Eurostar operate a direct service from the dreary skies of London to the crisp air of the French Alps. We jumped on board to try it out and after an effortless ride to the mountains, we’re big fans. Find out why should you skip the airport and head for the train station.
At 8.45am, we joined the pack of multi-coloured coats and ski bags at St Pancras’ Eurostar terminal. Within the hour, we’d boarded the train and were off to the mountains.
Our fellow travellers came from all over the UK. A group of family-friends were clearly snow train veterans as they came equipped with nibbles, bubbly and games.
By lunchtime, an array of picnics started to appear and everyone was up out of their seats, perhaps visiting one of the onboard bars or simply sharing their excitement with fellow passengers.
Our journey drew to an end as the train approached its three drop-off points, Moûtiers, Aime-La Plagne and Bourg St Maurice. Well-fed, rested and bags in tow, we stepped off the train, the fresh mountain air brushing our faces. Forty-odd minutes later, we were in our resort and ready to ski.
Why choose the train?
It’s cheaper, and it’s the perfect alternative for those with a fear of flying. At seven hours, the train journey might be longer than a flight, but it’s also simpler and much more reliable. Train travel is less susceptible to weather delays, so you’ll be zooming along the tracks towards the slopes, come rain or shine. But our favourite aspect has to be that once you jump off at the bottom of the mountain, you’ll be up in your resort in under an hour.
What do you get on board?
The train is made up of three classes: standard, standard premier and business premier. While the latter two include a cooked meal and are more spacious – thanks to fewer, larger seats – standard is no less comfortable. As well as optimum legroom and comfy seats, you also get in-seat plug sockets, WiFi and USB ports. And you can wander to either of the two bars at any time for a drink or snack.
Want to save a day?
While we travelled on the day train, many choose to head out on the Friday-night service. Not only do Eurostar provide blankets, pillows, eye masks and ear plugs for a good night’s sleep, but alcohol is prohibited, to make sure everyone enjoys a peaceful rest, ready for the slopes the following day. You’ll also have eight full days of skiing, as you arrive in your resort early on Saturday morning and depart the following Saturday evening.
Tempted to ride the rails to the Alps? Catch the snow train to a range of resorts in France: Courchevel, La Tania, Méribel & Mottaret, Val Thorens, St Martin de Belleville, Les Menuires, La Plagne, La Rosière, Les Arcs, Tignes and Val d’Isère.