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Seeking advice on Swiss ski resorts

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I've never skiied in Switzerland. Mrs NBT's aunt lives there, so we'd like to combine a ski trip to a new resort with the opportunity for some quality familial time. We're thinking of spending a week in march in a resort that's accessible and has something for non-skiiers for a day or two

At the moment we're looking at Davos (Platz) as I've seen a good deal for a week's half board in a hotel. As Mrs NBT's aunt lives in the Zurich area, Davos is a fairly short journey too.

However I've seen that Powdair are offering very reasonably priced flights to Sion, which is close to the Val d'Anniviers (Zinal, Grimentz et al) where I've fancied skiing for some time, and Crans Montana, as well as Verbier and so on. It's a lot further from Zurich though, and a fair whack more expensive, and I'm not sure about non-skiiers. I'm working on the idea that Dearest Aunt will only be in resort for a couple of nights, and will entertain herself in the daytime while we ski, meeting us in the evening for a repast of epic proportions.

From asking elsewhere, I've got a note to get in touch with eng_ch about this kind of thing, and it's been suggested that I also consider Anzere (close to Crans Montana), Andermatt and Flims Laax

Constructive feedback and suggestions welcomed - is it worth us looking at Western Austria for instance? We're both experienced skiiers but happy with a medium sized ski area for this trip. We're certainly NOT looking for mega resorts like Verbier, St Anton or (to a lesser extent) Zermatt. Last season our trips were Passo Tonale and a late season last minute week in Meribel - previous to that we've enjoyed Courmayeur, and both love the Espace Killy and Les Arcs

cheers all
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I will keep an eye on this post as have had a trip to Val d'Anniviers on my mind for a while.
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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?
The Val D Anniviers is well worth a visit if you can make it fit your schedule of travelling. I'd pick Grimentz to stay for your balance of facilities, there's not a huge amount of non skiing activities but direct access via gondola to meet up on the snow for lunch would be very easy to allow non skier to be more involved. The village is every bit as interesting as the pictures indicate to just explore with a walk round.
We've only skied Grimentz and Zinal and yet to reach the other two areas in the valley, so more for us to explore at some point. It may not hold the headline figures of large ski domains but has a very nice blend of high mountain, good snow usually and fairly uncrowded pistes.
If you took some of your favourite sections of both Les Arcs and Tignes then knitted them into a smaller valley, it would give you a good idea of this combined area. We've not skied it since the lift that now connects the two but have done it from Zinal to Grimentz down the central valley before, it's like a different world of peace and quiet with epic snow, very few skiers and beautiful high maintain peace and quiet.

I honestly don't feel anyone would regret going there, absolutely and completely worth the effort.

We've skied many of the larger ski areas centred around this part of the alps and have, for the last five years or so, committed to filling in the gaps of smaller ski destinations, there's some really enchanting places to ski of this size, VDA is a good a place as any to sample this.

Not sure of your travel arrangements (but you probably need a car for this) it's virtually next door to Zermatt so staying here and taking a day trip drive along the valley to sample Zermatt is a good fit especially if you have a non skier with you. Larger town, obviously great skiing, access again to higher mountain restaurants to meet for lunch etc, we've done this a few times and it's a great way to get an initial sample of Zermatt.
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nbt wrote:
I've never skiied in Switzerland. Mrs NBT's aunt lives there, so we'd like to combine a ski trip to a new resort with the opportunity for some quality familial time. We're thinking of spending a week in march in a resort that's accessible and has something for non-skiiers for a day or two

At the moment we're looking at Davos (Platz) as I've seen a good deal for a week's half board in a hotel. As Mrs NBT's aunt lives in the Zurich area, Davos is a fairly short journey too.

However, ...

I stopped reading at this point. I don't quite get what you're looking for in the alternatives.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@abc, as Mrs NBT's Aunt will (probably) be driving over and finding a hotel for a night or two, a longer trip for her (3 or 4 hours driving instead of 90 minutes perhaps) is not out of the question - therefore it's a question of which resort we want to visit. If that resort is close enough for her not to need a hotel, great, but she's not averse to a nice hotel and a slap-up meal Smile


We've no firm plans at all yet. Provisional dates are mid-march, we'll be flying from Manchester as it's our local airport but we could fly to Geneva or Sion easily - Zurich is an option, as is Basel, although the latter is a little further from the resorts and the former involves connecting flights. Once we land, we might hire a car or use the railways

we could even use a tour-op package and go to Wengen / Grindelwald, we haven't discounted that, but all constructive feedback is useful
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@nbt, Val d'Anniviers is awesome for skiing, but Grimentz/Zinal have pretty much nothing for a non-skier to do (not sure about Crans). Ditto Andermatt. Davos, on the other hand, is a proper town. For the meeting up with the Aunt, it's spot on: pretty much the perfect non-skier resort. Plus easy non-skier access up the mountain. The skiing is also excellent, with good piste skiing as well as good off-piste and touring.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Gämsbock, I believe that Crans is a proper town nowadays (sadly!)
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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 thought I'd pop into this thread, I'm going to be staying with my daughter, son in lawn and granddaughter in Zurich for Christmas.
I know we'll have to go skiing while we're there even for a day.

We'd either have to rent a car for 6 of us or get there by public transport.
Any ideas on a least phaaf destination?

It does not have to be tough skiing as this is my granddaughters first season, she's five already but this is the first winter that she will see snow. Won't it be exciting?
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How about Wengen. A proper village and there is a variety of skiing on offer.

Very scenic with the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau peaks standing guard.
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Hi @TQA ...Ooops I think I've spoilt someone else's thread here. Interlaken sound good though perhaps too much for a day trip though.
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DrLawn wrote:
I thought I'd pop into this thread, I'm going to be staying with my daughter, son in lawn and granddaughter in Zurich for Christmas.
I know we'll have to go skiing while we're there even for a day.

We'd either have to rent a car for 6 of us or get there by public transport.
Any ideas on a least phaaf destination?

It does not have to be tough skiing as this is my granddaughters first season, she's five already but this is the first winter that she will see snow. Won't it be exciting?

Worth considering Flumserberg. 1 hour direct train from Zürich to Unterterzen from where a gondola transports you up to the resort. Really nice varied area perfect for a day trip. Go midweek if you can as its easy access means it's likely to be busy on a good snow weekend. There should be some great value snow and rail deals for day trips on the SBB website.
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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.
Flims is much closer to Zurich than Davos. I have skied in Flims on a weekend by hire car, and it was nothing special but was fine for a weekend skiing from Zurich. Zermatt, Verbier, Crans Montana are much further from Zurich and are more of a destination than a convenience. Engelberg is probably the most skied area from Zurich due to proximity (I have not been there)

Not being a non-skier, it is difficult to comment on the pros and cons of resorts from a non-skiers perspective. St Moritz probably has a lot of interest for non skiers, and for skiers the skiing is average but well looked after. Zermatt is car free, and only electric vehicles are allowed there (same for Saas Fe). Again difficult to comment on non-skiers point of view, but the skiing in Zermatt and Verbier is fine and dandy.

It would probably be cheapest to go to Flims. Most expensive might be St Moritz. Zermatt and Verbier are probably what a skier would want. Engelberg is where locals from Germany and Zurich go.
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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
nbt wrote:
@abc, as Mrs NBT's Aunt will (probably) be driving over and finding a hotel for a night or two, a longer trip for her (3 or 4 hours driving instead of 90 minutes perhaps) is not out of the question - therefore it's a question of which resort we want to visit. If that resort is close enough for her not to need a hotel, great, but she's not averse to a nice hotel and a slap-up meal Smile


We've no firm plans at all yet. Provisional dates are mid-march, we'll be flying from Manchester as it's our local airport but we could fly to Geneva or Sion easily - Zurich is an option, as is Basel, although the latter is a little further from the resorts and the former involves connecting flights. Once we land, we might hire a car or use the railways

we could even use a tour-op package and go to Wengen / Grindelwald, we haven't discounted that, but all constructive feedback is useful


If you have non-skiers then Wengen is hard to beat. Plenty to do, good skiing and easy to meet up on the mountain for
lunch etc.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
The thermal resort of the Bains de Saillon (https://www.bainsdesaillon.ch/en/) is in the valley near to Sion and might appeal to anyone who is into the 'Wellness' spa thing, and could be a base for using the season Magic Pass (https://www.magicpass.ch/en/) which covers 25 ski and thermal resorts in the Valais region. Saillon is also near to Martigny-Le Chable which is the entry point up to Verbier (which isn't covered by the Magic Pass). The Magic Pass is CHF 399, but it may not be worth it if you're only going for a short visit.

Nice thing about staying in a thermal resort is that it might appeal to any non-skiers in your group, while you go off to ski for the day in that area (Ovronnaz, Crans, Val d'Annivers, Veysonnaz, La Tzoumaz, Verbier .... etc.). Plus, if the weather is terrible, then a thermal resort is not a bad place to spend the day. Nearby Martigny is also home to the fantastic modern art museum at the Giannada Foundation (http://www.gianadda.ch/), if you're into culture.

Whatever area you decide to go to, I would take a look at the official Swiss Tourist website (https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-gb/home.html) - they often have package deals for accomodation, passes and travel, as does the Swiss Travel Centre in London (www.stc.co.uk).


Last edited by You know it makes sense. on Thu 21-09-17 22:39; edited 4 times 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:
Davos is really by far the best choice if you have non skiers.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Thanks @hd I'll look into that. Flumserberg
We'd be thinking about Christmas day.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I’ve skied most of the resorts mentioned above and think Andermatt would me my choice. A lovely town, handy for Zurich by train, good hotels and great if slightly limited skiing.
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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?
nbt, I still don't see what the other alternative have that Davos don't.

That said, perhaps you should ask Mrs. nbt's aunt where she hasn't been. While Davos is a proper town for non-skiing visitors, she might had already been there many times, and may prefer to see some place she had never visited?
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@abc, easy access for us is the obvious one - damn sight easier to get single flight to Sion then up to VdA than connecting flights to Zurich
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@nbt, If you choose Davos (which I would recommend, although it's a bit of a 'marmite' resort) then it's much better to be in Dorf than Platz so that you're walking distance to the Parsenn funicular
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@nbt, in that case, why you could meet the aunt in Sion for a night at the end of your trip? Zürich to VdA is a long drive and the last bit is a bit hairy. ABSOLUTELY worth it for a weeks skiing, similarly not worth it for a short trip to sit in a hotel.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
It may be worth looking at some of the rail connections. See www.sbb.ch/en

For example, Zurich to Zermatt is about 3h15m, Zurich->Sion is about 2h30m. Also, if you can't fly into Sion and you're looking at Geneva, then Geneva->MArtigny is just under 2h. All this is shown on the SBB timetable, including connections by bus and télépherique etc.

It sort of comes back to whether your base is around the Valais (Martigny-Sion) with your aunt coming over to you, or Zurich, with you going over to her. If you decide to fly into Sion then it makes sense for you to make the Valais your 'base' for the skiing and ask your aunt to come over to you. Or to take a couple of days out of the end of your trip and train/drive over to Zurich to see her and then fly out from there. If you're going to ski near Zurich it makes more sense to fly into there in the first place.
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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!
Totally use trains/postbuses rather than a car.
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@under a new name, whilst the train services here are excellent, (we use them for over half our trips to the Swiss mountains), they are not always the best option. When we have visitors I generally feel I should drive them, as the trains are quite expensive without the halbtax. The Swiss Transfer Ticket is good value, but for a single destination. It does not apply if you are visiting multiple locations. My brother and sister in law visited earlier in the summer, and for that reason, a hire car worked out cheaper for them.

I assume the aunt is already familiar with the train services here and whether they make sense for her as she lives here.

@nbt, as another suggestion, how about Saas Fee? It is a really lovely area, and Saas Fee village is a nice place for a non-skier to hang out too.
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Quote:

you could meet the aunt in Sion for a night at the end of your trip?

Sadly there aren't any great hotels in Sion.
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Another vote for the Jungfrau domain being perfect for a non-skier, especially for the ease of being able to meet up with the skiers for lunch. My non-skiing ex absolutely loved Wengen. Davies is too big, busy and impersonal for my taste.
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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.
@Hurtle, where is Davies?
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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
@under a new name, not far from Kliesters I reckon!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
HossDoc wrote:
@under a new name, not far from Kliesters I reckon!
Quite. Sorry about that. I'm usually more careful.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Second both Saas-Fee and Wengen, non skiing grandparents have enjoyed both of those with us. I have also done both on the train / post bus from Zurich which is far nicer than driving.

Both pretty places and lots of mountain areas accessible without skis in both cases. Love both but not the Swiss prices!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Has anyone mentioned Mürren -


http://youtube.com/v/AC136PN9I1A
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