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Thread: Euro advice

  1. #1
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    Euro advice

    Looks like I may get back across the pond for the first time since about 99 (which was La Grave/Cham) after trying to make it happen basically every year. Little different these days with two mini-rippers and a wife, so trying to adjust accordingly (wife could probably only realistically be happy on the t-bars at La Grave and would be fine among all the Euro-punters at Cham or anywhere else).

    Current idea--base ourselves out of Les Deux Alpes (backside of La Grave) so the La Grave option is there, or maybe down the road at Serre (although I can't remember how long a drive it is to La Grave from there). However, very open to other ideas--I don't absolutely have to get to La Grave, but I love the idea of getting back there.

    Been a long time--was thinking about how last time I skied La Grave (it snowed 5 feet during the 10 days I was there) I got to ski Pain de Rideau after a recent foot or two of snow, and the skis I used were 200cm Dynastar SL boards with probably a 64mm waist (not even sure anyone knew what the waist measurement on a ski was back then). I did get to ski a pair of Heli Dogs while there, which was pretty novel.

    Anyway, very interested to hear suggestions...Also, one other point, I may have a number of days on my own when the girls are hanging out in Paris (number of days spent in Paris vs. Alps is currently under negotiation here at home, and I may just have to go ahead of them if they're intent on spending real time in Paris). Oh yeah, this would be end of March.
    [quote][//quote]

  2. #2
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    Your plan seems pretty good. With the family, you may want to consider more of a town that Les Dueux Alpes which I remember as just a purpose built concrete jungle. If you're looking at a combo of gnar, family skiing, and activities maybe thing about Engleberg, Andermatt, Courmayuer, Verbier etc. Lay out a little more about what you really are looking for and those more knowledgeable than me can give you some tips.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles View Post
    Lay out a little more about what you really are looking for and those more knowledgeable than me can give you some tips.
    OK, well, am really looking for that combination (had thought of Engleberg as you suggested) of La Grave/Cham type terrain (which I know to some degree is all over Europe, some places more than others) but also maybe a bit more of a village/town than La Grave has (and also agree with you about the way Les Deux Alpes seems, but I only spent a day there coming over from La Grave so never really saw the base). Wife enjoys skiing but prefers only sunny days and pretty easy groomers, and will probably not even ski every day. Kids will both ski pretty much everything although I'd definitely keep the younger one off of the hairier stuff (and the older one to some degree, too). Probably not too particular about accommodations/dining options (have always been happy with basic food options in the Alps). Some non-skiing stuff could be a plus but not absolutely necessary (again, wife would be the only one for whom that would be a real factor, but I think even she could be pretty happy with your basic French/Swiss village setup). Generally not planning on hiking much beyond the equivalent of what is required to get to some of the standard La Grave lines if that matters, so looking mainly for direct lift access to what I'd be skiing.
    [quote][//quote]

  4. #4
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    Hi Dex.
    It's about 30-45 minutes from Monetier les Bains (highest part of Serre Chevalier) to LG. Serre is a lot harder to get to than Cham/CH spots.
    As demonstrated over and over, I can spout on about yrupski for hours...

    Suggestions depend on what you really want as the sagacious foggster has elucidated.

    Despite the snobestry, Verbier is amazing and easy to get to and really, really expensive. Fantastic skiing.

    I loved Andermatt as much as La Grave; it's a little more developed than LG and easier to get in and out of (Swiss trains are ah-mazing). The amount of skiing off the top of the Gemsstock with minor effort is fantastic.

    Engleberg is awesome as well, much bigger than Am@ in every way, tons of touring available.

    Another place that really blew my doors despite the snotteriians was St. Moritz. Also easy to get in and out of but can be pricey. Can be iffy on snow I'm told. Check out Pontresina for less expensive digs.

    I've not gone further East to Tyrol etc but that's another option that has reasonable access and is generally less expensive than CH. Rusty is ensconced in Germany and could provide info.
    Last edited by Buster Highmen; 10-16-2014 at 10:34 AM.
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  5. #5
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    Ha, after making the first post I thought, 'I should have just sent an email to Buster.'

    I bet there are a lot of queries that could be solved that way.

    Been too long, man. Be sure to let me know next time you plan some festivities at Crystal.
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  6. #6
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    Of course, I also didn't really know you were still hanging around this place.
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  7. #7
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    Dex, it's always a festival @ Crustal. It's coming up on 9 years since the last, so you know what that means.
    Yup, first to get here but unlikely the last to leave.
    Life has been great...love being a dad.
    ping me at the usual e-mail and I'll save the local lurkers my wads of spew about this....cc foggy who has a ton of good advice too.
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  8. #8
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    Besides Monetiers les Bains, you should also consider Montgenevre/Clavier. Still close enough to La Grave, but it's connected to the Milky Way, and I always thought a flat there would be perfect for the fam. Gnocchi for lunch.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buster Highmen View Post
    Dex, it's always a festival @ Crustal. It's coming up on 9 years since the last, so you know what that means.
    Yup, first to get here but unlikely the last to leave.
    Life has been great...love being a dad.
    ping me at the usual e-mail and I'll save the local lurkers my wads of spew about this....cc foggy who has a ton of good advice too.
    keep it online. I appreciate your Euro-spew.

  10. #10
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    Too late--he already sent me a guidebook's worth of info. Good stuff--has me seriously considering a pairing of Verbier and something else, or even an off-the-beaten path area in the Italian section of CH. Or Andermatt. Or Engleberg. Or St. Mortiz. Or...well, you get the idea. Decisions! But these are the kind I like (the kind where whichever one you make will probably be a good one).
    [quote][//quote]

  11. #11
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    I will concur with Buster on Andermatt. Also, I lover Serre Che. We spend a decent amount of time there with French friends who grew up there and worked there for several years. That place is great for the family experience, but PLENTY of terrain for you to head off on your own for a while as well. Harder to get to, but SUNNY and worth the extra effort IMHO. Plus, LG is 45 minutes away and if you are just doing a couple day trips, it's not that hard to arrange transfer (bus system and all). But Andermatt... ah. East side - I skied several places in Austria and Italy. But I truly defer to someone like Klar. You can definitely stay in Innbruck and ski all over the map from there. So many options, so little time. Let me know your plans and I will try to find you for a day if possible!
    "Girl, let us freak."

  12. #12
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    Montgenevre/Claviere has some pretty good offpiste straight off the chairs, plenty to do for intermediate skiers and some amazing (and cheap) places to eat (mostly on the Italian side in Claviere). With the bonus of having the highest (and one of the best) tree skiing in Europe. One hour drive from La Grave and within one hour from the airport in Turin. If one hour drive is too much, then Le Monetier Bains is also a nice option and only half an hour away from La Grave. IMHO both are better, more genuine places than Les Deux Alpes.
    The beatings will continue until morale will improve.

  13. #13
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    Love the Euro talk keep it up. My question is about timing, I have been so lucky to be able to have spent the last 4 season's in Chamonix always the second and third week of January. The place is empty. Plans have changed this year and the first week of March is the window so I was thing of La Grave or Montgenevre/Claviere now that I am reading this thread. How crowded are these areas and if I end up in Chamonix how big of a crowd will I encounter.

  14. #14
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    Usually le vacances is over by the first week of March, so most places around France and the western Alps will be less crowded than the 3rd week of Feb but likely more crowded than the 3rd week of January.
    Yeah, the Milky Way (Montgenevre/Claviere/San Sicario/Sestriere/ Saulx d'oulx) have the rep of being punterville, but there's a ton of good skiing and not as much gnar-brah types as LG/Cham/ etc.
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  15. #15
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    Thanks, I will have a car so all areas one hour away from LG will work

  16. #16
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    Euro advice

    Here's a picture I took on 3-10-2014 of my friend climbing from Italy into France over WWII barbed wire w/ Claviere in the background.
    Last edited by plugboots; 10-20-2014 at 04:34 PM.
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  17. #17
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    Is that the Janus?
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  18. #18
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    I thought this was from the L'Aigle chair. You can see the ridge from the top of the chair, and there's an obvious cat track to follow that dead ends. I just looked at the map, and You could be right, but Janus seems too far towards Briançon.
    Well maybe I'm the faggot America
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  19. #19
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    You might just consider basing out of Briancon. It's a cool little city, imo. You've got ser che right there and a short drive to Montgenevre and about 45 min to Last Grave. When conditions are right, apparently you can ski from montgenevre down into briancon.

    My wife and I were there, and in the Queyras, last season beginning of February and the storms were just stacking up. Not sure what March is typically like there though.

    Some pics and short TR:

    http://skisickness.com/post/vt528-voyage-%C3%A0-brian%C3%A7on-et-le-queyras

  20. #20
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    I was waiting for Buster's recommendation of Briancon. Cool town. Also second Claviere. The via lattea gets busy on the weekends from day trippers, but is not as bad for UK punters.

    Weather patterns make a big difference in that part of Euro land though. Seen Cesana deep with snow while Zermatt was ice and rock. Sometimes Austria gets the snow, sometimes France. One nice thing about Mt. Blanc is that the two sides have different influences. Last time I was there, Cham was bony and Courmayeur was solid. easy to cross over even if you book in one town or the other.

    Doing a two part trip, Andermatt and La Graves area or something such gives you slightly better chances of hitting the snow.
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  21. #21
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    Buster, have you been to Val d'Anniviers? I'm trying to decide where to tag a couple of days onto a few days in Zermatt. Presently evaluating Saas Fee or Val (probably St. Luc). Other options in the general area?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by grrrr View Post
    I was waiting for Buster's recommendation of Briancon
    do {I repeat myself when I repeat myself when I repeat myself;}while(1);

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Mike View Post
    Buster, have you been to Val d'Anniviers? I'm trying to decide where to tag a couple of days onto a few days in Zermatt. Presently evaluating Saas Fee or Val (probably St. Luc). Other options in the general area?
    Nope. Thought about it, Zinal/Grimentz looks awesome, but went to Am@ instead and it was great.
    Arolla was another consideration if I was going to that zone; there's some Powder article about it but hop had written it up years ago. Contact Dede when there.

    Saas-Fee looks great and in particular I looked into Saas-Grund and down valley from Z-matt, Gratchen.

    But really, if you can manage it, try to defer your explicit destination until you get there and follow the snow. It can be more difficult at the height of vacations times, but that's one reason lots of times I leave a good portion of my trips open to follow the snow. Another part of my usual stratEgEry is to target places that aren't completely mainstream. While Am@ or E-berg may seem to fly in the face of that maxim, they're not St. Anton or l'Espace Killy or Trois Vallees.

    If I go this year, while I love the French areas and Switzerland blew my mind I'm going further East.
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  23. #23
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    lots of times I leave a good portion of my trips open to follow the snow
    This is great advice. I like to ski in La Grave, so I go there every year, (sometimes it's got very little snow by N. American/PNW standards, but being North facing it tends to ski well anyway), but I leave the front or the back end of the trip open, so I can check out another place. Sometimes I stay put when the conditions are fine.
    Well maybe I'm the faggot America
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  24. #24
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    I recommend a highly colored food product saturated with polysorbate-80 that is not a paste or liquid form.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  25. #25
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    The Janus faces Montgenevre and has forts and barbed wire on the top of it..thought maybe your pic was the same zone....
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

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