Geneva & slopes for the holidays

Aug 1st, 2006, 09:11 AM
  #1  
jmanning
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Geneva & slopes for the holidays

Iím trying to plan a week long trip at the end of December. Which airline offers inexpensive (but safe) flights from JFK/Newark, is it SWISS Air? What hotels are decently priced (about $100 a night) in/near Geneva? Have any advice for ski slopes and other must-see sites? Is Mt. Blanc in Chamonix and Carouge worth a visit?

Background: I'm planning this trip for two couples, ages 27-35. We each have traveled internationally some, including: France, Japan, Ireland, Philippines, Greece, Spain and Germany. Our group's ski level is beginner and intermediate, we are just going to ski for 1-2 days.
 
Aug 1st, 2006, 09:23 AM
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Hi jmanning,

Geneva isn't very close to the skiing slopes -- it's about two hours from Chamonix and about the same from Leysin in Switzerland. Geneva is at the foot of Lake Geneva, and its altitude is about 373m.

December is pretty early for the ski season. To be sure to have snow you need to look at the higher elevations or glaciers, so you should aim for Zermatt or Les Diablerets or the Engadin in Switzerland. Unfortunately, glacier skiing isn't usually enjoyable for beginners. Sorry, I don't know anything about the skiing in France!

However, I can also say that I spent Christmas 2004 in Gstaad (just over two hours from Geneva), and they had enough snow to open a few runs.

If you want to make a vacation on Lake Geneva, I would just advise you to look at the smaller towns around the lake. I just don't like cities, so for me the smaller, the better!

Where are you going on to from Geneva? You aren't flying over for 1-2 days?? If we knew your next stop, we may be able to help you find a good skiing spot that'll be convenient for you.

Best of luck!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 09:40 AM
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>Unfortunately, glacier skiing isn't usually enjoyable for beginners

Hi Swandav,

actually, in my experience the glacier skiing is ONLY enjoyable for absolute beginners - you can only put a ski slope on a glacier where it is more or less flat and wide. As soon as it gets some more incline the glacier gets crevassed and that's it with the skiing. As soon as you want something where you need to move instead of just leisurely glide straight down, the glacier skiing is nothing for you... I was only twice on a glacier - Zugspitze and Flims/Laax - and it was all the same: blue slopes, absolutely FULL.
Actually, the end of December - the time between Xmas and New Year - is the absolute high season. Most hotels are booked out and the prices are the highest, and that with snow not as good as in February.
altamiro is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 09:43 AM
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Hey thanks altamiro!

I was thinking, though, of the quality of the "snow" as it's usually so icy that beginners have a tough time. Or is there sufficient snow cover by Dec?

Thanks again!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 12:52 PM
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I'll just chime in with... Geneva doesn't seem a reasonable base for a ski vacation. And finding hotels in or near Geneva for $100USD/night is going to be fairly difficult.
suze is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 01:23 PM
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jmanning
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Thanks for the tips.

We will be in Switzerland for just a week - I'm traveling with two high school teachers - that's the only winter vacation they get. And the half is artsey folk that love big cities.

If we should stay closer to the slopes, but also want to tour around easily (checking out the top of Mt. Blanc for the view and Carouge) what town would be good to stay? I just want to stay at one hotel, this should be a relaxing vacation with some really spectaculor sites sprinkled in. So, a place between the city and the slopes. (If I plan a really tight itinerary - the group will turn on me.)

By the way, I found a place in Geneva for $161 a night for 4 people. Not too bad. But I'm open to your suggestions for other hotels that are closer to the slopes...
 
Aug 1st, 2006, 02:20 PM
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Hi again,

I think it'll be hard to fulfill both requests -- a city and skiing slopes. Within Switzerland, your best bet would be maybe Luzern; or you could base next to a big resort (St Moritz or Gstaad) that will have lots of restaurants & shopping.

Well, if you still want to go to Geneva after knowing that it's two hours from the slopes, then maybe that remains your best bet!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 05:17 PM
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Wow that's a very cheap hotel for Geneva. If you don't mind the "commute" maybe it is the place for you.
suze is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 10:44 PM
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jmanning -

You might want to consider the ski resort of Engelberg - it's not far from either Zurich or Luzern.
Melnq8 is online now  
Aug 1st, 2006, 10:57 PM
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You can't get to the top of Mont Blanc (4,800 metres) unless you're a skilled mountaineer. You can get the cable car up to 3,800 metres, though my midwinter experience of it is that the view's been very cloudy.

A good source for advice on ski resorts in the area is the resort finder at the Ski Club of Great Britain site. Select "close to Geneva airport" at http://www.skiclub.co.uk/skiclub/res...sg/default.asp.

The drivetime indicated on this site to French and Italian resorts (apart from Chamonix and Courmayeur, which have a motorway direct from Geneva) is likely to be understated at this, exceptionally busy, time of the year, when serious road bottlenecks are very likely, and when if you're driving you'll have all the palaver of putting chains on and taking them off to get into the car parking at many resorts.
flanneruk is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2006, 03:10 AM
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>I was thinking, though, of the quality of the "snow" as it's usually so icy that beginners have a tough time. Or is there sufficient snow cover by Dec?

The further west you go and the higher the slopes are, the better are the chances of good snow cover. Last winter Engadine was suffering from too little snow until early January, but the year before the whole Switzerland could open the slopes 2 weeks earler than projected. In the last December week the chances of enough snow should be good in mot places.

In any cases, for a pure ski trip Geneva isn't a good base. I would rather suggest something more central, like Lausanne/Bern/Luzern, if you want to stay in a city. Or maybe a smaller town like Chur? There you have some city life (though not very much) and also perfect access to the slopes within 20 min by train or bus.
altamiro is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2006, 03:12 AM
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And from Chur you have 1 h 10 min travel time to Zürich, wich is as "big city"-like as it gets in Switzerland.
altamiro is offline  

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