Help with long term planning.

Discussion in 'Europe' started by Sbooker, May 7, 2017.

  1. Sbooker

    Sbooker Active Member

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    Hi all.
    I'm planning a trip to Europe in March 2019 (yes I know it's quite a while away) for my 20th wedding anniversary and was hoping for some assistance in selecting a location.

    I would hope to find somewhere with the following attributes.
    - Snow sure.
    - Preferably winter conditions (minimal slush).
    - A European feel (we've never been to Europe).
    - Ski in/ski out accommodation.
    - Great scenery.
    - Decent food experience without being 'big plate/small food'.
    - Easy access from a city that would be interesting to tour for a few days before or after.

    We are advanced intermediate skiers and don't need expert terrain. We don't need great nightlife but a few beers at the end of the day is important. We'd like an area with multiple villages that can be accessed by skiing.
    I like the sound of skiing in Italy but don't know if there's an area there that will be snow sure in late March.
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. WaitAwhile

    WaitAwhile Dedicated Member
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    If you are looking at late March its probably a good idea to book last minute, dependent on conditions, many resorts may have even closed their lower runs and you would be catching a lift up to a midstation, depends really if it is a bad,average or a really good season.
    You could even wait until just before your departure from Australia then make a booking somewhere.
    Places with good altitude like Tignes, Val Thorens and Les Menuires should still have skiing straight to the accommodation, but they are not your nice pretty villages , and are more purpose built resorts.
    At that time of the year you may be skiing in slush piles the size of big mogul fields by the afternoon, if they have not had fresh snow for a while with lots of warm sunny days.
    Or you may have the resort all to yourself midweek with lots and lots of fresh snow. Just really depends on mother nature in the week or so prior to your trip, especially good if you have a pretty reasonable base.
    Try and get there in early March ,if its possible.
    And dont forget the sunscreen , at high altitude with the sun reflecting of the snow it can make for a good dose of sunburn.
     
    #2 WaitAwhile, May 7, 2017
    Last edited: May 7, 2017
  3. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Part of the Furniture
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    Trains in Europe are fast and efficient, so your touristing can be almost anywhere. Paris to Bourg St Maurice (rail hub for Val d'Isere, Les Arcs etc) is about 6 hours by train for example.
     
  4. Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty
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    First thing I guess is to narrow down the countries. France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy would be the main options all providing a somewhat different "European feel". You will find options for what you want in any one of those - good food (though quite different country to country), accommodation scenery.

    How long were you looking at? A couple of weeks?

    Late March can be a little for reliable natural snow, especially if the season is anything like the past one, but snowmaking in the alpine regions is excellent so you can still be skiing long groomed runs. What type of skiing are you after - is powder and offpiste a proirity? If so try going earlier. But if you are happy skiing long wide groomed runs, then March and even April will be very good. Fine weather, less crowded, more relaxed.
     
  5. Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty
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    Late March will be good skiing, I really enjoy the relaxed feel. But is definitely spring conditions (though can still get winter conditions at times), so you do have to time your runs according to slope aspects to minimise the slush. Or have access to a glacier for later in the day.
     
  6. Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty
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    For Italy somewhere in the Dolomiti region with a few days in Milan at the end before flying out could fit the bill. Plenty of options in the other countries also.

    edit. A few other thoughts.

    As mentioned above places like Val d'Isere, Val Thorens in France will provide reliable snow with the altitude but don't have much of a village feel. Porties du Soliel is an excellent area to explore multiple villages in France & Switerland but is lower so probably not a good choice for late March. Fly into Geneve or Lyon.

    In Switzerland Zermatt would certainly deliver especially on scenery but you do need to be prepared to pay quite a bit more. Fly into Zürich, take a train via Luzern, maybe Interlaken for some stunning scenery.

    Good choices in Austria would be the Arlberg region, Saalbach-Hinterglemm, the Ötztal or maybe in the Zillertal. Fly into Munich and visit Innsbruck and/or Salzburg.
     
    #6 Heinz, May 7, 2017
    Last edited: May 7, 2017
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  7. Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty
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    I'd suggest browsing through some of the other threads in the Europe forum where several similar questions have been asked.

    Also establish the parameters eg. will it definitely be March or could it be earlier? I'm guessing anniversary itself is in March? How long are you thinking 2,3,4 weeks or more? How much travelling do you want to do? How much skiing vs sightseeing? How many countries do you want to visit? There can be a bit of a trap for first time Europe visitors to go everywhere, but you can spend a lot of time travelling doing that and bypassing so much other stuff. Better to stick to 1 or 2 maybe 3 countries and explore the local regions.
     
  8. Seth

    Seth Old And Crusty
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    this far out I'd just be looking at where to fly into that is convenient to get some deals on flights.
     
  9. Sbooker

    Sbooker Active Member

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    I've been doing a bit more research and think skiing in Italy would suit us. Any recommendations for a town in the Dolomites that has a nice village feel with plenty of dining options. Walk to lifts would be great. On the Sella Ronda would be a bonus.
    Is driving to the ski areas easy in the Dolomites? For example if we stayed in Arabba is driving to Selva simple to do?
    Thanks.
     
  10. Jacko4650

    Jacko4650 Well-Known Member

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    Dolomites is a good choice. Snow making ensures snow covered runs around the Sella Ronda. Due to the history of accommodation houses, most still cook evening meals (and breakfasts of course), meaning the choice of restaurants & cafes as we know it isn't really there (as most people dine-in). You can ski for days and weeks on end so if you want to try a different area you can ski there rather than drive (just as quick in some cases anyway). I have stayed in a few towns and Selva di Gardena or Corvara seem to fit the bill for you. Down a bit from Selva is Santa Christina but as you move further down the valley the snow will dissipate. Places like Arabba are surprisingly small and might get a little boring after a while. Try google Street view and "drive" yourself up the main streets of a few places to get a feel. If you like a traditional snow village (fur coats and all), Cortina d'Ampezzo ticks a lot of boxes. Personally, I found the town living in the past and poorly planned in terms of getting skiers around the different areas.
     
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  11. Research101

    Research101 Active Member

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    Can second Corvara as a good central point and nice town to stay on the sella ronda, we stayed just outside Arabba in a small family run hotel ( we had a car ), half board is good value at most places but locks you in for evening meals so you don't get to try the local restaurants, but there a many on mountain ones to try for lunch. Snow making all around is sensational, we got there with low snow and were worried about cover, but there was plenty to ski and topped up with natural whilst we were there so it was fantastic
     
  12. Apresski

    Apresski Pool Room
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    If you haven't been to Europe before and intend skiing the Dolomites, can I suggest flying in or out of Venice, worth seeing such a beautiful city.
     
  13. Sbooker

    Sbooker Active Member

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    Yes we intend to go to Venice. I've never flown to Europe. What cities out of Venice, Milan, Innsbruck or Munich are only two flights from Oz (Brisbane). How do I find this out?
     
  14. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Part of the Furniture
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    If you fly Qantas/Emirates almost all those cities are a single stop from Australia. Emirate's hub is Dubai, and they fly direct to most major European cities from there. Have a look here. If there are no direct flights there will be fast trains.
     
  15. Apresski

    Apresski Pool Room
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  16. Sbooker

    Sbooker Active Member

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    Research is getting a bit more focused. Best Austrian ski area that is easily accessible when traveling by train from Munich? Preferably north of Innsbruck if possible as I'd like to have a couple of non ski days there and then head south to Italy.
    Thinking Skiwelt, Zillertal etc?
     
  17. Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty
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    Plenty of good Austrian resorts are easily accessible from Munich with an easy back track to Innsbruck for journey south. Train & bus services are very good. Could go Zillertal (Hochzillertal-Hochfügen, Zell am Ziller, Mayrhofen), Ötztal (Sölden, Obergurgl), Innsbruck itself, or even St Anton or Saalbach-Hinterglemm a little further afield. Not familiar with SkiWelt but location wise would be ok also. All good, how you define which is best I can't say.

    edit: maybe suggest following:
    Zillertal is reachable by train and probably the closest to Innsbruck outside of Innsbruck itself. Some of the others areas will need train then bus to reach.
    You can also use the Zillertal train for various ski areas in the valley (covered in the one pass). Linked area of Hochzillertal-Hochfügen gives you a good combo of wide groomed pistes (Hochzillertal) and great ungroomed terrain for powder (Hochfügen).

    Can then have a few days in Innsbruck and ski the local areas (Nordkette, Igls, Axamer Lizum) as well as time in the city itself.
     
    #17 Heinz, Jul 23, 2017 at 10:39 AM
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017 at 11:00 AM
  18. Research101

    Research101 Active Member

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    Zillertal valley is great, plenty of options, you would need a few weeks to cover it well.
    We stayed at Mayrhofen which is a nice town and mainly skied there and the Hintertux glacier.
    Lots of small pensions and farmstays all along the valley. We stayed one night at one and enjoyed it.
    Had a great night on a rodel course, at gerlosstein ( toboggan ) one night, laughed so much and kids loved it.
     
  19. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Part of the Furniture
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    It's German, not Austrian, but the daughter had a good time in Garmisch-Partenkirchen a few years ago. Not far from Munich.
     
  20. Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty
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    Mayrhofen is the biggest town in the valley and apparently very popular with the Poms. Decide for yourself whether that is a good or bad thing. I preferred to stay in the quieter area of Kaltenbach / Ried with access to Hochzillertal/Hochfügen. Stayed at a pension with dinners included. Caught the train on one day to Zell am Ziller and Mayrhofen on another. Stayed local on the other days.
     
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  21. Research101

    Research101 Active Member

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    We stayed at the farmstay in Ried, remember it well as on arrival we got a welcome nip of some super strong spirit, nearly blew my head of, certainly warmed me up.
    Still don't know what it was, perhaps rocket fuel !!
    http://stadlpoint.at/
    We didn't notice a lot Poms around Mayrhofen but then again we wern't around town much as we had a half board deal.
     
  22. Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty
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    Schnapps?
     
  23. Research101

    Research101 Active Member

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    I have had schnapps before but nothing like this stuff, would it have been home made ??
     
  24. Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty
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    Schnapps can be made from many different things. In Austria they are normally Obstlers ie. from fruit ( apples, pears, apricots, plums, cherries). Could also be a Zirbenschnapps which is from pine cones or a Kräuterliquor (from herbs).

    Home made also quite common. My uncle often brings out some of his Zirbenschnapps when I visit him.
     
    #24 Heinz, Jul 24, 2017 at 8:34 PM
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2017 at 8:50 PM
  25. Research101

    Research101 Active Member

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    cheers