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Skiing at Christmas where?(28 Posts)
Hi , I'm looking at going away for Christmas next year. Myself and 12 & 13yr old.
Never been before, will get lessons out there. Would like a resort with doorstep skiing and guranteed snow. Any advise welcome. On my shortlist already are la Tania & Val thrones .
For Christmas you need to go high andnif you’ve never been before I’d make sure you go to a resort that has plenty of other stuff to do. Val d’isere would be my pick but there are plenty of others. Val thorens is very high and the kids particularly may struggle with the effects of altitude and the cold. There’s also not much to do other than ski. La Tania is very small.
Belle plagne or plagne bellacote worth a look too.
Tignes and Val d'Isere are high, as are the main Trois Vallees resorts Val T is bleak though - above the tree line and in whiteout conditions it's like the Arctic! Les Menuires is ugly and concrete, but cheaper than Val T. Personally, I'd rather stay in Courchevel or Meribel/Mottaret - much nicer towns. Also take a look at La Plagne and it's various villages.
We like Austria for skiing with kids - it's cheaper than France and Switzerland - and the transfer times are often a lot shorter. Ischgl is a nice combination of low-ish town with restaurants and amenities and skiing over 2000m, which you need early or late in the season. The transfer time is only about 1.5 hrs from Innsbruck, whereas Trois Vallees and Val/Tignes are 3+ hours from Geneva.
If it's your first time skiing then yes, try to choose somewhere with other stuff to do - skating, swimming, shoe shoeing, tobogganing and maybe a spa for you to go and get a massage. My kids (who are 10 & 6), also like a games room where they can meet other kids and have a bit of freedom from us (and vice versa!).
Thank you both, I'm going to take a look at all your suggestions.
You cannot guarantee snow at high resorts either. The last 3 years have been rubbish snow at Christmas everywhere - even Val T - but this year is great at even the lowest altitudes as have many Christmas years before. You just can't guarantee what will happen and your best bet would be booking last minute once you know what is happening with the weather. Christmas always has late availability, especially in recent years. Plus people fall into the trap of thinking "must go high" so those resorts are much busier.
You are lucky though - as total beginners you are the ones who are least affected by poor snow conditions as you will only be skiing a very limited number of pistes and your instructor will make sure you are on the best ones.
This year you would have been best going somewhere like La Clusaz - short transfer time from Geneva, much prettier than VT or 3V, plus with other things to do if you don't want to ski all day.
I second Austria, and Ischgl would be ideal for you. the snows been amazing this year. We are in Lech right now, and the suns been shining all week and more snow tonight but as a PP said, this is the first time in 3 years that we have actually had snow over Christmas. Last year the ski instructors in St Anton suggested mountain bikes for the guests who were staying there over Christmas as there was hardly any snow at all. Even the higher resorts Lech/Zurs struggled. You won't be guaranteed it, but hopefully going by this season, next season will be the same. (Hoping it's weather cycles)
I'd recommend Cervinia in Italy. We went over Christmas in 2015 and although (according to experts) the snow wasn't great, we did lots of fab skiing and it's renowned for wide blue runs (the easiest ones) which my children adored. Its not chocolate box pretty but still lovely. Cheaper than France and lovely Italian food (child-friendly pizza and ice cream!). We flew to Geneva and then drove (3 hours) but easier transfer if you go via Turin or Milan.
Just back yesterday from the same place, we loved it so much. Snow was awesome!
It's really lovely going over Christmas, just really good fun!
One thing I would say - if at all possible- is to have lessons before you go. My children (then 10 and 6) had 4 I think lessons (2 hours each) at a local snow dome. Meant they weren't on the baby / nursery slopes when we got to the resort and think they got so much more out of the holiday that way. They were doing pretty steep red runs by the middle of the week which meant more of the runs were available to us.
Just to add - "cheaper than France"... it really depends where you go in France and what prices you are comparing. I have skied Switzerland, Austria, Italy and France a lot - I really find the smaller resorts in France the best value for kit hire, lessons and lift pass prices.
Thank you all!!
Plenty to think about.
Love Italy any so def interested in there.
I'll take into account ski hire prices too.
Austria and Italy are not just cheaper than France, but are better than France (yes, even the posh French resorts).
I have been to Austria for several christmasses. Out of all of them, only two years were poor for snow - but that was the same everywhere, despite us staying fairly low down and very very local.
Lessons are in German where we go, but you can easily get semi private lessons instead of groups lessons, although frankly children WILL cope with learning to ski in German. Both of mine have done so perfectly well and easily.
Staying local and going where the Austrians go is the best thing. Christmas traditions are adorable there. Mine never did Father Christmas or Santa. They do the Christ child instead. Another huge bonus is the local children get barely anything for presents so you can massively downsize.
I waved the little one off the ski school at 10am on Christmas Day. There's not the same stupid long fuss made about the holidays. It's just active family time instead.
Horses for courses... got to say I disagree.
I have to say I love the "stupid long fuss".
My 2 are too old for Santa now but we still make a huge fuss and spoil them , we won't be cutting back any time soon.
Yes, sorry, it's a sweeping generalisation and to be fair, it's years since I skied in Austria or France (10+ years) and only experience of Switzerland is Zermatt which I think is v expensive (I paid £38 for 2 mulled wines and 2 frankfurters on Christmas Day!) Its just what friends have reported - friends who ski every year in Switzerland (have use of a property) but never eat out as it's prohibitively expensive, friends who go to Austria every year but take their children out of school as it's too expensive in school hols. In a ski bubble lift 2 days ago with another family who couldn't believe how cheap Italy was in comparison to their French trip last Christmas. All anecdotal and it depends if you're comparing like with like.
OP - have you looked at the snowheads website? Some very knowledgeable people and lots of comments about resorts / snow records etc.
welshweasel Val d’Isère is my favourite European resort but it’s expensive and not really suitable for beginners.
Namchangetoday hadn't heard of snowheads will look that up now , thanks.
I love skiing (particularly in Italy) but would think long and hard about the cold before taking children skiing for Christmas. It really is bloody freezing - I remember crying with cold on a chairlift in Val d'Isere one Boxing Day - my cheeks were numb, and that was in my 20s!
Second the getting lessons before you go suggestion though - makes all the difference.
Thanks growingboys . When do you suggest is the best time to go skiing? We could hold off if Christmas times is a bad idea (for first timers).
Hinterstoder is good for beginners. You can fly ryanair to Linz and it is about 45 minutes away.
OP with 12 and 13 year olds, you're looking at Christmas, February half term or Easter unless you're happy to take them out of school.
As pp has said, Christmas is the coldest of those 3 options but we've done 2 Christmases now and have only had 1 day in those 2 weeks when it's been uncomfortably cold (it was snowing very hard and windy). Other than that it's been blue skies but you do need to be prepared.
The upside is that slopes are quiet, there's something magical about being in a ski resort at Christmas, particularly with children.
February half term is busy, slopes are busy and in my experience much more expensive than Christmas. Its warmer though.
Easter is much warmer, have skied in a tshirt before now but snow can be a bit slushy by the end of the day - only my experiences. There are pros and cons for each option. Decisions, Decisions!
Thank you, I think we will stick to Xmas as you say there is something magical about it . Won't be taking them out of school.
Love Cervinia. It's high, great value and easy skiing for beginners. We had a private instructor for our kids for the price of group lessons in France.
Layers, layers and more layers. Balaclavas, buffs and hand warmers and you'll be fine.
We skied in -30 last Xmas and it was fine
except on the lifts where I thought I might die of exposure
If you change your mind, I think Easter is early this year so the snow should be reasonable if you choose wisely. Lovely sunny days so you can sit outside for lunch and generally more pleasant given that you don’t yet know if you will all take to skiing. Freezing cold weather is fine for the committed and speedy, but beginners don’t tend to move so fast.
It won't be able to go Easter this year as we are away for half term. Earliest is Xmas 2018 or half term or Easter 2019.
So many decisions lol
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