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Places which have plenty to do for a non-skiing girlfriend :)

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

they were French only then

Most accommodation providers in the UK are online in English only - do you interpret that as being designed to keep foreigners out?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@peter_h, If Gatwick is your airport, then friends of ours fly from there to Basel with EasyJet. I take your point about more flights to Geneva but I am confident the travel experience would be better (and likely significantly cheaper) through Basel... the same applies to Zurich other than might not be so much cheaper...Just a thought!
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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?
pam w wrote:
Quote:

they were French only then

Most accommodation providers in the UK are online in English only - do you interpret that as being designed to keep foreigners out?


Yeah, we had a referendum on it and everything. Keep peddling project fear you remoaner.



Wink NehNeh
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Hmmm should have checked Basel... too late now Smile

I co-run a forum (European aviation) and we have disallowed brexit debates on there because they always result in people beating each other up. Specifically at least 99% of mainlanders were beating up the Brits, which was unfair.

Re accommodation booking, I can book a place in e.g. France, in English (not my native language but one I speak ok) on say booking.com. I can't do that on a site which is in French. So booking.com get most of the tourist business... no sh*t sherlock. And if a French property owner advertises only on the French-langauge sites, he will get almost only French people. This is also assisted by google (.co.uk) not presenting websites which are in French, so even if you speak French you won't find these sites, if not on a French IP (unless you know of them).
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Megève and Saint Gervais could both fit the bill - they share a large and cruisy domain; Megève has an excellent sports centre with good pools and endless yoga-type stuff, while Saint Gervais has a recently done-up 19th century spa. They are both biggish places so plenty to do but conversely you'd need to keep an eye on where you're staying.

Les Saisies is smaller but has a good pool / spa and endless very pleasant and reassuring pistes.
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Agree with Pila and staying in town.

Also maybe consider Bormio.
Its a spa town ! Plus has an olympic ice rink, tourist party Monday night. 2 ski areas around town. 45min bus to Livigno for 'duty free'. Lots of free buses around the place. Town is generally flat so easy to walk around.

Quite a few nice bars but very Italian so stays under control. Lovely medieval town to walk around. Plus the hardest working tourist office staff I have ever met.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
A quick update...

Zermatt is definitely good for a non-skiing girlfriend. Lots to do in the town. Prices are at Courchevel levels (50 quid for a lunch) but you can obviously do self catering.

No real options for day trips to other places because there is little nearby, but that is true for a lot of places (e.g. Madonna). The trip to the top of the mountain (12500ft) is great for the spectacular views (pick a blue sky day for this). The "glacier paradise" thing where you go inside the glacier is ok...

For blue run skiing, which wimps like me like, Zermatt is hard work. The slopes are all over the place, some pretty steep bits, and you get almost no decent long runs on which to practice technique. Lessons are very expensive - you can buy a high end pair of skis for the cost of two 3hr lessons and as with most places you are likely to get some young lad who might have been a race champion but can't really teach. The slopes fill up after 2-3hrs with long snaking lines of small kids and with snowboarders holding their usual conferences in the middle of the slopes, preferably just behind a hill, it is better to start right when it opens. For this level of skiing, Madonna rules by a big margin, of the 11 places I have been to.

Thank you all for the tips. My list of other places to look at contains Cervinia (doable from Zermatt but by the time you get there it will be lunchtime), Salbach, and of course Madonna but with a decent size apartment this time because there really is nothing else to do there Smile
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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!
peter_h wrote:
...and as with most places you are likely to get some young lad who might have been a race champion but can't really teach.


thanks for the update. Never had this.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Glad the non-skiing girlfriend had a good time anyway! snowHead

I have just spent a week in Trento with skiing trips to Monte Bondone and Paganella (there's a little TR on here somewhere). Excellent, flowing slopes, and Trento is a very interesting city. You could base at Andalo or Fai della Paganella (pretty town!), and take trips into Trento or the other interesting towns around there. Public transport and roads both very good. It's near Madonna and though much smaller, probably similar skiing, nice blues and some more gentle reds.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Quote:

likely to get some young lad who might have been a race champion but can't really teach

no, I've never had this either - had v good instructors in France and Austria but never done a ski holiday in Switzerland.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Incidentally, has anyone tried public transport between Trento or Bolzano, and Madonna? I tried it 2 years ago between Verona and Corvara and it was painful, with online bus timetables being fictitious, and some trains not running. A private ski shuttle turned up way too late to catch the return flight. Eventually I had to pay 250 euros for a taxi... The only reliable way to do this is to use the regular ski shuttles (about 35 quid a person per journey) but they run weekends only.
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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:

The only reliable way to do this is to use the regular ski shuttles

or maybe rent a car - that's generally my preference. I've not rented in Italy in winter though (I've driven my own car to the Dolomites from the northern French Alps a couple of times) and I gather it can be difficult or impossible to get winter tyres.
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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
peter_h wrote:

Lessons are very expensive - you can buy a high end pair of skis for the cost of two 3hr lessons and as with most places you are likely to get some young lad who might have been a race champion but can't really teach.

It sounds like you've had some very poor experiences with ski instructors. Why not try turning the whole thing around and choose a resort based on recommendations of a good ski instructor? It sounds like you'd still benefit from some quality instruction to help you be able to enjoy more slopes more of the time.

I'll start with a suggestion: Darren Turner in Serre Chevalier. Excellent instructor and many people will have watched his online videos. Serre Chevalier is made up of a few villages and towns, including the walled town of Briançon, so could also be good for a non skier. At the other end in Monetier there's a lovely hot spring complex.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
"or maybe rent a car - that's generally my preference. I've not rented in Italy in winter though (I've driven my own car to the Dolomites from the northern French Alps a couple of times) and I gather it can be difficult or impossible to get winter tyres."

Usually that works well financially but it could be tricky if there is snow on the roads - as you suggest. It can also be a hassle with parking. I've stayed at places where there really wasn't any apparent space.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Using a car needs planning, like any form of transport. Snow on the roads is usually no big problem with winter tyres and chains if necessary. I've mostly used my own car (very ordinary, no 4WD etc) and managed OK on some major journeys through very snowy conditions. It hugely extends your possible range of skiing and often means you can get away from the worst of the crowds. Parking can be a problem but throughout the Alps lots of people always drive to ski and it can definitely be done!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
One reason why Zermatt slopes can get really busy is because when it is windy they close the other half of the mountain, so everybody piles into the one area.

And on the last day there were perhaps five instructors on the blue runs, each one followed by a long snake of 5+ kids, making it hard to get past them. Normally one would get an hour or two before these arrive but sometimes they get organised early.

The town is really nice. A very good museum, too.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
A final update in case anyone finds this useful. We stayed in a place called Haus Pan which was a really spacious self catering apartment. Properly equipped too for cooking stuff. It was a 5-10 minute walk from the main ski lift, albeit with a pretty steep path which would get icy but there is a rope to hold onto for most of the distance. Boot heaters for only four pairs of boots, so consider bringing your own heater. There is so much to check out in this business...

For beginner skiing I would say Zermatt is good provided the slopes (the blue ones, 3-4 of them, all starting at Gornegrat) are not full of kids, which tends to start 10am to 11am, so with the lift opening at 8:30 means you get about an hour to two hours. On my last day I got two wonderful runs and soon after I packed it in as people realised other slopes were shut due to wind... The problem, from my POV, is that the slopes go up and down a lot which means that if you just ski down the hill you can't see people until quite late. And the blues do have steep bits, which are ok to ski but not if you are trying to avoid a long snake of kids which is snaking left to right all the way across the width.

The town is very nice and for a non skiing partner perhaps the best of the 11 places I have been to, with Courchevel 1650 being #2. The museum is definitely worth a visit, as is the Glacier Paradise for the views (not quite Jungfraujoch but close, and Wengen was pretty poor for blue run skiing).

As usual, especially for Switzerland, everything is heavily overpriced relative to what one can get in the UK, especially main order from say Germany. Example: Kjus jacket, €300 mail order, £600 in a pricey Brighton ski shop (Snow & Rock), CHF 1600 in a shop in Zermatt. The first may have been last year's version but looks exactly the same. Boots are more reasonable at about 1.5x the price.

It gets a bit ridiculous when you pay CHF 10 for a hot chocolate, but at least buffet food at the Riffelhaus restaurant (at the bottom of the blue runs) was CHF 14 for a plate full of stuff.

The ski shops seem competent. For the 3 years I have been skiing I had a constant problem with boots, with the skis wobbling sideways, and a flat foot issue causing a sore ankle. At least 5 ski shops at various places (the list includes: Axams, Mutters, Filzmoos, Grand Bornand, Zell am See, Courchevel, Madonna, Wengen, Corvara... ) failed to sort this. The issue was the totally wrong shape insoles, and boots being about 5-10mm too wide. It got sorted at Zermatt... replaced the Salomon X-Pro 100 with Head Nexo LYT 110 (CHF 540) with the wax injection and some CHF 140 custom insoles (of which a completely wrong version was fitted by a ski shop in Wengen for €70).
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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?
Another update: Madonna di Campiglio was actually really good for us. The key is to find a spacious apartment. You can use things like swimming pools in some of the hotels if you want that. The town is nicely laid back - quite unlike the overpriced shopping which is what most of Zermatt is about.
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chamonix would be my choice , the town history , great shopping , great food , lively atmosphere perfect
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
chamonix would be my choice , the town history , great shopping , great food , lively atmosphere perfect
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