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Rec for Jan 2022 trip for mixed family group

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all
We're planning our first ski trip for a few years for January. Obviously just hoping we'll get anywhere at all!! But hoping your collective wisdom can help us pick a resort. We have so far compiled a potential list of coincidentally all Austrian resorts - Kitzbuhel, Bad(hof) Gastein, Zell am see, and Mayrhofen. Would love any thoughts on these or alternate suggestions. We would prefer somewhere not too overpriced but are happy to consider any European resorts.

We have one strong intermediate who likes a challenge but doesn't do much off piste, just a bit of side country. One good beginner who likes blues and will try reds with gritted teeth. One total beginner likely to try but not ski the whole week, and one non-skier with 19 month old in tow.

We're looking for a decent sized ski area with enough to occupy the intermediate skier but with enough to do in resort or via a reasonable bus or train journey to occupy the non-skiers (grandparents). I know some will say put the toddler in crèche but half the point is to spend time with grandparents as we live a distance apart.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts Very Happy
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Mayrhofen probably ticks a good few of the boxes regarding your groups mixed needs. The town is pleasant enough to stroll around for the grandparents and toddler. The station and buses provide access to other locations in the Zillertal valley, should they wish to explore/have a change of scenery.

Plenty of skiing options for the strong intermediate. For the complete beginner, the Ahorn area is absolutely ideal and, should they progress well, there is a longish run back to resort. Downloading to the town is also an option. The beginner who likes blues...Ahorn could also suit. There are plenty of options in the main ski area too.

I suppose, the only potential drawback, with the above, is that the skiers could end up being a bit disconnected, given the differing needs. That said, the main ski area does provide opportunities for the range of abilities.

Zell am See: lovely town and, of course, the ski area is now linked to the Ski Circus - Austria’s biggest, linked, ski area. Whether that’s suitable for your skiing group is, perhaps, open to question.

I’m not familiar with Kitz or Bad Gastein.
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Can't comment on any of those resorts, but one important consideration for your kind of group (of which I have a lot of experience, in various roles including child-minding and ski school picking up grandmother) is to have a fairly compact area where the ski school meeting place is within easy reach both of your accommodation AND of a restaurant or similar, where any combination of folk can meet up for lunch. I would try to avoid anywhere where a bus or a significant walk was required. Let alone any kind of lift!
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Another consideration is timing of ski school - sometimes morning and afternoon in Austria and not doing both sessions means being left behind. But can make for rapid progress. Usually a choice of morning or afternoon in France. Good for slightly reluctant beginners, or people who are not pretty fit. Not so good for a very keen beginner who would benefit from having someone ski with them, on the easiest slopes, when they are not in ski school.
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I would go for Zell am See. It is the best of the bunch for non-skiers. Lake walks, Nice cafes and restaurants, Leisure Centre and Ice Rink, train line to Salzburg/Krimml/Kitzbuhel for day trips. The ski schools for beginners tend to be centred at the bottom of the Schmittenhohe cable car. It's not the best for beginners and I'm surprised so many people go there TBH! The link to the Ski Circus is good and there is more than enough terrain of all kinds for a week.
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Of the places you mention, Zell is probably the most pleasant place for non-skiers, lovely old town, the lake views, flat walking, trains to Salzburg, etc. For beginners there's a small area at the base of the Schmittenhohe bowl (maybe a bit shady in Jan) and some progressor blue runs down the shoulder towards Schuttdorf. The red runs down into the bowl above the town are steeper, but you can always download on the gondolas. You ideally need accommodation close to lifts, but there may be lockers available.

Saying that, Kitzbuhel has a lovely old town centre and good variety of skiing.

I'm sure you could have a nice holiday in Mayrhofen and Gastein Valley too, though Bad has some steep inclines in resort and on the mountain.

Schladming in Austria or Megeve in France & Cortina in Italy are other places to consider that have diversions for non-skiers as well as a good variety of ski terrain.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
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Thanks all for the tips, all worth looking further. Will look particularly at Zell, check out for any suitable accommodation.

luigi wrote:

Schladming in Austria or Megeve in France & Cortina in Italy are other places to consider that have diversions for non-skiers as well as a good variety of ski terrain.


Thanks luigi will definitely take a look at those resorts too.

pam w wrote:
Can't comment on any of those resorts, but one important consideration for your kind of group (of which I have a lot of experience, in various roles including child-minding and ski school picking up grandmother) is to have a fairly compact area where the ski school meeting place is within easy reach both of your accommodation AND of a restaurant or similar, where any combination of folk can meet up for lunch. I would try to avoid anywhere where a bus or a significant walk was required. Let alone any kind of lift!


Very good points, thanks for the advice Very Happy
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