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Skiing for XMAS

Eremita

Eremita

Messages
60
Dolomites, Italy. From my point of view, comparable only to some canadian places.

For your Cali

Ski area
 
C

Chris Hardern

Messages
37
Location
Huddersfield
Vehicle
T5 SE 140
All,

Grateful for some advice. I’m a relatively young guy (mid-thirties) at a loose end this XMAS and decided to take my Cali skiing for approx. 10days. I’ve not skied for about 15 years and never driven across. I’ve read lots of excellent info on here – I want to check some of my assumptions and ask a few additional questions

Where to go? French Alps seems to offer the best variety - aren’t too far and have good facilities. I’ll try and camp in the van for the duration – but would like to find somewhere with decent social options nearby. Will everything close down on XMAS day etc?

Can you recommend specific resorts? Easy access to a shower obviously a bonus but I can live without hook-up. Beginner/intermediate slopes required.

Winterising the van – I have winter tyres and will pick up the additional bits required for general driving in France. Sounds like I do need snow chains – but can hire them once in France? I have a parking heater – getting a cali topper or similar just for this trip is overkill – I can easily be comfortable without one? I have the standard window screen cover? Do I need to upgrade to something thermal?

I’m basically going to hire all my equipment – have plenty of space. Hire it here or at a resort?

Thanks in advance - any other thoughts/tips much appreciated.
Hi. We went to Samoens where there is a great campsite a 5 minute walk to the gondola up to the Grand Massif ski area. It's got a ski and boot room and whilst the shower blocks are a bit old, they are very warm. There are a couple of decent bars in Samoens, but its not really banging if that's what you want. You could do a little circuit based on the replies you get. If you do, can you post an update with the best sites for skiing. Thanks.
 
tucker266

tucker266

Messages
19
Location
london
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
My wife and I are a similar age to you and we spent two weeks in the Tarrantaise valley in February this year, and we had an absolutely fantastic time. Admittedly we weren’t looking for party resorts so maybe what we enjoyed you wouldn’t be so keen on, but here are my observations

Someone recommended the Martagon campsite in Meribel. Yes the location is handy for the gondola to take you up to Meribel town, but the campsite in my opinion wasn’t the nicest place to stay as you basically are in big car park, which if there is no snow, turns into a mud pit. Perfectly practical though, and fairly quiet place to stay, just not the most picturesque. Meribel itself has incredible terrain if you are an intermediate skier. Downsides in my opinion is that it is super high-end and attracts a certain kind of person. If you want to party with the Chelsea set then its perfect. Was talking to one fellow that was livid that he wasn’t allowed to steal a shot glass from the Folie Douce as he had spent a thousand euros there that afternoon. Our conversation was interrupted by a helicopter landing to pick up one of the punters to take them back to their lodge....

We spent about five days at the campsite in Montchavin, which is perfectly situated right in between La Plagne and Les Arcs. The terraced campsite is a five minute walk to the restaurants, shops and lifts, but the village is pretty sleepy. If you end up one night in the bars of La Plagne its a pretty expensive cab ride back to the campsite so may not be best for you if you’re going out each night. The location is absolutely stunning though.

The other place we stayed at after having it recommended was the campsite in La Rosiere by the Italian border. This is a much smaller resort but the campsite was beautiful and depending on the snow cover you can pretty much ski most of the way down to your van from the bottom of the lifts. Excellent facilities and jaw dropping views. The downsides of this resort is that it is pretty small, and while there are some nice pubs and restaurants, the nightlife is pretty limited. It’s quite a family focussed resort. You can ski over to La Thuile on the Italian side for lunch one day, so you can say you’ve done it. The food on the other side is excellent, but the skiing, not so great.

In terns of practicalities, we had both the thermal screen cover and the topper. Both were indispensable in my opinion. With those along with the heater we were cosy every night.

In terms of going in over Christmas, I haven’t looked at the snow cover yet but the standard advice is Tignes or Val Thoren for the highest altitude, but the great thing about taking the van is you can completely play it by ear as the conditions change or you decide you want to try somewhere else.

I did consider renting here before going but couldn’t find anywhere in London that would be as cheap as the local places. Plus I was mixing it up between snowboarding and skiing so wanted to keep flexible.

Here are a couple of pics, one of us in La Rosiere and the other in Montchavin.

Have a great time!

View attachment 53232

View attachment 53234
Nick this is all brilliant - thanks.

I've booked a few nights at the Huttopia campsite in Bourg St Maurice to begin with - looks like the most straight forward way to get my bearings. I have some kitesurf kites and would love to try snow kiting if i get proficient at skiing - La Roseire looks like a good spot for that so I may head there next. As you suggest, I'll just hire skis as i go.

I'll avoid Meribel...
 
tucker266

tucker266

Messages
19
Location
london
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
Hi. We went to Samoens where there is a great campsite a 5 minute walk to the gondola up to the Grand Massif ski area. It's got a ski and boot room and whilst the shower blocks are a bit old, they are very warm. There are a couple of decent bars in Samoens, but its not really banging if that's what you want. You could do a little circuit based on the replies you get. If you do, can you post an update with the best sites for skiing. Thanks.
thanks Chris - I think I'll try and get to 3/4 different spots if time allows. I'll be sure to get some info up here afterwards.
 
bigmac77

bigmac77

VIP Member
Messages
1,064
Location
North Wales
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 199
Nick this is all brilliant - thanks.

I've booked a few nights at the Huttopia campsite in Bourg St Maurice to begin with - looks like the most straight forward way to get my bearings. I have some kitesurf kites and would love to try snow kiting if i get proficient at skiing - La Roseire looks like a good spot for that so I may head there next. As you suggest, I'll just hire skis as i go.

I'll avoid Meribel...
In Bourg Saint Maurice you can hire your ski equipment from Polaire Star which is right by the funicular. If you hire from them they let you leave your skis with them overnight which makes life a bit easier. The Les Arcs ski pass gives you free accces to the funicular.

We are staying on the Huttopia site over Christmas but in one of the wooden chalets. If I see a UK plate Cali I’ll come and say hello.
 
NickHX

NickHX

VIP Member
Messages
19
Location
London
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
Nick this is all brilliant - thanks.

I've booked a few nights at the Huttopia campsite in Bourg St Maurice to begin with - looks like the most straight forward way to get my bearings. I have some kitesurf kites and would love to try snow kiting if i get proficient at skiing - La Roseire looks like a good spot for that so I may head there next. As you suggest, I'll just hire skis as i go.

I'll avoid Meribel...

Kites AND skis?!! So much to go wrong there ;-)
 
kave

kave

Messages
1,380
Location
Boras Sweden
Vehicle
T6 Beach 4Motion
I am tempted to go to the alps instead of Norway this winter. But a 20 hour drive instead of 5-6 hours keeps me off the idea.
 
sbmcd

sbmcd

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Messages
879
Vehicle
T5 SE 180
I would say a topper is absolutely essential, keeps the van much warmer upstairs, minimises any condensation in the roof bellows and keeps snow out of the lifting mechanism.
 
tucker266

tucker266

Messages
19
Location
london
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
In Bourg Saint Maurice you can hire your ski equipment from Polaire Star which is right by the funicular. If you hire from them they let you leave your skis with them overnight which makes life a bit easier. The Les Arcs ski pass gives you free accces to the funicular.

We are staying on the Huttopia site over Christmas but in one of the wooden chalets. If I see a UK plate Cali I’ll come and say hello.
great - I'll check them out for hire. Off topic slightly - but do people ever hire their jacket and trousers?

I'll certainly come and say hello. I'll be the guy freezing his ass off with no roof topper in the silver 2016 Beach :)

thanks again
 
sbmcd

sbmcd

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Messages
879
Vehicle
T5 SE 180
great - I'll check them out for hire. Off topic slightly - but do people ever hire their jacket and trousers?

I'll certainly come and say hello. I'll be the guy freezing his ass off with no roof topper in the silver 2016 Beach :)

thanks again

Get ski gear at great prices from Decathlon, probably cheaper than hiring
 
bigmac77

bigmac77

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Messages
1,064
Location
North Wales
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 199
great - I'll check them out for hire. Off topic slightly - but do people ever hire their jacket and trousers?

I'll certainly come and say hello. I'll be the guy freezing his ass off with no roof topper in the silver 2016 Beach :)

thanks again
As above check out Decathlon for gear, prices are good and so is the quality of the gear. You can hire a helmet with your skis and boots.
 
bigmac77

bigmac77

VIP Member
Messages
1,064
Location
North Wales
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 199
great - I'll check them out for hire. Off topic slightly - but do people ever hire their jacket and trousers?

I'll certainly come and say hello. I'll be the guy freezing his ass off with no roof topper in the silver 2016 Beach :)

thanks again
If your cold sleep downstairs and keep the roof down.
 
Last edited:
kave

kave

Messages
1,380
Location
Boras Sweden
Vehicle
T6 Beach 4Motion
Me and my two kids where in Norway for four days. Due to our roofbox I was inable to raise the roof but it worked out fine us three sleeping togethere downstairs. Heater running 24/7 for four days.
 
sbmcd

sbmcd

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Messages
879
Vehicle
T5 SE 180
As above check out Decathlon for gear, prices are good and so is the quality of the gear. You can hire a helmet with your skis and boots.
Just bought a vented helmet from Decathlon £14.99.
 
bigmac77

bigmac77

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Messages
1,064
Location
North Wales
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T6 Ocean 199
Just bought a vented helmet from Decathlon £14.99.
I wouldn't rent a helmet, who knows how they have been treated and as you say you can buy them cheap but the OP did ask about renting gear.
 
sbmcd

sbmcd

VIP Member
Messages
879
Vehicle
T5 SE 180
Hi. We went to Samoens where there is a great campsite a 5 minute walk to the gondola up to the Grand Massif ski area. It's got a ski and boot room and whilst the shower blocks are a bit old, they are very warm. There are a couple of decent bars in Samoens, but its not really banging if that's what you want. You could do a little circuit based on the replies you get. If you do, can you post an update with the best sites for skiing. Thanks.
How was it for eating out?
 

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