SKI-BUZZ

The Crystal Ski Holidays Blog

We found out why children love train travel to the Alps

 

Travel to the French and Swiss Alps with Eurostar.mp4.Still001Snowcarbon’s new film shows how children make the journey part of the holiday.  So was it fun to make? Ski journalist and Snowcarbon founder Daniel Elkan tells the story.

Walk up and down any train headed for the Alps, there is something you’ll notice: children having fun on the journey.  Maybe it’s the scenery whizzing by, or the ability walk up and down and stretch excited legs. Perhaps it’s the tables and space to play, or – for the little ones especially – the way the subtle movement of the train rocks them to sleep.  Whatever the reasons, one thing is clear: rail is great for families hitting the slopes.

I decided it was time to find out from children themselves what they like so much about this way of travelling, and put the idea of making a film about this to my friends at Crystal Ski and Eurostar, who loved the idea.  So in April I headed down to London St Pancras station with my camera, snowboard and tickets for a Crystal ski-train holiday to the Paradiski area – made up of Les Arcs, La Plagne and Peisey-Vallandry.

The buzz at St Pancras on a Saturday morning in winter is palpable, as skiers gather ready to board trains headed for the Alps.  As soon as the train departed, I whisked my camera out, hooked up the microphone and started talking to families and children about their experience on the train.

The enthusiasm with which children greeted my questions gave me lots of material. They wanted to point out passing scenery out the window, rolling fields, cattle and wind turbines. They showed me their games, drawings, and took me on explorations down the carriages to the café bar. To them – and their parents – the train was a safe, contained environment in which they could explore, play and engage with each other.

The eight hours on the train sped by.  As we neared the Alps the train passed by a vast lake and young noses were pressed against the window to see this quite remarkable sight.

Arriving at Bourg St Maurice, the ski slopes were now just minutes away – far closer transfer than from any airport.   Next morning of course, the skiing would begin.  But from making the film, it was very clear that the holiday had already started – eight hours ago in fact – at St Pancras station.

Watch the video here:

Make the journey part of the holiday?  Seven great ski resorts by train

Here’s Daniel Elkan’s pick of the top family-friendly resorts where a Crystal ski rail-inclusive ski package means you can have fun on the way.

Les Arcs, France

Daniel’s resort highlights:  “All Les Arcs four villages are handy for the slopes, which suits families well. But Arcs 1950, where the accommodation and facilities are actually on the slopes, is as ski-in-ski-out as you can get.  Part of the 425km Paradiski area, there’s plenty of varied terrain, and you can ski gentle blue runs at high altitude. In Arc 1800, families will love the new Mille8 area that opens this season, with dedicated beginner slopes, an experiential toboggan fun and a spa and swimming complex”

Journey by train: Depart on the 09:39 Eurostar Ski Train from London St Pancras, arriving at Bourg St Maurice at 18:52. From there it is a 30-minute transfer.

La Rosiere, France

Daniel’s resort highlights:  “La Rosiere, part of the 250km San Bernardo ski area shares the slopes with the Italian resort of La Thuile, so you can head over for an pasta, pizza or a cappuccino, and enjoy skiing in Italy too.  Unusually in France, the head of the ski school is English, so UK based clients are particularly well catered for.  The village is friendly with a nice vibe, so it’s no surprise people return here year after year.”

Journey by train: Depart on the 09:39 Eurostar Ski Train from London St Pancras, arriving at Bourg St Maurice at 18:52. From there it is a 50-minute transfer.

La Plagne, France

Daniel’s resort highlights:  “For beginners and early intermediates, the network of blue runs make this great for progression.   Part of the Paradiski area, the resort gives you access to 425km of slopes, shared with Les Arcs. There are also plenty of fun non-ski activities too, such as the Igloo village and the bobsleigh run, and the spectacular Vanoise Express gondola, which links the La Plagne with Les Arcs, is an experience in itself.”

Journey by train: Depart on the 09:39 Eurostar Ski Train from London St Pancras, arriving at Aime la Plagne at 18:34. From there it is a 25-minute transfer.

Meribel, France

Daniel’s resort highlights:  “Families shouldn’t write off Meribel simply because it has a reputation for vibrant après ski. Part of the huge, 600km Three Valleys area, the resort is ideally placed to access some terrific ski terrain, with fantastic runs from Saulire, Roc des 3 Marches and off Tougnette.  There are actually 150km of local slopes here, and you never feel you have to ski far to already be exploring good options.”

Journey by train: Depart on the 09:39 Eurostar Ski Train from London St Pancras, arriving at Moutiers at 18:14. From there it is a 25-minute transfer.

Courchevel, France

Daniel’s resort highlights: “Who doesn’t love the Three Valleys ski area, and Courchevel is an excellent base for it, fast lifts whisking you up to points like Saulire-Creux, from which there are myriad options to carve down. Courchevel is also a good resort for snow-reliability with well-groomed runs.  These include excellent nursery slopes at 1650 and 1850, suitable for children to progress on. Meanwhile, advancing intermediates hungry for red runs will be in paradise here.”

Journey by train: Depart on the 09:39 Eurostar Ski Train from London St Pancras, arriving at Moutiers at 18:14. From there it is a 35-minute transfer.

Tignes, France

Daniel’s resort highlights: “Tignes makes a great base for the 300km Espace Killy ski area. You don’t find many lift queus, there’s consistently good snow and so many options that you can spend a week here and feel you have only just begun to scratch the surface. One of my favourite runs are the scenic descents from from Aiguille Percee to Tignes 1800 and Les Brevieres. Off slope, there’s plenty on offer too, with lively bars and restaurants, and activities such as ice-skating on the natural, frozen lake. You can even try ice-diving too.”

Journey by train: Depart on the 09:39 Eurostar Ski Train from London St Pancras, arriving at Bourg St Maurice at 18:52. From there it is a 45-minute transfer.

Valmorel, France

Daniel’s resort highlights: “Valmorel is often overlooked by its more famous neighbours, but this is a resort that families will enjoy. The village is small, friendly and completely pedestrianised – and for a purpose built resort, relatively pretty.  The 152km of terrain, which goes from 1400 metres to 2,832, is blessed with long, winding red and blue runs.”

Journey by train: Depart on the 09:39 Eurostar Ski Train from London St Pancras, arriving at Moutiers at 18:14. From there it is a 40-minute transfer.

 

 

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