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Impression of Val D'Isere...as an American

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

Euro verticals >>>> US verticals.


I accept a certain amount of vertical is required for pleasantly long runs. However resort vertical is one of the most overrated metrics used.

1. Most resorts find this number by finding the difference between the top of the highest lift and the bottom of the lowest lift. So for example Tignes claims it has 1900m vertical drop. However you can't actually ski between these two points, in reality Tignes longest continuous vertical on a single run is 1350m.

2. It doesn't take into account quality. For example, Revelstoke has 1713m continuous vertical. It's rare anyone ever skis top to bottom though, as the bottom is usually not in good condition. While I have skier peak to creek at whistler

3. The average "holiday skier" doesn't have the ski fitness for such long descents.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@abc I replied to aschriber to point out that he had overlooked part of sheffskibod's post where sheffskibod said Christmas was only one of the times his family could potentially to come to the US. Thus, the use of the "...".

So much of my post was to make the point that UK half term is not typically a crowded time in North America.

Hopefully you can follow that, and thanks for your input.
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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?
@mr. mike, I don't get the impression aschriber is even checking the update on this thread.

His impression is of American going to Europe. This is a British site, where such impression is somewhat lost on.

So 2 Americans debating the accuracy of North American skiing information is even less relevant.

Hopefully you can see that, and your input is appreciated.
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Yes I'm following the thread I started! And the comments are very interesting.

As far as bad service from the French...there is a rumor in the US that the French look down there noses at people that don't speak French, and especially Americans. But as I said, I did not experience this at Val D'Isere. We received good service and people were very helpful and friendly.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@aschriber, I do wonder if European "ski itineraries" or "ski routes" might be similar to what is found in north American resorts. I dont think they really exist in France (or didnt when I used to ski there but that was a long time ago). The definition is somewhat nebulous and seems to vary from place to place but basically they are (generally) unpisted routes that have been checked to some extent for avalanche risk. The ones I am familiar with are in Austria but know they exist in Switzerland too eg Verbier and Zermatt. In the Arlberg area (St Anton / Lech) the route is shown by a single line of markers and the route is secured only along that line (lets say 2m either side but that needs confirming). These routes can vary between a simple path, sometimes there are pisted sections on some of the more popular ones but many are steep powder / mogul fields. These can be skied without a guide and without avi kit. As far as I understand it this is similar to the concept of "in bounds" skiing in the US, though clearly not the same (no tree skiing for instance).

If you do think of coming back you might want to look at Verbier, St Anton or Zermatt (sure others can suggest more places) which would offer similar piste setups to Val d'Isere but with the addition of the itineraries to give a different skiing experience without concerns about skiing "off piste".

Concerns about grumpy or unhelpful French people are usually unfounded. Rude people can be found everywhere. France is in general very welcoming for visitors from all over the world and English is very widely spoken. Of course the odd French word always helps but that is the same everywhere, taking the effort to learn how to say please or thank you in the relevant local language is simple common courtesy.
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@munich_irish, in Tignes we have 'naturides'. They are purely and simply unpisted runs. They are marked with the traditional numbered lollipops and piste poles. They are fully avalanche controlled and are opened and closed by Pisteurs.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
aschriber wrote:
Yes I'm following the thread I started! And the comments are very interesting.

As far as bad service from the French...there is a rumor in the US that the French look down there noses at people that don't speak French, and especially Americans. But as I said, I did not experience this at Val D'Isere. We received good service and people were very helpful and friendly.

aschriber - you were in Val D'Isere. Are you sure you were interacting with French people? A lot of people there are not French. snowHead
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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!
boarder2020 wrote:
For example, Revelstoke has 1713m continuous vertical.


that would be a nice 10 minute blast, what else is there at Revelstoke?
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chocksaway wrote:
@munich_irish, in Tignes we have 'naturides'. They are purely and simply unpisted runs. They are marked with the traditional numbered lollipops and piste poles. They are fully avalanche controlled and are opened and closed by Pisteurs.

I seem to remember seeing pistes in France that were left unpisted. Val Thoren if my memory serves. They’re usually just long mogul runs.
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@abc, The information I was providing was not for the original poster. Hopefully, you can follow that.
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@chocksaway, ski routes are generally not just unpisted pistes (if that makes sense Very Happy ), more a secured off piste route though there is a lot of variety (and confusion) in what they are.
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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.
2300m vertical here and it can be done as one run. Still only takes 20 minutes or so depending on route taken. It can be blue all the way with the last bit red or mixed up with red, black or even green sections. I did it from 3200m to 1300m yesterday (all bar the top 400m) largely on reds and blacks. I'm pretty ski fit though, it was my 48th day of this winter.

We also have some never pisted black runs which were at one time classed as itineraries.
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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
@aschriber - with regard to service and "the French look down there noses at people that don't speak French"

I would say you need to turn that thinking around the other way. How would you feel in the US if someone came up to you and barked loudly at you in another language? It would probably rankle a bit and make you appear back to them as a bit grumpy.

In my long experience of going to France, the majority of French don't expect you to be fluent, in fact some of the best fun I've had making friends with them has been their amusement at my poor efforts....but they very much appreciate it if you initially try. It's just courtesy as mentioned above. In holiday destinations most will then immediately transfer to English and away you go.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Quote:

In my long experience of going to France, the majority of French don't expect you to be fluent, in fact some of the best fun I've had making friends with them has been their amusement at my poor efforts.

On the lines of Crabtree in Hello Hello ""Good Moaning, I was pissing by the door, when I heard two shats."

I find the level of hospitally in France very good, much better than in parts of England for example (thinking about it Paris and London are pretty similar is this respect).
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
aschriber wrote:
@sheffskibod

If I were a European coming to North America for a family ski trip for a week, over Christmas, I'd pick either Vail or Park City. Both areas have enough skiing to keep a family occupied for a week, and have sizeable base towns for apres ski or even a day off the slopes. Whistler has enough ski terrain as well but I probably wouldn't go there so early in the season as its elevation is lower and there'd be a better chance of poor snow conditions. Both Vail and Park City have ski in/out accommodations. Aspen is a reasonable alternative but is hard and expensive to get to (and expensive once you are there!)

Vail and Park City are a little different. Vail is about a two hour drive from Denver. There are non-stop flights from London direct to Denver but the drive to Vail is two hours from Denver and it can be a trying drive and occasionally the highway is closed to avalanche risk and often there is traffic.

Park City is very convenient to get to as it's only a 45 min drive from Salt Lake City airport, on a highway that never closes. But I don't think there are any non-stop flights to Europe to SLC, and honestly SLC doesn't have the cultural activities that Denver offers (although both cities have great Mexican food!) Vail is a little higher in elevation than Park City and thus a bit colder. Vail, being in Colorado, offers recreational marijuana but on a family ski trip that may not change the equation much!

You mention wanting to avoid lift lines. I doubt you can do that entirely over the Christmas vacation anywhere as that is a popular time to ski in the US as it is in Europe. If uncrowded lifts and a pleasant ski town are primary goals I'd consider a place like Sun Valley, Idaho. Very upscale, has a very pleasant town with an authentic vibe, great skiing, but it's a challenge getting there (4.5 hr drive from SLC, or fly to Boise Idaho or take an expensive flight to the local airport).

Let me know if I can help further.


Much appreciated ! I will have a further look into Park City.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
^^^^
If I was travelling from the UK to North America and looking for something different to ‘typical’ European skiing then Park City would be near on the least likely place I’d choose.
There’s nothing wrong with it but I’d opt for somewhere with less crowds. Think Big Sky, Aspen, Mt Bachelor, Taos.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
The short version: Nice man from the USA went to Europe to ski. Found out that skiing in Europe is different than skiing in USA. So he went home, vowing to never return.

Moral of the story: It’s a general truth that Americans on vacation are known for wanting everything to be just like the USA when they travel. If it’s not, then they find it all a bit confusing. Laughing
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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?
I think we should give huge kudos to the US peeps as they actually have a passport.

With the difference in lift pass prices, a group of 4 could hire a guide and still not be out of pocket.

I don't really like Val D'Isere and wouldn't dream of going during French school holibobs
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Frosty the Snowman wrote:
I think we should give huge kudos to the US peeps as they actually have a passport.

With the difference in lift pass prices, a group of 4 could hire a guide and still not be out of pocket.

There is an East Coast US private school/ski academy that comes to Tignes each year in November, they say that it is cheaper to do this than to go to the Rockies at that time of year.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Poogle wrote:
The short version: Nice man from the USA went to Europe to ski. Found out that skiing in Europe is different than skiing in USA. So he went home, vowing to never return.

Moral of the story: It’s a general truth that Americans on vacation are known for wanting everything to be just like the USA when they travel. If it’s not, then they find it all a bit confusing. Laughing


Re the short version: accurate. His loss.
Re the "moral": use of a smiley face does not diminish the insipidity of your generalization.
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Scooter in Seattle wrote:
Poogle wrote:
The short version: Nice man from the USA went to Europe to ski. Found out that skiing in Europe is different than skiing in USA. So he went home, vowing to never return.

Moral of the story: It’s a general truth that Americans on vacation are known for wanting everything to be just like the USA when they travel. If it’s not, then they find it all a bit confusing. Laughing


Re the short version: accurate. His loss.
Re the "moral": use of a smiley face does not diminish the insipidity of your generalization.


Speaking of "insipid generalizations...":

aschriber wrote:
The concerns we had about treated poorly by the French were, happily, unwarranted.


C'est la Vie! Mr. Green
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
sbooker,

Park City isn't anything like Euro skiing IMHO. I'm not sure why you are suggesting that it is... Puzzled

Both culturally and on the slopes it's a contrast to Europe.
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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!
This is a thread all the self-righteous come to denigrate others who are not their identical twin.
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 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.
abc wrote:
This is a thread all the self-righteous come to denigrate others who are not their identical twin.


Fun isn't it? Popcorn anyone? Laughing Laughing
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
Whitegold wrote:
Verbier, Serre Chevalier, and Schladming are the only good resorts in Western Europe for tree skiing.

You have to work hard to find the best offpiste in Val d'Isere.

If you want easy-access slackcountry, you will need to go to Verbier in Switzerland.

If you want steep backcountry, go to Chamonix or Verbier.


For trees, a bit random: : Not forgetting Flaine, Les Carroz, Morillon, Les Arcs/La Plagne, Megeve and surrounds, La Thuile, Folgarida and parts of the PDS, but never mind that there may be others that are well off an Englishmans or a Septic Tanks radar.
Personally, im not that keen on Val D'Isere. I think that these days it has been overtaken in link quality by several areas that also offer better off piste. It always was pretentious but these days it is off the scale.
But let us not forget: Skiing is like Marmite, one persons yuk is another one's heaven. This site proves that daily.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Quote:

Personally, im not that keen on Val D'Isere. I think that these days it has been overtaken in link quality by several areas that also offer better off piste. It always was pretentious but these days it is off the scale.
But let us not forget: Skiing is like Marmite, one persons yuk is another one's heaven. This site proves that daily.


Ive been VDI a lot and dont notice the pretentious-ness, however i dont really look out for it. Im kinda there to ski, most of the rest is irrelevant to me, i do my thing and ignore others.
I'd go as far as saying the lift served off piste in EK for a decent standard skier(not ski mountaineering/extreme) is as good as it gets in Europe, anyone disagree with that?
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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 hate pretentious, but know where to avoid it in Val D, agree re the lift served off piste, I'm nowhere near extreme, but enjoy the resort very much, hence another trip there next week. It does what I need it to do in a resort, and with a bit of homework needn't cost the earth.
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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
Frosty the Snowman wrote:
I think we should give huge kudos to the US peeps as they actually have a passport.

With the difference in lift pass prices, a group of 4 could hire a guide and still not be out of pocket.

I don't really like Val D'Isere and wouldn't dream of going during French school holibobs


No one in their right mind buys day tickets.


Last edited by 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 on Sun 8-03-20 21:52; edited 1 time in total
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Bergmeister wrote:
sbooker,

Park City isn't anything like Euro skiing IMHO. I'm not sure why you are suggesting that it is... Puzzled

Both culturally and on the slopes it's a contrast to Europe.


It’s generally accepted that Epic hills are more crowded than most others.
If I was flying over the Atlantic to ski I would want an experience with no crowds and great skiable lift served avalanche controlled off piste.
Big Sky and Aspen fit the bill.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Yes, as an American living in France I found it interesting and probably pretty spot on. The "above the treeline" skiing is something you have to be prepared for in the Alps. I'm not sure there's a way around the off/on piste thing. It's just a different system. I do wish sometimes that euro resorts would patrol at least some of the sidecountry. It feels like a bit of a missed opportunity but it would probably raise prices to those of ... North American resorts... Very Happy
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