Alpine Road Trip – 3 Countries in 6 Days

Independent travel can really provide you with some flexible options in the Alps as Snow.Guide Ski Editor, Rob Stewart, recently found out when he hired a Budget Rental vehicle at Geneva Airport and travelled to three countries in six days.

Day 1 – Geneva to Verbier, Switzerland

Driving in the Alps is easier than most people imagine – all cars from Budget come with winter tires as standard from Geneva Airport and for anyone used to driving in snow with standard tires, you’ll really feel the difference. The other factor is how well the roads are prepared in the Alps – it’s normal to drive in snow and therefore the roads are cleared fast.

Most of the time, even during the winter, the main roads aren’t covered in snow anyway and in fact, on this occasion in late January it was clear all the way to Verbier, just under two hours’ gentle driving from Geneva Airport.

Day 2 – Verbier, Switzerland

World class ski resort Verbier is best known for its challenging terrain and après ski ambience – I made sure I experienced both, with a fantastic days skiing on some of the classic routes such as Tortin and Mt Fort – check out our video resort report:

Day 3 – Verbier to Saint Vincent, Italy

The drive across the Grand St Bernard pass is majestic, crossing into Italy through a long tunnel under the famous monastery and down into the Aosta Valley. My destination is the Saint Vincent Resort and their Grand Hotel and Parc Hotel Billa – a four and five star residence with Italy’s largest casino and five restaurants. It’s simply stunning, with a world class spa, food and hospitality only the Italians can truly pull off in style. It’s just a two hour drive from Verbier, so I was there in time for lunch and an afternoon swim.

Hotel Billia Italy

Hotel Billa spread at The Saint Vincent Resort, Italy.

Day 4 – Ski Cervinia, Italy

It’s snowing heavily but we drive up to the ski resort of Cervinia, home of the most famous mountain in the Alps – The Matterhorn or of course as the Italians call it, The Cervin. There’s powder snow on the pistes, some of which are the longest in the world and we stop for an Italian lunch in Chalet Etoile, renowned for being one of the best mountain restaurants in Europe.

Skiing in Cervina

Day 5 – Saint Vincent to Val d’Isère, France

A longer drive today, but what an amazing one. Firstly up to Courmayeur where the sun was rising and hitting the peaks of the My Blanc range. Through the Mt Blanc Tunnel and into the Chamonix Valley in France – it had snowed the day before and now the sun was out, spectacular. From there, up to Megeve and a quick croissant stop, the thermometer gauge showed – 18 degrees centigrade so I ate my croissant in the car. I arrived in Val d’Isère for lunch and skied that afternoon in fresh snow and sunshine.

Day 6 – Val d’Isère with Henry’s Off-Piste

Val d’Isère, possibly the worlds ultimate ski resort – it has it all, including renowned avalanche expert Henry Schniewind of Henry’s Off-Piste. I joined Henry for a one day course, consolidating some of my skills in mountain safety, avalanche risk and transceiver (avalanche beacon) search. Not only did we learn a lot, we got to ski some powder too and explored some of the easily accessible terrain over on the Tignes side of the area.

With henry off-Piste in val d'isere

With Henry from Henry’s Off-piste courses in Val d’Isere.

Day 7 – Val d’Isère to Geneva Airport

The three hour drive to Geneva Airport completed my journey – 3 countries, 3 ski resorts, some great food and an Opel Astra…what more could a skier ask for?

About Budget

budget-logoBudget Car Rental is one of the world’s best-known car rental brands with approximately 3,350 locations in more than 120 countries. Budget is an industry leader in providing vehicle rental services to value-conscious travellers and also operates the second-largest truck rental business in the United States, through a network of approximately 1,650 locations.
For further information, visit www.budget.co.uk.

Winter Products

From Austria and Switzerland, to Canada and beyond, Budget understand a winter holiday can be fantastic fun. However, driving in snowy or icy conditions can be daunting. Wherever you’re going, Budget’s range of winter products are designed for your safety and convenience.  If you are planning to drive in snowy conditions or are taking your annual ski holiday, Budget want to make your car rental experience easier, safer and more convenient.
That is why they offer a range of Winter Products including:

  • Snow Tyres
  • Snow Chains
  • Ski Racks

The larger cars in the Budget range are perfect for ski-trips and will make that transition from airport to resort simple and stress free, leaving you in the best mind-set to hit the pistes.
For further details, see: Budget Winter Products & Options.

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Robert Stewart

Ski Editor at Snow.Guide

Rob has extensive knowledge and experience of winter sports and has been qualified to instruct and teach Alpine Skiing for over 25 years. He is also an experienced off-piste and backcountry skier and has competed in freestyle and freeride events around the world. Now a full-time ski writer and Director of Ski Press, Rob is Snow.Guide’s Ski Editor and contributes to many other snowsports, national and lifestyle publications.

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