30th Oct 2010, 09:49
I have made the fatal error of promising my kids - aged 6 and 11 - a holiday in austria during the first week of December where they can learn to ski. We travel ID90 to Vienna - no problem - but what to do after that?
Do we travel internally to Innsbruck or Salsburg and then look for pension type accomodation or do I try and find a school in Eastern Austria eg Semmering?
Any suggestions / horror stories would be most welcome.
PS Coming from the heat I have never experienced snow in my life.:D
30th Oct 2010, 11:23
I think your choice of such an early week will create problems: I hope they won't be too great but fear they could be.
Most European resorts plan to open Dec 11/12 but this is usually a limited opening to get everybody broken-in and then the full-opening is the following w/e.
If the snow is very good some resorts may open earlier but usually only for the w/e and this is only announced at the last minute.
Exceptions to this are glacier resorts which will likely open much earlier: see link Glacier skiing in Austria (http://www.skiingaustria.co.uk/glacier-skiing-in-austria.html).
Please do not be put off by the word glacier. It does not mean a hideously steep cliff of ice , most glaciers are low(ish) to medium steepness but possibly still a bit steep for beginners.
Resticting it to glaciers obviously limits your choice, so if this week is a must, then I would suggest your look at the first site and cross-check anything that takes your fancy with the resort reviews on this site
we love to ski - welove2ski (http://www.welove2ski.com/index.jsp)
to give you a good idea of how people view the skiing there.
By the way , you mention Semmering but their ski-area tops-out at 1300 m so definitely no glacier !
I have never been to a glacier-resort out of main season , so I don't know how well they are set up for teaching out of season.
I'm guessing. but think it unlikely that there will be group lessons at this time and the alternative - if it is available - would be private lessons and these are usually VERY expensive, maybe USD 60-80 per hour.
The other disadvantage that skiing on a glacier has for you, is that it will probably mean you have to buy a full ski-pass allowing you to use all lifts, when as learners during the season, you might have four or five free lifts lower down and maybe at the end of the week you would buy a much cheaper limited two-three day pass as your ability improved.
Just looked at the Stubai glacier and 6 days cost USD 250 per adult, USD 125 for the 11 yr old, under 10 free.
The other thing that may be important is that the atmosphere will be very different. In a glacier resort in early December, nearly all will be very keen adult ( mostly male ) skiers ( except w/e) and so will be different from the mixed family crowd, many shops/restaurants will still be shut and there will not be too many people in the streets.
I have to stress that much of the above is speculation, but I have been skiing for 35 years and now live very close to a French glacier resort, so I think it could be called informed speculation.
Having been thinking as i write, i have to say that this risks becoming a very expensive ( depending particularly on the tuition) disappointment because of the lack of the Christmassy atmosphere in the resort. This may be accentauted by the fact that the villages of glacier resorts are generally quite high, so depending on the exact altitude, there may not even be any trees there because you are above the tree-line.
i've no idea what your investment in tickets is, but I might suggest you swallow the loss, try again for a date in normal ski-season and I would think you would enjoy it much more at a significantly lower cost, maybe even taking the lost tickets into account.