There are various options for travelling from the airport to your ski resort – you could catch the train, a coach, a private mini-bus transfer or you could self-drive. However, train and coach times often do not always match your flight arrival or departure times and so can mean a lot of waiting around and you still then need to hire a taxi or arrange to be picked up from the station to get to your resort accommodation.
Smaller groups often look to hire a car as a cheaper option to a private transfer service, but there can be many hidden extras when hiring a car that can increase the quoted cost substantially. If driving to a ski resort you will require snow chains and ideally snow tyres. It is compulsory on various roads up the mountains to have chains and without snow tyres you could find it a rather skiddy, treacherous journey, if there is recent snow.
Another point to take into consideration is the availability of parking. Many apartment blocks and chalets have limited, if any parking and so you may end up having to pay for parking for the week. And of course there is the hassle factor. If you decide to use a private transfer company then there will be someone waiting for you at the arrivals gate, someone to help you with luggage, you can walk straight out the door and into the mini-bus and sit back and relax, without the worry of having to navigate to the resort and fight with traffic, find change for the toll booths, worry about fitting snow chains…
To give some examples of prices:
Ford Fiesta through RhinoCarHire, which can seat 4 adults and take around 3 suitcases is 31.95 Euros a day. This is ‘all inclusive’ of taxes, airport fees & insurance but if you are bringing skis and require a ski rack, that is an additional 35 Euros. Snow chains (compulsory for driving up mountain) are 3.5 Euros a day so an additional 24.5 Euros a week, snow tyres (recommended) are 7 Euros a day so another 49 Euros a week. If you want an additional driver it is a further 63 Euros a week and a child seat is around 30 Euros extra. So for a week’s hire with chains, ski rack and snow tyres you are looking at just under 330 Euros for the week.
Easycar.com have an Opal Corsa which you could squash four adults in at a push and a couple of suitcases for 274 Euros and this includes snow chains and tyres. A larger car like a Golf is 316 Euros a week with snow tyres and chains. Car seats, additional drivers and ski racks are all extra and there are no prices given on the website and are payable when you pick up the car but availability is not guaranteed.
BudgetInternational’s cheapest car is a Renault Clio which is 278 Euros a week. There is no information on the site as to what snow tyres, snow chains and ski racks cost extra but an additional driver is nearly 10 Euros a day extra.
Avis, hiring on the Swiss side of Geneva have a Polo for around 54 Euros a day (378 Euros a week) which includes snow tyres and chains. A ski rack is 42 Euros extra per hire, a child booster seat is 34 Euros per hire, an additional driver is 50 Euros per week.
Europcar have a VW Polo for 380 Euros with winter tyres. Hertz have a Ford Fiesta for 330 Euros with snow tyres and snow chains. Sixt do a VW Polo from 343 Euros a week and snow tyres are an extra 4 Euros a day. Snow chains and a ski rack are also around an extra 4 Euros a day.
You can also hire cars on the French side of Geneva airport. Car hire from this side can be cheaper but often do not include a winter pack and you will also need to by a vignette for Switzerland if you want to use the motorway in Switzerland. You can skirt around the edge of Switzerland but this adds around another hour to the journey.
On top of this there will be fuel and tolls of around 45 Euros each way (based on Geneva airport to Three Valleys area). The Swiss vignette (30 Euros) should come on standard from a pick up on the Swiss side of Geneva airport.
So you can get a compact car with snow tyres and chains for around 330 to 380 Euros for the week. A ski rack is extra. In total you might be looking to pay around 420 to 470 Euros for car hire with all equipment with fuel and tolls to and from the airport.
A transfer for 1 to 4 people costs around 480 to 520 Euros return so hiring a car is only a little cheaper than a private mini bus transfer and of course you have worry about driving in the snow, finding the resort and accommodation, putting on snow chains if conditions are bad & parking.