Best resort for mature beginner?
Posted: 03 January 2010 12:59 PM   [ Ignore ]
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A friend of ours wants to try ski-ing.  He’s in his 60s and has never ski’d.  He will be going alone in early February.  Any suggestions for a pretty resort with plenty of alpine charm, with easy access to good beginners’ slopes? (without needing a bus). Or ideas for an all-in programme (inc sociable accommodation and tuition) suitable for a mature beginner?  Thanks.

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Posted: 03 January 2010 05:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hi Elizabeth - I may have the very place! Val Cenis is fantastic for complete beginners - even someone really nervous will find at least one really long run to do (The Escargot, which is actually the road to Italy in summer). Consequently there are no nasty surprises and a novice still feels that they’re really covering a lot of ground. If your friend is travelling alone and doesn’t mind lack of luxury, I would recommend Snowcoach’s hotel Alpazur - it’s on the main street and close to the main lift base. He could travel any way he chooses including by coach - it’s overnight - long, but with the bonus that you get two extra days skiing as you arrive early in the morning and leave in the evening. If you just use the accommodation, all the usual routes are available including train to Modane and a regular bus into the resort (about 45 mins). I think Snowcoach may also do a free transfer if you arrange your own travel. I haven’t stayed at this hotel, but I’ve been to their other two in France, in Valmeinier and St Gervais. They’re cheap and cheerful, but ideal for someone travelling alone as mealtimes are set, there are large tables and you can sit anywhere, and (at least both times I’ve been) there are lots of other lone travellers, most of them no longer young. It’s very sociable and jolly, lots of wine throughout meals (included) and usually some sort of quiz or something in the bar afterwards. If I found myself with no-one to go skiing with, I’d head straight for one of these places. Not much English spoken in the resort, but most of the staff are English in the hotel. I’m not sure about the lessons situation. When my partner started skiing two years ago (aged 63) he had several lessons at Milton Keynes first, so he could already ski to some degree before we went, which was very useful. He can now come down blacks (ok, not prettily, but he can do it) after 4 holidays! I wish your friend luck, and hope he loves skiing wherever he chooses to go.

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Posted: 04 January 2010 07:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Try Les Saisies in the French Alps. Friendly resort, pretty ski area, reliable snow, lots of easy Green run skiing and nice easy blue runs to progress to. Ski schools seem to be good too. We took a complete beginner last season, booked them 3 private lessons with an ESF instructor called Huguette and within 3 days of putting on skis for the first time, she had our beginner skiing competently and safely on the easier reds all around the Espace Diamant circuit. Although, not featured in the mass market for British skiers, the few that we’ve come across have always seemed impressed and happy with the resort and service and, in my view, this resort offers quality and relaxation rather than quantity and all night parties. There’s also quite a lot of English spoken despite the lack of British Skiers.

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Posted: 26 January 2010 03:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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As a mature beginner myself I believe that many younger skiers do not recognise the differences between starting at a later age and when younger. At least that’s as far as my partner and I are concerned. The main difference we felt was that we are far more cautious than younger people and consequently that makes us slower learners.  We tried La Clusaz in March 2009 and the Beauregard nursery slope was beautiful and gentle and wide enough to provide us with confidence but the green we went down was far too narrow for us to feel secure trying to turn and we ended up snowploughing all the way down. Additionally we didn’t feel that the village was as good as people have reported; it was full of traffic and so quite noisy.

This year, January 10th, we spent a week in Courchevel. We joined the nervous and novice group on ‘Inspired to Ski’ and found both the resort’s slopes and the instruction brilliant. Courchevel 1850 is expensive but as we were staying with breakfast and dinner included it didn’t bother us too much. The way I look at it is that if I can find the resort to make me a confident skiier then I can go anywhere in the future. Courchevel is not a beautiful resort, but neither is it unpleasant and when on the slopes everything is lovely. There were no queues and there was such a good selection of progressive slopes to move to that our skiing improved enormously. In no small part, Keith Marshall, our ski instructor, must take much credit for his excellent teaching. (Keith is available through Momentum Snowsports as well as Inspired to Ski).

We can now ski independently on gentle slopes and are looking forward to going again. I would wholeheatedly recommend Courchevel to anyone of a mature age.

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Posted: 17 February 2010 08:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I would recommend North America. Not only are the runs gentler but they are wider. We even have blues which are 1/2 mile wide so you can fall, rest, do whatever you want without upsetting the ‘experts’. In addition the folk are friendly, speak the same language (well, almost) and the food is excellent. Try it. Colorado, Utah, any major resort. Bit more expensive but I think worth it.

Ken

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Posted: 26 March 2010 10:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Hi Elizabeth i am excited to know that whether the 60 year friend of yours has gone for skying or i cant believe that people in the this age are healthy enough to go for adventure sports .

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Posted: 28 March 2010 07:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I would certainly agree with Don. At Winter Park we have met many skiers and boarders on the elderly side of 70 and they know their limits with regards to fitness but more importantly they have the enthusiasm for their chosen sport. These are people who know their time on the planet is limited and want to enjoy it. They are also, often, the most fun people to spend an evening with. No jobs to go back to, just a vista of fun ahead. I work in Elderly Care in the NHS and you would be surprised at the zest some of these people have for life. What we need is a video of a centerian doing a black run and having a few beers afterwards. Long may us oldies prosper.

Power to the oldies

Ken

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Posted: 28 March 2010 10:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Hats off to to old people who can do this .

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Posted: 29 March 2010 05:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Yes we can! You know it makes sense? Just check on the insurance!

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Posted: 27 September 2010 06:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Linden - 03 January 2010 05:15 PM

Hi Elizabeth - I may have the very place! Val Cenis is fantastic for complete beginners - even someone really nervous will find at least one really long run to do (The Escargot, which is actually the road to Italy in summer). Consequently there are no nasty surprises and a novice still feels that they’re really covering a lot of ground. If your friend is travelling alone and doesn’t mind lack of luxury, I would recommend Snowcoach’s hotel Alpazur - it’s on the main street and close to the main lift base. He could travel any way he chooses including by coach - it’s overnight - long, but with the bonus that you get two extra days skiing as you arrive early in the morning and leave in the evening. If you just use the accommodation, all the usual routes are available including train to Modane and a regular bus into the resort (about 45 mins). I think Snowcoach may also do a free transfer if you arrange your own travel. I haven’t stayed at this hotel, but I’ve been to their other two in France, in Valmeinier and St Gervais. They’re cheap and cheerful, but ideal for someone travelling alone as mealtimes are set, there are large tables and you can sit anywhere, and (at least both times I’ve been) there are lots of other lone travellers, most of them no longer young. It’s very sociable and jolly, lots of wine throughout meals (included) and usually some sort of quiz or something in the bar afterwards. If I found myself with no-one to go skiing with, I’d head straight for one of these places. Not much English spoken in the resort, but most of the staff are English in the hotel. I’m not sure about the lessons situation. When my partner started skiing two years ago (aged 63) he had several lessons at Milton Keynes first, so he could already ski to some degree before we went, which was very useful. He can now come down blacks (ok, not prettily, but he can do it) after 4 holidays! I wish your friend luck, and hope he loves skiing wherever he chooses to go.

Thanks buddy for this great help.

I was looking for it as well

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Posted: 27 September 2010 10:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Thanks very much for these suggestions - our friend enjoyed a week in Alpbach last season and is keen to go again somewhere this winter, which is great.

Re age & ability: we sometimes ski with fellow members of the Ski Club of Manchester, many of whom are over 70 and are strong and able skiers.  In the summer they do serious mountain walking, or cycle 100+ miles a week, or run marathons.  Being over 60 needn’t mean you have to sit in an armchair the whole time. 

I was surprised when I started ski-ing in my 40s that I was quite a bit younger than the average skier - there seem to be a lot of 60+ people ski-ing.  My aim has been to develop a good enough technique so that I can carry on ski-ing into my 80s or 90s (as long as I can afford it / if there’s any snow left). 

E

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Posted: 27 September 2010 03:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I agree with you all. Many of us are pretty damn fit for our ages. I spend a lot of time on the fells with the dogs and frequently overtake bloated couch potatoes. It’s all about attitude and i suspect many of us ‘oldies’ have been brought up in an era without fast food and depending on plenty of exercise. Interesting comment about Alpbach. We loved the place but the runs are few and hard for beginners. Gluhwein helps!

I still would recommend Winter Park in Colorado. Lovely wide runs at all levels and no getting in anybody’s way. The prices have now come down quite a bit. As for not coming down blacks in a pretty style - forget it. Do whatever you enjoy in whatever manner. It’s what counts as enjoyable to you that matters

Ken

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Posted: 27 September 2010 06:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I would say Lech if you can afford it. Really lovely beginner slopes and a lovely alpine town. You could stay in a lovely comfortable hotel and have a lovely week. (Lovely Snow too!)

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Posted: 28 September 2010 05:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Great thread. I was looking for this before

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Posted: 12 January 2011 02:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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elizabethm - 03 January 2010 12:59 PM

A friend of ours wants to try ski-ing.  He’s in his 60s and has never ski’d.  He will be going alone in early February.  Any suggestions for a pretty resort with plenty of alpine charm, with easy access to good beginners’ slopes? (without needing a bus). Or ideas for an all-in programme (inc sociable accommodation and tuition) suitable for a mature beginner?  Thanks.

I just browse this forum site and I use my broadband… Your fried is already 60yrs old? Can he do skiing at that age?

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Looking for a resort and skiing? Go to Ski USA, the resort where you can spend a vacation and holidays with families and friends. And also ski USA resorts being situated at high altitude and the excellent snowfall and conditions that brings.

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