Last Updated: Feb 21st 2003
http://www.education.gouv.fr/prat/cal.htm alternate site for France
http://www.geneve.ch./dip/vac01_02.html for Geneva
French Railway timetables and bookings http://www.voyages-sncf.com/
For Swiss Train times: http://www.sbb.ch/
Bus transfers from Geneva: http://www.gva.ch/en/transport/tpublics2.asp
Bus transfers from Lyon Saint Exupery : http://www.satobus-alps.com/
Private minibus transfers to the Three Valleys: http://www.3vt.co.uk/
There is a reliable British run minibus taxi transfer between Chamonix and Geneva airport called Airport Transfer Services http://www.a-t-s.net/
French resorts - http://www.skifrance.fr/default.cfm?langue=a
Austria resorts - http://www.austria-tourist.at/winterline/home.html or http://tiscover.com/1Root/Kontinent/6/Staat/7/AktuelleBerichte/schneebericht..__.1.html
Switzerland - http://www.switzerlandwinter.ch/User007d.asp?REGION=T50
Reports for most areas:
Probably. Most popular resorts are covered, but being in the mountains coverage can be variable outside the resort centres. DO check with your mobile company who gives the best rates - they can vary wildly.
Info on all the English ski tows can be found at
yes, check http://ski.visitscotland.com/index.asp
Flaine but some of the more interesting runs are faced north and become
quite cold in the afternoon.
Champagny en Vanoise.
Porte Du Soleil - close to Geneva and low resorts
Niederau - Austria. Superb but reasonable hotel (Hotel Brunner) right by the mail lifts and nursery slopes.
The Family Ski Holiday
See the big list of operators at http://www.midski.org.uk/2000/skicos.htm
It may be, it may not be. In resorts, prices commonly drop towards the end of the season so making them cheaper that at home at the beginning of the season. Also watch for currency swings both ways!
Val Thorens (part of the Trois Vallees)
Les Deux Alpes or 2nd web site
The closest to Geneva (right bank, i.e. airport side) is Crozet/Lelex, whose
first lift is the long vertical gouge on the Jura that you can see from the
opposite the airport terminal buildings. It has around 10 lifts and pistes of
various difficulties, takes about half a day to ski them all. It is about 15
minutes drive from the airport. This and the nearby Col de La Faucille (on the
RN5 Geneva-Paris road) are where the locals kids
go to learn to ski and race. So it's extremely crowded at weekends and more or less empty in the week (except Wednesdays). Ideal for an afternoon's skiing if you are based in Geneva, and ideal for a cheap one week holiday with small kids, when just being in the snow is what matters (but then you would stay in Mijoux or Lelex, which are on the other side of the Jura, so one hour's drive from Geneva...). The snow is superb right now, but this February (2003) is exceptional, at Xmas there was no snow at all.
So it's ideal for locals, or for young families looking for a last minute cheap and cheerful deal, but not exactly what you would fly out from England for.
St.Cergue, La Dole, Les Rousses are in the same area but a little further along the RN5 (or alternately 20-30 minutes up the hill from Nyon by car or train).
The closest larger and higher resort to Geneva is La Clusaz, which is a nice small town with very few British operators. Wide range of skiing catered for, with a couple od specific nursery areas.
Then there's the Portes de Soleil resorts, the closest of which are Les Gets
and Morzine. Again, both of these are fine for beginners,
although they're both also quite low, so you'll probably have to take lifts up and not always be able to ski right back to resort level.
Then there's the Grand Massif (Flaine/Les Carroz/Samoen/Morillon), which is
probably equally close, at about an hour's drive. Flaine
itself is the best bet for easy access to beginner slopes, but with less 'character' than it's satellite stations.
At the (close) end of the Chamonix valley there are several stationsincluding
Les Houches, St Gervais, les Contamines, moving round to
Megeve and Praz sur Arly, all of which are nice enough places but again with the town at lowish level.
Pistehors.com The English language website devoted to French off-piste skiing
For size, Trois Vallees, Espace Killy (Tignes/Val D'Isere)
Because there are no boundaries. In theory, you can ski anywhere: but you can't beat local knowledge and be aware of what you are getting in to, and hire a local qualified guide if you are at all unsure.
Theoretically in Europe once you are outside the piste poles you are 'off-piste' and officially this area is not covered by the piste patrol, rescue services etc. You should get rescued however it may cost you more, so make sure you have adequate insurance.
http://www.wetteronline.de gives you fairly good weather information. Especially if you understand German
http://www.weatheronline.co.uk The English counterpart.
http://www.meteoconsult.frweather information service in French. You have to pay (become a member) if you want the full weeks forecast.
If you want to do it yourself, on a reasonable budget the best bet is to use one of the budget airlines to Geneva, Turin, or other resorts and hire car or taxi pick-up. My best deal ever was 1p each way & £10 tax using RyanAir Stansted to Turin.
For the rich, Sion is close to Zermatt and Saas Fee. Nice is also close to the resorts of Isola and Auron.
International Credit/Debit Cards are widely accepted in France, and Switzerland. Much less so in Germany and Austria. There are cash machines in almost all resorts: http://www.mastercard.com and http://www.visa.com both have cashpoint locators.
Impossible to answer. There could be 10 feet, there could be none. But you can get an idea by looking up the historical data at http://www.skiclub.co.uk
If you plan on taking more that one holiday a year, then annual insurance is almost certainly much cheaper than buying by the week: most annual policies cover two-weeks skiing as standard, some cover more Buying travel insurance from a Tour Operator/Travel Agent is always more expensive than arranging it yourself from an insurance specialist. Note that (in the UK at least) it is illegal to make offers conditional on buying that tour-operator/agent's insurance.
In many alpine resorts you can buy Carte Neige, is cheap and widely available means of getting rescue/repatriation cover, but you still need normal travel insurance on top of this.
My personal favourite is to get a year long policy. For the 00/01 season I will be using this company, http://www.direct-travel.co.uk
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Whilst the size of a Recco detection device has come down, not every pisteur carries one. If you are skiing off-piste: buy and know how to use a transceiver - that way those you are skiing with can search for you in the first vital 15 minutes without having to wait for a helicopter to arrive.
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Most of the major resorts in Europe have some instructors which speak English (or Dutch or Spanish), but they can be in short supply so availability isn't guaranteed - even if you book in advance!
Andorra seems to have a high percentage of English, Aussie or Kiwi instructors.
Also see the British Instructors Abroad pages at http://www.midski.org.uk/2000/britabrd.htm
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The grading of slopes varies resort by resort. A green run may be less than 5 degrees, whilst a Black may be as much as 40 degrees at its steepest point - but average much less. The only certain thing you can say is that the hardest (not necessarily steepest) runs in a resort will be black, and easiest green.
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No. In Europe each resort grades it's runs based on other runs in that resort. Thus a red run in one resort may well be graded a black in another and vice versa, There is also the marketing angle to consider, in that a resort may want a certain percentage of runs to be red etc.
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|Very Difficult||Black||Double Diamond|
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French routes here
http://www.shellgeostar.com/ - Free detailed European planning
http://www.rac.co.uk - Free detailed European planning
To get to the Tarantaise / Three Valleys from Geneva or Paris/Dijon many people
suggest getting off the motorway at Annecy, following
signs for 'le Lac' and then taking the route national to Ugine and Albertville. This route is better in bad weather as it is lower than the motorway, it is also shorter and generally quicker than the Chambery motorway and gives you a chance to stop at the big Shoppi supermarket just outside Annecy (car wash, cheaper fuel, snow chains, food etc).
If you are coming from Paris turn off just after Macon in the direction of
Geneva. This avoids the busy Lyon motorways. Turn off to Annecy at the Bellegarde
junction. There is about 40km of route national to Annecy.
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The era of the traditional ski-pass is over. No more fumbling to look for your ski-pass. No more ski-pass slapping you in the face as you race down the slopes. Swatch Access, the first ski-pass you wear on your wrist, opens the gates even if kept nice and warm under your ski jacket. Thanks to its innovative technology, just walk by the swatch Access scanner and the turnstile opens.
So click here to find out where is it used?
As a general rule for the season outside of February, Saturdays peak periods (e.g. 9.00 - 21.00) or Sunday Morning/Evening it is bearable, that is if there isn't a landslide up to VdI or Tig.
Savoie highways department provide their predictions for the next weekend and further information on the state of the road:
The French Government Clever Bison:-
Provides detailed route planning information.
In Switzerland there is a McDonalds in Davos
In Austria Zell am See has one
And there is one in the Andoran capital
Rob & Gill Weeks, Midland Ski Club - http://www.midski.org.uk/
Copyright © 2000 [Greg Hilton]. All rights reserved.