Skiing holidays come with their costs, especially when you need to either pay the extra baggage charges to bring your equipment on the plane, or rent equipment when you arrive. Not to mention the cost of the ski pass to actually put that equipment to good use!
With costs in mind, we were wondering if it’s possible to do a “long-weekend” on the slopes to try and keep those costs to a minimum. Also not leave you feeling like you need a holiday after your holiday(!)
Courchevel Village –
Courchevel is made up of four villages, with Courchevel Village (recently rebranded from Courchevel 1550) sitting at 1550m. You’ll have direct access to the slopes, and you can be sure they will provide some excellent skiing, being part of the impressive 3 Valleys ski area.
Not only will you have access to the slopes for skiing, Courchevel have a 2km long toboggan run through the trees with an average incline of 15%! You can ride day or night, as it’s floodlit from start to finish, and is free if you have a lift pass. If not, it’s 9€ per ride.
By staying in the lower down 1550 resort, you’ll find yourself amongst some reasonably priced bars and restaurants to relax in after a day of exploring the pistes. There’s a free bus which runs between all the resort’s villages, which is handy if you’d like to visit the other villages during the evening.
You can get to Courchevel from Chambery (1hr30mins), Lyon (2hrs10mins), Grenoble (2hrs10mins) or Geneva (2hrs30mins) airports, or if you can find cheap train and transfers, Moutiers station is only 40 minutes away, and is served by Eurostar directly from St. Pancras International or Ashford International on Friday nights.
Meribel, like Courchevel is also part of the 3 Valleys ski area. That means there’s over 600km of pistes available to you. Although you may not have enough time to explore them all (if you upgrade your lift pass), you can be sure you won’t get bored of your surroundings!
While Meribel does have an excellent snow record due to its altitude, they also have over 700 snow cannons in case of lighter snow conditions, meaning your weekend won’t be ruined by lack of snow. You can explore the altiport even if you are a beginner, that’s thanks to the gentle tree-lined runs that surround it.
To get to Meribel, you can travel from Chambery (1hr15mins), Lyon (1hr55mins), Grenoble (2hrs) or Geneva (2hrs10mins). Just slightly further down the mountain is Brides les Baines, a cheaper option that also gives you the opportunity to catch the Olympe 1, 2 and 3 gondola’s in to Meribel 1450 which gives you access to Meribel-Mottaret, Courchevel and Les Menuires.
La Plagne –
La Plagne and Les Arcs are the two halves which make up the 425km Paradiski, but going for a long weekend, you won’t need to access the whole area. La Plagne is made up of 11 villages, each with their own attraction. Where you decide to stay, depends on your needs and of course, your budget!
The resort is family friendly, with the option of a family lift pass, ski school, terrain park and bobsleigh run to name but a few activities available. For the most part, the resort is car free and is built on the slopes, making access to the lifts quick and easy.
La Plagne is served by Chambery (1hr30mins), Grenoble (2hrs55mins), Lyon (2hrs15mins) and Geneva (2hrs50mins) airports. You can catch a taxi or minibus transfer, or rent a car to take in the sights of the Alps as you drive to your destination.
Unlike other resorts, you can visit Tignes outside of the “normal” ski season. Due to its location on the Grand Motte glacier, the resort is open for 6 weeks in the summer from late June to early August. It’s part of the Espace Killy ski area (shared with Val D’Isère) which offers a total of 300km in pistes to explore.
Tignes itself is made up of five villages, the highest sitting at 2100m while two are a little bit further down the valley. The Tignes Dam sits where the old village used to be, it was submerged in 1952 as France looked for ways to source electricity following the Second World War. Once every 10 years, the dam is drained for maintenance work, and you are able to see the remains of the old village.
The resort is suitable for all skiing abilities, with 47 ski lifts (including the 4.5km funicular railway) and 113 snow cannons. However, if you’re looking for rustic French buildings, then Tignes may not be the place for you. Having been moved higher up the mountain to accommodate the dam, it was purpose built with apartment blocks, and although work has been done to re-clad these, many of the newer buildings do match the rustic French criteria.
Getting there, again Chambery is your nearest airport – only an hour and 40 minutes away. Geneva is 2 hours and 30 minutes away, while the nearest train station is Bourg St Maurice (40 mins) but you have to connect in Paris to get there, unless you travel on Friday’s with Eurostar.
Regardless of the length of your trip, a ski break does come with an added risk – so don’t leave travel insurance in the back of your mind when booking. Our Winter Sports Insurance covers you on, and off piste (so long as you stay within the boundaries of the resort). But you’re not confined to just skiing, the additional premium covers a whole host of activities you can take part in, knowing that you’re covered all the while!