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Where to go at New Year

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Iím looking for some advice about where to book a New Year skiing trip, but my girlfriend and I have competing requirements.

Background
Iím an adventurous sort of girl, happy to tackle everything but the steepest blacks. I like to be out all day, cruising to every corner of the piste map. I might even stop for a snack somewhere if I remember Wink

My girlfriend is still very much a beginner, scared of anything steep or busy, always worried about missing the last lifts and will be happiest in lessons.

Last New Year we stayed in Arc 2000 and in hindsight whilst it was great for me, it wasnít the best for her. She eventually booked lessons and really enjoyed the structured approach.

This year I want somewhere with accessible, easy greens and blues for her but big enough for me to explore. A village feel (not bleak like Arc 2000). Austria preferred, but France is okay. Snow sure is a must too with it being early in the season.

Tignes / Val DíIsere seem like good candidates. I remember looping Grand Pre lots when I was learning snowboarding years ago (Iíve seen the light and switched now!) Iíve also read about Borsat being a great place to loop.

Questions
Would it be better to stay in Val DíIsere or Tignes Val Claret? How easy would it be for a beginner to get back down, especially in Val DíIsere?

Would New Year make anyone recommend anywhere else instead? (Canít move the dates - inconvenient teacher!)

Are morning lessons always preferable because of the groomed slopes?

Anybody know how busy Tignes would be compared to Paradiski at New Year?

And this is probably for a separate thread, but what recommendations would anyone have for me so that I donít always have to ski alone (other than chatting to other guests)? Are there dedicated ski touring guides? Is it worth me having lessons (I never have before)?
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Also, I've been to Obergurgl (with a day in Solden) and Meribel previously, so familiar with them.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Have you taken a look at La Plagne? Plenty of wide sweeping blue runs for your girlfriend, as well as some more challenging aspects for yourself.

In terms of lessons I'd recommend that she booked mornings for the week, and then skied with you in the afternoon. That lets you challenge yourself a bit in the mornings and then have a more relaxed afternoon to let your legs recoup! Have a look at the ski school she is going with for if they have a back-to-blacks type class - sounds to me like some higher level lessons might push you a bit? Or have a chat to others in the chalet first and then book yourself a couple of private lessons if you don't find someone else of the same ability to ski with?

Happy planning!
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Ah, I forgot to mention that I'm going to La Plagne with my sister's family at the end of February - otherwise that would be up there on the list too! Ideally I'd like to try somewhere different.

That's good advice about the private lessons. I've always been a bit tight in the past and not seen the value in them, but I'm sure I'd benefit from them.

I'm hoping I get better luck with fellow guests this year. Last year it was families and groups who already knew each other so it felt awkward to tag along.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Hi there these are my own views.

Would it be better to stay in Val DíIsere or Tignes Val Claret? How easy would it be for a beginner to get back down, especially in Val DíIsere?

Val D'Isere is not great for beginners. The runs down to the town such as Santons (
http://youtube.com/v/h6Cfaov0GqU)while marked blue are difficult, get icy and will sap the confidence of an beginner or early intermediate. Val Claret has the free Bollins chairlift on an easy green slope and you can continue up Fresse if the confidence climbs. It gives easy access to the "Ski Tranquille" greens over the hill in Val so the beginner can feel she is progressing well.For you there are a choice of 5 lifts to take in the morning- it is one of the best locations in the Alps to kick off the day, hit a large variety of slopes and be back in time for lunch to meet up.

Would New Year make anyone recommend anywhere else instead? (Canít move the dates - inconvenient teacher!)
I think Tignes is as good as you will get. We don't know what the snow conditions are going to be like for the new year and some recent years have been pretty poor at NY. TVC is high so if the conditions are poor the best place to be is there particularly with the Glacier on your doorstep. The only downside with Tignes and indeed most of France is the nightlife and Apres Ski are poor compared to Austria and drinks are expensive.

Are morning lessons always preferable because of the groomed slopes?
I don't think so. With gentle gradients they don't tend to cut up as much.

Anybody know how busy Tignes would be compared to Paradiski at New Year?
Similar levels of busy for NY.

And this is probably for a separate thread, but what recommendations would anyone have for me so that I donít always have to ski alone (other than chatting to other guests)? Are there dedicated ski touring guides? Is it worth me having lessons (I never have before)?
Book the lessons. Go for the morning and you may end up skiing the afternoon with your class mates for company.It is more social and you will always learn. Some wiser Snow heads will be able to recommend a particular school or instructor to book.
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@buzzub, do you ski off piste? Maybe join a guided group... and yes there are dedicated guides.

Have you thought about widening the trip and inviting other SH's via snowHeads Forum Index -> Solo Skiers v Groups - Organising Trips?

Morning lessons are preferable because a good instructor will work you hard so you want to be at your peak physically, and it's good to unwind a little in the afternoon and have some fun with your skiing trip companions.

As far as I know New Year is pretty busy everywhere.

A private lesson or two wouldn't go amiss but that wouldn't solve your who to ski with problem. Some ski schools do more advanced group lessons which may be worth a look... as you say it's all £££ though.
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Mayrhofen is one of my favourites and would suit you both. Plenty of cruisy runs to get going and then the odd black and the glacier Hintertux up the valley (it's mainly blue/reds there also). Westendorf is a lovely village and although its on the edge of the Ski Welt area (which can be a plus, its quieter) it has a handy link to ski over to Kitzbuhel for the day.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Yeesh, Les Santons looks tough - shady and like a canyon. Reminds me of a red in Les Arcs called Lac. That was horrid. I guess there's always the "download" option via the lift?

Is it feasible to detour via the green to La Daille and get a bus back or is that a pain at the end of a long day? Difficult to estimate from piste maps how far things are.

Val Claret definitely looks like a great location. Is it easy to get back from the tranquil area? I cant quite see how a nervous beginner would make it back Puzzled
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@Layne my only experience with off piste was last season when I sneakily "joined the back" of a group traversing the off piste between two pistes down towards La Plagne. Oh, and I also made fresh tracks down a black after heavy snow one morning near La Tania - that was hard work! Although I do remember it feeling quite exhilarating.

I think I prefer the speed and feeling of on piste. Am I weird?
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I've not looked at Mayrhofen before @pablito69 so will investigate. I spent a week in Kitzbuhel this summer so it would be fun to see it in the snow too Smile
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This scenario of ďI want to ski blacks/offpiste/tour or whatever and my partner wants to cruise around on bluesĒ comes up quite often. There must be a market there for a ski school or company...

The suggestions that normally come up are companies that offer accommodation and group lessons such as Club Med. They will have different level groups, and I guess as youíve paid for all inclusive you can drop in and out as you feel. But itís $$.

The cheaper all-inclusive version would be to book a twin room at UCPA (Action Outdoors) and a half day lessons course, for example.

Otherwise, Iíd pick a resort like Val DíIsere or Tignes and get contacting the ski schools. For example, TDC in Val DíIsere do 3 x morning or afternoon lessons, and I would have guess different level groups.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Yeesh, Les Santons looks tough - shady and like a canyon. Reminds me of a red in Les Arcs called Lac. That was horrid. I guess there's always the "download" option via the lift?
Is it feasible to detour via the green to La Daille and get a bus back or is that a pain at the end of a long day? Difficult to estimate from piste maps how far things are.

There is always the download option through the funicular. es Daille is a good option and the bus is close. I prefer the ski-in of Val CLaret for less carrying skis and easier to meet up. She won't need you to accompany her on the way down. Your friend will be able to make her way around and it is easy to meet on one of the bars overlooking the slope

Val Claret definitely looks like a great location. Is it easy to get back from the tranquil area? I cant quite see how a nervous beginner would make it back Puzzled

You get back via the Borsat of Tommeuses lift to the Prariond slope. You can see it here. It leads down to the Fresse beginners slope to VC. I think it is a good slope for an confident beginner/ early intermediate.

http://youtube.com/v/__eJHPoD4TA
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buzzub wrote:
I think I prefer the speed and feeling of on piste. Am I weird?

Yes and no! All skiing is great. Despite hankering after off piste constantly I do appreciate a good bit piste skiing - especially as I've mellowed That said for me off piste is still where it's at. But there are certainly people who just don't touch it.

buzzub wrote:
@Layne my only experience with off piste was last season when I sneakily "joined the back" of a group traversing the off piste between two pistes down towards La Plagne. Oh, and I also made fresh tracks down a black after heavy snow one morning near La Tania - that was hard work! Although I do remember it feeling quite exhilarating.

Well if you did feel the exhilaration then it could well be for you. It is hard work at first until you get better at it. Wider skis i.e., all mountain skis, will help.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
No need to ski back down in to Val if you don't want to as the lifts are fine for going down. Santons is just one of many ways to ski back, and I hated it too. Many normal runs are available!! Very Happy
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All runs down into every resort will be busy, especially at New Year. We did it a few of years ago, have done a couple in the Carribean since, but we are back in VdI for this New Year.

The easiest way back into VdI is down into La Daille and then a couple of stops on the free bus. Buses are queued up in the afternoons.

Tignes VC is easier to get down to (mostly blues or easy reds), but has no download options (except the funicular) so you must use the pistes to get home. VdI has download options into all areas (Fornet, town centre and La Daille). It can be dark around 4.30pm so sometimes a download is the best option.

If you are intending to go to the big party on New Years eve then being based in a Tignes village is definitely an advantage. We avoid this as is the past it has been just too busy, with drunk/stoned French yoofs firing fireworks at each other. Watched from the edges, it would be safer. The main Tignes NY firework display is quite incredible and probably the best in the Alps.

VdI have their big night two or three nights earlier, so as not to clash.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@bar shaker Yeah, not really drinkers, but definitely want to soak up the atmosphere on NYE.

I was surprised in Les Arcs last year just how quiet it was on NYE. Nothing happening up in Arc 2000 so made my way to 1950 where there was a stage and DJ. Did end up with a 20 minute walk up the road to get home though!
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Fellow teacher here. I'm sure you have checked dates, but I'm unable to go away over New Year as I'm back in school on 3rd Jan. If I go away that holiday I have to be away over Christmas - worth double checking.

You've mentioned Austria, lessons are usually all day. Have a look at Schladming, Flachau, Maria Alm and Saalbach. All have accessible areas for beginners and good to explore for more experienced skiers. The only issue might be a lack of other British guests so lesson groups might be mixed nationality and languages - this never bothers me, but it does some people.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@hammerite, I wouldn't recommend Flachau at New Year for this couple. There is very little to suit a nervous almost beginner and it will be rammed
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You might want to think about Lech or Warth, though neither are cheap. There is plenty of straight forward skiing but there is also a wealth of challenging skiing in the Arlberg area, it is also the largest (at least until another resort builds a linking lift) resort in Austria. Lech / Warth are much better for the less confident skier than St. Anton. Another option might be KitzbŁhel, a good amount of challenging skiing but plenty of easier stuff too. New Year's eve is generally much livelier in Austria than in France.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@holidayloverxx, I've always thought there's enough flat, but yes New Year would be rammed. I suppose my suggestion was more in case it has to turn in to a Christmas week holiday - which is usually fairly quiet in most areas.
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@hammerite, I think the problem with the flat bits is the steep bits off the lifts to get to them. Blue 2 through the trees has to cross a couple of steep bits. I took my BiL who was doing well at Castleford...we ended up looping the mid station to bottom of the Rote 8 as the rest was too difficult and he had lessons
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pablito69 wrote:
Mayrhofen is one of my favourites and would suit you both. Plenty of cruisy runs to get going and then the odd black and the glacier Hintertux up the valley (it's mainly blue/reds there also). Westendorf is a lovely village and although its on the edge of the Ski Welt area (which can be a plus, its quieter) it has a handy link to ski over to Kitzbuhel for the day.


Good suggestions. Westendorf in particular. snowHead
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@buzzub, my second week skiing was in Val D. Stayed in a chalet near the cinema. It was also over NYE, ending after by birthday in early Janauary.

I had no issues getting back to Val D, at the end of the day. The only thing I remember causing a problem, was being hung over, and trying to ski down on NYD from Rocher de Bellevarde lift to the piste. I felt ill, and could not manage the short distance which was very steep (for me at that time on my second week skiing)

As you and your GF do not drink much, I cannot imagine it being anything but a great idea, especially if you can afford it. (it aint cheap)

Have fun!
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Thanks @hammerite - return dates were the first thing I checked Very Happy My GF is fluent in German, French and Spanish, so she would probably enjoy not speaking English.

Lech would be lovely (and it's so pretty) but it's £££ so already thinking it will be too expensive. Kitzbuhel might also suffer from the same "error: cost exceeds budget" scenario.

I'm busy researching Westendorf, but also relieved that Val and Tignes get general thumbs up as they will be good back ups.

Sure I can't be alone in walking that thin line between booking early enough to ensure availability and leaving it late to get a good deal. Ultimate game of push your luck.
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1. Courchevel 1850.
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3. Avoriaz.
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buzzub wrote:


And this is probably for a separate thread, but what recommendations would anyone have for me so that I donít always have to ski alone (other than chatting to other guests)? Are there dedicated ski touring guides? Is it worth me having lessons (I never have before)?


Why not take up snowboarding - or both take up boarding & learn together?
Private lessons usually cover 2
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Mr.Egg wrote:
buzzub wrote:


And this is probably for a separate thread, but what recommendations would anyone have for me so that I donít always have to ski alone (other than chatting to other guests)? Are there dedicated ski touring guides? Is it worth me having lessons (I never have before)?


Why not take up snowboarding - or both take up boarding & learn together?

Not sure things are quite that desparate wink Laughing Skullie
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@Themasterpiece, ďThere must be a market there for a ski school or company...Ē

And companies with ski hosts used to cater for it very well, until the French spoiled it ...
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Westendorf is not terribly beginner friendly. Once you come off the beginner slope it is is big step up to the next blue slope and the options are limited.
Have a look Ellmau as an alternative if you would like to go to Austria or you should also look at Montgenevre in France. It may be a second tier (read cheaper) resort but there are green slopes from the top of the mountains on each side.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
The suggestion of UCPA is a good one - and the centre in Val d'Isere is pretty swish. You could both join lessons at different levels. And you won't find better value. I am always bemused by this angst about skiing back down in Val d'Isere. Just take a lift!!!!! There are plenty of excellent resorts where there's no choice about this. Sitting in the lift going down over La Face at the end of the day is good entertainment - watching people who should have taken the lift. I've skied down to La Daille - that run can be very unenjoyable at the end of the day, with lots of people struggling - any run can be difficult if it's crowded and lumpy. And then you have to wait for a crowded bus!

Just take the lift, then relax with a beer.

I agree Christmas would be 100% better than NY, by the way.

The lift system in the EK copes well with crowds (better than some smaller places) and UCPA instructors/guides will know how to avoid the difficulties.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

the centre in Val d'Isere is pretty swish

or is it the centre in Tignes which is pretty swish?? Maybe Tignes VC - also a good choice - I prefer it to Val d'I.
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@pam w, others say it's Tignes
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