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Crystal overbooked us in Arc1950 ten days before we fly out (now more of a trip report!)

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Thanks both! I think a huge amount of it is technique and experience, I agree. I wasn't that sore this morning but I suspect I will be tomorrow.

We had another brilliant day today. After destroying my calves in a private lesson side slipping down reds in the bowl (but hey, I can side slip a lot more effectively now!) and given a bunch of very handy tips about posture etc, we had a leisurely lunch and picked up our 10 year old.

We took her over to the 1800 side as she's been in the bowl both lessons, and I wanted her to see where we'd done most of our skiing on our day trip. This time we stopped for a crepe, to her joy! Just about made the last Transarc back (lost track of time) and discovered the red we'd been happily side-slipping down in our lesson that morning (Plagnettes) was now a bit more mogulled and a LOT more icy! It wouldn't have mattered quite so much were we not in a hurry to pick up the others from childcare before they shut, so that was a bit of a thigh burner wink

The other three seemed to have good lessons. The eight year old had SkiTracks in her pocket on an old phone (always good to see where they've been!) and it topped out at 53km/h Shocked Eight year olds should not be going faster than an urban speed limit under their own steam! I asked her if she went fast and she cheerfully described the circumstances which I think involved Plan Eau and the long run off there..! 10 year old was devastated as hers only topped out at 52km/h, ha ha. They're both ridiculously competitive with each other!

The little ones ski lessons apparently went very well. We only have our five year old's word for it but apparently he didn't get told off today (hurray!) and he looked so happy when we bumped into him end of lesson. Our three year old did even better - after her howling yesterday and threats of being booted out as too young, not only did she not cry, but she was apparently one of the best if not the best in her class and kept going really fast! Given she's three years and one week old, I must indulge in a Proud Parent moment. She really seemed to love it as well, and is so excited for her lesson tomorrow!! snowHead

And nobody got sunburnt so it was perfect Very Happy So far this is the best family ski holiday we've had by some margin.. and two weeks ago it was all falling apart!

(we won't mention the locker room chaos in the mornings with four children.. best forgotten!)
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@sparklies, great to hear your reports - and so positive too: keep them coming!

Have you & the family ventured out in the evenings around 1950 yet? You do need to pop into Georges' - kids' board games in there are ex-Roll clan from our younger days: but keeps them occupied while you sip on your vino. (Hint - buy by the bottle: considerably cheaper than the glass. And if you don't finish, he'll hold it for you until tomorrow). Say hi from me!
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Quote:

@sparklies, great to hear your reports - and so positive too: keep them coming!
Hear, hear, a terrific read.
Very Happy
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@Arctic Roll, Oooh, ours love board games.. that could work!! Great place to donate to - you've probably saved the sanity of hundreds of parents over the years Happy The three year old is a little more tricky but there was a reason we bought her a Kindle Kids Fire for her recent birthday..! We haven't ventured out, mainly due to being exhausted but also habit, as the last two places we stayed had absolutely nothing going on. I forget this is more of a family village, we really should take advantage of that.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@sparkliesI'd to do the Boarder Cross at Serre Chevalier with our 9yr old several times. Although I can outpace him normally if I want to, on that I just couldn't keep up. It's either the lack of fear or the lower sense of gravity that helps him.

Enjoy your stay, glad to hear that everything finally seems to be sorted.
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@Ravelin, I hear you! I started to tell my older two "don't do anything I wouldn't do!" out of habit as they left for their ski lesson, but had to quickly follow it up with "but I'm sure you will!" As you say, I can go faster, but the scarier stuff? Nope! The more scary it is, the more they want to do it! I guess it doesn't hurt as much when they fall, either.

Very icy start this morning, lots of people skidding and struggling to grip on even blue runs in places (including me!) We skied over to the Vanoise Express, but made the rookie error of finding it was a dead end aside from the massive queues for the only lift out of town..! We eventually made it back over to 2000, and had lunch in the Chalet des Arcs (I think) Whereby we made another rookie error of ordering the cheese (for melting) and meat plate for two. There was more cheese than I could eat in a week - the whole meal would have fed the entire family of six and still some left over!! It was amazingly delicious but there was no way on earth we could finish it all..

We picked up our 8 year old to ski with us after. She's mostly dropped the snowplough except on steep icy red runs, and was fairly good at keeping up, bearing in mind as she's quite light her momentum doesn't carry her across the flats like we can. She went through the Snow Park above 1800 quite happily over the little rollers and half pipe, and demanded red runs whenever we saw one.

Five year old with ASD appears to have gone down a group but I'm not too fussed.. he finds it hard to learn physical things unless he's one on one, as he loses focus when waiting for his turn. He did apparently leave the snow garden today, according to him but I have no idea of the details as his version of reality is quite curious! Apparently a "piston" put him on a lift. Ooookay. Very tempted to get him a private lesson for an hour one afternoon, he seems keen on the idea as he desperately wants to learn but hates all the waiting around. Once he's beyond the beginner stages, and more like his bigger sisters group lessons will be fine but I think he just needs that extra attention to get there.

10 year old tells me that to get her Super Yeti (ESF Bronze?) badge, they need to go down the Aigulle Rouge. Ooookay. We'd like to try it this week but it's getting up the nerve! I'm not sure how hectic it really is - we've done a few easy blacks before but so much depends on conditions. May just do the red..

Three year old sobbed at drop off again, but soon stopped once we left. I helped her "ski" down to the snow garden and she quite happily assumed the hands on knees position without any prompting from me, and had such a massive grin on her face as she slid! She's going to adore skiing.

We were still too stuffed after our massive cheesey meaty lunch feast to have much beyond local shop bought pasta!!
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Aiguille Rouge is actually very nice. The very worst of it is at the beginning and not from the steepness; to be fair there is a steep pitch to begin of about 100m (or red less steep run to the side of that) and then the tricky part, a short (50m or so) bit that is not too steep but very narrow and can very lumpy and congested. After that it's glorious, and pisted.

If you do it in the morning the narrow bit will be less rutted and will likely be much, much more bearable than trying it in the afternoon.
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@Dav, that's good to know, thank you! I can handle hard stuff for short lengths, but a relentless kilometre of heavily mogulled icy seemingly vertical run is not yet my idea of a good time. I like to have the end in sight!!

This is probably a really basic question, but we've not had a consistently sunny ski holiday before so it's never come up! It's been so warm this past week that it's freeze/thaw conditions. Which means the runs we've done around 2000-2300m are extremely icy in the mornings. Really high up, will it be the same ice? As if so, we might do better waiting for around midday when the sun has had a chance (and everyone has gone to lunch!!) even if it is more lumpy.
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@sparklies wrote:

Five year old with ASD <snip> he seems keen on the idea as he desperately wants to learn but hates all the waiting around. Once he's beyond the beginner stages, and more like his bigger sisters group lessons will be fine but I think he just needs that extra attention to get there.

Have you considered getting him lessons in the UK? I can heartily recommend Snowbility (based at Hemel), who specialise in teaching people with learning disabilities. Richard has been very good with my autistic son.
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@sparklies, I may be wrong but I think it is the orientation of the slope that matters rather than the height. In any case late morning is probably the best time to do Aiguille rouge as the sun should have got to it by then. If you are having private lessons I would ask the instructor to take you up there if you are feeling a bit unsure about it. I would not worry about your child having to ski it as presumably they will go up there in ski school and not need to practise it in advance.

We had a few meals at chalet de L'arc at Christmas and the portions were enormous. My OH struggled with a pie that had an enormous quantity of shortcrust pastry and I had a chocolate meringue that fed the whole family. I do like the rustic feel of it inside though.


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Tue 14-03-17 22:23; edited 1 time in total
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@Tubaski, they are excellent, I totally agree! We used them before going out last time (Tignes, January 2016) just so he was used to the snow. He was doing turns.. just about.. after a handful of lessons so we thought he'd be okay in regular lessons. It wasn't to be - I even felt he went backwards in some ways.

We meant to do similar again this time but ran out of time (I went back to work last year, so I didn't have the luxury of being able to take him during the week) and I guess we just hoped for the best as he's improved a lot in terms of maturity since last year.

I think we do need to take him to Snowbility again before we go next time, but I think he'll definitely benefit from a private lesson on the mountain too. Ideally I'd like him to be at a level where he can go straight out on the mountain next time. He's obsessed with the chairlifts (no surprises there!) and that is a big enough motivation for him to learn if he thinks he can go on lots in a lesson!!
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@snowymum, Yes, you're absolutely right.. I keep forgetting the orientation plays such a large part. It's amazing how an instructor makes you able to do trickier slopes than you think you can! Might not be a bad idea to get one to do it actually, as what we'd learn would obviously come in very handy. The one we had yesterday may have been a sadist with the sideslipping exercises, but it gave me the confidence to slip more on icy steeps, with the end result that my quads don't hate me nearly as much this time out.

I'm sure my oldest will be fine! She's a good skier for her age, very smooth and graceful (she's a good dancer too) and makes me feel like a lumbering sack of potatoes behind her! It amuses me how quickly we got to the point of our children surpassing us wink

Glad it was not just us with the huge portions! The waitress even seemed surprised we didn't eat it all, which blew my mind. It was lovely food though, and as you say, lovely inside as well.
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Another lovely day today! As the pistes were so icy yesterday morning, we played chicken and had breakfast before heading out for the Aiguille Rouge (plus warm-up!) with the aim of hitting it around midday.

As Dav says, it was not that bad at all - well, apart from the queue! I don't know how long we waited, it felt like an hour but it was probably less.. but standing in ski boots when I hate standing in normal shoes is not pleasant! Such an amazing view though.

We took the red from the top as I didn't fancy the steep mogul black - the red was a bit icy and narrow but nothing we couldn't handle. I loved the big wide black/red parts and the fact the lift to get there really limits the crowds. When we reached the part where you decide red or black, I took a chance and opted for the black.

Honestly, the blue I did yesterday where it was stupidly icy and crowded (near the top of Arpette) was a lot more scary and awkward than this! I could see the narrow bit mentioned, but aside from a few stones it was flat and not a problem and it really is a lovely run in good conditions like this. We took Reservoir back into town and lunch.

After lunch we'd booked my five year old son (ASD) a one to one lesson as he seemed to be going backwards and still hadn't really sorted out the basics. Most things in life are like walking on eggshells with him because if he doesn't want to do something, well, it's not pretty! We asked for a gentle instructor and he had a lovely chap named Sam. We spied on them briefly near the start and he seemed happy, so we put our faith in the instructor and headed off with our two older girls!

Our eight year old had never done a black run, she has no common sense or any sense come to that, but she is at least a vaguely competent skier who absolutely loves it. So she managed to convince my husband to let her go down Refuge from the Grand Col. Our 10 year old was more than game for it of course. I was going to join them, but I had my first fall of the holiday from the top of the Grand Col lift when the aforementioned eight year old decided to get her skis caught coming off (how?!!) and took me out. Cue one bruised knee and hip and I said some bad words. My legs were like jelly after that so I did the red on my own.

The three of them did make it down Refuge all the way to the bottom - it was very mogulled. The oldest fell over once, blaming it on her sister of course. My husband and my eight year old we won't talk about (some nice-looking yard sales!) but they had fun and had smiles on their faces at the bottom, and they were not alone with their yard sales on that slope!

As we headed back down to 1950, we spotted our five year old, off-piste at the side, going like a bat out of hell (in full control!) with his instructor, waving his arms around in joy! None of us could believe our eyes. Last time we'd seen him ski, he couldn't handle a snowplough. Yet here he was, sailing down the mountain like he'd been doing it for years and clearly a very happy little boy!! The difference a one on one instruction has made was utterly remarkable.

When we met them back in 1950, he skied down the entrance to the village like a pro, and stopped easily. His instructor said he had been losing a lot of the snowplough and had been parallel, and was an excellent little skier! The look on our son's face was priceless - finally, the crap bit of trudging up and down the baby slopes was over and he was at the good part and what fun it was! He later said it was the Best Day Ever, although some of that was a result of a particularly nice ice lolly he had for pudding I think..

So now we have three skiing children snowHead snowHead snowHead and I honestly don't think the three year old is far behind. This morning when I let her "ski" down to her lesson, she was laughing even when falling over, and demanding that I let her go faster all the way down..!

Now to plan tomorrow snowHead Only two more days left, it's gone so fast - it always does.
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@sparklies, great update.

If you haven't done them already I'd recommend the following runs to complete before you leave Les Arcs.

Mont Blanc; Blue run into 1600. Wide and usually pretty quiet, my favourite blue in LA.
Renard: Blue run above 1800; can get a bit busy though.
Belette: Red run above 1800 at the top of the Derby lift.
Combe: Red run above Plan Peisey, trees either side, right at the extent of the ski area and often very quiet. That and Belette are my favourite reds in resort.
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Fab, thank you @Dav, it's always great to get suggestions! I'm familiar with Mont Blanc, as it was the first run I did with my oldest when we arrived for our day trip a few years ago Happy We've done it a couple of times this time, it is a lovely run although quite slushy near the bottom at the moment as we keep ending up there later in the day.

We really enjoyed a lot of the runs through the trees above 1800 and Vallandry but the ones you mention are not ones we've done, and certainly not Combe! I'm a big fan of uncrowded pistes (I've been known to wait for ages for crowds to pass) so that sounds ideal snowHead
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+1 for Bellette. Also a personal favourite. Highlight of my trip last year was taken my two eldest boys down it!

Combe is great, but as a snowboarder, i've not often done it because of the path out at the bottom back into Plan Piesey. My preference is the Ecuriels adjacent to it. Marked as a black, but really a red with some black-ish sections. It doesn't seem to be used much and is often quiet, so can stay unmogulled for some time.

Aiguille Rouge is a fab run, but the extended wait for the cable car can put you off. For me, it's a 'once during the trip' affair. Plan is to take my boys up there on this years trip.

Don't miss out on the reds off the Vagere chair, the Carrelley with a large sweeping left hand turn is a favourite amongst those.

Great to hear your 5 yr old is progressing well. Gives me hope our 4 year old (and 10months) will make good progress this year!
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@sparklies, great to hear the family enjoyed Refuge - Mrs Roll's favourite run, but yes the moguls are like buried VW Beetles...so respect too. Now take them down Lanches - under the Varet - to see how well they've learned the mogul lesson... (only kidding. Please don't. 1.5km of moguls and a long way to slide. Enjoy it from the bubble.)


As @Richie_S says, the Carreley and Froide Fontaine reds (accessible from Arpette, Vagere or Carrely chairs) are some lovely runs, and very, very quiet, even at busy periods. We can lap them for days: hopefully this post doesn't alert too many people to them!

The other empty place are the runs from Clocheret - but first thing, the blue can be more icy than the red so be careful until you get back in the sun.

One last thing, if you can help - bit of a discussion going on in the village about "the tree". I'd like to get an independent view , so what are the family's thoughts on it - signature statement, or eyesore? Feel free to pm me if you'd prefer - thanks.
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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?
Arctic Roll wrote:
(only kidding. Please don't. 1.5km of moguls and a long way to slide. Enjoy it from the bubble.)




That made me proper lol. As a relative newbie I navigated roughly half a dozen bumps in the States...Believing I was now an expert I went for the big one. Was about a mile and a bit down and steep as a steep thing with a bit more steep. My thighs and face still hurt thinking about it a decade later. Very Happy
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@Richie_S, Sounds like we'll definitely have to head over to Belette then! Good to know Ecuriels is not that bad - unless I have seen a black I'm always wary of doing them just in case they turn into a Refuge wink Sounds like we'll definitely have to look into the runs around the Vagere chair too.

Last year our now five year old just wasn't ready, but to be fair, developmentally he struggles to follow verbal instructions. We gave him an hour private lesson on the last day and he probably learned more in that hour. On the other hand, our now eight year old learned happily in group lessons at the Snow Centre in Hemel when she was four years two months, and rushed through to "Main Slope Ready" level in no time at all. She was skiing reds including the red into Plagne 1800 by the last few days of our holiday when she was four years five months entirely from group lessons. They're all so different!

@Arctic Roll, ha ha, we saw Varet and my verdict was most definitely "hell to the no"!! I think our target for our next holiday will be to get an instructor to teach us moguls because it's all very well knowing the theory, but I feel I need somebody to actually help me implement that theory!

Clocheret runs sound like an afternoon job wink

The tree is a useful landmark although I'm sure something else could be used. I personally quite like it, but it does feel a bit festive out of season.. that said, lots of resorts have things that could be considered Christmassy all season long. The girls say it seems odd as it does look like Christmas!

@Thornyhill, that's exactly the sort of thing I would do wink
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Just a quick update about day 5! We did indeed do Belette and it was lovely.. might see if we have time to take the older two over there tomorrow afternoon! We tried to do Combe but it was closed!! Made it all the way over there and everything..

Did do Carreley though, that was fun. We did the Grand Renard into 1800 too and oh my goodness was it icy!! This was at about 11am too. It was quite hidden ice, it looked like there was reasonable cover but evidently it was an illusion. I barely stayed in control, unfortunately for my husband and a distinguished French gentleman they had a coming together halfway down. I didn't see it but it sounds like nobody was at fault, just struggling with the ice and both meeting mid turn. No lasting damage done, although the French gentleman did have his glasses, hat, skis and poles scattered over quite some distance of the piste, and both slid for some way without skis. Husband helped the chap as best he could until the rest of his party could get close, and it was all very cordial even if nobody spoke the same language very well!

We took our five year old out in the afternoon, just to the top of Col de la Chal and down Vallee de l'Arc which he really enjoyed. Quite annoyed at some skiers who whipped past at speed close enough to smack me with their poles when my son was literally a few feet ahead of me (yes, we were at one side of the piste leaving plenty of room, I'm not daft!) Most people were fine in giving him space though, and he got up a fair old pace a few times!

My ten year old did indeed do the Aiguille Rouge black snowHead - her teacher was quite impressed she'd done Refuge!

Last day tomorrow Sad
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@sparklies, glad you had a good day! Hearing your 10 yo did the AR gives me the extra confidence to take my two eldest down on our trip in April.

Remind me, you are in 1950... Was it self catered apt you have? And if so, where? (It sounds like that has turned out good after the early challenges - we are considering options for next years trip, and interested in your feedback)
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We are indeed in self catered, in Prince de Cimes. It's all very nice and we're very impressed with the resort in general! There's a few niggles but you'll never get anything perfect and they're not holiday breakers or even close.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Thanks @sparklies, that's certainly one we've been looking at. Enjoy you last day!
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@Richie_S, the apartment @sparklies, is staying in was on Erna Low website.
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@Richie_S, dammit, just wrote a long post saying how the 7 blocks ( Refuge, Hameau, Prince, Jardins, Auberge, Sources and Manoir) differed very little in the important aspects (apartment size, boot rooms and piste access, and comfort) and the damn thing crashed on me.
Oh well: I'm not retyping it.

So: Yes there are differences, just not a lot, and not worth worrying about!
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Yes, next time we'll almost certainly book our apartment through Erna Low! Not that they had nearly as much to go wrong as Crystal did, but the service they did give was top notch.

Final day report - spent some time in the tree lined runs above 1800 and above 1600 (Gollet is so pretty.. and quiet!) before picking up our oldest for more of the same. The snow got quite slushy late afternoon and I really don't get on with slush as I am far more likely to catch an edge (plus it's harder work) and I did take my first and only self-inflicted tumble of the week as a result. No harm done except my pride of course! Total distance for the week, 91 miles. Could probably have done more but didn't want to tire my legs early week, turned out to be fine in the end.

After a St Patrick's Day shot in the Igloo Bar, we headed back to return all our hire stuff and now it's packing time, ready to get up at 5am for our transfer home. The Crystal reps in resort have been fine and have done their best at least despite the lift pass incident!
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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.
@sparklies, so - are you coming back to Les Arcs then?
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Definitely!! And probably 1950 too, as it has everything we need. With our oldest in Y6 next year (SATS, and then secondary school) no more term time holidays for us. I can't face the crowds at half term, nor the prices so most likely it'll be Easter.
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@sparklies, Be careful, our path to owning our own apartment was dis-satisfaction with Crystal, so went with Erna Low, then booked direct, now own apartment.
It's a slippery slope snowHead
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@boredsurfin, not far off our own experience.
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Ha! I can easily imagine that happening in the distant future!!

At Chambery now, checked in and so far so good but we're not home yet wink
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@sparklies, I know an Arc1950 owner of a 4 bed duplex of 100m2 who is interested in selling... Laughing
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Arctic Roll, thanks! We intend to have a mooch around 1950 when we are in 2000 over Easter and take a look at some of the places - good to know they are all much of a muchness.
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@Richie_S, we're there 1st - 15th April, (well OK: 14th, train home home on the 15th) - if you are around during that time and want to have a closer look, pm me.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Arctic Roll wrote:
@sparklies, I know an Arc1950 owner of a 4 bed duplex of 100m2 who is interested in selling... Laughing

Purely out of interest how much is he asking per Sq M ?
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Arctic Roll wrote:
@sparklies, I know an Arc1950 owner of a 4 bed duplex of 100m2 who is interested in selling... Laughing


Now where's my winning lottery ticket? wink I suspect buying even a small apartment would be several years down the line with four small ones to bring up in the meantime! But it's a nice dream to have and not entirely impossible one day (the small one.. not so sure about the big one!!)

Anyway after our journey home today the next luxury we're buying is a private jet direct to resort. Not that anything went wrong (HURRAY!!) and we're home in one piece, it's just stressful with four young ones, especially when one or potentially more have special needs and flip out in crowds when standing around for hours in queues. Sadly this is the price of an awesome week on the snow snowHead
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@sparklies, have you considered Austria for a future trip? I've always been really impressed with how child friendly the resorts seem to be (although not having children I've never looked this closely). Next year we're hoping to take my other half's 8yo nephew for his first trip, so we were paying a bit more attention to the suitability of the resorts on trip a couple of weeks ago. We even went over to Niederau for a morning, as it's got such a great reputation for beginners and it seemed perfect. One of the ski schools there has themed days, like a Harry Potter day when the kids ski in magic cloaks. All the other resorts around the Skiwelt and Ski Juwel seemed well set up for kids as well. I've even seen an igloo made of real ice set up as a cinema for kids on top of a mountain in Austria (in Dorfgastein).

If you looking at diy'ing in future, the resorts in the Skiwelt and Skijuwel are really easily accessed from Munich airport.
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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!
@boredsurfin, she (...!) wants a lot more than she's likely to get... I think purchase was 7k per m2, wants at least 6. Current crop of sells seem to be going for about 4.

+ Fees and VAT, naturally.
ski holidays
 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.
@Arctic Roll, Wow that's interesting, we were put off LA when prices were nudging 9K. How times change.
ski holidays
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@sparklies, We had awful Airport experiences so we've been driving over for 30+ years - so much easier with children no silly luggage restrictions etc etc. We bring own food in cool boxes and so on, tad more expensive with a budget overnight stop (we prefer http://www.hotel-bb.com/en/home.htm) Erna Low + an overnight can be cheaper than Crystal - certainly more reliable! The drive down becomes a part of the holiday. (There are lots of threads on driving to the Alps on here)
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