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Spring skiing ( Swiss Alps) Grindelwald or Charmonix

Planning a trip in mid April of this year to visit, I was wondering what area would provide for a enjoyable day of skiing accompanied by the overall Swiss Alps or breathtaking views of mountains.? I like the idea of visiting Mt.Blanc just for the sheer factor of how high and impressive it looks. Tough choice. Thoughts?

Posted by
18837 posts

I think you'll have much better snow in Chamonix that time of year. Higher elevation, especially at Argentiere with all the slopes facing north. Grindelwald is fairly low and the slopes at First are all south facing. Better on the Kleine Scheidegg side, but even in late January, I found the lower slopes in the shadow of the Eiger were very icy.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks for the reply, are the slopes at Argentiere near the top and mostly backcountry/ off groomers? I'm looking for something with chairlifts and a groomed runs. ( my uncle is going with me)

My apologies, I got Aiguille du Midi confused with Argentiere.

Posted by
18837 posts

Argentiere (Grands Montets) is known for its off piste skiing, but has plenty of intermediate groomers.

Posted by
437 posts

Mid-April is fairly late for many areas in Europe. The closing dates for ski season for the areas in the Berner Oberland is April 19 with some as early as March 29.

Argentière is an excellent suggestion and stays open until May 5, although other areas near Chamonix close April 19.

Enjoy the planning and the trip!

Posted by
6933 posts

My one European ski trip, in March 2003, was a week in Zernatt and a week in Chamonix, mostly with guides for our group. Technically, Chamonix is in the French Alps, although from Chamonix you can go thru a long tunnel to Courmayeur in Italy, where we had one great day.

Argentiere had the only powder that whole trip. But Le Brevent was the one place I skied totally on my own, with great, safe groomed slopes and fantastic views - you’re directly across from Mt. Blanc and the Agui du Midi, and you can walk to the lifts from right in the village of Chamonix.

Posted by
18837 posts

Brevent and La Flegere close April 19, Les Houches April 13, Grands Montets (Argentiere) May 3.
Aiguille du Midi closes May 31.

Posted by
5591 posts

Mid-April is fairly late for many areas in Europe.

Which is the reason I suggested Riksgränsen, they usually close for the season in late May or early June.

Posted by
8 posts

Due to time crunches, I can only explore Charmonix, and miss Interlaken. Do you think it'll be worth missing the classic " swiss alps" areas just for Charmonix alone? Otherwise the choice is just skip Charmonix and go directly to Interlaken?. Either that or knock Prague off my trip.. And do both

Posted by
18837 posts

Chamonix is by the highest mountains in the Alps. Pretty spectacular (if the weather cooperates, but that holds for anywhere in the Alps).

But other than your post about Neuschwantstein and Garmisch, we don't have the overall picture of this trip.

Posted by
8 posts

There's 3 options presented to me.

Day 1 land, free day to explore Paris

Day 2: if Versailles is too long or not as important, use this day to see the Louvre/Eiffel Tower or other attractions in Paris

Day 3: I think it makes sense to wait until this day to do Normandy (so this is the same as option 1). I think you will appreciate being less jet lagged.

Day 4: train to Geneva and then on to Chamonix. There is a bus that goes from Geneva to Chamonix---the train takes almost twice as long.

Day 5 If Mont Blanc is high on your list, Chamonix is the place to stay. On a clear day, you can see it from the city center (I got lucky one day!)

Day 6: Chamonix--lots of hiking and outdoor activities in the area

Day 7 Chamonix

Day 8: bus back to Geneva, fly to Munich, rent a car and drive to Garmisch (about 1.5 hours)

Day 9: day to explore Garmisch---you can get to more hiking options with a car. Ettal is a beautiful town about 30 minutes away.

Day 10 Head up to Zugspitze (you will still take the train, but you can drive up to Lake Eibsee

and start from there if you like (this is a nice 2 hour or so walk around the lake with gorgeous views)

Day 11: one more day in the Garmisch area. They is plenty to keep you busy.

Day 12 drive to Füssen in the morning (about 1 hour---public transport is 2-2.5 hours), see Neuschwanstein in the afternoon

Day 13: morning to explore the area a bit, drive back to Munich (about 2 hours), fly to Prague

Day 14: Prague

Day 15: Prague (or a day trip)

Day 16 I would suggest taking the 3:15pm flight to Paris, so you will have the morning to explore

May 3: fly home

Posted by
18837 posts

A few comments.

1, Looks like you already have r/t tickets to Paris. Depart April 16, return May 3.
2. The projected day of flight from Geneva to Munich (April 24 or thereabouts) tickets are 388 CHF pp (~$400). Lufthansa has a lock on this route and is charging monopoly rates. On the other hand, Swiss has a flight to Prague for only 100 CHF. Slight problem as there appears to be only 1 flight and it is first thing in the morning.
3. So you could go to Prague first and then back to Munich for that section of the trip.
4. Be aware that May 1 is Labor Day in Europe, and as it will be a Friday, everybody will be traveling that weekend.
5. As far as the choice between Chamonix and Berner Oberland, this discussion began as a place to ski in mid/late April. If that is still in the cards, then Chamonix is indeed the place. But as far as hiking goes, it will be mud season in the upper mountains as the snow pack will be melting. In that case, it's a toss-up. Trip logistics will be much easy if you choose Berner Oberland. You could take a train as far as Lindau, Germany and rent your car there and head straight to Fuessen and Garmisch-Partenkirchen and bypass Munich.