One of the most popular airports to fly to when skiing in France, Switzerland or Italy is Geneva Airport. This is because many of the best ski resorts in Europe are a 2-hour drive or less from Geneva Airport.
I have been flying to Geneva Airport for over 15 years for ski holidays with family and friends. I am familiar with all of the ski resorts in this article because I have been on ski trips to each destination at least once (each for a week-long duration). Except for Le Grand Massif, but my parents have been there numerous times and were able to give me the low-down and provide me with their photos.
I have been to many ski resorts in Canada, USA, Italy, France, and Switzerland. So, I know how to judge a good ski resort.
This article will help you to decide which ski resort to book when flying to Geneva Airport. It will provide you information on how big the resort is, how snow-sure the resort is (based on its height), and its distance from Geneva.
Plus, I will share the cost of a lift pass, if price is a factor in your decision-making. Finally, I will share some options for accommodation each in ski resort because you need to book your hotel or apartment very far in advance during peak ski seasons.
French Ski Resorts near to Geneva
The French Alps is one of the most famous ski areas in Europe. I have spent more time exploring these snowy French mountains than any other ski region around the world.
When flying to Geneva, you can make a small detour to pass a lovely town named Evian on Lake Geneva or the spectacular Lake Annecy, beautiful in summer and winter. Evian and Annecy are stunning stops before you continue to your chosen ski town.
If you are a beginner at skiing, make sure you get booked onto some ski lessons. ESF (Ecole de Ski Français) is the French Ski School where you can take snowboarding and ski lessons. ESF offers private or group classes for all abilities. I have taken numerous lessons with ESF and while some instructors have limited English, it has been a great help in improving my French.
1. Portes du Soleil
Distance from Geneva to Les Gets: 72 km
Portes du Soleil is a collection of twelve ski resorts in France: many perceive it as one of the best family ski resorts near Geneva because there are ski runs suitable for those of any ability.
The Portes du Soleil area is around an hour’s drive from Geneva, making it one of the closest ski resorts to Geneva Airport. In fact Les Gets, a resort within Portes du Soleil, offers some of the closest skiing to Geneva (1 hour 10 minutes by car).
There are ski runs suitable for all ages and abilities throughout Portes du Soleil Ski Resort because there is a good spread of green, blue, red and black runs. You will get access to all 12 ski resorts with just one ski pass, which offers exceptional value.
Buying your lift pass online, instead of at the cashier, will save you some money. If you have a Portes du Soleil lift pass from before, you can type in the pass number and it will automatically load to it. Many ski resorts in France operate with a similar method, so keep all old lift cards.
Avoriaz, one of the most popular resorts, is usually open from early December to late April. The reason the resort is able to open for longer than many other ski resorts is because it is a high resort and can guarantee better snow due to this.
The village is a car-free resort, meaning all accommodation in Avoriaz is ski-in ski-out. Ski-in ski-out means you do not need to take your skis off when finishing a run until you get to your front door.
Aside from skiing, Avoriaz offers ice skating, snowshoeing and indoor swimming.
You can ski from Portes du Soleil to Switzerland on the famous Swiss Wall. It is a steep ski run and there are many moguls on it, so only attempt this if you are an experienced skier. I have attempted the Swiss Wall several times and all of my style goes out of the window because you have to concentrate on getting from the top to the bottom safely.
When skiing from Portes du Soleil to Switzerland, make sure your ticket covers the lifts from Switzerland back to France, so you can get back to where you started.
Ski Facts about Portes du Soleil
- Drive time from Geneva airport: 1 hour 10 minutes
- 208 ski lifts
- Total ski slope length: 580 km
- 307 ski runs
- Highest point: 2,254 m
- Portes du Soleil lift pass cost: €64 for 1 day (adult)
Where to Stay in Portes du Soleil?
|La Ferme du Lac||Montriond, near to Morzine||Click here|
|Hôtel Macchi Restaurant & Spa $$||Chatel||Click here|
Distance from Geneva to Bernex: 59 km
If you are looking for small French ski resorts near Geneva, Bernex in France is the one. With a stunning view of Mont Blanc from the top of the slopes, this quaint French ski village will capture your attention for its charm.
I have skied in Bernex more than 20 times because my family owns a chalet there. I have brought friends and family of numerous levels and those that are new to skiing or eager to practice their skills are the ones that enjoy Bernex ski resort the most.
While Bernex is much smaller and its resort height is lower than other ski resorts, it is an excellent ski resort for beginners, intermediate skiers and groups or families. Therefore, I would suggest that Bernex is one of the best beginner ski resorts near Geneva Airport.
Plus, given the nature of the small ski resort, it could be the cheapest ski resort near Geneva Airport – as you can tell by the cost of a lift pass.
Check the snow reports while you are in Bernex so you can see what snow you can expect. If rain or a lack of snow is predicted, you can go to a higher resort for the day, such as Morzine or Avoriaz.
Ski Facts about Bernex
- Drive time from Geneva airport: 1 hour 30 minutes
- 12 ski lifts
- Total ski slope length: 19 km
- 19 ski runs
- Highest point: 2,000 m
- Bernex lift pass cost: €29 for 1 day (adult)
Where to Stay in Bernex?
You can also rent an entire chalet with a mountain view. This is what we do in Bernex so we can cook our own meals at the chalet.
3. Les Trois Vallées
Distance from Geneva to Courchevel: 180 km
The 3 Valleys is the largest ski area in the world. It includes Val Thorens, Courchevel, Meribel, Les Menuires, St Martin de Belleville and Orelle.
Given how high many of the 3 Valleys slopes are, you are guaranteed snow during the winter season. Val Thorens is so high, that it is above the tree line. But it still has spectacular scenery.
If you are flexible, avoid visiting Val Thorens during peak times because the ski lifts can get busy, given all of the resorts’ popularity. Peak times are during school half terms in the UK and France.
The 3 Valleys are slightly further away from Geneva Airport, with a transfer time of around 2 hours. However, they are worth the drive given how vast the area is and the quality of the ski slopes.
There are some slightly closer airports to Les 3 Vallées, such as Chambery Airport; however, they have limited airline options. Therefore, most people fly to Geneva to ski in Val Thorens, Courchevel and Meribel.
Ski Facts about Les Trois Vallées
- Drive time from Geneva airport: 2 hours 30 minutes
- 163 ski lifts
- Total ski slope length: 600 km
- 339 ski runs
- Highest point: 3,200 m
- Les Trois Vallées lift pass cost: €75 for 1 day (adult)
Where to Stay in the Three Valleys?
|Hotel Eterlou $$$||Méribel||Click here|
|Hotel Le Sherpa $$$||Val Thorens||Click here|
|Chalet des Neiges Koh-i Nor $$$||Val Thorens||Click here|
The 3 Valleys ski area is expensive, so if you are looking to save money you could stay in a self-equipped apartment.
My family and I stayed at Chalet des Neiges at Koh-i Nor hotel and it was a well-sized and fully-equipped apartment. The location was fabulous and a truly ski-in, ski-out accommodation.
Distance from Geneva to Megève: 88 km
Megève is a charming and romantic French ski town, a 75-minute drive from Geneva Airport. The main ski village is car-free, so you can book ski-in ski-out accommodation if you would like.
Megève is a great choice for first-time skiers, as well as the more experienced skiers. In addition to ESF, there are several other ski schools to choose from.
There are different types of lift passes available to ski at Megève and its surrounding resorts. If you want to ski at other Mont Blanc resorts, consider the Mont Blanc Unlimited or Evasion Mont Blanc passes.
Megève is one of the most impressive ski resorts near to Geneva Airport. Le Grand Bornand Ski Resort is closer to Geneva Airport than Megève, given its lower elevation, it is slightly less snow sure than Megève.
Megève is the ski resort I learned to ski in from the age of 5 and we continued to return for the next five years. Therefore, it holds a very dear place in my heart.
Ski Facts about Megève
- Drive time from Geneva airport: 1 hour 15 minutes
- 88 ski lifts
- Total ski slope length: 263 km
- 200 ski runs
- Highest point: 2,350 m
- Megève lift pass cost: €59.50 for 1 day (adult)
Where to Stay in Megève?
For a bucket-list luxury stay, try Four Season’s luxury ski chalet in Megève.
|La Ferme du Golf $$$||Megève||Click here|
|Les Loges Blanches $$$$||Megève||Click here|
|Coeur de Megève $$$$||Megève||Click here|
5. Le Grand Massif
Distance from Geneva to Les Carroz: 61.6 km
With its extensive network of ski trails and higher-than-average snowfall, Le Grand Massif is an excellent choice for ski resorts 2 hours from Geneva.
The five resorts that form Le Grand Massif are Les Carroz, Morillon, Samoëns, Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval and Flaine ski resort. These are some of the closest ski resorts to Geneva Airport, approximately an hour’s drive away.
Ski chalets are more affordable in Le Grand Massif than some other ski resorts, such as Megeve and Val Thorens. So, a trip to Le Grand Massif may be a more economical decision.
Samoens can be extremely busy, due to its popularity, so make sure your reserve a table in a restaurant on the slopes for lunch. My family enjoyed eating at La Luge à Téran.
There is an exceptional view of Mont Blanc from the top of Flaine Ski Resort.
Ski Facts about Le Grand Massif
- Drive time from Geneva airport: 1 hour
- 62 ski lifts
- Total ski slope length: 265 km
- 139 ski runs
- Highest point: 2,500 m
- Le Grand Massif lift pass cost: €57.50 for 1 day (adult)
Where to Stay in Le Grand Massif?
|Chalet-Hôtel Neige et Roc $$||Samoëns||Click here|
|Pierre et Vacances Premium Les Terrasses d’Helios $$$||Flaine||Click here|
You can also rent an entire chalet on VRBO in Le Grand Massif.
6. Chamonix Mont-Blanc
Distance from Geneva to Chamonix: 87.8 km
Chamonix Mont-Blanc is made up of 5 ski resorts: Les Houches, Grands Montets, Le Brevent, Le Tour/Balme, and La Flegere. Most ski resorts are accessible to each other with a bus ride through the valley.
You can also purchase a lift ticket that gives you access to the Chamonix ski area and Megeve ski resort, offering a wide variety of skiing near Geneva.
I skied in Chamonix when I was younger and I remember thinking how vast the resort is.
It is possible to take a cable car to Aiguille du Midi at 3,840m high to see spectacular views of the Mont Blanc Glacier. This ride is possible during summer too.
For those looking for a ski resort in around an hour’s drive, Chamonix is one best ski resorts close to Geneva Airport.
Ski Facts about Chamonix Mont Blanc
- Drive time from Geneva airport: 1 hour 15 minutes
- 67 ski lifts
- Total ski slope length: 120 km
- 119 ski runs
- Highest point: 3,275 m
- Chamonix Mont Blanc lift pass cost: €67 (discounted offers available)
Where to Stay in Chamonix?
|Hôtel les Grands Montets $$||Argentière||Click here|
|Chalet Hôtel Kaya $$$||Les Menuires||Click here|
|Grand Hôtel des Alpes $$$||Chamonix City Centre||Click here|
Swiss Ski Resorts near to Geneva
Even though Geneva Airport is in Switzerland, it is not necessarily the closest airport to ski resorts in Switzerland. However, some ski slopes in Switzerland are relatively far from all airports. Therefore, you will need to be willing to drive nearly 3 hours to get to a Swiss ski resort in this part of the country.
Read on to find out one of the best Swiss ski resorts near Geneva Airport.
7. Saas Valley
Distance from Geneva to Saas-Fee: 226 km
The Saas-Fee ski resort is a nearly three-hour drive from Geneva. Although, you can also reach it slightly quicker from Milan airport or the smaller Sion airport.
I added Saastal to this article on ski resorts close to Geneva because of the sheer height of its mountains. It is worth the drive across Switzerland to Valais, where the Saas Valley (Saastal) is.
Saas-Fee is an all-year-round ski resort, with snow guaranteed for ten months a year due to the glacier skiing. Night skiing is also a possibility.
I skied in Saas-Fee and Saas Grund in December 2016 when there was an exceptionally thin amount of snow in France and we decided to drive 3 hours to the Saas Valley for better conditions. The Saas-Fee had great snow and we were glad we tried somewhere new.
There are other excellent ski resorts in the Saas Valley, such as Saas Grund, where you can access the incredible Hohsaas at 3,200 metres in elevation.
For ski lessons, you can use the Swiss Ski School.
Ski Facts about Saas Valley
- Drive time from Geneva airport: 2 hours 45 minutes
- 40 ski lifts
- Total ski slope length: 100 km
- 56 ski runs
- Highest point: 3,573 m
- Saas Fee lift pass cost: CHF 79.00 for 1 day (adult)
Where to Stay in the Saas Valley?
Italian Ski Resorts near Geneva
Skiing in Italy is another option when flying to Geneva. Some ski resorts are located between Milan and Geneva Airport, so you have a choice when booking your flights.
Distance from Geneva to Courmayeur: 118 km
Located in the Aosta Valley, Courmayeur is a 1.5 to 2-hour drive from Geneva Airport. Courmayeur made it to this list because of its diverse ski runs, good food and easy access.
I skied at Courmayeur as part of a school trip and loved it. The food in Italy was excellent – I ate so much pasta that week. Although, we went late in the ski season (around Easter) and the snow was disappearing.
The Aosta Valley is home to many of the best Italian ski resorts near Geneva Airport, such as La Thuile and Monterosa.
Ski Facts about Courmayeur
- Drive time from Geneva airport: 1 hour 30 minutes (Mont Blanc tunnel currently closed until December 18, 2023)
- 20 ski lifts
- Total ski slope length: 41.5 km
- 33 ski runs
- Highest point: 3,466 m
- Courmayeur lift pass cost: €65 for 1 day (adult)
Where to Stay in Courmayeur?
|Hotel Courmayeur $$||Courmayeur||Book here|
|Auberge De La Maison $$$||Courmayeur||Click here|
|Villa Novecento Romantic Hotel $$$||Courmayeur||Click here|
Summary of Best Ski Resorts from Geneva Airport
This summary shows which ski resort is best overall for each category.
Best Ski Resort for Cost of Lift Pass
Bernex: Offers a lift pass cost of €29 for 1 day (adult), potentially the most cost-effective among the listed resorts.
Best Ski Resort for Most Ski Lifts
Portes du Soleil: With 208 ski lifts, it provides an extensive network, even more than Les Trois Vallées.
Best Ski Resort for Longest Ski Slope Length
Les Trois Vallées (Three Valleys): Offers an impressive total ski slope length of 600 km, making it the largest ski area among the listed resorts.
Portes du Soleil is a close second with a total ski slope length of 580 km.
Shortest Drive Time from Geneva Airport
Le Grand Massif: With a drive time of approximately 1 hour, it’s the closest ski resort to Geneva Airport among the listed options.
Ski Resort with the Highest Point
Saas Valley: With the highest point at 3,573 meters, Saas Valley offers the most elevated ski destination on the list.