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Quick weekend skiing from Geneva

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I can get to Geneva and back for £36.00 on Sat 18th (Arrive 9.00) and depart Sun 19th (Depart 20.30).

Where is easy to get to by bus? Public transport. Would like hotel beside the main lifts too. Chamonix seems obvious choice but where to stay? Any other interesting options?

COVID permitting, but worth a punt for £36.00 flights!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
A while since staying there but convenient for the two main lifts in town centre https://www.booking.com/hotel/fr/richemond.en-gb.html nice old place with big basement heated ski room and easy walk to both Brevent and Midi lift stations (In ski boots) for the closest ski areas.

Brevent obviously connected to Flegere along that side of valley with sun most of the day.
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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?
La Clusaz - not public bus, but 40 euros each way

https://www.aravis-shuttle.com/book
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Or Morillon https://www.rome2rio.com/s/Cluses/Morillon at about 4 quid on scheduled local bus services.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
That'd be train to Cluses first then bus up the hill Very Happy
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The problem with using public buses on such a short trip like this is that you are eating into valuable ski time.

I've done a 1 night trip to La Clusaz, but hired a car and was in resort by 10.30am.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Verbier by train and télécabine. 2 hours and 29 minutes from the airport station to the centre of Verbier. See

https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=3476570&highlight=#3476570

for an earlier thread about a similar trip where the Snowhead stayed in a single room in the Hostel next to the railway station which is in the same building as the télécabine up to Verbier (the blue-windowed circular building in the photo).

and from another similar thread ....

From GVA station a train to Martigny, then short connecting train to Le Chable - the train/télécabine/bus timetable is at [1]/ Up to Verbier on the télécabine or PostBus and no need to hire a car or pay for parking. Check to see if they have a supersaver ticket [2] on SBB (but you will have to commit to a specific train/time). If you want cheap, then there's a hostel next to the train station at Le Chable [3], and up the mountain at Ruinettes [4]. Otherwise, take a look at the accommodation section of the Verbier [5] website, where you can also buy passes in advance (but check there's not a train+ski offer on the SBB website first). Or contact the Tourist Office info@verbier.ch and see what they can come up with for you.

[1] SBB Swiss Railway - Timetable - set from to 'Genève-Aéroport' and to to 'Verbier (télécabine)'.
[2] SBB Swiss Railway - Special offers & tickets especially Supersaver tickets (pre-booked specific time)
[3] Mt.Fort Lodge in Le Chable by the railway station/gondola to Verbier
[4] Maison de Ruinettes Hostel on the mountain in the middle of the ski area
[5] Verbier Tourism Site

The uncertain bits seems to be whether they're opening-up the hostels yet due to Covid and the availability of the Supersaver train tickets, which seem to mysteriously appear and disappear.

Be careful when looking at prices on the SBB general timetable site: some prices quoted assume you have an annual/period half-price discount card (common in CH) called an abonnment so always check it not this pricing before buying. e.g. the default quoted price for your trip is CHF 31.60 (£25.35) but without the half price abonnment it's double that. So that's £50 each way, but then I doubt that you'll get a hire car for less (but it's always worth checking - you never know). Traditionally, once you had 2-3 people travelling the car hire began to get competitive, but at the moment, Snowheads are reporting high rental prices.

2h 29m may seem a fair time compared to the ViaMichelin 1h 41m drive time, but once you add pick-up time at GVA and exiting onto the Autoroute, plus navigating Verbier to your parking it's comparable. And so much easier on the return leg not having to fill-up and drop-off the car.


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Thu 25-11-21 17:20; edited 1 time in total
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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!
Thanks @LaForet, That certainly looks interesting and doable!
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@johnboy, if you can get a cheap enough hire car, Cham's an hour drive. La Clusaz has been claimed at 45 mins but that seems very short to me.

Transfers are running to Cham anyway, though shared ones may eat a little time. Still think you'll be faster than trains to Verbier but Verbier has its own advantages.
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@under a new name,

Cheers, will mull it all over. What's the feeling on the covid situation in Chamonix?
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under a new name wrote:
@johnboy, if you can get a cheap enough hire car, Cham's an hour drive. La Clusaz has been claimed at 45 mins but that seems very short to me.

Transfers are running to Cham anyway, though shared ones may eat a little time. Still think you'll be faster than trains to Verbier but Verbier has its own advantages.


I (used to!) ski La Clusaz from GVA a lot. It’s an hour minimum from the airport.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@johnboy, I concur with others. Though I use public transport as first choice, if you are only in France for two days the priority is the fastest possible transfer (max time skiing) even if it costs a bit more.

If the main companies running shared transfers are in operation by then (in a normal year they would be, but following two abnormal years who knows?) you may manage a reasonably economic and timely transfer to one of the most popular resorts such as Morzine or Chamonix. With a bit of research you may be lucky with others. But easiest would be to rent a car and not depend on a timetable.
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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
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
under a new name wrote:
La Clusaz has been claimed at 45 mins but that seems very short to me.


Is that by the same person that used to claim Val d'Isere in 2hrs? Happy
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
If you had a car you could stay at the low cost IBIS in Sallanches - easy drive up to Chamonix from there. Or lots of other places. Finding accommodation right in resort for just the one night of Saturday 18th might be difficult.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@snowdave, titter ye not Laughing

@j b, Mountain Dropoffs were claiming resumption of normal shared transfer service imminently, and as that's texhnically xmas week? I presume CVT and others will also resume?

Morzine about 30 minutes slower.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
OK, so using the Swiss Hertz rental site the cheapest rental car for the OP's dates will be £498. Yes, for 2 days hire. This is fully winterised (winter tyres + chains) and at P51 so quickest pickup/drop off time if all goes smoothly. Now I'm sure you can get something cheaper but my guess is that this will not be on-site (so more time to collect/return) or there will be the dreaded 'supplements' for winterization etc. So this is what I meant by feedback from Snowheads over currently high car rental rates.

Transfers look good, but if I can't book a transfer now, only a few weeks ahead, what does that say about the chance of them actually materialising? Or running a more limited timetable? Plus the usual issue of what happens if the flight gets delayed?

I suppose one strategy to minimise risk is to choose a resort reasonably near that's served by both train (or train and taxi) and transfer - so that there's a contingency if the transfer option doesn't materialise, or you miss a transfer due to flight delay or long queues at Geneva passport control.

I appreciate that the 2½ hour GVA-Verbier transit time is substantial and on a 2-day trip, you probably want somewhere more like a 90 minute transfer, if possible. But it may still be worth using the Verbier thing as a reference for comparison. This is because I suspect that in reality, the time from exiting Arrivals to launching on your first ski run is unlikely to be less than 2 hours, whatever option you go for.


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Fri 26-11-21 22:12; edited 2 times in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@LaForet, crikey! I had read a few times that the crisis had broken the car rental model, which was already rather wobbly.

Totally good point that SBB to Verbier is going to be as reliable as you can get.

On the other hand Mountain Dropoffs are showing shared transfers to Cham on the days in question. If it's their normal service, I don't think we've ever had to wait longer than a small beer before heading off. That has to be offset against the fact that they drop off at the door, and if you are at the end of the route, you might be driving around town 10-15 mins.

Do those 45-60 make such a difference on the way out? Only the OP knows wink
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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?
La Clusaz is a genuine 1hr 5 mins by car in normal traffic conditions. As is Les Carroz.

Anyone who claims to have done it in 45 mins is lying.
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@mikeycharlton, That's my impression too!

Whereas our house in Chamonix to our first apartment in Geneva (near Annemasse) was a genuine 49 minutes (early morning, clear road and border) - I know as I timed myself.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
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under a new name wrote:
@mikeycharlton, That's my impression too!

Whereas our house in Chamonix to our first apartment in Geneva (near Annemasse) was a genuine 49 minutes (early morning, clear road and border) - I know as I timed myself.


Yeah that sounds about right. Plus another 20-25 mins to the airport.
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mikeycharlton wrote:
La Clusaz is a genuine 1hr 5 mins by car in normal traffic conditions. As is Les Carroz.

Anyone who claims to have done it in 45 mins is lying.


45 min to le Carroz is easy.....if you know the road and don't respect the speed limit, done it many times in less than 45 back when I drove transfers...late at night 4wd and somone else paying the fuel and insurance... in normal conditions, no traffic issues it's 55 min
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Idris wrote:
mikeycharlton wrote:
La Clusaz is a genuine 1hr 5 mins by car in normal traffic conditions. As is Les Carroz.

Anyone who claims to have done it in 45 mins is lying.


45 min to le Carroz is easy.....if you know the road and don't respect the speed limit, done it many times in less than 45 back when I drove transfers...late at night 4wd and somone else paying the fuel and insurance... in normal conditions, no traffic issues it's 55 min


lying (or speeding) Wink
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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!
@jophnboy For a baseline reference on car rental prices, I usually go to the Geneva Airport Car Rental Page first, as this lands you on the ~.ch Swiss versions of the rental sites. These sometimes (not always) have rates and vehicles not shown on the ~.com pages of the respective rental sites (usually at the very low end and minivans you don't see on the ~.com pages).

So while my Hertz quote looks steep (one way of describing it) it's still worth checking through the others, just to see. By all means look at some intermediaries as well if you want. I don't use them because in the end, I'd rather deal direct. FYI I'm also a member of the Hertz Gold Club, which costs nothing to join, because you get a free 2nd driver and priority lane and priority on upgrades, if available. I always book the cheapest car and get upgraded around 1 in 3 rentals.

@under_a_new_nameMountain Dropoffs quote 75-90 minutes transfer time to Chamonix - which is pretty good. So that's 1hr less than my GVA>Verbier train+télécabine transfer. Although, if you stayed in Le Chable, the transfer is 2h 16m to there (where you'd drop off the luggage and change), and then 15m in the gondola up to central Verbier Médran station. But if you weren't in the Le Chable Hostel, then you'd have to trundle your way to the accommodation and back (say 20 mins). But then again again, even if he was dropped-off at his Chamonix accommodation, it's a fairly spread-out resort and he might have a 20-30 minute transfer to the caisse/lift.

I'm not arguing against Chamonix, just saying that it's probably good for @johnboy to be realistic about the total 'emerging from arrivals-to-1st ski run' time, of which the transfer is only a part, albeit the main part. This might actually favour Chamonix, as the difference in total Arrivals-to-skiing time may not be significant even if other nearer locations have a shorter transfer time.

The other thing I've been assuming is that @johnboy has his skis and boots with him, and doesn't have to visit a hire shop as well. But if hire is involved, then that's another what, 30-45 minutes?
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@johnboy, what’s the price difference in getting into GVA on the Friday evening if that’s feasible for you, it would get you two decent days of skiing
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This is an interesting thread which proves two things we all know but are constantly trying to ignore. One - that weekend ski trips are tiring, and very expensive per piste/mile. Two - that getting from the airport to the bottom of the lift takes longer, and costs more, than you'd budgeted for.

I hope you make it, @johnboy - looking forward to your trip report.
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I think car rental costs make this difficult at the moment - the prices are really, really high. We have gone for a private transfer for 2 to Val D'Isere in March as it is a lot less than car hire from GVA. Lyon is cheaper though.

I'd be trying Grand Massif or maybe St Gervais as well if you can get a transfer.

On the timing - we had a private transfer from GVA to Samoens (Verchaix) which took 55 mins, genuine and I also have hired a car and got to St.Gervais appartment car park from leaving the car hire car park at GVA in just under an hour, so it is doable in the right traffic conditions.

I hope you make it too @johnboy.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
If it was later in the season I'd give my traditional recommendation of Lelex/Crozet, 25 mins from GVA airport, (14.7km), 21km of pistes for day 1, with options to mooch around to either Jura sur Leman or La Faucille on day 2.
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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
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@coddlesangers,

Yeah, had been looking at that too.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@johnboy, just looked back at old timetables for the Alpybus/Chamexpress transfers to St Gervais. If they do the same this year (and are operating by 18th/19th) there is a 1030 transfer* from the airport on Saturday morning taking you to the gondola station in about an hour, and a return on the Sunday leaving StG bottom lift at 1700. Fare in Feb 2020 was about 32 euros each way.

And Chamonix will have at least as many of those transfers.

[*There was a 0930 transfer too, but that would be risky to book even if you just had hand luggage - which would be best in this situation].
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Les Carroz : https://www.milkhotel.fr/en/
Samoens 1600 : http://www.aero1607.com/index.php

Both on the slope, but got to be self drive to get best out if it
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
mikeycharlton wrote:
La Clusaz - not public bus, but 40 euros each way

https://www.aravis-shuttle.com/book


I prefer Grand Bornand, but have used Aravis Shuttle to get to both and can heartily recommend them. No problem with collection at Geneva or in resort, even when I was the only person booked on the transfer.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Maybe need to rethink your plans unfortunately.
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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?
See this thread about entry into Switzerland

https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=157227&highlight=&sid=f8323ab97effe57738595a20e21cdd22
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