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JonesyMalone 01-16-2013 08:34 AM

Suggestions on a trip to the Alps this spring.
My GF REALLY wants to go to Europe this year, and I REALLY want to go snowboarding in the Alps. The trip is going to start Easter weekend, with Good Friday (March 29) being the first day we'll have for playing.

I'd love to hear some advice and/or resort suggestions from you folks.

Her interest is in learning to ski better (she's a beginner), and exploring the towns/mountains. She has no opinion on what mountain to hit. My interest is in-bounds trees, small cornices, and POWDER. I have no opinion on what country to hit.

So far I've looked into 3 resorts:

*Chamonix (France). She speaks French nearly fluently, and loves the culture. However, she's been there several times and will be there for work right before the trip so she'd prefer somewhere else. I personally don't care much for French culture - but I've heard amazing things about the mountain.

*Cortina d'Ampezzo (Italy). She is most interested in going to Italy- she's interested in the culture and experience. I've also heard that quality is lacking and that it's not a great place to ride as part of a vacation [from friends who recently did a trip to italy in the fall]. So I'm pushing against doing Italy on this trip.

* Arlberg (Austria). I feel most comfortable with Germanic culture because I speak the language and have spent some time in the region. I also hear the mountains are good, and I love the look of Tyrolian towns. She would also like to practice her study of the language here.

Thanks in advance!

cozmo 01-16-2013 08:52 AM

Suggesting Kaprun - Zell am See, Austria. They have a 3000 meter Gletscher, so atleast u will be sure there is actually any snow :thumbsup:
On the gletscher there are 5 freeride routes to feed ur pow addiction.
I will drive there in 2 days :yahoo:

JonesyMalone 01-16-2013 08:55 AM

Cozmo - thanks for the suggestion. I will research it today. Have you been there before, and have you any suggestions on hotels?

I'm amazed to see that with exchange rates, the Alps resorts seem to all be $40 USD/day cheaper for lift tickets.

cozmo 01-16-2013 09:13 AM

I'd suggest getting a small apartment, not a hotel. Just Google for apartment Kaprun :D In the low season it wouldn't be very expensive (around 500-600 euro for a week for a roomy 4 person app)

Lift tickets are 166 euro for 5 days, for three (Zell am See, Kaprun and a small family mountain) mountains.

If u wanna go to a more trendy, apres ski, luxurious and more expensive place check out Ischl.
I have no idea how the snow will be early April though. :dunno:

Add: I was there last year in February and ill be there again next week. I have no idea how it compares to US resorts but for European standards its pretty sweet.

corneilli 01-16-2013 11:07 AM

Just be sure to hit a mountain that is snow sure, because sometimes on some mountains, there won't be enough snow left around Easter, which means no POW. Zell Am See is a good suggestion :)

JonesyMalone 01-16-2013 11:21 AM


Originally Posted by corneilli (Post 589513)
Just be sure to hit a mountain that is snow sure, because sometimes on some mountains, there won't be enough snow left around Easter, which means no POW. Zell Am See is a good suggestion :)

Yes - I understand that late in the season fresh snow isn't a guarantee. It amazes me that lift ticket prices are so cheap out there. In Colorado they are $100 USD/day, but in the Alps it is around 1/2 the price. Has it always been cheaper, or have ticket prices been in decline with some of the economic instability in the region?

cozmo 01-16-2013 04:45 PM

Prices have been like this for atleast 8 years.
Maybe a few % increase every year.
Prices for Austrian and French lift tickets are around 40euro a day.
Switzerland is about one third more expensive, not just with lift passes but also apartments.

mikez 01-18-2013 09:38 AM

Lift prices are cheaper in Europe, always have been.

Switzerland is the most impressive place to visit IMO (Verbier if you can - fabulous resort), but it's also the most expensive (Austria generally being the cheapest, France and Italy somewhere inbetween).

Austria has the best aprés ski. Very friendly people and fairly inexpensive. St Anton is the place to go in Austria. Great skiing, great aprés ski. Zell and Kaprun offer a nice option (lots of tree runs at the lower levels in Zell and the glacier at Kaprun if snow is lacking).

Italy can be very good, depending on what you are looking for. Generally quiet slopes and beautiful scenery throughout (very rocky, lots of trees). Also the best mountain food anywhere. The Dolomites are beautiful but the resorts are generally lacking in terms of aprés ski. The Italians prefer to go home, get dressed up and mince around the towns later at night. People drive up from Milan, ski in the afternoons (but only if its sunny) and mostly go to hang out in the evenings.

Try Snow Reports, Snow Forecasts, Ski Resorts, Hotels and Ski Chalets, Ski Technique and Chat for info on European resorts. You can browse by country, resort, distance from airport, etc.

JonesyMalone 01-21-2013 11:22 AM

great info
Thanks for the info Mike. We'd been planning on doing Zell, but I'll keep St. Anton in mind. Regardless, I gotta fly in via Munich to rendezvous with the GF who is finished a business trip in Europe.

Any suggestion on the best way to rent gear (sports chains, or individual stores? Available on the mountain, or only in the towns?)

Maierapril 01-29-2013 12:50 AM

Don't disregard the areas available in Switzerland. I had the opportunity to board for a month in the Jungfrau ski area and it was amazing. There are about 3 to 4 different and massive resorts, all connected by a great tram and public transportation system. The great thing about the area is that a great deal of people there speak fluent English.

Instead of staying at the resorts, I opted to stay in Interlaken. It's a really nice, picturesque town that offers people a lot to do. I made sure to take advantage of ski diving the Swiss alps :)
It can be quite expensive but there are great deals to be had if you just look.

Half time I was there, I stayed at a decent place called hotel mattenhoff. Real friendly staff that serves great local beer.
Hotel Mattenhof Resort AG, Interlaken
It's attached to a hostel so you do meet a lot of different people

The other half was spend staying at the Victoria. Extremely expensive, but very nice, although in hindsight it would have been better for me to have stayed at mattenhoff...liked the people there better...hope that helps

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