Posted on 10 June 2019
When buying ski property, looking at French ski resorts near Geneva is wise criterion to have. After all, a lengthy airport transfer to mountain resorts is the last thing people want. As you chug along the autoroute and meander around an endless supply of hairpin bends, time soon adds up.
So, for a ski retreat to indulge your passion for the pistes, why not choose one that will not take forever to get there? We have three favourite destinations within 90 minutes of Geneva airport.
The airport sees much activity, especially from UK destinations like Leeds Bradford. Renowned as the gateway to several top resorts given its proximity to the French border, the Swiss city of Geneva offers convenient access to some excellent slopes and facilities in Europe.
In less than 1 hour, reach the French village La Clusaz. While property buyers in several other top French destinations, Samoens, Saint Gervais-Les-Bains, Les Gets, Chamonix, Megeve, Flaine – will have the keys in their front door in under an hour and a half after leaving Geneva Airport.
4 of our French Ski Resorts Near Geneva
Avoriaz Ski Resort and Family Friendly Fun
Avoriaz is an excellent example of purpose-built resorts that popped up in France in the swinging 60s. The Portes du Soleil ski area resort, at 1800 metres altitude, ensures a good supply of snow. However, how do you get there?
If heading to Avoriaz by car, the semi-subterranean car park about half a mile away, where a caterpillar-tracked bus will wait to shuttle you into town. You might even travel this final leg by horse-drawn sleigh, for a more authentic experience. This unwavering “no cars” principle generates a friendly alpine vibe.
It all works rather well because the central shops and bars are within 500 metres of all accommodation. Celebrating more than 50 years of skiing fun, far from being over the hill, Avoriaz has changed with the times, while maintaining its avant-garde 60s spirit.
Perched on a sloping shelf above a dramatic high cliff, architects embraced its natural surroundings in later years to create buildings with bold lines and sharp angles that blend in with the landscape, an exciting change from the chocolate box cliché synonymous with many European ski resorts. In 2003 this unique approach to alpine architecture led the Minister of Culture to name Avoriaz a “great 20th-century heritage achievement”.
For all-important skiing, Avoriaz links to northern Chatel and eastern Champery. Linked by gondola but not piste to western Morzine, it shares a separate area of slopes with Les Gets. An 1800 metres altitude ensures deep and plentiful snow. Another advantage of being mountain high is stunning Dents Blanches and the Dents du Midi views on a bright sunny day.
For an alpine retreat somewhere, that breaks the traditional ski resort mould by refusing to conform, while still guaranteeing first-class, snow-sure skiing, then Avoriaz and its startling design could be the place for you
Chatel: Authentic French Village Lifestyles
Nestled in a vast wooded valley, Chatel remains unspoilt, with old chalets and churches dotted throughout the village, giving it a French feel. Sitting south of neighbouring Avoriaz, the resort is also part of the vast Portes du Soleil circuit, allowing you to ski over the border into Switzerland. However, best of all, it is just 80-kilometres from Geneva airport.
Chatel has succeeded where many other resorts linked to major ski areas have failed: it has remained unspoilt, helping it to keep a French feel. Its slopes split into two distinct regions: Linga-Pre la Joux, which connects it to its French compatriot Avoriaz, and Barbossine-Super Chatel, which links to the Swiss resorts of Morgins and Torgon whether enthusiastic beginner or a progressing intermediate, heading to the perfect location helps you progress up the ski run rainbow.
The village itself follows the road from Lake Geneva as it winds its way hillside, from which to cast your eye over the wooded valley below. Its Savoyard character and charm make it a popular choice for snow sports enthusiasts who crave a picture-postcard base.
The chalets inspired by traditional farmsteads still found in Abondance valley, led the Minister of Culture and Communication to call it a Pays d’Art et d’Histoire (Towns and Lands of Art and History) a label recognising architecture and heritage preservation attempts.
In summer, the resort and surrounding mountains remain a hive of activity, long after the snow has melted and the flowers have bloomed. Mountain bikers hurtle down the hillside on two wheels; climbers tackle challenging rock faces, hikers take in stunning views, anglers fish the surrounding lakes and rivers, and para-gliders watch it all unfold below as they drift down to terra firma.
Whether you want a one-bedroom new build ski apartment, a £1,000,000+ three-bedroom Savoyard chalet, or something in between, Chatel will not disappoint property buyers who want to own an alpine retreat in a resort that combines great slopes with rustic alpine charm. (Property for sale in Chatel.)
Les Carroz: Just 50 Minutes From Geneva
Perched on an 1140 metres altitude plateau, Les Carroz, the most accessible of five Grand Massif ski resorts is just an hour’s drive from Geneva airport or a five a half hour drive from Paris via an Eurostar inspired road trip.
Convenient access to neighbouring Flaine, Samoens, Morillon and Sixt ensures 265 kilometres of skiing terrain is at your disposal. The village itself sits at the foot of pine tree-clad slopes, with a mix of cosy chalet-style timber Savoyard buildings, bars, restaurants, and shops.
Parents looking for a family-friendly resort will find Les Carroz caters for snow sports enthusiasts of all ages. As one of 44 French ski resorts awarded “Famille Plus” status, Les Carroz has proven its ability to provide families with a warm welcome.
Here children of all ages can partake in a range of activities, clubs, and ski schools. Head there in April, and you and your brood could enter the Family and Friends Games, fun competition for anyone aged seven and over, which includes slopestyle kickers, giant slalom skiing and boardercross.
Les Carroz is more than just a ski resort. Visitors and residents can try their hand at tobogganing, dog sledging, snowshoeing, glacier trekking and ice skating. In summer the snow disappears, but visitors do not, with well-signposted trails that criss-cross the area attracting mountain bikers and hikers.
For something a little more adrenaline-inducing, try para-gliding. The views are breath taking whether you pluck up the courage to fling yourself off the mountainside in summer or winter. (Les Carroz Real estate for sale.)
Number 4 on our list of favourite French ski resorts near Geneva is Combloux. For snow sports enthusiasts, shredding powder just once or twice a season is not enough slope time. That is why so many of us return determined to make our holiday last forever, by buying a home we can use as ski base whenever we choose.
A few iconic resorts spring to mind – Chamonix, Val d’Isère, Meribel, Les Arcs – but delve a little deeper into this vast region to discover lesser-known resorts of equal quality like Combloux.As part of Les Portes du Mont-Blanc ski area which it shares with le Jaillet, La Giettaz and Cordon and 100 kilometres of pistes that snake through pine forests and pass rustic mountain farms, Combloux is an alpine gem, worth visiting for breath-taking Mont Blanc and Aravis and Beaufortain mountain range views, and three snow parks and cross-country skiing tracks.
Its supply of slopes does not end there. Head just one kilometre from Combloux village centre and to discover the Evasion Mont-Blanc ski area and its 445 kilometres of slopes, which it shares with Le Jaillet, La Giettaz, Saint-Gervais, Megeve, Saint-Nicolas de Veroce, Les Contamines and Cordon.Once the snow melts, the streams flow, and the flowers bloom, Combloux remains a hive of activity as visitors enjoy a wide range of summer activities: mountain biking, fishing, para-gliding, BMX, white-water sports, hiking, rock climbing.