So here were our main questions:
#1 Where do we go???
As you can see from the map above, the Alps span a large area. I began my research by searching ski resorts and their distances to major airports. Then, researched the ones closest to the airports and began to make a list of the resorts with the largest ski areas. After I had a mini list in mind, I went to my old trusty Skyscanner website and researched the cheapest flights. For our time frame, Geneva, Switzerland was the cheapest option. You would think choosing the airport would narrow the search considerably, but from Geneva we still had the option of French, Swiss, Austrian or Italian Alps. Yikes!
#2 Are we good enough skiers/snowboarders to attempt the Alps??
Here is a little background on our ski/snowboarding capabilities:
I have been skiing since the 5th grade and have been lucky enough to ski in several different locations in the US. I would say that I am an advanced skier HOWEVER when it comes to adventurous activities, I am losing courage as I age. Van is a newbie snowboarder and just learned last year while living in New Mexico. He was a complete natural and he can't get enough. So he is on a steady intermediate level I would say. So when we go down the mountain, we usually are right around the same pace, with myself being cautious and Van keeping up.
Again, I was able to research the percentage of easy, intermediate and difficult slopes at each resort! Obviously, many others have the exact same questions. I was able to drastically reduce the options at this point.
#3 Will we be able to navigate a ski resort speaking English????
In Europe, there is a different color guide to the slopes than the US, however it is fairly similar. The only difference really is the addition of a "red" slope. All I am really concerned about is not accidentally getting onto a double black diamond slope because I can't read a sign in another language and falling off a cliff!
These are the color classifications for European slopes:
Green- learning/beginner slopes
Blue- Easy slope, similar to an American green
Red- intermediate slope, similar to an American blue
Double/Triple Black Diamond- um, are you kidding me?? triple? No thanks!
The trails are apparently marked the whole way down, letting you know the distance to the base of the trail. Ok, I can breathe a little easier. No falling off a cliff......hopefully.
Skiing in the Alps seems like a fancy dream. But in all honesty, skiing in general, wherever you are is not a cheap trip. Even though we drove, our ski destination last year in the States proved to be expensive. Luckily, airfare is extremely cheap (except for the extra $100 to ship Van's snowboard gear) and we were able to save big time. A typical ski holiday in Europe involves 6-7 nights and usually a stay in a half-board chalet. We only would be staying 5 nights, and pricey hotels were really our only option, or so we thought. I was able to search vacation rentals on HomeAway and found a condo that was extremely affordable! About $500 less than a hotel! We won't have the perks of maid service or breakfast, but our condo is very convenient to many restaurants and I can make the dang bed!
All in all, I would say that with flights from London, our Alps trip is costing a good deal less than if we took a trip from Atlanta to Colorado. Even with our terrible dollar (its $1.65 to 1gbp today, gross). Fancy Alps trip= affordable.
# What do we pack???
Since we do get a great deal on airfare, that means we only can bring one checked bag (since the other bag is the snowboard). But, I have become a pro at light packing. No, I won't have 10 different outfits to wear for 6 days, but I will be warm! We may have to wear our ski jackets on the plane but oh well!
So what is our final choice....
|The same mountain range we saw in Nice|
I am so thrilled to be able to return to France so soon. I have been brushing up on some common phrases for this trip (since we were CLUELESS last trip) and will feel a little more comfortable this time around. Can you imagine, yummy French cheeses and wine after a day on the slopes??
So get ready for some gorgeous snow photos! Hopefully, there will be not be any broken bones in these said photos :)