Four of the best weekend ski resorts
Jenny at Blue Eye Travel in Oxted says the main things to look for when choosing a location for a ski weekend is short transfer times, good selection of restaurants, plenty of pistes and if it’s your thing then excellent après ski.
Morzine is just a 75 minute drive from Geneva airport and with a short flight time from London of just over 1h 40 minutes, getting to Morzine couldn’t be easier. There are regular flights leaving from London Heathrow and Gatwick so no matter where you are based in Surrey there’s sure to be an option for you.
Why is Morzine so good for a weekend ski trip? Well with over 100 restaurants serving every type of cuisine you won’t go hungry – from traditional Savoyard dishes such as fondue and tartiflette through to top restaurants such as L’Atelier at Hôtel Le Samoyède or Le Restaurant du Chalet at Hotel Chalet Philibert. Combined with a good après ski scene you can celebrate the end of your ski day.
The resort is known as a good place for intermediate skiers, and with over 650km of pistes there’s something to suit everyone. Those who are more experienced can ski all day and not get bored and for beginners there are green runs near the bottom of the mountain where you can practise and improve your technique!
The accommodation in the resort is mainly hotels on a half-board basis but there are also chalet options from 3* upwards.
If you are willing to accept a little longer transfer times then another option for France would be Courchevel. Although easy to get to via air to Geneva, Lyon, Grenoble or Chambrey there is a transfer time of between 2-3 hours depending on where you go to. Or, you can travel by train via a high-speed train to Moutiers.
Courchevel Moriond (formerly Courchevel 1650) is a great option for affordable hotels and lively nightlife with some bars and clubs open until the small hours. There is a free bus link between all four Courchevel villages from the early morning until 1am, which means you can easily explore the other villages or catch an early bus to hit the slopes when the lifts open to maximise your time on the slopes.
Courchevel Moriond is an attractive village with accommodation which is mainly chalets providing access to one of the world’s largest ski area. There is 105km of pistes across the whole of Courchevel with a total of 67 ski lifts with 6 lifts leading out of Courchevel 1650. With a stay in Courchevel you have access to 600km of pistes in the Three Valleys if you really want to pound the slopes in your weekend!
Courchevel is a great place for beginners and experts alike and of the pisted runs 19% are classified as green, 31% blue, 40% red and 10% black as well as some off-piste to explore. There is a beginners’ ski area plus a ski park where you can practice to your heart’s content.
There is a great selection of restaurants from local to international including Michelin starred restaurants such as the 3* ‘Le 1947’ which has a fantastic slope-side location in the Hotel Chevel Blanc.
St Anton, Austria
One for great skiing, après ski, nightlife and accommodation St Anton in Austria has it all.
To get to St Anton there are lots of flight options including to Innsbruck 100km, Zurich 200km and Munich 250km – from where you can take a taxi, shuttle transfer or the train, all of which can be booked in advance. From Innsbruck the transfer is about 1 hour 15 minutes. From Zurich is about 2 hours 30 minutes and from Munich is about 3 hours 30 minutes.
As well as being able to ski in St Anton you can now ski in nearby Stuben, Zurs and Lech through the Flexenbahn cable car meaning there is lots of skiing to be done! St Anton has a total of 305km of runs including Blue runs 42%, Red runs 42% and Black runs 16%. There are regular ski buses that can get you between the mountains and lifts or to the centre of town where there are plenty of restaurants, cafes, bars, clubs and shops. If you want to try something other than skiing then why not try ice skating or the toboggan run. The ARLBERG-well.com centre is a great option for all you spa needs with pools, waterfalls, saunas steam rooms, massage.
The accommodation in St Anton consists mainly of hotels from 3* upwards but chalets are also available for larger groups or for those that don’t mind sharing. Ski in and out is rare in St Anton with the Mooser Hotel being the only one.
Skiing in St Anton is for confident intermediates or experts as the runs can be challenging, and there is plenty of off-piste to keep you happy.
Saas Fee, Switzerland
The final place on our list is Saas Fee in Switzerland, known as the “Pearl of the Alps” this car-free resort is a great option for a weekend ski break. Saas Fee is a relatively small resort but there is a good selection of shops, restaurants and bars.
For those who are relative beginners there are nursery pistes by the town centre meaning that you won’t have to travel too far to ski and ski schools are available. For more expert skiers you can head up to the Langfluh and Allalin areas where you can ski on the glacier but be sure to stay within the markers as this area has some dangerous crevasses off piste.
Did you know that Saas Fee holds three world records? The Mittelallilin restaurant, is the highest revolving restaurant at 3,500m, the world’s highest metro which starts at 3,000m and ends 500m higher outside the revolving restaurant and finally the world’s largest ‘ice pavilion’ which is a series of walkways through the glacier which ends with a exhibition of ice sculptures.
Most of the accommodation in Saas Fee is in hotels and apartments, although there are a few catered chalets. Saas Fee is a traditional style village with an older area to walk through if you fancy exploring the history of the village.
For non-skiers or those that want some alternative activities this resort offers walking, tobogganing and paragliding in a designated area known as the Hannig.
The easiest route to Saas Fee is to fly to Geneva, Zurich or Milan which have regular rail transfers to and from Brig and Visp where you then take a short bus transfer up to the village. Another popular option is to drive to the resort from one of the main airports – you can park your car in the carpark just outside of the resort and walk in.