Take to the road: the Alps are on your doorstep!
Driving to your next ski or snowboard holiday in the Alps should not be dismissed without consideration. Given that many European resorts are within 10 hours drive from southern parts of the UK, a self-drive holiday really is an option!
There are many benefits to getting in your car and driving to your snowsport holiday, and here are some of the most weighty:
- Driving, especially if you're a family or a group, is a low-cost alternative compared to flying. The combined cost of fuel and European toll roads is greatly overshadowed by the cost of a flight, and even 'low-fare' airlines quickly betray their name as you have to add tax and other fees.
- There are no luggage restrictions when you drive. Not sure whether you'll need your flourescent lime-green salopettes as well as your more muted biege pair? Never fear, without the tyranny of the airline companies you can bring them anyway! The lack of restrictions is especially significant if you have your own skis and snowboard, as airlines often have punitive charges.
- It's also not clear that you do save much time when you take a plane. When you take into account getting to the airport, time spent in the airport, flight time, baggage reclaim, car rental or transfer, you're quickly heading to 10 hours of journey time!
- A car gives you the freedom to explore different regions when you get to your ski holiday.
- It's the green thing to do! As more and more travellers become conscious of their carbon footprint, driving becomes more and more popular.
Now you're in your car and raring to go, here are three great resorts to drive to:
Chatel is an attractive, traditional Alpine village in the Portes du Soleil skiing area in France. Situated between 1100 and 2205m, the resort has a stunning snow record, and offers 90km of piste served by 45 lifts. Only 8 hours drive from Calais, we recommend taking the route across from Dijon, through the beautiful Jura mountains and around the eastern edge of Lake Geneva. Once you're in the resort you'll realise the benefits of having a car as you can easily access other parts of the Portes du Soleil including Les Gets and Morzine, opening up 650km of piste served by 198 lifts. For more on skiing in Chatel head to www.alpinequests.com for fantastic catered chalet options.
Chamonix is home to some of the best skiing in the world, especially for more experienced skiers who will find extensive off-piste opportunities. Set in the shadow of the imperious Mont Blanc, it is only 7 hours and 45 minutes from Calais. Having a car gives you access to neighbouring Argentiere, Le Tour and Les Houches, amongst other resorts situated further away.
Swiss resort Verbier is well-known for its great skiing, especially the challenges it poses to even the most experienced skiers, and its off-the-snow activities and entertainment. Just over 8 hours in the car from Calais, life is made easier as free car-parking is included when you purchase the resort's lift pass.
Alpine Quests operates three chalets in Chatel, which are perfect for your ski holiday whether you choose to drive or not. There are three luxury chalets (saunas, hot tubs and pool tables all feature) on offer at prices that won't break the bank, and their location in the enormous Portes du Soleil makes a great base for some of the best skiing the French Alps has to offer! To find out more about Alpine Quests and their chalets (including Chalet Aaron, pictured right) head to www.alpinequests.com.