Skiing Switzerland in December

Oct 5th, 2005, 02:21 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5
Skiing Switzerland in December

Hello! My husband and I (late 20's) are planning a 3-day weekend ski-trip to Switzerland. Will you please help with suggestions on ski resorts and hotels/condos etc. Here's what we are looking for:

1. Skiing (both beginner and advanced)
2. Warm restaurants very near to the slopes where we can thaw out
3. Great, private, clean room that is very close to the sloopes and has all the amenities (possibly a private jacuzzi or Sauna in the room, or available in some capacity)
4. Town/village area that has great restaurants and things to do at night that we can drive to (We aren't into parting, but maybe some other fun activities)
5. Shopping near by
6. Around $150-$400 per night

Thank you in advance for your help!

Loves
loves is offline  
Oct 5th, 2005, 04:32 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 86
As you are going for a weekend I would rule out St Moritz, Davos and Zermatt as they are too far from Geneva or Zurich (if you are flying). Wengen and Grindlewald are also quite a drive.

Verbier would be a good option as it has good skiing for intermediates and its also ok for beginners. Snow is reliable as the resort has lifts over 3,000m.

Verbier also has plenty of restaurants and bars.

The Montpelier is a nice hotel, but might break your budget. It has a sauna, indoor pool etc. Alternatively try Le Mazot or the Central Hotel which should be within your budget. Most apartments will typically require a rental of a minimum of a week.

Have a look at www.verbier.com

Gstaad might also tick quite a few of your boxes but it is at low altitude and so snow reliability is not so good.

Both resorts are expensive!
LondonMike is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 02:42 AM
  #3  
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Hi, LondonMike! Thank you so much for your help! I will definitely look into your suggestions. Thank you!

Have a great day!

Loves
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Oct 6th, 2005, 04:28 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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I agree on Verbier generally, I will say it is not a charming town so don't expect a nice Swiss village. Don't know any hotels as I stay with friends, I will look up my restaurant list and will post it if you decide on Verbier.

When in December is the trip? FYI, December is generally one of the coldest months for skiing, so bring lots of warm layers.

Where are you coming from? Are you coming from the US? If so, why only 3 days?

Are you driving from someplace in Europe? If you are flying in, there is not much need to rent a car to get to a ski area, as you can easily take the train, and there is no need to pay for the car, gas and parking (all quite expensive) when you won't be using it. Also, there are many places where you don't need a car (or can't take one) that have great skiing, most esp Zermatt and Saas Fe.

FYI, Davos and Klosters are only about a 2 hour drive or a 2 hour train ride from Zurich, perfectly fine for a 3-day trip. I used to live in Zurich and have done the trip several times, roads are easy. I think Klosters is slightly better for beginners, and is a bit of a more charming town than Davos. (It's where Prince William and Harry learned to ski. . . ) A great litle hotel there is the Chesa Grischuna, take a look at http://www.chesagrischuna.ch/index-english.html. It has a wonderful restaurant, not sure about the sauna/Jacuzzi bit.

I can recco a great hotel in Saas Fe that would have all you want if you are interested in thatl however, Saas Fe is a longer distance so not sure if you want to go there for 3 days. From Geneva, Saas Fe is 3.5 hours. They are a high elevation and have less of a southwest exposure htan most places so if it snows it generally stays more than rhan most palces. I think Zermatt is the best place for beginners and can again recco hotels that would have all you want, again Zermatt is 4-5 hours from Geneva or Zurich, not sure if this is want you want.

Cicerone is offline  
Oct 7th, 2005, 02:03 AM
  #5  
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Thank you, Cicerone, for your help! My husband and I are American, but live in London. We're not sure how much longer we are going to be living here, so I wanted to surprise him and take him skiing in Switzerland for a weekend for his birthday! I also want to buy him a Swiss watch while we are there, so a shopping area is also desireable. I'm planning on flying into whichever city is closest to the resort and then driving or taking the train imediately to the resort and staying until we need to leave for the airport again.

I've just read some fantastic reviews about Chesa Grischuna. It sounds great and like it is close to everything - lifts and public transport. A few quesitons:

1. Will there be snow in mid-December?
2. Is the town you spoke of in close walking distance? (I am a total wimp and fear walking in the freezing cold to dinner and back, unless it is really close. I don't mind renting a car unless you really feel we don't need one or would be at a disadvantage to have one)
3. Are there cute restaurants or places to thaw out directly on the slopes?

I agree with you that Saas Fe and Zermatt are a bit far for the weekend. I wouldn't want to spend that much time traveling to and from.

Again, thank you so much for your help!
loves is offline  
Oct 7th, 2005, 03:27 AM
  #6  
 
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1. It is hard to say if there will be a lot of snow in mid-December. A lot will of course depend on how cold it has been so far this year and how much it has snowed. Klosters is a pretty good elevation. According to a weather report I just looked at, it is snowing there now and heavy snow is forecast for much of the area. Looks like a good sign. . . .

2. The Chesa Grishina is right IN downtown Klosters, so you can walk to everything, including restaurants. (The town is split between Klosters Platz and Klosters Dorf, the hotel and most good restaurants are in Klosters Dorf so are walkable. )The restaurant in the hotel is excellent and you should definitely eat there one night. The restaurant in the Walserhof hotel has at least one Michelin star and is also very good, and is walkable from the Chesa Grishina. Driving to a restaurant will not work in some cases as there are pedestrian-only zones in town and you may not be able to park nearby anyway, which makes the car pointless. Even if you could drive, you might end up parking farther away from the restaurant than the hotel would be.

Personally with only 3 days, between getting the car at the airport, and figuring out the road system to get to the highway and then getting to Klosters and finding the hotel and parking, etc and then driving back, not to mention paying for the car and parking and gas, I would just hop on the train AT the airport and be done with it.

3. There are restaurants right on the slopes, most with outdoor seating in the sun. The ski trail maps show where the restaurants are located. The Swiss have this part sussed out quite excellently; lunch is the high point of the day. Fondue and a bottle of white wine and you may not in fact get back on the slopes…. Some restaurants are more charming than others, some are split between a cafeteria part and a sit down waitress service part. I may have a list somewhere (I am pretty anal retentive about these things, I will check; but I just moved countries and have not unpacked everything. I know there are several along the Kublis trail that are very nice.)

Did you find if there is a sauna or anything like it at the hotel?

If you are buying a watch, do some comparison shopping in London and on-line to make sure you are really getting a bargain, and make sure to get the VAT refund (7.5%). Klosters has watch shops so you could easily do it there; and I imagine they are open later in the evenings and possibly on Sunday, which would not be the case in Zurich or Geneva. There are several shops on the street where the hotel is located. There are also shops in Davos if you go there for dinner or ski over there. There are also watch stores in the airport, but do check prices here as you may pay more.

If I can offer another suggestion (and you can take the cold), you can take horse drawn sleigh rides at night which are a lot of fun and very beautiful. Ask the hotel, they should be able to arrange it. You head out into the countryside a little bit and back. I believe you can go all the way to Davos and back, which would be a very nice ride, or you could go down the valley in the other direction.
Cicerone is offline  
Oct 7th, 2005, 04:43 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
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Cicerone has given you some good advice here and both the Walserhof and Chesa Grischuna are very nice hotels, full of charm and character. I particulary enjoyed the Walsherhof restaurant, excellent food. You may also be interested to know that it has a small sauna. It is a 5 min walk from the lifts (slightly downhill there and uphill back - but nothing strenuous). If you want a hotel with great facilities then the Vareina is a good option, as it has an indoor pool and spa, although the hotel has slightly less character.

It's very hard to say about snow in Mid-Dec. The resort is only at 1,200m so you may not get any snow in the resort, but the lifts do go quite high, about 2,800m - I think. Do also bear in mind that some of the lifts may not be operating this early in the season. Check with the tourist office.

The train would be a great option but just check if there is a direct service from Zurich Airport. Changing trains with skies and bags might be hassle for a weekend. Otherwise this would be a more relaxing option and you won't need a car in Klosters.

Klosters is a nice resort and the town centre is quite small so walking distances are not far at all.

One final point you say that you are looking at a 3-day trip, so I suppose two nights. If you can strech to 4 days I would recommend it. Even if you take an early flight from London I doubt you will get to the resort until about 2.30pm. So your holiday is limited on day 1 and 3 by travelling time.

LondonMike is offline  

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