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A snowHead
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Location: snowHeadLand


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.

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