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Alternatives to France and its Traffic

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
After having spent more than 24 hours stationary on the road from Chambery to Tignes/Three Valleys in two of the last three years, I am open to avoidance tactics this year. Opinions on large areas with relatively straightforward access in Italy and/or Austria gratefully received. Presumably Selle Ronda is top of the pops for Italy.

Thanks
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Maersk, if flying in and using transfers Venice to Sella Ronda is good. Other alternatives could be La Thuile, Aosta valley, Via Lattea, Serre Chevalier from Turin.
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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?
Maersk wrote:
After having spent more than 24 hours stationary on the road from Chambery to Tignes/Three Valleys in two of the last three years,
Presumably you got caught in Snowmaggedon traffic on one of the infamous peak season days which got hit by heavy snow?

Where are you starting your journey from? Want to do it in one hit, or stay overnight enroute? I can get to the Austrian Tyrol in a single day if I start early from home in SW London (just one driver), but that's a long drive (about 90-120 minutes longer than the drive to the French Alps) and is my limit in one day, assuming good driving conditions and typical traffic. At that distance there's no margin for poor conditions or really bad traffic, so would have to make an unplanned overnight stop somewhere along the way.
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Yep will be flying. How big is LaThuile area? It is a lads trip and some are young and mileage collectors. I have no experience of Serre Chevalier...........

Which resort bases are recommended for SR? Another friend (who is not part of this excursion) swears by Campitello. I am old, spoilt and abhor walks to the lift, buses etc. Hotel beside the lift, with a bus stop immediately outside or on or very close to the piste would be great. I understand that this might be an impossibility.......... rolling eyes
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Easy drive, lads trip, big area, easy piste access = St Anton from Innsbruck. Even if you fly to Munich (I normally do because it's cheap from Edinburgh) it's a pleasant 3 hour drive. Saalbach via Salzburg or Munich would be perfect for you too, an even shorter drive.
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Are you stuck with peak dates? Unless any of the lads are teachers, avoid school holidays then you shouldn't have any problems with French traffic.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Have a think about Sun-Sun transfers too - the huge jams can happen on a Sunday but very rarely because they are almost always caused/worsened by high volumes of traffic on the Saturdays. There are a good selection of companies at all price points/catering types/resorts etc which changeover on Sundays
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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!
@Maersk, so, just to be clear, it’s not actually France and its traffic, it’s Chambery to Tarentaise...

Right?

Best correct your thread title.

Just because one route is a bit underoptimal, doesn’t mean you need to switch country.
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Quote:

Which resort bases are recommended for SR?


I'd say Corvara if you want cruisy blues close at hand with good access to Hidden Valley and the Sella Ronda or Arabba if you want more reds and better access to Marmolada. They're next door to each other so whichever one you choose still leaves the other area easily skiable.

Corvara has plenty of hotels near the lifts and you can leave your skis in the lockers at Boe so it's just a relaxed stroll to the lifts in the morning with no gear to carry.
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Quote:


Maersk wrote:
After having spent more than 24 hours stationary on the road from Chambery to Tignes/Three Valleys in two of the last three years,
Presumably you got caught in Snowmaggedon traffic on one of the infamous peak season days which got hit by heavy snow?

Where are you starting your journey from? Want to do it in one hit, or stay overnight enroute? I can get to the Austrian Tyrol in a single day if I start early from home in SW London (just one driver), but that's a long drive (about 90-120 minutes longer than the drive to the French Alps) and is my limit in one day, assuming good driving conditions and typical traffic. At that distance there's no margin for poor conditions or really bad traffic, so would have to make an unplanned overnight stop somewhere along the way.


We got caught in the Snowmaggedon traffic to Tignes as well after a couple of years on no traffic going to Chamonix area on the same changeover day. This year will stay slightly further south than Dijon and leave earlier rather than the naive leisurely start we had in 17/18. Speaking to some friends who live in France they said the secret is being ahead of the Paris crowds who leave Paris area at 0500 ish so move through Dijon area at 0800 ish.
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Maersk wrote:
After having spent more than 24 hours stationary on the road from Chambery to Tignes/Three Valleys in two of the last three years, I am open to avoidance tactics this year. Opinions on large areas with relatively straightforward access in Italy and/or Austria gratefully received. Presumably Selle Ronda is top of the pops for Italy.

Thanks

Pretty sure there was a snowheads bash in the sella ronda or dolomites a few years back where half the people couldn't get to their accommodation because of heavy snow for all/most of the week.
If you get heavy enough snow just about anywhere it can cause major travel disruption . The higher up valleys the worse it is likely to become so for instance the Tarentaise may well be worse than some of the pre alps. But don't forget if you are going at a busy time the closer you are to the big cities often the busier the pistes are at weekends.
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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.
Quote:

Pretty sure there was a snowheads bash in the sella ronda or dolomites a few years back where half the people couldn't get to their accommodation because of heavy snow for all/most of the week.

Yes - all the road passes into Arabba were closed. The vast majority couldn't get there. A few of us did - I was just lucky with timing and did have snow tyres and a huge shovel. But there was no skiing for some days because of buried lifts and avalanche risk. Rroads to the vast majority of resorts will be fine the vast majority of the time - provided you avoid the entirely predictable peak weeks.
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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
Why not let the train take the strain. Smile

TGV - SNCF to Moutiers then the funni up to Les Arcs.

Fly to Zurich and train to St Anton.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Yes, it can happen anywhere, it is called winter weather, and could hit your next destination as well.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
And you do hope for snow when you go skiing....
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@TQA, better to get the train to bourg st Maurice.

You can get the train from Geneva or Lyon airports and of course miss the traffic
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
The best way to avoid road snowmaggedon or traffic hold-ups is to choose destinations that are directly accessible from a motorway. Most of Ski Amadé is less than 20 minutes from the A10, some parts such as Flachau and Radstadt are literally minutes. The car park at Flachauwinkl is directly served by a dedicated motorway junction. Plus the airport is 45 minutes away. I seem to remember Courmayeur is also served by motorway.

Not saying that motorways never get closed by accidents or bad weather, but it's much rarer, and there's more incentive to get them opened again quickly.
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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?
johnE wrote:
@TQA, better to get the train to bourg st Maurice.

You can get the train from Geneva or Lyon airports and of course miss the traffic


Yup of course Bourg st Maurice is the town below Les Arcs.

Sorry early morning brain fart based on lack of coffee
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The ski towns in Austria tend to be at the bottom of valleys, so the road are fairly straight with a gentle gradient. Rental cars are also fitted with winter tyres as standard.

For large areas within an easy drive from either Munich or Innsbruck, you could try the Zillertal (Mayrhofen), St Anton, Kitzbuhel or maybe even Brixen.

From Salzburg, I second @queenie_pretty_please. Those have to be some of the easiest ski drives around. Also, somewhere like Leogang, Saalbach or Zell-am-see are a fairly easy drive unlikely to suffer much disruption (low altitude roads).

Most (all?) of those above can also be easily reached by train.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Fly to Geneva, Train to Martigny, change for short hop to Le Chable, télécabine from right next to the newly refurbished station into the centre of Verbier. See www.sbb.ch/en for the timetable ('Genève-Aéroport' to 'Verbier TV' about 2½ hours). And coming back, none of that hassle driving 'round Lake Geneva, filling-up, handing the car over to a nutter rental agency driver (who scratches it then charges you), then shuttle bus: train goes straight into the terminal. Also if you're in a group with people arriving off different flights, you can leave anyone who is delayed to make their own way by train. Obviously, Verbier isn't the only resort accessible from GVA by train and I appreciate that if there's a good deal on the car hire then the train may be pricey by comparison. For me, it's the return journey which is the best thing: once I'm on the GVA train at Martigny, as the one usually doing the driving, I feel that I can relax. When we do this I still try and get a reasonably early flight, so I've plenty of time for flight delays, and am travelling in the light.


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Sun 26-08-18 11:02; edited 4 times in total
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@LaForet, +1 for trains
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Zermatt, Switzerland, by train.
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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!
pam w wrote:
Quote:

Pretty sure there was a snowheads bash in the sella ronda or dolomites a few years back where half the people couldn't get to their accommodation because of heavy snow for all/most of the week.

Yes - all the road passes into Arabba were closed. The vast majority couldn't get there. A few of us did - I was just lucky with timing and did have snow tyres and a huge shovel. But there was no skiing for some days because of buried lifts and avalanche risk. Rroads to the vast majority of resorts will be fine the vast majority of the time - provided you avoid the entirely predictable peak weeks.


Not to mention your Italian language skills to get pass the officials Very Happy
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under a new name wrote:
Just because one route is a bit underoptimal, doesn’t mean you need to switch country.
Also, 24 hours of stationary traffic, especially twice in three years, really is very unusual requiring a particular set of conditions which are by no means typical. I drive Chambery/Albertville to the Tarentaise frequently, and have done for 20+ years. Never had more than a three hour delay, and that includes plenty of journeys on school holiday Saturdays. Worst delay I had was years ago driving to Flaine, which was an eight hour nightmare because of a problem with one of the road tunnels up the A40 to Chamonix and the Mt Blanc tunnel.
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I appreciate that rob@rar and completely grasp the unusual aspect of the two journeys of 12 hours each separated by a whiz of 2.5 but it still puts a dampener on a week's break when you could have flown to Denver.................................
The area thing is a bit of an issue. I would like to try the Selle Ronda as my formative ski years were all in Italy and I have not been back for twenty years..........
Typical though, after having to travel Feb half term for so many years and never having an issue, we get to the point where WE can choose when to go to maximise conditions and minimise crowds and we get stuck!
Murphy appears live and well.
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Maersk wrote:
I appreciate that rob@rar and completely grasp the unusual aspect of the two journeys of 12 hours each separated by a whiz of 2.5 but it still puts a dampener on a week's break when you could have flown to Denver.................................
The area thing is a bit of an issue. I would like to try the Selle Ronda as my formative ski years were all in Italy and I have not been back for twenty years..........
Typical though, after having to travel Feb half term for so many years and never having an issue, we get to the point where WE can choose when to go to maximise conditions and minimise crowds and we get stuck!
Murphy appears live and well.
Understand entirely, and the Italian Dolomites is a truly wonderful area to ski. I like being based around San Cassiano / Corvara part of the Sella Ronda, seems a bit quieter as it's just a little bit off the main circuit but still great access to most places you might to get to. Fly to Venice and it's about a 2.5 hour drive. On the way home book a late flight and spend the day in Venice for a unique way to complete a ski holiday. There's a Left Luggage facility at the airport, and a direct bus service from the airport terminal which takes 15 minutes and runs three times an hour (or take a water taxi for an even more dramatic entrance to Venice).
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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.
Quote:

Fly to Venice and it's about a 2.5 hour drive.

But can take a lot longer. It took us 5 hours once just to drive from Cortina to Venice due entirly to heavy traffic. On another occaision it took less than 2 hours to get from Marco Polo to Alleghe.

We usually drive down to Venice the day before getting the flight home and have a look around. Last Saturday we decided to go to the beach at Jeslo de Lido instead. It remided me of why I do not like lie on the beach holidays. It was grim. So grim in fact that we decided to sit in the airport instead. It was a rather fortunate choice as Lufthansa put us on an earlier flight giving us a leasurely hour and a half to change terminals in Frankfurt instead of the planned 40 minute rush.
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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
johnE wrote:
Quote:

Fly to Venice and it's about a 2.5 hour drive.

But can take a lot longer. It took us 5 hours once just to drive from Cortina to Venice due entirly to heavy traffic. On another occaision it took less than 2 hours to get from Marco Polo to Alleghe.
Sure, nowhere is immune from traffic issues, either volume or inclement weather.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Last year we flew to Milan on absurdly cheap tix then drove to Selva, with a culture/lunch break in Verona. Not a bit of traffic. If I were to do that again I would fly to Venice or Milan and book a transfer coach. We saw a bunch on the road on the way up. Looked extremely pleasant.

I don't think you can ever guarantee no travel risks in winter, whether you fly or drive. Train is probably best but but it often makes for lots of baggage humping up and down stairs. I have some French driving tricks but nothing can stop a blizzard from disrupting the autoroutes and secondary roads during school breaks.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Just arrive at a time other than Saturday morning.

It really is that simple.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
bar shaker wrote:
Just arrive at a time other than Saturday morning.

It really is that simple.


Indeed, but it's not always possible, especially if you have a Saturday to Saturday rental, or have to burn a precious vacation day to leave on a Friday morning.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Pull a sickie on the Friday.
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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?
Maersk wrote:
Presumably Selle Ronda is top of the pops for Italy.


Yes, absolutely. Used to fly to Venice - the drive can go smoothly but hit bad weather, traffic or car rental queues and it can take an age.

I now opt for Innsbruck and can hit Val Gardena in around 90 minutes and, touch wood, I have yet to have a problem either with Innsbruck Airport issues or Brenner Pass issues.

For Austria I always use Munich but I fly in late and fly out very early or very late and that tends to make the road journey a cinch. Lots of big areas but my choice would be Saalbach Hinterglemm.
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Quote:

Last year we flew to Milan on absurdly cheap tix then drove to Selva, with a culture/lunch break in Verona. Not a bit of traffic.

Thats a fair drive though, probably at least 4 hours. Venice is nearer. Incidently I assume that this talk of Selva is a reference to Wolkenstein rather than Selva di Cadore in the Civetta ski area (well worth visiting - it has a lovely gelatiera)
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Maersk,
Innsbruck for Selva, or
Venice for Cortina
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Fly to Geneva, and head to Champéry on the train. Yes, it's switzerland and bit more expensive than France, but you have access to the whole of the Portes du soleil. Avoriaz, Morzine, Chatel all only a few lifts away. Regardless of how much snow is falling the trains are always running.
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boarder84 wrote:
Fly to Geneva, and head to Champéry on the train. Yes, it's switzerland and bit more expensive than France, but you have access to the whole of the Portes du soleil. Avoriaz, Morzine, Chatel all only a few lifts away. Regardless of how much snow is falling the trains are always running.


Nope even the trains get stopped by the snow sometimes. Some Swiss ski resorts like Zermatt were cut off for days last season.
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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!
Okay, i'll give you that, but Zermatt was once in a blue moon. You can probably count the last 15yrs worth of stopped trains to Zermatt on one hand. You can see it two ways; you're either incredibly unlucky not to reach a Swiss ski resort by train, or you should be Happy for the fact its dumping! Much preferred over the dreaded peak-travel car chaos Smile
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