International (Europe/Japan/NZ/Au) Xmas in Europe?

Discussion in 'General Resort Discussion' started by Jersey Skier, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. Jersey Skier

    Jersey Skier aka RatherPlayThanWork or Gary Skier

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2016
    Posts:
    228
    Location:
    Metuchen, NJ
    So I don't mess up the other Xmas thread.

    Based on my last two hours of searching online, it seems like a Euro ski trip is actually noticeably cheaper than a trip out West from NJ.
    .
    I've never skied Europe before and never researched any of the areas. Details: I'm a lifelong skier. My 17 year old son enjoys skiing (fast). He'll deal with anything. Ever since her new ACL, my wife enjoys in order: shopping, spas, scenery. food and some skiing on green or blue terrain in good conditions. We all enjoy good food. I guess I could suffer without any good IPA's for a week.

    Just for ease or travel I'd prefer someplace within 2 hours or so from an airport.

    Any suggestions? This will give me something to do tonight.
     
  2. Crank

    Crank Getting off the lift Skier

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2015
    Posts:
    515
    Only place I have been is Chamonix! Great town. Abut an hour's bus ride (if I remember correctly) from Geneva. Not sure what conditions might be like around Chirstmas. I will tell you that they absolutely sucked when we went in March and we still loved it!

    Here's a little video I made from our 1 day of guided glacier skiing on La Vallee Blanche.

     
    CrystalRose and coskigirl like this.
  3. Jersey Skier

    Jersey Skier aka RatherPlayThanWork or Gary Skier

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2016
    Posts:
    228
    Location:
    Metuchen, NJ
    I won't be sharing that video with my wife if I want her to come.
     
    markojp likes this.
  4. fatbob

    fatbob Out on the slopes Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    1,179
    There's a reason I travel from Europe to places like Colorado at Xmas. If you must either be prepared for WROD or go somewhere like Val Thorens or Tignes and fuggedabout chi chi atmosphere.
     
  5. Jersey Skier

    Jersey Skier aka RatherPlayThanWork or Gary Skier

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2016
    Posts:
    228
    Location:
    Metuchen, NJ
    Ouch.
     
  6. fatbob

    fatbob Out on the slopes Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    1,179
    I'm serious. You can have great conditions and a great time but often the snow doesn't really arrive until January and the quality of experience is proportionate to the number of cannons a resort has ( and lots of places have a lot precisely to not blow 2 of the biggest revenue weeks of the year). Last Xmas I heard of property owners in a La Plagne satellite who didn't bother going skiing over the bulk of the holiday.

    Or go becuase you want to see a bit of Europe and take skiing as a bonus. March all the way for a quality Euro experience.
     
  7. fatbob

    fatbob Out on the slopes Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    1,179
  8. TonyC

    TonyC Out on the slopes Skier

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2015
    Posts:
    638
    Location:
    Glendale, CA
    Supporting the "Ouch" is this season summary from what I consider the best Euro ski website: https://www.weathertoski.co.uk/weat...who-got-the-most-snow-in-the-alps-in-2016-17/ Fraser Wilkin and I have exchanged some info, and I have written his North America season summaries since 2013. Note that Fraser says this was the third consecutive poor Christmas season for snow in the Alps.

    Our Austrian trip which started January 14 would have been a disaster at Christmas. We were lucky there were two storms during the first two weeks of January. We had powder for that first week in the Arlberg, but it was still low tide and I ripped out an edge on the fifth day.

    I think this is sound advice. Another period favored by jamesdeluxe is late January/early February, which works better for lower altitude places. That's when we skied that week at Saalbach/Kitzbuhel/SkiWelt last year, which I mentioned in the other thread. We made the lodging reservations less than a week ahead while we were in the Arlberg, seeing a clear but cool weather forecast. While we were in Venice it rained at those low altitude places we had skied the week before. So after Venice we went to Ischgl, which was mostly above that rain/snow line.

    Our 2018 Euro trip will be to Geneva in late January/early February. We plan even more flexibility. We would like to ski some high snowfall but low altitude places like Portes-de-Soleil but we will go elsewhere if the weather so indicates.

    My own March skiing is constrained by my annual Snowbird timeshare. There is not enough time to go to the Alps after that when Easter (2 week British holidays, and some other Euros too) falls early. But I expect we will try the Alps for late March in 2019 and/or 2020 when Easter is later.

    If you take a chance on early season in the Alps, you should probably start with this list: https://www.weathertoski.co.uk/top-10s/top-10-early-season-ski-resorts-europe/
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
  9. at_nyc

    at_nyc Putting on skis Skier

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2016
    Posts:
    216
    The rest of Europe closes shop and spend time with their families!

    That was the complaint I heard some years back. Perhaps they've improved now.
     
  10. scott43

    scott43 Out on the slopes Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    2,044
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I have family an hour from Kitzbuhel..low elevation granted..but it's a huge risk at Christmas. Mostly man-made, if it's cold enough, but they do have great snowmaking there. I would never plan a Christmas ski trip there although I did have good luck the one time I did go at that time for family reasons.
     
  11. Catskill carver

    Catskill carver Getting off the lift Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2015
    Posts:
    336
    Location:
    catskills
    Jersey,@TonyC certainly knows weather better than most of us, and you know me, I would be all in for a trip to Europe anytime but xmas is just as risky as late April.

    Farmers almanac is looking really good for us in the early winter, hit Europe mid season, it will still be far less money than heading out west.
     
  12. TonyC

    TonyC Out on the slopes Skier

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2015
    Posts:
    638
    Location:
    Glendale, CA
    More, really, as you never know where it's going to snow early. The high altitude, north facing places are quite consistent through April. Zermatt and Val d'Isere fit that bill best in the Alps.

    Saalbach is only marginally higher than Kitzbuhel but snow surfaces were better. There is similar comprehensive snowmaking but probably more natural snow mixed in with it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
    Muleski likes this.
  13. Muleski

    Muleski Making fresh tracks Industry Insider

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2015
    Posts:
    2,289
    Location:
    North of Boston
    Similar to the American Christmas thread discussion, it might be helpful to realize that it clearly is NOT the best time of the season to plan to ski in Europe. There is more snow risk, IMO, than in much of North America. There is a reason why the entire World Cup heads to CO for the month of November, etc. And good reason why so many December races are problematic in some years.

    Having said that, for some of us a family vacation at Christmas can be very special, regardless of whether the skiing matches up with the best of the season. Having "the best skiing" at Christmas is a tough match.

    I posted in the other thread that we have close friends who take a family Christmas trip with a big extended family, and seem to alternate between Europe and primarily CO. Last three Euro Destinations have been Cham, Val D'Isere and Zermatt. They sure seemed to enjoy them all.

    These are serious, serious skiers. Was it the best skiing of their lives? I would say probably not. Were they great vacations? Yep!

    The American stops in recent years were Aspen, Vail, Steamboat, Sun Valley and Jackson. They got VERY lucky with a big and early snow season in Steamboat. They got very unlucky at Jackson. Sun Valley had made a huge amount of snow...groomed to perfection every night.

    So, to me, it boils down to how you view "Christmas Ski Vacation."

    If Europe, think elevation.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
  14. ScotsSkier

    ScotsSkier USSA Coach Pugski Ski Tester Industry Insider

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    1,343
    Location:
    North Lake Tahoe, NV
    If you still want to go, Val d'isere/ Tigre's would be one of your safer bets but the biggest issue is - not unlike NA - is that there is a good chance the skiing will be limited so you don't get to really appreciate the full experience. You could always just book flights to Geneva but at xmas it might be difficult to get accommodation at the last minute
     
    Muleski likes this.
  15. Cheizz

    Cheizz Craving camber Skier

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2016
    Posts:
    304
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    For Christmas, I always go to the Dolomites. Great skiing on perfect slopes (yes, even without natural snow - other places in Europe simply are nowhere near as good without snow). The scenery, food and ambiance is great too.

    I tried Austria and France too that time of year, but skiing is much more dependant on natural snow (which has been poor the past few years), and Italy is much less crowded too.
     
    Slim and Muleski like this.
  16. Bigtinnie

    Bigtinnie Formerly 'sbooker' in another world. Skier

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2016
    Posts:
    123
    Location:
    Brisbane Australia
    Farmers almanac. :roflmao:
     
  17. Catskill carver

    Catskill carver Getting off the lift Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2015
    Posts:
    336
    Location:
    catskills
    Here in the states it's as accurate as Al Stroker and the other forecasters reading the cue cards.
     
  18. Bigtinnie

    Bigtinnie Formerly 'sbooker' in another world. Skier

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2016
    Posts:
    123
    Location:
    Brisbane Australia
    ^^^^^
    None have any accurate idea of what will happen longer than about 3 weeks out.
     

Share This Page

We respect your privacy. your information is safe and will never be shared