View Full Version : Skiing hols for beginner old gits.

2nd Jan 2014, 16:34
Mrs Golf and I are keen to have a bash at skiing. We're skiing virgins (I did the Bad Kholgrub survival thing in the 80's, but that was a long time ago!), so want tuition, but not with 5 year olds. Our daughter suggests am private tuition with skiing in the afternoon- is that a goer? Mrs G has trained me to expect nowt less than 4* accomodation, and I think hotel will be better than shared meals etc in a chalet.

Other than that, we're not fussy types!

I'd be happy to take any advice- yes, take the piss if you want- about where, when, how much, and who does such hols. Thanks.


Edited to add that, if we enjoy it, we're more than grown up enough to self organise any subsequent trips. I think we'd like the hand-holding first time out.

2nd Jan 2014, 16:48
Not sure if you are wanting to stay in the UK....but with Mrs. G expecting 4* I assume you have the means to travel.

I live on the East bench of Salt Lake City, and have 14 ski resorts with in an hour or so drive. "Best snow on earth". One of which is Park City with all it entails. Salt Lake has many other attractions too. You could do a lot worse.

Best Snow ON Earth (http://www.skiutah.com/)

Your idea of private lesson in the morning followed by an afternoon pass is what I would suggest also. Many schools and resorts to choose from:

Schools (http://www.skiutah.com/ski-school-search/)

Having just consulted with SWMBO, who grew up here, she says Sundance resort would be perfect for you.

2nd Jan 2014, 16:56
Make sure you get a good instructor (maybe not a very young one). Don't try to do/master too much at a time. Don't kill your legs with the first lessons. Don't forget to have fun!!
There are many people who have not tried things (skiing, surfing, snorkelling, whatever) - so it's not a shame not to know how to do it, it's a shame to pretend that you don't need instruction, btw. :cool:

2nd Jan 2014, 17:01
How about some preliminary basic lessons at an indoor dry-ski facility before you venture abroad?

I believe that leg-strengthening exercises can benefit your endurance.

2nd Jan 2014, 17:04
I learnt originally in Andorra. It was excellent, and a quick google seems to show it still has a great reputation. Cheap too!

You have real snow indoor slopes at MK and Tamworth for initial intro stuff, which I would also recommend. Tamworth is fine; I don't know about MK.

Also several dry slopes near you.
UK dry/real snow slopes map ? Ski Club of Great Britain (http://www.skiclub.co.uk/skiclub/infoandadvice/uksnowsports/ukslopesmap.aspx)

2nd Jan 2014, 17:09
Mrs Golf and I are keen to have a bash at skiing.

My oh my, where to start?! Before today, charliegolf came across as a reasonably intelligent person. Someone of adequate means obviously, but instead of voyaging to warmer climes at this time of year (African safari - watching the lions incongruously watching the gnu and zebras risking life and limb wading across crocodile-infested rivers; enjoying spicy food somewhere on a beach in SE Asia - suitably protected by early-warning tsunami buoys) etc., wants to learn how to ski...?!

So go and break a leg or 2 why not...?! Why would anyone wish to voluntarily be ripped off by over-priced accommodations and variations of "cheese on toast", "melted cheese + bread" @ 20 times the cost of the ingredients even in the most modest establishments? :uhoh:

PS. I reckon that most ski-resorts have been around for so long now that they'll see you coming. And they'll exact "both an arm and a leg" on your wallet as 1st pennance.

PPS. And look where Michael Schumacher ended up.

Are you quite sure you wouldn't prefer a gentle stroll in the Welsh foothills in the company of a local guide, before coming home to a real fire...?! :ok:

2nd Jan 2014, 17:13
I have been skiing for 32 years and have experienced good, bad and indifferent accommodation, resorts and ski schools.

Ski school usually has a mix of all ages and is a damn sight more fun than private lessons. Private lessons are also very expensive. I have one every year or so to brush up my technique but would hesitate to spend the amount of money it will cost to have a whole week of private tuition. My personal experience of ski schools (both my own and that of my GF when I introduced her to skiing) is that I rate Austria, France and then Italy in that order (Canada was pretty good too and I have no experience of the USA instruction but I presume you are looking at Europe anyway).

Regarding accommodation I actually prefer ski chalets. Pretty informal, always a varied bunch of people from all backgrounds but have never failed to have a good time. Look for accommodation near the ski school because it is tiring and a pain to trudge long distances in ski boots!

I have never tried a dry slope and if you are reasonably fit I am not sure how much benefit you would get from going apart from falling on what is a hard and unyielding surface, risking breaking your thumbs if you catch them in the matting and getting soaking wet if it is raining! A few weeks at the gym would probably serve you just as well.

I am sure you will have a good time whatever you decide.

I am sure you will get massive amounts of totally contradictory advice but the above is just my thoughts and experience.

Ignore the curmudgeons like Airship, he has probably forgotten what having a good time feels like.

Skiing injury statistics show that it is a relatively safe pastime. Michael Schumacher was off piste in poor off piste conditions and skiied into a rock and was also very unlucky, you won't be anywhere near rocks.

Rather be Gardening
2nd Jan 2014, 17:32
I started skiing as a cautious 40-year old. Husband is a ski-instructor who, working on the 'don't teach a family member to drive' principle, put me into ski-school for the first few trips. I learned far more when I took private lessons (not from husband), and always chose an older instructor because they seemed to understand my wish to ski safely, sedately and competently.

I'd second the recommendation for Andorra (Soldeu). Have also skied in Mammoth, Keystone, Colorado, Verbier, Garmisch, Flaine and Megeve. Overall, I think the USA resorts are best for pretty much everything - customer service, lovely wide open pistes, easy access to slopes, nice people, excellent value food and accommodation, good instructors.

Good luck - tell us how you get on!

2nd Jan 2014, 17:37
Something I've never done but has been on my to do list for decades. My problem is that after racing offshore in yachts my knees are fairly 'shot', and wonder if skiing is a realistic prospect. I look forward to seeing the replies from the OP.http://images.ibsrv.net/ibsrv/res/src:www.pprune.org/get/images/smilies/smile.gif

2nd Jan 2014, 17:53
I have been skiing since I was about 6. I took a break, bad pun, for a few years as the summers in South Africa were more attractive than the winters in Europe, but recently spending more time in Europe I started skiing again, but fairly leisurely stuff and not taking any risks, having broken an ankle in an unrelated incident and not wanting to risk more.

I enjoy staying in a good hotel in a pleasant resort with character and charm, for which reason I recommend the older established resorts in Switzerland and Austria which have lots of 'gemutlich' tea rooms for apres ski hot chocolate, gluhwein, or gulasch. The newer resorts in France and Eastern Europe, although technically very good and competitively priced, are devoid of charm and character and are designed for the diehard ski fanatics, they are a collection of concrete blocks on a mountain side. I like to have a leisurely breakfast, and take the cable car or lift up to the slopes. In some resorts you can ski from your hotel to the bottom of the lifts. By getting up there later, it means that the ice has melted, and in this respect choose a resort that has slopes that face SE as they will get early sun, and more of it, making skiing a lot more congenial. North facing slopes can get cold and icy early in the afternoon and skiing on ice is not fun, specially for the less experienced.

Most of the Alpine resorts are accessible by train and the journey is part of the fun. You can hire skis and get lift passes by the day. Make sure you get ski insurance, either before leaving or included in the ski pass, it's usually only a couple of Euros a day.

Take a few hours of lessons for the first couple of days and then practise on the gentler slopes. Don't let the instructors or your peers bully you into doing more than you are comfortable with. I'd rather have a relaxing few hours skiing on easy slopes and enjoy it than be knackered, or worse, at the end of the day. You need to be able to look forward to the next day, not dread it.

There's no need to book a package, you can arrange each component yourself, transport, accommodation in advance, and ski hire, lessons, and passes on the spot on arrival.

It's a great sport.

Take no notice of comments such as those from Airship - people like him are consumed with envy. So sad.

2nd Jan 2014, 17:59
A slight thread drift-Airship, is there anything in this life that brings you joy?

Charliegolf-no advice, except have a blast!

2nd Jan 2014, 18:17
My problem is that after racing offshore in yachts my knees are fairly 'shot', and wonder if skiing is a realistic prospect.

I would be very cautious. Knees take a fair bit of punishment when you are learning the rudiments of skiing and even a simple fall (which will happen, frequently) will put a lot of strain on them.
Not for nothing are they known to skiers as "Gods mistake" as they are really not designed for the twisting forces put on them. Once you are experienced, the knees take less strain, but there is no avoiding the beginners stages where weak knees will take a lot of punishment.
Sorry to sound so negative but I have seen a lot of people exacerbate existing problems and suffer as a consequence.

2nd Jan 2014, 18:32
Assume from your profile you are UK based.
If you get it wrong this could be a very expensive disaster ,so be careful.
Definitely visit your nearest real snow indoor slope for a few introductory lessons. Even if you get over the "strangeness" of having two planks attached to your legs this is worth it. If you can master getting on and off a lift it is worth at least the first three days of your real ski holiday. (Avoid the old school plastic slope for anything other than the absolute basics- they are horrible and they hurt)
There is nothing worse than being stuck down in the resort or valley- the ability to get on and off a chair from day one will allow you to get up to the higher baby slopes where the snow and atmosphere are much nicer.
The US and Canada are, as alluded to, top notch for piste grooming, instruction and service but will cost you from the UK. If the budget is not a factor it's deff worth considering but bear in mind prices are generally room only, lift pass and instruction are expensive, the resorts lack "charm" and can be cold and it's a long way away!
Get a hotel with ski in out or a gondola right outside the door. It is easy as a beginner to waste half the day just getting going in the morning if there is a faff of ski busses and walking about involved before starting.
A smallish resort, ski in /out ,outside school hols, nice half board hotel package.
Avoid the huge resorts, you don't need the scope. Avoid the "hardcore" resorts ( Chamonix,Verbier , Val d'isere, etc) not ideal for beginners. The huge resorts ( 3 valleys, Tignes etc ) can be intimidating and are not needed at your level.
Lots of nice little Italian, Austrian and Swiss villages with a lovely atmosphere and glorious restaurants on the hill where you can enjoy the sun and the mountain air.
Remember to roughly double the brochure price to include your ski hire, lift pass ,instruction and lunches!
Most important, remember this- "chocolate chaude avec du rhum s'ill vous plait"
or "Heisse chocalat mit rhum bitte" ( spelling )
Enjoy it!

2nd Jan 2014, 19:43
CG,go for it old boy. A good friend of mines father didn't start until he was in his 60's. He won the best beginner cup after his first week of lessons and he's still skiing now in his early 70's. Be prepared for plenty of falls and frustration, but when it all comes together and you can wander off on your own, it's like your first solo all over again! My advice, go to one of the French resorts and book tuition before you go. ESF have instructors in most resorts. Personal tuition is good, but expensive. Go for a beginner's group, you will meet others and its cheaper. Enjoy!

2nd Jan 2014, 20:43
I would say go for it.

Learn to ski by getting lessons on a dry ski slope in the UK. Then buy a month's unlimited pass for a uk dry ski slope because because they're bargains (my local is £30 for a month including skis and boots), and keep practicing until you're smoothly parellel turning (use the wax bucket provided to wax your ski's as they turn much more easily, keep reapplying because the wax wears off)

Watch all the ski instruction youtube videos - they're brilliant.

Video yourself with your phone on the dry ski slope - it'll be obvious what you're doing wrong.

Regarding fitness it's all about the base of your foot, ankles and calves. If you can jog for 10 miles without stopping (doesn't matter what speed) then you can ski all day without stopping. Jogging is much more useful than doing squats as skiing is a long activity.

Also get personally moulded inner soles - I got ripped off 40 Euros in meribel but they're still worth it :-)

Secondary resorts like Chamrousse (very close to Grenoble) are much cheaper and probably still have enough pistes to keep a beginner entertained.

Good luck!

2nd Jan 2014, 21:02
...is there anything in this life that brings you joy? Yes! But mostly momentarily.

Correct me if I'm wrong: the OP calls himself an "old git" if only humorously. Someone who's never skied, like myself. Most of those who've responded hitherto have not asked after his general fitness or health. In fact, many appear to be employed either as ski instructors or have been skiing since they stopped wearing diapers and are obviously in love with snow-covered slopes. Is that a fair conclusion?

Nevertheless, I'm not seriously accusing anyone of ulterior motives or even bad behaviour. Poor behaviour maybe. Why not encourage the OP to take up hang-gliding, base-jumping or similar instead?

If the OP really does believe that his future existence is in some way entwined with learning how to ski, then I hope he will be treated with some consideration (as opposed to just another ignorant tourist at some ski-station, ready to be fleeced)...?! If not , and as I suggested previously, there are many other worthwhile alternatives to snow-filled environments, and perhaps easier on "life and limbs" finally.

I may appreciate the sound of a Maserati Gran Turissimo V8 winding its' way through the streets of the old town. That does not necessarily mean that I condone (or as Capetonian prefers to call it, exactly envy the lifestyle or the person behind the steering-wheel...?! :zzz:

2nd Jan 2014, 22:28
CG will already know how to ski; at least he will know the basics because he said he did the Bad Kohlgrub course, albeit a long time ago. The advantage he will find this time is that he will be allowed to use a ski lift, instead of having to ascend the mountains on his own two legs each time.

The other advantage is not having to camp out in the snow for three nights, no food supplied.

CG, I've experienced skiing across the globe and I still think I prefer Southern Germany/Austria.

3rd Jan 2014, 00:20
Go for a second line resort, the instructors tend to be less hoity toity (in general) and it's a hell of a lot cheaper, especially the 'Apres' events.
Join a beginners lesson. It's a lot of fun and you learn almost as much from watching others as you do from your own trials.
Morning lessons and free time in afternoons to do a quick slide and go for Hot Choc etc is about the ideal for mature learners.
DO get out and do the sleigh rides, fondu evenings etc.
Chalets are OK, big chalets, fifteen to thirty odd people are better. We always stayed in big chalets in France.
If you can bear it three star hotels were always more fun than four star. (Which tended to be a bit formal, less easy to make friends.)

Take it easy and stop when you are tired. Never do 'just one last try.'

Remember "It's meant to be fun."

I wouldn't recommend a dry slope to a mature person but if you have a real snow artificial slope near enough then definitely go for it, being able to stand, slide and stop when you get onto the real slope would be fantastic. (But still get the morning lessons, great way to meet people and have fun.)

Whistler where it is snowing outside.

3rd Jan 2014, 00:38
Ski school Bad Kohlgrub/Hoernle - Ski course Bad Kohlgrub/Hoernle (http://www.skiresort.info/ski-resort/bad-kohlgrubhoernle/ski-school/)

3rd Jan 2014, 02:02
I started skiing for the first time in my 20's....

My first lesson was at the indoor snow dome at Milton Keynes with a private instructor, then private lessons at a resort.

The short session at Milton-Keynes was invaluable.

For the rest, learn to enjoy gravity and go with it, start with the basics, snow plough, etc. and go on from there.

As with anything, time on the slopes is key, though start in small increments. The more tired you get the more mistakes you make and the more tired you get.

Don't try and make up with lack of skill with strength... Slippery slope, no pun intended :)

Have fun.

3rd Jan 2014, 04:28
Thank you everyone, for the comments and advice. Perhaps a day trip to MK with the daughter and SIL would be a good start- lesson and a whizz about will give us a good start. We could follow that up with a few more before what will be a holiday that won't now happen before January '15.


3rd Jan 2014, 04:31
Break a leg (don't)

3rd Jan 2014, 04:34
Also get personally moulded inner soles - I got ripped off 40 Euros in meribel but they're still worth it :-)

Not sure if I understand this. :confused:

You say you bought a product and a service for which you no doubt received a quote, and at the end of the day you are sufficiently happy to recommend it to others....... but you seem to think you have been "ripped off"!!!??

Someone must have changed the meaning of the phrase when ones back was turned.

3rd Jan 2014, 04:39
I have to endorse a couple of weeks in Salt Lake City. I don't think there's any better snow, the area is stunningly beautiful. The people are welcoming. You get a lot for your money.

My advice is take a half-day of lessons, then ski for the rest of the first day, and the next day. Then take another half day from the same instructor, if you liked your training. Do that, focused, for 4 or five cycles and you'll be ready for the black diamonds. You have to have the lessons, though, you can't do it on your own as efficiently.

Even the fabled resorts have their bunny runs and you can enjoy the great environment at any skill level.

3rd Jan 2014, 07:07
As someone who started lessons at 35, may I suggest that the most important lesson is learning how to stop.
Confidence improves markedly once the fear of careering downslope out of control recedes.

3rd Jan 2014, 07:39
Any stretching and flexibility work you do in the weeks beforehand will be amply rewarded.

The first few days in the mountains you might wonder what you have let yourself in for. After that time you will wonder why you did not start earlier!

Have fun.

3rd Jan 2014, 07:55
may I suggest that the most important lesson is learning how to stop.Now there's a good piece of advice. About 15 years ago a friend and I had a few days to spare between some meetings in Germany so we hired a car and drove down to Kitzbuhel. He's an Indian who grew up in Rhodesia and South Africa but spoke fluent German as he'd worked for Lufty for many years.

Roll on to the next morning, we've got our skis and boots and jackets, and we're half way up the Hahnenkamm or one of the other slopes on the cable car and he's looking down at the skiers below us and says :
"This skiing looks pretty easy ..... I'm looking forward to trying it ......"
I asked him if he's skied before and he says :
"No, but how difficult can it be. You stick the skis on, stand at the top of the slope and let yourself go."
"But what about if you have to stop when you get to the bottom, or turn ......"

3rd Jan 2014, 11:02

3rd Jan 2014, 11:40
CG , sounds as if we are of an age and background! (Similar achey knees maybe?) Anyway having been through the thread I see nobody has mentioned Les Gets in France.

It has gentle ski slopes and is very pretty plus not too busy. The official Ski school is right at the bottom of the main slope so you cant miss it.

It so gentle and quiet that I took our daughter in a back pack whilst my novice Mrs had private lessons.

The local fare is alpine and very wholesome. All in all its one of our favorite places.

Not withstanding my previous backpack comment ensure you wear a helmet as times have changed.

Have fun.:ok:

Ancient Mariner
3rd Jan 2014, 14:48
And now for something totally different, and a tiny little bit exotic.
Winter - Gaustablikk.no (http://www.gaustablikk.no/en/sider/winter.html)
Drinks are on me, if I am here when you are. I will even teach you how to stop.:eek:

3rd Jan 2014, 19:45
Not sure if I understand this.

You say you bought a product and a service for which you no doubt received a quote, and at the end of the day you are sufficiently happy to recommend it to others....... but you seem to think you have been "ripped off"!!!??

Someone must have changed the meaning of the phrase when ones back was turned.

you no doubt received a quote

You are wrong.

They told me to stand on a machine and the next thing I know they are demanding money!

3rd Jan 2014, 20:54
CG Good on you. :D
Definitely get some time in on an indoor slope in the UK. I'd have a good look at the Snow Centre at Hemel (http://www.thesnowcentre.com) Hempstead. It's a purpose built indoor slope and the instructors are excellent. I learnt to ski there when it was a "plastic" slope.

If you haven't already done so, get some degree of fitness in, look up some leg exercises on the 'net. Squats and lunges are great. Some flexibility stuff won't hurt either. :)


3rd Jan 2014, 21:19
Looking at those pictures of the ski jumps you have to take your hat off to Eddie the Eagle.

3rd Jan 2014, 21:50
And now for something totally different, and a tiny little bit exotic.
Winter - Gaustablikk.no
Drinks are on me, if I am here when you are. I will even teach you how to stop.

Incredibly kind! And my memories of Ex Hardfall 1982 are of one of the most beautiful places in the world.



4th Jan 2014, 05:16
Looking at those pictures of the ski jumps you have to take your hat off to Eddie the Eagle.

Watching it on TV is one thing, but when I saw it live at Courchevel from the edge of the ramp I realised the jumpers were certifiably bonkers.

4th Jan 2014, 15:30
...when I saw it live at Courchevel from the edge of the ramp I realised the jumpers were certifiably bonkers.

Perhaps we're all destined to leave this World the way we lived and/or originally arrived...?! Some with a loud "WHA-HOO" (the result of the 1st slap from the mid-wife - followed by a life of BDSM or at least elements involving slavery and bondage, at least in 90% of cases). Some with just the barest of whispers.

By all means, live life to the fullest. But never in ignorance...

I'm beginning to realise how I sometimes come across here. At least undermining, at worst attempting to resemble someone with a "little red book" or many others for whom I have much respect, regardless of origins. I'll try to do better in 2014...

Effluent Man
6th Jan 2014, 23:17
I went for the self taught option.just drove to Alpe Duez and rented skis.I think I was lucky in that I chose somewhere with decent nursery slopes and within a half day was skiing ok.I'm not especially well co ordinated but it was easier than I had expected.

7th Jan 2014, 09:33
Ski trip:


Were it someone else's wife you were escorting, the heavily athletic options might loom more important in your mutual satisfaction quotient. That does not appear to be the case, however.

The requisite 4-star Hotel notion seems meaningful and portentously significant. One might surmise your max point gain will come from a pleasant ambiance and appointment of the rooms and hotel facilities, the restaurants, the town, etc., plus some pleasant and not too very taxing diversions, good food and local novelties & colour that all blend into happy memories.

The actual time spent preparing for skiing, doing things where ski-boots and skis and similar are attached to your anatomy, plus basic recovering from same is likely to be a few hours, max, if not much prepared, and perhaps twice that if you each spend days and weeks toughening up the muscles and bits from neck down that play some part in the doing of it. Alt2 is recommended, based on one's own experience and many frisky hours on slopes and variously creaky or slick after.

The rest of it will be the ambience, food & drink and frolics, time well spent wandering about jointly pondering the oddness of the natives and tourii, and also enjoying alternate attractions from clubs and shows to views and scenes and exhibits and staring at one's toes. SM is small, but like an Faberge egg - inspiring, intense, vivifying.

If you are going for max points, have the means and the time and the inclination, I would recommend St. Moritz as the be-all, end-all of Alpine pleasure and experience. Should you have the means and appropriate mountain experience, flying self or charter into Samedan airport is very convenient and surprisingly feasible through all but stormiest Alpine conditions. Rail from Zurich is a good alternative, or bus or diy drive (over high alpine passes).

The whole area is a beautiful, enchanted place, with amazing alpine scenery and high-Q hotels ranging from 2* to 5* and satisfaction of all kinds and degrees achievable at near any terms you might care to specify.

Lifetime bragging rights for the Mrs., also. Better than diamonds, possibly.

Windy Militant
7th Jan 2014, 13:00
If MK (There's many ways in but none out especially if your a tourist) is a bit far, you could try the plastic at the Pembrey country park or the the one at the Urdd camp at Llangranog or the one in Cardiff city centre.

7th Jan 2014, 16:41
Just looked to see if the Gasthaus zur Post (Sp?) is still there but must be closed or changed name

Wow! You really pinged a memory switch there- I never would have got the name back myself.

On my course, there was a Chinnook pilot about to go to ETPS, Andy someone; a big name in Sea Kings, who didn't want to play the skiing game; a BBMF flight eng; a Canuck Widow-maker driver and a short-arsed Jag pilot who looked like Panco Villa! A great bunch, taught by John Salmon and Pyro Pete (RIP) amongst others.

The three days in the bondu, with the R to I bit at the end was not the highlight, I can tell you (but having a Mars bar shoved in my gob by a 230 Sqn buddy in the winching execise took the edge off :ok:).


7th Jan 2014, 17:07
I learnt at age 41 at Whistler in Canada.(growing up in South Africa I had never tried before)
Now I could not recommend it highly enough.
I went with a ski school for 2 days and then a one on one instructor for 2 more days.
That was enough to learn the basics of stopping and turning and use of sticks. In my opinion learning basics of good turns and stops is most important and then the rest of the holiday can be spent practising the turns and progressing to steeper slopes.

Get some fitness in before you go as Reds says as after a few hours of turning (and falling) the pins get a bit tired.

7th Jan 2014, 18:32
Any time spent on real snow indoors in the uk is time well spent. Having watched my three kids go through ski school, I reckon yr better off for the same money as 6 big class lessons having a couple of 3 hour private sessions and then just trail around the mountains.

Where to go? Anywhere that has a good snow record. For the first time small is good.

Good luck.

8th Jan 2014, 11:02
There is an alternative winter holiday to skiing, which is winter walking. I came across this concept for the first time in Switzerland, and had a great time following the trails for a day. You get the winter wonderland and snow experience, as well as the après-ski and all the fun of the village, but the physical activity is probably less likely to tear ligaments and break bones. This is walking in reasonable walking boots (with those Norwegian walking poles) as opposed to snowshoeing.

Extract of blurb: ………..daily winter walking itinerary of typically 8-10km (3-4 hours) walks …………… a selection of idyllic plateau, forest, river and valley trails…………some of the finest Austrian scenery and through the prettiest of Tyrolean hamlets…..paths will be cleared and gritted or treated with sawdust soon after snowfall.

In my case, I am working up to a family winter holiday with the younger ones doing their skiing bit, my sister and I doing the walking, and I have no doubt my wife will be focussed on horse sleigh rides and shopping. One of the younger members of the family tried the walking a couple of years ago because his girlfriend refused to ski. They got a bit bored with the walking after a couple of days, and spent the rest of the holiday skiing (i.e. there is plenty of flexibility).

Google something like ‘winter walking Leutasch’ and you’ll see one such offering.

izod tester
8th Jan 2014, 11:53
I wish I had taken up Alpine skiing earlier - I was 50 when I learned. Echoing earlier posts, to get the best value of your time on the snow you need to do leg and torso strengthening exercises for some weeks before you go.

If you go to European Ski resorts, make sure that you avoid both UK and local school holiday periods - if you don't then there will be queues at the ski lifts and the slopes will be crowded with barely-in-control skiers.

For good starter slopes I would recommend either Samoens or Morillon which have English speaking ski instructors and are picturesque locations. You can fly via Geneva or drive. If you drive, avoid the Route Blanche autoroute from Bourg en Bresse it is expensive and frequently has long delays. We go on the A39 from Dijon and the N5 to Champagnole and from there into Switzerland via Les Rousses and then (not using the Swiss autoroutes) through Geneva. There is never any delay at the Swiss border that way although there are frequently queues up to 2 or 3 km at Vallorbes due to the Swiss border control checking selling or attempting to sell Autoroute Vignettes to all vehicles not displaying them.

We now tend to use Thollon les Memises which is a small area with mostly red (intermediate) runs with some blue and green runs for beginners. It is not well known and generally not very crowded even in School holidays. A fair few Brits go there and the ski instructors probably speak English although I do not know for sure - I will check next month.

8th Jan 2014, 12:02
First of all, Charliegolf - bravo for deciding to have a go, and I hope you love it!

There are so many choices as to venue - if you're thinking of somewhere near Geneva, then as well as Samoens, as mentioned above, can I suggest you consider Les Gets - a small, charming, genuine village (not purpose-built resort) with a lovely family vibe (ie. not full of hardcore idiots or snowboarders smoking dope), with some great pistes and really beautiful scenery. I'll even buy you a vin chaud and give you a guided tour if you make it over :)

8th Jan 2014, 12:06
This might bring back a few memories, slightly before my time though.... :cool:

R. A. F. RAF SURVIVAL SCHOOL - British Pathé (http://www.britishpathe.com/video/r-a-f-raf-survival-school)

9th Jan 2014, 10:32
:D Very amusing Basil. It is indeed (comparatively) popular with Brits (although apparently Morzine is far worse, in the sense that it's been robbed of a great deal of local character - no more French-owned bars, I was given to understand), but importantly, it's full of reasonably nice British families and older-generation skiers, as opposed to, say, Italian teenagers, middle-aged male German skiers with something to prove, etc etc...

So it's a more gentle atmosphere than some resorts, which might suit first-timers of a certain age.

That said, I swear the table of two families next to us at lunch the other day had kids called Milly, Molly, Daisy and Maisy.... you get the picture.

9th Jan 2014, 12:47
I am now officially enjoying this thread for its own sake!

But thanks for the ideas and tips.


Union Jack
9th Jan 2014, 13:07
ISTR the chaperone removed them some time before the soiree was due to end.

Presumably only because she wanted you for herself, Basil ....:E, or was there some ambiguous underlying reference to what she removed?:eek:


PS Interesting that no one has mentioned Scotland for a preliminary foray

9th Jan 2014, 16:01
PS Interesting that no one has mentioned Scotland for a preliminary foray
Unless you live within a couple of hours of the Scottish hills this is a non starter.
Don't get me wrong, the instructors at all the Scottish hills are great and if the weather and snow conditions are right it is surprisingly good ( in a sort of ramshackle way)
The chances of getting enough snow, no wind, open access roads, small queues, no rain, no boilerplate ice etc on a specific day is about 10%. Two consecutive days like that are even rarer.
If you live in Perth or Aberdeen, watch for the stars aligning and go for it but don't commit to a specific date.
Once you've learned to ski though you need to experience a proper Cairngorm blizzard over granite ice to have any real bragging rights. This will allow you to ski in conditions that send all the southern softies running to the hotel for their "half shandies";)

9th Jan 2014, 16:23
Once you've learned to ski though you need to experience a proper Cairngorm blizzard over granite ice to have any real bragging rights.

The saying "If you can ski in Scotland, you can ski anywhere" is very true, although the only conditions you are unlikely to experience is waist deep powder.

Also, having Gustav Fischnaller and Frith Finlayson as instructors was a major advantage. Frith was a right b***** in the mornings, but once he had his two pints of Guinness and whisky chasers at lunchtime, instruction became more interesting. :ok:

9th Jan 2014, 16:41
Goosty fae Glenshee, what a legend. The Austrian Mountain Goat.
Remember seeing him trot vertically up the Tiger with a 120 pound hang glider on his back when the chair broke down. He barely broke a sweat and must have been in his mid fifties ( hard to tell with that beard)

9th Jan 2014, 16:57
I was on Meal Aosda two days after he had his accident with the parachute. You could still see the blood! :eek: