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Aussies Do Europe - Live trip report.

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Aussie Steve, I love Muscat - does this come in bottles and will I find it in the shops?
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Just caught up after a few days. What a trip. Sounds wonderful. I am impressed by your organisational skills.
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^^^ +1 snowHead
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Cheesie168 wrote:
Just caught up after a few days. What a trip. Sounds wonderful. I am impressed by your organisational skills.


Yes, sbooker has researched his trip in depth and organised the itinerary very well. Very Happy
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Cheesie168 wrote:
Just caught up after a few days. What a trip. Sounds wonderful. I am impressed by your organisational skills.


We love the research - it’s almost as fun as the trip itself. Great to have something to look forward to.
I must say I have received some good advice from the friendly folk on this forum that has been invaluable. A big thanks to Alastair Pink who suggested a rough itinerary early in the stages of planning and who has given very detailed advice on transport options in particular which has been top notch.
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sbooker wrote:
Cheesie168 wrote:
Just caught up after a few days. What a trip. Sounds wonderful. I am impressed by your organisational skills.


We love the research - it’s almost as fun as the trip itself. Great to have something to look forward to.


I agree. I keep all my planning as well as anything I collect on the trip. Put them all in a box to look back on.
I got large collection of wristbands and plastic cards from city tourism cards, etc.
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sbooker wrote:
I must say I have received some good advice from the friendly folk on this forum that has been invaluable. A big thanks to Alastair Pink who suggested a rough itinerary early in the stages of planning and who has given very detailed advice on transport options in particular which has been top notch.


@sbooker, you're welcome. I hope the final part of your trip to Innsbruck goes well before you return back to Oz from Munich. Very Happy

This forum is a great resource for information about ski resorts and related matters, and I find part of the pleasure of sking is to enthuse and encourage others to visit the areas I know and love snowHead . I hope you'll continue to contribute to the forum in future with trip reports of your next ski adventures!
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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!
@Peter S,

We went to the Marmolada museum a couple of days ago. How the soldiers involved in that ordeal must have been hard men. Kind of embarrassing to think how soft we are in the current day in comparison. I was complaining my Gortex protected fingers were a bit chilly today. Smile And I wasn’t dodging any bullets.

Anyway early this morning we received news the links between the valleys would likely be shut - in particular the high ones like Passo Pordoi so we opted to go the other way toward Corvara. There was light snow overnight and the pistes we wonderfully soft. The wind was blowing a bit so we sought refuge in Edelwiess Valley for a while. Even with cloudy skies and light snow the vistas there are mind blowing. The breeze was much more gentle too. After a coffee and strudel at about 10.30am we ventured around to Val Gardena. There were still warnings of lift closures on the message boards but I thought the worst that could happen was an expensive taxi ride.
No need to worry as we spent time around the Ciampinoi area taking in the views of the Sassolungo looming above before heading around to Val fi Fassa and eventually Arabba. Lunch was gulaschsuppe at the Ciavas rifugio.
We head off to Innsbruck tomorrow for a quick look. Sadly we’ve only scratched the surface of this fantastic place. In particular I’d love to spend more time around Val Gardena and Seiser Alm bit in especially Val Di Fassa.
In my uneducated opinion the village of Arabba is a great spot if your crew is that of decent skiers who want to be able to access Marmolada, Hidden Valley and the whole Sella area. It has wonderful ambience too.
Check out the illuminated chapel.
https://i.imgur.com/aDMUvBu.jpg
And a few more pics from today.
https://i.imgur.com/4vNvVzL.jpg
The kids on a busy run in Val Di Fassa.
https://i.imgur.com/i0xG0ip.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/thgb6fG.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/IdQADFU.jpg
And Arabba turned on a nice sunset for us.
https://i.imgur.com/jz3MnRT.jpg
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@sbooker, talking of sunsets, if the conditions are right the Dolomite rock glows with a fantastic orange hue at sunset! Madeye-Smiley
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Like many others I've really enjoyed following your family trip. I hope your children are aware how lucky they are, what an amazing opportunity for you all as a family.

I'm sure like me other might like to here from the kids, we know a little about the ice cream but what other things did they like, dislike?

You certainly made the right choice staying in the Dolomites such amazing scenery. Here in Austria we have had huge amounts of snow, but the visability had been poor and the conditions very dangerous.

Hope you enjoy your last few days.
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Sbooker , enjoying your photos, thanks

Put "Google Photos Album", into a search engine or Youtube

Google Photos is a great mechanism to organise your photos, create an album etc.

Once you have an album created, very easy to share album , watch on phone, Smart TV etc
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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.
Thanks for sharing your journey. If you enter your lift pass number on the superski Dolomite website you ll find they've been tracking your every move and they'll show you an animation of your route, complete with little markets going up the lifts. It's the sort of thing that kids love.
Safe trip back to Australia
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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, thanks for taking the time and effort to share the story and pics of your trip so far.

Like others, delighted you all enjoyed the Dolomites so much.

Safe journey to Innsbruck, another fine city.
snowHead
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Do give us you account of your trip to Val di Fassa, the one pic looks amazing. Wide, beautiful and pretty empty.
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Teletart wrote:
Like many others I've really enjoyed following your family trip. I hope your children are aware how lucky they are, what an amazing opportunity for you all as a family.

I'm sure like me other might like to here from the kids, we know a little about the ice cream but what other things did they like, dislike?

You certainly made the right choice staying in the Dolomites such amazing scenery. Here in Austria we have had huge amounts of snow, but the visability had been poor and the conditions very dangerous.

Hope you enjoy your last few days.


The kids understand how lucky they are but being 11 and 13 it’s a little lost on them I guess. Aside from travel we live more conservatively than most middle class Aussies despite being lucky to have a larger than usual income (that allows the intercontinental travel). We don’t generally sport flash labels or enjoy lavish entertainment throughout the working year. It’s a case of long working and schooling weeks with a multitude of sport on the weekends.
Even when on holiday the kids have to earn their treats. They are up with me early each morning for a gym session before breakfast.
They mostly enjoyed the fact that everything is a little foreign in Europe. Both have learnt Italian at school and they’ve loved attempting to communicate with the locals. It’s amazing how friendly people are if you try a little of the local language.
Tom has enjoyed playing table tennis with the Croatian kids and racing the other kids at the various ‘time trial’ facilities on the mountains. They’ve have both excitedly been giving their mates updates on their activities via FaceTime. Hopefully they’ve liked spending a bit more time than usual with their father who admittedly works too much.
I don’t think they’ve disliked a thing but they have both mentioned the skiing is ‘different’ to what they have been used to in Canada and the US.
I remind them at the end of each holiday that it may be the last that I can provide as life can throw changes our way. They both say they’ll be happy with a camping holiday back home if it comes to that. (I can’t honestly say I would be though). Smile
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@cameronphillips2000,
Thanks for the tip on the Dolomiti Superski website. I’ll be sure to check it out.
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@motyl,
You should be able to buy Mick Morris or Rutherglen Estates liqueur Muscats at Tesco. I know Tesco have contracts with these vineyards and probably others as well. Its mostly available in 500ml bottles. Make sure its from Rutherglen and not the imitations from other regions like the Riverina. Classification goes Rutherglen (£5-10), classic, grand and rare (£100+). The rare is blended with a base of 50+ year vintages. 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,
Enjoyed following your jaunt thru the Alps. I detect an enthusiasm for the Dolomites. Once experienced they hook you.
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@sbooker, Enjoyed following your trip. Perhaps you can make the BB next year snowHead snowHead snowHead
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Rabbie wrote:
@sbooker, Enjoyed following your trip. Perhaps you can make the BB next year snowHead snowHead snowHead

The timing would be perfect actually. We would tack another location on the week before or after. Decisions decisions - a real first world problem. Europe, Japan or North America.
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So today we spent the afternoon checking out Innsbruck. It’s a lovely place with plenty of charm and ambience - particularly when it’s snowing! The kids were having a competition as to who could catch the biggest snowflake. Snow is still a novelty after all these years of trips to snowy locations. Smile
Going to look at the Olympic stuff tomorrow morning before heading to Munich. This is coming to a close. Sad
https://i.imgur.com/9rTbNqc.jpg
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@sbooker, Also really enjoyed your trip reports and glad you've enjoyed Europe. Have a great last few days.
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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!
sbooker wrote:
Rabbie wrote:
@sbooker, Enjoyed following your trip. Perhaps you can make the BB next year snowHead snowHead snowHead

The timing would be perfect actually. We would tack another location on the week before or after. Decisions decisions - a real first world problem. Europe, Japan or North America.


Well as your Europe trip suggestion consultant Toofy Grin I'd just float the idea that you could spend a week in Switzerland before or after the Birthday Bash split between Zermatt (to let you see the Matterhorn from its best side Wink ) and the Jungfrau Region skiing at Wengen (with its famous Lauberhorn downhill course), Grindelwald and Murren (with its Schilthorn 007 connection) with the views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains (including a trip by train up to the Jungfraujoch Top of Europe)! Madeye-Smiley


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Thu 10-01-19 21:23; edited 2 times in total
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Aussie Steve wrote:
@motyl,
You should be able to buy Mick Morris or Rutherglen Estates liqueur Muscats at Tesco. I know Tesco have contracts with these vineyards and probably others as well. Its mostly available in 500ml bottles. Make sure its from Rutherglen and not the imitations from other regions like the Riverina. Classification goes Rutherglen (£5-10), classic, grand and rare (£100+). The rare is blended with a base of 50+ year vintages. Enjoy!
Many thanks Steve - I will look out for these!
And now, back to Pink Tours Toofy Grin
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Alastair Pink wrote:
sbooker wrote:
Rabbie wrote:
@sbooker, Enjoyed following your trip. Perhaps you can make the BB next year snowHead snowHead snowHead

The timing would be perfect actually. We would tack another location on the week before or after. Decisions decisions - a real first world problem. Europe, Japan or North America.


Well as your Europe trip suggestion consultant Toofy Grin I'd just float the idea that you could spend a week in Switzerland before or after the Birthday Bash split between Zermatt (to let you see the Matterhorn from its best side Wink ) and the Jungfrau Region skiing at Wengen (with its famous Lauberhorn downhill course), Grindelwald and Murren (with its Schilthorn 007 connection) with the views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains (including a trip by train up to the Jungfraujoch Top of Europe)! Madeye-Smiley


Looks very tempting but we plan on travelling with some friends who are beginner skiers. I don’t know if they would get out of Arabba!

Last day in Europe today. Innsbruck was beautiful this morning. Very snowy. We went to the Alpenzoo and it was great - highly recommended. A quick train ride to Munich passing Jenbach Sad and Worgl Sad . How I wish we had to change trains.
Arrived in Munich to heavy snow. Spent the afternoon walking the city and doing a bit of retail while catching big snow flakes.
Now at the Hofbrauhaus listening to the band.
https://i.imgur.com/82RvXHJ.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/AZrx8At.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/yTqEAyZ.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/Gw8Qt8g.jpg
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Excellent

Have a safe (if not enjoyable - having done a few UK/NZ trips, I know they are a killer) trip home.
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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 wrote:

Looks very tempting but we plan on travelling with some friends who are beginner skiers. I don’t know if they would get out of Arabba!


Well if they took things carefully and slowly I think they should be able to get round to Corvara (for the Alta Badia blue run heaven) and Colfosco.

sbooker wrote:
Last day in Europe today. Innsbruck was beautiful this morning. Very snowy. We went to the Alpenzoo and it was great - highly recommended.


Yes the Alpenzoo is very good, I bet the kids enjoyed it. Smile

Safe trip home! snowHead
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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 we arrived back in Brisbane at 8pm last Sunday and got a proper night’s sleep under our belts that night. I was at work 7am on Monday. No real jet lag to speak of. We were a little tired in the afternoons until Wednesday.
I went to the doctors Monday because I still had some pain in my hand and shoulder after the stack that was a week earlier. Xrays suggested I have a broken thumb and disclocated clavicle at the sternum. As it happens there is no real treatment for either. The doc said to take it easy and both have improved markedly since then.

We’ve all had time to reflect on our wonderful holiday in Europe. We loved it and will be back for certain. We also have real fond memories and affection for previous trips to Canada and the US. It’s obvious that we have positives and not so positives for both.
So from a Southern Hemisphere dwellers perspective here is my thoughts-

The skiing can’t be compared really. They are just different. Europe has far better scenery in my experience - and I thought I had seen the pinnacle of scenery at Lake Louise and the Tetons. Same goes for quality and value of in mountain food and drink - a quality pasta dish for 8 Euro smashes a 9 dollar hot dog.
I was prepared for the ‘staying in piste’ thing but my kids found it strange. They love skiing through trees and on ungroomed snow. So the actual ‘skis on snow’ part of skiing is more suitable in Nth America to us than Europe.

North America is easier from Oz or NZ. 25 hours minimum to Europe is hard work. 12 hours to LA is much easier to take. The logistics of moving around was easier than I thought. We loved the train travel and the driving was fine. Now I know what I know we would have not had the leg with the car (driving to Aosta). There was plenty to do and see between Munich in the north and Venice in the south. That said we will cherish our memories of skiing at Cervinia and La Thuile, La Rosiere etc.
(Why couldn’t someone from here give us advice we were trying to fit too much in). Laughing
Obviously the Austria side of the Alps accessed from Munich has heaps to offer and the French side accessed from Geneva or Milan could be a whole different holiday.
The ‘language barrier’ was not an issue and more than enjoyable. The kids are still talking part Italian for fun.

The beer. This deserves it own segment. European beer is vastly better than I expected. I thought it would all be watery lager type stuff (think Fosters). I was way more than pleasantly surprised. I think I’d prefer those lovely Pilseners over the (what I now think) to be a little ‘over hopped’ pale ales that I love from here and North America.

Half Board. What a fantastic concept! We love it. No need to go out after a big day. We formed a good thing with our waiter at the Portovescovo. It felt like we were at home.

We have many other thoughts that I may visit later on. Once again thanks for all who helped out with our planning.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@sbooker, Ouch! Bad news that your injuries turned out a bit more severe than you'd thought they were, but good to hear that you're on the mend.
Interesting to hear your thoughts on N American versus European skiing. Whilst the Western American ski areas are often great for powder then depending on the location and weather conditions Europe can be great too. Austria for example with the heavy recent snowfall led to road closures and many slopes being closed due to avalanche dangers during the second half of your trip, so in my view you definitely made the right call in going to the Dolomites at that time. However now that the massive snowfall seems to have finished and the resorts will be making the slopes safe then Austrian resorts should be a powder festival over the next few weeks. Very Happy
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sbooker wrote:


The beer. This deserves it own segment. European beer is vastly better than I expected. I thought it would all be watery lager type stuff (think Fosters). I was way more than pleasantly surprised. I think I’d prefer those lovely Pilseners over the (what I now think) to be a little ‘over hopped’ pale ales that I love from here and North America.



Maybe you were spoiled by spending time in Munich. Not quite everywhere is as good (what passes for "lager" in the UK only has a very distant connection with the real stuff, just like Fosters). Of course it is easy to do a European beer tour too though perhaps not quite as popular with the rest of the family......
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sbooker wrote:
I was prepared for the ‘staying in piste’ thing but my kids found it strange. They love skiing through trees and on ungroomed snow. So the actual ‘skis on snow’ part of skiing is more suitable in Nth America to us than Europe.

Two things here:

#1 - it got me thinking about how they manage to make the whole ski area (piste and off piste) safe in NA. I've never skied there. A quick google reveals the short answer is they don't... or at least it's not that easy.

#2 - and this bit may be controversial to some... there is plenty of safe off piste in the Alpine ski resorts. My kids have been skiing since 3/4 years old and we've always done bits and pieces. These days (11 and 13) they wear transceivers but we are still fairly conservative about what we ski. I think it's good to talk about mountain safety also.

Overall I think it's a mindset thing. In NA there is just inbounds v back country and it's only if you do the latter you need to concern yourself with mountain safety. Whereas in Europe it's piste v off piste, with the off piste being much broader than but including the NA "back country".
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@sbooker, Thanks for sharing your trip with us. One of my very favourite threads. The SC joint should settle down quickly, but i bet it was sore at the time.
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@Frosty the Snowman, mine too (thread not SC)
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ouch at injuries.

there is still wet, yellow, gassy stuff too. although German pilsner can be a bit "samey", it still walks all over carbonated gnats pee.

glad you found the proper beer though. brown, malty, unique wins any day.

or if you do fancy the over-hopped pales, then when you're in Innsbruck next year, drop by the Tribaun bar where you can test the Austrian/German/Italian take on craft beer. Bit pricey, but it's good, and the bar staff all know every beer on tap (20 taps) and can help you build a personalised list of which beers to drink and in which order. First time I was there I was discussing the beer, said it was possibly the best beer I'd ever sampled... and the reply... tell the guy sat next to you... he's the brewer!
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@sbooker, thanks for a great report, been following this thread on and off during your time in Europe, an enjoyable third party perspective of European skiing. Hope injuries heal fast.
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@sbooker, thank you for sharing an awesome trip report with us all, I've really enjoyed seeing the Italian side of things too!
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@Layne,
@Alastair Pink,
Very glad we stuck with the Dolomites over going to Austria for the last leg.
My comments regarding skiing off piste may be misguided. The first day in the Zillertal we skied about 20cm of fresh snow on the pistes but the next day would have been nice to have the confidence to ski between the pistes but as first time tourists I don’t believe that would have been smart.
Maybe it’s just a false sense of security skiing the whole mountain in the North American resorts?
I’m sure with experience we would get our heads around skiing off piste in Europe given some experience.
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sbooker wrote:
@Layne,Maybe it’s just a false sense of security skiing the whole mountain in the North American resorts?

I've not skied there but having read the article I linked to above... possibly... a bit. And there are other dangers with going off trail/piste aside from avalanches. Schumacher for instant banged his head on a rock, there are trees and tree wells, you may have navigation issues. You may just badly tear a hamstring and not be able to continue. On a piste these can/are mitigated against. And bear in mind in Europe they don't just ignore the off piste.

sbooker wrote:
@Layne,My comments regarding skiing off piste may be misguided. The first day in the Zillertal we skied about 20cm of fresh snow on the pistes but the next day would have been nice to have the confidence to ski between the pistes but as first time tourists I don’t believe that would have been smart. I’m sure with experience we would get our heads around skiing off piste in Europe given some experience.

For sure. Get some training, read up on avalanches. Understand the need for navigation, the other dangers mentioned above. Get a peeps, shovel and probe (it's your equivalent of wearing a seatbelt). Worth getting a guide for a bit more of an adventure and to score some knowledge.
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Its been a great read over the last few weeks Sbooker. Thanks for sharing
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Thanks for sharing your adventure. In some way, I felt many of us shared in your journey

I guess you're restricted by Aussie school holidays but you visited Europe early season and February and March offer much better conditions generally, particularly with regard to off piste. That said, Colorado style powder falls far less frequently in the Alps than Vail
North America used to offer a better all round experience due to vastly better lift systems (which you paid a lot for) but Europe caught up and, coupled with the kind of snow making you saw in the Dolomites now offers great piste skiing throughout the season.
The thing that really makes European skiing stand out is the ambience. The food, languages, cultures and beers, coupled with jaw dropping scenery just make it a great place to slide down hills.

Maybe bring the kids at Easter one year. Places like Tignes and Val Thorens offer almost limitless skiing, usually bathed in sunshine.....
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