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First time in Europe - where to ski

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
1. Meribel.
2. Lech.
3. Courchevel 1650.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:
I have a tendency to get a little OCD about travel plans
under a new name wrote:
@photuris
I totally understand your OCDness ...

You know what they say about the best laid plans...

Of all travel plans, I think ski plans had the highest probability of unraveling in “expected ways”.

You search exhaustively for a powder heaven, you end up with a region-wide dry season! You ski on man made strips from cafe to cafe to pub. You pick a sunny scenic spot, it snows everyday. So you can’t see a thing, but the powder is to die for.

Flights got cancelled due to storm. Duh! Roads got closed due to avalanche. Oops! Lift don’t open due to high wind...

I’m not an OCD person so I can’t related to that. But I can relate to things not going according to plan, OFTEN! Many of my best trips, I wouldn’t take credit for. I was just in the right place at the right time! Or rather, I change plans and improvise to end up at whatever the right place happened to be at that point in 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?
@under a new name,
Quote:

I don’t think I can add or counter anything @admin has said. He knows his beans.


He certainly does. But I think this time he's copied from a Mr Shakespeare, who writes the material that launches the SnowHeads Birthday Bash. I'm calling plagiarism. wink
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@abc, I have made two trips, Mauritius and Egypt, to “guaranteed” kite surfing spots.

Have managed 4 hours out of 14 days...
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@abc,
Quote:

You know what they say about the best laid plans...


Very valid point. Detailed planning still good though. But building in a degree of flexibility, to cope with all those things that can affect a ski holiday, can have big benefits.

Transport options is one example. To quote a couple of specifics....if there's bad vis and high winds in Val D'Isere/Tignes (it has been known) can you easily get down to St Foy en Tarentaise for a day skiing in the relatively sheltered terrain there?
If you're staying in Paradiski area and the skiing conditions are unattractive....can you easily get to the sports/leisure centre…..or down to Bourg St Maurice for a walk, coffee, lunch, shopping, etc?

You'd be unlucky to have a whole week of poor weather....but covering the 'what ifs' makes sense.
snowHead
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Comes back to wengen again. Bad day train/walk to Interlaken. Their snowmaking has improved a lot and the scenery is amazing. Railway access makes a huge difference to either hiring/parking cars or interminable transfer coach journeys. That is why I sort of give a -1 to the dolomites - scenery/snowmaking/ambience are brilliant but a 3 hour coach transfer from venice = yuk. At least rail you can get up and wander, usually a buffet car and if not too busy you can change sides for the view.
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@countryman, you don't have to have a 3hr road transfer to the Dolomites.
OK, Venice to Arabba is roughly that, although it doesn't seem to put anyone off IME.
Alleghe is very much in the Dolomites and the bus transfer there is an hour shorter.

However, U can take the train to Ponte Gardena (near Bolzano), from which the local bus takes you to Ortisei in 20mins for the princely sum of 3€ Cool Stay on the same bus for another few minutes and you'll find yourself in Selva and right on the Sela Ronda circuit snowHead

Alternatively, stay on the train through Ponte Gardena until you get to Brunico. This is the station that serves the Kronplatz area (which is also in the Dolomites). As far as I recall, the train station has one of the ski lifts running out of it snowHead

In the 'other' Dolomites, ie the Brenta Dolomites, the train from Trento runs all the way up Val di Sole and the station at Marilleva has a bubble running out of it. That puts U on the lift system that serves Madonna di Campiglio.

I'm not denigrating Wengen as an option - it is indeed a lovely place - just correcting the misconception that the Dolomites are not accessible by train. I (with various other snowHeads) have very much enjoyed travelling by train to the Dolomites, the whole way from London, on a number of occasions.
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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!
@admin, I was pleasantly surprised looking at R2R at how easy Paris-Dolomites was.

Love trains, me.
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Night train, Paris => Verona is my favourite Madeye-Smiley
So civilised, and such a bargain!

We've left London after a full day's work on Friday, had dinner in the restaurant car coming out of Paris, breakfast in Verona and been on skis in Ortisei by just after 10AM.
Now technically, this made the 'transfer' to Arabba quite lengthy... but as we were skiing it, it didn't count Cool
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@photuris, sorry - bit of a thread diversion there.

I think the important point to take from it though, is not to assume that a car is necessary in Europe the way it is in the US.
OK, if you're spending a month moving around between events, resorts, countries then yes, probably a car is advantageous but if you're looking to get the best out of a week, there are so many individual locations that would offer the richest of week's skiing, on your doorstep, without needing to go anywhere else. So you simply need to get to and from them via the most convenient, cost effective, pleasant means possible and often driving yourself there doesn't meet any of those criteria.
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under a new name wrote:
@abc, I have made two trips, Mauritius and Egypt, to “guaranteed” kite surfing spots.

Have managed 4 hours out of 14 days...


You should ask me where and when to go kite surfing for nigh on guaranteed wind Cool

As for making plans - we often say, "How to make God laugh ?" and the answer is "make a plan in the mountains"
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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.
Weathercam wrote:
under a new name wrote:
@abc, I have made two trips, Mauritius and Egypt, to “guaranteed” kite surfing spots.

Have managed 4 hours out of 14 days...


You should ask me where and when to go kite surfing for nigh on guaranteed wind Cool

As for making plans - we often say, "How to make God laugh ?" and the answer is "make a plan in the mountains"

Guaranteed wind... there's also the matter of too much wind sometimes.

Yep! Compare to surfing, skiing is actually "more reliable" in comparison. I stand corrected. 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 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
I'm in the dolomites at the moment enjoying the climbing. I can confirm the staggering beauty of the area.
We started in wolkenstein and have now crossed over to Salla, just down the Valley from Alleghe. Both areas are easily reached by public transport. Busses run regularly from Belluno up the valley to Alleghe and beyond. Busses also run regularly from Brixen to Wolkenstein. You can get to both Brixen and Belluno from Paris by train. However I think you need to be a fairly experienced traveller to do this. There will be a number of changes of train, changes from trains to busses involving french, Italian and possibly german. With lots of luggage needed for a ski trip this will need careful marshaling of the troops.
While climbing the fermada mountains near wolkenstein we discovered the town of St Ulrich. It is beautiful. They had a beer festival in the main square under a large marquee complete with oompha band. I liked the way you got from the centre of rown to the lifts using moving pavements and escalators. It was beautiful.
But the dolomites are expensive compared to France.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
johnE wrote:
But the dolomites are expensive compared to France.
Huh Puzzled Not in my experience.
In what respect? Please elaborate.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@admin, my sentiments also.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
admin wrote:
@countryman, you don't have to have a 3hr road transfer to the Dolomites.
OK, Venice to Arabba is roughly that, although it doesn't seem to put anyone off IME.
Alleghe is very much in the Dolomites and the bus transfer there is an hour shorter.

However, U can take the train to Ponte Gardena (near Bolzano), from which the local bus takes you to Ortisei in 20mins for the princely sum of 3€ Cool Stay on the same bus for another few minutes and you'll find yourself in Selva and right on the Sela Ronda circuit snowHead

Alternatively, stay on the train through Ponte Gardena until you get to Brunico. This is the station that serves the Kronplatz area (which is also in the Dolomites). As far as I recall, the train station has one of the ski lifts running out of it snowHead

In the 'other' Dolomites, ie the Brenta Dolomites, the train from Trento runs all the way up Val di Sole and the station at Marilleva has a bubble running out of it. That puts U on the lift system that serves Madonna di Campiglio.

I'm not denigrating Wengen as an option - it is indeed a lovely place - just correcting the misconception that the Dolomites are not accessible by train. I (with various other snowHeads) have very much enjoyed travelling by train to the Dolomites, the whole way from London, on a number of occasions.


I've been missing the sleeper train to Bourg, but this sounds like a perfect alternative for a week's trip! I'm thinking Selva may be the way to go. Nice one Admin Ta v. muchly
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Most ski nations are going to be expensive now, if you are paid in pounds Sad
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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?
Fortunately, the OP will be paying in dollar.

The Brexit train wreck may actually makes it even more affordable for those crossing the pond.
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@abc, broadly speaking, the US$ to € exchange rate is in the middle of the range it’s operated in during the last 20 years or so.

Stronger US $ against GBP, but I wouldn’t recommend UK skiing for a big transatlantic trip.
snowHead
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Arctic Roll, +1 for @admin, ‘s very useful information about rail options to Dolomites.

I’m also interested in how @johnE, found Dolomites costs higher than France.

Assuming we’re talking about like for like higher quality mountain towns. Food and drink certainly better value and more consistent quality in Italy. Rule of thumb maybe a third cheaper, with wide variations of course?

Accommodation? Maybe not much difference between the two on apartment rental? My impression and experience is that catered hotels generally better value in Italy.

Can @johnE, give examples of higher cost Dolomites over French Alps please?
snowHead
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Never experienced the Dolomites (or anywhere else in Italian mountains) being dearer than the French Alps. Food and drink is a lot cheaper... and better.
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under a new name wrote:
@abc, I have made two trips, Mauritius and Egypt, to “guaranteed” kite surfing spots.

Have managed 4 hours out of 14 days...


the amount of hot air your filled with, I am surprised you could expelled it all in only 4 days

snowHead
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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!
My recent experience of prices

La Plagne - vegetable soup 10 euro (couldn't say which vegetables it contained, just mush) : small beer - 5 euro
Dolomites - goulash soup 8 euro (meat and spices) : small beer - 3.50 euro
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@albob, that correlates with my experience exactly.

My recent experience of prices:

On the mountain:
Dolomites - Aperol Spritz 2€50 - 3€50
3Valleys - Aperol Spritz 9€ - 11€ Shocked

In our hotel:
Tignes - small glass of wine 6€ (3€50 special group rate negotiated in advance because we filled the hotel (100+ people) in an otherwise empty week)
Dolomites - small glass of wine 2€ (no negotiation required)... large 2€50 Smile
..."Well done on the bar prices, admin!"
..."erm, thanks but I haven't spoken to them yet" Confused
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under a new name wrote:
@admin, I was pleasantly surprised looking at R2R at how easy Paris-Dolomites was.

under a new name, what's R2R?
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abc wrote:
under a new name wrote:
@admin, I was pleasantly surprised looking at R2R at how easy Paris-Dolomites was.

under a new name, what's R2R?


rome2rio would be my guess
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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.
@albob, @admin,
moi aussi...
Several years ago, restaurant on left hand side, bottom of piste in Tignes Les Brevieres. Insipid lukewarm watery soup, slice of crusty bread, plus a small beer, 18 euros. Served with a shrug of the shoulders. (There are many better in Espace Killy but similar prices).

Any number of mountain restaurants in the Dolomites 2017/18, filling pasta plateful with tasty sauce, or delicious goulash soup, plenty of crusty bread, small beer, 8 to 10 euros. Served with a smile and often a thank you for your custom.
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 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
Generalisations can be indicative, but not all Italian places are wonderfully better than the French.

Going over to La Tuille from La Ros: the hot chocolate at the top of the Petit Bernard pass is simply divine, wonderful, and worth the trip over from Les Arcs alone.
But the slopside restaurants on the way down however were as expensive, slow, unhelpful and have as gallic-inspired shruggy shouldered, surly staff as those on the other side of the ridge.

So Italy wins, but it is not always as clear-cut as some would have you imagine.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Arctic Roll wrote:
Generalisations can be indicative, but not all Italian places are wonderfully better than the French.

Going over to La Tuille from La Ros: the hot chocolate at the top of the Petit Bernard pass is simply divine, wonderful, and worth the trip over from Les Arcs alone.
But the slopside restaurants on the way down however were as expensive, slow, unhelpful and have as gallic-inspired shruggy shouldered, surly staff as those on the other side of the ridge.

So Italy wins, but it is not always as clear-cut as some would have you imagine.


Laughing
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Riccardo, Embarassed
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I suspect there are still some residents of the Dolomites who do not consider themselves Italian. Puzzled
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Not some. Many!
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I'm sorry to be late replying to this but I've been up in the mountains the last couple of days climbing and doing a couple via ferrata.
It is hard to give like for like comparisons between the dolomites and the French alpes. They are different places with different cultures.
However the main reason the dolomites are more expensive than the French alpes is accommodation. As the OP pointed out she was looking at self catering in courcheval. There is much much less self catering in the dolomite. It is mainly family run hotels. In Les arcs a good apartment for 4 can be had for 6 or 700 euros in mid march for a week. In wolkenstein my wife and me were paying 70 euros a night for a pretty average hotel b & b. Evening meals were another 25 pp and they were not very good. I know this is high season in the dolomites and the winter may be less expensive but hotels are always more expensive than self catering.
For other components of the stay the prices between les arcs (I use les arcs because thar is the resort I know best) are pretty much the same. A plat du jour in les arcs costs between 13 and 16 euros and is usually pretty good quality. We went into a small hutte near pocul on Tuesday and a small spaghetti arrabiata cost 10 euros. It wasn't that great and there was a cover charge of 2 euros. 13 euros at the rock mountain in arc1600 gets you a burger and chips, with a beer. OK beer at 3 euros per 20cl is cheaper than 4 euros per 25cl in France but you'll have to drink a lot of beers for that to make much of a saving over the 70 euros a night hotel bill.
mind you coffee is much cheeper than France.
Don't get me wrong i love the dolomites others wise i wouldn't come climbing here every year, but i expect to pay more than twice as much as i would skiing in France for the same duration.
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@johnE, interesting. So classic high demand with low supply keeps apartment rental prices up.

My impression is that like for like quality hotels in the Dolomites are better value than French alps. Not a significant difference though overall.

What about lift pass prices?
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I cannot recall much about winter lift passes. They are online if you want to do the research, but in the summer the lifts in the the dolomites can be eye watering expensive. The secenda lift from St Ulrich for example costs 34 euros for a return trip. Once again the culture here is different to the French alpes. A greater proportion oh lifts are open and their main customers are not climbers and cyclists but promanators going up for a look at the view or for a coffee or lunch. It's just different.
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@johnE, there are plenty of walkers and sightseers in France who ride up the lifts. Especially in summer tourist hotspots, like Chamonix, Val D’Isere and Megeve.

Single mountain lift rides are always relatively expensive, compared say with a weekly pass, in all the major alpine countries.

It would be interesting to see relative overall costs for a week of snowsports, self catering, perhaps with a couple of dinners out, light lunch on the mountain each day. My bet would be Dolomites would be cheaper than like for like area in France, Switzerland and Austria.
snowHead
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@PeakyB, I don’t think there is a 2019 report yet but here is the 2018.
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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!
https://www.postoffice.co.uk/dam/jcr:b22dab09-7c45-4540-96d9-a81790fd9980/post-office-travel-money-ski-resort-report-2018.pdf
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£21.66 for a coffee? I know prices vary in these resorts depending on which cafe you frequent. But £21.66 for a coffee? pull the other one, it has bells on it!

(that is the alleged price of a coffee in Val d'Isere post Brexit)
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Don't look at the Norway price.... It's an awful report, some prices are for 1 person, others for a family of 4. Not worth the paper it's not written on.
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