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Aussies Do Europe - Live trip report.

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@sbooker, I think Italian learner drivers have to demonstrate appropriate use of the horn in order to pass the driving test! Wink
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Take out full no claims insurance. I take it your off to the Dolomites next. Enjoy.....
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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?
@sbooker, City traffic in Italy is crazy indeed, but things are more or less under control once on the motorway or the open road, so don't worry too much: assuming you're picking up the car at the airport or the train station, you'll be on the motorway in minutes. I second the tip to take out insurance though, if you are not already insured otherwise. Enjoy the trip!
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I haven't driven in Italy for a while but would second balso's view that it is generally OK outside of the big cities.

I love Verona and Venice but please no-one mention the fraudulent Romeo and Juliet balcony - I believe constructed for the tourists in the C20th.

From the sound of your wonderful reports you will need a holiday when you return back home again - talk about cramming it in! I am sure you will enjoy the Sella Ronda.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
The driving in Italy is generally OK. It is the mad cyclists coming down the mountains overtaking cars that you have to watch out for.
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Edit. Something weird with multiple posts.


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Sat 29-12-18 5:37; edited 1 time in total
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
And again.


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Sat 29-12-18 5:38; edited 1 time in total
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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!
@cameronphillips2000,
We bought the ‘supercover’ insurance scam to save any potential hassles so hopefully we’re covered there. We are heading west before coming back to the Dolomites. (This is the bit you’ll be asking yourself why we’re driving over to Aosta, why are they cramming so much in etc). The answer is it is difficult and expensive to get to Europe from Australia and the chance to see Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn was too tempting). A few hours Drive is a regular thing for us.
@countryman,
I won’t tell my wife about Juliet’s balcony - she’ll be none the wiser and happy for it. Very Happy we get into Arabba on the fifth of January. Hopefully the Dolomites get a bit of snow by then. I understand we don’t need much - just something to make things all white to compliment the man made pistes.
Going for a gym session now to sweat out last nights beer, wine, pasta and gelato.Laughing
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
sbooker,

5.35 am gym?

Wow! wink
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
It's not to bad a drive and the drive up the Aosta valley is awesome. Be sure to go through the tunnel to Chamonix and ski the Vallee Blanche and make sure you ski over to Zermatt to get the best views of the Matterhorn.
I seem to remember something about Milan and shopping?
The true iconic cathedral to see is the San Siro.....
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@cameronphillips2000,
We’ll see what happens when we get there. In this fine weather the drive to Cervinia and La Thuile should be easy enough. I don’t know how easy it is to get parking etc in Chamonix but it would be great to get a ride up the cable car. I would doubt the Vallee Blanche will be open this early?
We intend to check out the castles and old ruins, museums etc. so will probably only ski three of the five days we’re there. We will pick the clearest day to go up to Cervinia/Zermatt. Will call into Milan for a night in the way back - my wife wants to buy something from the ‘first Prada store’ and we’ll get a photo in front of the duomo too I guess.
By a process of elimination we have the ‘cheesecake’ flavoured gelato from the Piazza Bra in Verona at the top of the list so far and we’ll continue the arduous task of testing more over the coming week. Will be sure to let advise if that one is knocked off the top spot on the ladder.
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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.
@sbooker, Italian driving isn't bad once you realise they don't dither. They either go or stop. Just be decisive and you'll be fine.

Don't just take photo outside the Duomo get the roof ticket (walk up the stairs or pay more for the lift if your not up to that) and you get really good views. Avoid the big queue for tickets outside by buying them in the museum across the square. Through the shopping mall from there and keep right out the other end for a couple of nice and slightly less touristy restaurants. First one was full of local Italian families when I was there.

If you thought the cars were nice in Munich wait till you see Milan.
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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
@sbooker, never been to Vallee Blanche from the FR side. Access to VB from the IT side is trully impressive via IT side on the new skyway gondolla. Views up there are amazing too. I would say no need to drive to Chamonix or Zermatt as you can enjoy the views of Matterhorn cia Cervinia - just take the lift up and ski down on the Swiss side - same view and no need to drive and no need to take a train. Similar for Chamonix -staying on IT side is nicer and the new cable to VB is impresive and you right beneath the Mont Blanc
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
adithorp wrote:
@sbooker, Italian driving isn't bad once you realise they don't dither. They either go or stop. Just be decisive and you'll be fine.

Don't just take photo outside the Duomo get the roof ticket (walk up the stairs or pay more for the lift if your not up to that) and you get really good views. Avoid the big queue for tickets outside by buying them in the museum across the square. Through the shopping mall from there and keep right out the other end for a couple of nice and slightly less touristy restaurants. First one was full of local Italian families when I was there.

If you thought the cars were nice in Munich wait till you see Milan.


Best car park in winter - central Courmayer Smile
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Bergmeister: Posting on Snowheads at 5.03am Shocked ....Wow Laughing
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
mountainaddict,

Insomnia R us... Confused Too hot with this winter duvet on. Must add "open window" to tonight's to do list! A balmy 10 Deg C here today.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
The secret to driving in Italy is not to get stressed. It might all seem a bit crazy in the cities but despite appearances most drivers expect everyone else to drive the same way and dont get really upset or stressed by it all. The speeds on the Autostrada are somewhat less than in the past, too many points on your licence can mean loosing it. However there are still a fair few folk who still drive at "German" speeds (including a good many Germans) so unless you are happy driving at 160 km/h plus best stay out of the outside lane or be very aware of others zooming up behind you flashing their headlights.
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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?
The drive to Aosta was fine......
There must be some code that car rental companies adhere to. We reserved a Volvo 4wd SUV thing with winter tyres and GPS. The nice young chap at Winrent informed us we had scored the ‘or similar’. Apparently because we booked in May it was “too early” and they rented the Volvo SUV to someone else. Laughing The ‘or similar’ was a choice of a Kia SUV thing with summer tyres (with chains) or a Alfa Julia with winter tyres. Problem was the Alfa didn’t really fit our bags. I decided to to go with the Alfa (being in Italy and all) - the kids had to nurse a suitcase for a few hours.
Aosta is a nice place once we walked the five minutes to the old town area. I’m in a ‘sports pub’ watching soccer and drinking English beer as we speak.
My wife has a slightly crook ankle so we’re going to check out the town, see one of the castles and ‘Alps museum’ and do some laundry and organise ski rental tomorrow before skiing for a few days after that. I spoke with a couple of people that skied Pila today and apparently the pistes are in good condition. Doesn’t appear the weather is going to dictate things anyway.
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To help you make the most out of Pila, here's an extensive trip report from last week.
Skiing there is very nice, but what sets it apart is phenomenal views on the highest mountains of the Alps.
Original in Italian https://www.skiforum.it/forum/showthread.php?t=91910
Machine translated https://translate.google.com/?hl=nl#view=home&op=translate&sl=it&tl=en&text=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.skiforum.it%2Fforum%2Fshowthread.php%3Ft%3D91910

Slope with a view on Aosta, 2000 m (7000 ft) lower on the valley floor


View on Matterhorn


View on Mont Blanc


View on Monte Rosa
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@sbooker, You really need to ski Zermatt to get the classic Matterhorn views, from Cervinia :














From Zermatt:

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You'll need to Register first of course.
@KenX,
We plan to ski over the Zermatt side. You’re correct the view is more spectacular from Zermatt. It will be my first chance to buy a Aud$10 got chocolate too I believe.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
sbooker wrote:
Apparently because we booked in May it was “too early” and they rented the Volvo SUV to someone else. Laughing The ‘or similar’ was a choice of a Kia SUV thing with summer tyres (with chains) or a Alfa Julia with winter tyres. Problem was the Alfa didn’t really fit our bags. I decided to to go with the Alfa (being in Italy and all) - the kids had to nurse a suitcase for a few hours.


So did you get an Alfa Giulia with 4 wheel drive? Madeye-Smiley

Nice looking car anyway. Very Happy

By the way you said you were renting skis - have you got your own boots or did you rent those as well? Presumably you rented in Kaltenbach also?


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Sun 30-12-18 21:00; edited 1 time in total
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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!
We have our own boots and we rented skis in Kaltenbach from the place just under the hotel.
I’m not exactly a gear slut but I did notice they mainly stocked Volkl skis. In hindsight we should have rented powder skis on the first day - which they did have available.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You wife is a really light packer! 4 persons with ski boots and you got it all in a sedan! I envy you. For a week of skiing we need at least a VW Passat station
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@sugardaddy,
Yep - she’s a champ at packing efficiently and she takes it pretty seriously. She does a couple of test packs before a big trip. It’s almost like a challenge for her. Very Happy


Can any Snowheads familiar with Cervinia give advice as to which of the next three days would be best to drive up to Cervinia from Aosta with a view to getting across to Zermatt for a ski under the Matterhorn?
Thanks in advance.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
It's going to be really busy these next few days right across the Alps. New Year is massive for the ski industry. Thankfully, most resorts have adequate snow this year meaning the high altitude ones like Cervinia won't be more crowded than usual. Just treat it all as an opportunity to savour the New Year atmosphere amongst the crowds rather than endure it. It's probably best to book tables if looking for great places to eat. And remember to find a place with Eurosport to catch some of the Four Hills amongst the Alpine fans. Some of it is done at night under floodlights so it won't cut into ski time.
If you are driving up to resorts for the day, be sure to leave early as parking will be tight and buy passes online to pick up to avoid lift ticket queues. Also speak to people on the Swiss side as to the times you'll need to leave to get back to Italy. It's a long way back by road or train and hotels in Zermatt will be full. Finally, don't forget your passports. I'm not sure if they still do the checks but your Aussies going from an EU country to a non EU country....
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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.
I was going to chime in to say check the weather first - it can be bitter there when the wind blows.

Then I saw this thread:
https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=140597
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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
@sbooker, have a look at the current thread started by @tronic titled ‘Windy Cervinia’.
Apparently so windy there today that only low nursery slope lifts were running.

So best to keep a close eye on local forecasts and information.

Hope that wind drops very soon.
snowHead
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Get to Cervinia early so you’re sure of a space in the gondola car park. It’s then an escalator ride up. If you have to park in town it’s a lot of steps. Enjoy.
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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 into my first beer after a day at Cervinia. We took the risk on the wind holds and I’m glad we did. I’m certain that we didn’t see it at it’s best as there were crowds and the link to Zermatt was shut. But on the positive side the scenery was great due to the clear weather and there was fantastic soft ‘wind sift’ snow both on and just off the pistes.
The drive up was easy (51 minutes from Aosta town) and also entertaining. Plenty of overtaking on blind bends. Laughing The Italians must have indicators (or blinkers) as optional extras in their vehicles - and so far I’m yet to see one that ticked that extra box.
Once the crowds dispersed from the bottom lifts the lift lines were under 5 minutes. Not too bad for peak season and as our expectations were kept in check it turned out to be a nice day. Plenty of photos of the kids under the (compromised Italian side) of the Matterhorn - still mighty impressive though as is the whole ridge along the western?? side of the resort.
I thought the 34 Euro ticket price (just Cervinia lifts) was fair.
Yesterday we just cruised around Aosta town and checked out Bard Forstress and museums which is just up the street. We also found a new number one gelato shop. It was a contraversial split decision but the cheesecake flavour from Verona was knocked off top spot by the coconut from Aosta.
We’ll probably drive to La Thuile for a tourist style ski tomorrow. Hopefully we can ski over to France for lunch and get a look up the valley where all the big ski hills are. Again expectations will be low but we may find hangovers will quell the New Year’s Day crowds.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Sound like you're having a great time. If you still after Italian beer recommendations I can recommend the Sirena White IPA that a barman in Falcade has just pulled out of the fridge. Not overly-hopped like some of these new Ametican Styled brews.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@ster,
To be honest I’ve found a couple of places in Aosta that offer decent German beer on tap. Also I have a weakness for Irish ales and I’ve come across two reds that are good.
I did have a crack at some Italian beers that were ok - but nothing I would rave about to be honest.
Had a red wine with dinner (8 Euro for half litre Laughing ) that was surprisingly good. It was no match for our big Aussie Shiraz of course NehNeh . But at that price in a restaurant who could complain?
I’m most certainly getting old. My crew are almost asleep in anticipation for a big day tomorrow and I won’t be too far behind. I reckon I’ll miss midnight by about an hour and a half!
Happy new year to all. I hope you put on a big one.
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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?
Funny enough a fair number of beers on the slope here are German too.

sbooker wrote:

Happy new year to all. I hope you put on a big one.


I am too old for too much of a big one. Doubt I'll even make it to midnight!

Happy New Year.
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Just back from a great day at La Thuile/La Rosiere. Cracking day for views and the piste skiing was much better than we expected. Decent cover above 2000 metres.
We spent a lot of the day on the La Rosiere side bathed in sunshine. It really turned it on for us with views for miles down the valley. The sun was so strong the bump runs were perfectly soft. Between the pistes even softened nicely by about 10.30am. I’ll make a note to myself not to go there in March or April - one of the hills across the valley that primarily face north would be much better I’m sure.
We could see the lift station at the top of Les Arcs - the run down to Villaroger looks awesome.
The snow over the La Thuile side was noticeably colder and there were less people too. On that point it wasn’t crowded at all. Maybe the New Years Day thing? We did’t wait in a lift line for more than 30 seconds. A contrast to Cervinia yesterday.
My daughter Emily bought her French teacher a ‘French Alps’ T shirt. She ordered us crepes for brunch (as you do when you’re skiing in France).
Could we expect that piste skiing in all the resorts in the general area would be as good as today? If so I’m tempted to drive through the tunnel tomorrow and check out Chamonix.
My son said today was his favourite day skiing so far this trip. I don’t know that I agree as the powder day in Austria was near perfect but the views today made life long memories for my lot. A great day!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@sbooker, glad you’ve enjoyed such a good day at La Rosiere/La Thuile. An underrated area in my opinion.

I think I’d have a close check of latest piste condition reports before heading through the tunnel to the Chamonix Valley. The separate areas are very different in steepness, aspect etc. For example, if hard/icy, Argentiere can be very challenging (or a nightmare for some). Brevent or Flegere less so.

Personally I like Chamonix Valley very much but fair to say it divides opinion.
snowHead
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You'll need to Register first of course.
Chamonix will be very different to La Rosiere. Courmayer would be closer to La Ros than Chamonix

Really enjoy following your trip!
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
The run down from top of Les Arcs to Villaroger is as fabulous as it looks, one of my favourites. Maybe one for another Trip !!

Hope you and the family keep enjoying your holiday ..... Dolomites to come. One of the best threads I've read for a while.
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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!
Great thread @sbooker, glad I inspired you to do it Happy

You are seeing some great places.

For pics I use imgur - much easier than using the snowmediazone thing.
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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.
I’ll do a detailed update later but for now just a quick bit of advice needed. We’re in Milan today before we plan to head to Arabba tomorrow. The Dolomites are due to get the wind from the Austrian storms without the snow. I’m thinking lots of lifts will be shut.
If we diverted to Austria somewhere would there be an area that would be less affected by the wind. The snow would be a bonus too I suppose.
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
The forecasts suggest heavy snow for the north eastern alps, the heavy snow concentrated east of the Zillertal and north of the main ridge (there are a number of forecast sites, I think this one has the clearest info but others will have their own favourite https://wepowder.com/en ). How the wind might affect the lifts is a bit of an unknown. If I had to choose somewhere then perhaps either Ski Amade or Saalbach-Hinterglemm maybe with a bias to the first area as there is a lot of skiing below the tree line. I would steer clear of Kitzbühel as the lifts there seem especially sensitive to the wind. The downside might be too much snow, some places might get nearly 2 metres of snow over the next few days which will bring big avalanche risks.
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