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Canadian, looking for solo European week in january

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I’ve been skiing in Canada and the US for years, and finally want to ski in Europe. I will be travelling solo, likely at the end of January, but can’t finalize any travel plans for a few months. I ski with my 3 boys regularly but we drive, rent a house or condo and ski for a week on a package deal. Easy to organize and I have a car the whole time so self catering is also easy.
I don’t know where to start about travelling solo to somewhere in Europe. Do singles book into a chalet and just meet up with others, are there package deals that have lessons, chalet, tickets etc that are recommended?
I’m a 44 yr old mom, strong intermediate skier. Not cautious but also not looking for jumps etc. Would love to have good instruction while there too but freedom to explore good as well. Looking for some guidance...
Have really appreciated reading through the forum advice too.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
The Birthday Bash is made for people like you, if you can make the first week in February. Search for it with the button on the bar at the top of the page. I expect someone more technical minded will post a link shortly.
snowHead
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Hi thanks, I have read all about tnworh lots of interest but unfortunately have to be teaching on feb 3 in Canada so have to be back that weekend.
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@Emc902, Then the preBB WUW is for you https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=3275983
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Try UCPA: it's the French hostel system and they run "family weeks". They are very popular however so you'd best look pronto. UCPA are a fantastic organisation. Realistically most chalets cater for 8+ so you could always share with randomers and have your own rooms. Try Crystal for starters but there are loads of recommendations on here. Chalets are generally a punt and money expended is no guarantee of quality sadly.

You said solo: whoops. Yep you'll be fine with UCPA. You can pay a supplement for a double or just share a small dormitory.
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@Emc902, Welcome to Snowheads.

I've done some single trips in Europe, can sometimes be difficult to avoid picking up a supplement for the single room.

If you want to work with an organised trip perhaps a good starting point mey be to take a look at Ice and fire,

www.ice-fire.co.uk or www.Singlesport.com. Both are UK companies who accomodate single skiers withing there groups at no additional charge.
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Many thanks for all the helpful suggestions. Single sport unfortunately does not have trips during the week I’m available but it would have been a good plan. The ucpa site has many options that also include full instruction which I would enjoy as a solo traveller. So much to choose from there but lovey to know there are many options. I will dig further into that.

The link to preBb suggests it fills up quickly. Any idea when it is available and then how quickly it fills up?
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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!
Where in Canada do you live?

Also look into the local ski club which may do trips to Europe.

But, if you really want to hook up and ski with people from other part of the world, you do need to cross the pond alone.

I don't remember how I stumbled upon it. But some years ago, I went on a solo trip to St Moritz. Checked into a small'ish (boutique?) hotel with a package of ski pass + half-board. Quite reasonably priced. There were a small group of other solo skiers in the hotel, which mix-and-match nicely. Admittedly, I'm an out-going person. Not everyone feel confident to wing it like that.
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Try Hofnar they have a very good reputation
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Emc902 wrote:
The link to preBb suggests it fills up quickly. Any idea when it is available and then how quickly it fills up?

PreBB does fill up fairly quickly, but if you check in here every couple of days you'll be OK. I believe the hotel is booked and Admin is waiting for the Lift Pass price to fix the cost for the Bash. snowHead
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@Emc902, The PreBB runs from Saturday Jan 25th to Feb 1st. However, a few of us will be going out there on Friday 24th Jan. You would be made most welcome. Bashes are great fun. snowHead We have a Canadian and an Aussie going on the BB the week after; which I appreciate you can't make. But it shows you wouldn't be the first Canadian to make the journey over to a bash. Toofy Grin
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Emc902, Eh and welcome to SnowHeads. As others have said, joining the Bash would be a great option for you.

If for any reason you were unable to do that, then there are other options I know of. No doubt other SnowHeads could add to the possibilities mentioned already.

Other than SnowHeads bashes, I think chalethotels or medium sized chalets would be much more sociable than renting a small apartment, if you wanted a sociable atmosphere.

Choice of arrival airport in Europe is important and I expect there are big differences in price for various options.

A good week to ski in Europe usually.
snowHead
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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
Yes, thanks, looking to be more social than somewhat hiding out in my own hotel room. Chalet would be great, looking for one that isn’t geared to 20’s party scene (I was once that person, a university soccer player out with the girls till the wee hours every night and I am now 20 yrs away from that!) I looked at hofnar, they aim for the 20-30 yr old demographic so that doesn’t work but it is the exact idea.

I’ll fly out of the east coast, Halifax, Nova Scotia, so essentially nothing is cheap or easy to get to Europe in January. All our chartered flights head to Cuba that time of year rather than Switzerland. My cheapest option is to Paris but I can’t get single ticket connecting flights onto your charter flights to Geneva or Venice...so I either do it separately and pay about $900 and risk any delays or I stay with Air Canada and Lufthansa or similar and pay about $1100 to Geneva or $1400Cad to Venice for the flights. It’s why we Canadians don’t often ski in Europe, and why I can’t find many Cdn groups organizing trips from this side of the Atlantic. A typical big trip for us on the east coast is likely to BC, 6000km to the other coast and the flight would be half that cost.

I’ve looked also as skigodesses, a small group that has a chalet in Chatel and has lessons for the week, women only. Good plan, and I love the idea of a week of instruction, just at the moment the session has only v low end intermediate skiers and so Im waiting to see if there are almost-advanced types looking to join or else it is not an option.

Many thanks to all Giving suggestions. Much appreciated.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Emc902, get the train from Paris
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@Emc902, yes, seems trickier and more expensive from Canada than it does from USA.

You probably know it already but rome2rio.com quite good for initial onward travel planning.

Paris a decent port of entry anyway if it’s also the cheapest option.

I’d still recommend the Bash if onward travel to Italy feasible, with Venice being best (Marco Polo, Treviso or train).

If France better I know one chalethotel in Megeve that would suit your needs well I think. Includes excellent instruction. Mixed demographic but definitely not 20-30 party scene. Excellent food. Not cheap and may already be fully booked that week. Megeve not too shabby a place to stay or ski from.

Ski Amis has some good small to medium sized chalets in places like La Tania, 3V. Good chance of meeting likeminded skiers. Likely to offer single rooms that time of year.

Bigger UK tour operators such as Mark Warner, Ski Olympic, Crystal may be able to accommodate you. Problem is they usually want you to buy their flights from London too. Sometimes I’ve negotiated with them and excluded the flights though.

snowHead
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@Emc902, if you're interested in a group holiday with tuition, then Snoworks get a good write up on here. I've not done one of their classic week long in a chalet/hotel trips but they seem very popular.


For female specific training, I looked at these last year and they appeared pitched at a more advanced level than skigodess (but did not do, so again, no direct experience):
https://www.elementconcept.com/verbier-ski-lessons/womens-ski-camps/
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Emc902 wrote:
The link to preBb suggests it fills up quickly. Any idea when it is available and then how quickly it fills up?


If flights work then I also recommend the PreBB. I believe (although I'm not certain) that if you register interest on the 2019 bash thread (click the "I'm Interested Button" then "I just can't help myself" and confirm it) you'll get an email when admin posts the bash for 2020 snowHead

I went this year (having already done a number of other bashes) and loved it. Alleghe is a smallish resort but very enjoyable and the hotel is very nice. Also with snowheads there's always someone to ski with if you want (or you can do your own thing). We bumped into loads of people during the day, some people we might ski a handful of runs with, other's we'd join for the rest of the day.
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@SnoodlesMcFlude, good tip, I’ve just tried it myself to try to get early ‘heads up’.
snowHead
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Wow, thanks to all. I’ve emailed elementconcept, snoworks and vipski as they all offer multi day clinics with chalet accommodation which is a good social scene for a solo girl I think.
The bash sounds like the best social scene but Venice is really expensive for me to get to. I would save on the clinic costs and maybe end up at same total.
That gives me four more options than I had a few days ago. Again, I appreciate your help
A thankful Canuck.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Hi Emc902 and welcome to the forum,
As others have mentioned if Paris is the best entry point to Europe for you, you can get around surprisingly easy by Train.

A great site to explore is seat61.com, this is just stuffed with useful information about rail travel in Europe.

Paris is a great hub for trains, there are even sleeper trains to Italy at a reasonable price.

BTW, we love to ski in Alberta and BC, but you'll find most European resorts are much bigger & not as cold as the Rockies in January.

I hope you have a great trip.
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Paris is the cheapest but certainly not the most convenient. Cdg is about $800, geneva and Lyon are $1000-1100 and Venice is $1400. All cdn dollars. No charters that time of year across the Atlantic.
I’ll pay the extra happily rather than coach or train about Europe. I’ve never skied Europe but I Have visited many times, all my family was in the uk as a kid so it’s familiar.
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@Emc902, spend the extra and go direct to Geneva or Lyon
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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!
@holidayloverxx, always seems to me there are far more direct coach transfers from Geneva to the major French ski areas than from Lyon.

Seems counter intuitive, given which countries each city is in. But that’s the way it is.

I realise train from Lyon to Moutiers, Aime, Bourg St Maurice is possible but rarely seems fast and convenient to me. When flying into Lyon, I’ve usually ended up renting a car. That can sometimes be beneficial if moving between areas. But for one week in one lift linked area it can be more hindrance than help, eg parking fees.

So the Swiss airport is best for most of the big French areas, like EK, 3V, Paradiski.

An alternative is Paris, then onward internal flight. Could be messy but could be an opportunity to stretch legs after a cross Atlantic flight.

Paris to Chambery at weekends can be done for about 300 CDN dollars return. Paris-Geneva about 150 CDN dollars.

If Dolomites is the choice, Venice makes good sense. Innsbruck OK but getting over the Brenner Pass can occasionally be troublesome, especially after a good dump of snow.

I’m a bit surprised entry via London isn’t as cheap as Paris. A London entry opens up lots of cheap flight options, as well as train.
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@PeakyB, must be honest I don't know about transfers from Lyon...I've only done it once. So direct to Geneva. If it were me I wouldn't want the faff of changing fir such a short flight...risk of luggage not making it...having to get a flight from the same airport in Paris...extra time tajen for the overall journey
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@holidayloverxx, yes, one direct flight, if cost effective, would be my choice too.

I don't understand Lyon airport's approach to serving major mountain areas. They generally seem ambivalent. Maybe they get enough business that's more profitable anyway? Seems to have been the same for at least 25 years. Pity, as the airport experiences I've had at Lyon have usually been better than Geneva, Grenoble and Chambery. Just a bit longer transfer but the dealbreaker is usually lack of frequent, reasonably priced transfers.

Puzzled
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Take a look at inspired to ski as well. They have half week or full week options. If dates worked out you could do half week of lessons and then stay in the chalet all week and explore a bit yourself. Or some people were signed up for two consecutive half week courses. I was really impressed with the quality of instruction last year and staying in a chalet with others from the course was great. I shared a 4 bed bedroom with one other (they don't fill bedrooms if you're sharing with strangers) but there were also options to pay for single occupancy. I did a half week in morzine and got there by train/bus via Paris, train to thonon Les bains then a local bus up the mountain. The chalet owner picked me up at the bus stop and drove me up to the chalet. Rental skis were delivered to the chalet on the first evening, all really convenient.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Bigger UK tour operators such as Mark Warner, Ski Olympic, Crystal may be able to accommodate you. Problem is they usually want you to buy their flights from London too. Sometimes I’ve negotiated with them and excluded the flights though.

But then flights to London and onward travel may be doable and cheaper?
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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
Thanks for the info on Geneva vs Lyon.

I can manage the travel, direct flight to ski isn’t an option at all, so it’s multiple flights regardless of where I end up. I can get to London direct, it’s the only direct flight I can get that time of year, but can’t get onto your charter flights as a one-ticket-connection and it isn’t worth the risk in the winter. One delay due to a snowstorm in Canada and a missed connection onto a charter is not worth it. I’d have to rebook if space available and pay twice at a high last minute price. Not a risk I’m interested in. I can make any travel work though, and can sort it out, it’s the rest I admittedly know nothing about.

I’ll check in with “inspired to ski” today.

Snoworks replied with some options in January for Tignes and mirebel that work, as well as an option for Tignes in mid December.

While I can appreciate no one can predict snow and weather, and I know that Tignes is more likely than others to have snow, can you give me idea of “how open” the resort would be that time of year? Worst case scenario is likely that... I could still ski an area massively larger than a Canadian mountain? or it could be low on snow and restricted to an area that I’d be better off in Canada at that time? Or too risky to make it worth it? Or likely to be fully open and wonderful early skiing?
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Late Jan is heading into peak season so should be pretty much fully open.

Personally I would want to stay down in the trees because the weather can still be pretty bleak then - in 3V La Tania for example.
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Gosh. Dumb Canadian award goes to me. Your own preseason bash is there in December. So yes, let me answer my own dumb question.

I’m not sure why I hadn’t considered early December previously. I think I assumed it was too questionable for snow that time of year. I suppose my less dumb question can still stand, the basic question is... does early season skiing at Tignes give me that big European ski adventure? Would I possibly be left thinking I should have waited until later on the season?

Wth, I’ve been trying to squish a trip into a small one week window in January when I really had several weeks in December to play with.
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There will be several resorts open - only problem with December is there is more variability in snow cover. Later in the season there is more of a base already built up, so if it doesn't snow for a couple of weeks, it's not much of an issue. In December it's a bit riskier...

Having said that, loads of European resorts have excellent snow making capability now, plus quite a few are very high, and even have glaciers.

I'll be at the pre-season bash in Tignes (where the whole area has been open any time I've been before) then going straight to Chamonix for a couple of weeks, and I'm confident I'll get lots of skiing in Smile Might just be a bit less off-piste.

Edit: you could also mix in some exploring e.g. depending when the Austrian resorts open, you could do a week in Tignes, transfer back to Geneva and then get the train through Switzerland and Leichtenstein to Austria - which is a stunning trip in itself.
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the question with early December is always 'how much of the area will be open?'

Lift cos/resorts may choose not to open all of their area due to; low vistitor number and or less than ideal snow coverage.

given the commitment involved I'd wait 'til jan.
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At $1000+ air fare, December is NOT worth the risk.

Unless you can wait till the very last minute and see the storms hitting the mountains.

Or, wait till April and do EoSB if you have date flexibility. Snow will be more reliable in April than in early December.


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Fri 2-08-19 15:45; edited 3 times in total
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From what you have said @Emc902, you could consider a flight to Paris and then the train to Moutiers Salins Brides les Baines and then a short 10 minute bus ride to Brides les Baines.

This gives you access to the 3 valleys which will be well covered with snow at end January. It is generally cheaper to stay there, and lower level, but it involves a 30 minute bubble car ride in the morning to the centre of Meribel. (and it is not ski in ski out generally)

Brides les Baines tends to have good deals at that time of year for chalets, and small hotels. It is a spa resort, and so you can pamper yourself with many beauty treatments and take to the waters. Less lively than resorts at much higher levels. More French rather than the UK orientated Meribel. (but most of the French there will speak english, if your French Canadian accent is too strong)

The other options you are considering are good too. Tignes can have bare patches on the pistes prior to the opening of the season in December. However, by the opening of the season all/most runs will have a good cover of artificial snow at least.


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Fri 2-08-19 15:41; edited 1 time in total
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Emc902 wrote:
the basic question is... does early season skiing at Tignes give me that big European ski adventure? Would I possibly be left thinking I should have waited until later on the season?

Tricky question you're asking there.

In simple terms: the odds are that conditions in late January will be far better than in mid-December. You may get lucky and there may well be an early dump of snow that really opens things up early. But do bear in mind that even with that the resort will not be fully operational. That is because the chances of that great early season dump (and one that holds) is fairly small. So they won't have the staff to fully open everything as they can't just call them in. The wind up is a pre-planned process peaking at new year week and then rolling through the core season in Feb/early March before the wind down begins early April.

I was in Tignes at Christmas in a badyear and it most certainly had it's limitations. Personally if I was paying the bucks to fly over the Atlantic I wouldn't want to do so at the runt end of the season. Especially as late January is just ahead of the peak season so you should have great winter conditions but fairly quiet slopes.

Not that mid-Dec is a totally carp idea. And I am sure you would have a good week.


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Fri 2-08-19 22:09; edited 1 time in total
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Quote:
rolling through the core season in Feb/early May before the wind down begins early April.

Only if you've got a Tardis. Toofy Grin
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In addition to the other options mentioned, you might want to look at Ski Club of Great Britain skiclub.co.uk
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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@Emc902, How long time do you want to spend skiing in Europe?

BB is a good option for the Dolomites and has beautiful mountains

Meribel for British catered chalets and large skiing area.

Think about the transfer costs if you travel alone.

End of January is a very ok timing.

Chatel is a nice french place with some British catered chalets. Look for the Linga area and visit "Le Renard" for night out.
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@Emc902, I definitely wouldn’t do an early December ski trip if coming all the way from Canada. Too much risk with snow conditions from my experience. Even in high altitude areas like Tignes.

Late January gives a far higher chance of full snow cover and quality. It opens up lots more feasible choices of country and area, at lower altitudes too.
snowHead
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@Emc902,
For info re skiing conditions in the Espace Killy ask on these two threads:-

https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=138772&start=1080

https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=82612&start=6080
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