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Snow...where to get the iron-clad guarantee? :-)

Snow...where to get the iron-clad guarantee? :-)

Feb 6th, 2006, 10:41 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2006
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Snow...where to get the iron-clad guarantee? :-)

I am an Aussie, and will be travelling to Europe with my family this coming December to hopefully rent a chalet in the mountains and experience our very first white Christmas. We're coming such a long way...where do you suggest I start looking for rental chalets where my dreams of a white Christmas won't be turned into a slushy, grey disappointment? [grin] I don't care if it is Germany... Austria... Switzerland... or whatever, as long as there are mountains, a cosy little chalet...and SNOW!!
I'd appreciate some advice.
marleman is offline  
Feb 7th, 2006, 12:55 AM
  #2  
 
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I would suspect either in Zermatt, or the Zermatt region of Switzerland; for the cosy chalet there might be more possibilities in The Goms (the region east of Brig) in Switzerland...but am sure there are LOTS of places which are high enough to give you the guarantee.
Intrepid1 is offline  
Feb 7th, 2006, 11:45 AM
  #3  
 
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I agree with Intrepid1...make Zermatt your destination...there is snow and skiing there almost 12 months a year. My family spent a day glacier skiing there on Klein Matterhorn in August 2001. And the town is so charming and easy to navigate as there are no automobiles allowed. Our boys who were only 10 and 14 years old at the time loved the freedom to explore and indulge in as much fondue and pizza as they liked.
padbrasher is offline  
Feb 7th, 2006, 12:15 PM
  #4  
 
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Hi

for real guarantees, look at northern Scandinavia.

Check out this site : http://www.skistar.com/english/salen/

Of course, you don't get very long days, but the runs are floodlit !

Peter
mpprh is offline  
Feb 7th, 2006, 05:55 PM
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I agree with Peter that Scandinavia would be your absolute guarantee of snow. But having lived in Switzerland for a few years I would also agree that you would find snow in Zermatt and Saas Fee at Christmas, I certainly did in years past. In Zermatt you may not find snow outside your door if your chalet is in the village itself (as most are, there are not a lot of homes or hotels with ski in and ski out). I don't know if this matters to you. There will be a good deal of snow in the mountains around the town, for skiing and winter walking and it will most likely snow at some point while you are there. In Saas Fee (in the valley next door to Zermatt), you will have a better chance of actually having snow outside your door, as that village sits up on a shelf in the mountains and not at the bottom of the valley like Zermatt.

Now the town of Andermatt and the Andermatt valley, just a bit further east of Zermatt, has the reputation of being able to guarantee adequate snow for skiing from November to April because of its high elevation. I find the area a little bleak, as it sits on a rather treeless plateau, but if snow if what you want, this is a place to consider. Other places would be the St Moritz/Pontresina area, or other areas of the Engadine. Places in the Bernense Oberland like Murren, Wengen, Grindelwald, Kandersteg and Gstaad will have snow. Davos/Klosters would also be fine (their elevation is in fact higher than Zermatt), although again you may not have snow outside your door in a chalet in town, that will depend on how much snow has fallen during the previous month. Verbier, Saus D'ouex and Crans Montaona on the French side of Switzerland would all have snow, although again perhaps not right in town.

Places that would be chancy for snow in December IMO would be the Appenzell region east of Zurich and the Jura mountain region northwest of Geneva, both of which are lower in elevation.

You won't find any appreciable amounts of snow in Zurich and areas to the north like Stein am Rhine or the Lake Constance area, Geneva or the towns along the shore of Lake Geneva, the towns of Lucerne or Interlaken (perhaps some of the mountain villages in the area but the lakes will affect this), Bern, Basel or the southern Tocino region around Lake Lugano. It does snow in most of these places of course, but it tends to melt very quickly. All these areas are still very pretty (esp Appenzell which is where the story of Heidi is set), and many will have vistas of snow covered Alps in the distance, but very little chance of snow on the ground.

Now, for some bad news. December is traditionally the coldest month in Switzerland and Europe generally, so bring lots of warm cloths and layer yourself (you aren't used to it). Also, you will find rental prices for houses to be quite high Christmas week as obviously it is a very popular time. I would start looking now.

Are you interested in skiing and if so what is the ability level of skiers?
Cicerone is offline  
Feb 8th, 2006, 04:07 AM
  #6  
 
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I also agree that Scandinavia is your best bet. There are few hours of daylight in Dec in Scandinavia, so I don't think it's a good idea to spend Christmas there.

For a white Christmas and a rental chalet I recommend either high altitude villages in the Bernese Oberland (Mürren), Valais (Bettmeralp, Saas Fee, Verbier, Chandolin) or Graubünden (Klosters, Sedrun, Lenzerheide).

Other places do not have snow guarantee, or yet others do not have cosy rental chalets

I think Bettmeralp would be my choice.
Ingo is online now  
Feb 10th, 2006, 08:22 PM
  #7  
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Thanks so much to all of you for your considered and detailed responses...I really appreciate the advice. Just a clarification - the need for snow is NOT for skiiing. [grin] Nobody in my family can ski and actually don't have a big interest in it as its not something we do a lot of over here. The snow is for the 'White Christmas experience' and I would prefer to be a long way away from the big snowfields as I've found those areas are very expensive, and there will be many people there. I'm looking for a quiet little chalet in or near a small village.
marleman is offline  
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