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Confidence building resorts??

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Chaps & Chapettes,

After introducing the missus to the wonderful world of skiing last year, I want to consolidate on the investment this year and get her properly hooked. Soldeu last year was good for learning, but it lacks long wide open cruising runs to build confidence and allow learners to get used to linking turns and move to parallels. Before we go to Canada in March I want to get a week in in Europe with the main purpose being to get her confidence up so she's able to get the most out of Whistler …

What resorts do you reckon best fit the bill for this?? Pros and cons welcomed.

Cheers
Ad.

PS: Whilst this may sound like I'm thinking only about her and being the general all round caring bloke - I'm really just trying to guarantee my long term skiing future!!!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
My choice would be Courchevel from experience. There are lots of cruising blues and greens to really let her skis run, with some more challenging runs available if she gets her ski-legs.
Downside has to be the cost and the long transfer from Geneva, although the transfer from Chambery is a little shorter if you can get a flight there.
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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?
Wengen Switzerland

A real mixture of easy blues (some up to 9km long) and lots of reds, it's supposed to be an ideal resort for beginners and intermediates, not too cold, plenty of trees if the weather closes in, great scenery which is always nice. The Mannlichen has a very wide area of red pistes and is accessible in about 10 mins from the village center.

Downside is that the nightlife is limited and there are not many black runs
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D G Orf, You are being paid aren't you.

That, or the local tourist office has the negatives of the party where your Mum met those two bears Very Happy
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
At the risk of getting a bump to free my needle, Cervinia! It's like skiing on motorways in some parts. You'll not find loads to trouble the better skier, but for a beginner, they'll virtually have the run of the resort by the end of the week with the amazing Ventina (run 7) to aspire to if she takes to it (just be wary about the bottom of run 7 which starts off wonderfully but can be a little more steep and icy at the bottom where it gets a lot of shade). It can get crowded at the weekend (esp. Sunday), but there should be loads of space midweek. Fly to Milan or Turin and get the coach (1-2 hours).

From what D G Orf says about Wengen, that could suit the bill, too - but I've not been there. [Edit seems he beat me to it]
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marc gledhill,
Quote:

D G Orf, You are being paid aren't you

Oh God I wish Laughing

No it just so happens that it would be ideal for this situation, notice I never suggest it when people are looking for extensive nightlife, good black runs or extensive off piste.

Of course it's not cheap but then neither is France, it is British friendly and most hotel, restaurant, railway and shop staff speak english to some level, as does the ski school.

Adam could also have a trial day with the DHO for free, possibly whilst his wife has a private lesson on skis.

Best time to go would be the last week in January, a quiet time with good deals at the hotels and not many people on the 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...
Adam Holt, the key to this is ski instruction, not ski terrain. Depending on her ambitions and attitude to improving her technique she could take advantage of the many ski schools now operating in the Alps in the English language.

PG did a whole list of British ski schools a while back. If he sees this, maybe he can cut and paste it here. I'd recommend the British Alpine Ski School (BASS), Supreme Ski School and World Class Skiing. There's also Interski, who run a big BASI-staffed ski school in the Val d'Aosta.

The latter do all-in packages from Britain. If you can't find the websites, I'll look them up.
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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!
My vote would also go for Courchevel, either 1650 or 1850. Lots of long, confidence building pistes and a couple of great British ski schools (www.supremeski.co.uk and www.skinewgen.com).

Regards

Rob
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rob@rar.org.uk wrote:
My vote would also go for Courchevel, either 1650 or 1850. Lots of long, confidence building pistes and a couple of great British ski schools (www.supremeski.co.uk and www.skinewgen.com).

Regards

Rob


I think I make that 3 for Courchevel then. I wouldn't rule out 1550 or La Tania either if you are on a tight budget. You can cover a huge amount of terrain in Courchevel without going near a red or black piste. If she gets a good instructor and gains confidence then she still won't be bored as there is a huge amount of more challenging pistes as well.
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I would pitch in with La Plagne. I skied this as a second proper week and loved it. There are literally tons of Blues and quite a few easyish reds and you can travel miles on easy stuff.
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My vote would be Courchevel if you can afford it, Cervinia if you can't. Both have tonnes of long wide green slopes with restaurants nearby, and the village also very close. Alpe d'Huez also has a nice big green directly above the resort which is served by a gondola and good for near-beginners.

I would forget about Wengen though, it's a lovely place but no good for you as the main run home is a very long narrow road with lots of fast skiers all trying to get down the same way. If Adam's Mrs has only done a week or is a bit nervous, she might have to take the Mannlichen cable car down at the end of the day, rather than ski down. There are also no proper "green" gradient/width runs (or at least slopes that in France would be green!) apart from a tiny beginners slope below the bottom of the cable car.
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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.
Plake, I used to do that narrow run aged 4 it's not that difficult Laughing Adam Holt, it really will depend on how much confidence your missus has, I got the impression you were trying to raise her standard and confidence which means going from blue to red runs
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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
Sauze D'Oulx in Italy.........or anywhere in the Milky Way (sestriere etc). 400km of linked piste. Huge amounts of varied sliding but most of it quite easy motorway cruising!! snowHead
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I'm with David Goldsmith: it's the quality of the instruction that matters the most. Many years ago, my wife had to go through a similar catch-up stage and she made astonishing progress with a series of private lessons on the local dry slope (in Cardiff, you'll be glad to know, Alan Craggs). On the first day of her second week on real snow she was excitedly steaming down some easy black runs in the Ziller valley and she's not looked back since.

The other think to consider is skiing comfort. The things that discouraged Mrs Jonny the most were high winds, poor visibility, excessive cold and, worst of all, rain. Choose a resort with tree-level skiing for bad days and plenty of cosy mountain restaurants.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Courmayeur fits that bill. Lovely resort, plenty of great views, tree level and some above tree level skiing. reasonable mixture of run type though the resort's not very big. Hundreds of restaurants and bars (esp. for the size of region - you're never far from a bar). Lovely village. La Thuile a short drive if the snow's poor. No personal experience of the ski chool, but people I know who've used it all thought it was good.

I'd also recommend a few pre-holiday lessons on a carpet before going.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I would put a slightly different slant on things and say it depends on when you are going. There is nothing like good snow for giving you confidence. If you can afford the time to go low season before March I would put off planning where to go untill you see where the snow is falling. Snow fall patterns vary and in January often low resorts have better snow than the so called snow sure ones, having said that if you book ahead to a low resort you may find no snow or very poor snow.
Courchevel, ALpe d'Huez, Wengen etc may all be excellent but if it hasn't snowed for a month in the Western Alps and it is has been chucking it down in the Eastern or Southern Alps, you will have been better off there.
If you have to go at Xmas / New Year forget my suggestion and book asap to one of the above.

T Bar
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Adam Holt, you could try Serre Chevalier - plenty of accessible greens to get the ski legs back, and Chantemerle, Villeneuve and Monetier all have greens or blues and blacks down to resort level. There are a good number of mountain restaurants, plenty of tree line runs with the resort villages having a more traditional feel. No shortage of long cruisy blues to get confidence on.

The ski pass entitles one day in Montgenevre also, although there's easily more than enough skiing for a week IMHO.

On the negative side, if you're driving, it's a long haul to the Southern French Alps (I'd recommend flying to Turin and hiring a car - 1.5 hours). The resorts range from 1250 - 1500, so it's worth waiting for the snow before booking.
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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 would vote for Courchevel or La Plagne - both have nice cruising blues for building confidence on.
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I'm a fan of La Plagne - especially from Belle Plagne - loads of motorway blues,reds and what I call purples. If the weather is bad there is some sheltered tree line skiing down towards Montchavin. But Serre Chevalier also has some good stuff for beginners / early intermediates.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
kuwait_ian wrote:
But Serre Chevalier also has some good stuff for beginners / early intermediates.
But is also has some nasty drag lifts!
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True, Chris, but that's all part of the learning process, n'est ce pas ? But if they worry anyone, you can ski around the Belle Plagne area all week and not need to use a drag. But you might need to queue occasionally for a chairlift whereas you can often ski straight onto the drags.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
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Chris Reed, you cant learn to ski without suffering! what else would you talk about at dinner!
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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!
Thanks for all the suggestions guys - a few recurring themes here. I seem to remember thinking Cervinia might be the ticket. I'm keen on Courcheval but as we're going to Whislter later in the season the budget might not stretch.

As for teaching as opposed to terrain - I agree with your reasoning but to be honest I think its best sometimes to give someone the basics and then let them go and have a good run. I know that some of my biggest gains early on where outside of lessons on wide open cruising runs where I had the room and importantly the time, due to the length of the runs, to work on improving technique and linked turns and carving etc etc. It was always this that gave me the real eagerness to get back to lessons to progress further. So I suppose I'm looking for a balance - good teaching in the morning and then the perfect wide open gentle cruising terrain to practice on in the afternoon. I'm trying to make sure she gets away from any form of snowplough nonsense as soon as possible!!

On that note - personally I have NO idea why they teach beginners to ski in a snowplough and make snowplough turns - its fine to teach a beginner to stop by making a wide snowplough but otherwise surely its completely pointless, actually holds people back - as many are scared to move away from it, and is bloody dangerous as half-wit first weekers end up trying it out down the local black run at lunch time on day 1 and end up in traction for 6 months or worse!!! ... anyway totally unrelated and irrelevant rant over!

Cheers
ad.


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Fri 29-10-04 15:16; edited 1 time in total
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Adam Holt, you've opened a big topic area there, which would be ideal for a fresh thread. The relative merits of snowplough-turn teaching against short-ski-parallel teaching (Ski Evolutif in France, Graduated Length Method in the USA) have been discussed for decades.

In essence there's no reason not to eliminate the plough turn, but most instructors continue to teach it because it builds the foundations of control. Modern skis make the transition from plough to parallel very quick nowadays.
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I reckon that it's good to be able to stop before you've got to the level of being able to ski "properly". There are times where I, a plateau skier, still find the snowplough the best method to slow down. Not many, but they do exist. Think of it as learning how to use a fork before moving onto chopsticks.
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I think the snowplough is one of a number of tools that all skiers need to have mastered. Although I don't snowplough often, when I need to I'm glad I can. I think I'm a more adaptable skier because of it, and I'm glad that I didn't skip this stage.

Regards

Rob
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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.
Adam Holt, the snowplough turn allows you to make very slow controlled turns in almost any situation which is why it is still taught, I've used it on many occasions when a parallel turn would not have worked or could even have been dangerous.
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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
It was just a comment - a rhetorical musing really. I still use snowlough in certain circumstances as well, in fact I'm sure at least once a day when skiing - but I wouldn't need to have been 'taught' it to use it as it's common sense or instinct. Similar to giving birth in a birthing pool, the baby swims even though it wasn't taught to.

In any case if you look at what I was actually saying it was really geared around why it's the first thing beginners are taught. In my opinion it simply makes a beginner a beginner for longer as they spend time perfecting what in reality isn't skiing, then have a period of doubt and reluctance moving away from and it toward parallel turns which they will think must be so much harder other wise why wouldn't they have been taught them first up!!

Yes its part of the armoury - but what a complete load of nonsense to base beginner teaching on ... "Hi guys so you want to learn to ski??" .... "yes please Mr Instructor" ..."ok guys first of all I'll spend a week teaching you how not to ski" !!!

I've just failed miseably to close this can of worms!! each to their own Laughing
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I think that many of the confidence building resorts have been mentioned. Courchevel (1850,1650 and 1550), Cervinia, La Plangne.

A number of years ago I broke my leg and wanted a resort to build my confidence again. I went to Soldeu and had a great time, easy runs although limited but that is what you need to build the confidence, a little familularity helps a lot especially with the nightlife.

Wherever you go have a great time.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Just caught up with this thread - thanks for the plug Jonny Jones Cool

Let's get one thing V, A or pizza shaped - the snowplough is not for stopping!
It's for controlling speed and direction at slow speeds on a stable base.

Read any decent text on ski technique - eg Witherell etc and note how they all emphasise that the movements used in a plough are exactly the same as those used in parallel skiing.
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