Austin Skiers



Chamonix, France

Texas Ski Council - Winter Expedition


january 31 - february 8, 2020

(Post trip - Sicily, IT)



Come on an exciting adventure to Chamonix, France with Austin Skiers on the Texas Ski Council Winter Expedition! Chamonix is located in the French Alps at the base of Europe's highest peak Mont Blanc. Check out this Video for a taste of skiing in the French Alps.

 

We leave Austin on January 31 and fly to Geneva, where we are transferred by bus to Chamonix, FR.





The Skiing

The 11 Chamonix ski areas have more than 170km of piste on which to cruise. The 4 main ski resorts are Grands Montets, Balme-Tour-Vallorcine, Brevent-Flegere & Les Houches. There are plenty of restaurants & bars to enjoy the famous food & wine at each resort.

The Chamonix area offers a sensational amount of skiing & snowboarding terrain, both on & off-piste. Chamonix has a network of more than 60 lifts, but they are not interconnected. Ninety percent of the skiing area is above 1900m and a long season is the norm with some lifts open into May.

Of the 4 main resorts, world class skiing can be found at Grands Montets, It’s primarily an advanced mountain with an abundance of steep off-piste terrain. There is an abundance of sunshine on the southeast facing slopes of the impressive Brevent-Flegere ski resort, the closest to Chamonix. With piste trails for all ability levels, a diverse off-piste, it’s an idyllic place to both ski/snowboard and gently acquire a tan while soaking in the stupendous views across the valley to Mont Blanc.

At Balme Tour Vallorcine ski resort you will find the most “mellow” of the Chamonix resorts above the villages of Le Tour (3 km further up valley from Argentiere) & Vallorcine (on the opposite side near the Swiss border). With no real advanced trails, it is best suited to beginner & intermediate skiers on the piste, while it has some tasty freeride powder offerings on the shaded north side under the chairlift & either side of the excellent valley trail into Le Tour. Tree lined slopes can be found at Les Houches ski resort, the lowest elevation of the main Chamonix ski areas. Located 8km down valley, it is a great spot for tree skiing or during a blizzard.

The Vallée Blanche is the most famous (& crowded) 20km long off-piste run in the world. It is accessed by a spectacular cable car up to the Aiguille du Midi (3,842 m), which when constructed in 1955 was the highest cable car in the world. In addition to wonderful views & incredible feats of engineering at the Aiguille du Midi, it also provides access to a host of other ski routes, many of them serious enough that you’re best advised not to try. Getting your head around the different types of ski passes for the Chamonix can be a complex task. See the Chamonix resort map showing the different lift pass areas here.

Lift tickets/passes
Chamonix actually has two different types of passes. The "Cham-Ski Pass" (Now called "Le-Ski), which is all of the Chamonix Areas. The other is called the "Mont Blanc Unlimited," which is all of the Chamonix Areas. PLUS much more. If people just want a 1-day pass, their best bet is to buy the pass On-Site as each area also has their own price. However, for this question, the 1-day Cham-Ski pass is: Adult ($51); Senior (64-79); and $26 for 81 and older. This is all based on 2019 pricing because 2020 rates are not yet available.

 
Accommodations and Resort

La Folie Douce Hotel

According to the Financial Time of London the La Folie Douce Hotel is "the Alps' most exuberant hotel."

The famous après ski bar and restaurant chain, La Folie Douce, which is well known throughout the Alps announced in May 2018 they were opening its’ first hotel property in Chamonix. La Folie Douce took over the former Club Med Chamonix and totally renovated the hotel. Of the 18 million euros invested, 15 was spent on renovation of the building. The hotel aims to cater for groups, party goers and families.

They held their opening night on December 21, 2018 - as you can tell from the video it was well attended! The hotel is ski-in/ski-out via a green slope with a draglift nearby that provides access to the main Plan Praz and on to the Brévent and Flégère ski areas. There are plans for several restaurants which will offer anything from a small snack to a 3-course meal throughout the day.

They have a plethora of amenities: 640 square metre spa with 8 massage rooms, 2 saunas and a steam room. In addition, they have Free WiFi, an outdoor heated pool with mountain views, a fitness room and yoga classes in the valley. You will have access to use of the spa at the hotel. There are 3 restaurants to sample in the evenings and a chill out wine bar for a calmer post ski experience to the “After Mountain” party. Located in downtown Chamonix, they are the only ski-in/ski-out hotel in the center of town. Check out this video of 30+ things to do in for non-skiers in Chamonix.

There will be a guide and hospitality desk each evening at the hotel.

Day Excursions:
There will be the following tours: Annecy, Aosta, Montreux and Lake Geneva. Skiers and non-skiers can also go to Courmayeur, visit the Aiguille du Midi, and spend at least one full day in Chamonix as well as take a bus trip to Verbier. The price will be updated when we know.

TSC Activities: All TSC participants in the trip will receive TSC credentials. Be sure to wear them for all TSC activities. The TSC Traditional activities will include welcome reception, farewell dinner and TSC Racing. Each club will have their own racing coordinator. There will be a "Gala TSC Party Night" at La Folie Douce or other location TBD.
 

Post trip Extension to Sicily, IT

ITINERARY:

Day 1: Chamonix/Milan/Palermo

Transfer by coach from Chamonix to Milan. Flight between Milan & Palermo, Sicily on Easy Jet. Arrival in Palermo airport and transfer by private coach to the hotel. Overnight.

Day 2: Palermo - Monreale - Palermo
Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning departure to Monreale for the visit of its splendid Cathedral covered of golden mosaics, the most extensive in the world after Santa Sofia in Istanbul and San Marco in Venice. Visit of the next Benedictine Cloister. At the end, return to Palermo for the visit of the Palatine Chapel,  located inside the Normanni Palace, the ancient real palace, and the Cathedral. We will follow along Corso Vittorio Emanuele, the ancient “cassaro”, straight down to the Quattro Canti, focus point of the city. Free time for lunch. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 3: Palermo – Segesta – Erice – Selinunte – Agrigento   
Breakfast at hotel and departure to Segesta: Visit of the Doric Temple. Then continue to Erice, a small medieval town perched on top of the mountain. Time for leisure to stroll and visit of the beautiful "Chiesa Madre," the gothic cathedral. Continue to a local farmhouse where you will have an Olive oil tasting and lunch in Selinunte area (beverage not included). After lunch departure to Selinunte: guided tour of the archaeological zone. Overnight at the hotel in Agrigento. Dinner and overnight.

Day 4: Agrigento – Piazza Armerina – Palermo 
Breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast, we visit the famous Valley of Temples of Agrigento , which was one of the greatest cities of the ancient Mediterranean world, it has been preserved in an exceptionally intact condition. The archaeological Park contains one of the great treasures of Greek still existing. The Doric temples, built in tuff sandstone, are still worth seeing today. The color of the temples changes from deep yellow to pink during sunset. The ‘’Valley of the Temples’’ is a World Heritage Site (UNESCO) since 1997. Departure to Piazza Armerina. Lunch in a local farmhouse with typical products. After lunch, visit the marvelous Villa Romana del Casale (UNESCO heritage) with its perfectly preserved mosaics dating from the late fourth century. A.D. The charm of the place is mainly due to the enchanting decorative mosaics, exceptional in their artistic quality and for their sheer size. Proceed to Palermo. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 5: Palermo – Cefalù – Palermo
Breakfast at the Hotel. Departure to Cefalù, an enchanting small village on the sea that offers a beautiful artistic view of colors and lights.  Visit of the impressive "Norman Cathedral” (UNESCO
heritage) which dates back to 1131. Free time to stroll among the small streets, which retain their medieval charm, full of elegant shops and jewellers. Return to Palermo. Tonight enjoy a Farewell Dinner at a local Restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.




Day 6: Palermo
Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to Palermo airport for departure flight to USA via Rome or Milan

The accommodations are all 4 Star - (Garibaldi in Palermo & Kaos in Agrigento) (or similar). Breakfast daily is included along with: English speaking tour guide for the entire program; entrance fees, local city taxes, transportation in 50 passenger bus with A/C.  Porterage of one piece of luggage per person at hotels. Tips for drivers and guides are also included. 

While you're in Italy, why not partake in one of Mainland Italy's best treats - Gelato.

However, you may not be familiar with the way Sicilians eat their gelato. You can find it in a cone or cup-like anywhere, but their preferred method of eating gelato is in a brioche. Make sure you choose your gelateria wisely. Look for natural (not crazy colors) as a sign of quality—a place with a sign that says “gelato artigianale” (artisan gelato) is usually a safe bet.

Just in case you want to check out the city layout of Palermo, here is a link to map that will allow you to get a better visual of where things are.

There is so much to see and do in Palermo you just don't have time to take it all in. You may not know this, but if you're a theatre buff you need to know, if you didn't already, that
at the top of Via Maqueda, you cannot miss Teatro Massimo Vittorio Emanuele, the third largest opera house in Europe, after Paris and Vienna. After the unification of Italy in 1861, Filippo and Ernesto Basile spent 20 years building this architectural masterpiece in classic style using local stone and marble


Flight Schedule: (SUBJECT TO CHANGE)

31 JAN  - BA 190    AUS / LHR        6:55PM – 10:05AM
01 FEB  -  BA 788    LHR / GVA      12:45PM – 3:35PM

08 FEB -    BA 723    GVA / LHR        7:30AM – 8:15AM
08 FEB -    BA 191    LHR / AUS      11:20AM – 4:00PM

































You must be a current Austin Skiers member to join a trip.

NOTE: Prices and air subject to change

Read Austin Skiers Trip Cancel Policy

Registration will open on August 23
at 12 noon

Trip Chair: Elisabeth Poigin



Email: Chamonix@austinskiers.org


Full Price: $2,380
(includes Air, lodging, Breakfast and dinner) 

Land Package: Price for Base Trip: $1,600

Single Supplement: $710
(additional cost)


(Without air or transfers unless your air coincides with group travel. All other amenities mentioned above are included.)

Sicily, IT Extension: $1,685
(double occupancy)

Single Occupancy: $2,345


*A passport is required for this trip.  You will need your passport number and expiration date to register. It needs to be VALID 6 months beyond the return date of the tour.

$400 DEPOSIT REQUIRED PER PERSON. MAKE CHECK PAYABLE TO AUSTIN SKIERS AND MAIL IT TO THE TRIP CHAIR. YOUR SPOT IS NOT SECURE UNTIL WE RECEIVE YOUR DEPOSIT CHECK. FULL PAYMENT IS DUE on 11/08/19

 
* If you choose to pay the balance of your trip via credit card tell your trip chair so that an invoice can be generated via PayPal. (A 3% merchant fee will be applied.) 

* DO NOT PAY WITH A CREDIT CARD VIA OUR WEBSITE! 

* Many credit cards provide free trip insurance with payment of a trip.  This could save you 6-8% on your trip. Check with your credit card provider regarding the scope of coverage. 

Trip insurance is offered by the tour operator:  Contact the Trip chair for more information





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