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The Benefits of Getting to Your European Ski Holiday by Train

  • Sian Easton
  • 21 February 2012

So, let’s say you’re in London, the skis are at the front door, the thick socks are packed and you’re looking forward to clipping into those ski boots. All that stands between you and the pristine, snow-covered slopes of Alpine Europe is the journey there. Flying might initially seem like the most obvious choice, but could travelling by train actually add something to your ski chalet holiday?

La Clusaz, France

La Clusaz is a popular destination in the Rhône-Alpes region of southeastern France. Photo courtesy of Much Better Adventures

Time

Many people quickly dismiss the idea of a train journey, as they believe it’s longer than a typical two-hour flight. That flight however involves arriving at the airport the required two hours prior to departure, contending with queues at check-in, two hours in the air, waiting to collect luggage on arrival and then boarding a shuttle transfer for another hour or three of ground transportation in the Alps. When you consider all aspects of the journey, travelling by train often doesn’t take that much longer at all.

When you travel by train there is no need to bookend your journey with… lots more travel. You don’t need to get to your departure station hours in advance (checkin for the Eurostar from London is just 30 minutes prior to departure) and your destination train station will be much closer to the resort than the nearest airport – making the final transfer much quicker.

Extra Skiing

Plan it right (from pretty much anywhere in Europe) and you can get an extra two days of skiing into your holiday for no extra cost. This involves taking overnight ski trains to resorts. Rather than flying on Saturday and starting your skiing on Sunday, you can board the train on Friday evening, spend a couple of hours enjoying the scenery, relax over a beer and a meal, and then curl up into the freshly laundered sheets of a train couchette or bed. When you awaken the next morning,  you will find yourself in the heart of the Alps, well rested and ready to ski!

A trains in the Alps, Zermatt, Switzerland

At the foot of the Matterhorn, the ski village of Zermatt, Switzerland, boasts phenomenal skiing, an unparalleled train approach through the Alps and, in some cases, even slope access by train. Photo courtesy of Flickr/Leo-setä

The ski train from London is ideal for ski chalet holidays in Meribel, Courchevel, Tignes, Les Arcs, Val d’Isere, Val Thorens and La Plagne. There are other overnight options to get to other ski resorts too and other night trains from numerous destinations all across the continent.

Experience

Getting to and from your ski destination should be part of your overall holiday experience, not a stressful downside to it. Ski chalet holidays are anchored in some of the world’s most incredible landscapes; this is one of the great appeals of skiing. Travelling by train means getting to enjoy this spectacular scenery from the comfort of your seat. What better way to begin your ski chalet holiday – to build anticipation – than to savour views of the snow-covered slopes?

Cost and Convenience

People often assume that train travel is difficult to organise and horribly expensive compared to flying. This often used to be the case, but train travel is now increasingly competitive, particularly at peak times when airfares are higher and airports are jammed. Flying also often involves baggage fees for heavy bags or extra ski equipment, charges that are not levied on trains.

Air time on the slopes in the European Alps

Instead of starting your ski holiday on a plane, why not save your air time for the freshly powdered slopes? Photo courtesy of Venture Ski & Much Better Adventures

With great web resources such as snowcarbon and Man in Seat 61, reaching your skiing havens by train has been further simplified. Many leading ski tour operators now even offer package ski tour deals that include a train ticket.

Environment

Ski chalet holidays are about taking part in a winter sport amidst a wonderfully rich natural environment. Trains are a low-carbon form of transport and opting to go by train helps reduce some of the environmental impact of travel. By railroading to the slopes, skiers help preserve the very snow that inspires us to book in the first place, ensuring that it will be there to enjoy in the years to come.

Rail travel may still not be perfect – transportation rarely is – but today it does have a great deal to offer skiers looking for an alternative to flying.

For more information about ski chalet holidays in the Alps, contact Much Better Adventures. Earth-conscious travellers can further reduce their travel footprint  through 100%-carbon-offset ground transportation from train stations to the mountain resorts available through Green Path Transfers.

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adventure travel, Europe, France, Germany, mountains, personal experience, responsible transport, Southern Europe, Switzerland, United Kingdom,

2 Responses to “The Benefits of Getting to Your European Ski Holiday by Train”

  1. The train beats any way of transport for me. I always arrive in Courchevel with a smile on my face if arriving by train in Moutiers.

  2. Travel Man says:

    Another great post with alot of great information. I really enjoy reading about all the fun and exciting activities in Europe.

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