Driving to the Mountains

Driving to the mountains, in this case to the Alps from the UK is a very good option if you are carrying your family and you do not want to break your bank account to go skiing.

Driving to the mountains - Daniel Kainz photography - Unspalsh.com
Driving to the mountains – Daniel Kainz photography – Unspalsh.com

There are two ways to cross the channel – via a ferry or using the Eurotunnel- the Eurotunnel is great as it only takes 35 minutes to get to Calais from Folkestone.

The great thing about going by car, is that if you are carrying your ski kit, you can just put it in a ski rack or ski box and take all the things you need to spend a week in the mountains. And if you are self-catering, you can even stock up on food on your way up, so you do not have to pay expensive rates in the supermarkets at the resort.

As a family, we tend to go on the last day of school, asking permission obviously to take the day off, and driving half way to our destination. The autoroutes in France are great, as they are always empty (mostly because you have to pay a toll), and the road surfaces are really smooth. The only downside would be if it rains a lot, as they do tend to not drain well. You have to expect to pay around EUR 131 in tolls and around EUR 84 in petrol (as per the Michelin guide). Also, if you go to Italy, and go through the Mont Blanc Tunnel – you will pay EUR 54.30 return.

Snowy road - Photo Daniel Plan - Unsplash
Snowy road – Photo Daniel Plan – Unsplash

You can check the weather in the autoroutes in France in advance.

We stop halfway on our journey to sleep, in the Champagne region – in towns like Chaumont or Troyes, and get ready early the next morning to do the last part of the trip.

Saturday always brings the most interesting part of the trip, as you get into the mountains and the landscape starts being very interesting. We tend to do a bit of travelling through Route Nationales, as this allow you to go through the different sleepy French towns, and it makes a more interesting ride!

Ski Run - photo by Toa Heftiba - Unsplash
Ski Run – photo by Toa Heftiba – Unsplash

Bear in mind that when going to the mountains your car needs winter tyres and in many places you need by law to be in possession of snow chains. Top tip: practice beforehand how to use the chains in a parking lot.  In France you need to carry a kit with fluorescent vests (for each person in the car), a triangle, a couple of breathalysers (this was relaxed a couple of years ago in France, but I would double check before leaving the UK), and you need to have a GB sticker in the back of the car, if your number plate does not have the GB on it.

It is also good to carry a snow scraper, a mat (it could be a picnic mat), that will be allowing you to be dry if you need to put snow chains), a headlamp, some blankets to be warm, more if you get stuck in a snow storm, and some food and drinks.

Snowflake - Photo by Aaron Burden - Unsplash
Snowflake – photo by Aaron Burden- Unsplash

If you can see on your GPS or phone map app that there is traffic, consider going off the main motorway and using the smaller roads, it can save you a lot of time, more if you are travelling on the weekend, over resorts change over dates.

Mountain landscape - Filip Zrnzevic - Unsplash
Mountain landscape – Filip Zrnzevic – Unsplash

Overall, going to the mountains is always an adventure, and you have to enjoy it from the moment you leave your house!

The-Ski-GURU TRAVEL can plan your holidays including booking your Eurotunnel trip, lodging, lift tickets, rentals, ski school, and all you need for an excellent vacation. Go to https://www.the-ski-guru.com/traveland upload your information – this page will be updated soon with more travel ideas.

You can start thinking about your trip, by reading the articles on the Planning your Ski Trip tab.  Or how to pack for your family ski trip. Take advantage now of having one kids ski pass for free, courtesy of MySwitzerland. If taking your furry friend abroad to the continent, read about the new Pet Travel Scheme update from DEFRA. Or our last news on equipment as seen at the London Ski Show. Also, the new range of skis of Black Crows, one of our favourite brands. Lots of snow makes you wonder how the resorts deal with the avalanche danger. Here you can read the interview to Coco Torres, former Head of Operations of Las Leñas, in Argentina, as how they dealt with avalanches at the resort. 

Or perhaps you may choose to read the Ski Resort NewsSki Passes News, and the Must-Read Guides to Zermatt,  CourmayeurVal di Fiemme and Crans-Montana. Coming soon will be the guides to Lech and St Anton. Or see an amazing heli flight over the Mont Blanc Massif. Also see tips on how not to be scammed when booking a ski chalet.

You can also read what’s new at Les Trois Vallées and the last article on what is new at the Tirol ski areas,  in 3 Zinnen Dolomites ,  in Adelboden, Lenk and Kandertal, in Gstaad, in Chamonix,  in Georgia’s Gudauri Resort and in the Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn. And how the US Ski Team has chosen Alpe Cimbra to train for the following four ski seasons as their European home.

Or check how Cairngorm Mountain might not run its funicular this coming season and how that can affect the region. And the terrible storms and gails that provoked havoc to Trentino Alto-Adige and Belluno provinces in Northern Italy. 

Driving to the Mountains. Pet Travel Scheme. Eurotunnel. Picture Unsplash: Randy Fath
Driving to the Mountains. Photo Unsplash.

Thankfully Val di Fassa is ready for opening December 6 as stated here. And the roof of the Rifugio Comici has been fixed in no time and is ready for the start of the ski season in Val Gardena on 6th December. Sudtirol ski areas are ready to start soon and their famous Christmas markets will kick off too. And Cortina D’Ampezzo is getting ready for this winter and the 2021 World Ski Championships. 

Also, you can read how Grandvalira will be staying together as one lift ticket company and how they are adding Ordino Arcalis to  this offer. And also read how someone tried to sabotage some lifts in Vallnord’s Pal Arinsal.  Or read about the latest investments in Whistler Blackcomb. Or see how Taos is going against the industry trend, and instead of merging with the two biggest oligopolies in skiing at the moment, it goes and buys an airline to get more bums in resort. Or how Jackson Hole is appealing to families and beginners – it is not only a resort for expert skiers anymore. Another great area for families is Stubaital in the Tirol.

If you want to salivate and think of snow, see our snow report from last weekend here. Or see how Aspen Snowmass has started its snowmaking operation.  They are planning to open Aspen Mountain early. You can keep up to date on how are the sales for the EPIC and IKON passes are doing here. Read how Emma, the first Digital Mountain Assistant, is launched in Keystone now and will be rolled to eight other resorts this season. And even read about the new incorporation to the IKON Pass: Valle Nevado. Here is also a post on the South American resorts.  

Or check out how now with the EPIC Pass you can ski in Europe, specifically in Les Trois Vallées and the resorts of Skirama Dolomiti in Trentino’s Italy.

And see how the big players in the business, Vail Resorts and Aspen, part of Alterra Mountain Company, are seeing how to defend climate change with a bit of social responsibility.

Feature photo: Snowy landscape – Photo by Khurt Williams – Unsplash

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