Geneva: City of Skiers

by : Adam Singleton

The Swiss city of Geneva is famous for many things: cuckoo clocks, hosting the UN H.Q, and being one of the world's top three cities for quality of life (according to the 2007 Worldwide Quality of Living Survey by Mercer Human Resource Center). But it's Geneva's prime location between the Alps and the Jura mountains that have made it a favourite destination for skiers and snowboarders from all over Europe.

There are almost 100 ski resorts between one and three hours drive from Geneva, scattered around Switzerland itself as well as in neighbouring France and Italy, accessible either via car or by the highly efficient and punctual rail system.

Geneva has long been known as a destination for British skiers who fly to the city before catching a transfer to their favourites such as: Morzine, Zermatt, Wengen, Verbier Meribel, Val Thorens, Courmayeur and a whole host of other renowned resorts.

With so many different ski resorts so close to Geneva, there is plenty of choice for all types of trips. If you're looking for lively aprÃ?s ski (think plenty of dancing to Europop in ski boots atop bar tables), then head for a high energy ski town like Val D'isere. For a quieter, more family orientated trip, Les Gets, part of the Portes du Soleil ski area is an ideal choice, and being only 1h15 from Geneva it's perfect if you've got young children on board.

Chamonix is a popular choice for advanced skiers or snowboarders seeking steep slopes, deep powder, challenging terrain and off piste adventures. And if you're after the typical chocolate box architecture and quaint alpine charm, Gstaad should hit the spot.

There are also dozens of less well known, but never the less, interesting ski areas, not so renowned on the international ski circuit but very popular with local skiers, such as Chamrousse (France), San (Sicario) Italty or (Zinal) Switzerland.

In recent years the number of flights to Geneva has vastly increased as more airlines have opened new routes to the city, increasing competition and driving down prices.

As a gateway to the ski resorts of the Alps, Geneva also attracts outdoor enthusiasts who come to live and work in the city and then escape to the mountains at weekends. And even those who don't ski will find Geneva's vast mix of restaurants, top boutique shopping, theatres and museums a compelling draw.