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Montgenevre - Ski School, Ski Hire & Train

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Having settled on Corvara, then La Thuile, then La Rosiere, I have now DEFINITELY settled on booking into La Napolean in Montgenevre for Feb half term next year (assuming they still have availability when they release their prices in May). I was going to book through a TO, but not sure if there's any point now (apart from maybe ABTA/ATOL protection).

Having never been to Montgenevre before I'd be grateful if anyone has any hot tips on:

Ski School
I'll be looking to book my 3 kids (16, 16, 14) into a shared private lessons (probably 3 x hours). They've all been skiing for 8 years and are a similar standard. Also my wife into private lessons too (probably 2 x 2 hours). I'd prefer a smaller school (nothing against ESF), but I would like some communication before booking so I can ensure my wife has a female instructor (men are too pushy as far as my wife is concerned).

Ski Hire
Where's good? Decent selection of boots for the kids and decent skis for everyone. I would also normally look for somewhere close to the main lifts that you can leave your skis/boots in over night so you don't have to walk far in ski boots, but if I've understood correctly, La Napolean is close enough anyway?

Getting the train
I don't want to fly to mainland Europe again if I can help it. Anyone got any good tips on the train journey? Shall I wait until both Eurostar and SNCF have released their tickets (they release at different times) or is that too risky?

Anything else
Anything else that you deem necessary? Best slope/lift to avoid at a particular time of day? Best place to eat? Cheapest place to have lunch? Anything.....
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Not sure Montgenevre would be top of the list for train access TBH. I think Briancon would be your best bet. SNCF do a sleeper service from Paris to Briancon. It would be 30ish mins in a taxi up to Montgenevre so you could get a pretty full day of skiing in on arrival if that appeals

Actually, you can also get a TGV from Paris to Oulx which may be better than Briancon. Similar transfer time
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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?
@Arno, There's a direct train from Paris to Oulx, which is only a 20 min transfer to Montgenevre apparently. I haven't worked out if a train from France > Italy then taxi back to France is a problem in terms post Brexit travel though...

The sleeper train is a good shout. Could get 8 days skiing for the price fo 6. Going to look into that.
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Can't see there being an issue with the border - I've crossed it many times and not sure there's ever been anyone in the border post
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Timmycb5, i think the www.snowcarbon.co.uk and www.seat61.com websites are helpful for train travel
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@toyah807, Cheers, I've had a look at snowcarbon, will check out the other one too.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Timmycb5, We have done the Briancon sleeper and the TGV via Oulx and I personally prefer the TGV. We buy standard tickets for Eurostar and first class tickets for the TGV if we can get hold of them at a reasonable price. I have given you my other hints for the Oulx route in a previous post.
The sleeper does as Arno point out give you 8 days skiing. However check the situation re: shared compartments. When we took the sleeper we had to pay for first class to have a compartment for four without sharing and the facilities were basic - still had to use the loo at the end of the carriage. Definitely check if it is still likely to run whilst covid is an issue and what the rules will be on shared compartments. Admittedly when we used the sleeper we had a 2 yr old and a 5 year old and with young children it was tiring hanging around on a cold paris station waiting for the sleeper to depart late at night. Nevertheless the rest of the family slept well on it. I was awake most of the night..so it depends how relaxed you are at sleeping on trains!

Ski school - the options are Apeak or ESF and both are very good. You would probably get smaller class sizes with Apeak but they get booked up. Having reread your post I think Apeak would suit you. Definitely book well in advance for half term.

Ski hire - haven't hired skis for ages so cannot recommend a shop. If you stay at Le Napoleon you will only have to walk across the road at the end of the day so best to store your kit in the heated lockers in the residence.

Tour operator - As per my previous post I would definitely recommend going through Peak Retreats for Le Napoleon as they are ABTA bonded and offer excellent customer service including a 24 hour phone line (manned by senior staff) if there are any unforeseen issues when you are away. They will book lift passes, ski school etc if you want or if you prefer to book those yourself you can book accommodation only through them. We have been on all our ski holidays with them since 2008. We also had two ski holidays booked with them this season which ended up being cancelled due to covid - this was handled efficiently - we opted to postpone but were also given the option of a refund.


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Mon 8-03-21 17:49; edited 1 time in total
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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!
snowymum wrote:
However check the situation re: shared compartments. When we took the sleeper we had to pay for first class to have a compartment for four without sharing and the facilities were basic - still had to use the loo at the end of the carriage.


I've only done one return trip out of Austerlitz and I got eaten alive by bed bugs on one direction. Not sure if that is representative but it's enough to make me think twice about doing it again
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@snowymum, awesome, thanks
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Arrrgghh, can’t seem to get a 3 bed at Le Napoleon, though may be able to on a waiting list. Back up is to book an apartment at Les chalet des Dolines, which seems to be near the Chalvet lift on the North side. My question is, are you able to catch that lift and get over to the south side on easy/gentle runs (with minimal poling!)? Or do you need to schlep down to the main lifts on foot? Hoping @snowymum, might have some insider info!
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@Timmycb5, NB The Chalvet lift and slopes above it are south facing. The north facing slopes are above the Prarial lift. From Chalet des dolines you would take a short drag lift and ski down to the chalvet gondola. (or you could just walk a few minutes and put your skis on outside Le Hameau des Airelles to avoid taking the Chalvet gondola) From the top of the chalvet you would ski down a blue or green to the Tremplin lift, take the Tremplin up and ski from the top down to the resort centre/ Apeak meeting point. Coming back you'd need to either take the Serre Thibaud lift up and ski back to the door or finish skiing in the centre of the village and take the skibus back. There is an ESF meeting point outside chalet des dolines. I think Apeak only run lessons from the resort centre but you could ski to the lesson meeting point.

The area where Chalet des Dolines is is called Le Hameau de l'Obelisque and it is pleasant. It has the Cocci market which has a deli section. They also do takeaway pizzas and you can order hot chickens. It is fine to ski from Chalet des dolines but I would say a bit less convenient to ski back to as we often find that we end our days skiing on the north side eg. the Gondrons area and it is easier to ski back to Le Napoleon from there.

Could you book either a 2 bed (sleeps 6 if you use sofa bed) in Le Napoleon or 3 bed in chalet des dolines whilst putting yourself on the waiting list for the 3 bed in Le Napoleon?
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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.
Awesome, thanks for the info @snowymum, yes that exactly what I’m thinking, booking a 3 bed in des Dolines and waiting for a 3 bed in Napoleon if one comes available.

Nice to know about the hot chicken. Having a poulet roti from the butchers in Les Gets mid week has become a family tradition, so it would be nice to carry that on in a different resort.
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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
Whoop. Deposit paid for Chalet des Dolines. I can get excited now.

As we've never been there before, me and my FIL are considering taking one for the team and selflessly doing a reconnaissance mission some time in January, probably for about a week, in order to get an understanding of the various runs and what will suite my wife, and to work out the best places to eat, shop, etc. It's a tough job, but I'm always going above and beyond the call of duty.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Timmycb5, Glad you have your holiday to look forward to and hope you like Montgenevre as much as we do. Even better if you can do the January trip too! My favourite restaurant is Les Terraces mountain restaurant at the top of the Chalvet gondola.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Thanks @snowymum, and thanks for all the tips!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I've also been looking at Le Napoleon in Montgenevre. How busy is it likely to be in Feb half term (19th-26th Feb)? Will it be as bad as some of the other big French resorts?

Also, do bookings and ski school tend to run Saturday to Saturday? Flights to Turin from Manchester are Sunday to Sunday....
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Pippo9, from all the research I’ve done and and knowledge form people on here it’s my understanding that Montgenevre isn’t as busy as most other French resorts. I’m still expecting it to be reasonably busy, but hopefully not “hour long lift queue” busy.

The weekends are apparently busy though, as people drive up from Turin.
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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?
@Pippo9, I have been to Montgenevre several times but not February half term so can't give specific information. I imagine that morning ski school will need booking early but other than that as you say I'd expect the lift queues to be shorter than the more known french resorts. If you are an intermediate skier you would be able to ski to Claviere in Italy while your kids are in ski school. I have stayed in Le Napoleon and it is very good. Just across the road from the ski school meeting point and a high standard of accommodation. Has a nice pool etc for the evenings. There is also an outdoor ice rink in the resort and the Monty Express rollercoaster.

I think at half term it is likely everything will be operating on a Saturday to Saturday basis. Are you tied to that week as this year I think Christmas and New Year weeks will be Sunday to Sunday for accommodation and ski school due to Christmas day and New Years day falling on Saturdays. They will probably then revert back to Saturday to Saturday from early January onwards. If you'd rather stick with half term BA used to do a daily flight from Gatwick to Turin but not sure what services they are offering this winter.
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