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Italy hol - update: cancelled & rebooked elsewhere

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
In a couple of weeks we're due to fly from Edinburgh to Verona for a week exploring ski areas nearby two accommodation bases: Marilleva and Trento. Some of these ski areas are at quite low altitude.

Significant and much-needed snow is forecast across the majority of the Alps this next week, including almost all of France, Switzerland, Austria and NW Italy. Meanwhile, our own corner of the Alps has light snow / rain, fohn winds and coronavirus (nearby), which isn't really ideal. So the question is... stick with it or go somewhere else?

Some details which might help:
- Cancellation fees: insignificant for the next couple of days, but then they start to ramp up. EasyJet flights are non-refundable, which will be a waste of £100-150. Lift passes haven't yet been purchased.
- Resorts we were planning to ski: Madonna di Campiglio, Andalo, Monte Bondone, plus probably one out of Folgaria / Lavarone / Panarotta. Conditions currently look OK - old snow, artificial strips lower down, most pistes open.
- We are going Tuesday to Tuesday, which limits our options for alternative flights (could probably switch to Mon-Mon, Wed-Wed or Thu-Thu). Ruling out expensive fares, the only realistic alternatives seem to be Milan Bergamo (I wonder why!) or Vienna.
- We're piste skiers, like to travel, don't mind driving, usually visit multiple ski resorts in one trip. On a fairly tight budget.

Here are the options I am considering:
1. Stick with the above (problems: snow, coronavirus risk; cost neutral)
2. Stick with Verona (problems: coronavirus risk; cost neutral), but cancel accommodation / ski hire and head further north towards the main Alpine ridge for better snow
3. Cancel everything, rebook for Vienna (lose a day skiing due to flight times; costs a bit more), and head west towards Salzburgerland
4. Cancel everything, rebook for Milan Bergamo and head to the Aosta valley or Switzerland (probably the least likely option for obvious reasons)
5. Cancel the trip entirely

What would you do, or is there another decent option I haven't considered? Of course, there's no way of telling what the coronavirus situation will be like in two weeks, but snow-wise we're starting to get an idea.


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Mon 2-03-20 22:21; edited 2 times in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I reckon I'd stick.
I was in Madonna last week(and Tonale) yes it hasn't snowed significantly since end of 2019 but piste conditions are absolutely fine and they are pumping snow out every night when they can. Typical spring conditions on piste, hard and fast early, soft bumps pm, more snow looks to be on the way at weekend as well.
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Swap in Passo Tonale and Pejo possible for some better height.
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@alasdair.graham, thanks. Madonna do Campiglio is the highest and furthest north of the ski areas we're planning on visiting, so it'll get the most snow and least rain. Good to hear conditions are already fine though. It's the other areas further south which I'm more concerned about, which may be below the snow/rain limit. Passo Tonale and Pejo would be ideal... except we visited both of these in March 2018 in perfect conditions, so not particularly keen to go back (especially to Passo Tonale).

P.S. I don't think the weekend snowfall's 1,200m freezing level currently on Snowforecast.com for the Brenta Dolomites region will verify, looking at GFS charts etc. I think it could be quite a lot higher.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
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Just back from Madonna (flew in from Bergamo on Sunday). Plenty of (old) snow on the pistes there. Between Folgarida and Pinzolo is a massive area that is 4-5 days of skiing. I know you like the little areas but you might need a few to do this justice, particularly as it’s pretty solid in the mornings and turns to slush by mid-late afternoon. I enjoyed the skiing in Marilleva/Folgarida so much that I went over there 3 times in 7 days. A lot quicker to get there than Pinzolo from where I was staying. Could you not go further north instead of around Trento? Maybe Sulden, although it seems far from everywhere else in Italy.
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@what...snow, thanks for the update. Our first 4 nights are in Marilleva so we're planning on 4 days in that area.

Yeah, I'm keen on the areas further north (this is basically my option 2 above), however the Madonna di Campiglio ski area is conveniently on a combined pass with several of the Trento areas, so it makes sense to group them together. If we went further north we'd probably ditch Marilleva and Trento and use a different base for the whole trip.

I should say that the general conditions look absolutely fine. It's just the temptation of better snow almost everywhere else, combined with the coronavirus issue, is making other areas look tempting.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Update: we have decided to cancel our Italy trip in full Sad

This is a real shame, because we put a lot of effort into planning these trips on a tight budget, and were really looking forward to skiing in Madonna di Campiglio and all the other resorts listed above. We made the decision not because anything has changed in the last few days, but more as a result of our lines of work and a growing stigma about going to Italy at the moment.

We were satisfied that the risk of getting coronavirus was quite low (highest when flying into / out of Verona, which is one of the local airports for both Lombardy and Veneto), and as we are young and healthy, the risk of getting seriously ill was extremely low.

However, my partner and I work mostly with large numbers of the elderly, sick and very young, who are all "at risk" groups for coronavirus. The worry of passing it on would be a big burden on our consciences. In addition - and this is one of the key factors - I think there would be quite a few unhappy patients / clients / colleagues if they knew we had just returned from northern Italy, as a result of all the media coverage.

In terms of cancellation fees, Alpinresorts immediately offered to refund ski hire in full, and waive the cancellation fee. Our accommodation and car hire are fully refundable, so that just leaves flights - on which we will stand to lose about £130. So not too bad really.

We are still considering trying to put together another trip, though the small number of reasonably priced, midweek flights from Edinburgh are limiting us to a few spots on the less snowy fringes of the Alps.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Given your situation, think Id have probably done the same.
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adithorp wrote:
Given your situation, think Id have probably done the same.


Yup.

But why not ski at home? Apparently good snow in some Scottish ski fields at the mo.
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@denfinella, that's a bug. Sad I saw you were going to visit andalo which I loved.

Can you get to Munich mid week? We're going to Garmisch and surrounds next week on your kind of multi-ski area trip. Really easy to get accommodation.

Edited to add that the webcams are looking pretty good! snowHead
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Thanks everyone.

@ster, we know (and love) all 5 of the Highland ski areas; if we don't book anywhere else, that'll definitely be the plan. But it's two weeks in the future it's Scotland - there's no guarantee that the weather and snow will still both be good enough to warrant a decent period of skiing. If I had to place a bet, I reckon we'd have a good chance of a few decent days. So the comparison is between (say) 3 days in Scotland and 6 days in the Alps - I'd rather take the Alps, and in any case might still be able to get an extra day trip somewhere in Scotland on top of that.

@ElzP, we are currently considering Marseille, Vienna and Munich as our possible airports.

For Munich, I've had a good look at Garmisch and the regional lift pass - it does indeed look like our type of area. Munich flights are quite expensive though (Lufthansa), which is putting me off.

Vienna has the cheapest flights, but it's quite a long drive to any decent-sized ski areas.

Marseille is looking the most promising at the moment - I'm looking into the area around Gap, with options including Superdevoluy, Orcieres, Les Orres, Risoul / Vars, Puy St Vincent and the Queyras...
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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.
@denfinella, If you are looking around Gap then there is also the Ubaye area - Barcelonette and Pra Loup.
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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
For the time it takes to get from Edi to anywhere (6-8 hours min) then I'd do a Scotland trip.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@denfinella, will look forward to your trip report if you do the Marseille trip, haven't heard of most of those resorts!

Hope you do find a good alternative.
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We are flying into Munich tomorrow morning. Great train links to skiwelt and they had a decent snow fall in last few days and temperatures have fallen back.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@denfinella, We are doing a self organised trip to Saalbach from Edinburgh using Jet2 flying out on the 7th March (to Salzburg), staying half board at the Konig, all in price (flight, transfer, hotel) was is about £800 each, so that may be an option for you.
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@denfinella, wherever you go, good luck with it.
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Thanks all. We have now booked flights to Marseille! Very Happy Resort / base TBC.

One thing in our favour is the weather forecast - snow this week or next across most of the Alps, then probably settling down to provide ideal spring skiing. So as long as we don't go somewhere low and sunny, I'm not overly worried about snow conditions.

Budget is about £1100 (£550 each) all in - flights, car hire / fuel / tolls, accommodation, lift passes, ski hire. Cautiously optimistic about achieving that.

Reviews of any resorts within 2.5 hours of Marseille airport welcome, but I think we're homing on the Gap / Embrun / Guillestre area.
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Dont put youself in harms way and bring it back to your home country...

You will be part of the problem.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@denfinella, I have done Serre Chevalier from Marseille, not as close as some of the others on your list, but definitely doable and great skiing.
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Pra Loup is the local resort to some of my family, I've been there often and I love it! Pistes are basically empty outside of Marseille holidays, there's a good variety of wooded and open areas (provided the link to La Foux is open; it does close fairly often )
However, the resort itself is no beauty; I'd rather stay in Barcelonnette down in the valley and drive up or take the shuttles up. That way, you can also throw Le Sauze in the mix, which is a bit lower, has mostly ancient lifts, but is a lot of fun with largely "unmodelled" runs, very old-school.

In the region you also have Orcieres, which I dislike because it's south facing, and Les Orres, a hair small and very busy at weekends (it's the nearest significant resort from Marseille) but very nice during the week.

Never been to Vars/Risoul.

In my family's experience, winter equipment is rarely available for Marseille car hires, you'll probably need to make a few calls, feel lucky, or buy chains somewhere if the weather forecast looks snowy.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
We’re off to Les Orres next weekend. I’ll let you know conditions.
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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’re off to Les Orres next weekend. I’ll let you know conditions.
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denfinella wrote:
Update: we have decided to cancel our Italy trip in full Sad

Our accommodation and car hire are fully refundable, so that just leaves flights - on which we will stand to lose about £130. So not too bad really.



Sorry to hear about your disappointment, hope you can get something else sorted.

You might be able to recover the passenger duty/airport tax element from the flights as the airline won't have to pay those if you don't fly, though some airlines levy an admin fee that seems to conveniently wipe out any refund.
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@T Bar, Serre Chevalier's also on our "possible" list, but yes, perhaps a little far.

@balso, thanks for all the info! Definitely considering Barcelonette as a possible base. Though I think it's getting less snow than resorts slightly north at the moment. Long term forecast is dry, so have hired without chains (could always buy on route). The tip about Les Orres being busy at weekends is very useful.

@snowlamb, I think we'll have booked somewhere by then, but do report back anyway!

@luigi, thanks. Yes, taxes are recoverable (the flights actually cost a bit more than £130 so I have accounted for this already). I'm hoping easyJet might cancel the flight anyway...
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@denfinella, Glad you got that rescheduled so quickly. Look forward to your live TR on some places I have never heard of. Coming all the way from the states, most of my Alpine trips have focused on the mega-resorts (when you only have a week to ski...). I look forward to doing some of your style trips in the next few years as I transition out of working full time. My hope is to take 2 week trips but spend a similar amount of money as I currently spend on 1 week trips.
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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.
Sunweb are also worth a look for quite a few of the areas you've listed, ski pass included always helps a budget trip, they do short breaks if you don't want to stay in the one place.
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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
Oh and I've been to Puy St Vincent, small area but varied and beautiful scenery of the Ecrins, great value as well.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
We've now booked accommodation and ski hire in Embrun.

I don't want to jinx it (and coronavirus may yet still become a bigger issue in southern France too), but it is looking like an unbelievably inexpensive trip - well under £1000 in total (for 2, not each!) for flights / baggage, car hire / fuel / tolls, accommodation, ski hire and 6 days of ski passes from various resorts. That would make it significantly cheaper than any other skiing holiday we've ever been on Shocked

I don't these prices are linked to coronavirus though - I get the impression that it's just a really good value part of the Alps to ski in.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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EasyJet have now cancelled the Italy-Scotland leg of our already abandoned mid March trip. Happily for us, that means we've been able to claim a full refund on both the outward and return flights. We'd already managed to get full refunds on all the other parts of the holiday, so that's all our Italy money back now.

Had we not taken the decision to cancel last week, it would now have been too late to get full refunds on our ski hire and accommodation.

We're now nervously watching the cases rise in France, where we've booked to go instead (Marseille)... though at the moment the vast majority of the cases are further north.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Congrats on the refund, we are now looking forwards to getting stuck in Austria next week.
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@denfinella, that's good that due to making the decision to cancel when you did things have now worked out as no cancellation costs for you! Very Happy
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denfinella,

Great result all round! Very Happy
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@ElzP, @mr. mike, I've just started a live trip report for our re-booked France trip here (we fly our later this week, hopefully).
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