Here are the answers to some of our most Frequently Asked Questions:
Please click on the relevant section title in blue below to be taken to our responses for that topic.
- How do I make a booking?
- What do I need to do to secure my booking?
- When is the balance due?
- Can members of our group pay the deposit and/or balance separately?
- What cards do you accept?
- Do you add any credit/debit card charges?
- Do you have an early bird discount?
- Do you offer a discount to returning guests?
- How soon should I book for a short ski break during the school holidays i.e. February half-term?
- What days do your breaks run from/to?
- Can we extend our break a day either side of these days?
- Can we have a weeklong break?
- What do your ski packages include?
- Do your ski packages include flights?
- Do your ski packages include airport transfers?
- What if I want to self-drive or come by train?
- Will I have to pay a single supplement for sole occupancy?
- Do you offer travel insurance?
- Do I still need travel insurance if I have an EHIC card?
- What ski packages do you have for Christmas?
- What ski packages do you have for New Year?
- What ski packages do you have for Easter?
- Which airport do we need to fly into?
- What times are your airport transfers from Geneva airport?
- What if I want to arrive/depart outside of your standard transfer windows?
- How long are your airport transfers from Geneva airport?
- What types of accommodation do you provide?
- Do you offer self-catering accommodation?
- Do your accommodations provide towels?
- Do any of your accommodations have a hot tub?
- Do any of your accommodations have a pool/spa?
- Do you have any single rooms with no supplement?
- Which of your accommodations are ski in/ski out?
- Do any of your accommodations cater for vegetarians, vegans or other dietary requirements?
- Do your accommodations provide WiFi?
- Do any of your accommodations offer child-care facilities?
- Can you organise trips for large or corporate groups?
- Are any of your accommodations available for sole use for our group?
- Which resorts do you operate in?
- How far are your resorts from Geneva airport?
- Which are your highest resorts?
- How snow-sure are your resorts?
- What is the skiing like later in the season?
- What are the best ski resorts for beginners?
- What are the best ski resorts for snowboarding?
- What are the best ski resorts for off-piste?
- Which are the best resorts for après-ski?
- What is there to do for non-skiers in each resort?
- What activities are available for non-skiers?
- Which lifts can I go on as a non-skiing pedestrian?
- Are ski/snowboard lessons included?
- How much are ski/snowboard lessons?
- Is ski hire included in the package price?
- How much is ski hire?
- Do I need to book lessons / ski hire in advance?
- Do you offer ski hosting?
- Do you offer a service for solo/single skiers?
- Can we hire ski clothing?
- Can we hire equipment for cross-country skiing?
- All of your coronavirus ‘what if’ questions, and other resources
Q – How do I make a booking?
A – When you are ready to book, and have confirmed that we still have availability at your chosen accommodation, simply click on the ‘Make a Booking’ button in the top right hand corner of our website.
Q – What do I need to do to secure my booking?
A – Once you have submitted the booking request form, you will receive an email confirmation that contains a link to your online booking space. There you can pay your deposit of £150 per person, to be paid within 3 days of booking.
Q – When is the balance due?
A – The full balance is due 6 weeks before your arrival date, and you will be sent an email reminder 1 week before.
For bookings made within 7 weeks of your arrival date, the full balance is due immediately.
Q – Can members of our group pay the deposit and/or balance separately?
A – When paying the deposit through your online booking space, members of the group can each choose to Make a Part Payment, then enter the amount they wish to pay (£150pp). Simply share the link with everyone in your group who wishes to make a separate payment.
Once the required number of deposits has been made, the group leader will receive an email confirming the booking.
With regards to paying the outstanding balance, each individual can also Make a Part Payment any time they choose, up to 6 weeks before your arrival date, when the full balance is due. Simply give each member of your group access to your online space.
Q – What cards do you accept?
A – We accept Visa and Mastercard. Unfortunately we are unable to accept American Express.
Q – Do you add any credit/debit card charges?
A – No, we do not charge for using a credit or debit card online or over the phone.
Q – Do you have an early bird discount?
A – Yes, we offer a discount of £20 per person for early bookings made by the end of August. More details can be found here >>>
Q – Do you offer a discount to returning guests?
A – For guests who have booked with us previously, we offer an additional £10 per person discount, which works in conjunction with the Early Bird Discount, and so is for bookings made by the end of August.
More information can be found here >>>
Q – How soon should I book for a short ski break during the school holidays i.e. February half-term?
A – Our short ski breaks during the school holidays get booked up very quickly, especially for February half-term, which is usually fully booked well before the season begins.
Therefore, you are best to book your break as soon as possible if you are restricted to school holidays.
Q – What days do your breaks run from/to?
A – We run our ski packages on a fixed change-over day format, from Monday to Thursday for 3-day midweeks, and Thursday to Monday for 4-day weekends, although this can vary slightly over the festive period to accommodate Christmas and New Year.
Q – Can I extend my break a day either side of these days?
A – Unfortunately it is not possible to extend your holiday to be a day longer either side, because we have new guests arriving for their own break every Monday and Thursday.
Q – Can I book a weeklong break?
A – Yes, you can have a weeklong break from either Monday – Monday or Thursday – Thursday.
Q – What do your ski packages include?
A – Our packages include catered accommodation, your lift pass, and airport transfers into Geneva on our standard transfer days. Flights, ski hire and tuition are not included and will need to be arranged independently by you.
Q15 – Do your ski packages include flights?
A – No, our packages do not include your flights, you will need to book them yourself to fit in with our standard transfer windows – see below.
Q – Do your ski packages include airport transfers?
A – Your airport transfers are included for flights scheduled to arrive into Geneva between 1500 – 2115 and depart after 1600 on our standard transfer days.
Q – What if I want to self-drive or come by train?
A – That is absolutely fine. Once you have booked your holiday you will be asked to enter your travel details into your online booking space, and there is a place there for you to add your train times, or to tell us you will be making your own way here, along with your estimated arrival time.
Q – Will I have to pay a single supplement for sole occupancy?
A – Although 2 of our hotels have a single room (see below), in all other accommodations you will incur a single supplement for sole occupancy of a double room. Please contact us with your preferred location and dates for more details.
Q – Do you offer travel insurance?
A – No, we don’t organise travel insurance for you, however, it is a condition of booking that you have adequate winter sports insurance, including cover for on-piste skiing.
Our recommended insurance partner in the UK for winter sports coverage is https://www.mpibrokers.com/
Q – Do I still need travel insurance if I have an EHIC card?
A – Whilst we strongly recommend you obtain a free EHIC card before your trip or make sure your current card is still in date, this will only cover some of the cost for illness and minor injuries, and it does not include on-piste rescue, being airlifted, or repatriated to your home country, nor any major medical treatment.
Also, treatment is rarely free with an EHIC card, it simply means you only pay what nationals of that country would normally pay, so you could still run up a large bill without appropriate insurance.
Once the Brexit transition period ends on 31st December 2020, it is unlikely your EHIC card will still be valid.
It is a condition of booking that you have adequate winter sports insurance, including cover for on-piste skiing.
Q – Which airport do we need to fly into?
A – All of our short ski breaks are via Geneva Airport.
Q – What times are your airport transfers from Geneva airport?
A – Your airport transfers are included for flights scheduled to arrive into Geneva between 1500 – 2115 and depart after 1600 on our standard transfer days (Mondays-Thursdays).
Q – What if I want to arrive/depart outside of your standard transfer windows?
A – We can arrange early pickups, at a locally charged supplement of €150 (total max) per minibus journey (carrying up to 8 people) required. If we’re able to share early arrivals between multiple groups coming in at similar times, this supplement is split on a per-person basis. The same supplement applies if you need to arrive a day later, or leave a day earlier.
For early arrivals to resort your rooms almost certainly wouldn’t be available for check in, but each accommodation should have space to store luggage, and somewhere for you to change if you wish.
The lift pass for skiing on this arrival day isn’t included in your package, to allow for travel delays, poor conditions etc; this can be bought directly in resort at around €35 for a half-day pass.
Q – How long are your airport transfers from Geneva airport?
A – All of our transfers are between 55 – 80 minutes, depending on the resort:
La Clusaz and Le Grand Bornand – 55 minutes
Saint Gervais and Samoens – 1hr
Les Contamines – 1hr20
Q – What types of accommodation do you provide?
A – We offer accommodation in comfortable chalet-hotels and hotels on a catered basis.
Q – Do you offer self-catering accommodation?
A – No, our accommodations primarily offer half-board accommodation, with our hotel in St. Gervais being on a Bed and Breakfast only basis (Hotel Coeur des Neiges).
Q – Do your accommodations provide towels?
A – Yes, all of our accommodations provide towels.
Q – Do any of your accommodations have a hot tub?
A – The following hotels have a hot tub or jacuzzi:
Hotel les Ecureuils*** – Le Grand Bornand
Hotel la Chemenaz**** – Les Contamines
Hotel Neige et Roc**** – Samoens
Q – Do any of your accommodations have a pool/spa?
A – The following hotels have a pool/spa:
Hotel les Ecureuils*** – Le Grand Bornand
Hotel Neige et Roc**** – Samoens
However, all of our resorts have public pool and spa facilities as well.
Q – Do you have any single rooms with no supplement?
A – Yes, Hotel la Pointe Percée in Le Grand Bornand and Hotel Floralp in La Clusaz each have 1-2 single rooms where no single supplement applies. However, they get booked up very quickly, so always double check availability with us first, before making a booking, booking flights etc.
All other accommodations offer sole occupancy of a double room with a single supplement. Please contact us with your preferred dates and location for a full quote.
Q – Which of your accommodations are ski in/ski out?
A – The following accommodations are ski in/ski out (i.e. are a short walk to a lift, and you can either ski back to within 100m of your accommodation, or get the telecabine back down if preferred):
Q – Do any of your accommodations cater for vegetarians, vegans or other dietary requirements?
A – Whilst all of our accommodations will do their best to cater for people with various dietary requirements, some are better able to provide for this than others. However, the Aravis Lodge is certified by the Vegetarian Society for both vegetarians and vegans, and is also very experienced in catering for most other diets as well, and regularly receive great feedback about their food.
Q – Do your accommodations provide WiFi?
A – Yes, all of our accommodations provide WiFi, though a small number only have it available in public areas. Please see the details for each specific accommodation for more information.
Q – Do any of your accommodations offer child-care facilities?
A – No, unfortunately none of our accommodations offer child-care facilities or a baby-sitting service. However, some resorts have a creche, which you would need to organise directly yourself.
Q – Can you organise trips for large or corporate groups?
A – Absolutely! We are highly experienced in organising large or corporate group holidays, so whether your trip is for 20 – 120 guests, we can help you to co-ordinate every aspect.
Q – Are any of your accommodations available for sole use for our group?
A – Yes, our home base – The Aravis Lodge – is available for sole use for your group. It is a comfortable chalet-hotel which sleeps up to 40 people in twin/double and 3-4 person family rooms, all ensuite. The Lodge has a large communal dining room, a cosy bar, TV lounge, sauna, gym and onsite ski hire.
Q – Which resorts do you operate in?
Q – How far are your resorts from Geneva airport?
A – All of our transfers are between 55 – 80 minutes, depending on the resort:
Les Contamines – 1hr20
Q – Which are your highest resorts?
A – Many people ask about resort altitude. However, given that the majority of the actual skiing in the Haute Savoie region takes place between 1000 – 2500m, it is the piste altitude that has the most bearing.
The altitude of each resort centre we work in, along with its piste elevation is as follows:
|Resort||Resort Height||Lowest Piste||Highest Piste||KM of Pistes||Ski Domain||Access with Lift Pass|
|Samoens village||750m||700m||2500m||265km||Grand Massif||Samoens, Flaine, Les Carroz, Morrillon & Sixt-Fer-a-Cheval|
|Saint Gervais||900m||1400m||2353m||445km||Evasion Mont Blanc||Saint Gervais, Megève, St Nicholas de Veroce, Les Contamines Hauteluce, Combloux & La Giettaz|
|Le Grand Bornand||952||1000m||2100m||220km||The Aravis (Annecy Mountains)||Le Grand Bornand, La Clusaz & Manigod|
|La Clusaz||1100m||1040m||2500m||220km||The Aravis (Annecy Mountains)||La Clusaz, Le Grand Bornand and Manigod|
|Les Contamines||1164m||1160m||2450m||120km||Les Contamines / Hautluce||Les Contamines & Hautluce|
You can see how these compare with other ski resorts within 90 minutes of Geneva airport here >>>
Q – How snow-sure are your resorts?
A – Few of the ski resorts within 90 minutes of Geneva airport would be classed as snow-sure when comparing them to their higher altitude cousins in the Southern Alps (such as Tignes, Val d’Isere and Val Thorens), but many of them still have excellent snow records. Obviously it also depends on the season in general, as conditions can be very similar across the area, or even across the European Alps as a whole.
However, the Aravis ski domain – made up of La Clusaz, Le Grand Bornand and Manigod – has an excellent record, due to the fact that the Aravis is the first mountain range on the western side of the Alps, so any weather fronts coming from west to east will drop their snow there first.
In 2018, the Aravis had snow lower down and for longer than most other resorts in the entire region. Whereas on the higher slopes (from 1500m upwards) each of the resorts had fantastic conditions throughout the season, from late November to late April.
Les Contamines also has great credentials, with one of the best snow records in France, due in part to its position directly under Mont Blanc, as well as being in a long, sheltered valley surrounded by mountains on all sides, which enables it to keep its snow for longer.
Flaines is often regarded as being the most snow-sure resort in the Haute Savoie, and whilst we don’t offer accommodation in the resort itself, you can access the entire Flaine ski domain with your Grand Massif lift pass when staying in one of our accommodations in Samoens.
Q – What is the skiing like later in the season in the Haute Savoie?
A – As always this depends on the overall season itself. In a poor season, the higher slopes and lifts still tend to have snow well into April, but the lower pistes and lifts might be closed, with no snow at all at village level.
However, in a good season such as in 2018, we had fresh snowfall in mid-April, and the majority of pistes/lifts were still open at that point, although there wasn’t much snow in the villages themselves by then. However, a limited number of higher altitude pistes/lifts remained open until the end of April.
Q – What are the best ski resorts for beginners?
A – The resort we recommend the most for beginners is Le Grand Bornand, for many reasons. It has excellent pistes for beginners and improvers, with lots of long, cruisy green and blue runs, as well as the longest Magic Carpet covered ski lift in Europe, at 220m long. A great deal of investment has been made in upgrading the beginner’s area at the top of Le Rosay telecabine.
In addition, the ESF has a number of English-speaking ski instructors who offer private lessons that can work with the short break ski weekend / midweek format. Le Grand Bornand is a very family-friendly resort in general, however there is also plenty to keep more intermediate and advanced skiers happy as well.
Otherwise, La Clusaz, Samoens and St Gervais also have very good debutant areas, with options to book private lessons with English-speaking instructors, whereas Les Contamines is probably better suited for intermediates and above.
Q – What are the best ski resorts for snowboarding?
A – All of the resorts we work in are great for snowboarders, though if snowparks are your thing, Le Grand Bornand has one of the top 5 parks in the French Alps. Each of our resorts have good off-piste opportunities as well, if you fancy being a bit more adventurous.
Q – What are the best ski resorts for off-piste?
A – All of the resorts offer great off-piste opportunities, though always be aware of the avalanche warnings/signs, have the recommended safety equipment, and take appropriate precautions. If need be, hire a guide who is highly familiar with the area, just to be on the safe side.
Q – Which are the best resorts for après-ski?
A – La Clusaz is the largest and liveliest of all of our resorts, with numerous bars, restaurants and a couple of clubs. There are also a few on-piste options as well, before you head down at the end of the day.
Alternatively, from the resort of St Gervais you can access the on-piste Folie Douce, if you’re looking for something a bit livelier, and the town itself has a small selection of bars and restaurants once you come down from the slopes.
Samoens village centre also has a good vibe, with a variety of bars, restaurants and shops serving local specialities, in a pedestrianised area. Le Grand Bornand and Les Contamines are smaller and much more low key, but still have some pleasant bars and restaurants if you fancy a change from your hotel and want to experience local hospitality.
Q – What is there to do for non-skiers in each resort?
A – You can find much more information about activities for non-skiers in each of our resorts here >>>
Q – Which lifts can I go on as a non-skiing pedestrian?
A – Most resorts allow pedestrians to use their telecabines and cable cars (gondolas and bubble lifts), with some also giving access to a small number of chairlifts. Be aware though that you can only go up on some chairlifts and not down, so plan ahead for that.
More information to follow for each specific resort.
Q – Are ski/snowboard lessons included?
A – No, lessons are not included in our packages, they are to be booked by yourself separately, although for guests stay at the Aravis Lodge, or our other partner hotels in Le Grand Bornand, we can help to book private lessons for you. You can find the links to our recommended partners at:
Le Grand Bornand – ESF
La Clusaz – ESI
St Gervais – ESF
Samoens – ESF
Les Contamines – ESF
Q – How much are ski/snowboard lessons?
When you follow the relevant links above you will be taken to the ski school’s website where you will find exact prices. However, in general lessons tend to be between €45-60 an hour, depending on the day, and time in the season.
Q – Do I need to book lessons in advance?
A – We highly recommend you book ski and snowboarding lessons well in advance, especially if you require them during the school holidays / peak season. (I.e. Christmas/New Year, and from mid-February – mid-March).
Q – Is ski hire included in the package price?
A – No, ski hire is not included in the package price, you will need to organise that yourself, though it doesn’t need to be pre-booked in advance unless you want to. The Aravis Lodge and Hotel la Chemenaz all have ski hire facilities onsite.
Guests who book through Ski Weekender will receive a discount voucher on arrival, to use with our recommended ski hire partner in each resort.
Q – How much is ski hire?
The following links will give you more information about our recommended ski hire partners, and their pricing:
Le Grand Bornand – Paret Sports
La Clusaz – Sports 3000
St Gervais – Claude Penz
Samoens – Roland Gay (Ski Set) Sports
Les Contamines – Allez Oop
Q – Do you offer ski hosting?
One of the additional services we used to really pride ourselves on was that of ‘Ski Hosting’. This was where we used to accompany our guests onto the pistes, to show you the best slopes, restaurants, views etc.
Sadly, now due to the more rigorously enforced legislation that says you have to be qualified in order to ski with groups in France, we are no longer able to offer our popular ski hosting, or ‘social skiing’ service.
However, we recognise the importance of this level of support for our solo skiers in particular, but also to anyone new to these resorts. As such, we have put in place an alternative which can be accessed by anyone staying in Le Grand Bornand and La Clusaz, called the Snow Rep Service. You can read more about that here >>>
Q – Do you offer a service for solo/single skiers?
A – Although we do not run specific ‘singles only’ ski holidays, we are pleased to offer a range of ski packages that are solo-traveller friendly. These holidays are ideal for those looking to ski on their own, or wanting to meet people and get to know and join other skiers on the mountain.
We are able to offer Ski Weekends and Ski Midweeks without single-supplements in some accommodations. In others we offer the chance to opt for a same-sex shared room to remove any additional payment. You can read more about that here >>>
We do not offer a formal service linking other solo skiers together, however, we have snow reps on the mountains in Le Grand Bornand and La Clusaz, as well as one of the nights during the stay, which is good for meeting other skiers and maybe finding someone else to ski with. You can read more about that in the previous Q&A.
Q – Can we hire ski clothing?
Yes, clothing can be hired from us, which can include the full package of jacket, trousers, gloves, socks and goggles, or you can just hire the jacket and / or trousers. This will need to be booked in advance. Please contact us for more information and pricing.
Q – Can we hire equipment for cross-country skiing?
Yes, there are several ski hire shops in each resort where you can hire equipment for cross-country skiing, including skis, poles and shoes. For guests staying at the Aravis Lodge, we don’t stock cross-country equipment in our ski hire suite, but you can obtain it from a local hire shop a short walk away.
Q – Your coronavirus ‘what if’ questions
A – We have compiled some detailed responses to the main ‘what if’ questions you may have in relation to the coronavirus, travel and your ski holiday, as well as provided a number of useful resources here >>>