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ADVICE WANTED 2 Months or more ski accommodation for 2023

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Brand new to this website and looking for some help please guys. I'm thrilled to be taking early retirement at 57 in a couple of months and am going to fulfil a dream and do a season (at least a couple of months) in a ski resort between Jan-March 2023. So looking for some advice on the best property rental websites to use and any general recommendations and maybe even if you have suitable accommodation? Its just my wife and I and our perfectly behaved lap dog. We need 2 or more bedrooms / 2 bathrooms so we can have plenty of visitors. Very flexible on location/country (Italy/France/Austria ideally). My wife is unlikely to ski much, so need to be central to the town/slopes a with bit of life with some nice off slope facilities. Just back from Lech, which would be ideal but all suggestions welcome.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Welcome to snowHeads @MarkSki2023, snowHead

As this is ski related, it's best in a forum about skiing (Apres Zone is for all the 'other' stuff) so I've moved it to 'The Piste' for you Very Happy
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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!
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
If you've some resorts in mind ask on the relevant Seasonnaire group on Facebook.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I hadf a look at something similar for this season, and getting accommodation for ~2 months is tricky as it's not a full season rental, so you'll probably be looking at accommodation normally rented out on a per week basis. However, for 2 months, you'll necessarily cover some peak weeks, and those are often booked well in advance (often 12 months).

Many general rental sites (e.g. Interhome, booking.com) have limits of ~4 week maximum stays, so aren't any use for this case. If you've a shortlist of resorts, I'd suggest you contact the tourist offices to see what they suggest. It's probably best to do this soon, based on the fact that peak weeks book up early. You could try airbnb, but when I checked, it seemed like many who say they offer long-term rentals only mean to do so outside of winter.

Re where to go, how much do you intend to travel around. If I were going for that amount of time, I'd look to get a lift pass that covers multiple resorts. Some options are the Aosta valley pass, Snowcard Tirol, Salzburg SuperSkiCard and MagicPass (various areas mostly in SW Switzerland).

One option worth considering is staying in a town with easy access to slopes, rather than a resort. Pila (Aosta valley) and Innsbruck are two in areas covered by mulitple resort passes
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
We've used airbnb for our current 2 months in Aosta - affordable (for our budget) in town but accommodation in resort itself much pricier.

With your wife not skiing as much, might be worth going for a town with easy access to slopes?
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
To take France as an example, it would be easier to find Jan and then March as 2 x 4 week blocks outside of the peak weeks. Generally renters are very happy to fill these at a cheaper rate if you take the lot as it derisks the season.

I would identify a resort or town and get onto the relevant agents, the booking engines struggle with this sort of request.
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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!
Maybe look at booking up January up until the school holidays start. Take a break and do a city break or visit friends in the UK while the resorts are busy, then play the Sunweb/Snowtrex lottery for the next few weeks and move around some different areas.
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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.
As has been said after having the early weeks pistes to yourself the holiday ones are horrible. Splitting it up into two segments is a good idea . Does your wife like walking ? Some resorts put a lot of effort into creating walking routes in winter.
Choose a resort or close by town with a rail link and perhaps a country whose language you are best at
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@MarkSki2023, I did a full 5 month season when I retired. But it was in a high altitude ski resort (Tignes). It was exactly what and where I planned it to be. Ski as often as possible but skip the really lousy days. Have a leisurely breakfast and let any queues dissipate at peak holiday times. A small apartment but with all essentials incl a washing machine. My wife spent several weeks skiing with me between working back in the UK and my family came out at half term & Easter. But it's a place where we have good friends and contacts.

Ski, drink, eat, sleep, repeat... but it's not for everyone. You're after a large'ish apartment and that won't be cheap, especially if you're paying weekly rates. I would consider an alternative approach. We stayed in a small Italian town a few years back. Proper little place that was linked by gondola into the Madonna di Campiglio ski area. Normal shops, supermarket, nice small bars and cafes with normal prices. Rented a house (pretty sure it was Airbnb) but it was huge in comparison to most ski resort apartments. Large lounge, kitchen diner, 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms over 3 floors.

Think about somewhere like Aosta or Innsbruck for example. I think both places sell ski passes that allow to visit multiple resorts that are close by.


edit. This was the last season before Brexit. Looking back everything was so much simpler to arrange then. And in both examples given I had a vehicle to use as and when req'd.


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Wed 23-02-22 11:00; edited 2 times in total
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
This is actually quite a common requirement, at least in our ski area (the Swiss 4 Vallées) thanks to the proximity of lots of NGOs and corporates in Geneva and Lausanne. People get seconded for a year or so and relocate and want a ski season apartment where they can come and go during the season. So it's not unusual for owners to be asked if they want to rent out for, say 8-12 weeks, but at a discounted rate. Given that the 'core' school holiday weeks are the only ones guaranteed and the rest are uncertain, some owners not using their place will be happy to get a single booking at a reduced rate overall.

So, to get this sort of deal, you'll need to choose one or two specific locations as a starter, and contact the rental agencies, outline your requirement and see what offers come back. Tourist offices are also a good point of contact. Online websites don't usually do anything other than regular Sat-Sat rentals at full commercial rates. But that doesn't mean owners won't be flexible about longer-term bookings.

If you do settle on a location, make sure that there's not some mega-event going on there when you plan to stay that turns an otherwise pleasantly quiet week into a disappointing scrum. Big events should be obvious from the resort website, but more of a problem are things like University ski weeks - so it's worth doing some Google research. If you contact the Tourist Office, it's worth being vague about dates, saying that you'll want to avoid such busy weeks and see what they say.

Re valley vs resort, I'd say that 8 weeks is sort of borderline. As long as the resort isn't hours from civilisation and has public transport links then a resort may be preferable. Much longer than 8 weeks and yes, there's an argument for being valley-based. I think this decision depends a lot on whether you collectively want a ski holiday with some culture on the side, or a cultural holiday with some skiing. This is going to be very much up to the two fo you to decide on.

I'd say having a car will be useful. Even if public transport is good, a car can make excursions much easier. But this means you'll want accommodation that at least has covered parking, if not underground. In some ways, having a car means you could go for a resort with poor public transport links, if this makes the place cheaper. But if you're planning on visitors, then it's easier if they can make their own way from the airport to your place (or at least nearby) via public transport, otherwise you turn into a taxi service for every arrival and departure, which can be tedious.

Look at accommodation with reference to the navette routes; further from the main lifts will be cheaper, but as long as the place is on a navette route, then is some ways it doesn't matter too much. Although this may leave you a bit isolated for restaurants and bars in the evening. The distance/cost/convenience equation is is always something of a zero-sum-game that only you can decide on.

No one is going to be surprised if I suggest Verbier as one potential resort. There's télépherique/train links to Martigny, Sion, Lausanne and Montreux for non-ski outings and Verbier itself is big enough to offer spa, shops and pools for a non-skier or days out from skiing. If you stay outside the school holiday weeks then the above situation (of discounted period bookings) still potentially applies. Yes, if you stay at the 'W' it's going to be pricey but there's a lot of other accommodation that's more reasonable. Anyway, it might be worth an email to the tourist office just to see what's what. If the cost is looking to be excessive, then if you have a car, satellites of better-known resorts will be cheaper and you may get much bigger accommodation for the same money, or even a chalet. But of course, these places are satellites precisely because they aren't as big or diverse as the 'hub' resort.

And as an aside, if your wife isn't a particularly gung-ho skier, then consider trying out some snowshoeing. We're in our 60s and have started doing this more each visit after seeing how many locals of all ages do it. It's great exercise and in effect the winter equivalent of hiking. An advantage in our area is that most of the racquette routes are accessible from the village or from the navette's furthest reach. It also saves a day's ski pass costs. We now often snowshoe at the Weekend, when the pistes are busier and on bad weather days, or when non-skiing visitors come.


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Tue 22-02-22 22:48; edited 9 times in total
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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.
We've done short term and season long rentals (now taken the plunge and own a place). We approached local agents in the resorts we were interested in. The advice that you may need to look at a weekly rental and try and do a deal is right. That's what we did-once for 7 weeks and then for a whole season (x2), though 12 years ago we did rent a chalet with a friend which wasn't a weekly rental. The latter was in Les Carroz. The more recent rentals were in a hamlet 1.5km from the lift in St Martin de Belleville via one of the local agents-agencedesalpes. Both were renovated old stone barns/farmhouses so had charm and character. We ultimately bought a house in a different hamlet the same distance from St M. It's a great place for a season-with all the plus side of access to the 3V ski area, together with a pretty central village and rustic outlying villages, and great winter walking options which your average tourist never gets to experience. It's a nice community too-the sort of place where you are likely to meet plenty of likeminded individuals.

Work on the basis that the further from the lifts you are, the bigger and cheaper the property and if you can fill the quiet weeks, so much the better-especially for properties that might be a little further from the lift than the average week long skier might choose. We realised that being right on top of the lift was not that important, and in fact being away from the centre of the action is better, provided you can walk to and from a bar or restaurant. A car is pretty much essential though. In our experience, it's nice to stay in a "real" all year round place, rather than a chilly purpose built apartment at 2000m. I'd say that was even more important with a pooch in tow. It's nice to have winter footpaths to hand for taking the dog out.
You could look at the local facebook pages too-for us the 3V it's The Valley Echo (non residents can usually blag their way on).
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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
Lots of good ideas on here. Personally i'd be narrowing down where I wanted to go based on your requirements then trying:

Facebook - search for local town pages
https://www.livetheseason.com/ - a snowhead run company
Airbnb
Vrbo.

Depending on how local you want your skiing, somewhere like Moena in Val di Fassa in the Dolomites might work. A proper town, no skiing there, but local buses to a number of different areas. Plus on your season lift pass you have access to the entire Dolomites area, so could drive daily to other places.

The Portes du Soleil works, have often seen relatively cheap places on Airbnb in Chatel.

@ElzP, mentioned Aosta, and again, that would work well with your non skiing with. Gives you skiing directly at Pila, and plenty of other places on the Aosta lift pass.

In Austria, you could go for Innsbruck, and then get yourself the Tirol pass, which covers loads of areas.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
My advice is entirely France-focussed, as that's what I know. I'd echo the suggestion of doing two separate stints - one before the 4-week French school holidays, one after. We had a French apartment for 15 years and that's what we always did, coming home to the UK for the last 3 weeks in February and the first in March (far too crowded for people used to skiing straight onto a lift....), then staying out till the end of the season. The suggestion from @chocksaway of going to resort and contacting local agencies is a good one. Devote some time this coming supper visiting potential resorts - it would be a risk to invest so much money and time in a place you've never visited.

As for how close to the lifts you want to be, that's a matter of personal taste. Our apartment was virtually ski in/out but quite isolated, except for a couple of very local restaurants and a tiny shop which was only open in high season times. We loved being there - never bored, never felt any need for "facilities" or "entertainment". I wouldn't have wanted to be there without a car, though.

One important point to look out for - you can sometimes buy a season lift pass which saves a lot of money, but these might need to be paid for well in advance - perhaps by November. This should be factored in to your research, as lift pass will be one of your major expenses.

If you and your wife might sometimes ski together, but your enthusiasm last longer than hers, it would be important that your accommodation was skiable to. It would be miserable all round if she felt the need to sit and make a small beer last two hours, or read a book in the car, whilst you carried on alone, feeling rather guilty. Equally, if you had to get into a car and drive to ski, you might feel frustrated if you were having a great time whilst she wanted to stop after an hour or so and drive home. Something to discuss as you embark on the enjoyable planning for your retirement. snowHead
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Thank you everyone who has replied for such detailed responses and thoughts. We will have a 4x4 car with us so that gives us the flexibility some of you have talked about, which may mean we lean towards a neighbouring town and a drive to the lifts. Lots of brilliant ideas to follow up on and I will keep you posted on our progress. Counting the days already Smile
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@MarkSki2023,
Just a note. Winter Tyres more important than 4 x wheel drive. (Loads of chat on other threads about this). I have a complete spare set of Steel Rims and Winter tyres purchased from ‘my tyres’ that I swop out before heading to the Alps.
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