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  #21  
Old 11.11.2010, 18:30
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

I think it is fair to say that I am overwhelmed with the responses here! Only trouble is now having to synthesise it all and come to some sort of coherent decisions.

I'm planning to go hire gear on Saturday and will have to spend a good chunk of the weekend looking at this whole thing. I think we will still look at doing the whole week (provided we can find some accom) because we really want the full immersion in what is a totally new experience for us. Plus Christmas away from family needs something big to fill the gap and we can then say the sacrifice was worth it.
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  #22  
Old 11.11.2010, 18:42
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

Better too much info than not enough, lol. The Jura can be great, but not snow sure at all at Christmas. (I live in the Jura and was born there- but have to be honest).

BTW most of the resorts in Switzerland are easily reached by public transport. For Verbier you have the train all the way to Le Chable, which is the resort below, with bubble lifts up to Verbier and to the top (a great way of avoiding huge queues at peak time/holidays in Verbier). It also has a big car park. All other resorts are served by the Postal buses that leave from all the train stations, with coordinating timetables. For instance for Torgon or Villars you go to Aigle train station, then take the bus from in front of station to resort. From Sion train station, you find the bus for Haute Nendaz/Nendaz again just in front of station. Same for Veysonnaz/Thyon 2000. BTW all the 3 resorts above are part of the Verbier Ski area but much cheaper and more family oriented. Every single resort off the Rhone Valley can be reached that way, train + bus, and your ticket purchased on line to include both. Morzine/Les Gets/La Clusaz, etc are great too- but airport transfers can be very expensive.

Lots to think about - tell us what you decide and how you get on. Cheers
Odile

Last edited by Odile; 11.11.2010 at 18:56. Reason: +info
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  #23  
Old 13.11.2010, 12:50
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

O.k so quick question re Saas-Fee for those online in the know. How big is the village? If we were to get accomodation at the bottom end of town (opposite end to lifts) how much of a hike will it be to the lifts? I know there will be a shuttle bus running but I am thinking of during the evening going out and if we missed the bus etc.? Anything negative we should know about Saas-Fee?

Cheers.

P.s Now hooked up with gear, went and hired skis and boots this morning for the season, surprisingly affordable. Just need to fork out for all the clothes now
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Old 13.11.2010, 17:35
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

For skis/boards and boots it makes more sense to hire them on-site.

For your winter gear, I always suggest asking around work colleagues and friends - you'd be amazed what people have in their cellar that only comes out a few times a year

And I'd agree with the 'beginner' idea of only doing 2-3 days intro lessons, then taking a bit of a rest. And make sure your health insurance is up to date and covers any cross-border accidents or injuries...just in case!
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Old 13.11.2010, 21:13
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

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O.k so quick question re Saas-Fee for those online in the know. How big is the village? If we were to get accomodation at the bottom end of town (opposite end to lifts) how much of a hike will it be to the lifts? I know there will be a shuttle bus running but I am thinking of during the evening going out and if we missed the bus etc.? Anything negative we should know about Saas-Fee?

Cheers.

P.s Now hooked up with gear, went and hired skis and boots this morning for the season, surprisingly affordable. Just need to fork out for all the clothes now
You are basically right there. We had a five minute walk. The tougher part is from the car park to the hotel. Be sure to coordinate with your hotel for the pick up taxi.

I thought Saas-Fee was a good size. Seemed a little more quiet than other places, but I would think very family appropriate, a little more like rustic Switzerland as opposed to swanky.

Don't discount the sister peaks in the Saas-Fee region.
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  #26  
Old 13.11.2010, 21:28
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

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You are basically right there. We had a five minute walk. The tougher part is from the car park to the hotel. Be sure to coordinate with your hotel for the pick up taxi.

I thought Saas-Fee was a good size. Seemed a little more quiet than other places, but I would think very family appropriate, a little more like rustic Switzerland as opposed to swanky.

Don't discount the sister peaks in the Saas-Fee region.
You are right. Saas Fee is not party, party, but they have some
really nice Pistes. I think it is highly underrated.
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Old 14.11.2010, 19:49
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

Great forum. Just posted a similar one to this, but should have looked more first. Just was up near Le Cure this weekend and it looked like a nice place as well.
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  #28  
Old 16.11.2010, 13:50
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

Alright so here is how it is looking so far:

  • Destination Saas-Fee, booked accomodation for 19-26 Dec 2010
  • Group ski classes for the week booked with Swiss Ski School
  • Hired skis and boots for the season from here in Geneve at around 200chf per person
Remaining on the to do list is finding a good place for Christmas Eve dinner, organising some other interesting outings or activities to take advantage of (ice caving, snow shoing etc.), purchase jacket, pants, goggles, helmet, gloves and then rob a bank to pay back the mortgage needed to buy said clothing.

Any tips for where to go Christmas Eve from ppl familiar with Saas-Fee would be very appreciated.

Also, is it worthwhile going into France to purchase the ski clothing, how much is the price difference on average?

Cheers,
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Old 16.11.2010, 17:23
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

As a beginner I would completley avoid Avoriaz, you will find the accomodation there a complete put off. There are many great places on the Swiss side of the mountains, I would highly recomend Champery for one.

The Crimbo week is expensive and crowed, however you can usually find great deals the week before (some good suggestion in the other posts). If you dont need to pre book and can decided a couple of days before, pick some where that has had the best snow cover. Champery is Chocholate box Switzerland, and has the advantage of the beginner slope being at the top of the mountain, which may sound a little scarey, but actually means that snow conditions are really good to learn on.

With the public transport the swiss resorts are much, much easier to get to and from, and you dont have to pay an arm and leg, again Champery is perfect as the railway station is at the main lift station and only a short walk to the bars, hotels B&B's - I can recomend fantastic cheap accomodation in Champery to boot. For the French Alps i use these guys www.ski-lifts.com pretty good with the prices and they go to the main and not so main resorts and pick up from Geneve railway station if requested

For a first week I would look for somewhere with a good mix of night/evening entertainment and that the lift pass is not too expensive, there is no need to go to a big resort you simply wont get the value out of the lift pass.

Something that will help considerably with cost as a beginner;
A lot of resorts offer begginer lift passes that cover a fewer number of lifts, this is not often (if ever) advertised, and you will have to ask (they wont tell you) but means you get a considerably cheaper pass in most cases, and if you find you are natural's on the snow you can always upgrade the pass to cover a wider lift area after a day or two.

Athleticum - best place in Switzerland (based on price) to hire equipment, they do great begginer deals, and if you like the sport you can extend the hire for a whole season, usually for about the same price as a two weeks hire in a resort.

I have spent a number of winters guiding throught the Swiss Alps, feel free to contact me if you need more help or info getting organised
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  #30  
Old 03.01.2011, 17:46
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

Hi All,

I've managed to find some time following the big Christmas/NYE period and wanted to hand out a big thanks for all the advice in this post.

We had 1 week in Saas-Fee over Christmas and totally loved it. Great little resort that was quite charming and enjoyable. Not a huge 'happening' place but for us it had exactly the kind of vibe we were after with the car free zone, some good restaurants but not to loud, lots of good beginner and blue runs and just plain nice.

We took a week of lessons with the Swiss ski school and were very happy with their service and the teachers we had and did not struggle too much with the physical side of things, I'd be happy to recommend them/it to anyone.

Weather really closed in over the last few days and restricted the skiing as we were just getting skilled enough to head out on the higher blue runs but great week and looking forward to heading out from Geneva every couple of weekends for day trips.

Any specific questions from future searhers don't hesitate to give me a yell.

Cheers.
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  #31  
Old 03.01.2011, 20:20
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

Thanks for the follow up! It is always nice to know what someone decided to do after reading all the advice s/he got.
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