Take the Snow Train!

Every Saturday, from 29th January till 19th March 2011 a Snowtrain will be operating from Geneva Airport through Valais. With a 79 pound Swiss Transfer Ticket that means you can easily get a connecting train to the Portes du Soleil, Verbier  and Zermatt, but with a little imagination some of the more exotic and less well-known resorts are easily reachable by connecting services – such as Leysin, Les Diablerets, Leukerbad, Nendaz, the Aletsch Arena, Crans-Montana, Lötschental, Grächen, Evolène, Anzers, Belalp and the outstanding Val D’Annivers (Chandolin, St-Luc, Grimentz, Vercorin and Zinal). The Transfer Ticket is also good for the bus as well as the train, and bus transfers are almost as easy as a train transfer.

The outward and return timetable for the Snow Train are:

Geneva Airport 13.40 Brig 09.51
Aigle 15.00 Visp 10.00
Martigny 15.15 Leuk no stop
Sion 15.30 Sierre 10.16
Sierre 15.40 Sion 10.27
Leuk 15.50 Martigny 10.41
Visp 16.00 Aigle 10.59
Brig 16.15 Geneva Airport 12.27

The Snow Train is not the only way to get to the Swiss Alps and the regular train and bus services all have stowage points for skis and boards.  Saas-Fee and Zermatt are already open for an early season break and can be accessed almost equally easily from Zurich and Geneva airports and the Paris TGV at Basel or Lausanne.

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Leysin

Although Leysin is a sprawl, it has a reasonable amount going on and some good slopes, particularly for boarders and intermediates. It makes a good base for trying out the runs in neignbouring resorts like Villars.

Ski Area Leysin
Resorts Leysin. Les Mosses
Ski Region Vaud Alps
Piste (km) 100
Top run (m) 1870
Bottom (m) 1445
Max Drop 425
Snow’n’Rail Y
Black (km) 4
Red (km) 30
Blue (km) 66
Lifts (#/hr) 22000
My Rating 4
Alpine 3
SnowPark 5
Nordic 3
Hiking 2
Family 5
Apres Ski 2
Free Ride Y
Snow making Y
Fun park Y
Snow park  
Half pipes Y
Spa  

In Brief

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Les Diablerets

Les Diablerets (“Home of the Devils”) is a pleasant village served by a train service out of Aigle with three distinct, and very different, mountains. Meilleret (1949m) is mostly below the tree line and connects to the busy Villars ski area, the Isenau (2120m) area has some pleasant sunny runs good for beginners and intermediates, and then there is the glacier on Diablerets at an often chilly but reliably snowsure 3000m. Villars is the more popular package holiday destination, but family-friendly Les Diablerets has much to commend itself as a holiday destination.

Ski Area Les Diablerets
Resorts Les Diablerets, Glacier 3000, Isenau, Villars, Gryon
Ski Region Vaud Alps
Piste (km) 100
Top run (m) 3000
Bottom (m) 1350
Max Drop 1650
Snow’n’Rail Y
Black (km) 13
Red (km) 47
Blue (km) 60
Lifts (#/hr) 38000
My Rating 5
Alpine 4
SnowPark 4
Nordic 5
Hiking 4
Family 4
Apres Ski 4
Free Ride Y
Snow making Y
Fun park Y
Snow park Y
Half pipes
Spa

In Brief

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Villars

Villars is a pleasant enough resort, and being one of the closest Swiss resorts to Geneva Airport makes it a package holiday favourite. It is low, however, and not as snow-sure as other Swiss resorts except at peak season – and there is little to challenge strong skiers looking for powder.

Ski Area Villars
Resorts Villars, Isenau, Villars, Gryon
Ski Region Vaud Alps
Piste (km) 161
Top run (m) 2120
Bottom (m) 1207
Max Drop 913
Snow’n’Rail Y
Black (km) 14
Red (km) 62
Blue (km) 85
Lifts (#/hr) 37000
My Rating 5
Alpine 4
SnowPark 4
Nordic 5
Hiking 2
Family 5
Apres Ski 3
Free Ride
Snow making
Fun park Y
Snow park
Half pipes Y
Spa

In Brief

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