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European Ski Weekend

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all,

We are thinking about trying to sort out a weekend of skiing (fly out Thurs eveing and fly back Sun evening).

Would someone be able to suggest/recommend where is the nearest resort in Europe that we could drive too from the UK (we live in the Sth East) and where is the nearest resort we could fly too...........nearest airport is Gatwick ?

We just want somewhere to ski for the weekend, so it doesn't have to be the best slopes in the world and we don't want to spend too much either !

Would like to go (if a dump of snow has fallen by then !) in November 18 and / or Jan 19.

Oh and last question.....any good Ski holiday agents that we could talk too that don't just focus on France. We have used Erna Low in the past and found them to be really helpful but I think they tend to just focus on the Fench Alps.

Any suggestions most qelcome.

Thank you.

Bruce.
ski holidays     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
welcome to Snowheads Bruce L

Airports with short transfer times (about an hour to resort):

Innsbruck - skiing from the city possible I believe, hour to Ischgl, St. Anton
Geneva - Jura, Chamonix, Porte du Soleil
Turin - Sauze d'Oulx and Milky Way.

Have driven to Chamonix and PdS from NW England in about 12hrs so from SE 8-9hrs (non-stop except toilet and fuel breaks).

November snow unlikely, January snow highly probably

Lots of info to be found using the search options

Dunno about tour opreators as we usually go DIY.
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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?
Stubai Glacier is about 30mins on the free bus from innsbruck + other closer resorts. Stubai should be skiiable in November.
Geneva / Grenoble / Chamberly opens up the whole alps.
If France - have you considered the train options?
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November- you’ve got to go to places with Glaciers. Coincidentally, we’ve been lying in bed this morning planning a 3 night ski testing break in Zermatt from 15-18 Nov https://www.zermatt.ch/en/Media/Packages/Ski-Test
Might be a bit too much money, but it does include lift pass and trying lots of lovely new skis. Our Sleasyjet flights for 2 return to Geneva cost us a smidge over £100 in total flying handbaggage only. Transfer by train around 90£. Transfer is long so you don’t ski on the day you fly out, but there are so many flights to and from GVA per day, it’s quite feasible to ski till 3pm on day 3 and get a late flight home.
Once into the ski season itself- take a look at Les Carroz. An hour from GVA. You most definitely can be on the slopes by mid morning if you fly on the first flight of the day and can ski a full day on the last day before heading back to the airport. The Milk Hotel is nice but reasonable and bang on the slopes.
ski holidays     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
We go out to our apartment in the 4 Vallées every year, ahead of the first Christmas clients, 'end of Nov/early Dec. and we've had good skiing 3 out of the last five years, but with only the upper slopes open (lower closed not because of lack of snow but more to preserve them for Christmas). The other two years, the slopes weren't open much or the weather was so snowy we just snowshoed. So most places you go pre-Christmas will probably be similar. We then go for our main ski break around your 19th Jan date and we've always had the whole area open and good snow, bar a couple of years when the whole of the Alps were pretty much bad (18ºC in the village at 1500m end of Jan about 12 years ago). And of course, no school holiday crowds. For Weekends we usually fly-drive but for 6+ skiing days we'd drive all the way. Weekend trips we've probably used public transport half the time: mostly on the basis of whether car hire is cheaper or not (frankly, I prefer the train to the hassle of car hire return). Even before we had our own apartment, we'd switched to self-catering because we preferred the personal lounge space you get, but I understand it's not everyone's preference. I'm biased, obviously, but I'd say Verbier is a candidate and for the November trip, you're going to get the upper slopes open most seasons. For France, yes, Les Carroz and Samöens area is certainly near to GVA but for November, less snow-sure.

Here's the Savoleyres sector of the 4 Valleys late November 2 years ago at around 2000m. Clearly, pretty quiet. The Verbier upper slopes were similar.



You can see from the Bernese Oberland mountains on the right distance that the snowline was around 1600-1700m so that's 'average' for that date. And the slopes were shut below about 1800m to preserve the base, so we're talking only upper slopes. We had to get the gondola down to Verbier and bus to Médran when we went to ski the upper slopes of Verbier. So given the choice you'd obviously be better off in Verbier, albeit a satellite like La Tzoumaz is cheaper.
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Perty wrote:
November- you’ve got to go to places with Glaciers. Coincidentally, we’ve been lying in bed this morning planning a 3 night ski testing break in Zermatt from 15-18 Nov https://www.zermatt.ch/en/Media/Packages/Ski-Test
Might be a bit too much money, but it does include lift pass and trying lots of lovely new skis..


Stubai are doing the same in November

https://www.stubaier-gletscher.com/en/accommodation/package-deals/

SPORTSCHECK GLETSCHERTESTIVAL
07.11.2018 - 12.11.2018

The Stubai Glacier, the SportScheck team and representatives of more than 50 brands await you at an altitude of 2,900m to present the new equipment for the upcoming winter season. More than 3,800 articles can be thoroughly tested for selecting your new winter set-up. Moreover there will be an informative and action-filled support programme.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
A general question please, if I may, as this is something which I would like to do too, Thurs - Suns bring free days. How is accommodation best booked for short stays, where, through where/whom? I would have thought many places, certainly Jan to March, would only do weeks? Is it only viable out of season or...? Thanks.
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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!
@Grizzler, general response, we are in the lucky position that our management crew actually find non Sats better as they are flat out on Sats. And outwith French school hols we take any dates with variable minimum stay.

I’d use AirBnB. Book flights as soon as you can.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
We have booked accommodation through www.tiscover.com for Austria and through local Tourist Information office elsewhere. If it is early or late season we have had no problems with part weeks / short breaks
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
For Austria and Switzerland almost all the resorts have accommodation services and outside of peak season (which both the times you mention are) should have no great problem finding accommodation.

Personally I would give the driving a miss for such a short trip, you will get more time actually skiing if you fly. I would also aim for January rather than November, yes the glaciers are open but skiing is likely to be restricted and a lot of the resort will be closed.

As to destination, Geneva is an obvious choice (plenty of flights and lots of resorts nearby), Zürich is pretty good too though slightly longer trips to the resorts (you can get to St Anton and a good number of the Swiss resorts by train though not sure what time the last train from Zürich is). Innsbruck and Salzburg are potentially good but far fewer flights, normally Saturday only. Munich is good for flights but the resorts are at least 90 minutes drive from the airport.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@Grizzler As an owner, it's not unusual to be contacted by our rental agency asking about part-weeks. The client doesn't want to pay 2 weeks fees for a 8-day trip over a Weekend, say, and would like a daily rate that's = no days x 1/7th of the weekly rate. We'll usually come to some compromise. More likely during the 'low' periods outside the school holidays. Post New Year wkk through to half-term can be quite quiet booksing-wise, so Contacting the Tourist Offices, Agency and direct email to hotels will usually get you a response. Most booking systems don't recognise anything other than Sat-Sat. but it doesn't mean they're unreceptive to weekday-to-weekday bookings.

Logistics probably plays a part in ffering Sat-Sat by default: it's just easier to organise cleaners and other staff mainly for Saturdays, rather than randomly across the week. That said, a weekday arrival/departure takes some of the pressure off everything happening on Saturday. Airbnb is OK, but a lot of owners still don't use it, so you're excluding a significant degree of choice if you don't take a look at any other rental routes.
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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.
Flights are the deciding factor I think. Geneva, Innsbruck, Milan (Malpese) Salzburg, Turin, Zurich, all have resorts within a relatively short/easy transfer time (100km). I'd make surte that you can find flights which give you the maximum 'slope time' between thurs and sun. bring in the SE you have so many airports to choose from. If you want early season its got to be a high resort, or resort with glacier access, but realistically on high or glacier tend to be open early. Come January on wards I'd hope that all of Europe is skiable.
As @Mr.Egg, says Stubai is a good bet for early season, and oly about 45km from Innsbruck!
ski holidays     
 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
book flights to Geneva, then take a look on interhome. I've found them very useful for short breaks in the past, though its a bit of a faff as you have to go to their office in resort to pick up keys/bed linen etc, but better than not having a place to stay. usually pretty basic accommodation also, but thats fine for me.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Flightwise, Geneva is far and away easiest, cheapest and most convenient with best onward transfer infrastructure.

Interhome? @MountainIdiot, who they then?
snow conditions     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@under a new name,https://www.interhome.co.uk

used them in chamonix this year without incident, have booked with them again in the 3 vallees this year, cheap, seem to have no problem with short rentals (suppose that depends on the agreement they have with the owner of the property though)


rooms are generally the classic french mountain style of "bunk beds in a broom closet" but it serves a purpose!
ski holidays     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
For such a short trip I have previously flown to Munich and taken the train to Garmisch. It is not huge but plenty for a weekend, even a glacier though only recommended for Jan not Nov. I have skied there at the very end of Nov when I was in Munich for work, but it is hit or miss even on the glacier. The advantage is that it is not a package destination, mostly locals for weekends, so accomodation for a few days is no problem. Munich has lots of flights so you may gain time by getting flights very late Sunday. Innsbruck is great with resorts very close but very few flights (certainly from Scotland where I am, you may be lucky from Gatwick).
ski holidays     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Most of my trips are weekends. I did approx 40 days skiing last season, between November and May.

I fly to Geneva and drive to Val d'Isere.

Just make sure you have a full day on the Saturday, as this is the day the slopes are deserted.
ski holidays     
 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 live in Les Gets which is about 1h10 from GVA and gives access to the Portes du Soleil, it's one of the shortest travel times in car and plane then you're right in the village usually so don't have to worry about driving/bussing to the slopes. Chamonix is also pretty good to get to I think.

I work for an estate agents and we do self catered places but can help with organising absolutely everything else on a tailor made basis. Don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions even if you're not going to book through us!
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My standard non rugby international winter weekend consists of a 18.00 Friday flight straight from work, getting into pub for last orders, ski Saturday, Sunday & Monday until 13.00, quick shower & blast up autoroute to Geneva for 17.00 flight home.
If you book flights early enough they are £50-75 return.
ski holidays     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
November you are limited to glaciers or being very lucky with still only a few slopes open. January typically resorts fully open with a decent base so should be much better and a much bigger choice. If you have the choice January is a no brainer over November. And it’s out of school holidays so weekend accommodation possible in hotels or via Airbnb.

I just tried Verbier 10-13th Jan 2 people and there are 177 options! For a cheaper option try Portes du Soleil (Morzine, La Clusaz, Avoriaz, Les Gets) in France which is also closer to Geneva.

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Jonny996 wrote:
My standard non rugby international winter weekend consists of a 18.00 Friday flight straight from work, getting into pub for last orders, ski Saturday, Sunday & Monday until 13.00, quick shower & blast up autoroute to Geneva for 17.00 flight home.
If you book flights early enough they are £50-75 return.


Same here! I'm normally on the 21.25 back on a Sunday or Monday Very Happy
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Sorry my recommendation is France...

November....

One idea is to go as late in the month as possible to The Melezes hotel with Mountainsun. Time you flight right and Mountainsun will give you complimentary transfers from Geneva.

They include ski pass, ski hire and shuttle runs up to the funicular for the glacier and the deal is half board.
http://skiandboardcamp.com/accommodation/

January...

Go to Morzine, stay with either of these guys,

http://www.apexmorzine.com/index.html
https://jollygood.com/
http://www.themountainlodgecompany.com/

ski.....

Morzine/Les Gets 1 x day if the weather is bad as its tree line so protects you more.
Avoriaz and Chatel another day if its not foggy/snowing too hard.
Les Crossets/Champousain on the Swiss side of the PdS another day if the visibility is good

If you don't want France,

January Verbier is a good option as previously suggested.

Or maybe fly to Geneva, use the train from the airport to get you to all the way up to Zermatt, stay at the youth hostel in a private room with en suite (In their annex) and take the half board option at the hostel as the food is fine.

Fill up on breakfast at the youth hostel as prices on the mountain for lunch in Zermatt are eye watering.

The private annex rooms in the youth hostel are lovely.
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