Ski Weekends or short mid-week breaks, in Europe (Part 2)

Continuing on from my previous blog post: Where to Ski on the Weekends or short mid-week breaks. I am now going to give details of the ski resorts that it is possible to reach, for a short break or ski weekend :

Country: France

Morzine:
Airport: Geneva, access to resort by car, bus or taxi
Driving Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Short ski trip best suited for: Proximity to airport and good atmosphere

Morzine is a traditional resort just over one hour’s drive from Geneva airport. The skiing links directly into the huge ‘Portes du Soleil’ ski region and offers suitable terrain for all skier abilities. There is plenty of choice for accommodation including chalets and hotels both within the town and along the access road from Geneva. Morzine has a great atmosphere and is a perfect destination for a short trip with its proximity to Geneva airport. The best bet is to hire a car from the airport, but if you don’t fancy that then there are bus services available.

Chamonix:
Airport: Geneva, access to resort by car, bus or taxi (Train is possible but takes twice as long as a bus)
Driving Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Short ski trip best suited for: A very quick adrenaline blast and weekend party atmosphere

Chamonix is a large resort situated directly underneath Western Europe’s highest mountain, Mt Blanc. Its reputation for tough ski terrain and endless off piste opportunities is well deserved. The fact that the town is larger than most ski resorts means that there are many good choices of accommodation available for any length of time. In peak season, it is always better to book but I have personally turned up in Chamonix many times and secured a room for anything between 1 and 10 nights without pre-booking. There are bus options from Geneva airport but with a car you can be there in just over an hour as the roads are all very good.

Alpe d’Huez:
Airport: Grenoble, access to resort by car, bus or taxi
Driving Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Short ski trip best suited for: Good value late season skiing

Alpe d’Huez is not usually the first resort that people think of when it comes to short ski trips. But there are now some fairly decent options from the UK to Grenoble Airport. You do have to check the airlines as often the flights are only from Saturday to Saturday but Easy Jet and Ryanair do have mid week flights from some destinations as well. Later on in the season, the south facing slopes hold their snow due to the high altitude. The resort has a number of hotels that can be booked for short stays and in general it provides good value for money. If you do rent a car, then the added bonus of driving up the famous 21 hair pin bend road famed from the Tour de France annual epic cycle climb is a real bonus.

Country: Switzerland

Verbier:
Airport: Geneva, access by car, bus, train and taxi (some people take a helicopter too!)
Driving Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Short ski trip best suited for: Powder snow and party blast with loads of cash

Verbier is easily reached from Geneva airport with a variety of transport options. Renting a car at Geneva airport and driving around Lake Geneva provides the most flexibility but there are bus transfer options and also the train, which although requires 2 changes, is a relaxing and civilised way to travel through Switzerland. Verbier does have a reputation for being expensive but there are cheaper options for accommodation and if you want to spend a couple of days skiing hard then ‘The Bunker’ would be one option if you are prepared to share a room. If your budget will stretch a long way then book into a 5 star chalet, take the helicopter from Geneva airport, spend 2 or 3 nights partying hard and ski some of the best off piste terrain in The Alps.

Lausanne:
Airport: Geneva, Geneva, access by car, bus, train and taxi
Driving time: 40 minutes
Short ski trip best suited for: City and Ski based on Lake Geneva

Lausanne would not be your obvious choice of ski destination but with a handful of world-class ski resorts within around a one-hour drive it’s not a bad choice, if you want to explore different resorts and also go out in a city with a reputation for its weekend nightclub scene. The fact that you can drive there in around 40 minutes from Geneva airport makes the transfer easy and the choice of accommodation in the city ranges from all sizes and classes. Ski resorts such as Leysin, Les Diablerets and Chateau-d’Oex are all within around one hours driving time so as long as you don’t stay up all night in the city clubs, you can be on the slopes and skiing early.

Next time, I will look at short ski possibilities in other countries.

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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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