Ski Club 2.0 Home
Snow Reports
FAQFAQ

Mail for help.Help!!

Log in to snowHeads to make it MUCH better! Registration's totally free, of course, and makes snowHeads easier to use and to understand, gives better searching, filtering etc. as well as access to 'members only' forums, discounts and deals that U don't even know exist as a 'guest' user. (btw. 50,000+ snowHeads already know all this, making snowHeads the biggest, most active community of snow-heads in the UK, so you'll be in good company)..... When you register, you get our free weekly(-ish) snow report by email. It's rather good and not made up by tourist offices (or people that love the tourist office and want to marry it either)... We don't share your email address with anyone and we never send out any of those cheesy 'message from our partners' emails either. Anyway, snowHeads really is MUCH better when you're logged in - not least because you get to post your own messages complaining about things that annoy you like perhaps this banner which, incidentally, disappears when you log in :-)
Username:-
 Password:
Remember me:
durr, I forgot...
Or: Register
(to be a proper snow-head, all official-like!)

First time in Europe - where to ski

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
There is a train station very near Brides les Baines. So you could hop on a train in Paris to Moutiers Salins Brides les Baines, and after a short 10 minute bus ride (or taxi) be in Brides les Baines in 5-6 hours. (or less by taxi instead of bus)

I liked it in Brides les Baines. However, given the choice, I prefer sleeping in a van as low as possible to make the nights warmer. snowHead
ski holidays     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
You guys are killing me Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing

I am willing to drop the "charming" requirement. Everything is going to be amazing considering we're so far from home.

I have no idea about cost of guiding, but sounds like we can't afford it.

So how about killer snow and killer views in March, and enough intermediate terrain to keep mom happy.

Budget/dining is complicated. Here we do ski-van lifestyle. We sleep in the parking lot in a campervan and eat ramen and canned chili. Considering that this is a trip for my husband's 40th I do want to spoil him a bit.

I'm leaning towards Dolomiti area but I think we might need to rent a car. Will we need chains in March?
snow report     
 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?


Nice cheap meal here in a van. Beans with sausages in the tin. More money left for ski passes!
ski holidays     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
photuris wrote:
You guys are killing me Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing

I am willing to drop the "charming" requirement. Everything is going to be amazing considering we're so far from home.

I have no idea about cost of guiding, but sounds like we can't afford it.

So how about killer snow and killer views in March, and enough intermediate terrain to keep mom happy.

Budget/dining is complicated. Here we do ski-van lifestyle. We sleep in the parking lot in a campervan and eat ramen and canned chili. Considering that this is a trip for my husband's 40th I do want to spoil him a bit.

There're reasonably charming villages in the Dolomites (I don't remember the name of the villages I skied past but others will soon come with specific suggestions). It just may not be chocolate box pretty like the Swiss villages you see in postcards.

But... you have a high likelihood of disappointment on the "killer snow" part. The Alps on average can't compare with the US (Tahoe included) in snow frequency and amount. And the Dolomites are on the low side of that average even by the standard of the Alps.

What you're almost guaranteed are killer views (and in case the views are obscured by storm, then you get your unexpected "killer snow"), and the experience of a large interlinked ski "domain" (or whatever the Italian term is).

And if your idea of "spoiling" your husband for his 40's birthday is good food, you're in a very good location!

Quote:
I'm leaning towards Dolomiti area but I think we might need to rent a car. Will we need chains in March?

I'm not sure about the "need", unless you do WANT to drive around. (for a family of 4, it may financial make sense to rent a car)
ski holidays     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@bigtipper van chili and Big Bertha in the snow
latest report     
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Quote:

But... you have a high likelihood of disappointment on the "killer snow" part. The Alps on average can't compare with the US (Tahoe included) in snow frequency and amount. And the Dolomites are on the low side of that average even by the standard of the Alps.


Yes and no if killer snow is freshly fallen powdery stuff I would agree that nowhere in Europe comes with any guarantee during a random week of the year or even a strong likelihood . However if what you want is high quality well maintained pistes the Dolomites does in my experience admittedly a bit earlier in the season very well indeed.
snow report     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
T Bar wrote:
Quote:

But... you have a high likelihood of disappointment on the "killer snow" part. The Alps on average can't compare with the US (Tahoe included) in snow frequency and amount. And the Dolomites are on the low side of that average even by the standard of the Alps.


Yes and no if killer snow is freshly fallen powdery stuff I would agree that nowhere in Europe comes with any guarantee during a random week of the year or even a strong likelihood . However if what you want is high quality well maintained pistes the Dolomites does in my experience admittedly a bit earlier in the season very well indeed.

To be honest, I don't know exactly what "killer snow" is either. Toofy Grin

But whatever it is, the odds are not in Europe's favor.

In March, HAVING SNOW TO SKI ON is pretty much guaranteed just about everywhere unless one is quite unlucky to have hit a bad season. But other than that, nothing else about snow is guaranteed at a random week of the year.


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Fri 2-08-19 23:25; edited 1 time in total
snow report     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Okay I see your points and will reframe my thinking. For a random week in March I want to make sure we have well groomed intermediate pistes with plenty of snow to ski on.
snow conditions     
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@photuris, Nothing wrong with your original idea of Courchevel 1650, Courchevel does grooming very well. Fly to Paris, stay there a few days, get TGV train to Moutiers, bus or taxi to the ski resort.
ski holidays     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
photuris wrote:
Okay I see your points and will reframe my thinking. For a random week in March I want to make sure we have well groomed intermediate pistes with plenty of snow to ski on.

March is pretty safe just about anywhere, especially your dates which are in the front half of the month.

Your issue isn’t snow. It’s getting the “charm” while keeping the cost in control. Those two don’t always go together.

Another thing that hasn’t got touch much is the VARIETY of terrain. It’s far less in Europe, UNLESS you hire a guide. With teenagers in the group, I personally think you’ll actually be safer in the Dolomites, where they wouldn’t be tempted by the easily accessible off-piste (in say 3-valley) that could easily kill them!
snow report     
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@photuris, before @abc, gets a little overexcited do you understand the concept of on and off piste in Europe?

Or to put it another way will your family be purely skiing groomed terrain.

And another question has occurred to me.... why do you want to ski in Europe?
snow conditions     
 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.
@Layne, I believe the OP does know the difference:
photuris wrote:

I don't ski off-piste, but the rest of the group does like to play off trail. We might hire a guide for a day or two.

Question is, how well can one get the teenagers understand the seriousness of that difference? Especially when they see other skiers cutting between piste at random...

In the Dolomites, there’s relatively few such temptations. Or maybe it’s just the layout of the pistes, one doesn’t miss the off piste.
latest report     
 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
That's a really important consideration and might be worth to do a day of ski school or fork out for a private guide for a day.

My husband and the kids do go off-piste, but only in areas that they are familiar with. Last winter we skied over 20 days at our "home" ski resort and so they've gotten pretty good at knowing the terrain and where they should and shouldn't go. When we went to other resorts he stayed close with them and went first and also of course looked at a map.

I would say that we will probably ski groomers only, unless after a few days the rest of the group feels comfortable enough to venture off piste.

Why Europe? My husband is a bit obsessed with skiing and we were able to cash in visa points for free tickets to Paris. Plus we love adventure and travel. So why not? Wink

Also, probably over the years we've watched a lot of Hollywood films.


And I now realize that my post title was worded misleadingly. We've been to Europe before, we've just never skied in Europe.
latest report     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
You do understand in Europe, unlike in the US, the “off-piste” may or may not get avalanche mitigation work done? i.e. the moment you step off the groomer, you’re doing your own avalanche evaluation.

Skiing off-piste in Europe is the equivalent of skiing out of bounds in the US.
snow report     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
abc wrote:
You do understand in Europe, unlike in the US, the “off-piste” may or may not get avalanche mitigation work done? i.e. the moment you step off the groomer, you’re doing your own avalanche evaluation.

Skiing off-piste in Europe is the equivalent of skiing out of bounds in the US.


aha! okay I had no idea. Sounds like we're going to be on piste at all times!
snow report     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@abc, the VARIETY of terrain in Europe is far less (than in N. America) UNLESS you hire a guide, you think?

Bit of an exaggeration, I think.

Whilst never underestimating the dangers of going off piste, a reasonable degree of mountain knowledge, daily information checking and common sense keeps the vast majority of skiers in Europe safe.

Many make perfectly rational decisions to dabble in off piste that is between lifts, easily visible and reachable from patrolled areas, etc. Areas like EK, 3V, Paradiski have 100s if acres of such stuff. Likewise they have ‘itinerary’ runs. Ungroomed but patrolled. So if you have a bit of an incident on one there’s a decent chance someone will find you before the wolves or marmottes eat you.

I’ve never considered myself to be an off piste skier but in fact have spent many happy hours dabbling, without a guide, in terrain such as described above. Technically it is off piste but is often no more challenging than a tough red piste.

Where off piste really can get seriously risky is when you go off the back of mountains that are out of sight and beyond the lifted areas. I’d never consider doing that without a guide. They’re usually roped off with clear warning signs.

You also have to be very careful about seemingly benign off piste that has rocks lurking beneath.

Overall, skiing is a fairly risky business. The chances of injury on a crowded, icy, under-graded piste, full of people struggling to get down, are often higher than a bit of uncrowded off piste.

My interpretation is that the OP has enough common sense to understand the risks and dangers of off piste in Europe. Also their kids are pre-teens, so hopefully parents should be keeping a close watch on them.

Keep calm and carry on.
snowHead
snow conditions     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
abc wrote:
You do understand in Europe, unlike in the US, the “off-piste” may or may not get avalanche mitigation work done? i.e. the moment you step off the groomer, you’re doing your own avalanche evaluation.

Skiing off-piste in Europe is the equivalent of skiing out of bounds in the US.


That’s exactly what Layne was referring to and you called out! rolling eyes
ski holidays     
 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?
@SnoodlesMcFlude, my intention wasn’t so much to ‘call out’ but to give my take on what seems to be a complex, ambiguous and often confusing subject.

My perception is there’s a growing tendency for people to take rather extreme views on off piste/on piste matters.

I think the issues are more subtle and nuanced than that.

I worry more about the many idiots who ignore the ‘piste closed’ sign than those experienced people who ski an off piste meadow between the lifts.

Also, beware the green graded piste, with narrow icy hairpin bends and a steep drop off into the forest. One missed turn and you’re bear food.

As for Europe not having variety of terrain, we’ll that’s plain ridiculous.
snowHead
snow report     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
@PeakyB, I was responding to abc’s post, not yours Smile
snow conditions     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@SnoodlesMcFlude, Embarassed sorry, I strayed off piste.
ski holidays     
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
@PeakyB, I’m afraid you strayed off piste without realizing the difference, much like our American snowhead Shocked
photuris wrote:

aha! okay I had no idea. Sounds like we're going to be on piste at all times!
snow conditions     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
SnoodlesMcFlude wrote:

That’s exactly what Layne was referring to and you called out! rolling eyes

I know that’s what Layne refer to, but I can also tell it wasn’t getting the proper attention of the OP.

Since I’m American, I’ll spell it out for you! rolling eyes

For Americans, off-piste means one need to look out for cliffs, BUT NOT AVALANCHE DANGER!

That’s what the OP refer to when she mentioned her husband will go first when in doubt. It wasn’t clear in her earlier post but made clear on the latter.

Now I’m sure this thread will turn into debate of how perfectly safe European off-piste is for a family crossing the pond for the first time! Toofy Grin
snow report     
 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, I have ducked “closed” signs more often than I can count, almost always because I knew why it was closed. E.g. keeping in good nick for next week’s Parisiens ( F’k them) or just a wee bit too icy for the tourists.

Have been known at least once to get it wrong and walk back up again Twisted Evil
ski holidays     
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.


Packed lunch on the piste is often how I make money stretch that bit further. As well as eating when I want, not having to queue or wait, and not having to deal with people who either do not want to serve me or people who are too busy. Also, the food tends to be more suited to my diet!
snow conditions     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads


When you have no time to make a packed lunch! Local cheese, local wine, and fresh bread. All for under 5 euros in Espace Killy!
snow conditions     
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Bigtipper wrote:


Packed lunch on the piste is often how I make money stretch that bit further. As well as eating when I want, not having to queue or wait, and not having to deal with people who either do not want to serve me or people who are too busy. Also, the food tends to be more suited to my diet!

That’s not a holiday. Sad

It’s skiing. That’s what the OP do at her “home mountain”. But if the OP just wants to ski, she doesn’t need to cross the Atlantic.
ski holidays     
 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.
Bigtipper wrote:


When you have no time to make a packed lunch! Local cheese, local wine, and fresh bread. All for under 5 euros in Espace Killy!

That’s more like it (holiday)
snow report     
 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
@under a new name,
Quote:

@PeakyB, I have ducked “closed” signs more often than I can count, almost always because I knew why it was closed.


Yes, I own up to doing that a few times myself, when reason known.
But I know of a few where that action has ended up in fatalities after an avalanche.

My point was that sometimes what is technically 'off piste' in Europe is not really threatening or risky.

But some people who have more of a culture of litigation tend to exaggerate that risk.

snowHead
snow report     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
abc wrote:
Bigtipper wrote:


When you have no time to make a packed lunch! Local cheese, local wine, and fresh bread. All for under 5 euros in Espace Killy!

That’s more like it (holiday)


I am always more interested in local fare than what costs a fortune and is environmentally unfriendly to import. Often you are surprised by the quality when you taste table wine and local cheese. However, that is not difficult in France. What is table wine in France is the premier cru in Scotland!
snow conditions     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
PeakyB wrote:
But some people who have more of a culture of litigation tend to exaggerate that risk.

snowHead

Cheap shot.

But it doesn’t appear you have much understanding of the perspective of North American skiers, judging from your warnings about rocks off piste rolling eyes
latest report     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@abc, I’m happy to let the OP interpret the value to them of posts on their thread.

I’m sure we’re all trying to help best we can.
snowHead
snow report     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@PeakyB, I have heard that the British nowadays are more keen on litigation than our american friends.
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?
@Rabbie, a growing trend in UK I think.
But we digress.
snowHead
ski holidays     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Quote:
I’m sure we’re all trying to help best we can.
snowHead

snowHead
snow report     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@abc,
"That’s not a holiday. Sad "

It very much is a holiday to us! Where at home can you sit with a picnic lunch in the middle of nowhere with majestic alpine views? And, unlike in a mountain restaurant, be undisturbed in an exclusive spot?

We know it's not everyone's cup of tea (and we have friends who steadfastly refuse to contemplate a picnic, in favour of €18-25 daily Bolognese rolling eyes in busy restaurants) but we really enjoy the experience - and the expediency, which gives us more ski time! Packed lunches R Us! Very Happy Very Happy

@photuris,

For your trip I would recommend Courchevel 1650. We've skied several hundred days in the 3 Valleys over the years but last week visited the town at C1650 for the first time. (We've skied down to the town a lot over the years but never wandered the streets). We were pleasantly surprised by the lovely streets, cafes/bars and ambiance and think it would be very nice in winter. Meribel would also be worth a trip. The 3 Valleys would certainly give you the groomers you are looking for. Think 3 (or 4) interconnected valleys with various 3 or 4,000 feet vertical (on many different routes) top to bottom routes on perfect groomers! We had guests from the USA staying at our apartment in the 3 Valleys last season (in Val Thorens) and they said the scale of the skiing, the lifts and the scenery was beyond their imaginations! Very Happy

As others have suggested, it would be good to take the train from Paris.

Remember to let us know what you decide!


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Sun 4-08-19 8:45; edited 1 time in total
ski holidays     
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Quote:

My point was that sometimes what is technically 'off piste' in Europe is not really threatening or risky.


And sometimes off piste in Europe is life threatening. For the average American resort skier who has perhaps never even thought about avalanches or even carried avalanche equipment it's an important point to make. Many don't realise the difference that when you leave the groomed piste in Europe you are putting yourself potentially at danger. How big that risk is depends on many factors, but if you don't know these factors you probably shouldn't be going off piste.

The simple comparison is off piste in Europe = "out of bounds" in N America.

Quote:

Many make perfectly rational decisions to dabble in off piste that is between lifts, easily visible and reachable from patrolled areas, etc. So if you have a bit of an incident on one there’s a decent chance someone will find you before the wolves or marmottes eat you...

...Where off piste really can get seriously risky is when you go off the back of mountains that are out of sight and beyond the lifted areas. I’d never consider doing that without a guide. They’re usually roped off with clear warning signs.


I'm quite alarmed that anyone would assume a slope is safe to ski because it's in between lifts or easily visible. Those kind of slopes can be far more dangerous than a 25 degree planar meadow on the backside of a mountain out of sight. Is this really the level of decision making people are using?!
latest report     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Quote:

@abc, the VARIETY of terrain in Europe is far less (than in N. America) UNLESS you hire a guide, you think?


I understand the point he is making. I can go to any resort in N America on my own and ski trees, cliffs, bowls, chutes etc. with relative safety (at least of avalanche risk). There is nowhere I can really do this in Europe without a partner and avy equipment. People go on about itineraries but I am yet to see anything comparable to north America terrain. For example the kind of in bounds terrain I'm talking about skiing on my own in North America would include truth and dare and ozone faces at kicking horse which have both been used to stage the world freeride tour 5* events.

Of course with avy knowledge and equipment (and/or guide) euro terrain is comparable, or arguably better for some things (e.g. Chamonix is probably the best steeps skiing in the world).
snow report     
 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, I appreciate and understand all of this.

However, the OP stated that husband and 2 pre-teen kids are strong intermediates. She is a cautious skier who is going to get a fair amount of tuition next season.

I wonder whether the distinctions and finer points of contrast between off piste in N. America and Europe are all that important to them?

If, at their stage of skiing, they can’t find enough varied terrain in Europe to satisfy them, I’d be amazed.
snowHead
ski holidays     
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@boarder2020, yes, people do make decisions about skiing off piste between lifts, based on sometimes flimsy knowledge and maybe a mixture of complacency and bravado.

Vast majority, in my experience, come out of it perfectly OK. Some have terrible outcomes. I’m not advocating it, just saying that it has and probably always will happen.

Same as driving fast on bendy roads, micro-light flying, rock climbing, waving a loaded weapon around, etc. Difficult to defend rationally but people will still do it anyway.

Nothing much alarms me these days.
snowHead
latest report     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@photuris, Villars or Davos in CH-land, or Obergurgl in Austria. In France La Plagne/ Les Arcs - train from Paris.
snow report     



Terms and conditions  Privacy Policy