chamonix in Jan?

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chamonix in Jan?

Postby wolfer » Wed Sep 16, 2009 6:23 am

A ski club in my area is advertising a ski trip to Chamonix from Jan 23-31/2010 that I am interested in joining. Does anybody know if based on historical snow fall is the end of January is a good time to ski Chamonix? Booking deadline is Oct 15 so I have to make up my mind soon and don't have the luxury of waiting until the ski season starts to see what the conditions will be like.
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Re: chamonix in Jan?

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:29 pm

It's not the ideal in terms of expected snow cover, but it's reasonable in being almost as late as possible before the school holiday season starts. The best time is generally right after the school holidays end in early March.

The best skiing at Chamonix is high altitude alpine, and flat light is probably common in the low sun months. Another reason for March being best there.

So I'd give a lukewarm endorsement. Worth doing if you're getting a good deal on price.
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Re: chamonix in Jan?

Postby jamesdeluxe » Wed Sep 16, 2009 1:29 pm

I'm curious to know what kind of deal you're getting for the Chamonix trip.

I just checked for late January at the hotel in Lech where I stayed two years in a row. They've barely increased their prices over the past three winters. $800 euros gets you seven days accommodations including a monstrous breakfast and dinner, and a six-day Lech/St. Anton lift ticket. Unfortunately, with the tanking dollar, that's $1,300, as opposed to what I paid before: $1,000. For some people, $1,300 is chump change (and it's absolutely worth it at Lech), but that's a big nut for us right now.
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Re: chamonix in Jan?

Postby wolfer » Wed Sep 16, 2009 1:57 pm

the price would be $2800 CDN. this includes return flight from Toronto to Geneva, all ground transportation, 6 day lift ticket, breakfast, lunch and dinner, wine and beer with meals, open bar, 5 full days and one half day guiding/lessons, 7 nights accomondation at Club Med, a 4 trident (star?) property. does this sound like a good deal? Almost doesn't sound like it when compared to the prices quoted by Jamesdelux.Would Lech/St.Anton be considered comparable to Chamonix (price wise)or is this like comparing SLC ski areas to Whistler? The main reason I'm considering this is trip instead of putting together my own package because I'm tired of skiing by myself. All the guys I normally ski with aren't serious enough about skiing or aren't good enough skiers that they would spend this kind of money on a ski trip. Three days at Tremblant or a week at Killington is what they are comfortable with.
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Re: chamonix in Jan?

Postby jamesdeluxe » Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:45 pm

That actually sounds like a very good deal. For $2600 US, you're getting everything that the Lech hotel offers plus:

Roundtrip airfare: $600-1000 (I'd use FF miles, but there are still a couple hundred in fees)
Lunch: $25+ per day
Drinks with meals/open bar: $50/day, conservatively?
Ground Transportation: $100?
Guide: $100+/day?
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Re: chamonix in Jan?

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:02 pm

Lech has a very luxe reputation: james' quote there sounds excellent. St. Anton would rate to be cheaper. Late January is a good time for these places as they have a high snow reputation within the Alps, and St. Anton has sunny exposure and might not be as good in spring as the higher French resorts.

Your Chamonix package is all inclusive like the one I had with NASJA in 2004. Ignoring price (we were subsidized some) I'd have the following comments:
1) Inquire closely about the guiding, which is very important there. You have to be guided on Vallee Blanche, and for safety reasons you need to be guided for the marquee terrain that makes Chamonix famous. How many guides for how many people on the trip? Will advanced/expert skiers have the use of a guide for some challenging off-piste routes? The guides should evaluate the group within the first couple of days, sort people out and choose terrain accordingly after that. Try to get some feedback from someone who has been on this trip before.
2) I thought having dinner included was a minus. The Alpina Hotel food was so-so, and Chamonix, like nearly anyplace in France has lots of good restaurants. I suspect james' place in Lech had excellent dining.
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Re: chamonix in Jan?

Postby wolfer » Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:40 pm

thanks for the input guys. there is an club meeting on Sept. 23 which I plan to attend at which I will definitely ask some of the questions Tony suggested. I should also be able to get more info regarding meals etc.
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Re: chamonix in Jan?

Postby rfarren » Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:05 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote: Unfortunately, with the tanking dollar, that's $1,300, as opposed to what I paid before: $1,000. For some people, $1,300 is chump change (and it's absolutely worth it at Lech), but that's a big nut for us right now.


No kidding. The dollar just stinks! Does anyone remember the gold old days when the Euro didn't exist and we could go over there and just kill it.
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Re: chamonix in Jan?

Postby jamesdeluxe » Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:15 am

wolfer wrote:Would Lech/St.Anton be considered comparable to Chamonix (price wise)or is this like comparing SLC ski areas to Whistler?

Here's my oft-repeated Lech rap -- it's always mentioned as being one of the top five most expensive places in the Alps, but it doesn't have to be any more costly than other less well-endowed resorts. There definitely is a high-end aspect to it -- i.e. you can spend piles of money if you're so inclined, but I've met plenty of people cheapskating it like us. I still crack up thinking about the prototype hippie couple from MRG in our hotel who had brought a bunch of "Ski It If You Can" stickers to plaster on the lift towers, but realized that it'd be sacrilege to deface such a classic ski area.

FYI, as I've said before, Lech's in-bounds terrain has a Deer Valley-esque reputation, but go just a few yards away from the long blue to double-blue groomers and you'll be alone on nicely pitched, deep single-black shots. And the extensive side-country has terrain ranging from challenging to DFU. St. Anton is like a bigger Alta/Snowbird with tougher in-bounds terrain than Lech.

Because of its reputation, I would have never even bothered to check out Lech if my ski instructor friend from Stowe hadn't twisted my arm, but I was already thanking him on our first day there. Sorry, more information than you requested.
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Re: chamonix in Jan?

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:19 am

Sorry, more information than you requested.

Not to me. The Arlberg is near if not at the top of the list of unskied areas I'd most like to visit.
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