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Tignes vs Val Thorens... or something else!?

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Tignes vs Val Thorens... or something else!?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hey!

I'm hitting Europe next month with my friend, we're coming all the way from Japan and I'd like to show her some cool European resorts! The thing is we will be there mid-April (11-18.04) and I have never skied that late in Europe hence I have no idea where to go! After doing some extensive research I came up with the following:

- Val Thorens
- Tignes (or Val d'Isere but rather leaning towards Tignes)
- Saas Fee
- Zermatt
- ??

Not sure about VT because it seems pretty pricey and not *that* picturesque (if it had that small alpine village charm to it I would totally go for it) although it does look a bit better than Tignes, which on the other hand is a bit cheaper? Saas Fee and Zermatt definitely look nicer (village wise) but how is snow there I don't know!

I personally am looking for everything: piste, off-piste, park, a nice drink/coffee in the evening (nothing crazy though, I like quiet chill). My friend is more on a beginner side so some nice greens/easy intermediates would be nice.

Any kind of advice is highly appreciated!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Hi @Maandy, welcome to Snowheads.

All of those resorts should still be pretty good mid-April (in fact there's a Snowheads trip to Val Thorens in late April every year and there's always something good to ski). There are high Austrian resorts you could consider too, but I'm no expert there.

Zermatt is VERY pricey, by all accounts. Saes Fee less so, but still expensive. If budget is an issue, I'd probably count them out for this trip.

Both Tignes and Val Thorens can be done pretty cheaply. Neither are 'charming' but both have convenient budget accommodation and will give you everything you've asked for. Charming villages tend to be at lower altitude, and therefore aren't snow-sure later in the season. Personally, I'm rather fond of both Tignes and Val Thorens even if they do look like moon colonies.

They both share a lot of the same characteristics - lots of varied pistes, incredible off-piste, lots of facilities and apres ski. I'm not a park skier myself but both have serious terrain parks and a lot of pros living out there. There are better places for absolute beginners, but if your friend is ok on the blue runs then again there's plenty of piste cruising too.

Flip a coin?

Do you have a budget in mind? Self-catering, hotel or chalet? People may be able to suggest specific places to look at.
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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?
I’d say Tignes.

Tignes – Not the prettiest but well designed resort with really good skiing.

Val Thorens – Barren bleak wasteland of a resort with really good skiing.

Zermatt – Best town, great scenery (Matterhorn and the Monta Rosa) but wasn’t that impressed with the skiing. Lots of dull wide motorways..
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welcome to Snowheads @Maandy. As @Maireadoconnor says it's really too late in the season to be finding a pretty alpine village - they were built in the valleys. If you are on a tight budget you could look at the holidays at UCPA centres in France (UCPA.fr). They have some good offers in resorts including Tignes - some with, some without, instruction. Their prices include full board, equipment hire and ski passes and are well-nigh unbeatable. Some centres just have "multiple occupancy" dorms, some (including Tignes) have a twin bedroom option at an additional price.

You need to budget for travel on top of the UCPA prices.

UCPA centres tend to be sociable, with bars offering drinks rather cheaper than in the town.

The standard of tuition, should you opt for that, is good. The best way of both of you getting a good week's skiing in, perhaps.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Hey thanks for the very fast replies!

Type of accommodation: hotel or chalet, don't really care as long as it's nice Happy

Price range: haven't really decided on anything specific, let's say a very open range 1000-2000eur (+-) for a room for 2 for 6 nights

Food: I'd prefer a half board, really don't feel like cooking during holidays since I do it everyday at home

Additional: if it's within 3-5h ride from Geneva airport it would be perfect as we found some cheap/convenient flights to there!

We will be bringing our own gear so no need to rent stuff Happy

Actually I am really close to just flipping a coin as I hear a lot of good and bad about both Tignes and VT wink

@galpinos: by "well designed resort" which one did you mean? I've been reading about Le Lac and Val Claret, both seemed similar. People are saying VT is the highest resort in Europe but from what I checked the lifts in both VT and Tignes go way over 3000m anyway, right? So in the worst case I wouldn't be able to snowboard down to the hotel I guess? Or am I missing something?


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Thu 19-03-15 14:55; edited 1 time in total
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Don't rule out Ischgl. High and snowsure and despite some modern new developments, still has lovely old Tyrolean village centre.
Not cheap by Austrian standards but still cheaper than Swiss resorts. Bargains to be had this year as the Russians haven't travelled in the great numbers of previous years.
Has reputation for full-on, loud, après ski scene but easy enough to find your own level if you want more sedate and relaxed.
You can also cross into lovely, quaint village of Samnaun in Switzerland which has duty free status.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Paul100 wrote:
Don't rule out Ischgl. High and snowsure and despite some modern new developments, still has lovely old Tyrolean village centre.
Not cheap by Austrian standards but still cheaper than Swiss resorts. Bargains to be had this year as the Russians haven't travelled in the great numbers of previous years.
Has reputation for full-on, loud, après ski scene but easy enough to find your own level if you want more sedate and relaxed.
You can also cross into lovely, quaint village of Samnaun in Switzerland which has duty free status.


+1 though after easter Apres will be rather quiet by Ischgl standards.

very snowsure and lots to ski right until the first week in May
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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!
Ahhh Ischgl, I was looking into it, the city center looks really nice! But I was having problems finding decent flights from Tokyo to Munich/Zurich, will keep on looking maybe something will appear! I was a bit worried also about the snow, since there's no glacier there and this year seems a bit warm? At least here in Japan and in Canada it is warmer than average (from the beginning wanted to go to Whistler in Canada but apparently it's already 12'C there and the snow is slowly disappearing).
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@Maandy, Apart from a few weeks in the beginning of the season and middle of Feb, its been a largely average year in Europe (in general), so I wouldn't worry about the snow/weather for Ischgl its at a decent altitude and have had a decent enough season in terms of snowfall to last until late April at least. There is also plenty of time for more snow to arrive there. I was there late April last year and skied back to the village just fine. They are experts at preserving the pistes to an excellent standard and they have a series of season closing concerts too. It would be near the top of my list if planning a late season trip.

Probably one of, if not the best lift systems in terms of speed, comfort and they are nearly all very new.
Great food, great apres and its a lovely ski town. You will find a high standard of accommodation within your budget also.
They discount lift tickets at that time of year too. Conditions dependent you could also do day trips to St Anton or Serfaus.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Maandy wrote:
@galpinos: by "well designed resort" which one did you mean? I've been reading about Le Lac and Val Claret, both seemed similar. People are saying VT is the highest resort in Europe but from what I checked the lifts in both VT and Tignes go way over 3000m anyway, right? So in the worst case I wouldn't be able to snowboard down to the hotel I guess? Or am I missing something?


You'd be unlucky in the extreme if you couldn't board back to le Lac and Val Claret mid April. snowHead
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Not been to Saas Fee but if I was flying all the way from Japan I would far rather spend a bit extra and visit Zermatt than save a bit of money and visit Tignes or the truly aesthetically gruesome Val Thorens. I would have thought that by mid April you can get something at a reasonable discount to high season prices and ti really is a +-spectacular resort to visit.
Tignes and Val T will have perfectly adequate skiing but do you really want to fly half way round the world to visit an ugly concrete block? Even the mountains in the Belleville valley are ugly by alpine standards.
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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.
Maandy I've skied in Tignes every late April/early May in every year since 2008 - and never had a problem with snow cover. At that time there is usually over 50% of Espace Killy (the 250km ski area shared with Val D'Isere) open - so you would have a lot more available earlier in April.

You will definitely be able to ski back to all levels of the resort (including Tignes Les Brevieres at 1500m - albeit on soft snow lower down). There's every chance of skiing powder at altitude too Smile.
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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
@mountainaddict, This fills me with confidence. We are looking at once last trip this season and Tignes is looking to be the likely resort. We were there only 3 weeks ago and really enjoyed it.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Well Ischgl is definitely out of the question as I can't find decent flights to Munich/Innsbruck (everything over 1800eur pp which is like twice the price to Geneva), maybe next year Happy

@T Bar, yeah I was thinking about Zermatt but 1) it seems like most of the hotels are quite far from the lift (unless we're talking bout the really expensive hotels) 2) @galpinos mentioned that the slopes there aren't that amazing? I mean sure a picturesque village/mountains is a plus but in the end we are going there to snowboard Happy 3) damn those prices are high! wink

My main worry was snow, seems like it should be OK so I guess I'll just make itineraries over the weekend for Tignes/Val d'Isere/Val Thorens/Zermatt/Saas Fee and choose one of them Happy

Thanks for all your help!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Maandy,
As far as distance from lifts goes Zermatt has three base stations, there is some walking but most people manage it fairly easily and I would have thought that being in boarder boots rather than ski boots a short walk is no great inconvenience.
I have been to all three resorts in April and I don't think the slopes are any less varied in Zermatt than the others, if anything you are slightly less likely to miss out due to bad weather as there are tree lined slopes which in bad weather Tignes and Val T miss out on all together. The top lift is higher in Zermatt and all the areas go over 3000m you will really not miss out by going there but yes it undoubtedly is more expensive,
Have you looked at the tourist office web site you can sometimes get all inclusive deals low season which bring the cost down..
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@T Bar, I seriously hope you work as a sales person or something similar because you sure are good at pitching stuff wink Yes I am actually checking travel agencies, the problem is I need to check online ones because Japanese travel agencies only do trips to Canada (Whistler to be precise, that's why I wanted to go there in the first place). I'm definitely stoked on Zermatt after checking some pictures online, will definitely try my best to find some way to go there but we'll see, the JP <-> plane will eat up a fair bit of our budget after all wink

Again thanks for all the input, highly appreciated!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I'm with T Bar on approaching the tourist office in your chosen resort. I went to Val Thorens for the closing weekend of the season a couple of years ago and booked a hotel deal including a lift pass directly through the tourist office. Hotel was the Val Chaviere - fairly simple but more than adequate. Had a twin en-suite room with breakfast and a four course evening meal with wine. To get to Val Thorens I hired a car from the Swiss side of Geneva airport and self drove. Hotel even had an underground carpark ! To cap it all off we skiied fresh powder snow on the 1st May !!
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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?
@Griggs, do you maybe by any chance remember the agency name you used?
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@Maandy, you can usually contact the local tourist office through the accommodation/contact links on the resort website, so for Zermatt go through http://www.zermatt.ch/en/ and for Val Thorens use http://www.valthorens.com
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I was in Saas Fee in late April last year; snow was surprisingly good but you need to check when the lifts close etc. We had the full mountain for two days and then limited areas after that. The lift pass is expensive anyway and even more so when that happens!

(Going to Engelberg this time around in April as the very top lifts aren't scheduled to close until May 25!)
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Maandy the agency we used was;

reserver@valthorens.com

Mail them and ask them what deals they have for the week you want (deal to include half board hotel and lift pass). I'm sure they will have something for you.

Good luck and let us know how you get on !

Griggs
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Thanks guys!!! Yeah I'll definitely post where I'm going so you can catch me should you got to the same place at the same time to grab a drink (on me!) Happy
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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!
@Maandy,
try here for accommodation

http://www.zermatt.ch/en/accommodations/
they also have packages which include passes and rental
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Hey guys again! Just wanted to say thanks for all your input and ping me should you be in Zermatt, yes in the end that's what we've decided, between 11 and 17.04 if you want to grab a drink Happy
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@Maandy,

Enjoy. Don't forget to put up a trip report afterwards.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@Maandy,
Have a great time, I hope Zermatt is good to you, it's a great place.
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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.
If you are coming all the way from Japan for European skiing then Zermatt is an excellent (but pricey) choice. Try the Tannenhoff Hotel http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g188098-d3188544-Reviews-Hotel_Tannenhof-Zermatt_Canton_of_Valais_Swiss_Alps.html is as reasonable as you can find price wise, it is central, clean, quite an wont break the bank.

Th eskiing in Zermatt is execllent- but I'd suggest hiring a guide to ski off piste to really get the feel of the place. And have at least one blow out meal.

Just read the thread- you are going to Zermatt- excellent choice!

Grampies for a drink / pizza and Marcel singing, cheap enormous gin down an alley in an old building, great Italian food to the left of the Sunnega base.

Skking as high as you can.

Have a think about off piste /touring / a help drop.

the scenery is stunning, the air tastes good.
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