Ski Showdown: Austria vs France

Barely a week goes by without one or another of us jetting off to the snow at the moment (leaving the rest of us behind…in the snow) so we thought I’d try get to the bottom of the Austria vs France debate that rages on in the office. Andy from the Tech Team and Joe our resident DJ and Marketing Analyst are both fresh back from the slopes and you guessed it…each is claiming that their holiday was the best! So I gave them a grilling:

What Level Skier Are You?

J: I’m an adventurous beginner, this was my second ski holiday but I like to push myself to go down the odd black run and have a go on the ski park.

A: Thanks to numerous ski trips I think I can safely call myself a good skier and look for a resort with lots of challenging runs.

Where did you go?

J: Tignes in France, a really pretty mountainous resort with hardly any trees so the views were amazing! There’s a good selection of runs, with plenty to keep beginners and more experienced skiers happy.

A: Kirchberg, part of the famous Kitzbuehel area, best known for some really crazy black runs and the famous Hahnenkamm races. It’s definitely more of a resort for people who’ve been a few times in the past because their run labelling is generous to say the least, with some blue runs more likely to pass as black in other resorts!

Tignes – photo by girolame

Where did you stay?

J: In a UCPA hostel in the heart of the resort – so close to the slopes in fact that you could walk a short way from the piste and then slide down a hill right to the door! We were in bunk rooms with a shared bathroom and all our meals were included so we really got to know everyone.

A: In a two-star guest house run by a pair of crazy Antipodeans – we also had all our meals included so it was really simple. They also arranged the transfer which was great, the less work the better!

How was the après ski?

J: I have to say I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t more lively. Maybe I just wasn’t “in the know” but there were few bars and the resort was quite quiet. I did manage to get fairly tipsy on genepi though, a strong local liqueur a bit like absinthe, and we may have taken a few “illicit” beers into the hostel!

A: It helped that we were there for a stag do, but I was also disappointed with the après-ski this year. The previous time I’d been it was really lively – Austrians on tables, that sort of thing – but I think the cold kept people away. That didn’t stop the bar staff taking us under their wing and keeping us up clubbing til 7am though!

And what about the food?

J: We went out for fondue one night which was totally delicious. The rest of the time we stayed at the hostel and saved our money because we had all our meals included.

A: I think I ate almost my own bodyweight in Wiener schnitzel and goulash soup and I don’t regret it for a moment.

Kirchberg – photo by sportandsocial

Tell me your holiday best bit

J: I was really glad I took lessons (€20 for the week thanks to the hostel – bargain!) as I got the confidence to go to the ski park and particularly enjoyed the air bag which let you launch yourself off a jump safe in the knowledge that you would land safely. That even inspired me to try a small ski park jump and I GOT AIR!

A: I’m just always so happy to get back on the pistes. I couldn’t believe I got two and a half days skiing for only one day off work – it would have been three days if not for a “slight malaise” that appeared the morning after the night before!

Was your holiday value for money?

J: Definitely!

A: Absolutely! Apart from how much I spent on alcohol….

And finally, one for the snowboarders out there, were there many button lifts?

J: Yeah I wouldn’t want to be a boarder when it comes to those lifts. Not too many but a couple of really evil ones.

A: Not all that many – I think I only had to take one – it was mostly chair lifts and gondolas. Some of the runs weren’t great for boarders though with some pretty hefty flat sections I had to pull my friends on some of them!

The Verdict:

So, it’s time for the verdict, I can’t put it off any longer. Although it’s looking like a close call. I think though, as a boarder at heart I’ll have to go France, as the sound of those flat sections really put me off. I suspect this won’t be the last of it though.

Want to check it out for yourself? Try our France holiday search or our Austria holiday search, or plenty of other regions in our ski deals section.

Top image by Skistar Trysil