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Resort near Geneva at half term that's quiet(er)

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hey everyone Smile

This year the family and I went on our first ever ski holiday, and loved it. We went to Avoriaz .... if you want the background - see here : http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=3218876
We loved Avoriaz - ski in / ski out, pretty (we liked it anyway - I hear it divides opinion!), with some Greens and lots of blues close by. We didn't really explore much of the PDS area though - since we were all beginners.
We went Easter this year - but with Easter next year being so late we've thought it would be better to go February half term week instead, as this would more likely have better snow/conditions.

As soon as Easyjet released their flights for next year we booked up (Glasgow to Geneva).

Anyway ... we're wondering ... do we go back to Avoriaz, or do we try somewhere else? We didn't make use of any of the PDS this year ... and some the family are still sticking to green and blue runs so larger ski areas like PDS are a little wasted on us.
Also, Avoriaz was expensive, and looks to be more expensive at half term next year.

So while we'd be happy to go back to Avoriaz (finances allowing!) I was wondering if any of you friendly experts out there could recommend somewhere that would tick our boxes:

* Reasonable travel distance from Geneva (with 2 kids in tow!). We land in Geneva at 8 p.m. so I think max distance is 2-3 hours. We did private transfer this year - but could book a car next year if needed.
* Quiet resort - or at least, not as likely to be affected by half term crowds. Potentially smaller / not attached to larger ski area (like PDS), since we're not likely to be skiing too far. That is, of course, if smaller = quieter on the slopes?!
* Plenty of blue runs / wide pistes.
* Ski in / ski out. It was so great being able to ski right back to our apartment each day, but now we're a bit more sure of ourselves this isn't a must have, but would be great.

I've read that if we avoid France at half term that might mean the resorts are quieter ... but when flying into Geneva that does restrict us somewhat! Some of the Swiss resorts I've read about on snowheads seem a little too far from Geneva - but obviously having only been skiing once my knowledge is very limited.

So ... Any advice on where (else) might suit us? Or ... stick with Avoriaz?

ZedZed
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Praz-de-Lys?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
In Switzerland Villars / Les Diablerets might tick your boxes or Saas Fee if you donít mind a slightly longer transfer - and would also be snow sure at Easter
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Grand Bernand and/or La Clusaz would fit the bill but someone else would be in a better position to advise re Feb half term.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I'd stick to Avoriaz at Easter.
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I was going to suggest Grand Bornand, though less available ski in ski out than Avoriaz. Samoens also a suggestion. Swiss ski resorts quite a bit more expensive than France.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Full season lift pass for 255chf at Saas Fee!

https://www.saas-fee.ch/wintercard/en/
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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!
Morillon 1100? Part of the grand massif. I went at half term about 5 years ago and other than odd bottlenecks.....one lift in Samoens and the top of the mountain at the end of the day......seemed as quiet as France gets in half term. Valmeinier too was surprisingly easy to get round at half term and ticks most of your boxes other than the transfer. I have only ever driven or snowcoached there so never tried a GVA approach
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La Clusaz whilst being quieter than some of the bigger resorts does get busy in the Feb half term. Lift queues are on the whole not huge and the Beauregard and Manigod area are very good for improving skiers. We have been a couple of times and really enjoyed the area. The town is lovely traditional town. Restaurants get very booked up during half term so book ahead if you plan on eating out.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
^^^ What he says. We skied La Clusaz three years in a row at half term and I'd say Alan's post is pretty much spot on. The drive from Geneva is only about an hour (just watch out for the toll queues on the way back) and while ski-in/ski-out accommodation might be limited there's plenty within walking distance of the lifts and there's also storage lockers at the Beauregard and Bossonnet lifts so you don't have to be carrying your skis and boots if you don't want to.
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@zedzed_uk,
A belated welcome to Snowheads!
I think Italy is a lot quieter than France, so you could drive through the Mt Blanc tunnel to the Aosta Valley, for Courmayeur, Pila or La Thuile (all on the 1 lift pass). Aosta is a lovely town, with its Roman ruins.

shep,
Is that an attempted p155 take? The OP has already booked flights for half term...
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@zedzed_uk, Iíd book a car. Do Aoste. Any would be good. Courmayeur pricier. Champoluc 2.5 hours but poss long tunnel queue.

Any Swiss, take the train.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
I think you are being quite smart looking to go for a smaller resort where the accommodation and lift pass will be cheaper. And in Feb altitude less of an issue for decent snow conditions which opens up the options.

Here is a guide to distances/options La Clusaz, Samoens, Les Gets all seem to be decent shouts.

Arriving at 8pm you'll have to make sure you have access to the transfer/accommodation - are you self catering? At least the traffic will have died down by that time.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Thanks for all the suggestions so far - very much appreciated. Thanks especially to Layne for saying I'm "quite smart" ... that's what I've been telling everyone for years, but no ones believes me Laughing

We went self catering this year ... the whole holiday was "DIY". Easyjet flights, arranged private transfer, AirBnB for accommodation, ski hire, lift passes, lessons ... all booked direct. Seemed to be the cheapest way to do it, although it was a little stressful when our flight out was delayed by 3 hours. The person who rented to us (via AirBnB) had left the keys in one of those keypad lock boxes, and so even though we got there are at around 1 a.m. we were able to get into the apartment no problem. Would need to make sure I got the same arrangement again next year.

If it keeps costs down again then will probably do the same this year. That said ... if there are operators that bus you from Geneva to the resort, and arrange accommodation, lift passes etc. and it's not that much more expensive, I'm all for leaving a little stress behind.

Hiring a car definitely a possibility ... I assume that the main roads & access roads to resorts are kept relatively clear, so I'm not likely to get stuck in a snow drift somewhere?? I never put on a pair of snow chains on tyres, and not sure I'd want to start with a hire car, in the dark, in a lay-by off a busy road, with 2 kids in the car tired and moaning Confused But YOLO, right? Laughing

I'll start looking at the options suggested so far tonight. Keep them coming if anyone else has suggestions! Cheers!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@zedzed_uk, renting car from Swiss side gets you snow tyres so itís a bad night if you need to fit chains.

Main roads usually kept cleared but recent years have seen the problem being idiots minus snow tyres and chains. Or with chains tbh.

This year may be different as the authorities have, allegedly, expanded the limits whereby you require appropriate kit.

I would still be thinking Italy. Maybe stay in Aoste and ski Pila? I have never done it so...
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@zedzed_uk, if you've done the DIY thing before I'd stick with it as it's the most flexible and at peak times most cost effective. And people often find the TO's, certainly the budget ones, don't shine in a crisis.

Personally I wouldn't hire a car unless you have to simply on account of the faff and the fact that you only need it to get there and back. Other than it sits there for a week. And as you've duly noted if it's snowy you have to be thinking about chains, parking, potentially digging her out at the end of the week.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Car hire for a family frequently considerably cheaper than transfers.

La Rosiere. La Clusaz, Chatel and Tignes les Brevieres are all worth considering. It is a while since I did a comparison shop but Swiss resorts usually work out costing more.

Next year consider somewhere in the Dolomites if you are forced to go Feb half term. It will be quieter.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Another Swiss option Lenk Adelboden, easy on the train from Genf. The terrain particularly suits beginners early intermediates for clocking up the miles.
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La Rosiere has less bed capacity than many others and surrounded by Paradiski, Espace Killy gets less local day skiers. A cheaper alternative same area also La Thulle.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
No idea about La RosiŤre, nor La Clusaz, but I would be avoiding Tignes or Chatel in the middle of French holidays, if I had the choice...

I would be heading to Italy.

Praz de Lys not a bad call actually as itís rather more XC focused, but accom etc. still will feel the vacances effect.
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There is more to the Portes du Soleil than the crazy busy French side. I can understand why people go there but for the skiing itís ridiculously busy during holidays.

On the Swiss side is always quiet with no queues. 1hr 30ish from Geneva to Morgins for example. If you want more info drop me a line, Iíd be happy to help.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Bergmeister wrote:

shep,
Is that an attempted p155 take? The OP has already booked flights for half term...


Haha, no, I'd like to think I'd make a better job of it wink . Simply a failure to read the OP properly, followed by trying to help.
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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!
I would third Praz de Lys- a hidden gem- cheaper ski passes and enough to keep you occupied if only skiing greens/blues. If you then get confident by the end of the week, you could always pop up to Les Gets for a day (20 mins away) or down to Morillon/Samoens (25 minutes).

Same would equally apply to Les Houches- I skied this half term (before I had a car crash and broke 15 ribs and a verterbrae).. and apart from the intial morning queue at the bubbles (this can be bypassed by taking a series of chairs up from Bellevue) there was never a wait of more than 5 minutes at a lift.-Plenty to keep beginner/intermediates busy for a week.
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