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October 10, 2006

Ski Europe on the Cheap

I spoke to Mike at Ski Pros Megeve last night. I posted about the guided trips that he does and his private lessons and skiing packages, but last night we finally stopped trading e-mails and talked for 30 minutes or so. I did a little math. From Phoenix, I can fly into Geneva for $750 round trip. Megeve is less than 50 miles away. Mike and I were discussing what exactly he does. He is not a "tour operator", but rather a guide. He assists with setting up hotel and other reservations, but for the most part, he does little other than point out the best bargains and best deals. He focuses on the skiing.

Mike will arrange to pick you up at the airport (usually himself in a van) and get you settled into your hotel. Basically, once you are on the ground, he makes sure your trip happens as planned. He spends the entire week doing private lessons and guiding you and your group around the mountains and out of bounds areas like a local would with his friends or family when they come to visit. Helps you find the best deals, best food, best time for your group. He takes care of ground transportation and takes you from resort to resort so that you get the very best experience possible. Oh, yeah, and what kind of instructor is he? We started talking shop about instructing and he has basically every kind of PSIA (US) or French Certification possible and has been instructing for 35 years.

He straight up ambushed me with his genorosity last night. First, he wants me to spread the word about what he is doing, which is never a problem. The guys is solid and knows his stuff. I am a good judge of character and of people and he is top shelf. Second, he said, "Look, come over here for yourself. Check the place out. I have room in my studio condo for you to stay. I will pick you up and take you out with one of my groups. Tell them you are my cousin from the US."

I am doing the math on a ski vacation to Europe. All things being equal, I don't view Aspen or Vail or US resorts as worthy of spending several grand to go spend a week. But I am insanely spoiled and spend 30+ days skiing per year. If I want to ski Colorado, I drive up and spend a few days and slum it. But here, we are talking $750 per person to fly into Geneva and even if all of the other travel costs were another $2000, that is doable. If I stay with Mike, I literally need to cover food and lift tickets (and those are the same as anywhere else) and I get to spend a week skiing in Europe for the cost of an airline ticket.

I am going to put together something with several of my buddies next year and come back with information about what we want to do and see. This is a scouting trip. If you are interested in heading over with us, let me know and drop me a contact e-mail. The more people we can get the cheaper it will be. Mike said he can work prices for us and I will have more info once I get to sit down with Mike.

UPDATE: I forgot to Put in the right link to Mike's site. Go over the check it out. The link above was to my previous article.

Posted by Justin at October 10, 2006 09:57 PM


europe is great for the life experience too.

you probably don't care about grooming, but their definition of it is much looser than america's so
trails tend to be less groomed. spaces and trails also tend to be huge, especially at the bigger destination resorts.

in general i don't think they are as snowsure as utah or colorado though. the snow is better than the northeasts or alberta, but not rockies light. maybe comparable to the sierra?

Posted by: arv at October 10, 2006 02:36 PM

The thing about skiing in Europe is that when you're done, you're in Europe! Very cool. They also know how to eat--no comparison to the greasy swill dished out at our BH, for example. People rarely ski off the pistes, so you get a lot of mountain to play with. A guide is a good idea, however, because the converse of their open boundary policy is that you're on your own if you fall into a crevasse or something.

The snow can be iffy for a spoiled Utah boy, but the scenery, food, and culture are not to be matched. Don't let the relatively cheap airfare and tickets fool you, though. With the weak dollar as against the Franc and the Euro, you still get killed on food, lodging, transportation, etc. If you're willing to slum a little, you can cut into that, especially if you stay out of restaurants and go to the local bakeries and grocery stores for your bread, cheese, chocolate and wurst. I've heard you can get good deals in little pensions, essentially people who rent out rooms in their basements and such, but I've never tried it because when I went, I stayed with family.

Let me know how it goes--sounds fun.

Posted by: Dan curriden at October 12, 2006 04:09 PM

i want to ski in spain..........suggestions, comments
thank you

Posted by: john at November 15, 2006 08:45 AM