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Advice (on everything!) for novice family on first ski holiday

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
McKenzie,
The OP says the family are having weekly lessons before they go on holiday wink
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Bergmeister, Yes, I realised that when I re-read it but I left the comment there in case the was of use to anyone else.
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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?
zedzed_uk,
Welcome to Snowheads! Hopefully this will be the start of an unscratchable lifelong itch! wink

Picnic lunches could save you a fortune. it's hard to beat lunch in the sun, on a rock a few yards from a piste, with a stunning view. more resorts are now providing picnic rooms, so even in bad weather you can dine in (relative) comfort. As others have said, you could easily spend €100 on lunch for 4... Shocked
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Catered chalets are great, relatively low cost and you have breakfast and evening meal cooked for you, and a huge cake ready for when you get back from skiing, and wine is included with the meal, and in some chalets right through the night.

And you can use the breakfast facilities to make a packed lunch for the mountain.

And you get to meet a whole lot of other skiers who will be sharing your chalet with you, swapping tips, stories and just making new friends.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@zedzed_uk, if your kids can ski Hillend then snow will be easy. For clothes I wouldn't get to hung up, decathlon & even sports direct to good enough lines for what you will be needing, I still use my decathlon gear. I would suggest 2 pairs of the £10 decathlon gloves over 1 expensive pair, lets you swap at mid day to dry gloves.
With a family it might be worth making rolls up to take with you for lunch. & make sure the kids drink lots of water.
don't worry about speed or other skiers, they can ski round you, focus on enjoyment, if you all learn its a family thing that can go on for decades so no need to sprint.
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
I can't really add anything to what's already been said other than to say that the worst thing I ever did was get a private lesson for my wife and kids when they were learning. It's a completely different approach ( I'm a qualified rugby coach and you don't coach kids and adults the same way there either)
On top of that, my wife spent the whole time worrying about the kids safety rather than concentrating on her skiing, so a complete waste of time
I would suggest ski school or private lessons for the kids and the same for you and your wife, although don't underestimate how much more advanced you will be compared to her. It's like riding a bike and the basics she will be learning the first couple of days will come back to you by the first morning and you will be a) bored b) not advancing your skill set

Whilst it sounds a great idea to spend as much time as possible together on holiday, the realities of a ski holiday, due to the varying abilities, are usually somewhat different

I would recommend separating for lessons at least the first 3 days and just meet up at an agreed place for lunch. Then separate again and meet up post lessons to practice together

And last bit of advice for if and when you ski with your wife. As I said, you will be more advanced than her no matter what you think now, but never, ever,ever, under ANY circumstance offer her your advice, EVER
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
robandliza wrote:
And last bit of advice for if and when you ski with your wife. As I said, you will be more advanced than her no matter what you think now, but never, ever,ever, under ANY circumstance offer her your advice, EVER

There's a story there waiting to be told wink
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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!
Plenty of good advice already. On self catering a few tips - its hard work cooking up a meal after a hard days skiing, often you just want a bit of down time after a day on the slopes rather than wandering around a supermarket at 5:00pm. So what to do - mornings - plenty of apartments will run/have bread delivery services - yes it costs more to have you breakfast baguette and croissants delivered - but do you want to get dressed, trek to boulangerie and back in time for everyone to get fed? Otherwise its cereal and milk, but remember you are using a lot of energy skiing so need to pack in some calories at some point in the day.
Evening meals - one thing the supermarkets do is a huge "pot" of something precooked that you can take away - often worth considering, no real cooking involved other than boiling pasta/rice - it saves time , and I have had some good easy food this way. Try and eat out at least once and go for the fondue/raclette night somewhere , its cheesy Very Happy and touristy, but good fun and a great family memory to have.
Meals on the hill tend to be expensive , so either have a quick lunch back at the apartment ( which will eat into your day) or keep it cheap with a hearty soup and drink. As others mentioned above , take plenty of snacks ( mini mars etc) that you can stuff in everyones pockets to keep them going.
Finally resist the urge to ski with a rucksac, let everyone look after their own kit, the last thing you need is a sac getting in the way while mum/dad learns to ski.
Have a great time, I am sure you will.
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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.
Don’t under estimate how long it takes to get the family suited and booted ready to leave...

Get the kids ready first in the chalet, then sling your stuff on last otherwise I tend to overheat, and lose patience.

At the end of each day, make sure everyone knows where their stuff is for the next day (rather than thrown to the floor wherever it was taken off) so there is no last minute “where’s my glove”

One other item - keep hydrated. It is exercise and easy to dehydrate esp. after a night of ‘free’ flowing chalet wine....
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Sorry, before I am corrected re: getting ready - of course, ski boots will need to be left till last and put on not in the chalet but more likely the boot room or ski locker!
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Lots of great advice above, I'd echo the 'never try to teach the missus/significant other/ANY teenager/or your own anklebiters' meme. Only go self catering IF ALL OF YOU LOVE COOKING . . . AND . . . CLEANING UP!!!!

Beyond that, don't try to carry everyone's spare gear, a small pack with minimal dangling straps etc. containing spare fleece and gloves and maybe a small water or juice bottle for the nippers, you should have the same + some mini mars bars, a good emergency blanket (they're small and cheap), a head torch (you can screw up and end up in the winter dark quite easily), a half dozen or so 'teabag' hand/foot warmers and perhaps a lightstick or two. . . if you're really a bit nervous a reserve phone charge pack. AND FIRST OF ALL . . . the contact telephone numbers for your accommodation/lift company/piste patrol/local emergency services/friends and family.
All of there are small/light/cheap and you will probably never need them . . . but poop happens . . . and if that's at the end of the day when it suddenly gets cold and dark and you're waiting for the patrol/basher to find you . . . these are simple things that will keep you safe and alive in a simple "Booger, but we'll be fine" situation . . . rather than "Honey I killed the kids scenario" wink

You've joined an amazing sport that'll fill your soul with joy, just take a brief moment to minimise the risks. Very Happy
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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.
Quote:

its hard work cooking up a meal after a hard days skiing


Horses for courses, but I just don't see this. For me it's my downtime, I enjoy pottering around in the kitchen with a glass of wine cooking. Nothing complicated, just quick and simple pasta, chilli, risotto etc. Agree with the have a night out though.

In terms of getting ready - always insist that kids of all ages (and parents Embarassed ) go for a safety wee before leaving the apartment
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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
Boris wrote:
In terms of getting ready - always insist that kids of all ages (and parents Embarassed ) go for a safety wee before leaving the apartment

when you get to our age better make that a 'safety poo' too wink
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@auntie masque, You do realise that the original poster is going on March 24th. It does not get dark until about 8:00 that time of year. The lifts will have long shut and the pistuers swept the pistes for any lagards.

ps you forgot to add toilet paper, and bivvey bag to your list.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Lots of good tips. Agree look at decathlon and sports direct. It will probably be warmer than you think so thinner layers are often better.

Take your time and as others have said finish before you get tired. The slopes cut up at the end of the day especially later in the season. There's nothing worse than slushy moguls with bare icy patches on the last run down with tired legs.
Don't underestimate the restorative value of chocolate. Have copious supplies in your pockets.
If you are self-catering and driving stop at a supermarket before you head up into the resort
Phones for all if possible.certainly put your phone numbers and accommodation name in the kids pockets. They will leave you behind.
Enjoy it. Don't forget it's a holiday!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@johnE, snow is less a pollutant than paper (if a 'trifle' more . . . umm . . . 'refreshing') and no a 'bivvey bag' is a bit extreme fer a noob. Yup it does get dark later, but that doesn't mean that you can't get stuck out on the hill when it does. It costs and weighs little to be prepared with the minimal kit. I've spent a couple of hours walking down a piste with someone who's confidence imploded when the sun went down. It was well past full dark when we got to the village.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Really simple..................

After all this advice.............., it IS 80% plus about les enfants.......

Make memories. Because this trip will be, before you realize same, in the rear view mirror of life. You have a camera, non? Direct as best you can the flow, but, above all............., go with the flow. And when your kids shine, that is the ultimate indictment of family. Ave atque vale...................
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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?
@arcsinice, +1 (thousand) good vibes are priceless Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Thanks again for all the advice - it really is appreciated Very Happy I've got my check list (well, Excel spreadsheet!) with all the items we'll need

We have decided to go to Avoriaz ... seems a little more expensive than Flaine but we've taken the recommendations from this thread on board, and the idea of a truly pedestrianised resort sounds good. We've booked an apartment ... went to ownersdirect website since everywhere else was a bit pricey, and the owner of the Apt has contacted me directly to say I can book through him instead of via the website, and save 100 Euro. Ordinarily I'd be wary ... but he does have 25+ 5* ratings on ownersdirect, and positive ratings for another property too, so I assume it's legit. He's sending me a contract thru the post and said he'll post the keys 2 weeks in advance of holiday ... but obviously I'll make sure I check everything out before any cash changes hands! If anyone else has done this before (and had positive/negative stories) please let me know. There's always the option that I go back to him and ask him to relist it on ownersdirect for that week so that I can book via the website.

Anyway .. getting very exciting and spending too much time watching youtube videos all about the place. Roll on March!
ski holidays
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I'm planning on skiing at Glenshee (snow & weather permitting) in the second half of the half-term week with our 13 year old twins, another 13 year old & an 8 year old, all of whom have learned at Hillend & are just starting to make the transition to snow. You would be welcome to join us if you feel ready for it.
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
McKenzie wrote:
I'm planning on skiing at Glenshee (snow & weather permitting) in the second half of the half-term week with our 13 year old twins, another 13 year old & an 8 year old, all of whom have learned at Hillend & are just starting to make the transition to snow. You would be welcome to join us if you feel ready for it.


Thank you Little Angel

I'll give you a shout after a few lessons and see how confident we're feeling Very Happy
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@zedzed_uk, I'd be very wary doing that, especially as sending the keys to you seems very strange, usually you would get them in resort. Is the owner English? Feel free to send me their name if you'd like as I live in Les Gets and may be able to find something out about them. Even if you can google the name and confirm who they are and that they own the apartment another way. Anyway to try and answer some questions;

Location / Accommodation
I'm biased because I fell in love with Les Gets the first time I came here and have now lived here for five years. I think the whole Portes du Soleil is a great area and Avoriaz is a good choice however I personally prefer the village of Les Gets and the snow in March is usually (last year nonewithstanding) pretty good. Even when the cover is thin, which it isn't this year, we're on pasture land not stones so it doesn't get rocky. It's also really well laid out for families and beginners with the Indian village allowing people to gain confidence away from the main pistes. I work for an estate agency who specialises in putting together tailor made self catering holidays so it takes the fear out of going to a French resort. Personally I preferred self catering holidays because I could hang out in my pjyamas at the end of the day if I wanted rather than sitting down to a three course meal and controlling my children but that's a subjective choice.

Gear
For a beginner hiring is a good idea. Try to get recommendations from people in resort as to the hire shop.

I'd recommend spending a few pounds on underclothes at decathlon. My kids ski three times a week in all conditions and their cheap entry level underwear and polar jerseys keep them warm. Something to protect their neck is also a good idea, even in March it can get cold and the wind can be cutting. The underclothing tends to fit for 2/3 years and the neck protectors until they get lost.

Ski pass
If you're going to avoriaz then see if the ESF does a beginners pack like that in Les Gets that will give you access to the areas you need along with your lessons. If not then I'd say for 6 days you'll be happy with a Morzine/Avoriaz/Les Gets pass rather than the full PdS

General advice
Relax, it won't all go perfectly, don't feel you have to ski every second to get your monies worth. It can be tiring for kids. There's a nice swimming complex called aquariaz which the kids will enjoy.

Put high energy foods in their pockets, it's sometimes necessary to get to the end of the piste

Get insurance!

Get group ski lessons for the kids and yourselves and then ski together afterwards. There are loads of good english schools in Avoriaz which do tend to be pricey and I don't know if they do group lessons. Unfortunately I can't recommend specific instructors as my area of expertise is Les Gets.

If you're driving up as opposed to taking the telecabine then make sure you're properly equipped with snow tyres and chains.

Again, if you're driving, do an online order at superU or carrefour and pick it up on your way through, don't forget to get loo roll etc! You can ask the person you're renting with if they can do you a basic order list in French, that's something we do for our clients as it makes it easier.

If you're getting a transfer then make sure that you choose a reputable company. There are some out here who I hear consistently bad things about.

Get the kids dressed in underclothes before they come out of their bedroom in the mornings and then lay out all their outer clothing in order to put on.

Do the kids boots up the tightest possible, especially the top two buckles.

Have fun!


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Sat 3-02-18 21:55; edited 1 time in total
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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!
zedzed_uk wrote:
We've booked an apartment ... went to ownersdirect website since everywhere else was a bit pricey, and the owner of the Apt has contacted me directly to say I can book through him instead of via the website, and save 100 Euro. Ordinarily I'd be wary ... but he does have 25+ 5* ratings on ownersdirect, and positive ratings for another property too, so I assume it's legit. He's sending me a contract thru the post and said he'll post the keys 2 weeks in advance of holiday ... but obviously I'll make sure I check everything out before any cash changes hands! If anyone else has done this before (and had positive/negative stories) please let me know. There's always the option that I go back to him and ask him to relist it on ownersdirect for that week so that I can book via the website.

I've had owners send me the keys in the post. Never been an issue. Don't sweat it.
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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.
Sunweb are excellent, very straight forward, prices excellent.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
There are 4 or 5 beginner lifts in Flaine that don't require you to have a lift pass.

Chances are that those lifts will probably suffice for the first couple of days. So I might be better to just pay a 4 day pass after the first couple of free days.

Can't see the point in getting a GM lift pass if you're beginners. The Flaine pass will be plenty.

Oops...sorry I missed the bit were you said you've decided on Avoriaz.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Hi there,

Just a follow up to say a big "thank you" to all posters in this thread. We're just back from Avoriaz and had an amazing time!

All the advice was great, and for anyone that comes across this thread in future here's what we did:

Flights: Easyjet Glasgow to Geneva (2 hour delay on way out, on time on way back!). We're closer to Edinburgh, but Glasgow was over £100 cheaper so worth the extra 30 mins in the car.

Taxi: Jet Transfers (via findtransfers.com) - great service. No problems with our 2 hour delay on way out, and driver was in Avoriaz about 45 minutes before schedule pick up time on way home.

Lift pass: Direct on serma.com. I uploaded images of each passport (with key details blurred) and that seemed fine to get family of 4 discount (2 adults, 2 kids).

Lessons: Private lessons (5 x 2 hours, at 11 a.m. each day) with ESF, for whole family (as we were all beginners). Instruction was good, although language (instructor French) was a little issue at times, and sometimes I didn't quite hear all the instructions as I was at the back of the family queue behind kids and wife! She took us to various slopes - harder each day, and to different parts of the resort, so like having a little "mini-guide", which was nice. She also took the kids on little "off piste" trips to keep them entertained. ESF were definitely the cheapest for private lessons - and I was happy we got what we paid for. Next year (given the kids are advancing faster than us!) I think we'd split up for lessons, but if everyone in the family are beginners like we were this worked well. Towards the end of the week the kids and I did a red run (Tannes) - which is an easy red, and we all coped fine - no fallers!

Accommodation: AirBnB, in the Alpage 1 building, which is very close to main areas, and pretty good for getting onto the slopes. Either ski to dromonts drag, or down to bottom of town and get Tour chairlift). For the first half of the week we did the drag, as it was a blue down to the Tour chairlift. Once we had all found our "ski legs" and felt ok on Blues we used Tour. Didn't seem to be any "boot room" (just a slim locker for ski's) in Alpage, so boots were kept in our room. From what I read before this might not be "normal", but obviously was fine by us!

Ski Hire: Top Ski (Twinner), via "Alpinresorts.com" to get best price). Wives boots were agony by end of first day (close to tears agony!), so 2nd day she went back and got another pair. Much better. Skis seemed in decent nick, but I think was pretty standard beginners stuff. Googling the boots I had and I think they were a 2014 model. Fitting was measuring foot length, gave us boots and asked "is it ok?". Having had no experience before I can't say if this was good or bad - but since it was pretty much the cheapest ski hire I could find I guess maybe you do get what you pay for? Would maybe pay a little more next time and see if the service/skis/boots are better, but ultimately I couldn't complain.

Eating out in Avoriaz was fine, but expensive and I didn't think anywhere was amazing or worth the money. e.g. Wive and I had raclette for 2, daughter had Pizza, Son had Trout (from adult menu). 1 glass of wine, 1 beer, 1 coke and 1 mineral water. Total price: 130 Euro. So we ate in the apartment most nights, and spent the money "saved" on hot chocolates and pancakes/waffles while we were out skiing. There is a takeaway Pizza/Burger place (Piz'Burg) on the main street, about 10 Euro for a Pizza, and these were nice. We ordered 1 each and that was fine ... but if you're a big eater you might want some fries too!

For stuff we bought / took:
Gloves, base layers - mostly from Decathlon
Some really cheap "buffs" that came in very handy, easy to wear under helmet: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B074R9WQP3/?tag=amz07b-21
Jackets/salopettes - kids stuff was Tog24, Wives was Dare2Be (from "brandalley.com"), mine was DLX (from Trespass.com). Everything was heavily discounted (does anyone buy this at RRP?) - but we were buying stuff in March so maybe we did get a bargain. i.e. Wive's gear - Jacket RRP £180, cost £54, Salopettes RRP £100, cost £36. All stuff kept us dry and warm (although it wasn't crazy low temps).
Bought hand warmers from Amazon, the kids liked these in their pockets for use when going up chair lifts: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01N9199RW/?tag=amz07b-21

If anyone has any questions - feel free to ask!

Cheers,
Zed
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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.
@zedzed_uk, thanks for reporting back - and so glad it went well!
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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
@zedzed_uk, great to hear! Guess you are hooked Wink Where next year...?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Themasterpiece wrote:
@zedzed_uk, great to hear! Guess you are hooked Wink Where next year...?


Yup ... totally hooked (and not just me - the whole family!). First time ever we're back a holiday and we're straight on to looking where to book next year! Very Happy
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
zedzed_uk wrote:
Ski Hire: Top Ski (Twinner), via "Alpinresorts.com" to get best price). Wives boots were agony by end of first day (close to tears agony!), so 2nd day she went back and got another pair. Much better. Skis seemed in decent nick, but I think was pretty standard beginners stuff. Googling the boots I had and I think they were a 2014 model. Fitting was measuring foot length, gave us boots and asked "is it ok?". Having had no experience before I can't say if this was good or bad - but since it was pretty much the cheapest ski hire I could find I guess maybe you do get what you pay for? Would maybe pay a little more next time and see if the service/skis/boots are better, but ultimately I couldn't complain.


If there is going to be a 'next time', then I would recommend getting your own boots, and properly fitted. But Ski hire appears to be cheaper than what airlines charge you to take your own.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@zedzed_uk, glad the snowHeads advice was useful but, most of all, that you all had a brilliant time. Thanks for really useful points from your trip too. snowHead

The one important thing I'd highlight is don't wait until rental boots are agony...get back to shop at first sign of trouble.

Come back when you're creating a shortlist for next trip....that'll bring out lots of different advice wink
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
€130 for four without copious vin de table is really very pricey. Where was that? We spend most of our time in Chamonix and it’s known not cheap but lunch on the hill yesterday, was about €25 a head, including half litre of red and some beers.

What you had should be raclette maybe 40 for 2, pizza, 10-15, trout (who knows, but hopefully sourced in Prodains) say, 15, two soft drinks at say 4 each, same for glass of wine and a pint around 7-8, comes to ~€90

You can’t expect Italian vfm, but €130 defo seems expensive!
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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?
zedzed_uk wrote:
Didn't seem to be any "boot room" (just a slim locker for ski's) in Alpage, so boots were kept in our room. From what I read before this might not be "normal", but obviously was fine by us!

Rare for their to be a boot room or somewhere to store boots IME. We always take ours to our room.
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