Europe Dec 2017-Jan 2018

Discussion in 'Europe' started by Scot_e17, May 17, 2017.

  1. Scot_e17

    Scot_e17 Just Registered

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    First timer heading to Europe with my partner ( both boarders) from 26/12 - 17/1 and tossing up all of the options/suggested routes and ideas for an epic trip. The only 'lock' so far is 7 days in Val D'isere and we're open to spending another 7 days elsewhere ( thinking Austria ). Will be travelling from Melbourne, hoping for a reasonably priced flight to Zurich, where we will transferring out to somewhere like St Anton, but open to other suggestions. With 23 days away, I'd love to hear the absolute 'must see' places, or resorts which will have a high likelihood of OK snow that time of year. Understanding that we are early in the season, we'd appreciate some ideas for our trip. We're completely open ! Thanks in advance.
     
  2. DidSurfNowSki

    DidSurfNowSki Dedicated Member
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    A little birdie told me Saalbach in Austria can be decent at that time of the year.
     
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  3. CIRCA1962

    CIRCA1962 Active Member

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    Aim for high resorts, with terrain above 3,000 metres early in the season, but also lower trails ( with snow making) for when the weather sets in. This year there was very little natural snow below 2,200 metres prior to the second week of January.
     
  4. Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty
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    No shortage of very good options for a week in Austria at that time. Need to know a bit more about what you are after though. What sort of rider you are, whether you prefer groomed trails, offpiste, steeps, trees. Are you keen on the nightlife or prefer it quieter, whether you are interested in sightseeing, shopping as well as snow activities? What made Val d'Isere a lock for you?

    I can understand why you might have chosen Val d'Isere. It is a massive linked region, so will provide more than enough for a week. So I can understand why you though of St Anton and the Arlberg. It is probably the biggest/most famous/most international resort in Austria. It is also easily accessible from Zürich, so it is an easy obvious choice. I wouldn't say it was absolutely a must see. For many people it would be, others (like me) actually prefer something with a bit less of an international feel and more Austrian. But for a first time visitor I guess you need to judge for yourself.

    Other options that would be just as good would include Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Sölden / Obergurgl in the Ötztal , somewhere in the Zillertal or in the Ennstal, Obertauern for starters. hard to go wrong.

    Also if you are travelling from France to Austria, you should enjoy a couple of days on the train through Switzerland. many amazing scenic rail journeys through there, well worth taking the odd detour rather than just the quickest route. eg. Interlaken, Luzern, Glacier express etc.
     
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  5. Kletterer

    Kletterer Addicted Member
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    This is where i like to spend my spare days in January.Going for my fifth run on a 1 pm start. Notice how busy it is at 2 55 pm.
     
  6. Scot_e17

    Scot_e17 Just Registered

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    WOw - where is this?
     
  7. Scot_e17

    Scot_e17 Just Registered

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    Thanks so much for your insights - we'd be looking a a good range of terrain, we're both intermediate/advanced boarders, so it would be great to be challenged with some great offpiste runs! Whilst we're keen to do as much boarding as possible, we'll no doubt have a few rest days, or half days, so a resort with other activities is desirable, and nightlife isnt such a big drawcard for us ! Val d'Isere is a lock as its been on my girlfirends bucket list for ever, so we'll definitely go there, and Im thinking of scheduling that part of the trip atthe back end of our 3 weeks so we are a little further into January, giving ourselves a better chance of good snow. Whilst we're thinking of doing 7 days in Val and another 7 elsewhere, we're not adverse to perhaps doing 5 days stints in each resort and then add a 3rd resort to our trip. The only drawback from this option is that we would lose another day in transit. We also have the option of flying into Paris to visit family, so Zurick isnt an absolute lock in for our destination city.
     
  8. DidSurfNowSki

    DidSurfNowSki Dedicated Member
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    Saalbach, we'll be there mid January next year.
     
  9. Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty
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    St Anton does attract quite a few people after powder so there is the competition for fresh lines. There are people who do guiding though such as http://pistetopowder.com/ There are some similar programs in some other resorts.

    Zürich is probably the best destination if you are wanting to combine French & Austrian resorts. Munich or Vienna is good for Austria while Geneve or Lyon good for France. If you go Zürich you can be a bit more flexible about when and where you ski.
     
  10. Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty
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    The 2 x 7 days would work fine for places like Val d'Isere & St Anton. Both provide more than enough for a week. Obviously need a day to transfer from one to the other. You could do others though without necessarily losing a day to travel if they aren't too far eg. 1-2 hr transfer. I skied 14 days straight at 4 different areas in East Tirol this year.
     
  11. Kletterer

    Kletterer Addicted Member
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    Part of the SKICIRCUS - Hinterglemm- Hochalm area off to the right of the lift on the left in first pic . Offpiste heaven. The entire width is attainable from these 2 lifts so yeah its big Pics taken from mid mountain. These are grassy mountains so they require considerably less cover than many other resorts famous for offpiste. Lift company has spent over 270 million Euros in development since 2000. This was Jan. 18 sunny arvo and as you can see not exactly crowded.
     
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  12. XTREMO

    XTREMO Old And Crusty
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    @Scot_e17 - you should have a read of this thread from 12 months ago. It contains lots of info pertinent to your question and your trip planning.

    Long story short; try not to lock in your resort. Rather fly into an airport that gives you options (Geneva, Zurich, Munich for example) and make your resort decisions much closer to the time. The dates you're going are not guaranteed to be decent in Europe. You can be lucky or unlucky. I'm Val d'Isere's biggest fan and its pretty high and snow sure, but its risky locking in for early January. You won't save any accomodation money by commiting this early, in fact you'll likely pay more. Hotels will give you a token discount (maybe 70 EUR pp for a week) for an early booking, but you'll get much better deals booking closer to the time.

    St Anton is a great resort. One of the world's greatest in fact, but it has its drawbacks. Its not the most boarder friendly resort. Lots of flat parts to traverse. I posted a trip review on this page of last year's Euro thread that you may find interesting.

    Soelden, Ischgl or Saalbach (I haven't been Saalbach but I think I'm right in recommending? @Kletterer?) are better options for boarders.
     
  13. Kletterer

    Kletterer Addicted Member
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    Soelden and Ischgl suck when its stormy and you want to get the fresh off piste. Not enough trees for flat light riding. Both get very crowded in bad weather. Same in the Arlberg. Very few flat spots in Saalbach -Skicircus
     
  14. XTREMO

    XTREMO Old And Crusty
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    Fair enough, but one can't plan a trip this far out, based on suitability in possible stormy weather.

    Soelden and Ischgl both have incredible lift infrastructure and handle crowds as well or better than anywhere in the world.

    I'm hoping to get to Saalbach in early '18!!
     
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  15. Kletterer

    Kletterer Addicted Member
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    I will be there Jan 8- 27 .
     
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  16. Scot_e17

    Scot_e17 Just Registered

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    Your insights have been great - thank you. We may just lock in our option for late Dec-NYE and early Jan to be sure to get accommodation. i would presume in places like Val D'isere and St Anton are fairly heavily booked around that time, so perhaps lock that part in, and then plan the rest when we arrive.
     
  17. XTREMO

    XTREMO Old And Crusty
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  18. XTREMO

    XTREMO Old And Crusty
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    I agree with your decision to do Val as late as possible in the trip. If you absolutely must lock something in for Christmas, then my suggestion would be Soelden. It's the most snow sure major resort in Europe, has glaciers and its 10 mins from Obergurgl which is even higher and more snow sure, albeit small.
     
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  19. Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty
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    You seem to have you dates locked in but just a note that the time between Christmas and New Year is the busiest and most expensive time of the season for accommodation, so you are probably right to look at researching that early. Can't say from personal experience though as I have always avoided that time. No problem booking close to the date in January though.
     
    #19 Heinz, May 23, 2017 at 7:28 PM
    Last edited: May 23, 2017 at 8:02 PM
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  20. Scot_e17

    Scot_e17 Just Registered

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    Thanks for your help....we've decided to mix up our plans a bit to give ourselves the best opportunity of snow in early Jan. We always had the intention of doing 4 days in Prague as a side trip and have now decided we do this between Xmas and NYE, meaning we will be hitting a snow resort on the 2 or 3rd Jan. I would assume that these dates would provide us more flexibility with booking something last minute, based on snow conditions. We would literally book whilst in Prague a few days before arriving. To this point, is there a website you are familiar with that has last minute deals for snow resorts in Austria that we could search whilst in Prague? The idea is to then head from Austria to Val D'isere for the last 2 weeks of our trip in Mid Jan, increasing the likelihood of snow? Appreciate any feedback.
     
  21. Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty
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  22. Scot_e17

    Scot_e17 Just Registered

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    Great....thanks very much for your help...only 7 months to go !
     
  23. Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty
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    If you are starting in Prague and finishing in France you may want to look at one of the Middle Eastern carriers (eg. Emirates, Etihad) that have multiple European destinations so you can fly to into Prague and out of Lyon or Geneve for example which would save on land transport, although if you have time some of the rail journeys especially through Switzerland are certainly worthwhile.
     
  24. Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty
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    If you do plan on starting Prague then heading to Austria I can recommend a short stop in Cesky Krumlov on the way. Been there in spring but I think it would be ok in winter as well. Then maybe Salzburg. Ski in Austria, then train through Switzerland to France.
     
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  25. Zimboo

    Zimboo Addicted Member

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    Christmas / New Year in Prague..............very good beer!!!!!!!
     
  26. XTREMO

    XTREMO Old And Crusty
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    Good decision! Do your skiing as late as possible in the trip. Every day counts at that time of the year. The later you get into Jan, the more chance of decent snow.

    And you're correct - you'll have zero problem getting good deals in January. In fact you'll quite likely be able to get last minute deals that will save you 30%+ off ticket prices. If you're doing a full 7 days starting on a Sat or a Sun, consider the UK package deal sites. You'll get 7 nights halfboard accom incl airport transfers.The deals typically include return flights from the UK too but you won't use these as you'll be travelling from elsewhere. The deals are still worth considering for the accom and meals alone. To take advantage of the transfers, you'd need to travel from the airport their charter flight flies from. Ie. if its a St Anton deal from Innsbruck, you'd have to get yourself from Prague to Innsbruck airport. They'll probably knock £50 off the price if you don't need the flights. Typically the rack rate for a deal like this is somewhere from £699 -£1100 (GBP). The higher the price, the nicer the chalets. In first week of Jan, I reckon you'll likely get 35% of those prices if you wait until a few days before to book. Search this forum for uk deals/halfboard/packages. There's a few threads that go into it.

    http://interactiveresorts.co.uk/
     
  27. Budgiesmuggler

    Budgiesmuggler Addicted Member
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    I spent a Christmas at Val one year when there was no snow and they bused people from other resorts to Val. val still had top to bottom skiing and it's linked to the Tinges glacier which has skiing year round - I think you'll be fine there over New year.

    St Anton I love - great skiing and worlds best après ski. But it's not perfect and it is crowded especially on the home trail at the end of the day. Loads of inbound off piste if you know where to look.

    If you want the 'classics' other options would be Chamonix, Zermatt.
     
  28. Budgiesmuggler

    Budgiesmuggler Addicted Member
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    I've done this and I like it - food and lodges are decent and big possibility of meeting some other people to hang out with
     
  29. XTREMO

    XTREMO Old And Crusty
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    True.

    My discount projection may even be conservative. My first ever euro ski mission was a last minute deal to St Anton. 2007. Booked on 27/12. Departed 2/1. UK package. Flights, trans + 7 nights half board. Normal rate £659. Paid £269. The snow was alright. The week was unforgettable.