The Best Ski Resorts to Reach by Private Jet
Is your ideal ski home one you can reach easily by private jet or helicopter? Here’s a guide to resorts in the Alps where skiing trips needn’t involve long transfers and queuing with the masses!
Speed, privacy, flexibility, convenience and comfort – it’s easy to see why owners of luxury homes around the world frequently choose to travel by private jet, including those who have a ski home they like to visit frequently.
During more normal ‘non-pandemic’ times, winter in the northern hemisphere is a busy time for air charter companies, also known as business aviation firms. It’s when their private clients, who will include royalty, dignitaries and celebrities, like to head out to the Alps or across the pond to the Rockies, to hit the slopes in resorts such as Klosters, Verbier or Courchevel.
Undoubtedly, the effects of the Coronavirus have helped highlight the benefits of private air travel. The adaptability and speed of being able to choose your own travel times and which airports you use, combined with not having to sit on a busy scheduled flight, queue at check-ins or wait in a crowded airport lounge have been a godsend for many travellers in recent months.
For many buyers in the Alps, private air travel was never a consideration when choosing where to buy their ski home – until the pandemic happened! For complete control over when and how frequently you can head off for a weekend or week’s skiing, arriving by private jet with a short helicopter transfer is the best option. Here’s a quick guide to upscale resorts where you can do just that.
Geneva Airport, Switzerland’s second busiest airport, is the main gateway to the northern French Alps, namely the Savoie region. An international hub for scheduled flights, it’s also a busy private jet destination, although there are faster options for most resorts in this corner of the Alps.
Chambéry-Savoie Airport, also known as Chambéry Aix-Les-Baines Airport, is a popular private jet option, located centrally for a large number of Savoie resorts. Although a small airport, it is well equipped for chartered flights, with a dedicated private terminal.
Notable resorts easily reached from Chambéry-Savoie include Courchevel and Méribel, both around a 20-30 minute helicopter transfer (or 60 minutes by car), as well as Val d’Isère (40 minutes in a helicopter, 1 hour 50 mins by road). Chamonix can be reached easily via Chambéry-Savoie too, although Geneva Airport with a 20-minute helicopter transfer is slightly quicker.
Another alternative for Savoie’s premium resorts is flying into Aosta Valley Airport, just over the border in the Italian Alps. From there, helicopter transfers to Chamonix, Val d’Isère and Courchevel are comfortably under 30 minutes.
Courchevel does have its own runway but it is notoriously short and steep, so there are limitations on the jets able to land there. Most air traffic into Courchevel is made up of helicopters.
Another option for the French Alps is Annecy Airport, or Aéroport Annecy Haute-Savoie Mont Blanc, which is especially convenient for the chocolate-box resort of Megève (20 minutes by helicopter or an hour by road).
An obvious choice for reaching the Valais Alps in Switzerland’s south-western corner is Geneva Airport but an even better option for reaching a number of exclusive resorts there is Sion Airport. Verbier and Zermatt are both just 10 minutes’ by helicopter (or less than an hour by road) from Sion, or 55 minutes and two hours by road respectively, while Villars is 20 minutes by helicopter or just 45 minutes by car. Another equally fast option for these resorts could be flying into Aosta Valley Airport.
A little further north, the chic resort of Gstaad has its own airport that caters for certain types of jet, otherwise Bern Airport is 30 minutes away in a helicopter (or an hour by car).
Over in Switzerland’s eastern Graubünden canton, Samedan Airport is located on the edge of glamourous St Moritz, making the resort centre an easy 10-minute drive from the landing strip.
Meanwhile, reaching prestigious Klosters is often done by jetting into St Gallen-Altenrhein Airport, followed by a 45-minute helicopter flight, or a 90-minute drive. Or, it’s a similar transfer time from Zürich Airport.
Innsbruck Airport is a popular route for private jets carrying passengers to resorts in Austria’s Arlberg ski area, home to glitzy Lech and neighbouring Zürs, both 40 minutes away by helicopter or 90 minutes by road. Kitzbühel is even closer, being just 25 minutes’ helicopter transfer.
Private jets whisking passengers to the upmarket Italian resort of Courmayeur tend to land Aosta Valley Airport, just a 30-minute transfer. To reach the equally exclusive Cortina d’Ampezzo and other jewels in the Dolomoites, the preferred route is via the regional airport at Bolzano, otherwise Venice or Treviso.