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Austria or Switzerland in winter for non-skiers

Austria or Switzerland in winter for non-skiers

Old Jan 30th, 2023, 08:48 PM
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Austria or Switzerland in winter for non-skiers

Hi all, I am planning a Christmas trip to Europe with my wife and twin 16 yo daughters. In total we'll have about a month, including some time in London.

We are looking for a bit of time in the snow (the girls may ski for a day) and somewhere there is plenty to do for non-skiers - probably 3 nights, max 4. I understand it is a busy time of the year so won't be cheap. The places of interest are Zermatt, St Moritz or Salzburg (Hallstatt day trip). We discounted Innsbruck as we'd rather have more time in the one place and Salzburg fits more neatly with the other places we are interested in going - being Prague, Budapest (potentially), Ljubiana and Venice. At the moment we are leaning to Austria on the basis of fitting more neatly with other plans - the Swiss cities are not on the list of places we are trying to visit and nor is Milan so we would lose some extra time getting in and out.

Interested in feedback on thoughts on the various snow alternatives, including any others to throw into the mix.
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 04:47 AM
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For snow, altitude is key

Hello Rob,

At 400m altitude, Salzburg has far less chances than a mountain destination to be in the snow when you come. If Zermatt (1600m high, surrounded by many of the highest peaks of the Alps, well over 4000m) and St. Moritz (1800m high, surrounded by peaks up to 4000m) are out of your way (being St. Moritz probably much more convenient than Zermatt) then stay in Austria, but choose a mountain destination, over 1000m high, instead. Not Innsbruck, barely 600m high but maybe another one.

Prag, Budapest, Ljubljana and Venice design a nice bow wide far away from the Alps. Ljubljana is the nearest, with Kranjska Gora not far away. I would as well consider the fabulous italian Dolomiti, not too far from Venice.

To ski for a day is not convenient, the less if the girls are beginners and will need 4-7 days to learn with an instructor before to enjoy it. Look at other snow related activities, as snow walking on prepared paths, snowshoeing on marked trails or sledging on dedicated slopes. Maybe try ice skating. No snowboard, no ski-mountaineering, probably no ski-cross.
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 07:12 AM
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Just an FYI that ski areas in Switzerland often require a 7-14 day stay over the holdays, so this could well make the decsion easier for you.

Salzburg makes a great base for Christmas IMO, as unlike many cities in Europe, it doesn't completely close down for the holiday.
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 07:24 AM
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You may not have snow if it is like this winter. However since you are going to Slovenia they have ski resorts, which are probably cheaper than Austria and certainly cheaper than Switzerland. You can even ski from Slovenia into Italy.
Bled offers lots for non skiers.
https://www.slovenia.info/en/things-...olidays/skiing
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 07:43 AM
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Slovenia is more comfortable for non skiers, plus there may be even cross country skiing which is very gentle and requires low cost equipment. Kranjska Gora might interest you
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Old Feb 1st, 2023, 05:41 PM
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Thanks all, appreciate the feedback.

A point of clarification is that my wife is a proficient skier and my girls can ski, but not to a local level of proficiency (my knee is stuffed and hence I don't). We were hoping to find a destination that had plenty to do apart from the skiing.

Helpful to know some resorts have a 7 day+ requirement and re the different altitudes impacting the amount of snow (as a novice they all have pictures of lots of snow and lots of people skiing!). Will definitely be heading to Lake Bled as well. Is it possible to do a day of skiing at Kitzbuhel from Salzberg, and is it high enough to have reliable snow? Any other suggestions in Italy, perhaps around Bolzano?

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Old Feb 1st, 2023, 10:50 PM
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Kitzbühel and Bolzano

Kitzbühel is about 800m high and the surrounding mountains where you ski just under 2000m. Google says that from Salzburg it is a 1h20' car drive. For snow on slopes you have to rely to the artificial snowmakers, in Austria as everywhere. Very famous for skiing, especially for the world cup known "Streif" downhill slope.

Bolzano is even lower, at about 300m altitude, sitting in the deep Adige valley, like Merano. However, around there are mountains in the 2500m-3000m range (among those the Latemar group where I was many years for skiing). Cortina d'Ampezzo locates at 1200m altitude and will host the Winter Olympics 2026. The surrounding mountains elevate up above 3000m.
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Old Feb 5th, 2023, 01:57 AM
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I would also suggest St.Moritz rather than Zermatt in Switzerland, as there are certainly more options in St Moritz for non-skiers.
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Old Feb 5th, 2023, 09:30 PM
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Thanks all following some advice from some Swiss friends we look like landing on an itinerary that is Annecy - Chamonix - Konstanz - Salzburg (links up well to Paris and then Ljubiana via Lake Bled onwards - for the rest of the itinerary)
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