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Saalbach and 3 Valleys which order?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi All

We are planning two ski trips in 2021/22 season (all being well with covid), one in mid Jan and the other at the beginning of March. We are looking at Saalbach/Hinterglemm for one trip and either the 3 Valleys or La Plagne for the other.
Does anyone have any advice on which way round I should do them in terms weather, ski conditions?

Thanks in advance for any help
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Personally I would go with S-H in mid January. You can get decent conditions early March but mid January is likely to be better. From my experience the lower Tirol / Salzburgerland areas are best from mid January to mid February but by early February the crowds are starting to arrive. The Tarantaise (though its a long time since I skied there) is more affected by mid winter storms with less shelter from trees so early March is often a good balance between longer days and decent snow.
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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?
As above -- my mantra is "early = low ; late = high"
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@chrisbristol, welcome to Snowheads! I'd agree with the above - January weather is typically colder and more snowy than March, so having tree-lined skiing on almost all runs in S-H means you can still ski even if the conditions aren't quite the bluebird day you hoped for, while in 3V there's not a lot of cover or indeed anything else to provide contrast if the weather is not on your side.

January in S-H is my favourite time to be there - usually cold, good snow conditions, typically not busy, and has plenty of shelter and options if the weather isn't perfect. February is peak season but is still OK, while March and early April can be excellent, but can also feature tactical skiing where you choose your runs wisely to avoid the sun and stay higher where the conditions stay firmer for longer. Snowmaking is very good, but when the air temperature is 14C in March it's not much help, so you are at the mercy of the weather. Maybe 50% of the time it will be good.

One consideration for 3V is school holidays - according to https://publicholidays.fr/school-holidays/ Zone C (including Paris) is on holiday until 6th March 2022, so if you were hoping for that week you may be queueing with Parisians, and that's not recommended if you have high blood pressure.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I couldn’t agree more with what Munich Irish said.
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Thanks everyone for the advice, much appreciated. S-H in January it is then. Thanks for the tip on French school holidays Ousekjarr - If I go out on Sat 5th March will hopefully only have one day of overlap, or maybe leave it until following week.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
ousekjarr wrote:
@chrisbristol, welcome to Snowheads! I'd agree with the above - January weather is typically colder and more snowy than March, so having tree-lined skiing on almost all runs in S-H means you can still ski even if the conditions aren't quite the bluebird day you hoped for, while in 3V there's not a lot of cover or indeed anything else to provide contrast if the weather is not on your side.

January in S-H is my favourite time to be there - usually cold, good snow conditions, typically not busy, and has plenty of shelter and options if the weather isn't perfect. February is peak season but is still OK, while March and early April can be excellent, but can also feature tactical skiing where you choose your runs wisely to avoid the sun and stay higher where the conditions stay firmer for longer. Snowmaking is very good, but when the air temperature is 14C in March it's not much help, so you are at the mercy of the weather. Maybe 50% of the time it will be good.

One consideration for 3V is school holidays - according to https://publicholidays.fr/school-holidays/ Zone C (including Paris) is on holiday until 6th March 2022, so if you were hoping for that week you may be queueing with Parisians, and that's not recommended if you have high blood pressure.


Though I would say that the 3 Vallees is so big that you can always find piste that is pretty quiet and short lift lines
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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'd go to Ischgl/Galtur.
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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.
@chrisbristol, The 3V resorts will be emptying on March 5th so the children can get back to school on the 7th. Unless you are planning to get to the resort early on the Saturday there will be no overlap. There will be no problems with queues and though the pistes may be a little worn the chances of fresh snow is high. This is peak season afterall for snow depths (they will continue to rise until the start of April). In the French Alps at least you tend to get more snow in March than January.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Bob wrote:
I'd go to Ischgl/Galtur.

There's always another year waiting to arrive Madeye-Smiley
BTW Ischgl in the middle of winter is harsh with nowhere to hide.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@chrisbristol, above advice on S-H and 3V/La Plagne spot on.

If you can leave the March one until 12/13th departure it’s usually significantly quieter and a bit cheaper than the week before.
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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.
Agreed with most folk here: S-H in Jan and 3 valleys in March. Although for various logistical reasons, every year, for the past 6 years (except 2020/21 due to COVID) I have done exactly the opposite: Val Thorens (part of the 3 valleys) in early Jan, and Saalbach in mid-Feb!
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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
This will be our third ski trip (very nearly fourth having been repatriated from France last year) so we are just learning about such things - thanks again everyone for the help!
I have some resort related questions which I would appreciate some advice on but I will start a separate post.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@chrisbristol, for Saalbach, send a private message to @tatmanstours with your email address, and he can send you a guide - he lives there now


Last edited by You know it makes sense. on Fri 16-07-21 20:05; 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:
Always happy to help. This last season March was very snowy in Saalbach, but I have no quibble with the advice given. As ever it’s the luck of the draw. Mid-January and mid-March are generally pretty good in Saalbach.
Happy to send my comprehensive guide, and also the help with accommodation if I can.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Thanks tatmanstours, I am going to do a separate post about S-H accommodation and lessons, so would be grateful for your input there. A copy of your guide would be great.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@chrisbristol, PM me your email address. My social circle here in Saalbach includes many British apartment owners (who let their apartments), and great ski instructors.
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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?
Definitely agree with the above, better to visit S-H during mid-Winter (Jan/Feb). Many of Saalbach’s routes are covered by snow cannons, but reliability of snow cover isn’t a strong point, and the south-facing slopes do suffer from slush during the afternoons, especially during late season.
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Quote:

reliability of snow cover isn’t a strong point, and the south-facing slopes do suffer from slush during the afternoons, especially during late season.

When the resort closes around the second week of April, it is never through lack of snow. The resort does not generally have a problem with the “reliability of snow cover”; in fact it is well known that the slopes are grassy, rather than rocky, and therefore skiable with minimal snow cover.
Also the snow making in early season is first-class and has extended the season significantly. It is now realistic for the resort to open in early December and close in mid-April.
With regard to the comment about slush on south-facing slopes in late season afternoons, how many ski resorts are similarly affected? And is it better to visit a resort with say 75km (50%) of north/west facing slopes, or one with say 100km (33%) of such slopes?
Even in late March and early April, when the weather is sunny and warm, there is excellent spring skiing to be had on the south-facing slopes until lunchtime. It’s just a question of getting out reasonably early, and also planning itineraries to take advantage of the more sheltered slopes (of which there are plenty) in the afternoons). But that applies to virtually all ski resorts in late season.
Late season can, and invariably does, also bring cold weather and fresh snow. Conversely it isn’t unusual to experience springlike conditions in January and February.
In the last few seasons, the best time to ski in Saalbach has been the middle of January and the middle of March. Last season the snowiest conditions were during the second half of March.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Yep, no good reason to discount Austrian in March or later. I think most people are thinking along the lines of that’s when 3V will be at its best.

Another way of looking at this is if you did both trips to Saalbach / Austria you would almost be at the point of making a season pass worthwhile which then opens the possibilities of a third trip for not a lot more cash.

You may also like the idea of having a trip booked for 2 countries given that the last 16 months has reminded us we can take nothing for granted.
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@tatmanstours fair points, the sheer range of Skicircus certainly benefits it here, and you can venture to Fieberbrunn and Leogang in the afternoon where most slopes are north-facing. My point wasn't to downplay the quality of S-H conditions, but given the choice of 3V or S-H in later season, my inclination would be 3V. Either way, I'm very jealous of these holiday plans!!
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Quote:

you can venture to Fieberbrunn and Leogang in the afternoon where most slopes are north-facing.

Precisely!

And the decision and choice is of course subjective. But it’s worth bearing in mind that a whole season lift pass for Saalbach costs the equivalent of just over two separate weeks, and it covers Zell am See and Kaprun (including the Kitzsteinhorn glacier), as well as the Ski Circus - so a total of 408km of piste. It would be an easy decision for me wink Very Happy
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