The Swiss city of Geneva is a beautiful place to holiday in. Not only does it boast spectacular alpine scenery and the dazzling lake of the same name, but it is also home to a large number of Michelin-star restaurants and world renowned hotels.
Throw in the fact it is the location of choice for watchmakers such as Patek Philippe and organisations like the Red Cross and the United Nations, and it is clear that Geneva is a city with a refined and chic culture. With France on one side and Austria on the other, it will come as no surprise that the Swiss destination is also popular with skiers.
Here are three of the leading winter sports resorts that can easily be reached by car from Geneva city centre.
Located in the Oberland Bernois part of Switzerland, the Gstaad ski resort offers 250 km of slopes for you to tackle, whether by skiing, tobogganing or winter hiking. Make sure the stylish men's snowboarding jackets you pack are made from top-quality materials that will keep you warm and dry, especially if you are susceptible to landing in the snow a few times!
Getting to Gstaad should take you approximately 2.5 hours from Geneva by car, but its extra-long ski season makes it worth the effort. You are guaranteed snow cover from October to May, which provides you with plenty of opportunity to hit the slopes. Booking flights towards the end of the season could see you secure a good deal, not only on travel, but also accommodation and any skiwear you snap up in the sales before you leave.
The ski resort of Verbier is a similar car journey from Geneva as Gstaad, although it is located in Valais. The Mont-Fort glacier welcomes winter sports enthusiasts from November to April. As you may have noticed, the Swiss ski seasons tend to be generous thanks to the favourable climate on higher ground. Make the effort to come to Verbier and you can enjoy 100 km of runs serviced by 27 lifts. Around 43 per cent of the runs are blue, 29 per cent red and 28 per cent black, so no matter what skill level you are at, there is plenty of space for you to practice.
If you get peckish after all of that activity, there are eight restaurants nestled on the slopes, which are perfect for a mid or apres ski meal and drink. It is worth keeping in mind that if you like to freestyle, Verbier is also home to the La Chaux snow park, where you can tackle obstacles such as rails and boxes.
Slightly closer to Geneva is the ski resort of Villars, which is in Vaud. There are 120 km of slopes here, while 45 lifts mean you should never wait too long before hitching a ride back up to the top. You will be glad of the speedy service, as there are lots of different activities you can get stuck into at this resort. Aside from the usual skiing, you can also cross-country ski and telemark ski. If you have never heard of this style before, it consists of your heel being left unstrapped from the skis, when normally they would be secured. It certainly feels strange at first, but you can benefit from lessons to help you get to grips with the technique.