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Old 09.11.2010, 18:12
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First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

Hi all,

My wife and I recently moved to Geneva from sunny Oz and have never done the whole snow thing before but are super pumped to try this Christmas. We are looking to spend a week from December 19-26 at a resort somewhere getting lessons and doing the whole thing. But the thing is, being newbies to both CH and skiing, we have no idea where to start. We are on a budget, would like to be in the Geneva area and would like a bit of resort atmosphere as it will be over Christmas time etc.

Surfing the web has come up with places like Avoriaz, Villars, Champery but we are not sure which are the good and bad. What springs to your mind when you hear Geneva, budget, beginners, resort?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 09.11.2010, 18:17
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

Budget, switzerland and learning to ski aren't really phrases that go together well.

To do it cheaply you'll need to hire your gear well away from the resort

http://www.ochsner-sport.ch/

are ok

Buy your ski pass in advance and for the whole week, book up your ski lessons in advance and for the whole week.

ski instuctor info will be on the resorts web page.

don't be tempted to let a mate who can ski try to teach you, it wont work and you'll just waste your time and so money.

Take packed lunches with you, food and drink at the resort is really really stupidly expensive.
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Old 09.11.2010, 18:22
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

Does it have to be in Switzerland? Will you have a car or only public transport?

I liked Cormayeur, Italy. Can't remember if it is beginner friendly. Not sure about relative cost of the French resorts around Mont Blanc either.
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Old 09.11.2010, 18:25
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

I became quite a competent skier after taking group lessons at Leysin, a great place to learn with excellent instructors. I booked 2 packages of 5 days (5 2.5 hour lessons was around 210 francs). With practice and the occasional private lesson I got pretty good! I'm on my phone so no link, but google ecole suisse de ski. The best bet would be to find a hotel package somewhere that includes lift passes.
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Old 09.11.2010, 18:30
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

As 18 year olds we went on a ski trip with our school. We flew into Geneva and then went across the border into France to ski there in Les Carroz (www.lescarroz.com).

It's just an idea, but it might meet your budget criteria far easier that CH.

Good luck and hope your ski Xmas is a good one!
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Old 09.11.2010, 18:45
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

How about somewhere in France like Les Gets

Not too far from Geneva and not an expensive place at all. Pretty too.
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Old 09.11.2010, 18:45
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

Yeah, we have been around long enough to realise it is not going to be a cheap experience, we are just wanting to control the amount of damage

No, it definately doesn't have to be Switzerland. We are absolutely 100% reliant on public transport/shuttles so thought close to Geneva would help with cost and travel time. Within about 2 hours of Geneva is what I was thinking.

We were looking at doing a season hire of gear here in Geneva which will avoid some expense and waiting time. Buying the lift passes and booking ski school in advance sounds good and will be pretty easy I imagine.

So the big question I suppose is which resort?

Also is it better to go for a 'self contained' place or a hotel with full board? Not having to cook at the end of a hard day sounds good, but the full board prices at hotels are un-reasonable I expect...
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Old 09.11.2010, 18:53
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

MAWLER,

Welcoming another snow hound! (in training ) Subscribe to this thread which is where we all hang out. Longbyt was kind enough to make it a sticky, so it is always easy to find.

I can't comment from a beginner standpoint as to which is good or bad, but I would suggest Morzine, France in the Portes De Soleil area. The only risk is the elevation is a little low so you may lack snow. Though, last year we had an epic powder day on the Swiss Wall over Easter Otherwise, for a more resort type area, hard to beat Saas-Fee region and no problem with snow there.

Anywhere over Christmas is going to be expensive, so you will have to be more specific with your budget. Depending on if you want a decent hotel or a hostel you can pretty much find your price in almost any region.

Remember there are plenty of ways to have fun on the snow - ski, snowboard, etc., be sure to try it all during your first season, eventually something will feel right. Though, we all know the cool kids are the skiers
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Old 09.11.2010, 21:11
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

Everything that they say.....but if cost is an issue there is another way.

Personally, I think that doing a whole week from scratch is proper tough, skiing is hard on the legs when you start and the boots will feel like the worst thing you ever wore on your feet......until the next morning when you come to put them on again!

Why not plan to take full day lessons on four or six consecutive Saturdays travelling from home, then ski on Sunday alone when you have a bit of confidence? You won't have the cost of the accomodation and you will probably get more out of six ski lessons with a week gap between them when you can i) recover and ii) practice than you will having six full days back to back when days 2 and 3 you may well want to stick a skiboot up the instructors ass!

Just a thought - enjoy it though....its a great thing to do!
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Old 09.11.2010, 21:14
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

Check out the website

www.bergfex.ch

It will give you an idea of the ski resorts in Switzerland
and the area.
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Old 09.11.2010, 21:27
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

The very best value will be found in Torgon, the beginning of the Portes du Soleil (above Aigle). The Company specialises in school/family trips, but they have a special offer for New Year week. All is inclusive, lessons, ski/boot hire, ski pass (including Torgon, Chapelle d'Abondance, Chatel, super Chatel, Morgins and Champoussin, food, the lot - English speaking. Ski or snowboarding. Ski slopes and beginners area next to the chalet. Very small resort, but lots of fun. Many staff are ozzies, kiwis and London.
Look up The Ski Company Greenwich Google or Facebook.
Ask for Gerry (owner) Becky or Ollie- great people.
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Old 09.11.2010, 22:31
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

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Personally, I think that doing a whole week from scratch is proper tough, skiing is hard on the legs when you start and the boots will feel like the worst thing you ever wore on your feet......until the next morning when you come to put them on again!

Why not plan to take full day lessons on four or six consecutive Saturdays travelling from home, then ski on Sunday alone when you have a bit of confidence?
Though I do not ski, I agree. Learning any new sport is tough on the muscles, ligaments and joints, and doing it six days in a row is likely to be painful. With a bit of bad luck it may be very painful

Add to that the fact that the Xmas week is the most expensive week of the year ...
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Old 09.11.2010, 23:00
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

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Though I do not ski, I agree. Learning any new sport is tough on the muscles, ligaments and joints, and doing it six days in a row is likely to be painful. With a bit of bad luck it may be very painful
Agreed. The best thing you can do now to ensure you get the most out of your week is to start some ski-specific muscle-strengthening and mobility exercises. If you haven't started yet then you all ought to now.

Of course how much this benefits you will depend on your current levels of fitness.

There's some stuff both on this forum and the web that can help you and you don't need any equipment.


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Add to that the fact that the Xmas week is the most expensive week of the year ...
The most expensive week is the one around the New Year. The Christmas one the week before can give you some real bargains but you may not get the chalet of your dreams as although these will have be booked up long ago. More basic self-catering apartments can be found last minute.
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Old 09.11.2010, 23:47
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

Just checked the Ski company website and the New Year week is now full. A great shame as it was such fabulous value. If you are looking for a really good value week for half term they've still got vacancies. If you are flexible with dates, phone them and explain you live in Switzerland and don't need transport, and ask for a 'filler' week. They sometimes have smaller school groups with spare capacity, and fill those extra places are drop dead prices. Of course that means sharing the dining-room and lounge with kids - but accom. will be in separate accom, either studios above, or apartments dotted all over the resort.

BTW have NO commercial links with them - just used this company again and again with my school ski club, friends and family. Great equipment, ski school, door step skiing, and the owner + very experienced team always on site to deal with any queries. Great fun.
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Old 10.11.2010, 09:00
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

I skied at Torgon when I was just a bit more than a beginner, and found it pretty good. We took some totally neophytes with us and they enjoyed it as well. Take cash, as (at least when we were there), there were no cash points.

If you hire equipment for the season, then you should try to do a number of weekends or day trips after you've had your week's training. The best way to become proficient at skiing - is to ski.

I started skiing 6 years ago, and now I have to say it's the most fun you can have with three layers of clothing...
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Old 10.11.2010, 09:48
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

Talking transport, Leysin is reasonably well connected to the rail network. You take a train from Geneva 2 Aigle, then a cog train up the mountain, although a long day, some 2 hours journey there. A couple of stations in Leysin, the best I think to get is Leysin-Feyday since it is a downhill walk to the telecabin, although there is a free bus service in the winter to the telecabin from all the stations I think. Check out their website.

http://www.leysin.ch/en/index.cfm

Skis and other gear, agree with statements already made, will be cheaper if you get stuff off mountain... although hard work to drag it with you all the way with you.

An alternative might be something like this http://www.boisjoly.com/ which is just across the boarder from Geneva, although getting there would be a challenge without a car. Have personally skied there and its ok.

Not eating on the mountain will save you money, but you need to budget some money to get a hot a drink or something when you sneek into the mountainside cafe. Picnics on the side of the mountain this time of year in the snow are kinda cold; maybe @ Easter, not Christmas. Tried it, not really fun.
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Old 10.11.2010, 09:49
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

We spent last Christmas at Morzine, at town at the bottom on the lifts to Avoriaz. Avoriaz is nice, but the town is high, hilly and snow covered with horse and carriages to get around. They scared me (thought they were going to slip) so we just walked. Not as much nightlife as in Morzine and the town is car free, so you can't drop off your gear and need to use a horse or push a sleigh quite a distance. We had 17 people in total and a load of gear.

Check out http://www.morzinelets.com/

EDIT: Friends flew into Geneva and quite a few places offered a shuttle service to Morzine.

Last edited by CH_Me; 10.11.2010 at 10:09.
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Old 10.11.2010, 10:05
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

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How about somewhere in France like
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Les Gets

Not too far from Geneva and not an expensive place at all. Pretty too.


You took the words from my mouth.......Les Gets / Morzine is excellent. Les Gets & Morzine is part of thefamous ski area of the 'Portes du Soleil' with some of the best and most extensive ski slopes available in Europe. The village is famed for it's traditional look and friendly atmosphere and is considered to be a 'gem' of the Haute Savoie. Close to Geneva airport, only a one hour transfer, and close to motorway links it is ideally place for those who prefer to drive. In the Summer it is a mecca for mountain biking enthusiast's from all over the world and all sorts of adventure activities are close by. The beautiful town of Annecy with it's fabulous lake is only a short drive away and wherever you are there are spectacular views of the mountains. And only 50 minutes from Geneva!

There are a number of different ski school. We personally use ESF - www.esf-lesgets.com

I would recommend that you do either private lessons or their prestige course as the classes have a restricted number. Remember you are coming at a busy time!

Here are some links for Les Gets:

Resort Information www.lesgets.com
Ski Passes / Prices www.skipass-lesgets.com.
Plan your stay www.sagets.fr
Ski School http://www.lesgets.com/en/ecoleski/index.html
Chalet rentals http://www.holiday-rentals.co.uk

As discussed hire your equiment before your trip and not in the resort. Consider wearing a helmet. It is your choice but we notice more and more people wearing them!

Two years ago your post could of been from me! We now have the bug and are looking forward to skiing this season.
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Old 10.11.2010, 10:10
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

I can only repeat the already good advice given:
- plenty of specific exercises beforehand and don't go overboard on your first days
- Leysin, Les Diablerets, and Les Mosses are all good resorts in Switzerland for beginner skiers, but you need only go into the Jura mountains to get your 'skiers legs'.

Also:
- If you don't have a car - look at mobility.ch ... trains can be fun but quite limiting in the end.
- Try your hand at snow-shoeing as well - all you need to know is how to walk and you'll be out in the snowy wilderness having a great time.
- It's not that expensive here compared with Aus, and much more accessible, so make the most of it!
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Old 10.11.2010, 10:57
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Re: First ski experience/holiday this Christmas - Help Pls!

you have Verbier at your doorstep and it cant get any better.
for a beginner its maybe irrelevant how big the resort is, but i enjoyed my first week up there on beginner slope. the nightlife there is also fantastic as i find it isnt that much apre ski style like in Austria.
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