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Four or Five countries in 2 weeks

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
My kids have two weeks off from school in March. We are looking to plan a 2 week European ski vacation in March 2020. Looking to do a loop Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and back to Italy for flight home. Envisioning Chamonix in France. Who knows in Switzerland. Zugspitze in Germany. Innsbruck area in Austria. Who knows in Italy, but prefer northern Italy. I've skied the Dolomites already.

I'm open to any and all advice from those with experience.

Regards,
Denis
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Why?

Yours it seems is a common idea coming from the US but would you try to ski California, Utah, Colorado & Wyoming in a 2 week trip in the US?

Tighten it up, work in weeklong stays Sat -Sat at 2 resorts and you'll gain a lot more options re accomodation and waste far less time travelling.
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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?
If California, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado offered unique language, culture, food, and people I think more people would travel a Rockies loop.

Nevertheless, 2 or 3 ski days at most areas is enough to see what is offered locally.

I’m looking for advice on doing 7 or 8 days of skiing in 4-5 locals with some travel in between. As in do a day of skiing at the Zugspitze, a tourist day in Munich, a 3 day stay in Innsbruck with two ski days at two different areas, etc.

Appreciate any feedback or ideas.
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Trust me on this. 3 days in one of the big resorts will just begin to scratch the surface.

Remember somewhere like the 3 V has 180 lifts and 600 km of runs. All connected.

Or you have 450 lifts in 12 resorts on the Dolomiti Superski with 1200 kilometers of groomers many of which are connected.

A week in France 3V Chamonix Portes du Soleil 3 max just 2 resorts would be better.

A week in Switzerland Verbier and Zermatt plus St. Moritz if you are a glutton NB you will get serious sticker shock in the mountain restaurants

I have skied all over Europe including the resorts I mention. I have spent two weeks over Christmas New Year in each of the resorts doing different stuff all the time.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Not to mention the lost ski days travel long between them all.
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Have a look at this thread - they had longer but lots of detail about travelling around https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=139452
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Yes, but maximizing his family's time skiing is not the primary consideration. If it were, he would go to Colorado or Utah rather than deal with the hassle and expense of overnight transatlantic flights. Traveling around and seeing a different way of life is part of the reason the OP is planning to do this, in addition to the skiing.

So, back to the OP, my advice, picking up on some of the advice above, however, I would point you to "smaller" Euro areas, rather than the ones you have heard of in the states (i.e., Chamonix or Zermatt). These smaller areas are frequently much larger than you would expect, you will find the accommodation easier to book especially for short stays, and the locals are usually a little more welcoming. Examples I would offer include Val d'Anniviers or Andermatt/Disentis (I am here right now) in Switzerland, Montafon in Austria, Champoluc and its neighbors, or Madesimo in Italy. I can't think of an analogous location in France, but plenty on here know France well so should be along with some information.

I am US based also and have done approximately 10 Euro ski trips in the past 20 + years, so send me a pm if you want to exchange email addresses, and I'll be happy to answer questions over the next few months as you plan this.
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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!
Quote:

If California, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado offered unique language, culture, food, and people I think more people would travel a Rockies loop.


Firstly, ski resorts are probably not the best place to get a taste for most of these things. Secondly, how much culture can you really hope to pick up on spending only a few days in each place? It's so much more complicated than the borders make out, for example German speaking Switzerland is different to the French speaking part. Equally, Bavarian part of Germany is almost considered a different country by some of the other regions in Germany. Even spending 2 weeks in a single country you would barely scratch the surface.

If you want to "tick off" visiting a bunch of countries your plan is fine. However, I agree with others it's a lot of unnecessary travelling about, which will mean more cost, and less time actually doing stuff. I doubt you realise just how big some of the euro resorts are (absolutely huge!).

Imo if you want the "European experience" fly into one of the great cities and spend a few days, then a week skiing at one of the mega-resorts staying in a chalet, then travel onto one of the other cities for a few days before flying out. So something like - 3 days Paris, 1 week skiing 3 valleys, 3 days Rome.
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go for it
I would prefer to scratch the surface in several places & see a larger area, than be stuck in one place. Which is pretty much what I do when visiting the USA.
You may be better off doing a Point A to B rather than some loop. Guess that depends on where you can fly in & out of.
Into Geneva & Out of Munich (or vice versa) for example - Chamonix to Verbier, to Aosta Valley, onto Dolomites & into Austria (maybe Stubai area followed by Ziller) & onto Munich for flight home.
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I'd go with something similar to Mr Mike's suggestion, though I'd go with Chamonix for France, as much because it's probably the easiest travel option as you can go through the Mont Blanc tunnel from the Aosta valley, then over to Martigny in Switzerland. For Switzerland I'd suggest either Val d'Anniviers and Andermatt as a reasonably direct (given the mountains) route towards Austria, or maybe go further north and ski at Grindelwald/Wengen/Murren, or Arosa/Lenzerheide
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Taking the question at face value rather than trying to persuade the OP to do something different...

Chamonix is a good call. It has a legendary status in skiing and mountaineering culture. Whether or not you are skiing some of the fall and die lines or not someone up there will be. Watch Edge of Never for inspiration...


http://youtube.com/v/viQRxxJoeFo

In Switzerland the chance to ski with the Eiger in the background should get the blood going. So maybe something in the Jungfrau (or maybe Zermatt for the Matterhorn). Watch the Eiger Sanction and justify some off season training in Monument Valley.


http://youtube.com/v/lEc1aEYmiA8

Then cross to the Aosta Valley of head for the Dolomites. Do as much skiing in Italy as possible with shades on. And eat and drink like a king. Film wise the Pink Panther sets the scene...


http://youtube.com/v/nh9zB1KXObk

Though Bond is worth a look too...


http://youtube.com/v/WA2dxDdzFOQ

Then up to Innsbruck (quite a schlep from the Aosta mind you) and the options are endless, but if you are going iconic perhaps St Anton. Skip Chalet Girl and watch Der Weiße Rausch.


http://youtube.com/v/eDLIX5hp1R4

Heading out towards Munich maybe Garmisch and pause to ponder the 1936 Olympics. Not actually set there (it’s mostly shot round Werfen near Salzburg), but watch


http://youtube.com/v/b-_P-DoBe6E

(Edit: though to be honest I’d probably do an extra day elsewhere than Garmisch).

Then up to Munich for a beer hall or two.


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Mon 18-03-19 10:57; edited 1 time in total
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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.
I like this idea and I've enjoyed similar country-hopping both in winter and summer. France is quite far from Austria however and as others have said, it's not really worth visiting the mega resorts for just a few days. My suggestion would be to fly to somewhere direct from the States and visit smaller resorts in 3 countries to get a better local feel, eg Venice and then you can ski Italy, Austria and Slovenia.
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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
leggyblonde wrote:
I like this idea and I've enjoyed similar country-hopping both in winter and summer. France is quite far from Austria however and as others have said, it's not really worth visiting the mega resorts for just a few days. My suggestion would be to fly to somewhere direct from the States and visit smaller resorts in 3 countries to get a better local feel, eg Venice and then you can ski Italy, Austria and Slovenia.


+1 to this

Loads of smaller resorts including Tarvisio, Sella Nevea/Bovec Kanin, Nassfeld, then in to Dolomites (world is your oyster. Yes know you've been but there are some hidden gems you may not have considered / skied like San Martino di Castrozza), Verona, back to Venice.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@runfasterdaddy, as long as you realise what you are going to get is a sightseeing trip around the alps with a bit of skiing thrown in you should have a good time. Not sure how much the culture really varies, maybe Italy is somewhat different to the other places, especially for food.

Are you planning on driving or using the train?

I guess you fly into Milan?

If driving then perhaps, Chamonix, Grindelwald or Zermatt, Lech, Innsbruck, Munich, Madonna di Campiglio. Personally I would give the Zugspitze / Garmisch a miss, compared to the other places there is little skiing or scenery attraction. Munich is a fair diversion, good if you want to see some beer halls but I would suggest Munich is at its best in the summer, the beer gardens are great and plenty of other non beer things to do too. Maybe best to drive directly south from Innsbruck.

If train perhaps Courmayeur, Chamonix, Grindelwald, St Anton, Innsbruck, Val Gardena or Marilleva. There will be some taxi transfers or coaches required eg Courmayeur to Chamonix through Mt Blanc tunnel. If you like the train idea it would be easy to incorporate the Glacier Express route from Zermatt to St Moritz or Davos ie Zermatt instead of Grindelwald and train connections onto St Anton are possible. This is a good way to see a lot of the alps. If you really want to go the Garmisch it can easily be reached by train from Innsbruck.

If you are driving, bring skis with you if you can, saves a lot of time hiring skis in each place. Do factor in potential weather issues though a lot less likely in March than in January.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Hi @runfasterdaddy, and welcome to SHs.

I would go +1 for the advice of a few people who suggest smaller resorts if you do want to travel around. Aside from anything, it's quite difficult to get accommodation for anything other than Sat-Sat and a handful of Sun-Sun for the bigger resorts, and you'll be limited in choice. I reckon you'll also get a much better feel for the local culture and people there. Plus they tend to be prettier, certainly in France, where the mega-resorts are often purpose built and a bit of an eyesore.

Somewhere like Lans le Villard in Val Cenis is quite a pretty village, with plenty of skiing to keep you busy for 2-3 days. Look for somewhere similar in Austria, Italy, Switzerland. Though in Switzerland I'd consider Zermatt for the iconic view of the Matterhorn and the wonderful feeling of getting the train directly into the village itself (which is also pretty).

Speaking of which, how are you travelling around? Driving or trains/buses? Will be easier to suggest options based on this.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
This really is Travel Agent territory, someone like https://www.skisafari.com/ but different

Organising the travel and the accommodation alone is off the scale pain in the butt. Hiring kit or bringing your own?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Thank you everyone for the feedback so far. I like the idea of hitting some of the smaller resorts.
Full disclosure- my wife and I lived in Italy for 4+ years. We traveled through much of Europe many times (Switzerland would be The only country on this tour that we haven’t been to). But back then our skiing experience was limited to the Dolomites.
Our kids are old enough and good enough skiers finally that this kind of trip wouldn’t be a waste. But I don’t plan on heli-skiing or extreme trails. Certainly nothing more challenging than the blacks they are skiing now.
Do any of the earlier commenters (or anyone new) have insights into which areas will have reliably good snow in mid March?

Thank you again.
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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?
@runfasterdaddy, most places should have good snow mid March.
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mid-March is usually pretty safe in most places.

I must diasgree regarding the suggestion to miss out Garmisch though, It's a good place for 2-3 days skiing, especially if you can avoid being there over the weekend. It's a proper town with good food, bars, things to do and see (The Olympic Ski Stadium), as well as some interesting skiing up on the Zugspitze Glacier and the classic long valley runs in Garmisch itself. The historic train ride up through the rock to the Zugspitze is worth doing and you have a decent ski area for a day at the end. Nothing wrong with the scenery either. Austria's not that much better. If I was coming from the States and wanted to mix it up a bit would keep it in.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@runfasterdaddy, predicting where there will be good snow is difficult enough a week in advance let alone a year Very Happy

That said of the places I mentioned Chamonix, Zermatt, the Arlberg are all pretty much certain to have good conditions in mid March. Grindelwald less certain though pretty likely. The local slopes around Innsbruck are much less certain though the Stubai glacier is nearby (it takes an hour on the bus) and that is as snow sure as is possible to be. I dont have much experience with Italian skiing, but I think the Madonna di Campiglio area is pretty safe and Passo Tonale up the road has some glacier skiing.

If you want to see some "real" Switzerland (though the scenery in both Grindelwald and Zermatt is spectacular, there is a clear element of being in well known tourist places) look at the magic pass thread, lots of smaller Swiss ski areas. Places like Zinal and Leukerbad (and smaller ones too) somewhat off the normal tourist trail
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@runfasterdaddy,
Try looking at resorts that allow you the chance to cross borders (eg Rosiere/La Thuile, Cervinia/Zermatt, Portes du Soleil).
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@runfasterdaddy, If you would like a detailed itinerary for the smaller Valais resorts then send me a PM. It can save huge amounts of time to have the necessary local knowledge on where to park, which restaurant to go to, which guides (if needed), which resort to retreat to in times of bad weather (one with gondola to recover in); where the powder stashes are hiding and the most lovely accessible off piste (twist my arm). Just send me a PM if need be.
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