Choosing a ski resort


Choosing a ski resort

Started by Lizzie-B in Ski Chatter - 31 Replies

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Lizzie-B posted Feb-2012

Back from ski trip this year and need to start planning next one to cheer me up. Just wondered what criteria people use for choosing a place and how they check out places.(obviously different needs for different people).I picked Serre Chevalier this year due to advice given from a someone we were chatting to last year at Valberg and Tony H's great report - That and looking at the piste map as we wanted a larger area and green/blue runs to ski back on alongside challenging blacks and reds as we are a mixed ability party. Resort worked out well (some great runs)-could have done with a better snow but even with all the research it was a disappointing to find that the green was just a narrow road back to the base but not sure how I could have checked this out for my friend.I only ski for one week a year love the planning - thought a general thread of pros and cons for favourite ski resorts would be helpful. Love Mr Wickhams photo of St Christoph by the way... and would love to know how Tony H manages to book monthes ahead and still get a resort with the highest snowfall each time!!

reply to 'Choosing a ski resort'
posted Feb-2012

Lizzie-B wrote:... and would love to know how Tony H manages to book months ahead and still get a resort with the highest snowfall each time!!

Only time for a quick reply at the moment - I'm sure this thread will get lots of comments and if Iceman gets involved could end up anywhere !!!

TonyH always seems to do well on his choice of resort because he is related to the snow gods and gets preferential treatment - this is down to rank nepotism and is something that I find very difficult to put up with in this day and age of equal opportunity.

But .....
more seriously - my choices are country - I love France and speak good French.
and then it depends on the holiday and who I am with.
Like yourself Lizzie, I put an enormous amount of time into research.

reply to 'Choosing a ski resort'
posted Feb-2012

Thanks Andy - hope you have a fantastic ski in Serre Che great place- fingers crossed for a tad more snow.
You have it wrong about Tony he is not related to the snow gods...
He is a Snow God !

Anyway back to thread....
pros – real french friendly town, cheaper cos in the southern alps . Short transfer form Nice airport. A couple of pretty blue runs and one long easy red. Some reasonable reds but on the short side. Can get across whole area on chairs. Great for someone who detests buttons. Quiet area – not good for après ski but good if you just like a few nice restaurants.
Lots of good quality chalets and apartments to rent.

Cons Not high altitude so not snow sure Blacks were short icy moguly. Not a very big ski area. You ski across the area in very short runs. Only one mountain restaurant. Only one way up mountain therefore queues in morning. Not good for beginners as long green is at the top of the mountain and has a steep start more like a blue. If you ski to the far side of the area you will find you cross a short but difficult stretch of red ( the only way) to get back. Only bars at base are across the road so no sipping drinks and watching people ski down.

Actually wondered why I went now…but remembered was going to Pra Loup but couldn't get decent self catering accommodation for 8 at the higher level got talked into it needed to find somewere quickly as we had flights to Nice booked. OH kept saying ' Too low and short runs'. It was pretty – but will not return.

reply to 'Choosing a ski resort'
posted Feb-2012

Lizzie-B wrote:
You have it wrong about Tony he is not related to the snow gods...
He is a Snow God !


To be fair its quite simple. You read up on all the resorts, look at the piste maps, and draw up a shortlist of resorts to go to based on your own individual needs.

First port of call is get yourself a copy of Where To Ski and Snowboard. I have 2010 and 2011 editions, and if I recall you live local to me, so I'd be happy to lend you a copy if you don't want to buy one.

My criteria are really quite simple:

* a resort where snow will not be a problem which means most runs over 1800m or so, 2000m plus if possible
* good extent ie roughly 150km of pistes or more so I don't get bored as we like to bomb around the whole area. Smaller resorts with extensive off piste are also considered.
* not over expensive (ie mainly not France in which case!!!)
* transfer preferable under 2.5 hours max
* flights from any airport within reason. I'm happy to fly out of Gatwick or Manchester for the sake of getting the best deal, although Stansted, East Mids, Bham and Luton would be preferential for locality.
* suitable accommodation in resort with various tour ops. We like catered chalets, chalet hotels or if all else fails half board. Have been B&B in Austria but wouldnt want to be eating out every night at todays costs thanks!
* try and find lift pass deals or early booking discounts. Alternatively sit tight and wait for the bargains to arrive.
* be flexible with your dates of travel. We like to go January and early March normally. January is usually cold, March is often warmer with longer days. Particularly important for March to choose resort with altitude and good snow record.
* try thinking outside the box a little. I'll always avoid 3 valleys, Les Arcs, Flaine etc as I know they get hellishly busy and are generally over priced and not much to look at. Having said that, get a cheap deal and why not? Look for somewhere a little off the beaten track: Serre Che is becoming more popular but still doesn't hit many peoples radar, fortunately. Monterosa in Italy, Crans Montana or Val d'Annivers in Switzerland are good options to consider in that bracket.
* don't go in school holiday times. My kids are grown up now so I have no desire to spend time with anyone elses children thanks! Prices are inflated, airports are busy, slopes can be packed and the risks increase so try to avoid. 1st/2nd week in Jan is when you get the really stupid bargains.
* flight times don't bother me. If it has to be 6am from Gatwick, so be it. Just get on with it, you're on holiday!!! Better timed flights carry a premium. YOu won't get a lot of choice if you wait for a deal anyway.

As for choosing in advance, we do that when theres a group of us as you can't go booking 6 rooms on a late deal as its usually last room or couple of seats on a flight etc. So selection is important. I tend to research and come up with a deal for a resort which meets the majority of the criteria and then put it to the group. As for January, we waited until 3 weeks before this year and struck a real bargain in ADH where I was happy to return to, and show a mate and his OH around a bit. Again, altitude and snow record fit the bill perfectly here, and its also cheapish for France.

Your criteria may be different from mine, so theres no point in me listing all the resorts I plan to visit as they may not be suitable for you, but you MIGHT be interested in some of the places I've been to (with the exception of Niederau) and those I plan a trip to - all listed below in my signature bar.

If you want to borrow the book, drop me a PM with your address and I'll drop it in for you.

Lots of love,
Snow God Tony xx

www  New and improved me

reply to 'Choosing a ski resort'
posted Feb-2012

Tony. Agree
The Northern Monkey. Mar '22 Les Arcs

reply to 'Choosing a ski resort'
posted Feb-2012

Three main points for me;

- availability of runs/kms of piste suitable for what I want
- not a huge transfer, under 3 hours preferable
- a resort where you don't have to get buses to the ski ares, or journey between areas a great deal.
Up there for thinking, down there for skiing...

reply to 'Choosing a ski resort'
posted Feb-2012

For me, the important hings are -
1. Snow sure
2. Ski in and out accommodation
3. Large ski area.

This means I generally stick to Espace Killy, Three Valleys and Paradiski.
I was looking for somewhere new, and still am, but no where sees to compare with these areas as far as I can see.

reply to 'Choosing a ski resort'
posted Feb-2012

I've been instructed to look for next season also. My requirements are choc box chalets or resort, decent size area, shortish transfer within 2 hours, and ideally ski in out.

Any suggestions?
Skimmed plastering & Decorating. Contact me for a quote!

Topic last updated on 27-February-2012 at 07:34

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