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Forward planning for next season.

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Some of you may remember that my family made the trek from Australia to Europe last season for a mix of skiing and tourist things. We’ve been contemplating a trip to Europe or British Columbia for New Year 20/21 and we think we’ve settled on Europe so the planning begins in earnest because the flights (not an insignificant cost for a family of four) will be cheapest in February which is not far away.

Work and school commitments will dictate our trip will be from about Christmas for a duration of about 3 and a half weeks. We would like to tick off a few bucket list items while we’re in the region because the cost and inconvenience of these ‘around the world’ trips may mean we never get back to Europe. (It’s a 25 hour flight from Brisbane - not just a two hour thing like most of you can take advantage of).

1. We want to ski the Arlberg and Ischgl region along with the Tarentaise area. Which would be busiest and most costly for new year week? I suppose both areas are a crap shoot as far as snow conditions go at that time of year but I think Austria would have the best snow making of the two?

2. My daughter is very into her French studies so we would go to Paris for a couple of days at the start or end. Which would be better (Christmas or mid January)? The timing of this will be determined also by what week we ski in France I guess.

3. The week in between the two regions would likely take in a quick city break and then a rail journey through Switzerland (that will likely take in a day or two skiing at one of the Swiss icon resorts).

4. Open jaw flights would be fine.

5. We would likely hire a car when in Austria and again for the week in France.

6. We will be lugging ski gear with us which we’re comfortable with.

@Alistair Pink was incredibly helpful last time so if he would be kind enough to chime in the advice from “Pinks Tours” would be appreciated.

I get that what we are planning won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. We’re comfortable with the moving around thing. I understand why it is not the choice for some.

Thanks in advance!
snow conditions
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Can you switch and start with Tarentaise in December, and Austria in January?
I can address Ischgl having just returned yesterday. Was always told that it's snow sure for December, and it was. But they also said that in bad weather conditions it will be a bleak place, and it was like that for several days.
In 3 of our days there we had less than 100 theoretical km of opened slopes, with extremely limited visibility on the higher ones, thus making us ski mostly the few reds (albeit fun and challenging) going down to the village.
It's winter time and everything can happen, but if your family refrains from skiing in bad visibility/whiteout, I reckon Ischgl will be a gamble for late December.
On the other hand, in EK or Paradiski you will have enough pistes to ski in any condition, due to the lower and between trees options. Check the pistes map in skiresort.info how many slopes reach down to 1400 in Les Arcs/La Plagne or Tignes/Val d'Isere as compared to Ischgl.
I plan to return to Ischgl because I enjoyed it and intend to cover all skiable area, but in late Feb/early March.
Technical stuff: our hotel was booked 6 months in advance on the local site https://www.ischgl.com/en/Booking/Online-booking which ensures all money go to the hotel owners (so lower prices and higher availability). Booking in Ischgl entitles you to a cheaper skipass limited to the area.
I met (lovely) Snowheads who booked in Galthur at a half board hotel and came in the morning to Ischgl, they reported the skibuses were efficient. You can come by car, the road between them runs in the valley and is clean and easily doable in snow, there is a big parking lot just in front of A1 gondola.
Last March I was in St. Anton and I felt food prices etc. were similar.
If you wish to choose 2 skiing locations in Austria, also check Serfaus/Fiss/Ladis as well, it's in the neighbourhood.
Not far from Arlberg/Ischgl you'll have Solden/Obergurgl, another snowsure destination for December but not a challenging one.
And if you switch months, you'll have the amazing Saalbach in January
snow conditions
 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?
@sbooker, I would try to do the "city" part of the trip during the Christmas to New Year's week, leaving the skiing for the times that will be less crowded on the mountain.
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@mr. mike, that would seem like a good idea to me.

@sbooker, New Year is the busiest week of the year. If you can be in a city that week, then better. Xmas week not so busy but really the first full week of the season in many / most areas so, yes a bit of a crap shoot. Paris?, I'd think xmas would be nice, but busy. You could also consider Lyon, although, obviously, Paris is Paris.

Why the Tarentaise? Why Arlberg/Ishgl? (are they even close together? I don't know Austria very well). Anyway those questions aside,

Arrive in Paris. Do a few days.

Train to Bourg St Maurice. Ski Tarentaise.

Train up thru Switzerland, ski e.g. Verbier / Bernese Oberland (visit e.g. Bern? Zurich?) / Zermatt / Andermatt, thru Austria to ski Austria wherever.

Home.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I'd go BC
Europe is a dump Laughing
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drporat wrote:
Can you switch and start with Tarentaise in December, and Austria in January?
I can address Ischgl having just returned yesterday. Was always told that it's snow sure for December, and it was. But they also said that in bad weather conditions it will be a bleak place, and it was like that for several days.
In 3 of our days there we had less than 100 theoretical km of opened slopes, with extremely limited visibility on the higher ones, thus making us ski mostly the few reds (albeit fun and challenging) going down to the village.
It's winter time and everything can happen, but if your family refrains from skiing in bad visibility/whiteout, I reckon Ischgl will be a gamble for late December.
On the other hand, in EK or Paradiski you will have enough pistes to ski in any condition, due to the lower and between trees options. Check the pistes map in skiresort.info how many slopes reach down to 1400 in Les Arcs/La Plagne or Tignes/Val d'Isere as compared to Ischgl.
I plan to return to Ischgl because I enjoyed it and intend to cover all skiable area, but in late Feb/early March.
Technical stuff: our hotel was booked 6 months in advance on the local site https://www.ischgl.com/en/Booking/Online-booking which ensures all money go to the hotel owners (so lower prices and higher availability). Booking in Ischgl entitles you to a cheaper skipass limited to the area.
I met (lovely) Snowheads who booked in Galthur at a half board hotel and came in the morning to Ischgl, they reported the skibuses were efficient. You can come by car, the road between them runs in the valley and is clean and easily doable in snow, there is a big parking lot just in front of A1 gondola.
Last March I was in St. Anton and I felt food prices etc. were similar.
If you wish to choose 2 skiing locations in Austria, also check Serfaus/Fiss/Ladis as well, it's in the neighbourhood.
Not far from Arlberg/Ischgl you'll have Solden/Obergurgl, another snowsure destination for December but not a challenging one.
And if you switch months, you'll have the amazing Saalbach in January


Thanks for the reply. We can certainly ski France first then Austria later. Just chasing info on what would be the best (crowds and snow sure) order.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
under a new name wrote:
@mr. mike, that would seem like a good idea to me.

@sbooker, New Year is the busiest week of the year. If you can be in a city that week, then better. Xmas week not so busy but really the first full week of the season in many / most areas so, yes a bit of a crap shoot. Paris?, I'd think xmas would be nice, but busy. You could also consider Lyon, although, obviously, Paris is Paris.

Why the Tarentaise? Why Arlberg/Ishgl? (are they even close together? I don't know Austria very well). Anyway those questions aside,

Arrive in Paris. Do a few days.

Train to Bourg St Maurice. Ski Tarentaise.

Train up thru Switzerland, ski e.g. Verbier / Bernese Oberland (visit e.g. Bern? Zurich?) / Zermatt / Andermatt, thru Austria to ski Austria wherever.

Home.


Why Tarentaise? No great reason to be honest. It would be nice to check out a couple of the big resorts like Tignes and Les Arcs and there’s the option of visiting smaller hills like Saint Foye too. Last year we ski across from Italy into La Rosiere and the view down the valley......made me promise myself to come back.
I understand Cham is a legend and that’s a possibility too - as are the other areas close to Geneva. We checked out Chamonix very briefly last trip.
snow conditions
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
With all due respect to Bernese Oberland, Arlberg/ Ladis Fiss/Saalbach is better connected, bigger and cheaper. That's why I'm thinking of Austria and not CH.
In January all Austria should be amazing. With lower runs to escape to in case of whiteout. Which Ischgl basically doesn't have. I love St. Anton, will be there in 2 weeks and I definitely think it's a worthy and challenging place in January. Pick a second: Serfaus Fiss Ladis which is close, or Saalbach
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mr. mike wrote:
@sbooker, I would try to do the "city" part of the trip during the Christmas to New Year's week, leaving the skiing for the times that will be less crowded on the mountain.


I’ve considered this. We are a skiing family but my wife is perhaps not as avid as the rest of us and breaking up the skiing with a city visit would be good. Not a deal breaker though.
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@under a new name,
Will check out Lyon too. My wife isn’t sold on the Paris thing and if Lyon provides a French experience it may suit.
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Mr.Egg wrote:
I'd go BC
Europe is a dump Laughing


It’s a tough call that’s for sure but in a low snow season I think Europe is generally geared up better with snowmaking. We would prefer to ski powder of course but if that doesn’t eventuate sliding on man made whilst taking in views is a great alternative.
We were blown away by the quality of the (exclusively) man made snow in the Dolomites last year.
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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.
My other half and kids did Nz-Paris for Christmas week a couple of years ago - loved it. Then went on to the uk for a couple of weeks.

I looked after the dog then went to Austria with some mates the day they got back Happy

Will follow this with interest - planning something similar. My thinking is a city break first though because we always seem to get ill after a long flight going from summer to winter and would prefer to get that out of the way beforehand.
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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
@sbooker, hi, as you know I'd PM'd you some suggestions earlier in the year in response to your PM to me about your earlier travel plans. I'd recommended the Ski Amade region with its nearness to Salzburg for a city visit, and it's definitely a lovely area, but if you want to include a visit to St.Anton and/or Ischgl (and I can understand why) then you may not have time to include the Ski Amade region, it's your call.
As regards the Swiss section of your trip it's sensible as you suggest to use Swiss railways rather than rent a car, as the Swiss rail journeys can be very scenic in their own right and the two iconic scenic resorts of Zermatt (with the Matterhorn) and Wengen (with the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau) are car free and can only be reached by train anyway.
As before feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions. snowHead
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@sbooker, New Year week is just about the busiest week of the year in both St Anton & Ischgl, if you can avoid this week it would make for a better and cheaper visit.

I would start in Paris and spend a few days there. Better to spend peak holiday time city sightseeing than fighting with the hordes on the slopes. Assuming you start in France (long time since I skied there but I would say Val d'Isere best of the Tarentaise and visiting Chamonix is really worthwhile though January likely to be too early for the Vallee Blanche) then perhaps start and finish the French ski section in Geneva. Geneva is easy on the train from Paris and pick up a hire car to get to whatever resorts you choose.

From Geneva it is easy to get trains to many places in Switzerland. Swiss trains are very efficient but can be expensive though there are various ways to get the costs down, including advance booking and buying discount cards. Potential itineraries might include; Geneva - Interlaken - Zürich, from Interlaken get the train to Grindelwald or Wengen, the skiing is reasonable but the scenery is superb and so stereotypically Swiss under the north face of the Eiger, Geneva - Martigny - Visp - Zürich opens up allsorts of options, from Martigny you can get the train to Verbier, from Visp the train to Zermatt, from Visp you can go further east over some high passes, Andermatt and even onto to St Moritz or Davos (Davos not good in January due to major international conference).

From Zürich you can get the train direct to St Anton, the trains stop pretty much in the centre of the village (even if not quite in the middle as in days gone by). Ischgl is not far away from St Anton. Hiring a car in St Anton is not so easy. If you plan is to visit a few places maybe the best option is to get the train to Innsbruck (you pass through St Anton) pick up a car there which would leave you with a good few options, St Anton, Ischgl, Serfaus, Zillertal and many of the local spots around Innsbruck can be good too. Innsbruck is not a bad base if you want a day off from skiing.

At the end easy to get to Munich for the trip home.

The snow conditions are a lottery. January should have decent snow conditions everywhere though storms are relatively common. Some years (like now) conditions are better in the western alps and some years (like last year) better in the eastern alps there is no way of knowing in advance. I think the Austrian resorts invested earlier in snow making but many of the larger French resorts have also now invested similar sums so I dont think you would see much difference if you stick with the larger areas.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
b]@sbooker[/b], sound decision to return to Europe. Why the Tarentaise and Arlberg? Well how about that they're amongst the most extensive and challenging ski areas in the world that are served by good infrastructure? Will that do? The snow conditions this year in mid December in Espace Killy were very good and, more often than not, are OK early season. Also if your first week of skiing included Christmas, then their lift systems are better able to cope with crowds than most places.

That’s why I second the idea to do Tarentaise….Paris...city break...Swiss rail trip....Austria in that order. Makes the best of likely snow conditions, crowd management, bit of leg rest in the middle and a certain flow to the journey in my opinion.
Travel logistics include many options. Is Geneva a reasonable entry airport for you? If so, I'd start there and, after a long trans-continental flight, jump on a transfer bus to the Tarentaise location of choice, rather than drive down.
It's easy enough to rent a car from places like Bourg St Maurice and Moutiers. You may not need one for the whole time in that area, though a winterised car almost certainly useful for a few days.

BSM not a bad more reasonably priced base, than up the mountains, if you don't mind driving for 40 minutes or so each way on days when the Paradiski area isn't what you fancy. In BSM you have a proper town at your disposal. A funicular to Arcs 1600 with easy lift connections onwards. 40 mins to Tignes for the delights of Espace Killy. Less to St Foy, for between the trees or lower altitude off piste routes. 3V also possible, though a bit further. BSM also has a handy rail station you could use to get to Paris in a relaxed manner.

Your 2 or 3 days in Paris, no car required, would skim the highlights of one of the world’s great cities. Worth checking which big attractions are open and closed over Christmas/New Year period though.

Then you want another city break? Lots of options by rail again. Bruges/Gent? Or hop on a cheap flight or rail to Basel and check out there, plus nearby Freiburg im Breisgau for something quieter (Black Forest area)? Lyon another possibility, though would make more travel sense to slot that in before Paris. Again, good rail connections, BSM-Lyon-Paris.

A Swiss rail pass might be a relaxing way to traverse that country, if the economics work for you. Good access to iconic mountains, lakes, cities. Then Zurich to St Anton am Arlberg by rail is only just over 2 hours. Or if Zurich could be your eventual departure airport, then renting a car from there, for a round trip, might make sense.

Where to base yourself in the Arlberg? Lively? Classy/ Quieter? St Anton? Lech? Stuber/Warth? (for somewhere quieter and cheaper if you don’t mind driving to main lift hubs). If you’re beyond new year week by that stage, some good deals should be available for that area. It may even be worth booking accommodation through a British tour operator, with cheap late deals a high probability.

Others have mentioned good extra options in Austria but if you didn’t fancy the extra travel, the Arlberg has more than enough for a week.
I’m sure you’re aware that, compared with the Dolomites, skiing tends to be more challenging / gnarly in both Tarentaise and Arlberg areas. That said, with careful choice, there’s something for all to enjoy.

Happy planning.
snowHead
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Alastair Pink wrote:
@sbooker, hi, as you know I'd PM'd you some suggestions earlier in the year in response to your PM to me about your earlier travel plans. I'd recommended the Ski Amade region with its nearness to Salzburg for a city visit, and it's definitely a lovely area, but if you want to include a visit to St.Anton and/or Ischgl (and I can understand why) then you may not have time to include the Ski Amade region, it's your call.
As regards the Swiss section of your trip it's sensible as you suggest to use Swiss railways rather than rent a car, as the Swiss rail journeys can be very scenic in their own right and the two iconic scenic resorts of Zermatt (with the Matterhorn) and Wengen (with the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau) are car free and can only be reached by train anyway.
As before feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions. snowHead


Thanks Alastair. We loved the Zillertal when you recommended it last time so I'm sure we would equally like Ski Amade and Radstadt. My thoughts being early season is that if it is a mild start the higher mountains may fare better? Also the lure of the Arlberg because of it's legend status is strong. When we make our way across Switzerland I'll be sure to check out Wengen as the scenery looks magic.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
munich_irish wrote:
@sbooker, New Year week is just about the busiest week of the year in both St Anton & Ischgl, if you can avoid this week it would make for a better and cheaper visit.

I would start in Paris and spend a few days there. Better to spend peak holiday time city sightseeing than fighting with the hordes on the slopes. Assuming you start in France (long time since I skied there but I would say Val d'Isere best of the Tarentaise and visiting Chamonix is really worthwhile though January likely to be too early for the Vallee Blanche) then perhaps start and finish the French ski section in Geneva. Geneva is easy on the train from Paris and pick up a hire car to get to whatever resorts you choose.

From Geneva it is easy to get trains to many places in Switzerland. Swiss trains are very efficient but can be expensive though there are various ways to get the costs down, including advance booking and buying discount cards. Potential itineraries might include; Geneva - Interlaken - Zürich, from Interlaken get the train to Grindelwald or Wengen, the skiing is reasonable but the scenery is superb and so stereotypically Swiss under the north face of the Eiger, Geneva - Martigny - Visp - Zürich opens up allsorts of options, from Martigny you can get the train to Verbier, from Visp the train to Zermatt, from Visp you can go further east over some high passes, Andermatt and even onto to St Moritz or Davos (Davos not good in January due to major international conference).

From Zürich you can get the train direct to St Anton, the trains stop pretty much in the centre of the village (even if not quite in the middle as in days gone by). Ischgl is not far away from St Anton. Hiring a car in St Anton is not so easy. If you plan is to visit a few places maybe the best option is to get the train to Innsbruck (you pass through St Anton) pick up a car there which would leave you with a good few options, St Anton, Ischgl, Serfaus, Zillertal and many of the local spots around Innsbruck can be good too. Innsbruck is not a bad base if you want a day off from skiing.

At the end easy to get to Munich for the trip home.

The snow conditions are a lottery. January should have decent snow conditions everywhere though storms are relatively common. Some years (like now) conditions are better in the western alps and some years (like last year) better in the eastern alps there is no way of knowing in advance. I think the Austrian resorts invested earlier in snow making but many of the larger French resorts have also now invested similar sums so I dont think you would see much difference if you stick with the larger areas.


Thanks for the reply.
We can fly in and out of any combination of Paris, Geneva, Milan, Zurich and Munich without any real cost penalty.
It certainly appears Switzerland has plenty of fantastic options. Choices, choices.
My thoughts regarding the Austrian hills being set up for snow making better than France lead me to think of visiting that side first but if the French have upped their game I guess that shouldn't play a big part in the decision. Likely crowding is probably the biggest factor. Russian new year (first week of January?) usually affects Austria more than France?
Good tip regarding the car hire from Innsbruck. We stayed there for a few nights last time. I think we would opt for a base a bit closer to the ski areas we wish to visit (ei Landeck) if we choose to stay 'down in the valley'.
snow conditions
 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?
PeakyB wrote:
b]@sbooker[/b], sound decision to return to Europe. Why the Tarentaise and Arlberg? Well how about that they're amongst the most extensive and challenging ski areas in the world that are served by good infrastructure? Will that do? The snow conditions this year in mid December in Espace Killy were very good and, more often than not, are OK early season. Also if your first week of skiing included Christmas, then their lift systems are better able to cope with crowds than most places.

That’s why I second the idea to do Tarentaise….Paris...city break...Swiss rail trip....Austria in that order. Makes the best of likely snow conditions, crowd management, bit of leg rest in the middle and a certain flow to the journey in my opinion.
Travel logistics include many options. Is Geneva a reasonable entry airport for you? If so, I'd start there and, after a long trans-continental flight, jump on a transfer bus to the Tarentaise location of choice, rather than drive down.
It's easy enough to rent a car from places like Bourg St Maurice and Moutiers. You may not need one for the whole time in that area, though a winterised car almost certainly useful for a few days.

BSM not a bad more reasonably priced base, than up the mountains, if you don't mind driving for 40 minutes or so each way on days when the Paradiski area isn't what you fancy. In BSM you have a proper town at your disposal. A funicular to Arcs 1600 with easy lift connections onwards. 40 mins to Tignes for the delights of Espace Killy. Less to St Foy, for between the trees or lower altitude off piste routes. 3V also possible, though a bit further. BSM also has a handy rail station you could use to get to Paris in a relaxed manner.

Your 2 or 3 days in Paris, no car required, would skim the highlights of one of the world’s great cities. Worth checking which big attractions are open and closed over Christmas/New Year period though.

Then you want another city break? Lots of options by rail again. Bruges/Gent? Or hop on a cheap flight or rail to Basel and check out there, plus nearby Freiburg im Breisgau for something quieter (Black Forest area)? Lyon another possibility, though would make more travel sense to slot that in before Paris. Again, good rail connections, BSM-Lyon-Paris.

A Swiss rail pass might be a relaxing way to traverse that country, if the economics work for you. Good access to iconic mountains, lakes, cities. Then Zurich to St Anton am Arlberg by rail is only just over 2 hours. Or if Zurich could be your eventual departure airport, then renting a car from there, for a round trip, might make sense.

Where to base yourself in the Arlberg? Lively? Classy/ Quieter? St Anton? Lech? Stuber/Warth? (for somewhere quieter and cheaper if you don’t mind driving to main lift hubs). If you’re beyond new year week by that stage, some good deals should be available for that area. It may even be worth booking accommodation through a British tour operator, with cheap late deals a high probability.

Others have mentioned good extra options in Austria but if you didn’t fancy the extra travel, the Arlberg has more than enough for a week.
I’m sure you’re aware that, compared with the Dolomites, skiing tends to be more challenging / gnarly in both Tarentaise and Arlberg areas. That said, with careful choice, there’s something for all to enjoy.

Happy planning.
snowHead


Great info.
Your suggestions seem pretty sound. Maybe ski in France (we don't mind staying off snow and having a drive to the mountain each day) Christmas week, then head off on a city break, then go across Switzerland with a stop somewhere and then Austria at the end. We're not in need of raucous apres but certainly would like to check out the famous Mooserwirt one afternoon so staying somewhere close to a train station or bus stop would be great. We would still have a car to get to other destinations if we choose. I understand the skiing is different to what we experienced last time and that's fine. We're not experts but we (my son in particular) like challenging skiing sometimes and we will certainly arrange for some guiding this time around so we can experience off piste skiing in Europe.
*By the way I thought the north facing terrain above Arabba was a lot steeper than rest of the Dolomite areas.

1. So Christmas week is 'early' next year. Saturday the 19th to Saturday 26th and therefore New Year week will be 26th to the 2nd. Have I got that right? It would mean we could have the following two weeks in Europe.
2. Are the cities more expensive to stay in at that time of year? More crowded too?
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under a new name wrote:
@mr. mike, that would seem like a good idea to me.

@sbooker, New Year is the busiest week of the year. If you can be in a city that week, then better. Xmas week not so busy but really the first full week of the season in many / most areas so, yes a bit of a crap shoot. Paris?, I'd think xmas would be nice, but busy. You could also consider Lyon, although, obviously, Paris is Paris.

Why the Tarentaise? Why Arlberg/Ishgl? (are they even close together? I don't know Austria very well). Anyway those questions aside,

Arrive in Paris. Do a few days.

Train to Bourg St Maurice. Ski Tarentaise.

Train up thru Switzerland, ski e.g. Verbier / Bernese Oberland (visit e.g. Bern? Zurich?) / Zermatt / Andermatt, thru Austria to ski Austria wherever.

Home.


I had a quick look at Lyon and it looks fantastic. Closer to the ski areas too. Great suggestion and it would provide my daughter with some real French too I guess.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@sbooker, I don’t think the cities are expensive new year week. You might pay a premium if in Paris itself for New Years Eve celebrations.

Advance booking say an apartment, using Airbnb, Owners Direct, often gets a good price.

As a rough guide to prices for Paris and Lyon, check out what’s on offer right now for this year on booking.com.

Lyon is certainly worth a visit and looks significantly cheaper accommodation than Paris.

Yes the Marmolada side of Arabba certainly steeper than typical Dolomites ski terrain. Places like St Anton and Val D’Isere tend to throw more challenges at you. However they all have a full range of ways down the mountain.

Paradiski tends to be a little more forgiving overall. Conditions obviously make a huge difference at any particular time.

Hadn’t mentioned La Rosiere/La Thuile yet. Also easily reachable by car from BSM.
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@sbooker, One thing to think about is flights, typical best value airlines and what cabin class. If economy then Singapore via changi (if overnight in Singapore I can recommend a hotel) or EVA via Taipei may be the best value. SinaporeAir seems constantly the cheapest and is a great airline.

Once you decide on a few airline choices (and especially since you want to go at christmas) you may wish to book ASAP. Then re member, the airlines own websites tend to list the flights 3-4 weeks before google flights list them. It could save you a lot. If going after Christmas then it may not be so crucial.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@sbooker, My wife and I did a couple of nights in Lyon a few years ago during a bad snow year and really enjoyed it. It's not touristy at all, especially that time of the year. Not a huge place though, so probably not worth several nights of your trip. We also spent a night in Annecy and really enjoyed that too.
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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!
@PeakyB,
We had a day in La Rosiere last year when we crossed from La thuile. Wonderful sunny cool day with great scenery.

@GlasgowCyclops,
I have also found Singapore to be best value. Good tip on going direct to the sites. I didn't know that. I intend to book as early as possible.
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mr. mike wrote:
@sbooker, My wife and I did a couple of nights in Lyon a few years ago during a bad snow year and really enjoyed it. It's not touristy at all, especially that time of the year. Not a huge place though, so probably not worth several nights of your trip. We also spent a night in Annecy and really enjoyed that too.


Please keep foul language out of this thread. Laughing

I have been told by others that Annecy is a nice spot.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Annecy is amazing, especially in the summer. Small and romantic, with old narrow streets and a quaintwater canal in the old part of town. Plus a beautiful lake
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@sbooker, Russian New Year is an issue in Ischgl and the Arlberg but seems to be a lesser (or non existent) issue elsewhere. Landeck would be a more convenient base than Innsbruck for Arlberg, Ischgl & Serfaus etc, its a fairly small town, pleasant enough and I guess there would be some car hire places. Another option would be Imst a bit further east so less good for the Arlberg etc but better for the Ötztal though I am not a fan of Sölden. I do tend to agree that it is better to stay in the actual resorts rather than travel in every day.

As to snow making many Austrian resorts have very comprehensive installations eg Ischgl but the Arlberg not so much. Perhaps there is an issue of size, the larger the skiing area the more difficult and expensive it is to put in snow machines. Others need to comment on snow making in France but I believe at least the bigger resorts have the same level as Austria but the most comprehensive installations are in the Dolomites.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@sbooker, Annecy is lovely and often named as offering the best quality of life in France. Beautiful setting, upmarket feel and not too far from Geneva (40 minute drive), so offers 2 for 1 possibility.

On the downside it can be expensive and, in itself, is not a major city visit place, like Lyon is, for example. More a place to visit in summer for me, with all the lake activities going on.

If you decide on Tarentaise for a ski week, I think it would be worth seeking more detailed advice on the pros and cons of very specific locations. In my experience that can be very important.
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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
@sbooker, glad you enjoyed La Rosiere. It’s generally considered the ‘poor relation’ of the Tarentaise ski areas.

To be honest, not somewhere I’d often head to if based in that area. Nevertheless it’s another option fairly easily reached from BSM, should you fancy a change from the 1000kms or so of pistes in EK and Paradiski areas.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I agree with @PeakyB re: Annecy in summertime.
IMO, if you fly from Australia to Europe for the New Year, Paris makes more sense for the festivities than Lyon.
And then you have the trains to Zurich to Arlberg.
Been to 2 PSB early December in EK. Always was enough snow(natural plus man made) to properly enjoy the area.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
My niece lives in Lyon and we did a couple of days there coming back from skiing a couple of years ago. It is really nice, though let's be clear - it's not Paris. But then nowhere is.

Agree with everyone about skiing Christmas week and not new year week.

I know I am becoming a bit obsessed by this but at that time of the year access to skiing below the tree line is vital IMO.
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Poster: A snowHead
Paradiski has a reasonable amount of tree lined skiing. Espace Killy not much at all. St Foy some but it’s a small area.

35 minute drive from BSM to Brides Les Bains, for access to gondola up to Meribel and 3V. That has some tree skiing too, as does La Tania and Le Praz.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
PeakyB wrote:
Paradiski has a reasonable amount of tree lined skiing. Espace Killy not much at all. St Foy some but it’s a small area.

35 minute drive from BSM to Brides Les Bains, for access to gondola up to Meribel and 3V. That has some tree skiing too, as does La Tania and Le Praz.
snowHead

Correct, but where will you rather be in the second half of any given December? EK, Paradiski or 3V?
See also their opening dates...
I may be wrong but I feel more at large that early in the season in Tignes. You can always take the pistes to 1800, for what is worth.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
drporat wrote:
PeakyB wrote:
Paradiski has a reasonable amount of tree lined skiing. Espace Killy not much at all. St Foy some but it’s a small area.

35 minute drive from BSM to Brides Les Bains, for access to gondola up to Meribel and 3V. That has some tree skiing too, as does La Tania and Le Praz.
snowHead

Correct, but where will you rather be in the second half of any given December? EK, Paradiski or 3V?
See also their opening dates...
I may be wrong but I feel more at large that early in the season in Tignes. You can always take the pistes to 1800, for what is worth.

The OP said from "Christmas Week" - all of the above are fully open that week. In a good year they will all be good, in a bad year they'll all be good. The difference comes in regard of poor weather and skiing below the tree line. Which is why I more often than not base my self at Les Coches and has proven last week allowed a lot of great skiing when at 2000m+ it was very difficult, if not impossible.
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Thanks all for the input. Very helpful.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Layne, thanks for your answer.
I know you like Les Coches a lot, and I remember the OP referred to a month starting with Christmas week.
Because EK opens 2 to 3 weeks earlier than Paradiski (30 Nov. opposed to 14/21 Dec.) I felt more secure going there every time.
On the other hand, in blizzard times I had limited lower runs available and open.
I should really try Les Coches.
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@Layne, I think most years what you say about snow conditions being good during Christmas week is true.

But there are exceptions. I think 2015, staying in Arcs 1600, was one recent example. There had been little snow. Much of the Paradiski area was open but frequent ice patches and many loose and fixed protruding rocks to encounter.

The runs down to Les Coches and back from La Plagne towards the Vanoise Express were a nightmare that week. In fact I completely wrote off a pair of brand new skis. Insured rental ones fortunately for me.

For the last 3 day’s that week we rented a car from BSM and drove to Tignes each day. Completely different depth and quality of snow conditions. Very enjoyable; more so when we heard tales of worsening conditions in Paradiski as the week came to a close.

So I stick with my recommendation for Christmas week, if you have a winterised car and are OK to use it. Base yourself in the valley and choose destinations on a daily basis.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Ok. A couple of questions. If we fly into Zurich or Geneva and collect a car will we definitely get winter tyres?
I believe a car from Germany will certainly have winter tyres and one from Italy unlikely to have winters?

Secondly. Are we absolutely sure that the week after New Year week (which will begin on the 2nd of January next year) accommodation will be fairly easy to book just prior (so we know which areas may have good/better conditions)?

Thanks again for your input.
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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!
Can't help you with Zurich, but we also do crazy things and fly to France from Brisbane to go skiing (and visit family). With Geneva you need to make sure you hire from the Swiss side and then the car hire will come with snow tires (prior to 31 Mar) and a carnet for the motorway (saves time and confused navigation, or admin to get your own carnet). If you hire from the French side getting anything fit for snow is hit and miss. You can transfer from Swiss to French side easily so doesn't matter which side your flight is from/to. We've also flown in to Geneva, hired a car, gone skiing, dumped the car back at the Geneva airport Swiss side, nipped over and picked up something cheaper from the French side to continue our trip around France. The Swiss hire is more expensive than the French, and hard to do one way hires dumping somewhere in France (e.g. Paris CdG, or Eurostar Calais). We've just booked our accom for that week (2nd Jan 2021), and were surprised how many of the places we've stayed previously have already gone. The French and English will all be back at school, so it should be quiet, but it will depend how picky you are. AirBnB will give you a guide as to what % of accom has already gone. This is the first year we've seen a significant amount of stuff on AirBnB. Also check out Gite de France - there are some lovely places if you are prepared to drive to the resorts. Bon voyage!
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Kenyafrog wrote:
Can't help you with Zurich, but we also do crazy things and fly to France from Brisbane to go skiing (and visit family). With Geneva you need to make sure you hire from the Swiss side and then the car hire will come with snow tires (prior to 31 Mar) and a carnet for the motorway (saves time and confused navigation, or admin to get your own carnet). If you hire from the French side getting anything fit for snow is hit and miss. You can transfer from Swiss to French side easily so doesn't matter which side your flight is from/to. We've also flown in to Geneva, hired a car, gone skiing, dumped the car back at the Geneva airport Swiss side, nipped over and picked up something cheaper from the French side to continue our trip around France. The Swiss hire is more expensive than the French, and hard to do one way hires dumping somewhere in France (e.g. Paris CdG, or Eurostar Calais). We've just booked our accom for that week (2nd Jan 2021), and were surprised how many of the places we've stayed previously have already gone. The French and English will all be back at school, so it should be quiet, but it will depend how picky you are. AirBnB will give you a guide as to what % of accom has already gone. This is the first year we've seen a significant amount of stuff on AirBnB. Also check out Gite de France - there are some lovely places if you are prepared to drive to the resorts. Bon voyage!


Next year is a bit of a funny one. Many schools don't go back until Thursday the 7th, so I think we might find that a lot of families (mine included) decide to take their kids out of school for a couple of days and have a holiday in one of the cheapest weeks of the season (2nd to 9th Jan).
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