Feb half term 2014. Dh wants to drive to a ski resort in Europe.(22 Posts)
Dh is happy to do the driving and having an overnight stay somewhere.
He wants to get a late ferry to France on Friday night.
However we are clueless where to go skiing.
This year we went to Austria but we flew to Munich and drove over the border to Zell am See.
So what I'm asking for is advice on a ski resort that is drivable distance from Calais that is likely to have good snow conditions.
I'm happy to ski, say Monday to Friday and head home Saturday/ Sunday.
The Grand Massif (Samoens/Flaine etc) is one of the nearest alpine ski areas to Calais and is pretty snow sure. You can do the drive in a long day from the south of England or stop overnight. We like the Val Moret hotel just south of Troyes, which is literally a couple of minutes from the motorway (but not noisy).
Morzine/Les Gets Portes du Soleil are also easily accessible by same route via Geneva.
Thanks for your reply.
I'm going to look into that area. I've just had a quick look at the websites you posted.
Have you got any tips or recommendations that could be useful?
Hi there, completely agree with Lilymaid on those areas and also wanted to suggest if you book through a specialist self-drive company some of them offer a free upgrade to flexiplus on Eurotunnel which gives you priority boarding on next available train if you miss your planned one for any reason which gives great peace of mind on peak holiday dates. I don't know what sort of budget you have but I can highly recommend these apartments as you can park directly below and Avoriaz in the Portes du Soleil is excellent for kids and has a fab new indoor pool complex called Aquariaz which our family loved.
Just to second Skilover's advice, we've been using SkiCollection for the past 2 years and have just booked again for next season. You get the apartment and the flexipass Eurotunnel and all of the resorts are a reasonable drive from Calais with an overnight stop.
They will also sort out ski hire, lift passes and ski school bookings too. There are plenty of different resorts for different budgets.
Hope you have a great trip.
Lots of choice depending on your budget. If you are staying overnight in France then most of the Alps resorts are drivable.
For an overnight stop we usually stay near Reims if we have only left on the Friday night ( about 2.5 hours from Calais) or if we leave earlier then we travel as far as Bourg en Bresse / Macon.
We drove to Austria for the first time last year and the drive was much longer than France and I don't think we will do that again!
Agree with Samoens as a good option. Also, look at Brides les Bains which is in the 3 vallees and has a gondola to take you up to Meribel. It is about 8-9 hours from Calais so we always drive home in one go and have a eurotunnel booked for about 9pm. If you left earlier Saturday morning then you could drive there in one day. To improve driving times, it was worth getting the automated toll gizmo for your car as will reduce queuing at the tolls.
We are biased towards Brides as we have now have an apartment there but only bought after many years of skiing the 3 vallees and knowing what a great resort it is. We also skied lots of other French resorts to before making this decision! It is a lovely Savoyarde French spa town with prices much lower than other resorts in the 3 vallees. It is not a ski in /out resort and you need to either take the gondola up to Meribel or if you have a car drive up and park in one of the underground carparks ( we do this and it costs 8 a day but we we are right by the ski lift and ski school so no walking in ski boots).
Our apartment is available to rent if anyone is interested please PM me (I don't think I am allowed to put our website on Mumsnet). New Year and xmas are already booked.
If budget is not an issue than either La Tania or Meribel Mottaret are good ski in/out resorts in the 3 vallees. Although if you children are not confident skiers do check that the ski in/out is a run they can manage. Courcheval 1850 is amazing but very,very expensive. Of course, wherever you stay - you will all ski on the same pisites.
Another thing to look out when choosing your resort is the quality of the ski schools if your children need lessons. In popular weeks, I have seen ESF with classes of 13 children! This is another reason we like the 3 vallees as there are a number of British run ski schools offering really good quality lessons with small classes. We either use Parallel Lines in Meribel or New Generation which is in both Meribel or La Tania. As owners of a apartment we have negotiated a discount with both companies for our guests.
Thanks for all the information.
I'm going to look in depth withyoursuggetions after my Iceland trip next month.
I posted for advice on that trip as well and had some brilliant replies.
I'd hate Brides les Bains, sorry. I saw it once described as a suburb of Paris which is connected to Meribel by a very long gondola......which made me giggle!
If you've got kids wanting lessons in Meribel, etc it would be a nightmare having a 20min gondola ride to get up.
We drove to courcheval earlier in the year. Had a late evening tunnel crossing, stopped in a formule one place about 90 mins south of Calais. Set off about 7:30 am but didn't get to courcheval until about 10pm due to the motorways been so busy, major traffic jams. Got there and everywhere was closed shop wise, so couldn't have dinner or even a cup of tea!
We booked an apartment through owners direct which was nice.
Anywhere in the alps should have good snow in feb. so I'd be tempted to pick slower down resort which would mean less driving. Maybe Morzine?
We do this most years to various ski resorts. For the last couple of years we went to St Sorlin D'arves , and have booked through ski retreats and as an independent staying at L'Oree des Pistes.
We've usually done the drive overnight , getting a 10pm crossing on the tunnel and getting in the mountains for 10am ish after a leisurely breakfast somewhere.
If you arrive nr the mountains after lunchtime it can get very busy , if you in 1/2 term week anyway.
Oh yes, definitely get the automated toll gizmo from here https://www.saneftolling.co.uk/ - it's fab to reduce queues and meant that I didn't get woken up every time .
We drive to chamonix via the tunnel and stop overnight on the super cheap f1 hotels that are dotted around france. They are very basic but clean and costs 24 euros for all of us to stay.
Thanks once again for all your tips.
Now my summer holidays are out of the way I'm spending time planning this one now.
Those that mentioned the F1 out of Calais, we used to stop there on route to our camping holidays when the boys were little! Seems such a long time ago!
Can I just add (sorry, I'm a bit of a lurker, we are going away for the first time skiing with the children in Feb half term) that for the French toll roads if you can speak a bit of french then you can order your telepeage/toll thing from www.aprr.fr, they are a french toll provider who will post to the UK and you can set up your bank details etc with a UK account. It costs over half the price as the saneftolling website (typical for the UK agent to double their charges). We got our toll thing through APRR and used it in the summer when we drove through France and delivery speed and usefulness etc was excellent. Unfortunately their site is in French, but if anybody wants a hand then let me know if it would be helpful - they definitely post to the UK and it's the liber-t badge you need.
That's handy to know helen I normally have a ton of Euros in lose change when we go to France so I normally use those but I'll look at that site.
You can also order through the Eurotunnel as well now. Not sure if it costs more that way ( we ordered through the APRR website a couple of years ago).
Vivelabeaver - don't discount Brides completely until you have tried it. It is a similar concept to Samoens. A pretty savoyarde town with access by gondola to a world class ski resort.The Olympic gondola takes to the Meribel Chaudanne area which is the main lift hub in Meribel and pretty much the centre of the 3 vallees - so easy to get to both Courcheval and Val Thorens. As the gondola opens at 8.30am ( which is half an hour before the rest of the 3 vallees lift system) getting to 9.15am ski school at the Chaudanne isn't a nightmare at all. And coming home, it is open 30 minutes later than the rest of the lift system so again not a problem.
For the 3 vallees it is great value compared to higher resorts. Also, great if you get the eurostar to Moutiers as it is only 10 minutes away in a taxi from the train station. Being able to go out for a family meal in the evening in the 3 Vallees without breaking the bank is refreshing. Ski hire is also far cheaper - the kids were about €40 each for good quality skis, boots and helmets. Far better than the ones we had in Courcheval 1850 at the Esprit hotel for twice the price!
There are many Austrian resorts that require a cable car to get to the ski slopes - would you hate all of those as well? We stayed in Maria Alm in Austria last year and had to drive ( or bus) to the gondola and then take that up to the ski area. Again, we had no trouble getting our kids to school on time.
Ski in/out is lovely and if money was no object then I would love to stay in the famed Eagles Nest Chalet in Val D'Isere. Regrettably my budget doesn't stretch that far
Back on the French toll roads gizmo. My French is a little rusty but this site appears to say that it costs 10 euros to setup and then 1.60 euros a month when you use the gizmo plus the cost of the tolls. That's a fair bit cheaper than saneftolling, you can order online and they can send it to you in the UK.
Can anyone confirm this?
It is the Paris half term that week. I would avoid major French resorts like the plague, ditto driving through France on Fri/sat.
In the summer Eurotunnel were doing a deal with the sanef thing - it didn't cost us anything, and lasts 2 years.
How are the skiing plans progressing?
We drive all the time to the 4 valleys in Switzerland. Verbier, Nendaz, veysonnaz thyon. Think Nendaz is best for us. it's around 9hours from Calais. We do it in 1 go. 1/2 term is busy on the tunnel and on the roads though
The ski plans are coming ongood. I used booking.com to get a room in La Tania and I'm using my Tesco vouchers today to book the Shuttle.
There is a ski shop in the centre of the village si I'm booking on line to reserve the stuff.
The room looks good, two bedrooms and a sauna si I'm happy with that!
Doh - scratch that question. It is in the Title of the thread. Sorry!!!
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