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Recommendations for a French Trip

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hello All,

I'm looking at driving to the French Alps in Feb next year, with a friend - the idea is to take the 4x4 so we've got a bit of flexibility, stay in an airbnb that's located centrally to a few places so we can ski at different resorts over the ten days we plan on being there.

Budget is about £1,000 each which has to include diesel, accommodation and lift passes - but not food and beer money.

We're up for splitting the trip in 2, and doing 4 nights in one place and 5 in another.

Any suggestions as to where we should stay / ski etc etc? Particularly keen to hear from anyone on here who might actually have somewhere we can stay.

Thanks in advance!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@LukeRibs, best to stick to early February , as it is French holiday from 10th onwards.
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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?
@LukeRibs, I recommend picking your central point so that you can access resorts which get different weather systems, to maximise your chances of being able to access good, or even epic conditions Happy

For example, this works really well in Serre Chevalier, as you have the Montgenevre/Sestriere/Sauze to the SE, and La Grave out to the NW. The difference in conditions between La Grave and Sestriere can be enormous. I have been there the last 3 years on the SOPiB, and in 2015 we had good snow locally in SC, amazing untracked powder in La Grave, but Montgenevre was a bit meh. In 2016 it was the opposite - La Grave was fun but bumped up, whilst Sestriere and Sauze had the deepest fresh powder I have ever skied.

Agree with the advice to stay out of France in the French holidays!
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@LukeRibs, what sort of skiing do you do/like/dislike? Any places in the past you've loved/hated, just to give idea of the sort of features you prefer? What about apres - raucous/lively/quiet/not bothered?
Sounds like a great trip and +1 for avoiding the French school holidays if possible. snowHead
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Here's a suggestion for you:
http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=2649230
In fact there are quite a few suggestions if you click the links therein for previous years.

Also have a wade through this old (but still relevant) brochure that covers most of your options:
http://www.maurienne.fr/pdf/saison/1408621620_GuideNeige_2014bat.pdf

If I were you I'd pick a valley with lots of small stations up the sides and then stay somewhere central in the bottom. It means a drive at the beginning and end of each day but just treat it as part of the experience.
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@Gämsbock, you forget to mention the Retour D'Est and the Queyras Cool
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Your budget needs to include motorway tolls? Diesel and tolls would be roughly £130 each way (see viamichelin.com for costs). And you need to add ferry/eurotunnel costs. To come in on £100 day you definitely need to avoid the French school holidays which start on 10 Feb. One cheap suggestion is Ibis budget hotel in Sallanches (around £35 a night for a double room). Easy driving to Flaine, Chamonix, Combloux/Megeve, Les Contamines. Next to big supermarket for cheap eats.

You don't need a 4 x 4 - though obviously if you've got one, it makes sense to take it! And presumably you'll take your own ski kit?

Accommodation on other than a Sat/Sat basis can take some finding in French resorts - and gets harder as the holidays approach. Not impossible, but staying in the valley and driving might be a good bet.
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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!
There is also an Ibis budget in the Maurienne.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
I'd agree with @pam w, for access to all those areas. Lift passes may influence it there though.

I like the Maurienne valley though as @rjs, suggests. There's far more along there than UK centric promoted areas acknowledge.

Left field suggestion, similar to the Sallanche situation but in Switzerland, Sion area for all the Valais ski domains including Zermatt, Val D Anniviers etc.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Bourg st Maurice could be an obvious answer for a self catered AirB&B

From there you have direct access to

1)The Paradiski via funicular in town. (Les Arcs and La Plagne, Mahoosive ski area)

You can always drive to

2)Espace Killy (Tignes & Val d'Isere , another mahoosive ski area) Park in Tignes le Brevieres for free parking to keep it cheap.

3)Espace San Bernardo (La Rosiere & La thuile in Italy, International ski area)

4) St Foy (Small and quiet for a change)

As suggested the French , UK, Belguim etc etc school holiday all start on the 10th Feb. I'd plan to be ending your holiday and be driving North away from the Alps on the 10th Feb if not before.

Another idea could be start with a catered stay in Chalet Chardons in Tignes le breviere for a week in the espace Killy which is BIG and then a short 3 night stay in La Plagne (Les Coches) for Espace Killy which is also BIG with Mountainsun. (Both cheap and cheerful places to stay but food all sorted for you so takes out those costs).

https://www.chaletchardons.com/en/hotel-prices/

http://mountainsunfrance.com/shortskibreaks/paradiski-la-plagne-les-arcs-chalets-mazot-1-pere-marie/
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@@247snowman, I think your suggestion is excellent from a skiing viewpoint. I wonder if it could be done on a budget of about £110 per night, including all travel, accommodation and lift passes?
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Yes, definitely avoid the French holidays. I like the idea of being based in Briançon for a couple of days -- can get France and Italy. Interesting town with good food.

The super-cheap Chamonix area option would be Cluses, not much of a town but within easy striking distance (<45 minutes) of Flaine, Chamonix, Les Gets, Morzine and probably some other places.

I have not been to the Maurienne but our French friends have strongly recommended it. And it seems to be popular here.
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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
For a change of scene, Aosta?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
From a Sallanches base the "Mont Blanc Evasion" pass would have a lot to offer. Plus maybe a day or two in the Grand Massif. Lots of other good ideas too - but that happens to be the area I know best.

Yes, definitely be driving north by 10 February. Watching the south bound hordes on the other carriageway!!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
It's not Feb but......
£221 Chalet Chardons, Tignes le Brev for 7 x nights catered arrive 20th Jan.
£250 6 x days lift pass espace Killy
£369 3 x night at Chalet Mazot catered in la Plagne arrive 27th Jan with Mountain sun inc Paradiski ski pass (ski28th,29th,30th)
£15 Formul 1 in Dyjon on the 30th splitting the journey on the way back.
£50 share of ferry, out 20th Jan 06:40am ferry drive straight to Tignes le Brev, return 31st Jan after stopping in a cheap F1 hotel the night before and skiing the 30th.
£70 tolls (share of)
£120 fuel (share of)
£1095 for 9 x days skiing, 10 x night half board in chalets and 1 x night in an F1 hotel on the 30th
only have to buy lunch and a few beers while away (wine included with dinner at both Chalets)
I should be a budget travel agent

Very Happy
Also as suggested, another idea could be Aosta and it is a fab town. Use Aosta town as a base and ski Pila and still close enough to hit up La Thuile, Courmayer & Cervina linked with Zermatt.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Wow!

So MUCH help and info to digest!

All - thank so much for the French School holiday warnings. Genuinely hadn't considered this so now looking to be flexible on the dates. When do the French holidays end? When will it be safe to ski, sans les enfants terrible?

@Gamsbock - definite possibility; SC on the pile to look at closely!

@Intermediate - There's three of us, and we're probably best described as 'advanced intermediate' to advanced - and we're happiest in powder but who isn't? Apres wise one of the thoughts I'd had was staying close enough to a resort that's served by public transport, so whilst we'd be driving most days - we could have a could of days without the truck and have a few beers but still get home safely. Previously I've loved the skiing at Squaw Valley, The Via Lattea and L2A. Never really HATED anywhere; but found Val d'Isere and Les Arcs a bit smug...

@altis - Brilliant! Thanks!

@pam w - Good point on the tolls. Noted. Bought the 4x4 for work - but had this in mind when I chose it wink - yes we have our own kit.

@ski3 and @under a new name - Despite my now having even more info to wade through, I think that the French holiday thing and taking your comments on board; we're now open to other countries...

@247snowman - all noted; Bourg was actually on my original list as I seem to have been through it an infinite number of times and always thought about staying there as a base. Second idea in Jan looks great but I'm already in Cervinia that week...

@Pasigal - Noted - thanks!

Thanks again everyone! So much more enjoyable research to do!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@LukeRibs,

holiday dates. Have a great trip
http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=128363
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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?
@@247snowman,
Quote:

I should be a budget travel agent

You should be running the Treasury! Great itinerary for bargain skiing in top areas. Chardons and Mountain Sun have deservedly good reputations.

@pam w, good idea of Sallanches base. Evasion Mont Blanc area so underrated IMO.
For advanced skiers, small extra cost of Mont Blanc Unlimited pass maybe offers more challenging skiing and alpine experiences in and around Cham valley, still including EMB? eg Aiguille du Midi, Vallee Blanche, Mer de Glace, Megeve, Verbier, Courmayeur. 45 euros/day for 10 day pass looks good value.
https://www.chamonix.net/english/lift-systems/lift-passes#mbu

Maurienne valley a good shout too by @altis, @ski3,. As well as lots of interesting smaller resorts, it offers cheap access to 3V, via the back door of Orelle. If snow conditions not so good lower down, Orelle gondola and chair has you up in Val Thorens fairly quickly.
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@LukeRibs,
Quote:

@247snowman
Second idea in Jan looks great but I'm already in Cervinia that week


Hang on...you're already in Cervinia last week of Jan...are you aiming to be in French Alps before Feb school holidays start? If so, not worth going back to UK? (grotty here late Jan anyway) snowHead
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Just to say it before anyone else does...😀..... Don’t forget the £600 you need to spend on getting winter tyres for the 4x4!
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@intermediate, I'm in Cervnia 13th - 20th on the annual package trip - pretty beholden to the dates in Feb thanks to other party member's work commitments. Although work is now making it look likely I'll actually have to re-jig the whole thing to drive Monday 12th, ski 7 full days the drive home Tuesday 20th - so France is now out of the question because of the school holiday situation...

Thankfully some of the great suggestions above have given me a few ideas!
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@LukeRibs,
Quote:

drive Monday 12th, ski 7 full days the drive home Tuesday 20th

A tough mission but someone has to do it! Enjoy. snowHead
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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!
@foxtrotzulu, That'll be another thread closer to the time wink
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