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Resort Suggestions?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hey everyone, first post but 'long time lurker'.

I'm in the process of organising the ski trip for our group of 8-10 guys in the second week of March. I thought it would be good to get some inspiration for our next trip destination. Any of your input would be really appreciated!

The group: We're a pretty mixed bag with a couple of us having done seasons to a couple of 2 week-ers. Everyone is comfortable on Reds as a minimum. It's fair to say we all like a challenge and like to rack up the miles, so a large ski area is key. For some, a decent amount of side-country options would be good. Après and nightlife is pretty important, we all like a few beers after a day on the slopes and are partial to a couple of big nights out too.

Our previous: Different iterations of this group have been to Tignes (where I did my season), Val d'Isère, Chamonix and most recently Whistler. We're looking for a bit of a change from Espace Killy this year as we've all done it a few times recently. We loved Tignes and Val, Cocos certainly takes some beating for après! Of the two, we possibly got on a little better in Tignes with the slightly more reasonable prices and more laid-back feel. Whistler we absolutely loved, especially all of the in-bounds off-piste that naturally comes with North American resorts. Chamonix we enjoyed but found the town and driving to the different areas a little disjointed compared to somewhere like Tignes. So far, we've always stayed in apartments or hotels, however this year we really want to do a Chalet holiday. We quite like the idea of our meals plus wine being included most nights, and the convenience of all having one place to stay and wind down in.

Our ideas so far: Méribel is high on the list as we've not done 3 Valleys as a group yet, and has a good selection of Chalets available at reasonable prices. St Anton is another contender with it's Après and ski area credentials, but there's not a huge amount of reasonably priced options, especially Chalets.

So, that's where we are so far. Any suggestions/inspiration would be really appreciated. Thanks! snowHead
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@DJY, welcome to Snowhead's as a poster.

I can see the attraction of going in a chalet for a group of youngish lads. It's a long while since I did it but from what I can make out on here it's still the same. You can go with the big players like Crystal/Skiworld - all cheap and cheerful but mass produced ski holidays with all that that entails. Or stump a bit extra for, well, a bit extra.

3V's is a great counter to Killy. Similar in many ways but just enough different to make it interesting. I am not much into apres so would/have to stayed in places like La Tania/Les Menuires but yes Meribel has the reputation of pretty good, the best, apres in the 3V's. Skiing wise, excellent piste and lift accessed off piste.
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Layne wrote:
@DJY, welcome to Snowhead's as a poster.



I am not much into apres so would/have to stayed in places like La Tania/Les Menuires but yes Meribel has the reputation of pretty good, the best, apres in the 3V's. Skiing wise, excellent piste and lift accessed off piste.


Meribel is also in the middle of the 3Vs. It's a long slog from La Tania to Val Thorens, for example, and vice versa; and sometimes one link will be open and the other closed, leaving an option.
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Meribel is great, good apres and you can access the whole 3V easy. I live in Cham but if I had to holiday somewhere in France it would be Meribel. If you stay in Courch or VT then it's a slog to the other end of the 3V but Meribel is in the middle. Ronnie's, Jack's, La Taverne are good for apres.

I've had a couple of days off-piste guiding and there's loads to go at
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I just had an email from a company called powderwhite that is offering bogof lift passes if you book their catered chalets in certain weeks or 15% off. Perhaps other companies might be doing the same thing? They’re offering 15,22,29 March in St Anton and 22,29 March for Meribel for the lift passes.

Have you thought about a trek to the USA and Crested Butte where BlisterReview have their HQ. I know it’s not a chalet experience but it’s going on my list (did my season in Whistler).
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@Layne, thanks! Most of us know what we’re getting into as we’ve been on family chalet holidays etc at one point or another.

@Charliegolf, good points. Worth considering the links.

@Meltus, sounds like Meribel might be just be the one we go for. Thanks for the Apres tips.

@Oitbc, very helpful, thanks! Will check those out now. This year we’ve decided on Europe after Whistler last year - I’ll have a look at adding there to the list for the future though. Sounds intriguing!

We’re pretty keen on some Austrian options but all of our knowledge is limited. Does anyone have any suggestions that might fit the bill? Thanks for everyone’s responses so far!
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@DJY, Austria deffo. The big players I've been to (St. Anton and Ischgl) are big ski areas with great apres. Lots of people don't like the disco oompah music vibe but it does create a great atmosphere.
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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!
it's 1,5 hours from Les Menuires to Courchevel with a beginner snowboarder girl in the pack, no worries.

Meribel of course is in the center and lively. Having only guys in the pack you don't want to be isolated in a lonely ski in/ski out chalet, where heavy drinking is the only option for an evening Very Happy but if it is - been here and will return some time soon, maybe 2021 winter, it looks much better in person than in pictures. https://en.ski-france.com/ski-area-paradiski/les-arcs-1600/chalet-deux-tetes-I/
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I would say both St Anton and Ischgl would work though not sure how easy it is to find chalet type accommodation possibly more in St Anton

The Arlberg has plenty of challenging skiing from red pistes up to terrain for wobbly legged experts only, more than enough to keep you amused for a week. The apres in St Anton is well known for offering as much challenge as the skiing.

Ischgl probably has better piste skiing (though that is certainly debatable) but the off piste is not in the same league as the Arlberg but it is still very good. No doubt lots of apres choice, I am not a fan of the "village", too Disneyfied for me but lots of people do like it, certainly a lot of choice when it comes to beer drinking spots.

Saalbach Hinterglemm might suit too, apres is good, I dont think the skiing is as good ie challenging as elsewhere (but I am sure the resident SH fans will be along to defend its reputation Very Happy ) though there is lots of it. It is certainly a good option for the sort of holiday you are after though I would guess chalets are few and far between.

Of the three I would go with St Anton but you should have a great time in any of them.
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@halfhand, some disco oompah sounds like good fun for a change!

@kosmoz, thanks for the link. Will check out your suggestion!

@munich_irish, I know quite a few who’ve done St Anton who speak very highly of it’s credentials. Both on and off the mountain! One thing that did put us off a little was it being a bit of a sausage-fest, how’ve you found it?

I haven’t heard a huge amount about Ischgl but a quick research shows it could be a winner too. Interesting the piste skiing is better than St A - that might actually suit the group better. And, slightly selfishly, I’ve got a UCPA off-piste week planned so I’m sure I can get some of my fix there! Laughing
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@DJY, St Anton and Ischgl can be busy at times, the peak weeks are probably best avoided if possible. Things should be calmer by mid March, main half term weeks are spread through February. The piste area in Ischgl is more compact and not as big as the Arlberg. It has more variety especially blues and reds though the runs down to the valley are crap. However some of the individual runs in the Arlberg are difficult to beat, Madloch or Zürsertali are some of the most spectacular pistes around.
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Austria, especially Ishgl would tick all your boxes - other than the chalet. You're looking mainly B&Bs and hotels, with some apartments. The other potential issue with Austria is the mighty Austrian Twin bed,basically two single matresses, with single sheets, in a double bed frame.

Ischgl vs. St Anton - I prefer the piste skiing in Ischgl. While munich_irish might call them compact I'd call them well inter-linked, and the runs back to the village are great...if you do them earlier in the day. I found the pistes in St Anton to be a bit 'one route' when you wanted to get beyong St Anton itself, but that probably just means I should stay in Lech, rather than St Anton. Another plus (in my book) for Ischgl - far fewer Brits!
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Quote:

Saalbach Hinterglemm might suit too, apres is good, I dont think the skiing is as good ie challenging as elsewhere (but I am sure the resident SH fans will be along to defend its reputation ) though there is lots of it. It is certainly a good option for the sort of holiday you are after though I would guess chalets are few and far between.


Agreed, less of a challenge than StA - mainly intermediate skiing on a large selection of reds and blues with a few decent blacks thrown in. Has a similar appeal to the 3Vs, being composed of nine distinct, interlinked ski areas, with daily itineraries to the
various corners being the norm. (Longest daily itinerary over 70km, taking 7 hours).
Plus points: size of pisted area, 60 generally excellent mountain restaurants, fast lift system with 70 lifts, including around 20 gondolas, relatively queue-free, good village bars and restaurants, highly-rated apres-ski, reasonable prices, ski convenient accommodation. Otherwise pretty crap really Very Happy
If you want a chalet, Ski Miquel’s Chalet Christina is now the only one, although Pension Enzian has the same ambiance, albeit now only B&B. Generally Austria doesn’t need catered chalets.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@tatmanstours, stop bigging up S-H to groups of blokes Laughing let them go to St Manton or Ischgl.
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@munich_irish, sounds like both options will be equally interesting in different ways. Thanks!

@Mjit, we'll keep an eye out for those Austrian twins! I hear the lift systems in Austria are generally much more efficient and advanced vs France - from what you say this backs that up? Would be interesting to know how the Espace Killy lift system compares to Ischgl/St A?

@tatmanstours, all sounds like a very nice combination! We're not fixated on a chalet, just thought it would be good to do this year. May look into other options for Austria.

@boabski, ha! Don't worry, we're a relatively amenable bunch.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
In France lifts are more often older than in Austria, less of them has covers and headed seats, which in bad weather is a good thing to have. In good conditions you won't notice that at all. Gondola is a gondola everywhere Smile
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If you're all good friends and don't have anyone who either insists on sleeping naked/is so scared of being close to another man you all think they are in the closet and in denial then Austrian twins are fine.

My GENERAL experience is that Austria buys new chair lifts, then sells the old ones to France. France sells their old ones to Switzerland, and Switzerland sells their old ones to Italy. Don't know about St Anton but in Ischgl the charter of the ski resort company means all revenue has to be spent on the ski resort, so every year you seem to see a lift that was better than most in many other resorts getting replaced or upgraded, or a restaurant rebuilt, or some shiny new piste bashers being bought (then in one rather embarrassing case dumped in the river through down when it + snow turned out to be greater than the little bridge could take). That, and development in the village being controlled are the plus side of everything being owned by a couple of interlinked, extended families. The down side is a lack of competition in some areas, like ski hire (hire down the valley if you have a car/time, or ski2rent to save money on that front) and to a degree accomodation (book early!).
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@DJY, think if you go to Ischgl, St Anton or Saalbach-Hinterglemm you will have a great time regardless of resort choice.
Ischgl - great on piste skiing, and super apres. For me the resort is a bit dysneyesque as @munich_irish, says and the uplift can be a bit sluggish getting up the hill in morning, ie long queues. I also find the town itself a bit disjointed.
I absolutely love St Anton, having been 10/11 times but on my last visit in march I can't quite out my finger on it but the apres isn't as much fun as it used to be. Any good old apres joints have been bulldozed and replaced with 4* hotels/restaurants. The skiing is amazing but some runs really do suffer with too many skiers and south facing aspect.
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Let me start out, that i am a huge fan of Austria, and have spent 19 weeks in Ischgl. What makes Ischgl the winner? Even in peak periods, you won't spend much time queing up for the lift - That liftsystem is simply the best on the planet! If you want offpist (easy or more challenging), nobody get's up early (apart from me) after they have been drinking all night, and there will be plenty snow even days after last snowfall! The apres is insane, but you don't need to be a part of it, if you need a day off.

Stanton is incredible for the offpiste - A group of mediums are maybe not the best suited group for the area (unless you head over to Lech and anything in that direction), but my good the skiarea rocks if you want the fluffy stuff! The apres is well documented as world class, but different than Ischgl - Not with nightclubs like Ischgl, but more an afternoon thing at Moosewirt and KK -More bars/pubs in the evening!

I have many friends that are in love with Saalbach - And in good snow conditions i can see why - Unfortunately the low altitude makes it an "hit and miss" destination early and late season, but mid-winter i don't think you will have any problems. I think for this year, the Kitzsteinhorn is part of the liftpass - My favourite offpiste clacier-resort! The apres will satisfy you (Think Hinterhaag!).

The outsider: Val D'isere are a near perfect ski-area, and have plenty to do in the evening, with but clubbing and bars. Personally i think this is the best resort in France.
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From not much apres-ski experience I always notice that Austria looked way crazier than in France! But the indoor smoking was hell, if not drunk
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Gustavobs wrote:
From not much apres-ski experience I always notice that Austria looked way crazier than in France!


Yes and no. Austrian apres tends to be crazy, but very germanically timeboxed too.

Austria seems to be more ski to ~3:30pm, drink till 7pm, then food and bed by 10:30pm.
France seems to be ski to ~3pm, a single glass of vin chaud or rose (depending on early/high/late season), do nothing, food, either bed by 10:30pm - or out drinking till 5am.

Personally the ski/quick shower and change/2-3hrs drinking and sillyness/food/bed cycle matches me better. The French one tends to becomes ski/shower and change/drink in chalet/food/get asked if I fancy leaving the nice warm chalet, with its free beer to walk in to town to pay to go in a nightclub and overpay for drinks where i'll just grumble about the music being poo-poo and too loud/say "No thanks."/go to bed.

Gustavobs wrote:
But the indoor smoking was hell, if not drunk


1. Going to be banned for this season.
2. A couple schnapps with beer chasers, problem solved!
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@DJY, go to Meribel then!! Stay in France - Best ski destination by far - NEVER go to Austria or Italy '''''''''''''''JOKE ski countries!!!! 3V's best if you are CCCP ex-KGB with lots of female "cousins" or "nieces".

Toofy Grin
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I’m obviously being targeted on Facebook as I am always looking at ski stuff but note that new ad from Crystal says Crystal ski have now gone 2 for 1 on lift passes at all their European resort holidays.
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Meribel or St Anton for a chalet holiday. Both will give you a great time. I like ski in ski out [ walking in ski boots is a cruel and inhuman punishment. ]

I would slightly favour Meribel manly because the runs back at the end of a day are somewhat friendlier than those at St Anton which can be evil and icy.

But here is a great St Anton chalet which is ski / out which is rare in St Anton https://www.skiworld.co.uk/ski-holidays/austria/st-anton/eisfall?id_accom_price=1283178820
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