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January may be the ideal month to take a European ski trip, to hit the slopes of Zermatt or Grindelwald or Kitzbühel and spend a full week skiing and dive deep into the rich ski lifestyle that Europe offers.
Why January? Start with airfares. In January, they typically run in the mid-$500 roundtrip from JFK to Zurich for example, less than half of what they often are the rest of the year and maybe a third of the cost of summer fares.
When you ski in January you benefit from relatively empty slopes and avoid the endless weeks of crowds courtesy of European school vacations that start in February. The Dutch, the Germans, the Swiss, the French and English et al, all seem to have different designated weeks and often overlap. It’s something worth missing.
Ah, but where to go? For seriously well-planned European ski trips, I always turn to Chips Lindenmeyr, founder of Lindenmeyr Travel in Manhattan. Lindenmeyr offers the personal touch in planning a European ski trip. She’s known for inspecting every hotel she sells – it’s a short and very refined list — and for personally knowing managers and staff. It’s why legion of Wall Streeters and well-heeled East Coasters have relied on her services for more than three decades when they plan their winter trip to France and Italy, Switzerland and Austria. If you have a mind to ski in the Arlberg or the Dolomites or Trois Vallees, she’s the one to call.
So I asked for her sage advice on a January trip. She came up with four destinations, adding that value can be remarkable for those heading to Europe to ski
“You can go Sass Fee all-in for a week with two meals daily in a four-star hotel, lift tickets and a roundtrip first class rail ticket on Swiss Rail from Zurich,” Lindenmeyr says. “That will run you about $2,000 before airfare.”
Now bear in mind that her seven-night trips are in fact eight-night trips. Why? Because that eighth night is spent in a gateway city like Zurich or Munich, the better to avoid an exhausting middle-of-the-night departure from the resort to get to the airport in the early hours for your flight home.
Prices are based on today’s exchange rates of $0.95/CHF or $1.15/€ and are for 8 nights, with a Friday departure and Sunday return, and naturally based on availability.
Saas Fee, Switzerland
The four-star Hotel Allalin in Saas Fee offers a stay-seven-pay-six for the month starting at $2,080.00 per person. It’s a great deal and includes round trip first class rail ticket from Zurich, seven nights in a standard double room, a buffet breakfast & four-course dinner daily, a 6-day adult all-area Saas Fee ski pass and an 8th Night at the five-star Hotel Storchen in Zürich.
The four-star superior Hotel Belvedere in Grindelwald is offering 20 CHF/person off for week-long stays plus a possible additional 5% non-refundable discount for reservations made 7/40 days prior to arrival. The offer is good from January 10th and the package price of $2,860.00 (without the 5%) includes round trip first class rail ticket from Zurich, seven nights in a standard double, buffet breakfast and a five-course dinner daily, use of the pool and spa facilities, a 6-day adult all-area Jungfrau ski pass and an 8th Night at the five-star Hotel Storchen in Zürich.
Stay at the four-star superior Le Mirabeau in Zermatt. Their January offer is to stay 7, pay 6 for these January dates: January 2/February 6, 2020. Rates start at $2,680.00 per person and include round trip first class rail from Zurich, seven nights in a standard double, buffet breakfast and five-course dinner daily, use of the hotel pool and spa facilities, a 6-Day adult International Zermatt/Cervinia ski pass and an 8th Night at the five-star Hotel Storchen in Zürich.
The five-star Hotel Rosengarten in Kirchberg/Kitzbühel is home to Restaurant Simon Taxacher, which has two Michelin stars. There’s a stay 7, pay 6 on these January dates: January 5/21 & January 26/February 6, 2020. Estimated pricing starts at $2,240.00 per person. The package includes a round trip motor coach transfer from Münich Airport, seven nights in a standard double, buffet breakfast and four-course dinner daily, use of the spa facilities, 6-day adult Kitzbühel all-area ski pass and an eighth night at the four-star superior Hotel Cortiina in Münich.