Winter sports in France or do you prefer Austria?
In Europe the two major winter sports countries are France and Austria. Ofcourse it’s possible to ski and snowboard in moest of the European countries. However, most populair are France and Austria. And even though these countries are next to each other, they are still very different. Especially the culture and the slopes!
Austria seems to be more hospitable, friendly and cozy. In France the culture seems to be more reserved. Then how could this be a difficult choice you might think! The French slopes are most of the time so much bigger, wider and longer, so: less crowded. And the black slopes in France are real BLACK! In Austria the slopes are a tad easier to take…
This is why France is my favorite
I prefer France. I love the long, wide, empty slopes of La Plagne, Tignes, Le Corbier, Risoul, St Francois Longchamp…. Just so great. I love to make a day tour with my backpack on my back. Visiting some villages you come by. Having a lunch somewhere you’ve not been before. For me that is the ultimate winter sports holiday. I did this several years with my friend and my sister, before me daughters were born. But I’m really looking forward to have this kind of holidays again when my girls are big enough to join us on a day trip!
My experience with the French, is that they tend to yell at me on the slopes. ‘Pardon pardon!’ In my early horseback riding years, I learned an important lesson: when it would be necessary to keep an eye on everything behind you, your horse would have had mirrors. This principle also applies to snowboarding. That’s one thing the French still have to learn on the slopes. If you’re looking for more useful snowboardtips read my other post!
The French slopes versus the Austrian culture
The big difference between France and Austria is obviously the ambiance (gemütlichkeit). When you come by a cafe on the slopes in Austria, there’s always some music playing and beer mugs on the table. In France, you don’t hear anything, you only smell camembert. Honestly, I have to admit that I don’t no much ski area’s in Austria. I have had the opportunity, some years ago, to go snowboarding twice a year for some period. I used to went first to France for a week and then to Austria for 4 to 5 days with colleagues. The ski area we went to in Austria is called Axamer Lizum, in the regio Tirol. The snow wasn’t very good but we had a great time there. Azamer Lizum is a small ski area, there are only about 8 slopes, but several nice cafe’s next to the slopes.
2019: Kaprun is still on my bucket list
Kaprun is for almost 10 years on my bucket list, but it has not happened yet. Same with Saalbach Hinterglemm. In 2017 and 2018 I have been to the south of Germany, almost on the border with Austria, in Bolsterlang. I think the ambiance in the south of Germany is comparable with Austria. Nice cafe’s on the slopes, music, beer mugs… ! So despite my preference for the wide long French slopes, I really enjoy the ambiance in Austria and the south of Germany. That makes it difficult for me again to pick a destination for next year. But perhaps Kaprun holds the middle between those two things. Wide, long slopes and gemütlichkeit! I really should try Kaprun in 2019! To be continued.