Another Question about moving to London. Likely more to follow.
June 22, 2009 4:53 PM   Subscribe

I'm moving to the UK. I love snowboarding. What are my options?

Switzerland is right there! Or is it? Relatively cheap airfare and stellar mountains will be calling me. Can I take off from London and shred the Alps in a weekend? If so, where exactly? If not, could I make it in a 3-day weekend? Have you done this?

Living in Oakland, I am accustomed to leaving for Tahoe at 5pm friday and boarding all day sat and sun and returning late sunday night. Can I recrate this weekend in the UK? (Im not interested in indoor mountains of any kind) Thank you!
posted by ElmerFishpaw to Travel & Transportation around London, England (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
imho, French resorts are your best bet for convenience + terrain + affordability + fun. Depending on which UK airport you live near and which budget airways frequent them you can certainly do a ski weekend fairly easily at any one of a number of resorts, though Sunday will be a half day and a 3-day weekend is more appealing. If you are coming from a typical US job to a UK employer you will probably have so much vacation time you won't know what to do with it so this isn't as bad as it sounds.

It's going to cost a lot more: in transport, no camping out, and tickets will cost you more overall (thank you! Reno craigslist and your endless supply of cheap passes) but it's very doable.
posted by fshgrl at 6:35 PM on June 22, 2009

I had a friend from the UK who was a huge ski and snowboard enthusiast. While his preference was Courchevel and other places in the alps, there are actually places in the UK. Probably not fantastic options, certainly but something to keep you busy. I'm not sure where he preferred to go (his friend was actually a snowboard instructor at one of the places in the UK, perhaps a dry slope, not sure), but this site might be a good resource for you.
posted by necessitas at 6:41 PM on June 22, 2009

There is one resort in Scotland that sometimes has snow but other than that it's all dry slopes in the UK as far as I know.
posted by fshgrl at 9:16 PM on June 22, 2009

Eurostar runs a ski train that gets you and your snowboarding bits/bobs to the Alps in six hours from London, less from Kent, with no change of trains in Paris.
posted by mdonley at 12:24 AM on June 23, 2009

Places like Morzine and La Clusaz are within about an hour's transfer from Geneva; if you live close to an airport you can fly out early Friday, fly back late Monday and be out on the snow all four days.

Or you could reconsider your position on indoor mountains and take the opportunity to learn some freestyle - if you are anywhere near Leeds, come to Castleford XScape on a Tuesday night and introduce yourself to the huge friendly crowd of boarders that shows up. There's often kickers/boxes/rails out.
posted by emilyw at 12:42 AM on June 23, 2009

I moved to the UK 3 years ago and have been snowboarding in France 3 years running, much to the envy of my US friends. I have been to:
- La Tania
- Morzine
- Les Arcs

These are all on the French side of the alps which tend to be a bit cheaper. Still expensive mind you, but not like Switzerland.

We usually flew into Geneva and then either rented a car or last year we got picked up by the chalet.

If you are moving to the UK to work, in all likelihood you will get 4 weeks off for vacation (I know! I love that about this place) and in that case I would highly recommend you just take a full week for snowboarding. We usually go the St. Patrick's weekend in March as it's cheaper but still well within snow season.

In the past I have gone with groups of 8 up to 14 and we shared a chalet. Catered has been the best experience by far and not that much more expensive than self-catered and well worth the service. All inclusive I think I usually spend about £1000 on the whole trip. That's everything including: flights, food (both lunch and dinners), drinking (drinks are expensive!), one nice meal out, chalet, and all terrain passes for the week (although in retrospect I didn't even need that much for most of my trips). I did not have to rent my gear but it costs like £30 to put on Eurostar. Tip: My friend has a huge snowboard bag and I often pack mine in with his and split the cost.

I haven't gone inside the UK but a one day trip depends on where you are living in the UK. I would say it's only possible if you live in Scotland. I have heard good things about Cairngorn but it really varies by year (stupid global warming).

If you go boarding as often as it sounds like you do, I would totally pass on Xscape. It it really lame if you are at all proficient on a blue run.
posted by like_neon at 3:40 AM on June 23, 2009

Oops, I mean it costs £30 to put your board on Easyjet, not Eurostar.

Also, emilyw has a point that Xscape might be useful for meeting other boarders to go on trips with. A freestyle session when they put out rails and stuff would really be the best time.

Also, European slopes have button lifts. UGH. It's do-able on a board but I hate hate hate them and try to avoid them at all costs.
posted by like_neon at 3:43 AM on June 23, 2009

Scotland has five ski centres, weather dependent. But unless you're near enough to drive to them, possibly not much more convenient than flying to the Alps.
posted by penguin pie at 3:49 PM on June 24, 2009

Three day weekends in the French Alps are very do-able but get really expensive, very quickly.
posted by dmt at 6:05 PM on July 27, 2009

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