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Resort for 2021?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
A group of 6 of us have just returned from Leogang after a couple of brilliant weeks skiing...
And even though it's still early we want to start thinking about next year.
So where?
We've done Saalbach/Hinterglemm 3 times in the last 4 years so probably not there. (But we'll definitely go back some time!!)
We've done Samoens twice - loved the town and skiing but in common with many French resorts we don't really like the extremely hit and miss nature of the mountain restaurants (I know there's some great ones, but we had the misfortune to suffer the worst mountain food I've ever had in Flaine).
So Priorities are:
- at least 150km of varied skiing, from cruisy blues/reds to step blacks. We don't really do off-piste.
- shortish transfers, max. 2 hours
- good food that isn't extortionate
- a variety of bars/restaurants but not necessarily bangin' apres ski (unless it's Rock!!!)
- lovely chair lifts that heat my bottom Very Happy (this isn't essential, but it's always a nice surprise!
And as we feel bad enough flying to Europe being Lipstick Environmentalists, US/Canada/Japan/Antartica are out.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
La Thuile , Italy .
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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?
Obvious Austrian destinations if you love the Ski Circus would be the SkiWelt (Söll or Brixen being our favourites), or Flachau in the Ski Amadé region. Söll is about 90 minutes from Munich or Innsbruck, or 2 hours from Salzburg. Flachau is 45 minutes from Salzburg. Both are also reachable by train with a short taxi transfer of 3-4 miles from the station, or Brixen has a station in the village.

The SkiWelt is full of cruisy reds and blues with a few blacks to keep it interesting, and of course with an extended pass you can also ski in Kitzbuhel. Flachau itself is slightly limited, but is linked to Wagrain by the G-Link gondola, and a short bus ride takes you to Flachauwinkl and Zauchensee via Highport, both of which are also excellent areas. More than enough to keep you busy for a week or two in either location, plus there are several day trip options from each if you want to explore a bit and have a car
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If you're actually bothered about your CO2 emissions then take the train, most studies suggest a reduction of over 90% compared to flying for journeys that are mainly powered by the French grid. Owing to the French grids high percentage of nuclear even your chairlift rides have a lower carbon footprint than Austria or Italy and a much much lower one than in Germany where you're effectively using coal to get to the top of the mountain. If you really want to go to La Thuille as suggested above then this can be accessed from La Rosiere which is easily reached by train
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Well, the Dolomites ceratainly tick all your boxes except perhaps the transfer time. And if you fly to Innsbruck the transfer to the Alta Badia area (Corvara etc) is less than 2 hours I think, though I would recommend going via Venice Marco Polo and swallowing the longer transfer because it's less prone to weather-related delays.
You could add in a couple of nights in Venice as a bonus - we did that one year by taking the overnight Thello train for the outbound journey, which was fun but wouldn't suit everyone.
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Actually Innsbruck-Corvara is just over 2 hours. Innsbruck-Ortisei is about half an hour quicker.
Thank you Google Maps.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Leonard Smalls,

Given you criteria, you could take a look at Les Contamines. No heated chairs and its blacks aren't really steep. Otherwise ticks the boxes. Most reliable mountain restaurant dining I have found in France (I share your scepticism!) and good VFM. 75 mins drive from GVA
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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!
We did SkiWelt for 2 weeks 3 years ago staying in Wagrain and Bad Hofgastein - both great! Accomodation in Bad Hofgastein was improbably cheap - we found a 2 bed comfy apartment for just over £600/week. However, much as we like the idea train doesn't really seem to be an option, especially if it's Austria; Brixen is getting on for 21 hours with up to 8 changes from London - and we're in Shropshire! Even France would be painful as changing in Paris means struggling across town with bags and skis. We have driven before, which, especially with 3/car is considerably greener than flying (and costs a similar amount).
One of our group has expressed a minor desire to go to Italy - we both had our first experience of skiing on a school trip to Aprica about 35 years ago!
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For lunch on the mountain Italy tends to have a higher hit rate than France or Austria in my experience. But there are still misses!

But on the basis you are always going to have to take a bit of a gamble unless you get advice beforehand (once you decide where, ask on this forum about lunch spots*) there are too many options to list that fit your criteria. Nothing wrong with the ones already mentioned.

Can you give us some more clues? You say max 2 h transfer, but from which airport? It is likely that your preferred local UK airport (possibly Birmingham seeing that you are in Ludlow) has better/cheaper options for some European airports than others. Do you have even a mild preference for country? You say not Saalbach, but does that mean you would prefer somewhere other than Austria next year? And time of year, some excellent places might be better avoided early or late season, others near half term.

[* for example @jedster will tell you about his favourite Les Contamines spot you need to book in advance and ski off-piste to. But for random lunches with a family suddenly vocal with their hunger pangs, earlier this year both the places we ended up in LesC would not be repeated from choice. Wheras in nearby St Gervais we chanced on 3 places that we will happily return to].
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@j b,

Just out of interest were you disappointed by Buche Croisse, Roselette or Taverne de Belleville?
These are all easily accessible piste side restaurants that I'd be very confident recommending (quite apart from the Auberge de Collombaz which is less accessible as you suggest).
I personally think La Grange and Ferme de Rueille are perfectly good by mountain restaurant standards but I would'd put them in the same class.
There are a couple of unedifying options in Les C but easily avoided and the % of restaurants that are good is high vs. other resorts I've skied (quite a few!).

But actually I agree that St G is pretty reliable too (less so over the hill in Megeve!)
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Another area to consider in Austria would be the Zillertal (though for me Zell am Ziller or Finkenberg rather than Mayrhofen) with a 40 minute transfer from Innsbruck, and lots of options up and down the valley for different day trips by train or bus including of course the glacier at Hintertux for snow insurance
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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.
@jedster, (apologies to the OP for this side conversation), I think a place at or near Ruelle was one of those that underwhelmed us. Looking at the map, we had the intention of looking at Roselette one of the days but the wind got so miserable at the top that we decided to ski off in a direction that didn't necessitate a return to the ridge. Buche Croisse we got to and discovered it was bookings only.

We will be returning to sample more. Belleville sounds a reasonable bet.
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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 say this a lot but for what you've suggested Sauze D'oulx hits the mark.

Italian food
Short Transfer
Via Lattea area pass - 400km
No heated chairs that I know of though
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Leonard Smalls, Definitely take the train if you are concerned about the environment. You could also look at Snowexpress coach. If you are a group of 6 driving your own car probably not that economical.

There are some really nice mountain restaurants in the grand massif so maybe you were unlucky with those you tried. Chalet D'Clair, the Igloo and L'beu in morillon all really good. Le Pente a jules is nice in Flaine but more pricey. Generally there are better mountain cafes in the linked resorts than Flaine itself. You could try staying in Les Carroz instead.

i would reconsider the heated chairlift requirement as it would restrict you too much. Eg in la thuile mentioned above some of the lifts are like museum pieces but I like it as it has retained an off the beaten track feel.

I think Les Arcs would probably suit you well. Also consider Montgenevre/Claviere and La Rosiere/La Thuile but staying on La Rosiere side. You can access all the Milky way resorts including Sauze by taking the train to paris followed by TGV to Oulx. Les Arcs and La Rosiere easily reached on the direct Eurostar ski train.


Last edited by You know it makes sense. on Fri 31-01-20 14:47; 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:
homers double wrote:
I say this a lot but for what you've suggested Sauze D'oulx hits the mark.


No heated chairs that I know of though


That'll be a deal breaker snowHead
Looks good though - also quite fancying Madonna di Campiglio and Zell am Ziller.
Is Madonna expensive and full of fur-coat wearers? Crowded or lovely empty pistes? As we'll be going 2nd or 3rd week of January nowhere is likely to be completely rammed.
And how snow sure is Zillertal? Zell is only at 580m or so?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Leonard Smalls, Portes du Soleil? It's a better ski area than the Grand Massif.

I was in Chatel recently and loved it - a better base than Morzine or Les Gets in my view.

Eat on the the swiss side at lunchtime to avoid the horrid french grub wink
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
The Zillertal is pretty snow sure, as despite Zell being at 580m most of the skiing is from 1700m up. Yes, there are valley runs and yes they will suffer at either end of the season and in poor seasons, but typically they are open from the beginning of January to the end of March and the snowmaking is extensive. See https://www.j2ski.com/snow_forecast/Austria/Zell_am_Ziller_snow_history.html for an idea of the depths.

The tour out from Zell to Konigsleiten and back is great, plus there are options at Fugen/Hochfugen, Mayrhofen/Finkenberg, Eggalm and Hintertux, all on the same valley pass at €266.50 for 6 days, for 143Km of pistes in Zell, 90Km in the Fugen area and 202Km of pistes further up the valley.
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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?
Obergurgl/Hochgurgl is a good option, some great runs enough to keep you entertained anyway, plus you can go down to Solden on the bus and use your lift pass there. As for Rock based Apres, you cant beat the Nederhuette for some entertainment, and its an easy ski back after.

As already mentioned La Rosiere/La Thuile is a good option, again plenty of variety of pistes, certainly a lot quieter on the Italian side. My tip here is if going by train go to La Rosiere, or if flying stay in La Thuille. The transfer time for La Rosiere if flying is 2 1/2 to 3 hours, La Thuille about 1 1/2 hours.
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hire a Tesla & drive to StG
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
ousekjarr wrote:
Obvious Austrian destinations if you love the Ski Circus would be the SkiWelt (Söll or Brixen being our favourites), or Flachau in the Ski Amadé region. Söll is about 90 minutes from Munich or Innsbruck, or 2 hours from Salzburg. Flachau is 45 minutes from Salzburg. Both are also reachable by train with a short taxi transfer of 3-4 miles from the station, or Brixen has a station in the village.

The SkiWelt is full of cruisy reds and blues with a few blacks to keep it interesting, and of course with an extended pass you can also ski in Kitzbuhel. Flachau itself is slightly limited, but is linked to Wagrain by the G-Link gondola, and a short bus ride takes you to Flachauwinkl and Zauchensee via Highport, both of which are also excellent areas. More than enough to keep you busy for a week or two in either location, plus there are several day trip options from each if you want to explore a bit and have a car


+ 1 for skiwelt
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LAAX fits the bill. Very handy transfer from Zurich, awesome intermediate slopes (225km) with fast lifts including a Porsche heated 6 seater. Also some great mountain and resort level restaurants, not cheap but not extortionate either. In addition Indy Bar, Riders Hotel, and El Pup have live music and chilled vibe for Apres ski.

Would recommend Peaks Place Aparthotel for groups, large spacious apartments with kitchenettes and a super wellness area.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Serfaus is my vote.
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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!
Verbier.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Quite liking Laax - never heard of it before! Pricey lift pass though...
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If you can stomach the prices, quite a few Swiss resorts have good access from Zurich if you can get flights there. For Laax (or for that matter Lenzerheide) train to Chur (change at Zurich main station from the airport) then a postbus.

Alternatively the mountain railway from Chur takes you to Arosa (linked to Lenzerheide) but that is quite a long windy trip though incredibly scenic. Alternatively train to Lanquart (station before Chur) then mountain railway to Klosters or Davos.

We found self-catering apartments quite reasonable to rent, but as you noticed lift passes are expensive in GBP. You need to watch restaurant prices too, especially for drinks.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Lawks - Serfaus looks good too! Not really tempted by the well-known-to-Brits resorts Very Happy
Though maybe it is, just not to me!
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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.
If you think the pass in Laax is pricey, wait till you see the costs for everything else Shocked Apartments at CHF125 per night don't look too bad on first glance, but the CHF270 final cleaning charge makes quite a difference... What do they do? Lick it clean?
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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
Think about Ischgl. High, snowsure,239 kms of piste, lots of cruisy blues and reds and a few blacks. Great lift system with three gondolas out of the village and lots of heated seats. Wide variety of restaurants from Burger King to Michelin star, rocking apres but a choice of quieter bars if you prefer. Nearest airport is Innsbruck from which you can get a train to Landeck and then a bus or taxi to Ischgl. Takes a couple of hours all in. Alternative airports are Zurich, Munich and Salzburg. In terms of Brits, while they have increased in number they're relatively few and far between.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Kitzbuhel. Ticks all of the boxes. There are plenty of options for accommodation, including the less obvious access points into the Kitzski area like Jochberg. I particularly enjoy the skiing at the Pass Thurn end of the valley as there are very few people there and it is higher than average for the area and the snow holds up well.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
If it wasn't top of my own list for 16th or 23rd Jan next year I would suggest Serre Chevalier. But as it is, and I want the slopes as quiet as possible, I won't.....not sure about heated chairs but the ski area looks lovely
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Leonard Smalls wrote:
One of our group has expressed a minor desire to go to Italy - we both had our first experience of skiing on a school trip to Aprica about 35 years ago!


Do it! Especially if you want good mountain food at reasonable prices.

I usually go to the Dolomites, Corvara is lovely, but there are a whole host of resorts in the area.

Using Venice airport could afford a day in the magical city if you get an evening flight home. You could extend your stay a night or two, but would add to your costs.

Innsbruck is probably closer. Verona is another option.

This year I'm trying the Aosta Valley with two large resorts with international connections, looking forward to seeing all the 4000m+ peaks in the highest corner of the Alps. La Thuile is linked to La Rosiere in France and Cervinia to Zermatt in Switzerland, plus there's Courmayeur next to Mont Blanc, the Monte Rosa resorts and a number of smaller ski areas. Most are ~2hrs from Turin.

Milky Way resorts of Claviere or Sauze d'Oulx are in easy reach of Turin, but I would say the Dolomites are more special and the snowmaking/piste maintenance is second to none.

Madonna di Campiglio is a good shout, would no doubt get busier with the fur-coat brigade like Cortina at weekends, but midweek in Jan would be lightly trafficked like many Italian resorts. I've not tried it, but a client of mine who's skied extensively told me it was the nicest place she'd been to.

Even though Aprica is a bit off the beaten track, I bet it's changed a bit since you learned there.

You can do more research here: https://www.bergfex.com/italien/

Are you planning to DIY or package??
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
A nice day in the Dolomites...lovely empty piste and a choice of restaurants, Scoiattoli in the middle distance or the gourmet's choice Averau at the top of the run.




Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Fri 31-01-20 23:39; 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?
If you are thinking Italy and haven't ever been to the Dolomites - that has my vote too. Really good red and blue run skiing, fantastic views, and pretty reliable food. Transfer times may be at your limits though.

Nothing wrong with Milky Way or Aosta valley, but Dolomites are special.
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rambotion wrote:
If you're actually bothered about your CO2 emissions then take the train


Hear, hear.

Take the overnight sleeper train to Serre Chevalier (from Paris to Briançon). That way you're asleep in a bed for most of the journey.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
crosbie wrote:
rambotion wrote:
If you're actually bothered about your CO2 emissions then take the train


Hear, hear.

Take the overnight sleeper train to Serre Chevalier (from Paris to Briançon). That way you're asleep in a bed for most of the journey.


I like the idea, but the costs show where most government subsidy goes! It'd cost me around £320 return to Bourg St.Maurice from St. Pancras, plus a further £90 return from Ludlow to London. Then there'd be a schlepp across London with skis and large bag and if we're unlucky, another dash across Paris! I may end up driving - after all a car with 3 in it is only a bit more polluting than those same 3 on a train, and a lot less than in a plane (we've got a 60mpg average diesel estate):

http://www.aef.org.uk/downloads/Grams_CO2_transportmodesUK.pdf
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j b wrote:


Nothing wrong with Milky Way or Aosta valley, but Dolomites are special.


Ohh, don't say that! I've given up my annual pilgrimage to the Doliies this winter to have a go at the Aosta Valley!! Confused
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
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@Leonard Smalls, the train is an adventure, despite the brief, unhurried interconnects (not that arduous if you're a fit skier).

If I was joining a group in Serre Chevalier, I'd get the train. Otherwise, yep, with several passengers the drive would be very economic (and my preference to flying). If you're driving you can do multiple resorts, e.g. first night in Bourg St. Maurice, 6 nights in Espace Killy, 2 nights in Chamonix, etc.
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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!
Leonard Smalls wrote:
A group of 6 of us have just returned from Leogang after a couple of brilliant weeks skiing...
And even though it's still early we want to start thinking about next year.
So where?
We've done Saalbach/Hinterglemm 3 times in the last 4 years so probably not there. (But we'll definitely go back some time!!)
We've done Samoens twice - loved the town and skiing but in common with many French resorts we don't really like the extremely hit and miss nature of the mountain restaurants (I know there's some great ones, but we had the misfortune to suffer the worst mountain food I've ever had in Flaine).
So Priorities are:
- at least 150km of varied skiing, from cruisy blues/reds to step blacks. We don't really do off-piste.
- shortish transfers, max. 2 hours
- good food that isn't extortionate
- a variety of bars/restaurants but not necessarily bangin' apres ski (unless it's Rock!!!)
- lovely chair lifts that heat my bottom Very Happy (this isn't essential, but it's always a nice surprise!
And as we feel bad enough flying to Europe being Lipstick Environmentalists, US/Canada/Japan/Antartica are out.

To bad, I sit in my tatami room in Shiga Kogen now.
Nice Ryokan style hotel in Japans largest connected skiarea. Very suitable area for piste skiers, who like the cultural experience.
https://www.shirakaba.co.jp/
Not the cheapest solution but definitely one of the best
I have had. Very Happy

http://youtube.com/v/cVwMdglLBLI
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The Dolomites are a must-do. The scenery is like nothing else.

For Austria, Ischgl takes some beating. We stayed here and it was absolutely great and not too expensive (for Ischgl) https://www.skitotal.com/chalets/chalet-hotel-abendrot/
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