Continued from Part 1:
The next most convenient option is Europe. Though the options range from Norway to Slovenia, the most popular options center around the Alps ie: Switzerland, Northern Italy, France, Germany, and Austria. I exclude the US because of the distance and North Asia because of cost and language.
To narrow down the options, you need to consider the below factors
- Beginner Friendly – I was a beginner, and I needed to be taught. I thus needed an English speaking and beginner-friendly ski school. All popular resorts will have ski schools. However, you need to check whether they use English. Some French and Italian resorts are iffy in this regard.
- Groupism – Apart from the locals, resorts typically tend to get branded with certain nationalities. If interacting with people around you is important, choose resorts that are frequented by the English, Central and North Europeans. ( Most Swiss, Germans, Austrians and North Europeans speak perfect English).
- Expense – Skiing is quite expensive. As against an average of 150-300 Euros per couple (including stay) which you will spend in Europe, Skiing will cost you close 250-500 euros a day. There are lots of additional expenses like Ski training, Ski equipment hire, Ski Lift passes to name a few. And surprise surprise a very hedonistic nightlife. In terms of accommodation, unless you are going in a large group and staying in an apartment, there are no real budget options. In ascending order of cost. French, Italian, Austrian, Swiss. Swiss ones are especially expensive and unless you are a mining baron or an evil investment banker, best avoided
- Location – Ski resorts are a visual delight. Very very nice to be in and absorb what is happening around you. Lots of things for even non-skiiers to do.
- Aspres skiing – A big part of the skiing experience for many is the after skiing nightlife and partying.
Above factors dissected, I began the process of elimination
a) No to Swiss resorts– Too expensive
b) No to French and Italian – Not enough of the Queen’s language
The French resorts though are cheap ( relatively) and if budget is a big driver, you can consider resorts like Annecy. Also, the crowd is thought to be generally younger.
c) No to non-Alps locations and non-Marque locations – I am an Indian just starting off!!!
Which left me with Austrian and German options. Austrian ones seemed to have better skiing conditions and were prettier. Also, connectivity to the Tyrol mountains was superb. You can board a flight a 12 am on a Friday Night in India and actually be in a ski resort near Innsbruck before 12 Noon on Saturday.
Auli in comparison you will land up only Sunday mid-day…. !
Finalizing the place in Austria took forever. There are several great options. Ischgl, Mayrhofen, Saalbach, Bad Gastein.
All said I choose St Anton in Austria. Reasonable cost, Beautiful place, Close to Munich airport which connects directly to Mumbai, English speaking tourist population, and probably the best apres skiing in the alps.
The downside was that there were not too many beginner slopes and it was not the cheapest location ( medium pricey as ski resorts go)