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How long would you drive to ski, daily?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I’m thinking of the price gouging of a slope side accommodation versus the hassle of piling into a car and driving eeearly in the morning to get first tracks (and then us oldies being exhausted by 1530) and driving aaaaall the way back in the evening. Not just for one week, where holiday mentality makes you tolerate many things, but say a month or even a season. Assume that parking is easy if you arrive before/as lifts open.

I’ve asked how long, in time, rather than how far, as I’ve experienced nasty hairpins up to Tignes, the relatively relaxed main road Andorra LV - Pas de la Casa, and the TransCanada Highway Banff-Lake Louise; very different average speeds.

So where would you draw the line at a daily commute, and roll over rather than getting out of bed? 15 minutes? 30 minutes? An hour?

(Not that I’m dreaming of buying a small house in a mountain village, no, not at all...)


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Sat 14-12-19 11:57; edited 1 time in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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20-30mins probably.
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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?
30 mins but not every day. Usually 2 or 3 times in a week
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20 mins or so for me, but I wouldn't ski every day if we were there for a season, so it wouldn't be a daily commute.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Orange200, Zero.

I have driven up to Tignes from Les Arcs a couple times and it has not been too bad, but on a daily basis I don't even want to drive, never mind clear the snow off, did it out etc. I might get the bus but drive, daily, to ski, no.
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If you had a small house in a mountain village you wouldn't ski all day, every day.
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We happily drive 30 - 40 mins daily and its not really a hassle. We tend to be up fairly early anyway. If theres powder available you have to adjust accordingly Madeye-Smiley 20 minutes is just enough to get the boots warm and flexible enough to put on.

Last season I wanted to hit the road early, drive 6 hrs and then ski Toofy Grin But SWMBO put her foot down and we took the day off as planned Toofy Grin

As pam w, says if you were living out there or just staying a season, you wouldn't ski every day, but pick and choose the best.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
It's going to vary a lot from day to day, depending on whether the road is clear, or you're stuck behind someone putting their snow chains on. If you're after first tracks, then you'll be driving up on days that the roads have just been snowed on.
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I would be happy somewhere close to a small local area with options of various other resorts within 30mins public transport & upto an hour in a car.
So lots of variety while also exploring the various surrounding areas.
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I stayed in Salt Lake City and drove daily to the various surrounding resorts - which IIRC was 40 - 50 minutes. This for me would be the maximum distance.
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Where I live the nearest ski areas are 10 mins away and there are around a dozen ski areas within 30 mins, more within an hour or slightly more. I visit the near ones regularly, more than once a week, the distant ones maybe once or twice in a season.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Depends if it is just adults. Then maybe up to 30 mins but with kids prefer to be in resort but happy to use a ski bus. We looked to buy around Annecy but opted for Les Carroz as don't mind driving back from the lake on long summer nights but prefer being closer to the slopes on short dark days.
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If it's a weeks holiday why waste time driving. I understand those replying who own property, after all I drive 15mins from home to go surfing and there is nothing better than getting a glimpse of glassy parallel lines over the clifftops, but I'm not sure there is a snowy equivalent.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
BoardieK wrote:
If it's a weeks holiday why waste time driving. I understand those replying who own property, after all I drive 15mins from home to go surfing and there is nothing better than getting a glimpse of glassy parallel lines over the clifftops, but I'm not sure there is a snowy equivalent.

There definitely is. I used to bounce on my seat as my parents drove over Cock Bridge, turned the corner and saw the road go vertical, straight up the middle of the windscreen, past the Allargue Arms. Especially if there was snow at the roadside already. That drive still makes me smile and it’s about an hour!
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Many of us commute 30 minutes daily to work. Why wouldn’t I do the same to ski? Puzzled Yes, I would.

And if I were to buy something in the mountains TO LIVE AND SKI, that would be the maximum distance radius I would consider.

But if I were on holiday, I want to be closer than that. 5 minutes walk, 10 minutes drive, or 20 minutes bus. The latter only if there’re multiple mountains I may go to and I don’t want to move everyday.

As for going from my main house in the flat land to ski on a Saturday? I’ll drive up to 2 1/2 hrs each way for a 1 day skiing. Longer than that, or if I plan to ski both days of the weekend, I’d get a closet to lay down for the night instead of driving home.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
All depends on the resort, 30 minutes on a motorway compared to 30 minutes on mountain road is way different! I have no issue driving 2 hours to the local hill (glenshee) to ski and drive home but this is on a rare occasion (twice a season). If i was looking for a month or a season let with the emphasis to ski and could not afford to be in the resort then i would be looking for a resort with a train station and with my digs within walking distance to a train station for some reason st anton jumps to mind.....
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Zero minutes.

Living outside the resort bubble totally sucks.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
In my region I have approx 40 resorts within 30 mins drive (correction, prob 45 mins for that amount), take that up to 2.5 hrs and the figure reaches the low 60s. All on the same pass too. It's nice to have a choice.


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Sun 15-12-19 20:36; edited 3 times in total
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Hour and a half door to lift every day minimum for me. Can be 3 hours each way if I go somewhere a bit more remote.

I probably do 10,000 km of driving a year to ski fields.

Not much slope side accommodation in Nz.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Scarpa wrote:
In my region I have approx 40 resorts within 30 mins drive, take that up to 2.5 hrs and the figure reaches the low 60s. All on the same pass too. It's nice to have a choice.


This. Austria is great for skiing different areas and there are some real gems that tour operators don't go near. I tend to stay at a very reasonably priced apartment in Zell am See but only ski there for a day or two, spending most days in nearby resorts with 30-40 mins. Excellent fun and takes full advantage of a massive ski area and a cheap linked pass!
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Nearest resort to where I live is around 75 mins each way. I‘ve driven 2.5 hrs each way to do a days skiing before - mainly because that was how far away the powder was on that day. Being too near won‘t do a car good if it doesn‘t have a chance to warm up. 15-30 min on ski days would be fine provided parking was easy which isn‘t always the case.
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Have driven from Arc 1950 to Tignes Les Brevieres for the day a number of times, about an hour, and also occasionally to La Rosiere and Brides les Bains to get the Olympe up to Meribel. Wouldn't generally do more than once in a week, though, and only if conditions/weather were good. May possibly do La Rosiere this week, but will wait and see - not if it's like the last few miles today, driving on snow.
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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!
For me, ideally no more than 30 minutes. 20 minutes is better; 10 ideal - assuming you will ski many days. In reality, as others have said, you might well ski less, in which many other factors will come into play. Perhaps a few good village restaurants on hand, or a decent supermarket nearby, is well worth putting up with a longer drive to the skiing for.

I've never understood the dislike expressed by many on here of using the car to go skiing. For me it's quite the opposite: not having the car is the hassle. I will carry various bits of kit and then decide in the car park which bits to use looking at the actual conditions (and have the option to ski back to the car to change it if I've read it wrong). The car enables me to be fast and messy; just shove everything in any old how, directly from the storage rack in the garage, and then park exactly by the snow ramp that connects to the car park up on the hill, thus avoiding walking more than a metre or so unclipped. And I can get most of my ski clothing on up there where I can judge the conditions instead of having to guess before arrival. Having to bus it in is a horror story for me!

Obviously a ski-in ski-out apartment is a whole different story - but you [the OP] weren't talking about that.
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These days we often stay in the valley and commute. As you get older the benefits of ski-to-door seem less attractive.

We often spend at least 30 mins and sometimes up to an hour each way if there’s something interesting to see.

The only downside for me, as the main driver, is the inability to drink in the post-snow wind down. But perhaps that’s more just a weakness on my part.
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@Orange200, I've done a lot of "sampler" road trips including the Salt Lake City one mentioned by @oldfartbag above, which is a great trip. With the extra effort that driving requires, benefits accrue. Not just lower cost, but also more flexibility if you are in an area with multiple venues. It is typical for many of us in Seattle to drive 1:45 each way to day ski at Crystal Mtn...but generally just for one day. All season, most days? I think 30 mins would be my limit. You've framed this almost as a commute, and I've found there is an inverse relationship between commute duration and happiness.

And now, its time to go watch ski racing on Canadian TV...
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@Orange200, ....our family place is 15 mins from the nearest station. The road gets cleared, but is sketchy sometimes even then. But we also do road trips to Vercorin (scary rockfall road), St Luc/Chandolin and Nax. Both are about 50 mins. We get used to it, in the winter it's dark until 9am anyway, so getting up half and hour earlier doesn't make any difference. We just get to bed a bit earlier the night before. Then I have to do my reveille call up and down the house, turning reluctant teenagers out of bed. But the deal is that we don't do the long trips every day. And everyone bloody well sleeps on the trips back while I have to tiptoe carefully down snowy roads, keeping everyone safe on the growing ice on the roads. That's the main risk, that the roads clag in during the evening. But good winter tyres and things are OK. Ideally, I'd like to open the front door and ski out. But its a bloody middle-class winge to complain about a 15 min journey to the station, so I shut up about it.
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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.
Although I indicated that I wouldn't want to drive to the slopes I often have to park the motorhome somewhere that leaves me a 15-30 minute hike in full gear to the nearest lift; I guess that is the same sort of thing. I won't take the bus.
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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've often thought that owning in resort would eventually get a bit tedious and if I were buying I'd look in Bourg St Maurice, It's about rt mins from tignes and val d(passing St foy on the way), an hour or so from the three valleys and on snow days when driving would be a chore one could hop on the funicular up into les arc with la plagne on tap as well.
So I guess my point is, driving for variety instead of a daily commute would give me a range of just over an hour as long as I had days where no driving was an ootion
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*option
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I drive 15-20 mins every day to ski, it's a beautiful drive Very Happy
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:
if I were buying I'd look in Bourg St Maurice, It's about rt mins from tignes and val d(passing St foy on the way)
Not sure I'd be wanting to drive as much as rt mins wink
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An hour seems like a good limit. When I was in high school we'd drive 90 minutes each way to the Poconos, and the drive home was sketchy if you were exhausted. Too much now
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The type of driving is a factor. Where I live most ski areas are easily accessible by road, often directly from the motorway or main road. That cuts down travel times considerably as there are rarely steep climbs or winding access roads. Plus there are 72 ski areas on one area lift pass. Such choice.
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From our house on Lake Como Madesimo is about 1 hour 20 depending on the conditions, We've done a couple of days on the trot and it gets tedious after the second day.

I'd say 20/30 minutes maximum.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Most weekends 30 min to PLJ.
Although sometimes SJD 15mins.
Some Pow days Chery Nord 20 mins.
In the holidays La Chapelle 20 mins.
Occasionally Ardent 20 mins.
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i have done almost 3h ... been there at 10.00 am skiing till 15.00 pm and then back...however that was in Greece , i was 30 without kids...at present max 30 min with searching parking place...otherwise my day will be a disaster
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we chose smaller accommodation within walking distance over a drive away. this was driven by 2 main factors.
1, Its not only the skiing but the walking around town & popping out for a coffee ect in a actual ski town that adds to the experience.
2, it was always going to be a holiday home, if it was going to be a thing we planned to live out of for longer periods then we may have looked out a bit.
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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!
I've driven up to 90 mins one way on a daily basis - sometimes you have to go where the snow is. But for long term the sweetspot is probably between 20 and 45 mins with your "local" place where you might only do a couple of hours before doing other chores etc obviously wanting to be nearer.

I'm thinking very much about Scarpa's model for retirement (Brexfuxop permitting) and think I wouldn't actually want to live particularly in a "resort" re noise, local traffic, parking etc. Fortunately Austria doesn't quite go in for the shoebox appt in a resort up the hill or long tortuous drive model.
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I wouldn't drive again on ski holiday out of principle, I do far too many business miles a year in UK and only once did it on a ski trip when we stayed in Ste Foy old village and drove up daily to Tignes Le Brev, vowed never again. It was a real chew and parking was a hassle, putting boots on in car park, clearing ice off car every morning, idiots on the roads, no fun......ski buses and/or 10 mins max walking for me. Car use daily in mountains isn't a necessity imo, if you need a car to get there for daily skiing you are staying too far away for it to be fun and/ or good for the environment you're aiming to enjoy, use a train or eco-powered bus.....by all means use the car to get there if no realistic alternative, then dump it for the week (or 2 if you're lucky).
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Mr.Egg wrote:
I would be happy somewhere close to a small local area with options of various other resorts within 30mins public transport & upto an hour in a car.
So lots of variety while also exploring the various surrounding areas.


Don't often say this but I agree with Mr Egg!

I'd want to be 10 mins drive from some skiing but would drive an hour for variety.
Of course if the village/town I was staying in was utterly delightful and incredibly good value that might stretch things out.

The navette passes our flat in les C but we generally drive the 5 mins to the lifts (where there is good car parking).
Occasionally we drive 10-15 mins to St G.

In principle I'd happily drive to Chamonix/Argentiere/Courmayeur/La Clusaz etc (45mins to an hour) for variety but so far we've generally been restricted to peak holiday times and then the drive to get somewhere busier than Les C just doesn't look appealing.
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