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Chambery, Salzburg & Geneva - Go with the snow...

14th August 2012 • Posted in Where2 Magazine

Whether you prefer picture-postcard mountain villages or custom-built resorts, on- or off-piste skiing, boarding, airboarding, snowmobiling... or doing nothing at all, there’s a resort to suit everyone. Let take you there.

Chambery Ski Holiday image

Chambéry is a brilliant destination airport for wintersports enthusiasts and some of Europe’s best resorts can be reached within two hours. Geneva and Salzburg offer similarly easy access to other well-known wintersports centres.

Where2… for Luxury & Lots To Do?

Courchevel, at just one and a half hours from Chambéry airport, is a definite luxury choice! The resort, which has three distinct areas, based on altitude, links into the largest ski area in the world, the Trois Vallées, and unsurprisingly attracts the skiing glitterati of Europe. The entertainment on offer includes airboarding, which we could describe as tobogganing on a small, plump inflatable mattress – although not as cosy as it sounds as airboarders can reach speeds of up to 70 mph – hence loads of protective gear. Looks terrifying!

Val d’Isère is another heavy-duty and glitzy resort, ticking loads of boxes: it’s renowned for its outstanding skiing for all standards (with plenty of challenging, if not terrifying runs even for expert skiers), lots of snowboarding provision, and very popular, highly rated (and expensive!) après ski. In the daylight hours there are even husky-dog days for those who want something a bit different. at some two hours from Chambéry and slightly more from Geneva, what more could you ask?

Where2… for Freestyle Heaven?

An hour or so from Geneva airport you’ll find a resort for the super-keen and expert in La Clusaz, which has the reputation of being the freestyle skiing centre of Europe because of its off-piste opportunities. The resort’s proximity to Geneva is good news for city workers and those wanting short as well as longer stays. La Clusaz is also reputed to offer good-value dining opportunities – of a really high standard. Perhaps that explains why the nightlife is not rated as particularly buzzing! That said, there is some night-skiing so some people must have energy left. 

Also just an hour’s drive or so from Geneva, Morzine offers access to the huge Portes du soleil area and is very popular with British skiers and boarders of all ages who have a choice of almost 150 pistes to ski. The highest lift reaches 2466 metres, there are nine boarding parks and there is also night-skiing. The town is picturesque, lying along the banks of the River dranse and it’s growing fast, which means some accommodation may be a bit of a trek to and from the lifts. Unlike La Clusaz,  Morzine has an extremely vibrant après ski scene, particularly in high season.

Where2… for Family-Friendly Villages?

Located on the shore of a lake, an hour away from Salzburg airport, chocolate-box-pretty Zell am See with its thirteenth-century centre is ideal for families and groups that include some nonsporty members who want somewhere attractive to wander around, and who’ll have plenty of energy left over for the nightlife. For skiers, while the resort is relatively low at 757 metres, its highest lift rises to 3029 metres and Zell am see is usually reliable for early and late season snow.

Saalbach-Hinterglemm, now two more or less adjoining villages, 10 hours or so from salzburg airport, has a large ski area and is said to be the most visited area in austria after Vienna. in 1991 the alpine World Championships were held here. saalbach used to be a simple alpine village and the pretty old chalet style is reflected in hotels around the centre. Neighbouring Hinterglemm has some rather smart hotels. Beginner and intermediate skiers are particularly well served, there is a snowboarding park and two half pipes, and a snowmobiling slope – so plenty of choice for families. The après-ski is also highly rated, so excellent for lively groups too.

Another enchanting, typically austrian resort that appeals strongly to families is Kitzbühel, again within easy reach of salzburg (approximate transfer time 1ó hours). despite a resort altitude of just 761 metres, which means lower slope snow cover can be sparse, there is usually plenty of snow higher up for keen skiers (the highest lift reaches 2004 metres), and there is also  snowmobiling. Unsurprisingly the village attracts many return visitors, including some rather glamorous non-skiers... no need at all to go with the snow flow!

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