Not often an activity associated with budgets, Skiing and Snowboarding has boomed in popularity in recent years.
Followed by the credit crunch and a near 1:1 Euro exchange rate, more of us that got the bug are now looking for affordable alternatives.
So if you’ve any money left after 2 weekends of London style ‘Apres’ and are left hunting for more affordable winter holiday options, I can highly recommend Morzine. A charming mountain ski town located in the heart of the ‘Portes du Soleil’ and only a 1 hour drive from Geneva airport.
So what does Morzine offer for a budget ski holiday
Well for a start, it means you can wake up anywhere in the UK in the morning and head straight to your local airport, jump on a cheap Easyjet flight to Geneva (no expensive airport lunches or hotel sleepovers required), relax for up to 2 hours and arrive with a minibus transfer ready and waiting to whisk you 1 hour up the road to the ski lifts.
Speaking of which (Ski-lifts.com) will do just that for you. – With their fleet of 8 seater minbusses covering the entire ‘Haute Savoie’ region, Ski Lifts specifically advertise that for group booking discounts the normal seat price can drop from around €45 euros to as low as €12.50. Try pricing a 3 hour transfer to the ‘Trois Vallees’ and you might as well set aside your entire month’s Oyster card budget!
Next up you’ll need ski hire and lift passes. I found Doorstep Skis was not only willing to save me even more time and hassle by coming right to my accommodation to deliver and fit my skis, but also offer 20% off for online bookings! – Now speaking of budgets and being a Scot (Normally well known for our desire to find the best deal), when i discovered the owner at doorstep was Scottish I plugged him for info about ski passes.
The great thing about Morzine is that you can opt for the slightly cheaper option of only a Morzine/Les Gets pass at 31€ per day, or choose the full Portes du Soleil pass for 43€ per day. (Even cheaper options are available for 6 day passes!)
An equivalent pass in the Trois Vallees would set you back 48.50€ for the day so that adds up to a few saved beer tokens in the week.
So for those that are fairly new to skiing and don’t require to venture into the extreme backcountry, the Morzine/Les Gets pass covers 2 resorts worth of lots of stunning wide blue graded runs right into the town centres that generally sit in the sun all day. Plugging my doorstep ski-technician further I am informed that they’ve recently done a comparison of ski-pass prices across the alps.
Considering the Portes du Soleil encompasses 450 kilometres of linked piste, it pretty much offers the best value for money out there. (See their graph below ) –
Did I mention that the pass also covers the free bus service that runs around Morzine all day and will take you from your door right to the ski bubbles located at the heart of the town?!
There are numerous options for accomodation offering everything from as much as you can eat Tartiflette and ‘vin’ included in the price to bubbling hot tubs overlooking the mountains. Thankfully I stayed at a friends place and would strongly recommend googling one of the many self catered apartments dotted around Morzine. Have a look on InteractiveResorts.co.uk for a very helpful google maps layout of exactly where your chalet is and avoid being fooled by the websites ‘ ‘Ski in ski out and 5 mins walk from the lifts’ sales patter!
My last considerations were eating out and enjoying some ‘Apres’ drinks – If you’ve chosen self catered and fancy a night off from cooking, head to the Sherpa Bar along by Ed’s supermarket for a Wednesday night barbecue.
You bring your own meat (or veg) and they will not only cook it for you for free, but also provide a free array of bread and salads to accompany your food on the understanding that you’ll buy a few beers from them at Morzine’s slightly below standard ski resort price of €5 a pint ‘Owch!’ – It’s also a great place to meet the local seasonnaires and enjoy some party atmosphere.
If you want to save a few further francs on apres drinks – Head to.’Bar Robinson‘ for a super strong mountain ‘Mutzig’ beer or 2 before your night out as you’ll only need a couple to either set you up for the night or send you home!
See you there this winter!
Greg [ Twitter: @greg_sim]