At long last the snow clouds have burst and the Alps are getting that long awaited snow fall. Well I can’t sit back and let everyone else enjoy it. I need a quick ski fix and a bit of apres…
First things first. I need to make sure I have childcare and a dog sitter. With those two things confirmed in two phone calls, I’m looking at flights to Geneva…
Step 1. Book flights
I was surprised at how cheap the flights were still. £75 to go out next Friday, and come back on Monday with Easyjet. However, I needed to be back in time for a roast with the family on Sunday, but I didn’t want to get up at 5am to make the Easyjet flight, so I decided to return to Southampton Airport with a different airline. This meant leaving Verbier at 8.30am – far more civilised. Within 2 hours of thinking about going, I’m booked and getting rather excited about my weekend trip to Verbier.
Step 2. Find your accommodation
This time I am staying with friends Emma and Pierre, so I’m sorted. But you’ll want to look at where to stay in tandem with your flights and have a couple of possible resorts in mind to make sure you get the best price.
That being said, if you fly to Geneva there are so many resort options open to you that it’s a pretty safe bet. As well as Verbier you could ski in Wengen, La Clusaz, Le Grand Bornand, Les Carroz, Chamonix, Avoriaz, Morzine, Chatel, Les Contamines, Les Gets and Courmayeur – all with a transfer time of under 2 hours. Have a look at our Ski Resort Wizard to magic up some resorts with short transfer times that suit your skiing level.
Previously I have used Ski Weekends who have accommodation available over weekends and also Monday to Thursday. They can arrange transfers that take you to your hotel or chalet for short breaks and are very flexible and reasonably priced.
For a quick weekend away you don’t need 5-star accomodation as you are there for the skiing and the apres-ski. You just need to grab a few hours of sleep in-between. So save your money and take the 2 or 3 star options on a short break.
If you’re able to take your last minute ski holiday in the week the advantages are quieter slopes, no airport queues, less traffic in general. Plus, it’s always cheaper to stay and to buy a lift pass on week days.
Step 3. Arrange transfers
This time I am arranging my own transfers. To get to Verbier you can jump on the train, get a shuttle bus or pick up a hire car if there is a group of you. Transfers used to be pretty expensive but now there is good competition and the prices have all come down. It works out at about 45-65CHF each way either by shuttle bus or by train. The Swiss being Swiss ensure things run on time, and within 2.5 hours of landing you’re usually in resort.
I’m going by train on the way up to Verbier (45CHF) as it’s so picturesque, and I’m returning on the Alpine Express shuttle bus (64.50CHF).
So, flights and accommodation booked.
Step 4. Equipment hire
I’m taking my ski boots but I’ll pick up skis in resort. I could walk in any shop when I arrive, but booking in advance and online saves time and money and is really very easy – especially so with the MadDogSki discount at Ski Set.
Step 5. And finally, the lift pass
I don’t buy it in advance. I’m only going for two days skiing and the only savings to be had are if I go up after 11am or after 1pm. Both of these are possibilities if the weather is inclement or we have an accidental late night. I do have an old pass that I will take this weekend though, so if I do decide to race up the mountain for first lifts and beat the queues I can re-charge my lift pass on-line before leaving the house in the morning.
If you’re going to ski for more than a couple of days, have a quick look to see if there are any discounts for booking online in advance. You’ll find all the links in our resort guides’ On the piste sections.
Step 6. Wait, don’t forget insurance
Ah yes, insurance. I have an annual policy, so that’s already taken care of. We have a discount for you if you don’t though – with ERV Insurance.
So all the elements are in place for my weekend trip. Now I just need to pack:
Helmet, beanie, goggles, sunnies, sun cream, ski socks x2, thermals, jacket, ski pants and MadDogSki Buff. Credit card, phone and charger, toothbrush and a change of clothes. And a few gifts for my hosts.
Anything else, I can borrow or buy in resort.
Last minute ski holiday sorted!
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