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To ski or to board? ..... and where’s your favourite place?


#1

The weathers getting colder … well it is up north! We had snow a couple of days ago as did some parts of Scotland. I took the opportunity of half term to take the little terrorists to an indoor snow zone in Glasgow and put them on skies for the first time . That was hilarious ! The 3 year old boy child was comical and was put on the naughty bale of hay and the 5 year old girl child loved it . I was lucky enough to get an hours uninterrupted boarding time without having to worry about them :+1::wink:!
I used to board all the time, then pregnancies got in the way and it’s generally frowned upon to strap a baby on going down a mountain so it’s been quite a few years since I’ve hit a “real” mountain.
I’ve started looking at going back to Mammoth mountain in California for some spring boarding and where I can put the kids in ski school/ daycare. This is where I met the OH so we have very fond memories of there (& of the great wine we drank there :wink::wine_glass:), so thought it would be great to take the kids back .
So, my question is to the greater community, now that I’m getting my snow cap back on , are you a boarder or a :skier: skier? And what are your favourite resorts and why??


#2

Never been to the Glasgow ski centre at Braehead but believe it’s quite good, especially if you’ve not skied for a while. The first frosts are also making me consider skiing for next year. Not had any snow yet but temperatures definitely plummeting in Scotland this week. Myself and my wife and 19 year old daughter are all skiers and never quite worked up the enthusiasm to swap to boarding. Looks like hard work?:weary:

We have skied for a number of years and been to a lot of resorts. My skiing favourites tend not to follow wine favourites as we don’t particularly enjoy the chalet scene in France. Canada (Banff/Lake Louise) ticks all the boxes for a good all round skiing holiday and generally has good snow through to April. Lots to do and the Banff national park is stunning; also the resorts tend to be very child or as you say ‘small terrorist’ friendly.! Their wine ain’t too shabby either and would definitely recommend Norman Hardie wines. TWS did recently stock some Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Canada has loads of great wine but they tend to keep it to themselves.

The Sella Ronda in the Dolomites provides a huge skiing area and is excellent for kids. We’ve been to Arabba a few times and love it. Magnificent dramatic scenery and great northern Italian food with a tyrolean influence. Had some great times. I also love the fact that most Italian mountain restaurants are rustic and have some charm unlike a lot of the clinical cafeteria type places around the rest of Europe. I’m also a lover of Italian wine which helps you relax into your holiday and takes away the pain of the skiing!

Canadian exchange rate is ok so it could be in the running for 2019 but would be interested to hear more about Mammoth @leah or any other American resorts.


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#3

The change in weather and the clock certainly turn you mind to skiing.
We’re booked already for courcheval in march. Brilliant shared chalet in 1650, 50 uphill steps from the slope.
I’m interested in another trip maybe a weekend, so any tips welcome.
For about 15 years I’ve done a few days in Sameons, which is a lovely French village connecting into a large area. Not sure that’s happening this year. But it’s nice to get to know an area.


#4

@Russ: " But it’s nice to get to know an area." We have always wanted to find new areas (or go to places big enough that there is always something new, so I’ll agree with Courcheval). Is there any correlation with the earlier thread on whether people want new wines or old favourites? (I thought there should be some attempt to tie wine into this.)


#5

@JD1892 Somewhere I’ve never been but seems reasonably priced. I had a few friends who did seasons there and loved it. The wine is always a draw too so maybe in 2020 I’ll make it there. Probably similiar reasons why I like Mammoth so much. Easy to get around, friendly people, nice and relaxed with no “French attitude”. You also get the benefit of your pass working at June Mountain also. This is useful for the weekends when people head up from LA or Vegas. June is quieter but also really good .
The only place I’ve boarded in Italy was Courmayeur which was great with lovely quiet and wide pistes. The Gondolas filled me with fear however, they look older than my Dad :roll_eyes:.
@Russ, Courcheval is lovely and good for spotting Italian high fashion :sweat_smile:. again a long time since I’ve been and used the 3 valley pass to access it via Meribel . Great on a lovely sunny day. How do you find the chalet works with the kids?? Do you hire the whole chalet out with friends? or just bunk in with other families etc…?


#6

As I mentioned before I’ll be in Chamonix from mid January to mid April (despite the recent devastating fire that has taken out the Grand Montets cable). This is by far my favourite resort but only because it is deservedly the world mecca for off-piste and ski mountaineering. However this will be my fifth consecutive season and my mates and I are probably going to head somewhere else next season; maybe Aosta valley. We will also be going for a weeks hut to hut ski tour in the Dolomites at the back end of February.

Chamonix season pass already purchased and anticipation building already.


#7

@MikeFranklin, Chamonix was my last ski holiday before the kids came along and I absolutely loved it because of the vast area it covers. When do you go? and do you take the campervan?


#8

Just corrected my original. I go out mid December and stay until mid April and yes living in my motorhome. It is 7m long with a double bed, toilet and shower, so not quite as gnarly as it might first seem! :smiley:


#9

And can you quite easily park this without problems in the dedicated parking areas next to the gondolas ?


#10

More or less. I move around a fair bit depending on plans. So sometimes I stay in the Grands Montets car park, sometimes Le Tour, sometimes Chamonix itself but I also spend a fair bit of time down at St Gervais Les Bains as our season pass also cover the Evasion area; Les Contamines, St Gervais, Combloux, Megeve. There is great touring all around this area and in St Gervais there is a Municipal ‘Aire de Camping Car’ which is also free!!! So I spend a fair bit of time there and it’s only 30 minutes drive back up to Chamonix.


#11

Our chalet thing is without kids, which is great. There’s a real chalet party atmosphere and we return to see friends who we have only ever met there. Fell on it by chance and have been going for 4 years. Not always the some 20 odd people but always a core bunch.

We have ski with our kids, who are now 24 and 22, since they were your kids age. The eldest is keen as mustard and a good skier, the youngest never really liked it and despite pushy parents putting her into the beginner kid group for 10 year plus, she can’t do more than snowplough. I mention it as a warning, as I regret not spotting that it was only a great family holiday for 3 of us. Most of my friends kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves, but Abby’s balance etc aren’t that good for some reason.

I think the chalet idea is good for kids as it’s more a home from home. There are several specialist companies, I’d look there first. God how I miss the early morning rush to get everyone fed, dressed and with all the gear, ready for ski school… not.


#12

SP, yes I’ve always liked trying new areas, and look for large area to exposed new things each. However, as my friend has a flat in Sameons in became a boys trip. I got to know a few locals by sight, my friend is greeted personally at restaurants, I get quite excited revisiting favourite runs from last year and seeing how the new investment in lifts etc change things. It different than trying new areas bit good too.
The area is nearly 300km of piste so there’s plenty in along weekend.


#13

Hadn’t seen the news about the GM cable car…that’s a big blow.

I have skied in Chamonix for last two years and really enjoyed the off piste though sometimes a bit challenging at my age…

Is it not a bit cold in the van in January?


#14

Good heater and the internal gas uses autogas so not too expensive; costs around €20 a week to heat. I’ve always stayed comfortable, even at night with a thick duvet. Just have to put the heating back on 30 mins before getting up in the morning.

Age is no excuse I’m 61 and doing harder stuff every year :wink: We trying to take a glass half full approach to the GM. Some of the best easily accessible off piste is off the top of GM. After a dump of good snow the queue for GM will be 45 mins or more and then the snow is skied out within a couple of hours. Now with the GM not running it will be about 60mins skin up from the top of the Hearse, so not that much longer, and, because of the extra effort, the snow will take much longer to ski out! :clinking_glasses::crazy_face::smiling_imp:


#15

@Leah in our experience three is maybe a bit young for it? We took ours to France when they were 9 and just turned 4 (his birthday was actually when we were on holiday) and older one loved it, he was less good probably not helped by getting a virus just when we arrived…

Braehead looks good fun, but hoping we get an early dump up at Glencoe again for the real thing!

I’ve always been a skier, probably because boarding didn’t exist when I started. I tried it once but much preferred skis, particularly the newer shorter all terrain ones. Don’t fancy the long schlepps back to lifts on boards in some places.

I have tended to be a France person for years, though not so keen on the purpose built resorts. Thoroughly enjoyed Chamonix though having private minibus helps and also liked Morzine for it’s old style Frenchness and access to Portes du Soleil. Bottom of Courchevel is nice too.


#16

He will be nearly 4 and my daughter 6 by the time we go. In Mammoth they do a combined ski/daycare so if he’s not really feeling it he can go back inside and play. There is also an amazing kids park there with tubing etc which we can take them to.

Have only been to Aviemore but I hear Glencoe is good and better conditions?

https://www.mammothmountain.com/winter/things-to-do/winter-activities/woollys-tube-park


#17

Sounds like you have got the terrorist care sorted there…I think it was my son taking ill that was the problem as we couldn’t put him in either ski school or creche for a couple of days. He was ok playing in the sun in the snow, but rubbish at night…Calpol is your friend though :slight_smile:

Glencoe is a smaller area, less busy and some good ski-ing with a couple of really tough but short runs which would be hard black anywhere. If snow is really good you can ski from top of Meall a Bhuiridh at 3750 feet right down to the car part at just over 1000 feet. Not somewhere to ski in poor visibility if you don’t know it though…


#18

@Leah. At the risk of a tedious and possibly irritating reply …

It sounds like you mean your kids to ski - excellent choice - but in any case 3 is too young for boarding. 5 might be okay. It’s a matter of body weight distribution as small children tend to have relatively much more weight in their heads so boarding can be difficult and dangerous.

Mammoth. I haven’t been there but it’s very high. c 2,500 metres and personally I wouldn’t take young children there, especially on top of a transatlantic flight. Any problems with colds, asthma, or similar are likely to be exacerbated. In any case I would seek some medical opinions.
Could be much better in a few years time.

Where I like to ski:
Whistler - great resort but possibly too wet and cold for small children.
St Anton - brilliant for competent skiers, not good for beginners.
Jackson Hole - again great for competent skiers
3 Valleys - has just about everything for everyone.
Probably my favourite overall is Tignes and the Espace Killy. Val d’I is a second choice to Tignes imo for various reasons, mainly to do with the kind of people who go there.

But if were looking to take children for their first ski trip I probably wouldn’t choose any of these (though Courcheval has brilliant slopes for learners and early skiers). I would look for a lower resort and somewhere I wouldn’t be paying for a massive infrastructure which beginners simply don’t need. I guess Austria comes to mind, depending slightly on the time of year, perhaps somewhere like the Wildschönau, or any of a number of small resorts.
I’d also consider a smaller French resort like Valloire for example.
I’m not so clued up on Italian resorts though I’m sure there would be several suitable.
Switzerland also has some lovely little resorts but I don’t know know how wealthy you are!

Some of the resorts mentioned earlier are terrific but with kids you really want to keep the logistics as simple as possible. Places like Chamonix and Banf offer fantastic skiing but a lot of buses (or cars I suppose), and expense of course.

Long enough reply though I could easily go on. If this forum has a pm facility please feel free. Hope you have a great trip wherever.


#19

I would love to strap the skis on again, but I really can’t see if happening for a few more years. My wife’s never been and isn’t particularly keen to, but I think the only way I’d be able to justify it would be if it were a family holiday. Any thoughts on how early you can put kids on skis? I’d guess at maybe 5 or 6, in which case I’ve got 5 or 6 more years to wait!

I’ve only been a handful of times, and always on a fairly strict budget. My first trip was to Borovets - there was more snow at Gatwick, sadly. We were on the nursery slope the whole week, with one button lift which had enormous queues, so we did a lot of short skiing runs, and then taking the skis off and carrying them back up the hill. We also drank ridiculous amounts of beer. I can’t really vouch for the quality of the skiing but the beer was good and cheap, food was acceptable, resort was a touch sleazy. I wouldn’t go again.

Since then it’s always been Andorra, and the Grandvalira ski area staying in Soldeu. It’s quite a small resort and you’re not in the middle of the party like you are a mountain or two away in Pas de la Casa. A couple of nice restaurants, a few decent bars, lots of live music. As for the skiing, it’s probably better for intermediates than experts - loads of blues and reds and a smattering of black runs - but you’ve got an area that covers over 200km of pistes so you can do a week’s skiing without too much repetition. The ski school is pretty good and the snow has been great on each of my 3 visits. And being a tax haven, it’s pretty cheap too.


#20

Yes I do, snowboarding is no good for little peoples ankles no.1 and no.2 its better for them to be able to use 2 feet to control themselves. Also, lets not forget children have a much lower centre of gravity so it is easier for them to learn to ski than an adult.
Also, I wanted to point out that this is also a holiday for myself and my OH so going to a small beginner resort like you have suggested doesn’t really make sense for us . It isn’t practical as we are both advanced boarders. The resort we are wanting to return to have ample facilities for children and in fact have the best facilities I have ever seen.
I am not concerned about their ability to adapt to cold weather either .Apart from the fact we live in the North East where it gets pretty cold anyway, they are seasoned travellers, have already completed transatlantic flights, spent a week in Tomriefjord in the winter on the north east coast of Norway and I’m pretty good at ensuring they are kept warm at all times so I don’t think I’ll need to seek medical advice.
We are also looking to go in the “spring”. Mammoth tends to have clear blue sunny skies most of the day which will be beneficial for them and us.
Also as @MarkC says, calpol is our friend :grin:
Maybe its my adventurous spirit but I’ve never let having little ones dictate where I should travel too.
Thanks for all the ski resort recommendations too.