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Nendaz - New Year

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Anybody have any experience with queues at Nendaz at New Year?
My unreasonable family have told me that we are skiing at New Year. Now I'm trying to identify a resort with an extensive pisted ski area in case snow doesn't cover the rocks so we can't all head off piste.
Being somewhat of a misanthropist I'm not overly fond of long ski lift queues either.
Can anybody make the case for/against Nendaz this New Year?
(And "Don't go because I'm going there" is not a valid reason!)
Very Happy
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
[The following is much more meaningful if you google for a map of the Quatre Vallées and refer to that]

The trouble with Nendaz is that if you want to ski to/from the rest of the 4 Vallées, its connection outbound is via a draglift (Planards), and then an old gondola (Plan du Fou). You then ski down a nice red then blue to Siviez, where you can either go north up to Combatzeline or east to Siviez and then south to Lac de Vaux or east up to the Col des Gentianes/Mt.Fort. The latter basically the high point of Verbier. So, basically, the Plan du Fou gondola and outbound drag to it is a bottleneck. To return on skis, you catch the new bubble up from Siviez to Pla du Feu and then ski an itinerary down to a black, or get the PdF gondola which drops over the itinerary down to the black. You can get a bus to/from Siviez, but Forum feedback seems to be that this can get packed at the end of the day.

Upside of Nendaz seems to be that it has a lot of accommodation choice and plentiful bars, restaurants and clubs at relatively reasonable (for Switzerland) prices. For beginners who aren't going to go far anyway, then the connection issues isn't going to be a factor. They've also spent a fortune 2 years ago installing extensive snow-making on the Planards side (south-facing, so it used to suffer in warmer conditions, but not so much now).

As far as queuing goes, then it's worth saying that generally, queues in Switzerland are, in my experience, nothing like as bad as in similar resorts in France at peak times. As for Nendaz, then it's a shame that the Plan du Fou outbound route is such a bottleneck and you'll be queuing for and packed into a small old gondola first thing. Add if you want to get back at the end of the day it's either a packed bus from Siviez or an itinerary-black runs down from PdF. But this will all be relative.

Such comments usually elicit a fair number of contrary responses i.e. that there's nothing wrong with Nendaz; that people have very much enjoyed their ski trip there; that the itinerary-black return route is entirely manageable unless you're a complete novice, etc. You'll have to judge for yourself.

My very subjective view about the 4 Vallées bases are that
1. If money was no object, you'd stay in Verbier.
2. If you want to cut the costs, then stay in La Tzoumaz for about 30% less, but be prepared to have to get the gondola down from Savoleyres to Verbier if the snow is bad.
3. If you want a medium-sized resort that's relatively uncrowded, consider Veysonnaz/Les Collons - plus you can get over to Verbier (but it's a bit of a trek).
4. If you want good value and lively resort, go to Nendaz - but the connections to Verbier are tedious.

I'm also sure someone will point out that there are some really nice, small, characterful resorts to the north of the 4 valleys which have got very good feedback in recent years, particularly St.Luc and Grimentz etc. I'd do some research on these if the idea of something less mianstream appealed. FInally, there is the Valais Magic Pass which gives you access to almost 30 resorts in the same area (but not Verbier 4 Vallées) and where you might consider staying in the valley, at, say a spa, and then driving out to what loks like the most interesting/snowy resort at the time.
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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?
@LaForet,

That link is going to be infinitely better for next season. A huge improvement for Nendaz.

https://www.nvrm.ch/en/company-presentation/current-projects/projets-en-cours.htm
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@LaForet,

As above the drag and gondola (Actually a low capacity cable car ) are being replaced by a high capacity gondola, there were signs up all over the place to say it was happening before next season I'd be surprised if this generates any queues based on my visits, though there still could be a queue for the chair on the way back going up to Tracouet after coming from Plan de Fou.

Having said that all my visits have been later in the season and I don't have personal experience of NY.
Personally I think it's a great area with wonderful skiing and fabulous views. Doesn't have the night life of Verbier if this is important to you.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@T Bar,

I would like to think that replacing that chairlift back up to Tracouet will be their next project. Although that area is environmentally protected - hence how long it took for them to be able to instal snowmaking there. I have often sat on that chairlift and felt that I could probably skin up faster!
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Thanks for taking the time to provide this really useful inside information.
My previous "serious" Swiss skiing was Zermatt; highly mechanised, very cute but extortionately expensive. Champagne taste, beer budget me, unfortunately.
The boys and I are experienced skiers so will ski home if the runs are open. New Years means that we'll have to book up soonish before prices go through the roof so we'll be in the lap of the gods in terms of whether there will be snow back into town. Think the orientation of the slopes plus the altitude will make it a pretty safe bet though.
A bit sad me sitting here in May already fantasising about skiing in December but hey ho at least I have my Skiers Anonymous group to share with!
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Been in Verbier last NY, in a small Airbnb down from the Medran gondola. There were
quite long queues in the morning to get up the mountain and further higher, usually 10 to15 min max. Have seen longer in Arlberg in march, for Aiguille Rouge in early february and at the main gondola in L2A in january.
So not a biggie. BTW, had very few queues in Nendaz/4V side in the same period, enjoyed the area more, on piste speaking.
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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!
@hudds7, You should be able to ski back to resort unless it's a very warm winter the main run back is covered by snow cannons and is northish facing.
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@JohnMo Great news that they're finally getting 'round to replacing the Prarion-Plan du Fou link this summer. We'll be there in August so I'll take some photo's and post an update. This will really make Nendaz a genuine satellite to Verbier and gateway to the 4 Vallées. Now all they need to do is replace the old Verbier-Savoleyres télécabine and the whole area will be that much more accessible.

Perhaps it's helpful to see what we've been talking about: here's a photo of the Plan du Fou télécabine with the itinerary slope behind it and the PdF summit top right (below). I'll see if I can dig out a wider shot that shows the whole Tracouet-Prarion-PdF mountainside.



Last edited by You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net. on Wed 5-06-19 16:56; edited 1 time in total
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@LaForet, Cheers for the pick, just pinched it and set as my laptop background, a great view of what that Itinerary is.
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@hudds7, my two most skied resorts. I have an apartment in Täsch (the village next to Zermatt) so I am a part-time resident there. A friend has an apartment in Nendaz so he is a part-time resident there. I often pop round to his to ski the four valleys.

I am not sure you are going to find the four valleys much cheaper than Zermatt. Switzerland generally is an expensive country. Both the four valleys and Zermatt are amongst the top end ski resorts and so are priced accordingly. I guess prices in Nendaz might be a little cheaper than Verbier or Zermatt but not by much. Accommodation might be but I never have to pay that.

If you enjoyed skiing Zermatt you will certainly enjoy the 4 valleys. I always though Nendaz was a good base even with the relatively poor links. Before the snow making you often had to get a bus round to Siviez to link in with the other areas. Now the new lift is going to make it a great place to be based.
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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.
As a guideline to prices, I did a trawl through my winter 2018 receipts for the 4 Vallées for a US ski website and this is what I came up with as typical prices

-Item: CHF

On piste **
- Pizza: 15
- Fries: 8
- Beer 33cl: 8
- Coffee: 4.50
- Fruit tart: 5.50
- Loaf of Bread: 4.50
- Soup, bread & cheese: 12
- Croûte aux Champignons: 20
- Fondue: 25
- Plate of local meats & cheeses: 25

Restaurant in town
*** Main course: 25-35 / Glass of wine: 8-12
**** Main course: 30-60

Skipass
- Adult 4 Valleys 6 days incl. ins.: 590
- Adult 4 Valleys 4 days incl. ins.: 300

Equipment Hire 6 days (Standard->VIP)
Adult Skis/Snowboard: 136-190
Adult Boots: 80-110

1 Day Heli-ski
1x Person in a group with guide: 480-530

Frankly, the times I've been during school holidays, we've often resorted to carrying our own lunch and refreshments just for convenience. Big eateries like Savoleyres have OK indoor pique-nique rooms with tables and chairs, where it's actually quicker to eat your own lunch than queue at the café and hunt for a free table etc. We also self-cater in an apartment (well, obviously, since we own one ...) and just eat out perhaps once or twice, so the catering costs aren't much different to home. But you do have to be careful: e.g. if you find yourself using somewhere like the Carlsberg in Verbier, which is bang in the middle of the main run down, then expect these prices to go up 40-50%. And there are Places To Be Seen in Verbier, like the Carrefour outdoor café, or Blunt's La Vache, where again, you'll pay a premium. The prices above are for the sort of places we use, like the Plan du Fou café in the photo' (the crinkle-cut building).
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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
Useful info above, a couple of things I would add:
If you are going as a family there are some fairly useful family discounts on lift passes right up to age about 24.

I don't know about how mountain prices compare with Zermatt but accommodation self catering is certainly much cheaper whenever I have looked.
Nendaz has a surfeit of second home owners and I have always found self catering accommodation at a very reasonable price for the quality.
Generally cheaper than I can find in the Tarentaise as well, the main caveat being that I haven't looked at NY which may be different.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Actual New Years Eve in Nendaz is great fun and very buzzy.


Last edited by You know it makes sense. on Mon 3-06-19 12:13; edited 1 time in total
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:

Glass of wine: 8-12
. Not sure which restaurants charge this, the average for a 1dl glass of local wine is roughly between chf 4 -6.50
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I can only go on the actual receipts that I have. If you’ve got similar receipt numbers for peak weeks, then I’m happy to be corrected. I daresay there’s variation and also, I’m thinking 10dl is pretty small for us hardened drinkers! More an apéro size, rather than my typical 25dl ...


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Mon 3-06-19 16:29; edited 1 time in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
That all looks like good information, and good news on the new lift.

Was that run under the old lift always an itinerary? It's just that I was there decades ago and don't remember using the lift to descend, but I also don't remember an itinerary. I do remember that those lifts can be closed whilst they control for slides after a big dump. Same as anywhere, I suppose.
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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?
@LaForet I'm sure you're correct, did they put up the prices at peak weeks? seems a bit harsh. I'm with you on the glass size! Very Happy
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It was always an Itinerary run. However last season they pisted it so it was steep but flat. I think that with the new lift for next season they will be doing this more as they expect a lot more people to be using the link.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Paul Holroyd,

Was it ever pisted all the way down? They pisted skiers right up at the top and then they pisted up from the bottom of the cable car lift station. I can’t remember the two sections ever quite joining. I much prefer itinerary skiing so I tended to avoid skiers right in any case.
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Yes, for a few weeks it was pisted all of the way down. You went down the track at the top and then it was pisted down to just above the bottom of the old cable car, so you could join the 'Fontaines' black avoiding the moguls. With the new Télécabine, you will not be able to get off a half way down if descending on it - although they are saying that the drag lift up from Prarion will still be in operation - but for how long.....
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Some really useful information provided here, much obliged.
An additional question, any recommendations for a self-serve lunch on the mountain?
Chips and/or slice of pizza for the kids sort of thing.
Also any places to avoid, cost/service wise?
Or is it like Chamonix, best to bring your own sandwich and eat on the chairlift?
(btw that photo is awesome, what a fantastic run back towards home at the end of the day!)
Cool
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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!
There are several good places which are not too expensive. On the Verbier side 'Le Dahu' at La Chaux is very good. Would avoid the 'Carlsberg' which is a bit loud and pricey. The further down towards Verbier the more expensive they get!
If you travel over to the Veysonnaz side there is a great place on the way down with some very wide pistes surrounding it called 'Les Chottes'. It is a converted cowshed with a large outdoor deck with great views and besides a restaurant more basic food is served from an outside bar.
The restaurant at the top of the Combatseline chair is also very good as is the one at Plan du Fou.
Generally speaking, all of the restaurants towards Veysonnez and Thion are good and not overpriced.
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@hudds7, the 4 Valleys itineraries generally are fantastic. Plan de Fou can be good in good snow. But if it has not snowed for a while it can get icy. It can also get quite bare and rocky and sometimes that means they have to close it (so you have to take the lift down). Touch wood that it will be in good condition for you.
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If you have a car, then driving to Siviez works really well - you can be in to the "main" Verbier ski areas such as Tortin, Mont Fort etc before they can get there from Verbier itself
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Finally found it - panorama of Tracouet-Prarion-Plan du Feu taken this winter from La Tzoumaz. Not a great photo but it'll do. The Legend is below. The square is roughly the area of the photo' in the earlier post.



A - Plan du Fou & summit of télécabine which runs up from B
B - Base of télécabine / summit of draglift up from D
C - Prarion: Base of chairlift up to Tracouet (E)
D - Prarion: Base of draglift up to B
E - Tracouet, and the summit of télécabine up from Nendaz (on other side of ridge)

[1] Itinerary mogul field
[2] Black down to Prarion (C), chairlift up to Tracouet (E)
[3] One of the slopes down from Tracouet (E)

Apologies, I don't recall exactly where the drag lift starts, so D is approximate. And if I recall, there's more than one route down from Tracouet to Prarion as well. Coming from Nendaz, if the new télécabine goes in as planned, then you'll just ski down to somewhere around the Prarion (C/D) area and hop on the new lift to Plan du Feu (A). Whereas currently you have to get a drag to D->B and then the télécabine B->A. You can see why someone made the earlier comment about retaining the draglift D->B, because without it, you will have to get the télécabine up to PdF and do the itinerary [1] if you want to ski the black [2] down to Prarion (C/D).

Out of interest, the trees that sit in the arc between [3] and the base of the télécabine (B) are enormous ancient larches («mélèzes» in French). Some up to 12 metre in circumference. This is one of only three remnant ice age larch forest enclaves left in the Alps, so it's a unique and increasingly fragile ecosystem. Hence all the delays in installing the water cannon and the new télécabine, which seems fair enough.
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