cost of driving to the slopes(8 Posts)
I am toying with the idea of a family trip over christmas. this would be a second ski trip so needs to be doena s cheap as possible. The plan would be to get self -catering accomadtion and take most food with us ( esp the turkey and sprouts!!) The party would be me, dh, dd1 - all good intermediate skiers, dd2 aged 5 will be her second time, my parents - havven't skied for 25 yrs and then only 3 times, my dad not so bothered about actually sking , mum wants ot, and my brother and his wife - both complete beginners. we actually want to ski a bit but not the committed everyday type ski holiday .more a bit f skiing, a bit of chrismassy stuff , family time etc. So i have got a budget of about £3000. now i thought undoable , but have found lots of possible chalets and appts in some of the samller french resorts, and we have decided to drive out in 2 4x4 . we have never driven to the slopes before - so how much of my budget do i need to get us to les gets ( as example) . and can anyone reccommed a resprt were we wouldn't have to buy very expensive lift passes , is ther eany where you can just buy them for the beginners lifts ? for instance. any other suggestions would be great
Shop around for cheap channel crossing - can often get return for £40-£50.
Road tolls Calais-Chamonix are ?~60euros each way (around £80+ both ways? I forget what the exchange rate is, but know it's not good);
car insurance for used abroad (if not already covered, will probably add around £30;
You will leaglly need to have snow chains too for driving in the alps in winter - hire or buy, but I can't imagine it costing less than £40, maybe more.
petrol - it's 560 miles each way Calais-Chamonix, so around ~£120return petrol at 35mpg (this ignores the UK leg of the journey);
Don't forget winter sports travel insurance too.
Spread between all of you it's not too bad, but it is still quite expensive.
Chamonix is a good place for non skiers and beginners. There are free lifts for very new beginners in Chamonix & lots of different resorts to go to. Buying lift passes by the day is no more expensive than buying area pass for the week and other places have cheaper/free options if you only want to ski in a resticted area.
Oh and Chamonix is about 8hours from Calais (with short lunch break & otherwise just stopping for loo braeks & to swap drivers). So doable without overnight stop. Most other places take longer so you might need to factor in a night stopover.
Make sure the place you're going to is snow-sure! Not all of France is a definite for snow at xmas!
Start collecting (or begging/buying off friends) Tesco clubcard vouchers - you can use them for Eurotunnel crossings (each £1 Tesco voucher is worth £4 on Eurotunnel).
Bear in mind that at Christmas the days are short so you will likely be driving up the mountain in the dark - we usually do the journey over two days, stopping overnight somewhere like Chambery (and doing last minute shopping) and then driving up the mountain first thing in the morning (you can get an extra days skiing in that way if you're keen!).
You will def need snowchains even if you have a 4x4 - the gendarmes can turn you back if you don't have them. Don't forget about motorway tolls - Calais to Les Gets is about 70 Euros each way (look at autoroutes.fr for more details).
IME French resorts tend to have a couple of beginners lifts that are free anyway, so you don't need to buy lift passes for the first few days.
thankyou , great help so far, chamonix would be good option as big enough with nightlife for brother and his wife who may not take ot skiing. my dp's have kindly now offered to fly out wiht my dc and pay the flights so that is only one car going with 4 drivers so we can do it in one day. i don't have tesco clubcard but will go get one today and start doing shopping there. does anyone know how likely snow in cham will be over christmas ?
Look at www.viamichelin.com to calculate your route and the costs involved.
There is usually snow there by Christmas. We went once a few years ago at xmas, and although there was snow on the ground in the valley, there was very little on the mountains so the only runs that were open in the whole valley were at Argentiere (and they were only letting people ski half days there as it was busy). I think most of the other runs opened the following week (New Year is a very popular week for skiing). This was considered unusual, but obviously it can happen.
A car is useful when you are there so you can drive both to the local slopes (if you aren't near to the ski bus routes) or to other nearby places either elsewhere in the valley or slightly further afield - we really like Les Contamines which is about 40mins drive, and the beginners we were with liked Megeve (I think they had some nice free runs for beginners there). You may be able to hire a car for the week for the fliers for no more than the airport transfer costs (this used to be the case).
The swimming pool in Chamonix is lovely and if you have booked accomodation in the Chamonix Valley you seem to get free use of the train service that runs from Servos to Vallorcine so non skiers can explore a bit too.
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