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Ski Weekend Reccomendations

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Afternoon all, looking for some ideas about weekend ski options.

I go most years for a trip with pals (4-6 blokes early 40s) and our usual trip is early morning flight to Geneva on a Thursday, drive to Chamonix and on the slopes in the afternoon and fly back Monday morning.

Although we love Chamonix we have done the same trip a few times now and was looking for ideas where we can still get on the slopes the same day as travelling. Preferably somewhere that also has a bit of life in the evening (we enjoy a few beers in the bars once or twice while we are there but not looking for nightclubs etc).

Any suggestions on alternative locations that have the same mix of travel speed / convenience and a good resort with some life?

Cheers
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
From Geneva; Morzine, Verbier.
From Turin; Sauze d'Oulx
From Innsbruck; St. Anton. Ischgl

All except Verbier are around 1hr from the airport. Verbier 1.5 - 2hrs. All have great skiing and a vibrant apres-ski, nightlife
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Eurowings open a new direct route this winter: Stansted to Salzburg.

Departures are every evening except Saturdays, so you won't ski on arrival day, but you'll ski most of the departure day. A 90 min car or shuttle transfer will give access to Bad Gastein, Zell am See, Saalbach Hinterglemm Ski Circus and more. Kitzbühel would not be much further.
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@quinton, or 45 mins to 1 hr to get to Flachau. Just over an hour to schladming
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Thanks for that. I also forgot to mention, being able to rent an apartment for 4 nights is also part of the requirement. That is where Chamonix really wins out. I have struggled to find anywhere else with the same level of availability but Verbier looks promising.

I had always assumed it was a much longer transfer but that could be the new favourite!
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There is a website called skiweekends.com. Not used them though
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From Zürich: Flumserberg, Engelberg, Flims/Laax, Lenzerheide. All under 2 hours from the airport by train or under 1h30 by car.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@TFC1, from Geneva, Megeve or possibly St Gervais
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Your accommodation is the tricky bit.

But really, Geneva or Zürich have to optimal airports for frequency of flights and ease of transfer. I Know Munich is also well flight served but I think rather longer transfers.

GVA: Morzine/Les Gets/Flaine/Les Carroz/Aravis/Clusaz etc? Loads of potenial options of you can find beds.
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What can seem great for someone looking for a long weekend (Thursday to Monday) can seem awful to someone providing the accommodation (Thursday to Monday cuts into two weeks). You may improve your chances by booking Weds to Sunday or Sunday to Thursday. Or just booking a cheap week and binning the back end.
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Have managed to do short ones in morzine, St anton, and les arcs (Arc 1800), though les arcs involved a late flight, crashing in a cheap as possible hotel in an industrial estate outside Lyon airport and then driving to resort super early. Previously the intercities de nuit from Paris to Bourg st Maurice would have been useful to you, but unfortunately I believe they have all been axed now
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@TFC1, Cham, Verber, Morzine - weekend accommodation easy

St. Anton, Ischgl - less so in my experience but can be done. Just got to try harder Toofy Grin
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@nozawaonsen, absolutely true if Sat-Sat /Su-Su linked.

but not so much these days. Outside of vacances scolaires, many (French especially) letting agents don't really expect bookings (ok, my data on that is about 8 years old). If you have the capability to do mid week changeovers, then a slightly more expensive by the night long weekend might be bonus.

+ the internet. We can (or, at least could - fingers crossed we can replicate the capability this winter) changeover on any day and so we found this winter especially that we were actually filling up with lots of odd dates. Even to the extent of people reserving "weird" availabilities (e.g. Mon-Thur) in between existing short bookings and finding cheap transport around that.
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I'd go with Morzine if you've not done it before. Good early nightlife, but not exactly party central after midnight. Quite a lot of accommodation available for weekends, easy to get to from Geneva, loads of skiing available across PDS.

Quite a few companies organise weekend trips, but if you find accommodation it is easy and cheap enough to get from Geneva with a few of you on private transfers so probably don't need hire car.
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Thanks all. the easy bit about Chamonix is there is plentiful accommodation in apartments as well as all the other bits. I have found a really good deal in Verbier which would be an option but will definitely look again at Morzine as that would also work well.

Cheers
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Fly to Zurich, train to St Anton. Job done.
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I did Les Houches in a weekend last year. We got the Friday off work. Got the early BA flight from Heathrow which gets into Geneva around 9.30, this got us into resort a little after 11. Skied all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday (popped over to Chamonix on Saturday - it's quick on the bus) and got an evening flight home Sunday night. Very easy and was completely affordable.
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I would expect you would find accommodation in Morzine and Les Gets. Flaine + Les Carroz not so sure.

While I would expect most owners to have rates and avail up by now, many probably don't.

Book your flights and leave destination till later.

What dates are you looking at anyway?
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@ under a new name - It is usually mid to end of January
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Gämsbock wrote:
From Zürich: Flumserberg, Engelberg, Flims/Laax, Lenzerheide. All under 2 hours from the airport by train or under 1h30 by car.


Lenzerheide in less than two hours by train? You'll be lucky, more like two-and-a-half hours given that you have to change at Zurich Hauptbahnhof and then to a bus at Chur!

Very nice place, though!!! Very Happy
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@TFC1, should be OK then.
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@TFC1,
I've done a lot of ski weekends mid to late January and I personally think @halfhand, nailed the top shortlist (given you already know Chamonix!).
The one I'd add is Engelberg (Zurich)
These days I do weekend trips to Les Contamines and naturally pop out for a few beers Very Happy but I'd say it's a bit quiet for you.
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@jedster, how easy are weekend apartments in Evasion-MB? That is, I think, the tricky bit, no?
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@TFC1, why those logistics? i.e. when I used to do weekends (of which I have done very, very, many) we'd typically get the last flight out of an evening (so no missed skiing next day) and last flight out on last day. Sounds like this doesn't add hotel nights onto your typical trip but adds skiing and reduces time out on day travelling back?

Given it's a weekend I'd be looking for shared transfers as well, no hire car and walking to everything.
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@LOTA, my bad - I was going on the times on the Swiss Winter Sports website which are clearly a little optimistic! I have only been there by car. But it is lovely Happy

The big advantage for many of the Swiss resorts for the OP is that it's much easier to get long weekend accommodation.
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Quote:

@jedster, how easy are weekend apartments in Evasion-MB? That is, I think, the tricky bit, no?


In January accommodation is never problem - almost anywhere. And from personal experience I know it is true in Les C and St G.
The point I always make is that you tend to get better options nearer the time - property owners will be a bit reluctant to block two weeks by selling a long weekend months in advance but by NY everyone is flexible.
Personally I have tended to use hotels. They will often sell January weekends from December when they know they won't be selling out.
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@jedster, accommodation is never a problem, sure, but at an acceptable price? My question was more aimed at whether EMB stations had sufficiently arranged capacity to do non Sat changeovers - i.e. if all changeovers are done on Saturdays by workers who are doing Mon-Fri work, it has more of an impact to accept non-Sat-Sat bookings.

When we started in Chamonix 11 (gulp) years ago, it was really, really rare to find someone (well, at least to the extent of the efforts we expended) to do mid-week changeovers and thusly anyone prepared to do non-Sat dates.

EMB has always (on limited experience) to be rather more French (I know there are at least 3 English owners as there's you and I've met 2 others) and they also tend to be more Sat-Sat in thinking.
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Isn't it better to do Saturday to Tuesday/Wednesday, so that you're not messing up 2 weeks of bookings for an owner?
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@Badbobby, I'd say yes, if you're already flying (thus losing) the first morning's skiing anyway.

We used to do lots of Friday night-Sunday night trips and obviously that wouldn't work so well.
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Quote:

? My question was more aimed at whether EMB stations had sufficiently arranged capacity to do non Sat changeovers - i.e. if all changeovers are done on Saturdays by workers who are doing Mon-Fri work, it has more of an impact to accept non-Sat-Sat bookings.

Ah OK see what you mean.
That's a fair question and you may be on to something.
We have (in the past) had Thu and Fri "changeovers" on places we have rented but it has really just been a check in or picking up the key. These days we rarely arrive or leave our place on a Sat because we like to avoid peak traffic and squeeze in 8 days. The folks that do our changeovers quite like it because it sheds some load from Saturday when they are flat out. Also remember that a weekend booking is normally preceded and followed by a void so the cleaning, laundry etc can be done more flexibly in that empty period.

All that said, at one point we feared that the guy managing our place was losing interest and we put some feelers out to see if we could find a fallback option. Not much joy! Very happy that he still wants to do it. So you may be right that there isn't much capacity. Personally I'd have thought there was a decent business to be run providing the service.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

Isn't it better to do Saturday to Tuesday/Wednesday, so that you're not messing up 2 weeks of bookings for an owner?


Probably would be cheaper but less efficient use of holiday allowance which is a key consideration for me. I like to do my travelling on a work day, perhaps sneaking off a bit early to arrive late in the evening. You can fly v early on the Sat and get half a day in but those early Sat flights are normally expensive and cut in to your savings on the accommodation.
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@jedster, the last few years we've been increasing accepting "odd" dates and that suited our manager as Saturdays are just so manic. He's just left and the new folks who will hopefully work out are also very happy to shift burden off Saturdays.

I know there's a good business model in Cham at least as our friends who ran the apts for us in the first few years were earning more then in numbers terms than they are in two "real" jobs back in the UK - and they're having to work a lot harder for it. (And don't get to live in the mountains...)

It has its challenges not least of which is finding reliable staff however. And clients. Always clients.
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Quote:

@TFC1, why those logistics? i.e. when I used to do weekends (of which I have done very, very, many) we'd typically get the last flight out of an evening (so no missed skiing next day) and last flight out on last day. Sounds like this doesn't add hotel nights onto your typical trip but adds skiing and reduces time out on day travelling back?



Given it's a weekend I'd be looking for shared transfers as well, no hire car and walking to everything.


Part tradition and partly family logistics agreed with better halfs over the years.

We have agreed it will be 4 nights and an early flight back on the Monday so we can all get back into work in the PM. Seems to work well as we get three and a half days on the slopes and also means we aren't rushing to pack and travel the same day as being on the slopes. Very Happy
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@TFC1, hmm, depending where you fly from leaving Thursday night last flight, ski all day Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon back late Mon night gets you 4 full ski days at no additional nights or time off work.

I.e. travel when you can't ski.
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I did a weekend in the Arlberg a few years back, using evening flights in & out of Friedrichshafen airport and a cheap apartment in one of the villages in Klostertal, just west of Stuben and the Arlberg. Commuted to Lech & St Anton, but now with the new links at Alpe Rauz, the links to Warth/Schrocken and new Albona lifts at Stuben, it would be even easier to access the skiing. There's also the Sonnenkopf area nearby. A great back-door into a world-class ski area, pretty quiet of an evening though.
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Another long weekender was using evening flights to Venice and then an overnight in Belluno before heading up to Alleghe the following morning. A very pretty 80km ski area locally, plenty of B&Bs/hotels will take weekend bookings. The Marmolada is a 30min skibus ride away. Had a day in Venice on the way back before catching the evening flight home, but equally we could have skied that day.

Lots of medium size resorts in the Dolomites fairly easily accessible from the Venice airports, though they are often fairly quiet of an evening.
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We have an apartment in a Verbier satelllite (La Tzoumaz) and it's noticeable that over the past few years we've had more bookings that are obviously long weekends. Because we're willing to be flexible, our agency points these in our direction. So What I'd suggest is you contact a few agents in Verbier and ask - you'll probably find someone on their books who is like us. We charge minimum of a week's fee whether a client uses 6 nights or not, but they can book weekday-to-weekday.

When you're looking at Swiss rentals, the number of rooms is the number of bedrooms+1 so if you want 3 bedrooms that's a 4-room place. Checking our agent's website, a 4-room apartment in La Toumaz would be between CHF 900-2000 (£750-£1,700) depending on the week and nearness to télécabine. See http://www.carron-immobilier.ch/en/rent?property_type=&category_id=&fields=&option=com_osproperty&task=property_advsearch&Itemid=314&show_advancesearchform=0&searchmoduletype_id_1=1%2C2%2C3%2C4%2C5%2C7&searchmoduletype_id_2=1%2C2%2C3%2C4%2C5%2C7&searchmodulefield_ids= Obviously, expect to pay more for central Verbier. (This isn't a subtle sales pitch - our apartment would be too small for 6 and tight for 4, as it's only 2 bedrooms)

Both Swiss and now Powdair fly UK-> Sion, which is only 30-40 minutes from Verbier 4 Vallées so they're worth looking at. Sion would also be near to Crans-Montana or a train Sion->Brig->Zermatt. I wouldn't recommend Nendaz as the link to the rest of the 4 Valleys is limited.

An alternative might be to stay in the Rhone valley and go out to multiple ski resorts using a Magic Pass (https://www.valais.ch/en/information/landingpage/valais-skicard/information) This covers 25 ski resorts in the Valais for CHF 399 (£331) for the whole season. But there is a finite stock so you'd have to buy soon. Also, it obviously favours people who are going to return or do a longer trip, but might still be a bit cheaper than just paying as you go. The resorts in the scheme are around the Martigny-Sion area of the Rhone Valley, SE of Lake Geneva. The one area not in the scheme is the 4 Vallées i.e. Verbier-La Tzoumaz-Bruson-Nendaz-Veysonnaz.
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Does it have to be Geneva?

e.g. Chambery or Grenoble may open up other possibilities

Not suggesting this for a minute, but we have been on the slopes in Tignes each afternoon the last 2 years using an early Chambery flight - and that was TO bus transfer too, so car would be even quicker.
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Hey Verbier has a game changer with Powdair flying directly to Sion which is a 40 minute transfer to the Verbier ski resort.

https://www.facebook.com/VerbierSuisse/posts/1390321414394585:0


Some awesome apres ski and miles and miles of pistes...

And yes we have great night clubs


halfhand wrote:
From Geneva; Morzine, Verbier.
From Turin; Sauze d'Oulx
From Innsbruck; St. Anton. Ischgl

All except Verbier are around 1hr from the airport. Verbier 1.5 - 2hrs. All have great skiing and a vibrant apres-ski, nightlife
NehNeh
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