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How the French could learn from the US

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

I suspect that's more specifically a Brit thing. I wouldn't be too surprised the French, Swiss or Austrian ski a lot more than 1 week/year!

Some do, many don't (in fact much like the British, Dutch, Belgians....) but almost all lets are on a 7 day basis, usually Saturday to Saturday. Natually there are those who live close enougth to the mountains for day trips for example the Milanease in Monterosa, Lyonaise in the Tarrentaise and you get a few extras on a weekend.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:
I suspect that's more specifically a Brit thing.


No, conversely, I think it's the US that are the exception to the rule here, as they have such crap low levels of annual leave they can't afford (in time terms) to be schlepping off a week or two at a time.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Quote:

almost all lets are on a 7 day basis, usually Saturday to Saturday.

That only means people stay one week AT A TIME. But I'd imagine many more French and Swiss ski more than just a 1 week/year...
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abc wrote:
Quote:

almost all lets are on a 7 day basis, usually Saturday to Saturday.

That only means people stay one week AT A TIME. But I'd imagine the French and Swiss ski more than just a 1 week/year.


Not really in the French case. I lived in Paris until I was 23 and those friends I had who skied did one week a year (one of the two Feb holiday weeks generally), as did we. Even when we moved on to University we still only went once a year (though this time we went outside school hols). Sure you get a handful who do more, but one week per year was certainly the rule rather than the exception. At least for Parisians or northerners. It is however true that those who live closer to the Alps (e.g. Lyon or Grenoble) or the Pyrenees, would ski more often. I had a friend who went to engineering school in Lyon, and she skied most week-ends through the winter.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
So the for the perfect ski experience the Italian alps need to move to Hokkaido, recruit a load of US ski patrollers and charge Georgian prices.
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How much Europeans ski is kind of a moot point. What I was getting at is workers in USA and Canada get pretty pathetic annual leave. Hence they usually do long weekends, rather than a 7 or 10 day trip. So the current lift pass situation, which the 7-10 day a year skiers seem to come out worst with, is probably not having so much effect on people there.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
boarder2020 wrote:
How much Europeans ski is kind of a moot point. What I was getting at is workers in USA and Canada get pretty pathetic annual leave. Hence they usually do long weekends, rather than a 7 or 10 day trip. So the current lift pass situation, which the 7-10 day a year skiers seem to come out worst with, is probably not having so much effect on people there.
#

Yep you're some kind of high roller retiree (and fitness god) if you can do 7-10 days straight in the minds of most US skiers.
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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!
boarder2020 wrote:
How much Europeans ski is kind of a moot point.
This thread is largely about the difference between different continents (although Japan being a sparsely visited continent, got left neglected as the discussion focus on Europe vs North America).

mad for chelsea wrote:
abc wrote:
Quote:

almost all lets are on a 7 day basis, usually Saturday to Saturday.

That only means people stay one week AT A TIME. But I'd imagine the French and Swiss ski more than just a 1 week/year.


Not really in the French case. I lived in Paris until I was 23 and those friends I had who skied did one week a year (one of the two Feb holiday weeks generally), as did we. Even when we moved on to University we still only went once a year (though this time we went outside school hols). Sure you get a handful who do more, but one week per year was certainly the rule rather than the exception. At least for Parisians or northerners. It is however true that those who live closer to the Alps (e.g. Lyon or Grenoble) or the Pyrenees, would ski more often. I had a friend who went to engineering school in Lyon, and she skied most week-ends through the winter.

I stand corrected, at least as far as the French is concern. I had some Swiss friends in the past, who CLAIM they do a lot of weekend skiing, PLUS more than one week-long skiing!

As far as Americans, again I don't have hard data so am going only by anecdotic observations of people I know. It may surprise boarder2020 that many casual ("holiday") skiers quite typically do one week vacation just like the Brits. The "weekend warrior" are actually the sort of people who do a whole bunch of weekends! So their total number of DAYS per season can be quite high (say, 15+ day!).

A significant number of Americans live within driving distance from some sort of ski resorts. But equally also a large number live too far away for weekend skiing, There's no one pattern fits all (or even "majority") when it comes to whether Americans ski one week a year or one weekend a year (or multiple weekend a year).

Don't know about Canadians.


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Thu 21-03-19 18:07; edited 1 time in total
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@abc, France is a fairly big country. Some people from Grenoble, Chambery, Annecy may ski 3-4 days each week but most people from other towns/cities will just do one week per year.

I do know people who live in Paris but ski most weekends.
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A lot of workers in USA only get the minimum 10 days of annual leave per year. Most aren't going to splurge 5 of those days in Jan, Feb, or march. I'm sure there are some that do, but it's certainly not the norm. As Dave of the marmottes points out tell anyone in a north American ski resort you are there for 7-10 days and watch their shocked reaction.

I would class the weekend warriors as locals. Most of them are living within driving distance of the hill. The vacationers tend to do long weekends (MLK and presidents Day long weekends are usually the busiest days in any n American resort at least regarding accommodation - skiers on slopes may be slightly different due to some passes having blackout dates).
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Maybe it's different for the high end places. I guess the kind of clientele the likes of deer valley and Vail are aimed at can probably afford a week.
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rjs wrote:
@abc, France is a fairly big country. Some people from Grenoble, Chambery, Annecy may ski 3-4 days each week but most people from other towns/cities will just do one week per year.


3 to 4 days per week? Some would be a very small number, even including students. I would guess most people in Grenoble don't ski - most being about 80 to 90%. Of the rest a lot may do no more that 7 days spread over a season, same as the Parisians do in a week. The ski club kids and moms and dads will ski / train weekends and maybe a Wednesday afternoon through the season. A lot of French people can't afford to ski. According to the French surveys 8% of French people go skiing once a year.
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
And a lot of the time midweek or in the afternoon you can ski straight on even on a "busy" day if you are single.


Even during the French winter holdays or weekends I rarely queue as I ski places where I know the queues will be light. For me, waiting 5 minutes is like a major bit of queuing.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
boarder2020 wrote:
A lot of workers in USA only get the minimum 10 days of annual leave per year. Most aren't going to splurge 5 of those days in Jan, Feb, or march. I'm sure there are some that do, but it's certainly not the norm. As Dave of the marmottes points out tell anyone in a north American ski resort you are there for 7-10 days and watch their shocked reaction.

I would class the weekend warriors as locals. Most of them are living within driving distance of the hill. The vacationers tend to do long weekends (MLK and presidents Day long weekends are usually the busiest days in any n American resort at least regarding accommodation - skiers on slopes may be slightly different due to some passes having blackout dates).

I used to be one of those "minimum 10 days of annual leave per year" worker!

I use 5 of those 10 days for skiing. The other 5 either as a week long holiday to the beach, or a couple of extended weekends somewhere closer to home. As long as I don't get sick (or have a sick family memeber) to eat up ALL the "vacation" days! (I was fortunate in that)

I would ski one or two weekends though. So between that and the one week holiday, I typically put in about 10-15/year. That, is actually the low water mark (apart from the years I did NOT ski at all). Since those early days, I got more vacation days as my career advances. I started doing closer to 20 day/year for quite many years and were most happy.

I live near enough to the mountains I could do weekend skiing, even day skiing with a long drive (2-4 hrs one way).
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:
To get untracked we ski just out of bounds and then come back in again as you'll see in the vid.

You do know that is a violation of the Colorado Skier Safety Act?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@blueroom, we were guests of both Winter Park and Steamboat and skied with "guides" in both resorts, who showed us various gates as per the image below.

As you can plainly see it is a gate that you can go through, as I was advised by the guides, once you leave it's now down to you, and I've zoomed the notice in further for you to read.

At no time was there any mention of the "Colorado Skier Safety Act" or is there any mention on the signage, or anything alluding to once you go past here, "you can't come back in" Laughing Laughing





We've compiled a light-hearted feature between some of the obvious difference, (that we found), between France and the US (those resorts we skied in)

https://stylealtitude.com/ski-colorado-winterpark-steamboat.html
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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IME all that you have written for Colorado applies to Canada also (Banff anyway).
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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?
Quote:


You rarely see anyone skiing with avy gear in a pack, let alone an ABS bag - and they don't even rent them in resort as it seems there is no market.



Backcountry skiing is definitely popular in Colorado. Of course you don't see the people riding around with ABS bags in resort as they are in the backcountry, not the resort. You need to check out a backcountry spot Iike Loveland pass. At resorts there is little demand for avy equipment rentals as the controlled inbounds off piste negates any use.
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While a lot of north Americans ski "off-piste", they do so WITHIN resort boundary. Those ski OUTSIDE the boundary are a tiny minority. I suspect even smaller than Europeans who hire guides to ski off-piste.

So you're unlikely to see people wearing avi gear IN resort, as you'll see them in the Alps.
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@boarder2020, I was on a bit of a mission, in both resorts, and did go to a good few shops to see what gear they sold ( as we wanted the right info before writing) and asked people about gear, and where locals would go ski touring etc but it seemed it just was not on their radar, what people did say was that many people came out from the likes of Denver to tour the likes of Rabbits Ear pass and other passes etc.

Like @abc says, in Europe, as you'll find out, you do need the gear even in the resort if you're really pushing it after a fresh snowfall, as the options are many but there may have been no specific "avalanche mitigation" rolling eyes
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Certainly in BC asking in shops "where do local's tour" you'll probably get blank looks as they preserve the good spots for themselves...
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The resort shops are not a good representation. They are usually filled with whatever Aussie they can find with a working holiday visa that may or may not know much about skiing. Plus the backcountry skiers are all far away from the resort in the backcountry so there's no market inside the resort. You would get a lot further asking around at some of the shops serving the backcountry community in Denver.

The last few years have seen the number of backcountry skiers boom in north America. To the point where resorts offer touring tickets (gets you a set number or route of lifts to bump you up for backcountry access), huts in popular backcountry areas are booked out a year in advance, AST courses are all full etc. Here is a report https://snowbrains.com/uphill-backcountry-skiing-more-mainstream/ (from 2017 so a little old but still interesting):
- 900,000 skiers and 1.1 million snowboarders report skiing or riding in backcountry areas
- Sales of touring equipment, including avalanche-safety accessories like beacons and shovels, rank as the fastest-growing category in snowsports retail.
- In America last year, 12% of all ski boots bought, 93,000 pairs, were specialist touring ones.

I'm not denying what you are saying, but your experience of 2 resorts doesn't reflect the overall trend that backcountry skiing is already popular and rapidly increasing.

Quote:

as you'll find out, you do need the gear even in the resort if you're really pushing it after a fresh snowfall


I've skied Europe a few times before. I definitely saw less split boards there than I do in BC, although it was a few years ago. I don't really understand what you mean, surely you always need it in euro resorts unless you are sticking just to marked runs regardless of snowfall?
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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!
Resort shops are generally owned by the resorts and run for guests.

In Utah the locals would shop in SLC, for example at the outlet shops for Patagonia and Black-diamond, or specialist shops.
You'll get top notch advice on gear there from people who have likely used it.
I doubt they'd tell anyone much about where to ride especially if they don't know you or what you're capable of.

As far as I can tell in BC people would just drive to a trail head and then sled or skin into whatever they want from there.
If you drive up the Sea to Sky or over the Duffy Lake you'll see lots of pull-outs with people doing precisely that. The popularity
of this has resulted in several new car parks in the last few years.

Even in Whistler, if you stand somewhere up on the resort almost everything you can see is not in the resort, and it's all public land.
Even the heli-ski terrain is open access - you can't fly into it unless you have the Tenure, but you can skin there, and people do.
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Quote:
@blueroom, we were guests of both Winter Park and Steamboat and skied with "guides" in both resorts, who showed us various gates as per the image below.


Were the guides with you when you went under the rope (2:08 of your video)?
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Having read this https://stylealtitude.com/back-country,-out-of-bounds-or-just-lost-in-steamboat.html maybe it was for your own safety the locals didn't tell you about backcountry spots.
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@boarder2020, like I said would not have been an issue if we had our usual gear with us, it's hardly hardcore terrain, and our experience (some 30 odd years) got us out of any potential dodo Laughing

And I do agree with our limited experience of two resorts, however, I did hear some crazy numbers about the number of tourers at the weekend on some of the passes.

I get frustrated with the weekend warriors here, but might only be forty or so spread out over a wide number of routes, though the Frenchies always like to do the classics.

Hey ho all fun n'games, off out this morning exploring a new sector (see how far we can now drive up) with a view to doing it Thurs / Fri

http://www.skitour.fr/sommets/tete-de-vautisse,818.html


And @blueroom, of course not !!!!
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Quote:

7 days was going to be USD 854, and USD 553 for kids for a lift ticket!! So USD 2,814 for a family of 4, and this was last week of the season! Crazy.

According to the price index created by the guys at Where to Ski and Snowboard America is the most expensive place in the world to ski. 20-30% more expensive than value locations like St Moritz and Courchevel. And no one has mentioned ski school. US ski schools typically charge $200-300 a day for kids lessons, roughly what you'd pay for entire week in Europe.
http://www.wheretoskiandsnowboard.com/resorts/
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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
Quote:

What I was getting at is workers in USA and Canada get pretty pathetic annual leave. Hence they usually do long weekends, rather than a 7 or 10 day trip. So the current lift pass situation, which the 7-10 day a year skiers seem to come out worst with, is probably not having so much effect on people there.

You've got a real axe to grind re US annual leave. While it's true that Americans get less leave time than Europeans, I think the primary driver of ski trip length is money rather than vacation time. As I said above, America is the most expensive place in the world to ski. Perhaps when the pound was stronger this was less apparent to the British traveler. But I'm continually baffled as to why so many folks think they're going to come here for a bargain ski holiday.

I don't think the one week a year skier is worse off. I'd say they're about the same, but the resort is certainly advantaged. The break even on most passes is about 7 days. The strategy for Vail Resorts is to lock in lift ticket dollars in advance. Revenues are smoother and the stock price goes up. Also, there's the psychology of the pass. You want to get your money's worth so you push for an extra trip or few days. You spend more money in resort and the marginal cost to the resort is almost nil. That said, Europeans that are considering a trip to North America should really consider buying the Epic Pass. It now includes 7 days at L3V, 4 each (I think) at Paradiski & Val d'isere. Also includes free days in Verbier, St Anton/Lech and Dolomite Super Ski.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
One thing to be aware of with American skiing is that the lifts tend to close an hour earlier than the alps. Typically 3:30pm in mid winter and then 4pm in the spring, compared to 4:30 and 5pm in the Alps.
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Be careful of "free" days on the Epic Pass.
Quote:
the Epic Pass. It now includes 7 days at L3V, 4 each (I think) at Paradiski & Val d'isere. Also includes free days in Verbier, St Anton/Lech and Dolomite Super Ski.

From the Epic Pass web site (https://www.epicpass.com/info/europe-is-epic.aspx): "Please keep in mind that special arrangements, from lodging requirements to advanced email reservations, are required to redeem free lift access at certain European resorts."

Interesting that the Ikon Pass is not including any European resorts yet.
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