European ski areas are principally focused on a town whose older quarters have been around for hundreds of years but are now overwhelmed by modem hotels, condominiums, chalets, and shopping centers. In the Arlberg, even the newest hotels are architecturally harmonious with buildings 200 years old. In France, the newest are dramatic structures harmonious with the Alps.

Housing facilities have undergone a remarkable change over the years. On my first ski trip to France, in the 1970s, skiers stayed only in hotels or pleasant pensions, the European equivalent of a B&B. Today, modem condominium complexes are widely available. But be aware that
when Europeans claim an apartment sleeps six, it will actually be comfortable for four.

Traditional hotels and pensions, small by American standards, are awarded up to five stars according to the number of amenities offered. As a rule of thumb, choose a facility of three stars or higher.

You’ll normally get the best deal at a hotel if you accept it’s breakfast - dinner meal plan. Generally, the manager will allow you to substitute lunch for dinner on the nights you want to dine out.

More about Skiing:
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Ratings - Part 2

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