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I left my job, please help me RV/Motorhome Skiing

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I am sure this has been asked before but my search resulted in disperse information and some apparently out of date

I left my job, I'd like to at least use this time to make this work !! It's a short notice but I wanna make it happen before the season ends

Information about me :

1- Never operated or driven a motorhome
2- Gonna be going Solo

Information about what I am looking for :

1 - Motorhome operation information (I searched high and low but I am looking to draw upon experience to see if what i found out s accurate) . Basically what I understand is that :

a- I need a site with power to plug and charge the battery ?
b- Is heating powered through Battery or propane ? Where do I fill propane ?
c- There are two waste tanks only right ? How and where Do i clean them ?

2- European (France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria) Ski resorts which I can park at the base or something for like a week, ski there, then move elsewhere. Preferably park within walking distance of the slopes


Please help me make this happen Smile

Thanks
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Nothing specific to add, but good luck and good on ya!
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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?
kuharido, this looks like a good place to start http://www.motorhomeski.com/places-to-stay have seen Motorhomes parked in Les Gets right next to slope http://www.motorhomeski.com/places-to-stay/france/les-portes-du-soleil/les-gets
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cooool.

i've seen motohomes parked up just up from the Gallo pub in Claviere before. Would be a nice base for a few days. You should drive to the dolomites... no reason really, 'cept they're very pretty and i want to ski there Very Happy
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
kuharido, welcome to snowheads. snowHead It sounds a fun idea, but be aware that you will need a lot more than normal insulation on your van - apart from not freezing yourself to death you also need to protect water tanks etc. Yer average British built van is not up to Alpine winter living.

For one person, though, it will probably cost more than B & Bs. The sites where you can hook up to power are not cheap, the vehicles tend to chew up a whole heap more fuel than a small car, they cost a lot to buy and depreciation is appreciable. some mountain roads are difficult with vans - you'll need more expensive chains than for a car, etc etc. It mounts up - probably only worth doing if you were thinking of getting a motorhome anyway. You could sling all your gear in the back of a small car, put your skis on top, and get going. There are a number of places (Chamonix for one) where there are good hostels where'll you'll meet other people to ski, eat and drink with.
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Also think about what you are going to do about drying your gear. You may need 2 sets of stuff so you don't have to ski in cold and damp gear.

I would prepare for drying boots too, either electric boot warmers or some flexible tube to connect on the van central air if it has it.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
kuharido, loads of hook-ups available in Austria, Italy and Switzerland.

The web link above should give you some places to start on. It is quite common to caravan/motor home for ski holidays, especially the Scandinavians and Dutch. I know one resort town on the edge of Sportwelt Amadé where there are at least 3 winter parks. Only 8kms from the autobahn so possibly no chains need. But they are a requirement for vehicles travelling in Austrian and German mountain areas in winter.

daehwons, many of the fully winterised camp sites have heated ski rooms and drying facilities. Some of them even have Spa facilities!!! Mind you hopping across the park in your bathrobe and bathers might be a bit parky! Laughing

.
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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!
Saw a number of vans in La Plagne last month, but they have to be winterised.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
What a great experience you will have and remember for the rest of your life , enjoy !!
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Sounds fantastic, this is my standard response (Alps in a camper van) to what would I do with a year off or whatever, hope it goes well.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
There are plenty of van sites - and there's also a big area in Les Saisies where they camp "free", though for that they have to be well equipped and completely independent. It's rammed in school holiday times. It's not finding the sites that's a problem, and a year in a camper would probably make good economic sense, especially for a couple or small family. But just for a month (which is all that's gonna be left of this season by the time it's all together) I still think it will be a great deal more expensive than driving a car down and using cheap accommodation. Sites with electric hookups and all the facilities are not cheap.
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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.
What about a season in NZ. No problem at all with the motorhome thing, the country's tourist industry pretty much relies on it. Also, there's plenty of crap old campers going cheap once the summer season is over.
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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
Saw a motorhome driving into the bottom twin gondolas station in Arabba, Italian Dolomites. Apparently there is a facility there. However it would be a challenge for a UK motorhome to get through the mountain passes, especially with snow on the road.

I would echo pam w's view that a motorhome may not save much because the ski pass alone, presumably unavoidable, can constitute 20 to 30% of the skiing holiday cost.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I too think that it would be better for you to drive in a small car to a large area ( the Dolomiti super ski, the Ziller valley etc). It will be cheaper - buy a season ski pass, book a cheap room in a village that's not near the main lift, also' you'll get there earlier, without having to mess around with buying and learning about motorhomes
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I echo what pam w, and others have said ,plus from experience of 2 friends about 6 years ago. They had a very very small studio apartment in a small ski resort (just off portes de soleil), decided rather than drive to resorts they would get a campervan and live off the rest of the money from selling the studio. So they got a cheap old campervan, winterized (but a bit worn out) It worked, for a while, then it got really cold, and condensation became a huge problem. So everything was damp. To cut a sorry story short they both got rather ill and ended up coming home. Said wished they had kept the studio, or just rented places for a month at a time, as it would have actually worked out cheaper and been much more comfortable.

Even buying 2 season passes eg. grand massif is 429 euros, and another area would give you huge choice.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
carroz, I would have thought there was plenty of choice in the GM alone.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
pam w, I do about 7 weeks a season there which is great, but a whole continuous season would be a bit much, the free visits to other places you get with the pass are good.

If i was doing a whole season (dream on.....!!!) I would do valloire etc as well as that season pass is really cheap.

I have a plan..............or maybe not... Very Happy
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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?
Might be worth talking to a rental company and getting something much newer to take for several weeks. Several places in the UK that do this.

Motor home companies in the UK must be incredibly quiet at this time of year, so any income they can get from a motorhome that's otherwise sat in the yard must be a bonus.

Don't even think about doing it in a £2,000 ebay special. You'll freeze, you won't enjoy it, and you'll probably break down before you get there - in which case you've lost your accommodation and your transport. Not good.
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carroz, but the OP wants to go this season, I thought - which means not more than half a season!
Quote:

Motor home companies in the UK must be incredibly quiet at this time of year, so any income they can get from a motorhome that's otherwise sat in the yard must be a bonus.

dream on - motorhome hire is expensive at any time of year, especially if you're going to drive it to the Alps. Agree that an ebay special is a waste of time!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
A friend and I did 5 months round the Alps in a motorhome 6 years ago - an absolutely fantastic experience. As long as you have a winterised van (with heating), condensation shouldn't be a problem. Parking within walking distance of the slopes (and with hook-up) is not too common, especially in Austria and Switzerland.

a- I need a site with power to plug and charge the battery ?
Not necessarily. We relied on the leisure battery on a trickle charge from a solar panel on the roof. Occasionally topped up by running the engine for a half hour or so.

b- Is heating powered through Battery or propane ? Where do I fill propane ?
Depends on the van. We used gas. Bear in mind that the bottles (and regulators) are different in France, Italy and Switzerland (we didn't replace in Austria). In France you can get replacements at most garages, in Switzerland at camping shops (or similar) and in Italy at builders merchants(!).

c- There are two waste tanks only right ? How and where Do i clean them ?
Again, depends on the van. You'll need to figure it out once you have a suitable van. Do take care though, even with a winterised van, the tanks can still freeze.

Don't be put off about driving up the mountain roads - we had a 23ft wagon with just a 2.5litre diesel engine. We weren't popular up some of the small roads but we never needed to turn back Toofy Grin

Having said all that, if you're thinking of saving money by buying a van and going out for a month or two, you'd be much better off driving out in a car and finding accommodation out there, as suggested by pam w.
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Thought about this myself for the future.

Check this link for info

http://www.motorhome-list.org.uk/skiing.htm
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Michael B,

A very good link! It is pretty spot on with my experience of owning a static caravan in France. At the Chamonix camp site I have seen campers camping in winter but not many skiers so may be cold isn't a big issue if one has enough insulation.
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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!
Guys, a million thanks for being this generous with your information, you've informed me about a lot !

jwhiteley1 , thanks for the encouragement !
kevinrhead , many thanks for the link ! I found out about a nice camping site now near St.Anton from that link !
shoogly, I so wanna check out the dolomites, i've seen some youtubes and the scenery is breathtaking !! Amazing stones
Chris Brookes, thanks ! I am hoping it would be like that Smile
Monium, "Don't even think about doing it in a £2,000 ebay special" lol, hehe thanks
Caspar, thanks for the specific answers, I never thought that the solar/motor dynamo would be enough, interesting Smile
Michael B, amazing page ! So full of ino, thank you

pam w, thank you so much ! You actually made me rethink my plan and I am taking your advice based on what i've been reading. I have a few questions I'd love if you and everyone can help me with, see below Smile

I am starting to think I might be a bit over my head with this, water, energy, heating .... etc, still though I am sure I could manage it but I am having another idea in mind which might fair out better



Ok So now I am thinking of adding some non ski portions in the trip as well, and for all different reasons I am now more keen on renting a normal car (Van/MPV style) and just travel the resorts with that. The question here becomes :

1- What is the cheapest kind of accomodation I can find (resorts like St.Anton, Verbier, Cortina, Cham) . There is supposedly B&B or Chalets or hostels ? Are there hostels in these areas ? I need to research

2- Since I am travelling alone, it would be really nice to be in an accomodation where there would be a lot of people to meet, who may or may not be travelling alone as well. I really would love to meet people along the way instead of skiing alone all the time. Group Lessons are an idea too ? This is really an important part, i don't wanna end up solo/miserable ALL the time Smile . I could use any ideas here (Group Lessons ? Do you actually meet people apres ski ? In Chalets ? ....)

3- I thought of two approaches, either getting a season pass and staying in once place, OR, and I'm more leaning to the second because I get to sample different places, spend a few days at each spot and then move, the places I'd like to see are Kitzbuhel, Cortina, St.Anton, Verbier or Zermatt, and Chamonix, I think that should present a nice slice of the Alps Smile

4- I am actually going to be doing all this starting March 27ish (I knwo kinda late), I am checking around when does the season end in most of these places, and April 15ish seems to be the closing date ?


P.S Just one last question, with group lessons, do you actually have to have a group of your own, or you just join a group which the schools matches ? And these group lessons, they are offered to skiers of all abilities ?
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
kuharido, ski schools run group lessons for all except the most advanced levels - they just put you in the right sort of level, you don't need to take your own group.

Those are all extremely expensive resorts - though several of them do have hostels. You will find it easier to meet people in hostels, that's for sure. You might take a look at holidays run by UCPA. A French youth sports organisation - very good value, all-in, with lessons, equipment, food and accommodation in dormitories (or some of them have double rooms at a supplement, not possible if you're on your own). Action-Outdoors run holidays from the UK http://www.action-outdoors.co.uk/ or you can book direct with UCPA and make your own travel arrangements.

If you don't have a vehicle, hiring one for so long to drive round Europe will cost you a lot. And if you're in a resort for a week it will be just sitting there, costing you money to park and/or getting snowed on from a great height.

How much skiing have you done before? If the answer is none, or very little, some of those resorts wouldn't be ideal for you - and you'd pay more than you'd need to do. For example there's great high up skiing in Chamonix, but the beginner areas are lower and could be slushy at the end of the season.

St Anton has wonderful skiing but it's not generally recommended for beginners. Same applies to Verbier. Cortina is not bad - but it's not super convenient, is full of Italian ladies in mink coats, might not be too exciting for a lone young traveller. There are other resorts in the Dolomites, which some people on here know a lot about, which might be better, with more immediately accessible beginner skiing.

Late in the season you need to have somewhere with high slopes, including high easy slopes, and with the right aspect to keep their snow (ie not getting blasted by sun). Les Deux Alpes and Tignes would be two obvious contenders, and both have a good variety of accommodation.

What's your budget, by the way? Could be a very expensive month.

Few resorts will be reliable for snow after mid April, though sometimes skiing is excellent until then. Would be good to stay flexible enough to respond to conditions.
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Will you have a laptop with you? It will make looking for accomodation easier. Also you can sometimes use tourist info. End of season deals can be made with the various in resort estate agents too


Look for free parking - usually out of or on the edges of a resort but with buses running. This will save you up to 100e a week

keep your eye on the weather pages and chase the snow

Some passes include days at other places - I think the more weeks you buy the more days you get

Use the big supermarkets out of resort to stock up on things that will last or bring along supplies, resort prices are expensive

aim to end up in a place that the season is open longest
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
If you have to hire a car for a month...

You might be better off doing your month in North America!!!

(more specifically, in US. Key factor being: car hire AND fuel are considerably less expensive than in Europe or even than Canada! Also, US resorts will start dropping their lift pass price starting April, which alleviate one of the biggest complain of skiing in N.A.)
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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.
What happened with this one? Did he do it in a motorhome in the end?
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