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  • Fly me to the snow


    The Alps are blessed with ski resorts covering the entire length and breadth of the mountain range. Many of these ski resorts are in close proximity to airports and here Snow Swappers look at some of the more obvious ones, as well as a few of the smaller landing spots that you might not be aware of.

    Airport – Geneva (Switzerland)
    Ski resort – Chamonix, France
    Resort best for – Adventure
    Drive time – 1 hour*
    Click > here for Snow Swappers Chamonix Property

    Geneva airport is a major hub for ski resorts in the northern French Alps (Haute Savoie & Savoie) and south western Switzerland (Valais), but Chamonix is one of the closest and easiest to reach. With major roads taking you most of the way and no ‘hard core’ windy routes to negotiate, Chamonix is the perfect base for a short trip if you are landing in Geneva. The drive might be easy, but the skiing offers a bit more of a challenge, with some of the most extensive off-piste itineraries in the Alps.

    Airport – Turin (Italy)
    Ski Resort – Serre Chevalier, France
    Resort best for – Intermediates and families
    Drive time – 1 hour 20 mins* (to Briancon)
    Click > here for Snow Swappers Serre Chevalier Property

    Turin is the closest airport to this French ski area nestled in the Southern Alps close to the medieval town of Briancon. The roads through Italy are well maintained and because of the Turin Olympics in 2006 they are also built for serious traffic! Travel past the ski resorts of Sauze and Sestriere, both Olympic venues, over the border and through Montgenevre before descending into Briancon and the Durance valley. The ski area itself is extensive, snow sure and laid back compared to some of the big French resorts. There’s plenty of skiing for everyone but intermediates will get the most out of the wide, tree lined pistes that spread out across the three separate satellite villages that make up Serre Chevalier.

    Airport – Grenoble (France)
    Ski Resort – Alpe d’Huez, France
    Resort best for – Sunny slopes and value for money
    Drive time – 1 hour 25 mins*
    Click > here for Snow Swappers Alpe d’Huez (Oz) Property

    Alpe d‘Huez is perhaps more famous for its classic stage of the Tour du France which ends in the town after climbing the 21 hairpin bends that lead up to it. In heavy snow, it’s a challenging drive, but rewarding all the same. The drive from Grenoble is fairly mundane, but once you start climbing the road from Bourg-d’Oisans up to Alpe d’Huez you are in for a treat. The town itself sits on a high plateau at an altitude of 1,860 meters above sea level. This height ensures a good snow record throughout the winter season despite the predominately south westerly facing slopes and although the skiing is good for beginners and intermediates, experts will find plenty of challenges on the Pic Blanc bumps!

    Airport – Sion (Switzerland)
    Ski Resort – Verbier Le Chable, Switzerland
    Resort best for – off-piste
    Drive time – 40 mins*
    Click > here for Snow Swappers Le Chable Property

    Sion airport is perhaps not the most well know destination in the Alps but its proximity to the big resorts in the Swiss canton of Valais makes it a real treat if you get the chance to land there. The airport itself is situated in the wide Rhone valley between the ski stations of Veysonnaz on one side and Crans Montana on the other. The drive to Le Chable, a village below the resort of Verbier, is quick and easy and does not involve any serious mountain roads. From Le Chable, there is a cable car that takes you directly up into the Verbier ski area and it’s even open into the early evening so you can enjoy a few après ski drinks in the famous party town before heading home.

    Airport – Friedrichshafen (Germany)
    Ski Resort – Mellau, Austria
    Resort best for – Families and beginners
    Drive time – 1 Hour*
    No Snow Swappers Property is currently available in this resort

    The German town of Friedrichshafen is situated on the northern banks of the spectacular Lake Constance (Bodensee) and often serves as a hub for resorts like Lech and St Anton. The ski resort of Mellau is much closer though and after quickly crossing the border into Austria you enter the Alps and you’re there! Right on the edge of the alpine range, Mellau gets large quantities of snow due to its location. The small town is traditional and cosy without a great deal to do in the evenings. Still, for families and intermediate skiers, there is plenty of choice when it comes to the slopes and a new link to the ski area of Damuls makes it a decent size area for any level.

    * Driving times approximate

    This article was written by Robert Stewart, editor of The Skiing Department and freelance ski writer

    Robert Supports Snow Swappers – A dedicated ski resort holiday swapping service for like-minded owners to share their properties.



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