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Recommendations for non-skier and baby

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Recommendations needed from your collective expertise please.

I'm looking for a European ski resort that satisfies the following criteria:
- lots to do during the day for a non-skiing mother-in-law who will be spending each morning caring for our 9month old. Lots to do as a family in the afternoon.
- ideally a short transfer of <2hr (bonus points for <1hr)
- a decent amount of mileage for good intermediate adult skiers. Doesn't need to be absolutely massive as we'd only be skiing the mornings, but enough to keep us occupied without getting bored
- ideally picturesque, as it'll be MiL's first ever trip to the Alps in winter (and I think first ever winter holiday) so I want her to be really impressed with the beauty of winter ski holidays

Holiday will ideally either be January or March.

Does such a place exist??

Thank you!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Check out Saas Fee - though it takes longer to get there, than you have stipulated.

https://www.skiclub.co.uk/switzerland/resorts/saas-fee


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Sun 6-10-19 17:46; edited 1 time in total
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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?
@shootinstar9, a lot depends on what your MiL likes to do. What does she do when she looks after the baby at home? Realistically most of the time (especially in January) will be spent indoors, either in your accommodation or in a cosy café. If the baby is active and crawling by then, this poses considerable problems as café floors are likely to be wet. If it was me (and I have been a child-caring grandmother, though not a non-skiing one) I would prioritise comfy accommodation with some flooring I could keep dry and toys to play with, along with snow very easily accessible outside, not that a crawling baby can stand much snow-time. Very gentle toboganning, maybe. I would want to AVOID hotel rooms with access only to communal lobby kind of areas. Spending a morning in a hotel bedroom with a nine month old baby and a blizzard raging outside would be grim. Nice apartment more like it, with a high chair, so baby can be sat in it and given snacks (the sort which take a VERY long time to eat, like a handful of frozen peas, not easily accessed in a hotel). I would also like a comfy push chair so that the baby can be put to sleep in it if all else fails, or can be wrapped up warm and taken for long walks outside in the beautiful scenery. I wouldn't be remotely bothered about shops (no fun with a baby who wants to get out and move around). Personally I wouldn't bother with a swimming pool either, though I know a lot of people would. If the baby is a neat, slim, sort of person, I'd also like a good quality front carrier so that with crampons on my walking boots (essential for older people in a snowy and icy environment, regardless of babies) I could do some walks and, when he/she falls asleep, sit in a café with a vin chaud.

I'd say mid March would be much better than January - brighter, lighter, warmer days (on average).

One of my grand-children, at about 9 months, spent a couple of hours each day for a week lobbing all the mini Mars Bars etc out of their storage box (once she'd pulled it out of the cupboard, which took her a while, as we pushed it well in and put a few tins in front of it)) then putting them all back in again. She never worked out that they were edible. She also spent hours crawling round under the table pushing a little toy truck thing which played "Old Macdonald had a farm". But my apartment, unlike most, was carpeted. On a cold ceramic floor she'd have been a lot less happy. An apartment with under floor heating would be good.

In sum, looking after a baby in a ski resort is not unlike looking after one at home. Often boring, and a test of ingenuity and stamina.
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My grand-daughter got tired when I was looking after her one afternoon, and cross and grizzly. I had one of those big blue Ikea bags, put a big cushion in it, added her, then swung it back and forth on the long handles. She loved it, went quiet immediately and I soon realised she was asleep. I daren't put her down on a flat surface, as it was like a hammock, so I hung the basket on the door handle and made myself a cup of tea. My daughter in law was not too happy to find daughter hanging up in an Ikea bag when she returned, and the whole episode has gone down in the family annals. That little girl is 10 now, and still loves swings. And hammocks.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@pam w, a brilliant solution I'd say! Laughing
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@shootinstar9, Have a look at Wengen in Switzerland. It doesn't meet your short transfer time of <2 hrs unfortunately, but the transfer from the airport is by train so quite a relaxed experience (and scenic views as the train goes along the side of Lake Thun before reaching Interlaken) with the option of a dining car/trolley service if you feel peckish (or you can buy some sandwiches and drinks at the airport supermarket before boarding the train). Transfer time is 3 hrs from Zurich airport train station.

Once in Wengen the village is car free and because there is a mountain railway system it's easy for your mother in law and your 9 month old to meet up for lunch on the mountain. The scenery is outstanding, with the famous Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains. On a good weather day in the afternoon you could go up to the top of the Jungfraujoch Top of Europe. With a skipass or hiking and sledging pass of 3 or more days duration you get a special lower price up to the top of the Jungfraujoch.

With a Jungfrau region skipass as well as Grindelwald you are also covered for the Mürren ski area across the valley from Wengen, with its famous Schilthorn James Bond connection.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
1. Zermatt.
2. Klosters (Davos)
3. St Moritz
4. Lech
5. Kitzbuehel
6. Chamonix
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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!
Lots to do during the day, would from my experience at least rule out Wengen and Saas Fee. Zermatt fits the bill, (but a 31/2 hour train ride from Geneva- very scenic though!),as does Kitzbuehel from Whitegolds, if I may say so surprisingly decent list. All alpine scenery is great, Wengen and Zermatt are the best I have been to and Zermatt has masses more to do, with a large amount of access to the slopes and mountain restaurants for a reasonably fit MIL.
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Thing is, it's hard to advise without knowing a bit more about what MIL likes doing, and how accustomed she is to spending a lot of time in wintry conditions with a 9 month old baby. They do cramp your style!
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That’s a good point about knowing what she likes... mainly sedate activities really. Big fan of cafes and going for coffee&cake. Has never had a winter snow holiday so has little to no experience of winter conditions in the Alps (we so live up north though and we regularly get snow in winter, but I know it’s not the same). Is relatively fit but wouldn’t really be up for walking up inclines or long distance, particularly if pushing a buggy.

Pam your post is very insightful, thank you. I hadn’t considered most of that!

I think ok reflection I need to change what we want to....
-ideally picturesque
- flat-ish village, or small-ish village, with plenty of cafes
- reasonable sized ski area for two good intermediates

We have family in Chamonix that we haven’t seen for a while and MiL has expressed an interest in us going there (two birds with one stone) but I’ve never been there so don’t know if it fulfils the brief.

Thanks all for your suggestions! I will investigate them all
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The surroundings of Chamonix are very beautiful - awe-inspiring - but the town itself is busy and strung out along the valley. Not a picturesque village- a noisy, urban, place. The valley itself is quite low, so you might well not have snow, or have dirty lumps of black stuff, which used to be snow, sitting around. Flat enough to walk around, for sure, and plenty of buses. Endless intermediate skiing in Chamonix but in separate areas - being somewhere near the Brevent/Flegere lifts would make sense if you'll only have half days to go at it. If MIL wants to go to Chamonix that's half the battle, I'd say, especially if there would be people there for her to team up with.

If you hit a sunny, calm, day she couldn't do better than go up the Aiguille du Midi cable car. It's seriously cold up there - and unless you go out on the viewing platforms, right up there in the glittering high mountains, you're missing out. Not an outing for the baby, though. Down in the town it might not always be very cold (and could be quite warm at times in March), but good warm layers essential, and stout footwear with non-slip crampons for when it's icy. Fear of falling on icy pavements is a real problem for older people, especially when they're not used to it (I am used to it, and it still petrifies me, whereas falling on ski slopes doesn't). Walking poles help, though they're not compatible with pushing pushchairs. Hanging on to push chair is good, actually! Like a walker.

I don't know Chamonix well - but lots of SHs do, and could advise on accommodation. Because of the topography aspect matters - some places lose the sun early in the day (or gain it late).
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@shootinstar9, PamW has mentioned not taking your baby up lifts, and I agree altitude can be an issue to babies. We took our 9 month with us to Les Duex Alpes, it's 1600m in town, he didn't sleep at night all week, which was out of character for him. We also tried to take him up the mountain on one day to meet up for lunch, the lifties stopped us and refused us access, I think babies can suffer ear problems from being too high unless they are acclimatised and live there.
I'd advise a low valley resort as a base, Chamonix ticks that box, plus more for you.
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Quote:

PamW has mentioned not taking your baby up lifts

Well, not up the Aiguille du Midi...… other, lower altitude, lifts might not be a problem.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@shootinstar9, Have a look at Ski Amade (Flachau, Wagrain, Schladming), the first two being within a one hour transfer from Salzburg Airport. Loads to do for non-skiers with the added bonus of being a 1 hour trip into beautiful Salzburg. Note the Therme Amade in Altenmarkt for a great afternoon of pampering and family fun. Links here.

https://www.flachau.com/en/holiday.html

snow-space.com/en/

https://www.salzburg.info/en

Definitely go in March for better weather and drop me a PM if you're interested in a self catering apartment option.


Last edited by You know it makes sense. on Mon 14-10-19 6:52; 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:
Base yourself in a city with skiing such as innsbruck or oslo?

Non skier will have all facilities on their doorstep meaning more chance they'll be happy
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Depends what "facilities" they want. Wouldn't suit me.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Courmayeur?
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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?
Was going to suggest Chamonix, then see you have folks there she can visit, so think it is a no brainer really, as she will have company and other people to coo over and take turns with the 9 month old. My Mum got twitchy when we left her to look after our two for more than few hours while we skied. She was more than capable but found having to stay in, on hard tiled floor - see @pam w, - a bit annoying. No issues if we had been at home, as carpet and easy buggy walks to shops/park/swings etc. My Mum is/was really active and walks a lot but having to negotiate snow/ice etc with a child/ren that are not your own is a worry. Chamonix avoids a lot of this as it is pretty but they keep the pedestrians areas well cleared. La Ginabelle is well located. Stayed there with MyFrechChalet.com more than 10 years ago. They have lots of accommodation in Chamonix.
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