It’s this time of year that the country becomes split between people who start fantasising about escaping for some winter sun vs people who love the fun and excitement of a ski weekend. With the trend for ‘Bleisure’ (a business trip which is extended for some leisure time) increasing over the past few years, we have taken a look at the best places to go to combine skiing with a business trip.
Business trip: Paris
Leisure trip: It might not seem the most obvious city/ski location and admittedly, most ski resorts are at least 5 hours from Paris so you would need a little more time to enjoy the slopes but if you are willing to travel, you can get to ski resorts in France, Austria or Italy within half a day.
OUR TOP 5
Courchevel, France – Le Trois Vallees is the location of 5 interconnected villages which make up the world’s largest ski resort, Courchevel. The 5 villages vary in facilitates, atmosphere and cost but all give you access to some amazing ski slopes with over 400miles of ski runs suitable for beginners and experts alike. In addition to the great slopes, you can enjoy the après-ski in some of the best restaurants in Europe, in fact, Courchevel has the highest concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe, outside of Paris.
Avoriaz, France – A 4-hour train journey and 50-minute bus/taxi ride will get you to this hub of the vast 650km Portes du Soleil, Avoriaz is a great base for exploring the ski area’s intermediate-friendly terrain. Though purpose-built, it is probably the best-designed resort in the lift circuit and boasts a relatively charming traffic-free village.
Sauze d’Oulx, Italy –A 5hour train journey and 15-minute bus/taxi will take you into Italy where you’ll find this charming village and resort. Part of the 400km Milky Way ski area it is ideal for intermediate skiers rather than beginners and those who enjoy a lively après-ski atmosphere.
St Anton, Austria – For more experienced skiers, this resort is worth the 8 hour train journey into Austria. This resort boasts some of the Alps finest off-piste skiing as well as over 340km of runs. The town is charming and there is a buzz in the air without it being too boisterous.
Val Cenis, France – A firm favourites with French families, this resort has over 125km of green, blue and red runs as well as a toboggan run and a pool and spa complex. It is also known for its reasonably priced self-catering accommodation and is only 4 hours by train from Paris (plus a 30-minute bus/taxi ride).
Business trip: Geneva
Leisure trip: It is possible to get to Courchevel from Geneva airport in around 2 hours however there are numerous other options, all of which are less than 90 minutes from the airport and are situated in France rather than Switzerland.
OUR TOP 3
Argentiere (Chamonix), France – For the expert skiers, in just 1 hour you can get from Geneva to Argentiere, the north-east of the Chamonix valley which offers pistes of up to 3000m. It also boasts 1,300km vertical black runs and some of the most dangerous terrain in the Alps which is perfect for those who crave an adrenaline rush.
Flaine – 75 minutes from Geneva, Flaine is one of the snowiest resorts in the Alps. The actual resort gets close to 6 meters most seasons and the mountain summit has an annual snowfall of around 15meters. In addition, the main bowl is north facing so it gets quite shaded and the snow stays late in to the season. It’s a great environment for beginners and intermediates but there are still options for more advanced skiers.
Avoriaz, France – Another resort which is renowned for its high snowfall although the resort and the mountain summit don’t differ in depth that much. 90 minutes from Geneva, this French resort gets little sun for most of the winter so can offer good skiing right in to mid/late April. There is plenty of off-piste options but also runs for those who need a little more practice before attempting the black runs.
TOP TIP- Ski pass deals:
Swiss resorts are improving the value of their seasonal/multi-resort lift passes, possibly because of the poor exchange rate for Brits. A new Magic Pass gives access to lifts in 25 little resorts in five cantons, including powder wonderland Grimentz-Zinal, Crans-Montana, Villars-Gryon and pretty St Luc, and represents a fantastic bargain.
Business trip: Zurich
Leisure trip: Less than 90 minutes by car or public transport (some resorts are only accessible by car) and you can find yourself in some of the most amazing ski resorts.
OUR TOP 5
Flumserberg – Under an hour by car or public transport, the Flumserberg winter sports resort lies perfectly for a day trip or long weekend. Not just a ski resort but a wide range of other winter sports are also on offer – from 3km sledge runs to cross-country ski tracks, night skiing (or sledging!) to snowshoe hikes and family fun parks to off-piste skiing it really does have something for everyone.
Sattel-Hockstuckli – if your family meet you in Zurich you can load the car up and be at this resort in just 40minutes. This centrally located, reasonably priced resort is perfect if you want to spend time together and not lose anyone in the hustle and bustle of a larger resort. There are plenty of blue runs and lots of entertainment for both children and adults including the foot suspension bridge which is 1,227ft long and 190ft above the ground as well as the Stuckli Rondo revolving gondolas.
Hoch-Ybrig – If you are looking to relax as well as ski then this child friendly, modern resort just an hour’s drive from Zurich is highly recommended. Children can travel up the mountain on ‘the magic carpet’ and go on the carousel while the whole family can ski, snowboard, toboggan or just enjoy the magnificent views of the 3 mountain peaks.
Mt. Titlis – one of the most popular Swiss ski destinations for both the skiing and the amount of activities you can do, a weekend just won’t be enough to enjoy this resort! For skiers, the highlight has to be the longest downhill run which is over 12km long and a decrease in altitude of over 2,000ft! The rest of the 80km of runs offer variety for both skiers and snowboarders. When you’ve exhausted yourself skiing, take a ride on the Titlis Rotair cable car which will transport you up to the 3,020m summit, revolving 360 degrees throughout the journey. At the top, you can transfer to the Ice Flyer chairlift which takes you across the only glacier in the area, giving spectacular views of both the glacier and the surrounding mountains. If you don’t enjoy heights, you can go to the edge of the glacier by foot and enter the glacier cave which is 20m below the surface.
If you want to get your heart racing, a walk across the TITLIS cliff walk suspension bridge should do just that! It is 3,041 meters above sea level, 100 meters (328 ft.) long and can be crossed in approximately 150 steps.
Chäserrugg, Switzerland – This resort is enjoyed by nature lovers all your round. It sits high above the beautiful Lake Walen there is a new 10-seater gondola to take you up to the breath-taking views of six countries and nearly 500 mountain peaks. In winter, there are eight ski runs of varying difficulty as well as a toboggan run which allows you to take in the amazing views.
If you want to add a ski weekend on to your business trip but your destination isn’t covered, just ask any of our team to give you a recommendation.