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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-02-2016, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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Early season in the Alps - where ?

Hi

Since winter is so slow coming to my area, I figured I'd go meet it in the Alps and extend my season by a week. However, this is one of those cases where the wealth of choices is paralyzing. There's so much info out there on all the regions and people are saying good things about each one, it seems impossible to make an informed decision... I hope you guys can help me out.

To narrow it down a bit:
  • It would be great if I could fly to a nearby city. I don't know if I can stand 10-12h in a car again each way...
  • I'm looking to carve groomers mostly (red/black) and possibly hit some pow, if there is any, but I'm guessing my board will suck in the deep stuff... I'll be going with a friend who's a complete beginner, one season behind him - he'll need some very mellow runs (but not flats).
  • A large area with lots of choices would be great. I won't have a car at my disposal, so moving around with ski buses should be easy.
  • I'm prepared to spend money, but I'm looking for a good cost/quality ratio. At some point further investments will yield relatively small gains - that's where I'd draw the line. That being said, there's no hard limit on the maximum price.
  • I don't need a very fancy hotel, unless something really catches my eye, due to a special location/view/features. It would be nice if it had an "Alpy" vibe, if you know what I mean, with good meals and a view of something else, than a wall.
  • If there's a ski bus stop, it doesn't have to be close to the lifts - I guess that's where some major savings could be made.
  • As for night life ? I'm no party animal, but having the option of going to a pub/club (not a disco), on foot, after supper and possibly not going back alone, would be nice. Would rather avoid the really loud places though.

I was thinking of going in January, I don't want to wait anymore, but if that's a bad idea, for whatever reason, I can hold off. I will most likely go on another trip in March, with another crowd.

So which areas (or better yet - towns) would be your top picks ?
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-06-2016, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, so based on current snow depth and recent snow fall, I've chosen the following candidates (random order):
* Val Thorens
* Tignes
* Les Arcs
* Courchevel

Which one would you recommend, considering what I wrote earlier ?
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-06-2016, 10:37 PM Thread Starter
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Been reading for a few hours and still can't decide...

I guess I can cross Courchevel off the list, as it seems exceedingly expensive and Val Thorens, which seems to gather the best reviews of all four, gives access to the same area.

Leaning towards Val Thorens at the moment...
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-06-2016, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
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I'm trying to use youtube to figure this out, but it's not helping a whole lot. I don't know if people who upload these videos just choose the easiest runs, or if those slopes are really that flat...

I was in an area last year, where the slopes did turn out to be pretty mellow and the flat areas were common, with many runs going up hill at times! That was not fun at all. I'd rather avoid that sort of thing this year.

Do any of the 3 areas I'm considering have especially many flats, or runs going uphill ?
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 03:58 AM
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As long as you avoid greens you should be ok for flats. You may get caught out on the occasional blue as well. There is shocking blue path in Meribel (below Val Thorens) for example but French resorts were built for skiers so what can you do? Of the resorts mentioned I liked Les Arcs most but actually prefer La Plange right next door (linked with a fuck off cable car) more steeper runs on the LA side though. We actually stay in Montchavin between the two so get that village feel with access to La Plange and Les Arcs. The beauty of this area is that you've a glacier at the top and trees at the bottom so can ride whatever the weather. 3 Valleys is also very good but I've only been there once and found the blue path to/from hell so maybe that's why I prefer Paradiski.

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 04:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foobaz View Post
Ok, so based on current snow depth and recent snow fall, I've chosen the following candidates (random order):
* Val Thorens
* Tignes
* Les Arcs
* Courchevel

Which one would you recommend, considering what I wrote earlier ?
Out of the three i have been to Val Thorens, Tignes and Courchevel, and in 10 days i will be in Les Arcs
You can't go wrong in any of the the 3 mentioned, there is no reason to stay in Courchevel, it is just fancy and expensive for no reason, and if you stay in Val Thorens and take the extended ski-pass you can easily reach Courchevel and Meribel (the 3 valleys) with just riding slopes (i highly recommend getting the extended ski pass if you go there). In Val Thorens there is a blue quite easy course for beginners right at the bottom if your friend needs it. There is the Foulie Douce apreski which is amazing!
In Tignes i was when i was in my second week of riding, there is a red track which is extremely wide and good even for beginners without much trouble reaching it, and it is also fun for advanced riders. In the evening there are a couple of fun bars in both of the areas, nothing too grand.

Anyway, you won't go wrong in any of the two, just go where is less expensive IMHO
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 09:29 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies guys.

Let's simplify the choice: Val Thorens or Les Arcs ?

PS. Skiinfo reviews give Les Arcs worse notes, including the "value for money" category...

Last edited by foobaz; 01-07-2016 at 09:32 AM.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 09:56 AM
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Thanks for the replies guys.

Let's simplify the choice: Val Thorens or Les Arcs ?

PS. Skiinfo reviews give Les Arcs worse notes, including the "value for money" category...
Due to the fact that i have only been to Val Thorens out of the two i would say go there, this is one of the two most favorite of the resorts i've been in in europe.
I've been to: Shpindel (Czech), Tignes, Val Thorens, Mayrhofen, Sella Ronda, Serre Chevallier...
Val Thorens and Mayrhofen are my 2 favorites... And Val Thorens has the Foulie Douce which is the coolest apre ski i have ever seen
Go Val Thorens, you won't be dissapointed!
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah, we decided to go with Val Thorens
Thanks.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 11:48 AM
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I agree with the val thorens choice. I actually like Meribel Moteret better, more central in the area. Le Folie Deuce is actually in Meribel lift service area. Valves thorens is just a lift ride up and over from meribel. This was my overall favorite area that we visited over there. I could spend a few months there.
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