Ski train from London: new routes to 60 resorts in France, Austria, Italy and more | Ski holiday

ONEAs the snowmobile industry shakes off its Covid chains, the mountain rail routes take a surprising renaissance, with more than 60 resorts in France, Switzerland, Austria and Italy now easily accessible from London. And gives up to 90% discount on a travel’s CO2 footprint.

But despite the enthusiasts of snow sports fans for flight-free trips to ski resorts (and the extra piste day that can be shoehorned into a holiday compared to a standard seven-day package), the range of available rail routes, especially on sleeper services, has been disappointing . So it’s cheering that as the ski industry prepares for its first “proper” season in two years, more trains are running than ever before to more than 60 European resorts. Orders opened this week.

Much fanfare followed the news in September that Eurostars overnight train to the French Alps is back – so to speak. Renamed Travelski Express, the service that leaves London St Pancras on Friday night and returns during the day the following Saturday, is in fact a partnership with the tour operator Travelski, and exclusively for those on their trip / accommodation / hippas packages, which start at. around DKK 450. This season it serves six resorts, including Val d’Isère, Les Arcs and Les Menuires, with its first departure on the second day of Christmas.

A Nightjet train to the Austrian Alps from Amsterdam. Photo: Remko de Waal / EPA

There are also options for those who book independently or through specialists such as Ffestiniog Travel, Trainseurope and Rail Travel. Nightjet is the name of a growing international network of sleeper routes led by Austria’s national carrier, ÖBB, which can be accessed via Eurostar. When traveling through Amsterdam or Brussels, plus a smooth German InterCity Express (ICE) to Cologne, they deliver skiers to Salzburg, Zurich and Innsbruck for easy hopping on to numerous resorts. Train travel from London to Wörgl, a short taxi ride from several good resorts in Austria’s Tyrol, for example, takes about 18 hours, including one night in one of several classes of sun loungers.

While France’s crown from railway to the Alps slipped with the cut of sleeping routes in 2016, the efficient SNCF connection to Briançon (for Serre Chevalier and Montgenèvre) remains. And on 10 December, after three years, it will be relaunched with an overnight route from Paris to Lourdes to the Pyrenees, whose resorts, though lower and smaller than their alpine counterparts, are loved by many British downhillers for their authenticity, affordable prices and crowded slopes. . The service takes about 10 hours, with berths from € 29 and first-class private spaces available.

The choice of TGV routes from Paris and Lille makes it easy to work during the day to the Alps. Paris to Chamonix, for example, can be done in five hours, with a scenic change in Saint-Gervais-les-Bains; Morzine is only 2½ hours from the French capital (travel via Eurostar requires a change of station in Paris).

And Belgium’s chic, affordable Thalys Snow train runs every Saturday from Christmas Day to April 16 from Brussels to hubs in the French Alps, including Albertville, Moûtiers, Aime-La-Plagne and Bourg-Saint-Maurice.

Six suggested routes

(Best prices at the time of publication and most convenient routes from London St. Pancras – Eurostars Kent stations only open after the ski season. Prices vary depending on date and availability).

Les Gets ski resort France
Photo: D.Bouchet

Station to slopes from 9 hours, from £ 179 return
Enjoy Portes du Soleil’s 600 km of pistes via the most upscale of its 12 resorts, with access to quieter pistes on the local peak Mont Chéry. 09.31 Eurostar reaches Paris Gare du Nord at 12.47, giving plenty of time to transfer to Gare de Lyon for 14.18 TGV to Bellegarde-sur-Valserine, arriving at. 17.00. The next service to Cluses departs at 17.15 and arrives at 18.52, leaving you a 25-minute taxi or bus ride from your destination.

Station to slopes from 9 hours, from £ 161.93 return
Two new lifts connecting Val Thorens with the remote Orelle area are the big story of this season in the 3 Vallées, and Méribel puts guests in the heart of 600 km of different terrain. Take 07.52 Eurostar to Paris Gare du Nord, arrive 11.17. Transfer by taxi to Gare de Lyon for 13.29 TGV to Moûtiers-Salins, arriving at 17.51 ​​(running from 1 January). Road transport to Méribel takes about 30 minutes. A six-night travel / accommodation / ship package from Travelski costs from £ 544pp, traveling at 19.45 directly to Moûtiers on Travelski Express, arriving at 05.32.

Station to slopes from 15 hours to 31 minutes, from £ 109.62 return
The traditional Pyrenees village of Barèges and the lift-connected neighbor La Mongie form Le Grand Tourmalet, the largest ski area in the French Pyrenees, with more than 100 km of slopes. Take 16.22 Eurostar to Paris Gare du Nord, arrive 19.47. Transfer to Paris Austerlitz for the 21.14 Intercités de Nuit train to Lourdes, arriving at 07.43. From there, a shuttle bus to the resort takes 70 minutes.

Station to slopes from 9 hours 37 minutes, from £ 195.96 return
This chic resort high above the Rhône Valley has panoramic views, beautiful wooded slopes, excellent nursery hills and some fine mountain restaurants. Take 09.31 Eurostar to Paris Gare du Nord, arrive at 12.47. Transfer to Paris Gare de Lyon for 14.18 TGV to Geneva Cornavin, arriving 17.29. Transfer to 18.11 to Sierre, arriving 20.07. From there, it is a 15-minute cable car ride to the resort.

Saint Anton Austria

Station to slopes from 10 hours to nine minutes, from £160 return
Fittingly, this Tyrolean resort’s progress from peasant village to world-class ski village status began with a new railway connection in 1884. Today, the advanced lift system serving the Ski Arlberg area’s 305 km of slopes is a short walk from the station. Take 07.55 Eurostar to Paris Gare du Nord, arrive 11.17. Transfer to Gare de Lyon and take the 12.22 TGV to Zürich HB. Railjet Xpress from Zurich to St Anton am Arlberg departs at 16.40 and arrives at 19.01.

Station to slopes from 18 hours, from £ 244 return
Part of the 280 km long SkiWelt area, and a short bus ride from ritzy Kitzbühel, Westendorf is a quiet, traditional village with fantastic beginner slopes and night skiing. Take 15.04 Eurostar to Brussels-Midi, arrive 18.05, then 18.25 ICE to Cologne, arrive 20.15. The night jet train to Wörgl runs at 22.16 and arrives at 08.37. Bus or taxi transport to Westendorf takes about 20 minutes.

How to order

The main ticket dealers are Trainline, Rail Europe and Rail booking agencies such as Rail Travel, Trainseurope and International Rail also sell tickets online.

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