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Day trip from Geneva

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I'll be in Geneva for work around December 9th and will have a single "personal day." I'd love to spend it skiing, but will be without gear or a car. 

 

Given these constraints (needing to use public transit & be able to rent), would do people think would be the best resort near Geneva for early December? Thanks in advance for any tips, advice, etc. 

 

(Background on me: Advanced, but not expert skier; have skied all over the US, but never in Europe; since it is early season, I probably won't have my legs under me for serious off-piste skiing)

post #2 of 14

Using public transportation is doable but time consuming if you just got a day - especially if the areas closer by are low on snow early in the season and you have to ride further. Check Swiss Rail for early connections to Martigny, from there regular shuttle busses to Le Chable, the base for Verbier. Or a taxi up to the resort but that's SFr 130-140 one way. It is most likely better to rent your own car for the day, 1.5 hrs drive. Same distance to Glacier 3000. Or a 2 hrs drive to Chamonix.

 

Other closer options: Torgon (bus or train to Aigle), Morzine (France, by bus), Leysin (train + bus/cab)

post #3 of 14

 If you plan to go to Chamonix, it's 88 km from Geneva by road, about an hour.

 

Check out http://wikitravel.org/en/Chamonix#b

 

I have a buddy living in Geneva, he claims to make Chamonix in 45-50 mins on the A-40 motorway, but he drives like a lunatic.

 

When you arrive in Geneva, find out where the snow is and decide then, you have a lot of good resorts within 2 hours of driving, by bus or by train. Some resorts have shuttle services from Geneva, and you might save some time if you rent whatever you need in town.

 

Here's a list of resorts close to Geneva : http://www.j2ski.com/ski_resorts/Airports/Geneva.html

post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddanks View Post

(Background on me: Advanced, but not expert skier; have skied all over the US, but never in Europe; since it is early season, I probably won't have my legs under me for serious off-piste skiing)


you could get lucky, but unlikely to have serious off-piste available this time of year.  In fact, some of the resorts might not even be open even if they do have snow.  Le Grands Motets near Cham was my favorite in 2004 and has a glacier which should mean that it will be open then

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by madMads View Post

 If you plan to go to Chamonix, it's 88 km from Geneva by road, about an hour.

 

Check out http://wikitravel.org/en/Chamonix#b

 

I have a buddy living in Geneva, he claims to make Chamonix in 45-50 mins on the A-40 motorway, but he drives like a lunatic.

 

When you arrive in Geneva, find out where the snow is and decide then, you have a lot of good resorts within 2 hours of driving, by bus or by train. Some resorts have shuttle services from Geneva, and you might save some time if you rent whatever you need in town.

 

Here's a list of resorts close to Geneva : http://www.j2ski.com/ski_resorts/Airports/Geneva.html

Yes, Cham is only about an hour, not 2.  
 

 

post #5 of 14

Les Diablerets might be a good option for you. There's a train station in town, so public transport is definitely doable. Also, they've got a glacier to keep you happy if they don't get much early season snow down lower. If they do get nice snow early season, then there should be loads of terrain to entertain you.

 

I'd suggest taking the train the evening before if you can so that you can get an entire day's worth of skiing in the next day.

post #6 of 14

Megeve is a nice option from Geneva. Beautiful resort if there's enough snow. 

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all of the pointers. Sounds like multiple good options depending on snowfall between now and then. 

 

Now to start making offerings to the snow gods...

post #8 of 14

Most resorts will not open before the holiday even if conditions are good. Some of the larger glacier served resorts will e.g. Tignes, Les 2 Alpes but these are too far for a day. I'm not sure about Chamonix but I would doubt it. Check the website. The French resorts are really well served by buses www.altibus.com but mainly at weekends except for the major resorts and again you'd have to check if they are operating this early.

 

An alternative would be to try Saas Fee where the glacier should be open but it would be a really long day with a very early start. Look at www.sbb.ch for trains to Visp and then there is a bus connection up the mountain.

post #9 of 14

I live in Cham, at that time of year you'd have to be very luck for it to be worth the trek here by public transport - save yourself the pain and uncertain snow - go to Verbier

 

Train to Martigny, one change for le Chable - take the lift straight up to the skiing

 

Verbier has good snow cannon coverage - Chamonix does not

post #10 of 14

One other thing to keep in mind. That weekend is the traditional opening for Italian resorts, so even if there's not a lot of natural snow, virtually every resort here will be open at that time. Italy's not far from Geneva (you could also ski to Cervinia from Zermatt). The downside is it's a very crowded weekend, BUT if there's not a lot of cover around, at least Italy would be a virtual lock to have lifts running at that time. I did Zermatt from Geneva by train once and it wasn't too painful, but Verbier would be easier. 

post #11 of 14

Dec 9th is very early - many resorts will not be open yet. Megeve is lovely, and last year we had snow in first week of Dec (not much after that though!). Geneva airport to Megeve is an hour, slightly less than getting to Cham. Chamonix is also a drag to get around as it's so big, so you'd really need to pick just one area for the day (I'd suggest Brevent/Flegere). Rather than relying on local buses from the airport, you might like to try one of the minibus services that tend to be a bit more on the ball and more frequent: Cham Express covers lots of resorts around here; there are lots of similar operators. Verbier is a long way from Geneva. Morzine and Avoriaz are also easy to get to. Another good option would be Les Contamines - decent height, very open (lovely on a sunny day), good for early-season snow and plenty to keep you busy for a day.

post #12 of 14

 

 

Last night, I was with a friend who asked "Have you been to Palais des Mascottes?" I said no and was told that *everyone* knows that place and you have to go.


 

It got me to wondering....what other places would go on that list? What other places would someone who knew Geneva *assume* you had been to once they learned that you had lived there for 1, 2, 5, 10 years?


 

It could be a restaurant, a bar, a theatre, whatever.....


 

My first addition to the list: Gelato Mania in Paquis (and Carouge and Eaux-Vives).

post #13 of 14

The Jardin Alpin in Meyrin is very nice, and it's walkable from the airport if you need to kill some time there.

 

The Geneva natural history museum is great too, especially if you have kids. There's a lot in there, including a live two-headed tortoise!!

post #14 of 14

Morzine and Avoriaz and only around an hour away but don't think it opens until 18th December. Courchevel opens on 4th December (snow permitting and no sign of any yet!) but its a 2 hour drive. 

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