Time is precious when you’re on holiday and transfer time is therefore an important consideration when choosing a ski resort. Fortunately, the Alps offer a good range of resorts within easy access of airport and train stations. So whether you are looking for transfers from Geneva
or planning on taking the overnight train to Moutiers or Bourg St Maurice; you will find some excellent options close at hand.
Here is a selection of resorts with short transfer times across France
1. Chamonix, France – 75 minutes (88km) -
The transfer from Geneva airport to Chamonix
takes just 75 minutes, making this skiing mecca one of the most accessible resorts in the Alps. Geneva airport is also an international hub offering a large selection of flights from all over the UK. On reaching resort, visitors will be able to enjoy some of the finest scenery in the Alps and a huge range of terrain for all levels.
2. Verbier, Switzerland – 50 minutes (54km)
Verbier, part of the Four Valleys ski area, is located just 50 minutes from Sion airport
. The area boasts 412km of high altitude pistes and is widely regarded as one of the best off-piste resorts in the world. It is worth noting however, that flight options to Sion are much more limited than to Geneva airport, situated 160km or just under 2 hours from Verbier.
3. St Anton, Austria – 60 minutes (100km)
St Anton is a lively resort with a large linked ski area offering 260km of marked pistes. The journey time of just one hour from Innsbruck makes the resort an ideal destination for short breaks. The town is famed for its après ski and nightlife and friendly locals. Ski Lifts offers a range of private and shared transfers to St Anton from Innsbruck airport
4. Espace Killy, France - Val d’Isere and Tignes - 40-45 minutes (30km
) – Eurostar runs an overnight service on Fridays and a day service on Saturdays dubbed ‘the snow train’ that runs throughout the winter. A quick transfer later and you arrive in your chosen resort, allowing you to make the most of your holiday time. Transfers from Bourg St Maurice to Val d’Isere
and Tignes are becoming increasingly popular for families and groups looking to avoid long airport transfer times. Ski Lifts also provide transfers to Les Arcs
, La Plagne
and the Three Valleys
from snow train stations.
5. Mayrhofen, Austria – 60 minutes (65km)
The picturesque Tyrolean resort of Mayhofen is part of the Zillertal valley which offers a huge range of slopes including Austria's only year-round ski area, the Hintertux glacier. The resort’s terrain and facilities also include some serious steeps and the Vans Penken Park with its 6 dedicated areas. Mayhofen has a lively nightlife and has become well-known for its annual ‘Snowbombing’ festival. Ski Lifts offer private and shared transfers to Mayrhofen from Innsbruck.
6. The French Portes du Soleil resorts (Morzine, Avoriaz, Les Gets) – 65 minutes (75km).
The huge skiable domain of the Portes du Soleil is conveniently located for passengers arriving into Geneva airport. Les Gets is situated just 75km from Geneva with a journey time of approximately 65 minutes, while its close neighbours Morzine and Avoriaz are just another 5 km and 15km away, respectively. Ski Lifts offer a wide selection of transfers to Morzine
and the rest of the Portes du Soleil including shared and economy options on some routes.
7. Sauze d’Oulx, Italy – 90 minutes (90km)
Sauze d’Oulx is located approximately 90 minutes from Turin airport
. The resort links with Sestriere
to form part of the extensive Milky Way ski area. There are good slopes for all abilities including some excellent off-piste and a terrain park.
8. Megève, France – 65 minutes (87km)
Megève is a bustling village with high-end restaurants, designer shops and some of the most picturesque slopes in the Alps. The resort is located close to Chamonix
and St Gervais
and forms part of the Evasion Mont Blanc
ski area offering access to over 450km of pistes. Megève can be reached in approximately 65 minutes from Geneva airport.
9. The Grand Massif, France – 65 minutes (77km)
The Grand Massif resorts of Morillon
and Les Carroz
boost some of the shortest transfer times in the Alps. The closest, Morillon village can be reached in approximately one hour from Geneva dependent on road and traffic conditions. The Grand Massif comprises 5 resorts of varied terrain making up the 4th largest linked ski area in France. The area includes plenty of wide, rolling tree-lined runs as well as a snowpark in Flaine
10. Alpbach, Austria – 52 minutes (57km)
Alpbach is a small Tyrolean ‘chocolate box’ village situated just 57km from Innsbruck airport
. A gondola installed in 2012 now connects the resort with its neighbour Auffach offering a combined area of 140km of pistes. This new area, Ski Juwel, offers convenient nursery slopes and a good mix of cruising intermediate runs and more challenging terrain.
The Ski-Lifts Team
Posted: 10/31/2014 1:25:37 PM
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Following on from the Portes du Soilel opening dates
, we’re now looking at when the main French resorts
will be opening up.
Partial opening of Grand Montets is planned from 6th
to 19th December, snow conditions permitting. Brevent-Flegere, Balme/Vallorcine
and Les Houches
will be partially opening from 13th
December and the rest of the area opens up on the 20th
The majority of the area will stay open until the 19th
April, except for Grand Montets, which has a planned closing date of 27th
April, but will hopefully be open for longer if snow conditions allow.
The lifts in Flaine
open on the 14th
December, followed by Les Carroz
on the 21st
The main Grand Massif area is expected to close on the 21st
April, with the planned closing date for Flaine on the 27th
The Grand Motte glacier opened at the start of October, so you can already ski in the Epsace Killy!
and Val D’Isere
both open on the 29th
November, all the way through to the 3rd
, the highest resort in the Alps, opens on the 22nd
November and the lifts are open through until the 10th
open on the 6th
December and all of the 3 Valleys link open as well.
Planned closing of the 3 Valleys area is 24th
The higher altitude areas of La Plagne
open on the 13th
December, with Les Arcs
& Peisey Vallandry opening the day after. The Vanoise Express opens up the Paradiski link along with the rest of La Plagne, on the 21st
December and the lifts are open until the 26th
THE SOUTHERN ALPS
is open from the 6th December until the 25th
April, although some of the smaller resorts close earlier.
Les Deux Alpes
is open from the 29th
November, La Grave opens later on the 6th
December, snow conditions permitting and both resorts close on the 26th
lifts open on the 13th
December and are open until the 19th
April, although the Briancon area will close slightly earlier, on the 13th
Posted: 10/17/2014 9:26:00 AM
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With the evenings getting shorter and the mornings decidedly chillier, we’re starting to think about winter and the white stuff! So we’re taking a look at when the lifts are opening across some of the main ski areas in the Alps, starting with the Portes du Soleil
The first resort to open their lifts in the Portes du Soleil this winter is Les Gets
. Snow conditions permitting, there will be a partial opening of the Chavannes area at weekends from the 22nd
November, through until the 13th
December, when the Chavannes & Nauchets lifts open daily. The rest of the Les Gets ski area will open on the 20th
December, as will the Morzine
will also be offering some pre-season, weekend skiing on the Pre-la-Joux area, starting on the 29th
November. The lifts in the Pre-la-Joux and Linga area will be open from the 13th
December, and also, the link with Avoriaz
. The rest of the area will open up on the 20th
Avoriaz opens the lifts on the 12th
December and will kick the season off with, Rock on Ultimate, a weekend of ski & snowboarding testing, concerts and parties from the 12th to the 14th
. The lifts will be open through until the 26th
The whole of the Portes du Soliel area will be open from the 20th
December, through until the 19th
Ski-Lifts offer Shared transfers to Morzine, Avoriaz and Les Gets from the 13th
December and Private transfers are available year round.
Posted: 10/13/2014 12:27:27 PM
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There is growing chatter that we could be about to head into an El Nino year and this is particularly prevalent on ski forums, where people hypothesise about what that might mean for the winter ahead.
An El Nino event (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Ni%C3%B1o
) is basically caused by warm ocean waters forming in the Pacific, which then sets of a chain of events which can cause significant changes to global weather patterns. Obviously the more noticeable effects occur the closer you are to the Pacific and then gradually reduce the further away you get, but there are plenty of theories that there can be some noticeable effects on the ski season.
In North America
the effects should be felt more strongly than in Europe, with the general theory that the Sierra Nevada and Southern Rockies receive more favourable ski conditions than average, but the mountains further north have a warmer and drier season, which is clearly not good.
In Europe, which is much further from the source, it seems that the impact is closely related to the strength of the El Nino event. Looking back at previous El Nino winters it seems that a weak or moderate El Nino may have little discernible impact on the winter season and if anything can perhaps lead to a milder or drier winter. Whereas a strong El Nino can lead to a much colder winter, because the chain of events triggered by a strong event can lead to a weak Polar Vortex, allowing cold winds from Russia to reach Europe and therefore lead to more arctic conditions here.
For example, if you look at the last two El Nino winters, you can see very different results. The winter of 2006/07 was a weak El Nino and that season was one of the worst for a long time in terms of snow cover across the Alps. However the more recent event in 2009/10 was a strong El Nino and that winter saw some of the coldest weather in the Alps for several decades.
Depending on who you listen too, there are differing opinions on what this El Ninjo may bring, if it does indeed form, but best guesses range between a 50 and 80% chance of an extreme El Nino forming. So if that proves to be the case, you may well want to be packing an extra layer of thermals for this winter!
But with no guarantees yet about whether this year will be an El Nino, or even what that might mean for European ski resorts if it is, maybe it’s best to look at other ways of forecasting the weather ahead.
has so far been very wet in the Alps – certainly not ideal conditions for mountain biking
. However last time we had a similarly wet summer (2007), the following winter was a very good snow winter.
We’re also heading towards that time of year where you hear rumours circulating around resort about what might be ahead, with some of our favourites always appearing in the Autumn as farmers tales of thick onion skins, or hairy goats legs (both of which apparently point towards a cold or snowy winter in case you are wondering what we are on about).
So, for now, we’ll keep our ears to the ground and if we hear anything more we'll let you know - whether that's modern science, or local farming facts!
The Ski-Lifts Team
Posted: 8/14/2014 12:17:54 PM
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Here at Ski-Lifts we don’t try to hide the fact that we love Morzine
– it’s where it all started for us after all and we know a lot about the place.
Most people who are familiar with the town, will know it for skiing or snowboarding, or for downhill mountain biking
in the summer
months and it goes without saying that it is one of the best destinations in the world for both of those. But one thing that puzzles us is why more people don’t take advantage of the town and what it has to offer, outside of the two peak seasons?
For one thing, if you were to travel here outside of these peak periods, you can get cheaper flights and much cheaper accommodation, as demand is lower. Yet the weather can still be fantastic especially through May, June and September and if you are here to enjoy the mountains you don’t have to go far to pretty much experience them all to yourself. Plus there are always a few shops, restaurants and bars open all year, because unlike many other ski resorts, Morzine is a village where people live – not a purpose built resort.
Obviously one down side could be that the lifts aren’t open on the mountain, so to get up there and enjoy them then you’ve got to use your own steam – but that’s all part of the fun and sense of achievement! Plus, pretty much any other activity on offer through the main summer season that doesn’t require the lifts, is still available in these quieter times and can actually be better.
For example, if you are into road biking
, then getting out and tackling some the famous climbs, such as the Col de Joux Plane (one of the most famous climbs of the Tour De France), or the climbs up to Avoriaz
, can actually be more enjoyable outside of the main summer months as the temperatures are more comfortable and the roads have less traffic.
In the last couple of years Morzine has become well known as a base for triathlon training because it has something to offer for all three disciplines. The cycling we’ve mentioned, there’s plenty of nice trails to get out for a run and for the swimming there is an Olympic size pool and Lake Montriond. It’s why some of the biggest names in world triathlon are now using this as their base.
And if you prefer your biking of the off-road variety, then you can take on the numerous cross-country trails around and not have to contend with other riders getting in your way.
Finally, you can’t forget one of the oldest ways to enjoy the mountains, which is getting out and hiking
– whether it’s in the forest on the lower slopes, or up in the high mountain pastures, the spring and end of summer months are arguably the most pleasant time to really get out there and experience it.
It goes without saying of course, that should you take our advice and come and visit Morzine outside of the peak seasons, we’re still running our airport transfers, so it couldn’t be easier.
The Ski-Lifts Team
Posted: 7/15/2014 9:39:21 AM
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