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Ideal ski place to buy

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Most of my trips are 2 or 3 day weekends. The drive into Val on Friday night and out on Sunday or Monday evening is typically 2h15, if flying to/from GVA.

There is this myth that you will spend the whole weekend driving if you go away from Cham or Morzine. Not only is it not true, but (with the exception of Grand Montets) the ski season at higher resorts can offer up to 10 extra weekends per season.

The transfer really isn't a factor.

Here's a few of the points that were factors for us...

Nightlife and resort quality are big factors, not only to your enjoyment, but to the return you get when you come to sell. It is unlikely you will sell to other Brits who are so fascinated with only driving for 1h30 maximum. More likely you will sell to middle/upper income Europeans, who may drive 8 hours to get to their second home.

The single top factors are quality of snow and how easy it is to get to the nearest lifts from the property. If the resort is high, this will mean you get a much longer season. If you want/need to rent, it will also mean you get the important Xmas-New Year and Easter weeks... every season. These three weeks may be 30% of your rental income. The quality of the resort snow making will also be a factor, as will the quality of the lift system and the level of investment by the lift company.

A cheap cottage that involves a 30 minute drive, in snow chains, will always be a cheap cottage and will appeal to a minute market when you come to rent or when you want to sell. You may never sell it. France is littered with property that never sold and was left to fall down. A ski in-ski out property will score 10 on anyone's tick list. Something that has one of these and short walk will score 9.9. Something that involves buses or trains to get to the best snow will score much less. Driving, with all the risks of having to dig the car out (possibly twice in a day) would score zero.

Ignore the current decor. The French don't do DIY and don't really 'reno' their properties. Do look for good wiring and reasonable plumbing (you should have test certs), unless planning a full strip and refit. The rest you can do yourself, or you can get seasonaires with trade skills to do in the summer (I'm thinking people like Ken X, rather than the kid with his trousers down past his bum). You will change it anyway, so look past what it looks like and look at what it could be.

The view. Often over looked (excuse the pun) but can make a massive difference to your ability to rent and sell, plus to your overall enjoyment. If you look at the back of a concrete apartment wall, you will be severely downgraded against apartments or chalets with views all the way down the valley. Similarly, do you get the sun? Some properties are in shade all winter. It makes breakfast on the balcony very uninviting.

Do a score sheet and each score the various categories on your list. Weight some categories, so they can create more or less points than others. Eg ski in or out (or both) needs lots more points than distance to the supermarket. But most of all, make and weight the categories to suit what is important to you.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Yes the view, it has a downside as I've lost hours just standing there looking at it, another big must have....
With all these must haves no wonder compromise is a common word in the buying community
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@polo, Our experience of basing ourselves in a party village has been a little more positive than you make it sound. Plenty of normal people and families from all over Europe (and the wider world) - not just "Madchester" blokes, and also much more of mix of sexes than you suggest is the norm in places like St "Manton". Also, as you will know, the Austrian apres-ski tends to take place between 4.00 and 7.30pm, after which it's time to eat, and the later evening "apres-apres", for those who still have the energy, tends to be low key and/or confined to a few cellar bars and clubs. However it's invariably a lot of good-natured fun - I generally compare a season here as akin to attending the best party you've ever been to, which lasts for four months, and where every Saturday most of the party-goers leave and are replaced by a new influx of eager beavers. (Summer is of course a totally different atmosphere - laid-back and relaxed.)
We can't compete on the celebrity front though - unless you count DJ Oetzi, Mickie Krause, Antonia aus Tirol, who are regular visitors, and Eddie the Eagle, Ed Sheeran, David Hasselhoff, and John Lees (all of whom have put in an appearance in recent times.
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@tatmanstours, yeah am sure it's great....depends how near you are to the late night action, middle of town can be noisy, less so after a 10-15min walk. Choice is good to have, it's there if you want it. Am just saying there must be loads of resorts with sufficiently good apres without going full on St Anton / Verbier / Val etc. As for celebrities? I've only seen Keith Wood around our village, which is just the right balance.

The view is a huge factor. I had the choice (same budget) of a 4 bed modernised farmhouse 3km from village, or a 2 bed 70's decor apt near the resort with amazing views. The views trumped all other logic.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Now summer is coming to an end, what do most owners do with their apartments. Do you have one last late break & set it up for storage, never to be seen again until mid December?
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Jonny996 wrote:
Now summer is coming to an end, what do most owners do with their apartments. Do you have one last late break & set it up for storage, never to be seen again until mid December?


I like to have a weekend at the appt in Oct. Wax the skis, go for some hikes, generally chill out.
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Sept & Oct are usually the best months to spend in the mountains. Crisp air and all that.
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@Jonny996, I won't be going till just after Christmas. If I need to go out for a specific reason then I do but otherwise the place is deserted. i must get out to the Dorfgaudi one year - next weekend - but work is in the way at the moment
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@Jonny996, I work from home as a European Sales Director. Mostly home is East Lothian, but in October my wife & I will go to France for three weeks, and during that time I'll fit in a work trip to the USA. Flying there from Geneva is the same cost as flying from Edinburgh.....

Autumn is really nice in the Alps. Not too hot and tends to be dry.

Full disclosure: Kids grown up & moved out, wife retired, I'm following her soon!
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I have friends that always go for the Autumn half term to look at the leaves. We won't be out until the girls break up for Xmas on 14th. Lucked in last year as had a wonderful week before Xmas, but that is the first time in years, so not holding our breath.
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Quote:

The drive into Val on Friday night and out on Sunday or Monday evening is typically 2h15, if flying to/from GVA.



that's brisk. google maps has it at 2h45
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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.
Quote:

Quote:

The drive into Val on Friday night and out on Sunday or Monday evening is typically 2h15, if flying to/from GVA.



that's brisk. google maps has it at 2h45

ski holidays Thu 06 Sep, 18
17:06 Reply with quote


Yep 2:15 is pushing it a lot. I think you have to break the speed limit to do that time.
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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
I would have been well pissed if I had bought the apartment in Les Arcs that we were considering because a key factor was the sleeper option from paris to Bourg st Maurice which I am told is no longer running and the sleeper coaches have been either scrapped or rebuilt to regular coaches.

Say it isn't so.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Quote:

Say it isn't so.

Sorry, but its true. There used to convenient flights from Lyon but they stopped months after we bought our apartment as well. Nothing lasts for ever, but at least there are still trains running to Bourg, whcih though slow are a cheep transfer from Geneva.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
johnE wrote:
... but at least there are still trains running to Bourg, whcih though slow are a cheep transfer from Geneva.
What route does that take and what's the cost?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
When we first bought, Thomson were doing 8.00am flights from Coventry Airport (10 minutes down the road) to Salzburg, and we could be on the slopes by midday. Happy memories!
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@rob@rar, You need to change trains in Geneva central and Chambery (in Chambery it is the same platform). It takes 3:30 to 4:00 for the journey and costs about 30 euro each way (25 for me as I'm over 60). There are 6 trains a day and they run every day of the week and as far as I can see every week of the year. See https://www.trainline.eu
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
The transfer by public transport was high on my must have list, as wife won’t drive over there
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johnE wrote:
@rob@rar, You need to change trains in Geneva central and Chambery (in Chambery it is the same platform). It takes 3:30 to 4:00 for the journey and costs about 30 euro each way (25 for me as I'm over 60). There are 6 trains a day and they run every day of the week and as far as I can see every week of the year. See https://www.trainline.eu
Many thanks. Shame that's not a bit quicker as it would be a really great option, especially when combined with the funicular up to Les Arcs. Having that service run every day is very helpful as transfer options are more restricted if you don't travel Sat-Sat. Do you use it much?
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
A lot of the above points are why we focused on places close to GVA. Some other airports have good local resorts but the flight schedules are so thin that you can't rely on the routes being maintained.

I did explore the Eurostar-Paris-sleeper option to St G and it worked brilliantly. Before they scrapped it the next year!
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@Jonny996, we're off for a couple of weeks there soon. Usually I leave it open for letting, as there are plenty of people around to look after them, and we often pick up last minute weekends from people wanting to walk. Autumn is so beautiful when you have a place in a larch forest. If we go earlier in the summer, we usually have a week or so in October ourselves when we will do any redecoration etc. Although it is quiet, it is rarely deserted, as people live and work in the valley. Always one restaurant and bar open in each village usually, and more down in Briancon.
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@rob@rar, Sadly, not very much. We tend to get to Geneva on the last flight so miss the train, or have other needs for a hire car (DIY). Family members have used it and report it as easy if a little slow with much potential for reading and talking. One of the nice things about owning in 1600 is the direct access to the funicular.

Not unsuprisingly very few of our trips (with friends and family) are ever weekend to weekend
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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!
@rob@rar, @johnE, I 'almost' like that train trip idea, after all 4 hours isn't so much different from a 3+ hour drive (including all the faffing about getting the hire car) but logic asks if you are going to spend 4 hours in a train, why not 4.5 from Charles de Gaulle or Gare de Lyon, having flown to Paris. Or even taken the train from StP. and changed in Paris.

It does seem daft that so much closer appears to take almost as long, and it would certainly ease congestion on the valley road if it was a viable alternative.

@jedster, we too miss that overnighter. Did it quite a few times unti it was canned (in fact, missed our last opportunity due to an EStar Fk-up meaning we arrived too late to catch it. They put us up in the Gare de Lyon hotel and we got an early morning TGV - and liked it enough that is has become our regular route to replace the sleeper. NOT as good, but acceptable.)
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@Arctic Roll, how far in advance do you book if you’re doing Eurostar to Paris then TGV to Bourg? It’s always seemed to be a bit of a faff to book when I’ve looked in to it.
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@rob@rar, it was always way to expensive when I looked
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@Arctic Roll,
Quote:

@rob@rar, @johnE, I 'almost' like that train trip idea, after all 4 hours isn't so much different from a 3+ hour drive (including all the faffing about getting the hire car) but logic asks if you are going to spend 4 hours in a train, why not 4.5 from Charles de Gaulle or Gare de Lyon, having flown to Paris. Or even taken the train from StP. and changed in Paris.

Good point, well made.

Getting the train to London, then Paris, then Bourg though is not realy very convenient. Not only does it take ages but IIRC also requires changing not just trains but also stations in both London and Paris. It also costs a lot of money.

later research I've just looked it up. I can use the train to get to Bourg on Oct 6th all the way. It will cost roughly £200 each way, take 13 hours and require 4 changes of train with 2 changes of station. Actually not that bad and worth knowing it can be done. Flying to Paris may be cheeper and faster.

On a slightly different topiic. If you fly to Lyon then get the shuttle to the main railway station in Lyon centre rather than from the airport
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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.
@rob@rar, We go though (your recommended!) Rail Canterbury, usually mid Autumn when we've sorted the dates out.
Obviously have to wait for SNCF to release schedules and tickets, but Jacky there has our order, puts a hold on the E-star and then she combines it with the SNCF on our behalf as soon as they are released.

Actually, with our annual 'boys week' I usually get the crew to sort themeslves out (see other threads re 'cat herding' - it is up to them to sort out the 'odd' dates, those who want to arrive late or leave early - and Jacky takes a lot of the pain on their behalf too. We've even had Rail C work it out such that people can join up on our TGV coming in from Amsterdam and Barcelona).

£200 seems about right. Can be more, up to £270 if book too late, and bizarrely, a bit less if you get the 'puffer' train from Bourg to Chambery then join the TGV: that's the one that has actually started in Bourg, but leaves 20 mins later (but obviously can't overtake so no 'miss it' worries).
And they say British train ticketing is odd...


We book the Mecure at GdL direct ourselves.
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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
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
@Arctic Roll, I should mention that the £200 was making full use of railcards in the UK and senior rates from London.
This summer I had a fairly tricky rail journey from a small town in the Black Forest in Germany to Rheims in France to arrange. Having torn my hair with the SNCF web site and Raileurope I discovered trainline.eu. It was realy easy to make and pay for the booking.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Quote:

This never ceases to amaze me. Our builders were all English and barely spoke a word of French. They seemed to get by, winter and summer.

I think Tarantaise is a very bi-lingual region.

Yes if you don't mind not understanding what people are saying about you when you buy a coffee in english in a little bar in the town centre in October!

Quote:

@Snow and Sunshine, I remember reading a year or so ago that the World French Scrabble Champion was a New Zeelander who didn't speak a word of French - just memorised a dictionary!

Every day is a school day - maybe I need to stop quoting that as an example - either that or memorise the dictionary!

In terms of travel to the Tarentaise from Geneva coaches are much better than trains. Although the station is in the airport all the trains go via Geneva centre so you end up with at least 2 if not 3 changes and takes around 4 hours. Coaches go direct and take less than 3. Take a look at altibus.com for an example. They run really regularly winter and summer, but much less so in the interseason. Blabla car is worth a look too (french online car pool service thingy) as lots of people drive to/from Geneva from the area really regularly.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Snow and Sunshine wrote:
Quote:

This never ceases to amaze me. Our builders were all English and barely spoke a word of French. They seemed to get by, winter and summer.

I think Tarantaise is a very bi-lingual region.

Yes if you don't mind not understanding what people are saying about you when you buy a coffee in english in a little bar in the town centre in October!


I'm sure our builders didn't care what people were saying about them.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Snow and Sunshine, thank you for mentioning blabla car (https://www.blablacar.fr/trajets/). I have been racking my brain trying to think of the name for a couple years now.

Yes, you have to change trains in Geneva central and Chambery, but this is not a problem.
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mk28 wrote:
What ski resort would you buy in if you could? This is hypothetical as I have't yet won the lottery. Requirements would be 1) fairly short transfer from the airport 90 mins max. 2) Snow sure, or as snow sure as can be. 3) decent nightlife. 4) I wouldn't buy somewhere that would require a drive to the ski lifts so would need to be in resort. For me St. Anton almost ticks these boxes but I'm pretty sure if you buy there you have to rent it out for some weeks of the year? might be wrong on that. Chamonix ticks them but I'm not a huge fan of the ordeal of getting to the different ski areas. My favourite ski resort is Val D'isere but the transfer is too long especially if you wanted to do a weekend.


I'd buy a place in Kitzbuhel. Decent sized, very attractive town.
Year round resort. Lots to do off the mountain. Nightlife. Train station. Some slopes open Nov to May most years.
Good sized area and easy to access lots of other resorts all on the same regional pass.

I just need ten million quid.
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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?
@johnE, @rob@rar, just recieved my quote for his winter E-star to Paris, with SNCF to Bourg, travelling out/back on 15th and 29th Dec respectively: £184 return pp. Add the £16 ret. to London (for us) and we come in at exactly £200. No travel cards, vouchers or discount schemes. Quite pleased with my earlier guesstimate!
So even with an easyjet flight, the transfer or hire car costs would bump any flying price up towards that I reckon.

(1st class is shade under £300 with travel to London - even that's not bad).

Timing - 9 hours travel includes 1.5 hours to cross Paris ( plus the 1 hours time change). Add an hour pre-board time at St Pancras, and an hour to get to London, 30 mins fron Bourg to Les Arcs, looking at 11 1/2 hours door-to-door.
I can live with that.
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@Arctic Roll, much obliged. What time do you depart St Pancras, and what time do you arrive in Bourg?
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Arctic Roll, looks an excellent price especially when you look at the total cost of flying - getting to the UK airport, parking there, the flight, the luggage and the pricy transfer from the French airport.

The question is now - why are my quotes so high? Your quotes are half of mine.

We'll drive down for Christmas so we may meet up in Les Arcs (at last)
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@rob@rar, 07.52 from St P, 17.48 into Bourg. Could probably do 30 mins later from St P, as we know our way across Paris , but Rail C like to be safe.

@johnE, Yes!! Let's make it happen this time!
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You're all being rather unimaginative considering the winning the lottery part!

Lets make it fun and assume we're talking the full Euromillions jackpot.

Main home would be in Innsbruck, 'cos it's the greatest city (I REALLY don't want to live in a ski resort) on the planet for mountain/river people and well located to storm chase in all directions. Either a villa in the Saggen area:



OR one of the few remaining plots of land in Hungerburg, and build something awesome overlooking the city and right by the Nordkette lifts:



And buy one of these for pow chasing when I feel like 'roughing it' rather than staying in a luxury hotel:



Different bikes though of course. For winter I'd have the one on the right with custom ski rack:



And for summer one of these beauts:



On top of that I'd obviously also have a dream storm-chasing travel itinerary further afield - Siberia, Japan, Himalayas, BC, Iran/Afghanistan, Georgia, Alaska, Norway, in roughly that order depending on conditions (with plenty of time in the Alps too), with a mix of resort, heli and skitouring.

For the summer I'd have somewhere on the Lago Maggiore waterfront, within easy driving distance of the beautiful Valle Verzasca and Val Sesia rivers:



Plus one of these beauts to cruise round Indo surfing and diving:



And I suppose I might also rent a heli/boat combo to explore Patagonia for a month or so every summer too:

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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!
Laughing Sleepless night, clarky999?
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pam w wrote:
Laughing Sleepless night, clarky999?


Killing time between meetings in Indonesia (and wondering if the glacier will be open by the time I get back to AT) wink

Even without lottery money life is pretty ok atm Laughing
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@bar shaker, fair point well made Happy
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