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Advice on location suitable for non skiers!

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all,

Just recently joined this great forum after being a lurker for a few years!

Basically I'm looking for suggestions on resorts where my wife and youngest kids (four & eight) would have things to do and activities outwith skiing.

Myself and my 2 sons (16 & 13) are skiers but only in the last 3 years, so still learning and prefer blue level with some reds.
Will be looking to arrange a few intro lessons for the girls, but the wife has absolutely zero interest or desire to ski, and am struggling to get her onboard with a family ski holiday as she's concerned there will be nothing to do!

Appreciate Covid-19 will likely reduce the non-ski activities available, but that aside wondering where would be best to go.

Happy to consider anywhere really, whether it be Europe or North America, providing it fits the bill!

Many thanks
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Welcome!

Is wife OK with other snow activities, like hiking, dog sledding, ice skating, or not?

Heated indoor pool (or outdoor thermal)? Lots of shops to wander around? Spa? (Only so many massages in a week!). Or within an hour’s drive of a big city to pop out there for a day?

Morzine seemed ok for that in my brief visit, and an hour from Geneva. Banff pretty good too. Wasn’t so impressed with Soldeu Andorra but maybe I didn’t look hard enough.
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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?
Quote:

she's concerned there will be nothing to do!

It would help if you told us what your wife actually wants to do. If she would like to try ice climbing or suba diving under the lake then Tignes would be a good choice. We had a great time driving carts on an ice track in Serre Cheavalier years ago. If she likes sunbating then any alpine resort towards the end of the season would be suitable.
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
@Cwego, welcome to snowHeads snowHead .

As well as an idea of the sort of non skiing activities your wife might enjoy on holiday, might be useful to know...

What time(s) of the season you prefer to go?

The areas you’ve skied and the type of pistes you’ve been happy with there (piste grading can be inconsistent across countries and areas).

Whether cost and value for money is much of a factor or not.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Rent a self-catering apartment and she can spend her time cooking nice things...... wink

Really, as others have said, this is an impossible question to answer. My mother came with us on a couple of ski holidays. She was a great reader, also enjoyed sitting outside a café watching the grandchildren skiing (Les Gets was good for that), enjoyed dressing up warm and with her "non skid" boots on, walking for a coffee and cake. Enjoyed baking something tasty for our "apres ski" teas, much enjoyed family evenings playing some games. Was trepid about, but ultimately enjoyed, a trip up the mountain in a gondola (also Les Gets) and seeing the views. Lifties were very helpful, slowing the gondola right down for us to heave her in. She needed to be dragged kicking and screaming to shops, even when at home, so it was the last thing she wanted to do on holiday. She did enjoy a semi-outdoor thermal swimming pool (that was Austria) and on that holiday also cooked simple lunches, as the rest of us had ski school in the morning. I cooked an evening meal for us all whilst she sat nursing a gin and tonic.

She loved those holidays. I am a granny now - and would enjoy a holiday exactly the same, though I also do still ski a bit. But it would be some people's idea of hell. Depends a lot how much entertainment/activitity she wants organised for her, or how much she can rely on her own resources.

But, skiing or not, she would need REALLY warm clothes that she feels good in, and bomb-proof footwear. Decent quality boots, preferably plus crampons. That feeling of being scared of falling over on snowy pavements is no fun.

Absolutely DON'T try to persuade her she really wants to ski. Being made to ski against your will is like being pregnant against your will. And anything that goes wrong will be your fault.
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Whenever this comes up, I always ask whether the OP has considered doing an Alpine holiday, not necessarily in a ski resort? Trip organisers naturally make the assumption that they should be based in a ski resort, ideally on-piste, and then have the 'problem' of people in the group not being skiers. But this is a self-made challenge.

Consider basing yourself in an Alpine location that isn't exclusively a ski resort, perhaps in the valley somewhere, with the skiers driving out every day and the non-skiers doing other things (whatever that might be). The skiing advantage is that you can try out different ski areas, and adjust where you go in response to the conditions at the time. Yes, it's more effort to get to/from the base, but there are upsides.

I'm not recommending this specifically, but for example, in the Swiss Valais you could stay in a thermal resort like the Bains de Saillon and also have the option of not skiing if the conditions that day weren't good. SKi areas realistically near include Verbier and the 4 Vallées, Crans-Montana, Leysin and Les Diablerets, and Champéry on the Portes du Soleil. A place like this is only a short train ride/drive from arty places like the Foundation Giannada in Martigny, or the historical city of Sion. Or a bit further, Lausanne and Geneva and the lakeside of Lake Geneva. This isn't unique - I'm sure other Snowheads can suggest many similar places.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Thing is, the weather in "lower down" places in mountainous areas can be pretty miserable - especially in mid-winter - with rain rather than snow and sometimes a temperature inversion which makes the valley colder than the sunny mountain slopes. And some significant air pollution at times of high pressure, too. Many people who don't like to ski DO like to be in a pretty, snowy, landscape and enjoy the ambiance - including being able to see their family members enjoying the skiing and joining them for lunch on the mountains - most places provide some means of non-skiers getting up the mountains. For people who are reasonably active snow-shoeing is a good option and just about any resort will offer some easy snowshoe outings which require no special skill or super fitness.

Without knowing more about the person it's impossible to make helpful suggestions.
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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!
Of course you wife wants zero to do with skiing - she's a snowboarder at heart.

What does she like doing ?
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Cwego wrote:


Myself and my 2 sons (16 & 13) are skiers but only in the last 3 years, so still learning and prefer blue level with some reds.
Will be looking to arrange a few intro lessons for the girls, but the wife has absolutely zero interest or desire to ski, and am struggling to get her onboard with a family ski holiday.


Welcome to Snowheads and good luck with the Mrs.

It's always a shame when one of the party doesn't appreciate what a fantastic family experience skiing can be - one of the few sports that can be enjoyed together by a family, regardless of age.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@Cwego, also, whether you are planning on self-drive/flight+car-hire, so she has the option of driving somewhere for other activities, or a trip with a TO where you need them directly accessible in the resort?
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Hi

I have lived in St Gervais Mont Blanc for over 20 years and as it is a real French town with facilites, not a purpose built ski resort , it ticks many boxes. Access is great from Geneva - 50 mins drive 68 km , or easy to get the train or the bus. There are all the facilites you would expect in a small town, indoor pool, tennis, natural spa facilites, cinema , a great little town centre with shops, cafes and restaurants open all year round and it is easy to get about either with the car or free buses.

Ski / board wise St Gervais is at the heart of the 3r largest ski area in the Alps Domaine Evasion Mont Blanc with 445km of piste and there are good walking trails and it is possible to access the slopes to meet up at lunch time without your wife and younger ones needing a lift pass etc .

It works on many levels which is why the town has a large local population year round, so giving a very different feel to many 'ski resorts' as such.

Message me if you need any further info re accommodation , etc

Andrew MORGAN
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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.
stgervais estate agent wrote:
Hi

I have lived in St Gervais Mont Blanc for over 20 years and as it is a real French town with facilites, not a purpose built ski resort , it ticks many boxes. Access is great from Geneva - 50 mins drive 68 km , or easy to get the train or the bus. There are all the facilites you would expect in a small town, indoor pool, tennis, natural spa facilites, cinema , a great little town centre with shops, cafes and restaurants open all year round and it is easy to get about either with the car or free buses.

Ski / board wise St Gervais is at the heart of the 3r largest ski area in the Alps Domaine Evasion Mont Blanc with 445km of piste and there are good walking trails and it is possible to access the slopes to meet up at lunch time without your wife and younger ones needing a lift pass etc .

It works on many levels which is why the town has a large local population year round, so giving a very different feel to many 'ski resorts' as such.

Message me if you need any further info re accommodation , etc

Andrew MORGAN


No vested interest there!! rolling eyes
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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
@luigi, to be fair hes been helpful on other threads. Can't see whats in it for him sharing his knowledge for a holidaymaker rather than a buyer
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Thanks Luigi - very accurate .

I have to admit I find the scepticisme and unhelpful postings of some users of this forum very malplaced, however I use forums very little so maybe this is normal?

I thought the idea of a forum is that:

- people who need advice and would like information post their needs
- people who have relevant, helpful information,  reply .    

Looking back even at this one post I see that is clearly not always the case, which I find surprising and disappointing .
I do not hide my identity and am upfront about the fact that I live in St Gervais and work as an estate agent in St Gervais, which explains why I know the town so well.  As an estate agent I do not deal with property rental so as Luigi correctly points out there is no benefit to me in giving impartial, accurate, helpful advice.    

If the impartial information helps you great - find out more by taking a look at the tourist office website

https://www.saintgervais.com

kind regards

Andrew
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@stgervais estate agent, it was @holidayloverxx who defended you against luigi's sarcasm. I agree with her that your posts are helpful. If you know a place well you can provide useful information. I know St Gervais - though not as well as you do - and can attest that the points you make in its favour are correct. I like it very much.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I can verify Andrew's advice about St Gervais town being a pleasant environment for a non-skier to chill out in. There is also a general point, those resorts that are real all-year-round towns/villages are likely to be much for congenial than the purpose-built pisteside places, and there are quite a few to choose from.

The other thing I would point out is that St Gervais is quite low down. That means that there is rarely snow in the village itself, and if your two young girls want to spend their time off playing in snow it is not so good. It isn't a problem for the skiers (or the girls on beginner lessons) since there is an efficient gondola up to the slopes.

So it would be better if the desired non-skiing activities are things like walking, swimming, ice-skating, thermal spa, bus visits to nearby towns (both Megeve and Chamonix easily accessible and worth visits).

(PS I hadn't realised you could access the slopes without a lift pass, you would need to ask Andrew the secret}.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
We would recommend Lenk I’m Simmental in Switzerland. We fell in live with the place when we arrived for the first time last November. There is plenty to do for a non-skier and loads of information on the tourist office website - and our own wink
One of the great things about Lenk is that it’s not a big purpose built ski resort but a small traditional mountain village. No big lifts, no queues, great spa, sauna, swimming pool, sledging, walking, ice skating and lots more besides.
Please let me know if I can offer anymore information.
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