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December 2020 help! - baby, grandparents, and various other demands

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Considering a winter/ski holiday with family this December. Several are teachers so can only go in school holidays. February and Easter already have other things booked, so December it is.

Our very mixed needs:
Non skier grandparents - will do some childcare but will also need things to do. Ideally, decent pool/gym and coffee shops, maybe some walking.
First time skiers - sister in law and partner, both young, sporty and fit but will need easy slopes to learn on. Likely to progress quickly. Would also enjoy some apres.
Competent skiers in husband and myself, with kids - while not main focus of holiday, it would be nice to have a few on piste challenges. We will be juggling two children too, so quick access to slopes would be ideal. Baby will need looking after, hopefully on rotation within family members. Toddler will want snow play and will have a dabble at skiing, if they want to. Easy but quiet learner slopes/snow garden.

So which resorts should I look at? Moon on stick wishlist of pretty village (or at least not ugly), decent chance of snow early season, enough to keep non skiers happy, at least a few apres places, small enough resort that we could all meet up for lunch, quick access to slopes for babysitting tag team, prefer chalet or apartment rather than hotel .....all without breaking the bank.

I have so far thought about Mongenevre, Les gets/Avoriaz, Dolomites, Zell am See.

Help!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@carettam, yes it’s an ambitious wish list for December. If it were me I’d be looking at the Dolomites. Given you need a village with a reasonable amount going on I think Selva might fit the bill.

Main problem with most of the other places you mention is likelihood of decent early season snow. But on the Sella Ronda circuit, as long as temperatures are around zero or lower, the snow cannons will deliver good piste skiing.

Avoriaz has a good chance of decent snow but opinions on its relative prettiness are divided. Les Gets is more attractive IMO but lower altitude, so less chance of good snow.

Not a huge choice for your requirements IMO but you only need one right one!
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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?
Yes, you've just confirmed my fears really. While Avoriaz isn't pretty, it's mostly wood clad, snowy and ski in/out, which counts for something?

I had put zell on my list as I thought it'd be pretty, and if snow is poor, there's kaprun? Montgenevre isn't snow sure but I've been early season before in a poor snow year and they managed to get a reasonable amount open and skiable.

I am tempted by the dolomites and had heard that they put snow cannons to good use, even in a dry December. Plus I love Italy.

Any other resorts that might be worth looking at?
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@carettam, I think Zell is the next best shout on your list, after the Dolomites. As you say, there’s the Kaprun glacier and also lift link to Saalbach-Hinterglemm.

Other places in the Dolomites? Reasonably priced apartments should be available in the Val Di Fassa villages. Can be a long time in the shade in midwinter though.

Corvara and La Villa are other sunnier but usually more expensive options. Also San Cassiano could suit. None of these would have as much going on as Selva though.

Other places I can think of tend to be purpose built, high altitude and therefore more expensive, like Val D’Isere and Tignes.

As for Avoriaz. IMO from a distance it blends in to the mountains quite well. The closer you get the worse it gets. I don’t particularly rate the skiing either, though there’s several hundred kilometres of piste on the area lift pass. But I don’t think there’s a huge amount to do for the non skiers.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I stayed in Morzine walking distance from the SuperMorzine gondola to get to Avoriaz every morning. Hired from a shop beside the gondola so no trekking with skis or boots. Worked for me.
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Not Avoriaz, if snow is poor low down it will be jam packed full in December, and at the best of times its not pretty, nor is it a 'proper' town with many things of interest for non-skiers.

I can`t think of any 'high' snow sureish resorts that completely meet your requirements, and I`ve been looking for many years Laughing Now having to add grandchildren into the equation.

For our Xmas trips I prioritised height, self-catering accommodation with pool close enough to the pistes for lunches there, other things to do. My first find was La Rosiere, trip report here https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=2185279&highlight=rosiere#2185279 The second was at Arc 2000 with the same company https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=2435740&highlight=arc#2435740 I have not done trip reports on subsequent years, nor found anywhere quite as high with the same attributes.

Les Eucherts at La Rosiere has a bowling alley, and both centres have coffee shops etc, so finding the right accommodation with pool/gym could be key.

Arc 2000 is smaller but well linked by a pedestrian cabine to Arc 1950 which has a big spa.

Of other places I know, Val D'Isere could work but tends to be pricey, and Ste Foy could also work.

How do the grandparents feel about driving in the mountains? With a car and a will to explore its easy enough much of the time to drive to 'proper' towns for the odd day out if you are staying in resort.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Thanks. I had thought about arc 2000 but thought it might be limited for non skiers. Grandparents are confident drivers so trips to nearby places are an option, but ideally I'd like there to be enough locally to keep then occupied most days.
I hadn't thought La rosiere was the best for early season snow? I've been to La thuile, so only briefly skied over to the French side.
I'm currently leaning towards dolomites, Selva or similar, as it seems to offer pretty much everything on my overly ambitious wish list.
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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!
We always go in December and after a rubbish snow year in Chamonix, have always tried to go high-i.e. Tignes. Kids and non skiers in the group have always been well catered for with variety of activities and of course plenty of skiing options for skiers of all levels.But pretty it is not...
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@carettam, I`m afraid I can`t give any real insight to anywhere much beyond the French resorts. Others on here will be wiser.

Arc 2000 is a bit limited but as I said very easy for pedestrians to get down to 1950 (could consider staying there?), and an easy enough drive down into Bourg St Maurice for a day looking round the market, shopping etc. providing the weather allows.

I`m not sure La Rosiere is any better or worse for snow than many highish resorts in December (if memory serves me correctly its about 1800m), probably more of a gamble in that respect than Arc 2000 as the latter is at a higher elevation (just over 2000m again if memory serves me correctly).

Arc 2000 is not pretty but if you choose the accommodation wisely you have lovely views from the windows. For us views when looking out were more important than staying in a 'pretty building'.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Les Saisies would be worth a look. More likely to have good snow than anywhere in the vicinity. Good big pool complex and several apartment blocks with their own small pools. Brilliant learner slopes. Compact, attractive village. Plenty of coffee spots. Good opportunities for snowshoe walks (guided or not) and pisted walking track up to nice mountain restaurant where grandparents could watch kids/learners lapping a couple of easy slopes. Lots of "all meeting for lunch" places within easy reach of ski school meeting place. Good ESI ski school.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Have you considered Serre Chevalier? I think it would tick the skiing boxes and also Briancon is good for non skiers.
It's not super high glacier though so early in season might be bit of a gamble re snow although lots of North facing.
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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.
One good thing about Les Saisies is that because the village is at 1650 there's a decent chance of resort level snow - nice for non skiers and toddlers.
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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
Les Menuires is ugly but family friendly, just next to snow-sure Val Thorens (for December) on one side and pittoresque St Martin on the other, and part of the amazing 3 Vallées resort (4 valleys in reality with Orelle).

The issue with Avo (or Flaine) in Dec is that if there's no snow in neighbouring resorts we will all head there - queues!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I second the suggestion of @patrick!, but perhaps stay down in St Martin, if the budget can stretch somewhere like Les Chalets du Gypse which has a pool https://www.peakretreats.co.uk/winter/ski-resorts/3-valleys/st-martin-de-belleville/les-chalets-du-gypse?gclid=Cj0KCQiA7aPyBRChARIsAJfWCgJJOP3GtbzPz7SFt5hSfCxJlZ8R1qDHywAsAXEREmINUYUZVy9LHm0aAmP4EALw_wcB .
There are some lovely walks in the area for the non skiers, including lift served up to nice on mountain local restaurants, the village is pretty, and baring total disaster, you should be able to ski to and from the village by Christmas time. Chalet du Gypse has a pool, but the free bus can take you up to the bigger swimming pool complex in Les Menuires in 10 mins.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Zermatt
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Zermatt will give the snow. Has decent learning areas, plenty to do in the village and a lot for non skiing grandparents. It is at a cost however. Train journeys and on piste at the station, eating at for example Riffleberg would let everyone meet up. Riffleberg being at the bottom of the main teaching area. Worth looking at.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
We did Zell am See and found it perfect for swapping child care shifts. Also easy for grandparents to meet us on the mountain for lunch and then a gondala ride down with a little one. Also some fantastic long blacks that are quick to access yet some nice areas for toddlers on skis. Other family members have skied it the week before Christmas and had no problems with snow.
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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?
Thanks all. After weighing up the options, including the non skiers, we've settled on Selva this time.
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