landgraf and the Alte Post. They mainly offer good quality Austrian style food, and in the Landgraf in particular, there are some excellent fish dishes. There is a Papa Joe’s Mexican restaurant on the main square above a Konditorei, and a Chinese in the shopping centre behind the main square. The best meal we had was at an excellent steak restaurant tucked away on a back street. It was called the Talbachschenke and was really fabulous, but recommended for carnivores only! A number of pizza and pasta places means there’s really a lot to choose from so something for everybody’s tastes. For those who are self-catering, there are a number of big supermarkets and a farmers market once a week on the square. Near the car park to the Billa on the way into town, there is a mobile chicken shack where you can by rotisserie chickens and chips to take away.

Accommodation : We have stayed in the Alte Post which was lovely, although back in 2001 before the new owners took it on, so can’t comment on what it’s like now. More recently, in March 2007 we stayed in the ground floor apartment in Has Girik, a small private apartment house opposite the hotel Sport Royer. The apartment was spacious and clean, not modern in style but certainly comfortable and well equipped. It is very good value, and the lady who owns it is very friendly and helpful. They have a bread service so breakfast doesn’t involve a cold morning walk! The house is quietly situated and is just a 5 minute level walk to the lifts in the morning, and to the town centre. The nearest restaurant and supermarket is just a couple of minutes walk.

Costs: Schladming doesn’t have any of the inflated prices of some of the bigger name resorts, but everything is of a fairly high quality in terms of accommodation and food, so it’s not a real budget option, but it is very good value. Pizzas from about EUR6.50, meat and fish dishes around EUR10 upwards, etc.

Conclusion: Well we liked it enough to go back a second time, and the snow reliability and Amade liftpass mean we would always consider it as a reliable choice in the future. Would definitely recommend for people of lower intermediate level and above, but I wouldn’t really recommend it for mixed ability groups though. World cup week has an atmosphere all of its own and is not to be missed.

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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Resort: Mayrhofen
Country:Austria
Domain: The Zillertal arena (not linked) including the glacier at Hintertux.
Author: Deliaskis

Date: March 06
Our holiday: Me & husband (upper intermediates), big sister 7 brother-in-law (both lower intermediates). It was one of our (extremely rare) package holidays with Crystal as it was very last minute and so the cheapest option was a package.
Website : www.mayrhofen.at & www.mayrhofner-bergbahnen.com

Basics : Mayrhofen is situated in the Zillertal valley in Austria, which is off the Inntal motorway between Innsbruck and Salzburg/Munich. Innsbruck is much more convenient than Salzburg for transfers, especially if you’re with a tour op (I swear, never again) as the transfer goes a looooooonnnng way round.

Lift system : The lift system is in general efficient, with mostly chairs and a couple of cables/gondolas and T-bars. The chairs are not all fast although some are. The main gondola out of town onto the Penken can generate queues in the morning, but worse still are the queues of up to an hour to get back down the mountain after the day’s skiing, because you can’t ski back to the resort of Mayrhofen itself. It is possible to ski back to a couple of the smaller villages up and down the valley, which we opted to do a few times, deliberately to avoid the big queue to get home. There is also a big cable car up to the top of the Rastalm section, which can also generate some queues. There are also a couple of flat/uphill sections (with no big run-up) where a rope tow or button wouldn’t go amiss on the Penken.

We didn’t bother exploring the glacier or the other Zillertal areas, so can’t comment.

The terrain : The terrain is quite varied, some pretty tree-lined runs, and some higher areas in the bowls that are more open. These can be really spectacular and offer The extent of the lift-linked area is quite big if you include Eggalm, which you can ski over to via Heidi’s Hut and the Vogel nest restaurant. The mixture of pistes of different levels of difficulty makes this a nice resort for mixed ability groups I would think, and nothing on the Penken is so far away that it would take people hours to find each other.

One of the big drawbacks of the area for me is that you can’t ski back down to Mayrhofen. You can take the cable car down (see above re queues) and you can ski down to Hippach, and from Eggalm and get the bus back, but overall, I don’t think it’s great for convenience. Add this to the fact that a lot of the accommodation is a 15 minute walk or a bus ride from the lifts and you can end up doing a lot of faffing to get on and off the snow.

The Eggalm mountain is much quieter than Penken and has some lovely runs, that you can get all to yourself. We spent quite a lot of time over here to escape the crowds. Just need to take a bus back at the end of the day but they are regular and comfortable so no big problem.

There are a couple of slalom race courses to have a go at, and a big snowboard park.

The famous Harikari piste is apparently the steepest in Austria, and is worth a look if you’re not too faint-hearted. Husband and I skied it, sister and bro-in-law didn’t. I believe that there was a fatal accident there in 2007, so seriously, please ski within your own abilities, as I’m sure most Snowheads do anyway! You get plenty of chances to look at it from the lift going up there, and even from the top, you can still duck out and take the easier route down.

The snow : We had plenty of snow when we were there in March 2006. The village itself is low altitude, at about 700m I think, and so it often rains at village level, but snows on the mountain. The quality and quantity of the snow when we were there was in any case fine, the piste care and grooming was however amongst the worst I have seen. We barely saw a piste-basher all week (apart from the lines of them parked neatly next to restaurants and lift stations), and often saw blue cruisers and even nursery slopes which were torn up into moguls and not even bashed overnight. I am happy skiing moguls, ice, whatever, but I would say that the quality of the piste care here in general is one of the reasons I might not go back. Having said that, as the skiing as at a fairly high altitude, it’s pretty reliable for quantity and quality of the white stuff, and is often open well into April, when neighbouring low resorts are struggling.

Off-piste : Well the whole of the domain was pretty much off-piste when we were there, due to virtually no grooming at all, but that aside, there are lots of opportunities for proper off-piste here, particularly in the bowl areas.

The resort : It’s a large and popular resort with a tourism heritage going back many years. It has also hosted a number of world cup ski races and snowsports are definitely very much part of the town’s past, present and future. The town itself has a nice (but surprisingly not pedestrianised) main street with traditional style buildings on each side, and the atmosphere is friendly and fun.

There is accommodation in this main area, and this tends to be in the more expensive big hotel type realm, but there are also lots of smaller hotels, B&Bs and apartments that are further out and less convenient. There is however a bus that runs from the train station up to the lift stations, so that works well for much of the accommodation.

Most of the big tour ops come here so there are offices for Crystal/Thomson, Inghams, etc. The offices for Crystal have ski lockers and are right next to the lifts to very handy.

Lots of options for buying/hiring of ski equipment, plenty to choose from in every respect.

Food : We ate lunch on the mountain every day, which was all good quality, filling and good value. There are some great little rustic mountain huts in the area, so lots of choice for lunch.

In the evenings, we ate out each night at a different place. There was pizza, Chinese, traditional local cuisine, hotel restaurants, etc. so lots to choose from. The popular places were very busy though and we had to queue a couple of times for a table, and this wasn’t high season.

Accommodation : As the resort has a legacy of tourism going back many years, a lot of the cheaper accommodation is in need of some modernizing. For example, before we booked the package deal, I contacted a lot of Pensions, and many didn’t have en-suite in bedrooms. The place we stayed was called the Birkenhof which was ‘on the wrong side of the tracks’, physically. It was cheap though, as we paid only half the brochure price due to it being last minute. I think I would have felt a bit hard done to if we had paid full price.

There are a number of plush hotels on the main street, Manni’s is one that springs to mind, which seems to have excellent facilities. If I did come back a much richer person, I would probably choose to stay there. There also seemed to be lots of apartments on the way into and out of town, so there will be something here to suit most people’s tastes and budgets.

Costs: We had a cheap package there (about £240 from memory), but I would probably prefer to go and stay somewhere better and closer to the lifts if I went again. As there is a wide choice for bars and restaurants, prices are pretty reasonable. We paid up to about EUR28 for evening meals including wine/beer etc. so value was quite good. For those on a real budget, there are takeaways and supermarkets for self-catering etc.

Conclusion: I’m glad we went to Mayrhofen, and in terms of skiing and resort, it has the potential for a fabulous holiday. I didn’t really enjoy our holiday there as much as others though, as it just didn’t quite work for me - the complete lack of piste grooming, the no skiing back to resort, and the fact that we were in cheap and not very cheerful accommodation mean that I would consider lots of other places before coming back. I know it’s really popular though, and some people keep going back again and again so if the issues I have with it aren’t important to you, then I am sure you will love it.

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