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Cha/Verb VS Tignes/ValD

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hello everyone,

A small group of us (3-5, age 25+) are looking to go on snowboard holiday the week of Jan 16th. This is our 2/3rd snowboarding trip, we're getting the hang of it - but unfortunately have no experience at all when it comes to picking the right resort.

The specs:

1. We are all novices (can get down a piste OK, but little experience with off-piste/fancy acrobatics).
2. Looking for something driving distance from Geneva
3. Self-catering / budget
4. Hopefully not too packed, or at least not surrounded by crazies - we'd like to do things on our own pace

The winners so far:

1. Chamonix (full pass + rental car):
+ Impressive landscapes to remember (guided tour of VB looks to be very interesting)
+ Town nearby for some variety and winding down
+ Access to Verbier
+ All the off-piste we will ever need to learn
- Extreme nature, possibly too advanced for us
- Not as connected (but this should be offset by having a car handy?)
- Expensive but costs can be dodged by going hostel + supermarket catering

2. Tignes
+ Ski-in/out
+ Not quite as intimidating as Chamonix
+ Access to ValD
+ Fun parks aplenty
+ Connected, easy to get around
- No variety (snowsports and nothing else)
- Ugly, 'industrialized' experience
- Expensive.. I've nothing here.

The question:

Am I getting warmer? Or am I barking up the wrong tree here?

Any advice at all would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you in advance,
A
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Wouldn't worry about Chamonix/Mont Blanc being too advanced or extreme - I learnt to ski there and it was fine. There's a massive variety of runs across the areas, easily something for everyone. I loved it, would definitely go back!
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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?
Welcome to snowHeads SnowySno.

Rather unhelpfully I'm going to contradict bobmcstuff.

Yes, you can learn to ski / board in Chamonix, but outside of Les Houches, the intermediate terrain isn't great. Tignes has much better intermediate terrain and there's far less buggering about to do. (Don't get me wrong, I enjoy skiing in Chamonix, but I'm there for what Chamonix is best at - which is higher end terrain.

Tignes is great, but can be horrendously expensive. Think 5 euros for a bottle of coke on the mountain and 7-10 euros a pint. (I actually think that Chamonix is cheaper.)

If you're serious about wanting a budget holiday then either grab a last minute bargain to one of the big French resorts like Flaine, Les Arcs or Avoriaz, which will have loads of terrain to keep you amused, but probably cost less.

You might also consider looking at a French organisation called UCPA (English site at www.ucpa.co.uk) who are run by the French government and do all-inclusive holidays - so the price you see on the web site includes lift pass, instruction, equipment hire and food. Rather counter-intuitively, UCPAs always tend to be very well located (given that they're such good value to stay in). The one in Tignes is in a fantastic location (if you really do want to do Tignes). IIRC, there is an age cut-off for UCPA, but I'm sure the info will be on the site.
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
One of the English resellers for UCPA is www.action-outdoors.co.uk. They are quoting £450 for a week in January - inclusive of everything except transport. Which is remarkable value for money.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
FlyingStantoni wrote:

Yes, you can learn to ski / board in Chamonix, but outside of Les Houches, the intermediate terrain isn't great. Tignes has much better intermediate terrain and there's far less buggering about to do. (Don't get me wrong, I enjoy skiing in Chamonix, but I'm there for what Chamonix is best at - which is higher end terrain.


I think we were in Le Tours most of the time.

Bearing in mind it was only my first trip, I managed to do a selection of runs in most of the areas and had a great time. At the time I hadn't tried ski in/ski out so the buses between areas didn't bother me. I think I'd find it a bit of a faff now. Also having not skiied there as an intermediate you're probably in a better position to comment - I'm only really going off what I saw when I was there. Looking back on it, I'd maybe rather have spent my first week learning somewhere else (e.g., La Plagne where I did my half season), but I didn't really have the choice cos it was a uni trip...

We stayed in the UCPA in Argentiere, couldn't recommend the UCPA model more highly. I was looking at the UCPA in Tignes for this season's trip but by group vote we've ended up booking Val Thorens with Off The Piste...
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
FlyingStantoni wrote:
One of the English resellers for UCPA is www.action-outdoors.co.uk. They are quoting £450 for a week in January - inclusive of everything except transport. Which is remarkable value for money.


I was quoted £433 for Tignes departing 14th Jan, excellent value. OTP has worked out cheaper for me just because the package is more flexible so I can ditch ski hire and lessons - the beginners in our group are getting screwed over though.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I am biased as I have a business in Chamonix - but personally, based on your group, I'd be looking to Avoriaz ( or Morzine)...
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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!
AS a part time Tignyard - I would contradict some of the comments - as with most ski resorts it is biased towards snowsports but there is a great pool/gym/wellness centre plus a whole load of other activitites such as ice diving/parascending/bowling etc. More importantly beer is 5-5.5 a pint in most of the bars, cheaper at Happy Hour!
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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.
If you can get to Tignes for £450 for a week - SIGN UP NOW! Great for novice/intermediate boarders and that price is quite frankly ridiculously good value.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
SnowySno,

I think you're a mile off what you want given your experience you'll not get the best out of Chamonix by some margain. It's a place for advanced and expert skiers/boarder in the main IMHO. Cham is great for a long weekend trip as the accomdation for <1 week stays is plentiful with many budget options and a cheap flight into Genva. In my experience by time you're fed and watered it's not cheap.

Tignes/Espace Killy is one of the great ski areas. From a ski perspective I love it and will be there this season, but the size of the area might be wasted on your group it's a great resort for intermediates with plenty of mileage.

Here is a comprehensive list of resorts and travel times from Geneva:

http://www.j2ski.com/ski_resorts/Airports/Geneva.html


Going in large groups a catered chalet I find makes sense for France due to the cost of eating/drinking out. From that list I'd maybe consider something in Italy.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Go to Tignes with UCPA, pack in as much instruction as you can, you'll have a great time, for very small money. Mid January will be quite quiet on the slopes (not that Tignes is ever exactly deserted). Or one of the other resorts offered through UCPA.
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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.
Hey all,

A bit late, but I wouldn't want to leave this without replying!

Thanks so much for the very valuable information - in the end, and most likely going through all the offers and options we picked up from this thread, we ended up in Serre Chevalier.

Looks to be the perfect place for us, as there is a village around for the non-ski/snowboard days and generally doesn't look too intimidating!

(Oh, and I'm eyeing a single person trip for Tignes for April through UCPA now Wink )
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
SnowySno, glad you've found something, & I think you've made a really good choice there Very Happy

And thanks for coming back to tell us, as well - so often, people just come on to ask for advice & then never post again... Hope you're going to stick around now (& maybe you could do a trip report when you come back from Serre Che? Always welcome!). Have a great trip snowHead

Oh, & Tignes is an excellent choice for April - go for it! You know you want to Toofy Grin
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
SnowySno, if you are serious about the UCPA trip in April, Tignes is a great place to go - even if its slushy the centre is in Val Claret so a stones throw to the glacier for great conditions - use SP2010 for a £10 discount with action outdoors too and watch out for some good late season deals on their website - they usually have some good specials for that time. An alternative could be the EoSB or if you want something a little earlier than that the Val Thorens UCPA centre is pretty handy for the slopes.

I've only skied in Serre Che once, but it is a very beautiful place - I've memories of lots of tree runs and blankets of snow above the treeline - watch out for the odd drag lift though - one of the ones I hooked onto was a shocker v long with quite a few corners - not great for boards. They are avoidable though, so no worries.
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