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  1. #1
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    Euro Trip - April 2018 - France, Switzerland, and Austria

    So....was enticed and jumped on some cheap airfare out of SLC to France and flying back out of Naples, Italy.

    First time in Europe and trying to layout some plans and an itinerary. Flying in to Paris and my thoughts were to take the rail from there to either Austria or Switzerland to start the trip. Then work back around for some skiing in France before heading south to Italy. I have a total of 13 days on the ground there. Would like to spend 4-5 in Italy, the rest in the mountains skiing.

    Was looking for some recommendations on where to go for same great spring skiing, mid-early April. Not looking for anything too hardcore, couloirs or cliffs, just some great terrain and snow.

    What I have come up with so far, debating whether the trek to Austria will be worth it. Also, trying to narrow the list some, with about 5 or 6 days of skiing do I stick to 2 or go for 3 areas? Early list from some google searching for good spring skiing spots:

    Austria: St. Anton (Ischgl seems too tough to get to)
    Switzerland: Verbier, Zermatt/Cervinia
    France: Chamonix, Tignes, Val Thorens, La Plagne

    Let me hear it! Pumped for this trip but need to narrow down some plans some.....

  2. #2
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    In Switzerland, both Engelberg and Andermatt will be running. Engelberg is bigger, more developed. Andermatt is less developed, both are excellent skiing with so many options between honking around on groomers to expansive and mellow or scary tours.
    For Andermatt, contact these folks: http://www.andermatt-guides.ch/EN/ .

    Also consider Engadin/ Corvatsch/ Diavolezza. Expensive, but incredible skiing. Pontresina is a little cheaper for lodging.

    In France, the ski areas along the Romanche like La Grave and Alpes d'Huez will be open. One option is to TGV train from Paris to Grenoble, either rent a car or get http://www.taxidelameije.com/ to give you a ride to LG and arrange your own guiding or hook up with http://www.skierslodge.com/ (who will pick you up from Grenoble as well).

    Great sites for transportation:
    Swiss trains and all Euro connections: https://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html
    General Travel Info:
    https://www.rome2rio.com/
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the info Buster! Are you recommending these as the others I noted will not be open or such that these resorts would provide a much better overall experience?

    Thanks again.

  4. #4
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    Buster is telling you what to do. Just listen.
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    I'm not a part of a redneck agenda

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by recoveringflatlander View Post
    Thanks for the info Buster! Are you recommending these as the others I noted will not be open or such that these resorts would provide a much better overall experience?

    Thanks again.
    Verbier, Chamonix, Espace Kllly (Val d'Isere/Tignes), La Plagne and Trois Vallees will all be open, as will St. Anton(Arlberg) , Ischgl and Montafon.
    Personally, I think that's a bit much to bite off if you really have 8 or 9 days for skiing.

    I'd target a locale like sticking close to Verbier/Chamonix or going down through Bourg St. Maurice to do l'Espace Killy/La Plagne/Trois Vallees or Montafon/Arlberg. Each of these locales offer world class skiing in highly developed resorts that are very international. If you're not comfortable speaking foreign languages they're a little easier. If you want to cruise bars and nightlife and have lots of restaurant choices, they're also the ticket.

    I find these places overwhelming and crowded in a way. Not the runs necessarily, but the towns/resorts. It's the usual A list problem. If that doesn't occur to you, go for one of them. I will go out on a limb and note that Zermatt/Cervinia is pretty mellow skiing without a bit of effort to get to the gnarlier wads.

    So "better overall experience" is awfully subjective and I was offering some alternatives I like that have kickass skiing like La Grave and Serre Chevalier or Central Switzerland (it's really easy to get from Engelberg to Andermatt via rail and Luzern is really worth an ankle around). I like to spend evenings walking around older towns and checking out the churches and old buildings at these places.

    For example La Grave is an old village that sits along a pass that has been used and fought over for more than a thousand years. It is one of several hamlets that is comprised of tightly packed stone and timber houses with a church dating from the 1500s. Chazelet, Les Terrasses, Les Hieres, Ventelon are the other hamlets above LG that are really beautiful and easy to walk after skiing. It's a gorgeous place. And there's over 7000 vertical lift served feet of world class skiing.

    If Central Switzerland (Engelberg, Andermatt, Disentis) sound interesting, sign up for a guided day or 2 with Dan Loutrel http://www.andermatt-guides.ch/EN/ He will know what's open and where the best snow and skiing are at the time. Great guy.

    See here: https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/...-Euroroll-2018
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  6. #6
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    Buster, thanks for the breadth of knowledge, doing some research now and trying to link together a route.

    I was intrigued early in my search by Serre Chevalier but wasn't sure how snow sure it will be for mid April. I like the idea of a little euro tree skiing.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by recoveringflatlander View Post
    Buster, thanks for the breadth of knowledge, doing some research now and trying to link together a route.

    I was intrigued early in my search by [why grey?]Serre Chevalier but wasn't sure how snow sure it will be for mid April. I like the idea of a little euro tree skiing. [/why grey?]
    SC is open until April 22.
    https://www.serre-chevalier.com/en/w...area/ski-area/ .
    Monetier is the place to base there.

    La Grave/Serre Che locale:
    Get a ride from Grenoble to LG. Then get a ride from LG to Oulx, possible stop in Monetier, grab a train at Oulx to Torino for your Italian connections.

    Engelberg/Andermatt/Disentis locale:
    Train to Engelberg via Luzern, train to Andermatt via Luzern, train to Milan from Andermatt via Erstfeld.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buster Highmen View Post
    For example La Grave is an old village that sits along a pass that has been used and fought over for more than a thousand years. It is one of several hamlets that is comprised of tightly packed stone and timber houses with a church dating from the 1500s. Chazelet, Les Terrasses, Les Hieres, Ventelon are the other hamlets above LG that are really beautiful and easy to walk after skiing. It's a gorgeous place. And there's over 7000 vertical lift served feet of world class skiing.

    If Central Switzerland (Engelberg, Andermatt, Disentis) sound interesting, sign up for a guided day or 2 with Dan Loutrel http://www.andermatt-guides.ch/EN/ He will know what's open and where the best snow and skiing are at the time. Great guy.
    BH, I'm with you. I factor in the architecture when deciding on itinerary.
    How much would you expect to pay for a day of guiding? Also, how long would the day run? And if you wanted to hire the guide for beta, to help you understand the area and then ski on your own for the rest of the week, how open to that would the guide be? Thanks.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by hafjell View Post
    BH, I'm with you. I factor in the architecture when deciding on itinerary.
    How much would you expect to pay for a day of guiding? Also, how long would the day run? And if you wanted to hire the guide for beta, to help you understand the area and then ski on your own for the rest of the week, how open to that would the guide be? Thanks.
    Depends on the guide(s) and context. I think the going rate in Europe is around 500-600 Euros a day for a guide, be it private or group.
    As far as pumping the guide for info, I kind of think that's a little cheap unless you've been a client for at least a day or two.

    In my experience, I try to be sufficiently entertaining to warrant their time. Seems to work out.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buster Highmen View Post
    Depends on the guide(s) and context. I think the going rate in Europe is around 500-600 Euros a day for a guide, be it private or group.
    As far as pumping the guide for info, I kind of think that's a little cheap unless you've been a client for at least a day or two.
    I didn't mean pumping the guide for info, I meant paying them to show me around. That could mean skiing past entrances and noting them (on map or GPS), instead of skiing one or two longer couloirs, e.g.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by hafjell View Post
    I didn't mean pumping the guide for info, I meant paying them to show me around. That could mean skiing past entrances and noting them (on map or GPS), instead of skiing one or two longer couloirs, e.g.
    Sorry, then.
    Again, it depends, I assume, on the guide. If you get someone like Joe Vallone in LG or Dan Loutrel around Andermatt, they're great guys that can fill you with itineraries and routes for years.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buster Highmen View Post
    Sorry, then.
    Again, it depends, I assume, on the guide. If you get someone like Joe Vallone in LG or Dan Loutrel around Andermatt, they're great guys that can fill you with itineraries and routes for years.
    Cheers.

  13. #13
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    A Euro train info site I have bookmarked:

    https://www.seat61.com/index.html

    I don't have much European train experience, but found that site helpful last year for planning train travel in Italy.
    Quote Originally Posted by powder11 View Post
    if you have to resort to taking advice from the nitwits on this forum, then you're doomed.

  14. #14
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    A general comment: getting a guide is really nice, but if you have some bc experience and ski from The lifts usually something like this http://www.freeride-map.com/
    Will be enough for most resorts.

    The normal Swiss 1:25.000 maps help in the resorts not featured. French resorts are tricky because the ign maps suck in comparison, but are usually a good hint whether the tracks you see are worth following.
    It's a war of the mind and we're armed to the teeth.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by subtle plague View Post
    A general comment: getting a guide is really nice, but if you have some bc experience and ski from The lifts usually something like this http://www.freeride-map.com/
    Will be enough for most resorts.

    The normal Swiss 1:25.000 maps help in the resorts not featured. French resorts are tricky because the ign maps suck in comparison, but are usually a good hint whether the tracks you see are worth following.
    Good resource. Wish they had better coverage of Italy.

  16. #16
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    that's pretty late in the year, so I wouldn't fall in love with anything right now. Go ahead and do your research, but just wait until a week or so in advance and see where the snow is good to nail down details. AT that time of the year, you are unlikely to have difficulty finding accommodations anywhere.

  17. #17
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    As much as I love St. Anton and Austria in general, I wouldn't go to Austria in April. I would go somewhere higher as the snow will be better that late in the year. This is a good year obviously so there will definitely still be snow.

    I agree with Buster's suggestions, but would also consider the areas on the main Alpine ridge for elevation: Cham, Verbier, Zermatt. All will be open and uncrowded in April, your mind will be blown by the scale of the places.

    You won't need reservations for lodging that late in the season so take Mr. Mike's suggestion and wait to see what the weather is doing.

    I wouldn't get a guide in April unless you want to do some serious exploring or have no clue about the BC. You solo? Agree w/ SP's take as well.
    He who has the most fun wins!

  18. #18
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    Euro

    I would have to agree, Buster certainly knows his stuff. You can take a TGV (high speed train) right from the airport to Grenoble. Buses run up through La Grave to Serve Chav.. Further down the road is the border with Italy and a massive complex of lifts. The skiers Lodge was a great place to stay, although I haven't been there since 1998. TGV's also run to Bourg St. Maurice. Where you can stay or access high altitude skiing. Or to Cham.

    Don't know if they still sell it but one product I purchased was a three ride ticket on the French rail system. Good if you want to hit more than one region.

    Haven't skied Italy much.

  19. #19
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    TGV from Paris to Geneva. Around4.5 hours. Geneva to Chamonix for a couple of days. Chamonix to Verbier with train down to Martigny. Train from Verbier to Zermatt. After a couple of days in Zermatt, train to Brig and then Milan and Italy. Or train from Brig to Andermatt and then Ital.

  20. #20
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    If only 4-5 days in Italy, you could do train from Brig to Venice. Then Rome and Napoli. If it is Easter week, Rome will be super busy.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Mike View Post
    that's pretty late in the year, so I wouldn't fall in love with anything right now. Go ahead and do your research, but just wait until a week or so in advance and see where the snow is good to nail down details. AT that time of the year, you are unlikely to have difficulty finding accommodations anywhere.
    +1
    Also, while feasible, remember that you are constructing a very full itinerary. Be prepared to want to stay an extra day here, or leave a day earlier from there. Paris to Venice, through the resort towns is twelve hours of driving. It'll take much longer on the trains. I wouldn't get attached to any place right now. You'll be tired from the travel and skiing. Plus, spring conditions are often hard on the quads. Deep breaths.

  22. #22
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    Thanks for all the insight! I'm trying to keep it fairly open now. Wanting to narrow down to a few spots to hit. For some reason I feel a strong desire for Zermatt.....must be that Matterhorn. Other than that I haven't narrowed it much. I want to find a good combination of experience with skiing.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by polenta View Post
    TGV from Paris to Geneva. Around4.5 hours. Geneva to Chamonix for a couple of days. Chamonix to Verbier with train down to Martigny. Train from Verbier to Zermatt. After a couple of days in Zermatt, train to Brig and then Milan and Italy. Or train from Brig to Andermatt and then Ital.
    If you have never been to the Alps this is a solid itinerary. Its the main alpine ridge and the most iconic of resorts. They are definitely resorts, albeit mind blowinging huge and each different, as apposed to smaller hamlets that Buster suggested. Which is more your style I think is likely the main question. I do think elevation is your friend come April.

    All the towns mentioned by Polenta are easily accessible via train and you don't need a car once there.
    He who has the most fun wins!

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