News You Can Use

Maybe, maybe not. I’m referring to today’s ski pass world both in the US and Europe with the Epic, Ikon, a new one, the Indy, and Magic in Switzerland. It’s complicated and changing all the time. Right now, it looks like Vail (Epic) and Alterra (Ikon) are splitting the spoils of the American ski resorts. So far, they’re only wooing European resorts with their passes. But some resorts require stays in certain accommodations to use those passes. Some allow a few days of skiing depending on the type pass, others a full week. So, if you have one and plan to ski Europe, check the fine print first.

In Our Resorts

This past winter the heavy snows hit eastern Switzerland and the Arlberg. I haven’t seen that much snow in more than three decades. This year it was Lech that was closed off at various times whereas last year it was Zermatt.

The really big resort news comes from the Jungfrau Region of Grindelwald and Wengen. Their huge investment in extensive new lifts, including their V-Bahn, enters its first phase of completion for December (for futher information see page 4). Then Val d’Isère’s Solaise redesign is complete, now, with France’s highest elevation hotel. Its nearby sister, Tignes, has a new open top cable car up to the Grande Motte glacier. The rest are pretty quiet for the upcoming winter.

In The Hotels

There are two new Lech hotels that meet the above parameters. They are the Haus Alpina and the Haldenhof. Both are family run and very comfy places to hang your hat for a while. Dr. Otto Murr’s in St. Anton is in the midst of a major redo, as is the Chabichou in Courchevel. Both will be ready for December openings.

Alps vs. The Rockies

Again, this year, below are some valid apples to apples comparisons of basic ski package costs for the West versus the Alps. And again, to me, Europe is still a no brainer. But I’m a little biased.

7 Nights’ Accommodations, round-trip transfers, 6-day ski pass, all taxes, & no dining 7 Resort nights + 8th in gateway city, round trip transportation, 6-day ski pass, minimally with buffet breakfast, final night in a 5-star hotel with buffet breakfast, all taxes & service
January 25 – February 1
Inn at Lost Creek (4*), Telluride – Junior suite with fireplace, Jacuzzi & ski back: $2,420.00/person Hotel Lagacio (4*), San Cassiano, Italy – In an eco-friendly suite with kitchenette, spa with Jacuzzi & hot tub:  $2,275.00.00/person
February 1 – 22
The Limelight (4* Superior), Aspen – Deluxe king double, pool, hot tub, ski concierge & valet: $3,435.00/person Châlet d’Adrien (5*), Verbier, Switzerland – Relais & Châteaux ski back hotel, standard double, spa with infinity pool, whirpool & hamman: $ 2,990.00 per/person
March 7 – 14
Hotel Park City (4*) – Park City – An executive suite with kitchenette, pool Jacuzzi, on the golf course: $3,475.00 Hotel Christiana (5*), Val d’Isère, France – Ski-in, ski-out location, in standard double with five-course dinner, pool & extensive spa faciities:  $2,690.00


Resorts Dates to Make or Break

 December  14/15 St Moritz: FIS World Cup – Women
Val d’Isère: FIS World Cup – Men
 17 Courchevel: FIS World Cup – Women
21/22 Val d’Isère: FIS World Cup – Women
22/23 Alta Badia: FIS World Cup – Men
20/Jan 4 European Resorts: Christmas/New Year’s holiday
 January  1 Klosters: Annual New Year’s Pig Races
 17/19 Wengen: 89th Lauberhorn FIS World Cup – Men
21/24 Davos/Klosters: World Economic Forum
22/25 Mürren: 92nd Inferno Race
24/26 Kitzbuhel: 78th Hahnenkamm FIS World Cup – Men
St Moritz: 36th Polo-on-the-Snow Tournament
 31/Feb 8 St Moritz: 27th Gourmet Festival
 February  2-16
St Moritz: 112th “White Turf” Horse Racing
 2/Mar. 7 France: School Holidays
 2/8 Chamonix: FIS World Cup, Men
 14/24 Switzerland & UK: Half-Term Holidays
 15/23 US: President’s Week
 20/25 German Speaking Resorts: Carnival
  March 8 St Moritz: 52nd Cross-Country Marathon
20/21 St Moritz: Free Ski World Cup
  April 4/13 Europe: Easter Holidays