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(Optimistically) NW Italy in Feb 2021 half term

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Afternoon all

Rather bleak reading the chat at the moment Sad

Like many I jumped on the Easyjet sales and bought flights to Turin in the half term for us and our kids, who will be just 4 and almost 6 at the time of travel (assuming we can go...)

Looking for options. I've been to La Thuile for a few short breaks so probably not interested in that, especially with all the lift closures with the wind. I have also done Courmayeur on its own and from La Thuile, so that's out. Far too small.

I'm considering Cervinia on the basis that there's a lot of skiing and would like to tick of Zermatt. Have also read about the less good bits of Cervinia, such as its height and therefore bleakness in storms.

Then there's Sestrier et al in the Milky Way. Don't know anything about them as i've never flown to Turin!

6 year old can ski - did her first full proper week in March and was following me down blues and reds no bother. 4 year old will probably be starting ski school proper, but will probably whinge! Ideally as protected (within the parameters of reasonableness) an area for the younger one to be learning. i.e. not up on some wind swept plateau!

What do I actually want?!

no1 - happy kids, happy parents. Would love hotel with pool and half board. But open to self catering as I genuinely enjoy cooking (even on holiday!) or we can just eat out.

We will get a private transfer to resort so no car to drive to lifts. Don't mind getting buses so long as they're directly by hotel and are not busy (festival period an issue?).

Mrs and I do cover quite a bit of km so would prefer a larger area. I only do safe edge of piste softer stuff, unless i invest in lessons.

Rambling now!

Where have I skied? St Anton, Ischgl, Klosters/Davos, Mayrhofen, Crans Montana, Flachau, 3 Valleys, Alpe D'Huez, La Thuile, Courmayeur, Tignes, Val D'Isire. Generally big areas. Less of an issue with the kids though as we prefer to not go too far from the lessons (Flachau last 3 years).

Thanks in advance and if you need me to clarify any of this pls ask!

BB


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Mon 20-07-20 10:01; edited 3 times in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
That would be for Feb 21 then not Feb 20 as in the title?
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ffs!
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@Badbobby, If your worried about lift closure due to wind, I’d avoid Cervinia, as it suffers from wind if you know what I mean!
We have stayed in Courmayuer for the past 4 years, it has a good nursery area on Plan Checruit for beginners with a covered magic carpet, and the resort is compact enough to be able to get back quickly to the nursery area if your needed, our son is now 15 and doesnt do ski school so we have skied a few days in La Thuile and Pila also during the week. Can’t help on hotels as we SC.
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@geoffknight, thanks for your reply - i has brain dumping too much and should have said that I have done a short break in Courmayeur plus a couple of days from La Thuile so that's probably a no for me.

Yes, thanks for confirming re Cervinia.
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@BadbobbyYes Cervinia CAN be windy. It doesn't mean it will be! If you wrote off everywhere because the weather might not be great, you'd never go skiing!

Personally, I spent a wonderful sunny week there with no wind. Slight downer, was the temps were down to -18Deg C but. . .
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@skitrack, agreed, but similar to some resorts being more likely to not have snow in early and late season. That's trends and then you decide what you want to risk for £5k. My friends went recently and they loved Cervinia so it's still on the 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!
How long a transfer would you put up with? Would suggest either Madonna or Sella Ronda but it’s a 4 hour + transfer which is probably too long. With kids that age I imagine you would want to stay within reasonable range which might rule out Zermatt from Cervinia
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@DCG, yeah - looking at a max 2 hour transfer tbh. Early flight back on the Saturday - wasn't thinking straight at the time, should probably have booked the Sunday. Although i'll probably be grateful to have most of the weekend to recuperate.

Cervinia to Zermatt, i see what you mean. How long does it take to get over there from Cervinia?
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If you are only suggesting Italy becasue you are flying to Turin and not because you refuse to go to France, what about Serre Chevalier? Lots of options for hotels and self catering in the four villages, and we have also been looking at Huski as a catering option if we self cater (hoping to go in Jan). Several helpful local snowheads for information (and maybe accom options) and i also think @nickyj visited half term this year so might be kind enough to give date specific info (think she wrote a trip report too). Ski area is large and varied so should suit. As i say tons of accommodation. For our own trip we have looked at umpteen and dont plan to book anything yet, but to name a few......apartments on eureka ski website (inc complexes with pool, sauna etc), hotel de l'europe (used by snowheads in March i think), Pinewood Chalets......the list is huge and not a crazy transfer fromTRN. But if you are stuck on Italy, ignore all that!
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@toyah807, thanks for the reply. I am not stuck on Italy but I have to say I’ve been impressed with the food, lack of crowds etc. That said, lifts not always up to date and occasional poo in a hole! So it’s not all perfect Wink

It’s half term week so the big attraction to Italy is that, compared to France, it should be a lot quieter.

That said, I didn’t realise that access through to France at that altitude would be open during winter. Eg. The link to la rosiere from la Thuile is a piste in winter...
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@Badbobby, no problem. I agree with everything you think about Italy and we only opted for Grenoble flights and Serre Che for 2021 (as a first choice that is, we will wait to see how everything else pans out before committing to a final resort) fancying a change after several recent trips to Italy. I think mountains separate La Ros and La Thuile, whereas Serre Che is just further along the road from TRN so way more accessible from Italy. Good luck with the search
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@Badbobby, There’s some Zermatt locals on here who will be able to give you a better answer than me, but I would guess you could get up to the ridge in just under an hour. Gondola to Plain Maison followed by 3 chairs. It’s just that once there you would want to go some distance into Zermatt to make it worthwhile and then it coukd take a while to get back. If the kids are only doing a half day in ski school then you’ve not much time to play with .
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You know it makes sense.
@DCG, noted. Thank you.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Lots of good advice so far.
I agree that Zermatt is a big ask from Cervinia in your present circumstances.
My recommendation would be Sestriere as it’s in a great location for mileage and beginner slopes, with plenty of well priced accommodation, both HB and SC.
Sauze could also work, but not as well placed logistically.
For cheaper and perhaps less crowded options check out Claviere and Bardenoccia. They offer slightly less in easily linked terrain but might still work well under your circumstances.
In the Aosta valley, the obvious choice is Pila, but it is possibly a bit limited for your own skiing for a week.
Serre Chevalier is a decent shout. I would add Montgeneve as a good possibility if you are considering heading over the border.
Good luck
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Ski-2 in Champoluc have a good ski school and all the childcare options you might want. They do packages that include transfers but not the flights and have minibuses to pick you up and take you around the village whenever you want.

Good ski area too!
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@Valkyrie, I’m interested that you suggest Champoluc. I’ve never been but am keen to ski the Monterosa area one day.
I’ve also got young kids and ruled it out for the time being as it looks like the area is quite spaced out with a few valleys to get over ( making it difficult to make appointments to collect kids etc). Do you not think this is the case?
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Thanks all - food for thought. Looks like i need to keep an eye out for accommodation to gradually become available again. I assume that one plus side is a lot of accommodation will be refundable.

Looking at reviews, I see Sestriere is deeemed to be a bit ugly and that it, and Sauze, have patch snow despite their altitude.

Suspect Serre Chev will be too busy and probably accommodation too expensive in half term week, which also coincides with Paris in 2021.
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@Badbobby, we got a great deal for half term this year.

We stayed with Pinewood Chalets.

https://www.pinewoodchalets.com/
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@Badbobby, yes Sestriere is ugly. I didn’t realise aesthetics was high on the criteria. Can’t think of any hugely charming resorts in the area (Courmeyeur? But you’ve ruled that out), but Sestriere is definitely one of the worst. But it’s swings and roundabouts, perhaps worth putting up with it to have all of its other benefits.
Milky Way snow record is possibly not the best but I wouldn’t say it’s a huge risk going there in Feb half term.
If you are worried about French holidays that would also rule out Montgeneve ( and possibly Claviere as they share the same area).
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@Badbobby, yes Sestriere is ugly. I didn’t realise aesthetics was high on the criteria. Can’t think of any hugely charming resorts in the area (Courmeyeur? But you’ve ruled that out), but Sestriere is definitely one of the worst. But it’s swings and roundabouts, perhaps worth putting up with it to have all of its other benefits.
Milky Way snow record is possibly not the best but I wouldn’t say it’s a huge risk going there in Feb half term.
If you are worried about French holidays that would also rule out Montgeneve ( and possibly Claviere as they share the same area).
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@EdYarker, the main runs between valleys in the Monterosa ski areas are big wide and easy, so it doesn't take very long to get from one valley to another. Having said that, I wouldn't want to have to get back to Champoluc for lunch every day.
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@Valkyrie, understood. So Gressony might be a better base, being more central to the whole area, but not such a large village, so fewer post ski facilities? I Think I will leave iMonte Rosa on my list for a few year’s time. Thanks for the clarification
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I have to say that reading the requirements and having skied most of Aosta Valley resorts and Milky Way, that La Thuile is probably your best option. Has an easy beginners area up at Plan Maison, but enough interest to go exploring. Won't be too busy at half-term as it has great uplift capacity.

I don't think you're going to be able to do Cervinia/Zermatt justice with the kids in tow, the village is ugly, plus there's the altitude/wind issue, though saying that it's been great weather whenever I've skied there.

MonteRosa is too long and straggly and has a preponderance of steep red links, so you'll be stuck in one valley.

Courmayeur and Pila are nice areas, but both fairly small. Pila also gets rammed with Brit kids on half-term school trips.

Montgenevre/Claviere would be nice, but will be busy with French holidays.

Sestriere has been ruled out due to ugliness.

Maybe Sauze or Bardonnecchia, but I've never skied them, so can't comment.
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@luigi, thanks for the summary.

I'm reinvestigating this in the hope that the world isn't yet falling apart. From that list, Sauze probably looks most promising (i've been to La Thuile three times) although i'm not that bothered about ugliness if it ends up being the best option for skiing and practically - merely a preference for a prettier resort, all things being equal.

I've emailed the tourist office to send a reservation/availability request so i'll be interested to see what comes back. Many places don't even advertise on the portals so it's a good way of finding out availability and prices and then running them by TripAdvisor...
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I have heard good reports of Bardonecchia but never been there. Km wise looks a little small but nowhere can be as small as Courmayeur. A friend's daughter lives in NW Italy and takes the kids there it appears. I think other friends went there a few years back and loved it.
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I enjoyed the skiing in Courmayeur, but it's not really enough for 2 days if you're a piste skier. But i enjoyed it, food was good and the town was lovely. Great hotels. But i can't begin to imagine it in a peak week! Must have one of the larger hotel rooms to main lift ratios....! Shocked
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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
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From your requirements, I would suggest rose-tinting your goggles and booking Sestriere. Snow should be OK in February, a decent range of runs close to town for beginner/intermediates, and with the best access to other Milky Way resorts for Dad.

Sauze OK but no better. Pila would be lovely for the kids but you would soon get bored.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@j b, thanks for that. Yes sounds sensible. I’ll potentially be driven by the best hotel offering too. Whist is a skiing holiday, swimming in witching hours from 4-6 always goes down well with kids and parents alike!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Verbier.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Whitegold, far too slow. That level of bants only works when it’s the first or second reply. C-
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@Badbobby, just to add, if you are self-catering and going out for meals, there are decent typically Italian eateries. The first time we went we chanced upon a place which had a seriously good chef - but returning subsequently it was more ordinary, they obviously engage chefs by the season.
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So... Update is that my non skiing parents will be coming.

How do we feel about gressoney? I saw a reference by Luigi that called it strung out. Is that right?

How about the ski schools, for younger kids?

Parents mean that kids can be occupied perhaps for an hour after ski school if we are running late or dropped at ski school at 10 if we perhaps try and grab the first lifts. Have also seen a couple of hôtel options that look good for half board and fully refundable; I’m sure we all agree that’s a must for next year.

Haven’t found anything yet in Sauze or Sestriere.

As always, thanks in advance.
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@Badbobby, now you are adding a tough criterion.

Sestriere is a purpose built resort but dates back to the 1920s or 30s which means it has built up some infrastructure. There is a sports centre so a good possibility of somewhere for parent to take kids after skiing. And at least the odd walk to a cafe/restaurant more or less on the level suiting a non-skier.

The other Milky Way resorts seemed to have less, but to be fair I have only visited them on skis.

Pila probably doesn't work though, not that much there apart from the skiing and if you were based in the valley at Aosta it wouldn't be easy for your parents to do the ski school pick-up.

Courmayer, though you have rejected it, is more of a "real town" for the non-skier. La Thuile not so much. Cervinia I can't help with (we have talked about going there but never made it).
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@j b, probably confusing you - by “strung out”, I think Luigi might have been referring yo the skiing? I’m not bothered about the resort itself having much or anything to do as we’ll be in a hotel.
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If you've got non skiers with you have a look at Serre Chevalier. The area has great extensive skiing but is doable with kids as you can easily ski down to the nearest village as there is a great ski bus service up and down the valley. Briancon has a lovely old centre, great for non- skiers and there's plenty to do, even a thermal spa in Monetier

Montenegro is also an old favourite of ours. Not so much to do as the town is small, but again there's baths and a bus to Briancon for a day out. Great ski school in Apeak and most accommodation very handy for the slopes
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Bloody autocorrect, that should be Montgenevre not Montenegro rolling eyes
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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!
Dr George wrote:
Bloody autocorrect, that should be Montgenevre not Montenegro rolling eyes


Thanks, but i'm looking to avoid France at half term (i'll amend the title actually). I enjoyed Montenegro!
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@Badbobby, I was simply thinking that non-skiers need to be in the sort of place that is fun to potter around in. That tends to mean something that is at least a big village, not just a cluster of ski apartments.

If your parents are reasonably fit, @Dr George's suggestion of Briancon would fit the bill perfectly, the old part is a super mediaeval walled town (but up a steep hill). And transfer distance from Turin. Someone here will probably know if the Southern French Alps get as manic as other resorts in French half term.

Otherwise I would say Sestriere is still your best bet for access to lots of slopes.
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Maybe consider Cervinia again, if your parents can be persuaded to do the childcare one day to give you a full day in Zermatt.
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