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  1. #1
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    Similar to La Grave, but not in france?

    Looking to do a ski trip in EU next winter, in end of Jan to mid Feb. 3 weeks total with skibee (Mrs Mntlion)

    I want to do a week in La Grave to ski steep/scary things. She wants to spend more time in other areas (swiss, german, austrian). I'm not picky about country, I just want skiing that will interest me (guided)

    1) Is LaGrave what I'm looking for in the first place? Thinking skiers lodge?

    2) Any OTHER places that will have the experience that I want, in the areas that she wants?


  2. #2
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    Similar to La Grave, but not in france?

    We’ve skied in the port de sole region of France (stayed in n la chapelle de abobdonce) and ischgl. Both had a nice mix....st anton might be perfect though.


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  3. #3
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    Skiers Lodge is great for your first time in La Grave. LG is not that scary: I'd let my kids ski there unmonitored. You just kind of have to not stray from the obvious runs (Vallon).

    Later, base yourselves out of Briancon.



    Or Monetier les Bains where there's a spa:



    LG is 30-40 minutes, Serre Chevalier is right there with sweet larch grove skiing, the Milky Way and Italy is 40 minutes away in the other direction with some killer overlooked pow skiing, great food some cool villages like Cesana San Sicario



    There's easy acess to the Maurienne valley through the Frejus tunnel with a ton of off the radar cool spots (Val Frejus, Val Cenis, Bonneval Sur Arc) out of either Monetier or Briancon proper as well as easy access to even smaller places like Puy St. Vincent or Pelvoux.

    One thing about February is 'le vacances' where the French have a 3 week window of vacations. This leads to higher prices. Consider Jan 15- Feb 7. For a while I was doing trips Jan 5-25 because prices for everything, including airfare and lodging tend to be lower.

    Also, there's lots to scare you around the SkiArena. Ask vendul/mt-lodge.com or last years BBI participants.

    ************************************************** ******
    Then again, I have no idea what you're looking for.

    Nightlife, touristy and all the skiing you could ever want? Try Chamonix, St. Moritz, St. Anton/Arlberg or Verbier.

    A little quieter, loads of skiing, lots of scary stuff, but still lots of tourist/vacation amenities? Engelberg or Courmayeur.

    Isolated, quiet, killer skiing, touring, Italian? Alagna/Gressoney/Monte Rosa. It's kind of the Italian version of La Grave with iffier snow and more groomers. Look up Vittoria, La Balma, etc. Sergio Gabbio is the man there and runs his own hotel: http://www.montagnadiluce.it/en/

    Nice balance of easy access, incredible snow sure powder skiing, some requiring ropes/harness and valium? Ski Arena. Andermatt has a ton of ridiculous stuff and Dan Loutrel can lead you to it (info@andermatt-guides.com). The variety of day trip access around Rueras ( http://www.mt-lodge.com ) is really unparalleled, from St. Moritz to obscure farmers lifts.

    Or train hop Zurich->Engelberg<->Andermatt/Rueras( http://www.mt-lodge.com ) <->Davos/Klosters(wynegg.ch)<->St. Moritz->Zurich, all of which have shit your pants skiing and amazing tours where after skiing one day, you can train it to the next spot.

    FWIW, I'm about to do a 2 week trip with 1 week+ around the SkiArena/Davos and another 5 days around La Grave, training and then driving to LG from Andermatt in an afternoon.
    Last edited by Buster Highmen; 03-08-2020 at 02:52 PM.
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  4. #4
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    FWIW, I'm about to do a 2 week trip with 1 week+ around the SkiArena/Davos and another 5 days around La Grave, training and then driving to LG from Andermatt in an afternoon.
    Sounds like a fine adventure.
    Ooof!

  5. #5
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    A friend has been spending winters in Fiberbrunn
    Seems to get fresh tracks days after a storm.
    Mellow powder runs but also the Wildseeloder is there, one of the FWT locations if you want more gnar.
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.”
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  6. #6
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    Buster FTW TGR European tour guide at its finest.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Name Redacted View Post
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    Buster FTW TGR European tour guide at its finest.
    I wanna be Buster when I grow up. I started questioning my life about halfway through reading that.

  8. #8
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    So yeah, listed to Buster

    a. people that love skiing need to go to La Grave

    b. now much being guided do you want to do?

    c. think about a few things

    day tours
    hut overnights
    glacial travel
    nightlife/scene
    preferred culture

    Personally I gravitate towards relatively quiet places with huge vert and glaciers and authentic mountain culture

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    When I stayed at skiers lodge the guides took us over to Alpe d' Huez and Les Deux Alpes as well as La Meije of course. The intermediate group didn't ski the scary stuff, but the group I was with found plenty of it. Skiing was with harnesses and ropes at some points. The guides will cater to the group so everyone is happy.

    I really liked Engelberg skiing. The town may be what your wife is looking for and there is lots of off-piste challenge, but generally I liked France, Italy, and Austria better than Switzerland because of the friendliness of the people.

  10. #10
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    One factor that can drive decisions is whether or not you're comfortable renting and driving a car.

    In my experience, a car is more or less necessary in France and Italy. La Grave is isolated and when the skiing sucks or there's a storm blow down, it's essential to be able to go to other places if you're staying 3 weeks. Having been stuck there in massive storms, it's cool to walk around the villages like Ventelon, Les Hieres and Chazelet for a few days as well as the alleys of LG, but you're there to ski. On the main autoroutes from Geneva to Grenoble, there's tolls and parking is almost always a hassle. But within an hours drive of Briancon, for example, is: La Grave, Serre Chevalier, the Milky Way, Bardoneccia, Val Frejus, Val Cenis, Val Thorens (Via Orelle), Vars/Risoul, Puy St, Vincent, Pelvoux, and the Queyras micro areas of Abries, Ceillac and Molines.

    The SkiersLodge in LG does make a van available and they will do pickups at the train in Grenoble, so that's the exception to the car requirement in LG. Taxi de La Meije is another LG access option. Briancon does have train service, bit it's a long loop around from Grenoble even with a bunch of changes.

    There are a few exceptions to the car requirement in Italy. Aosta (access to Courmayeur, Pila, Crevacol) or Oulx (the Northern most access point to the Milky Way: Saulz d'Oulx, Sestriere, Cesana Torinese, Claviere, Montgenevre), Bardoneccia and Bolzano/San Candidio (Dolomites access) have train access where Bolzano requires a taxi or bus to get to most ski areas.

    Switzerland and Austria have incredible train access, too many places to list. For convenience and carbon footprint, a train is the best option in these countries. This is one reason I like Switzerland a lot, it's staggeringly easy access directly from most airports where they have ski racks on the motherfucking trains. Lots of ski areas have the lift base integrated into the bahnhof.

    I typically don't like renting a car. If you were me, you'd do a 5 day package at the Skiers Lodge, then train it to Rueras and ski around Switzerland with tips from vendul @mt-lodge.com, getting guided by Dan Loutrel there for a few days.

    Here's one out of Disentis, the Bächenfirn Couloir with 2000 meters of vertical:


    photo credit: https://www.instagram.com/p/BpUCD9-A3KE/ , basecampandermatt
    Last edited by Buster Highmen; 03-08-2020 at 11:44 AM.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buster Highmen View Post
    Switzerland and Austria have incredible train access, too many places to list. For convenience and carbon footprint, a train is the best option in these countries. This is one reason I like Switzerland a lot, it's staggeringly easy access directly from most airports where they have ski racks on the motherfucking trains. Lots of ski areas have the lift base integrated into the bahnhof.
    If there isn't a train to where you want to go in Switzerland there is almost certainly a post bus that does - scheduled for convenient transfers from trains.

  12. #12
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    good to hear that we can get easy transport in/out of la grave

    anywhere else in EU that has similar terrain

    Trip is 3 weeks long, this part is 1 week, so going other places too.


  13. #13
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    The terrain off of the Skyway Monte Bianco above Palud?

    Kinda in Courmayeur but doesn't usually get thought of as part of that resort.

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mntlion View Post
    good to hear that we can get easy transport in/out of la grave

    anywhere else in EU that has similar terrain

    Trip is 3 weeks long, this part is 1 week, so going other places too.

    Alagna has pretty epic terrain.

  15. #15
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    Last edited by cloud cult; 03-09-2020 at 08:06 PM.

  16. #16
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    Comparing ssb or the dachstein to LG is just not adequate. And ssb has been closed for aeons.

    Alagna has the feel. And the steeps. But is southerly expo mostly and pretty funky snowcover wise.
    It's a war of the mind and we're armed to the teeth.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buster Highmen View Post
    ...and the Queyras micro areas of Abries, Ceillac and Molines.
    Came across this yesterday, and now on the list

    https://youtube.com/v/Y6uGhJKasks

    Also heard good things about Santis

    https://saentisbahn.ch/en/

    And the Solda area of South Tyrol has some magic terrain and nice town

    https://www.bergfex.com/sulden-ortler/

  18. #18
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    Not much to add to Busters post but not sure you’ll get to do the really serious La Grave stuff with Skiers Lodge Mixed group. Guy on another forum said that despite a strong group the guide always took the mellow option and he needed to get a private guide for the real action. Not sure if that is representative or not? For steep skiing and atmosphere you cannot beat Chamonix. Monterosa is too unreliable with snow to book in advance IMO. For a week Verbier and the Arlberg are more reliable, many options with lots of great terrain. Engelberg and Andermatt also have the vertical, terrain and snow record but better combined than one for the week. You need to hike/tour to get the best out of any of these areas

  19. #19
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    All ski areas in Italy closed for the season.
    https://www.studiolegalemetta.com/en...irus-in-italy/

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    Nothing in the ski industry is ever as it seems or is being made out to be - unless you were just buried in an avalanche.

  20. #20
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    I'm guessing Mrs. MntLion isn't looking for spa's

    You can definitely roll La Grave w/o a guide for a few days and find plenty to have fun, obviously pending snowpack / stability. Amazing place, especially if you get lucky on the snow. That is the rub, it's a bit more on the fickle side historically speaking compared to Engelberg, Andermatt, St. Anton, and others. You will still have fun in that valley for a week even if it doesn't snow (that was our situation). We stayed in a hut off the col du lauteret for a couple nights, in La Grave in an apartment for a bunch of nights and explore Alpe du huez and Serre Che from La Grave. We did have a car which makes this exploration significantly easier. Maybe the skiers lodge van negates that need? It was a cheap week relatively speaking. Packed baguette lunch and went exploring. Amazing mountains.

    If you haven't been, you should check out Cham as well. Pretty mind blowing. Yes, a lot more people than La. G., but more consistent snow and amazing place.

    I think Buster is onto something w/ the SkiArena zone. Andermatt has a great snow record so I'm guessing the surroundings do ok as well and I'm guessing the surroundings do not get much traffic.

    I do want to get to Alagna someday, but I think one has to audible that as being south facing and on the Italian side the snow record is super fickle. If it's snowing there, it's gotta be amazing with the terrain there.

    Have fun!!!
    He who has the most fun wins!

  21. #21
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    Courmayeur has gotten tons of similar stuff. The southern exposure is less of a problem earlier in the year and higher up.

    A bonus is the Cresta d'Arp ski area on the opposite valley side plus the easy access to Chamonix thru the tunnel.

  22. #22
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    you should check this out: https://twitter.com/ebonnel

    As Buster mentioned above, France is hell during their winter break. Sounds like your plans would likely cover last week of January and first 2 of February? The first week of Feb. won't be too bad with only 1/3 of France (and not Paris) on break. That 2nd week of Feb will be really bad next year with 2/3 of France and all of the UK on break. I would not want to be in France that week because that's where most French vacation and many from the UK. Austria has also become very popular with UK visitors the last few years because it is generally less expensive than the French resorts. I'd look to go somewhere under the radar a bit in Switzerland if I had to go that week. The exchange rate pound to ChF is very bad right now, so not many visitors from the UK presently. Think Andermatt or Zinal/Grimentz. Maybe Montafon Silvretta in western Austria too. As someone else mentioned above, leaving things to the last minute is always a good strategy in Europe because snow conditions can vary dramatically, but I'm afraid you run a big risk doing that in mid-February because a lot of places are going to be booked, and many are going to require a full Saturday to Saturday booking unless it's last minute and they have vacancy.

    Another thing that Buster might be able to weigh in on though--La Grave is such a niche place, maybe it is one place that doesn't get rammed during les vacances?

  23. #23
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    Monterosa is windy and dry compared to north of the ridge but its charming in the way Italian resorts are in comparison to the rest of the Alps.
    You need to visit Chamonix, its like nothing else in the Alps. Looking up at Mont Blanc puts a lump in your pants.
    Austria is a must for experiencing the apres, There's plenty in St Anton to entertain you skiing wise. The apres you'll not have seen anything like it in a ski resort at 4 in the afternoon in the KK more moose

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  24. #24
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    Buster of course can chime in, but I've been to ski La Grave 10 times, and many of those times were during US and French vacation times and it doesn't really affect La Grave that much, since it's not really a family/kid's place. That said, the drive from Grenoble, etc. will absolutely be affected as you pass the road to Huez and 2 Alpes. Also the word is out on LaGrave. It's pretty effing crowded on a stable powder day.
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  25. #25
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    Diavolezza? AnderMatt?

    There’s steep & scary many places, but there may not be guides.

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