This question is asked many times by avid skiers, which is the quickest way to reach the Alps? The tale of the hare and tortoise comes to mind, but does it hold on a voyage from London to Meribel, France’s Three Valleys Ski Resort? Taking the Eurostar and a TGV train from London St. Pancreas to Bourg St. Maurice, through Paris, and then hail a taxi for the remaining few miles up the mountain.
A travel journalist, travelled from Gatwick to Geneva and then took a private vehicle trip. The finish line the first to jump into a Meribel chalet’s hot tub. But who was the quickest? Isn’t it true that a train can’t beat a plane? Choose one of the best 10 ski resorts for snow sure slopes.
What are the advantages of catching the train?
So, are you persuaded enough to forego the boarding permit in favour of speeding across the French countryside at 200 mph? One traveller explains why he prefers to go by train to the ski resorts:
“I enjoy taking the train to the slopes because it allows me to spend quality time having fun or getting things done. Flying is rather stop-start as you move through the airport and the flight process, whereas taking the train gives you time to use. Playing games, conversing, reading, and watching movies with companions at a table seat can all be done against a backdrop of changing scenery. The train often runs directly by people’s back gardens or farms, where you can see the animals, and then past lakes where you can see the mountains rising in front of you.”
Are there any benefits? There was for this traveller!
You can meet other travellers and exchange skiing tips, as well as make new acquaintances – I once went on a date in Courchevel with someone I met on the train from Moutiers!
How to travel by rail to the Alps
Travel companies offer two options for getting to the Alps via train: day or night. The night-time direct Eurostar service departs St Pancreas International at 7.30 pm on Friday, arriving at 6.00 am in the alpine stations the following morning. The main advantage of riding this train is that you get two more days on the slopes, as you can ski on both Saturdays.
What’s the drawback?
This is a sitting service, so if the thought of a less-than-ideal night’s sleep gives you the creeps, you might want to skip it. The direct daytime service leaves London at roughly 10 am, arriving in the resort in time for your evening dinner and fresh for a day on the slopes on Sunday, and includes six days on the pistes and a pleasant journey in the daytime.
It’s also possible to upgrade to Standard Premier Class, which includes a glass of champagne, a delicious dinner, spacious chairs, and newspapers to make your trip to the slopes more enjoyable and train tickets at the same price.
And the ultimate benefits?
On most dates, it’ll cost you the same as a flight-based vacation. Of course, you be reducing your carbon emissions, but it will also cost you nothing to help the environment.
What are the journeys by train like?
From London to the French town of Les Arcs
Travel by train: Depart London St Pancreas at 10:00 am on the Eurostar Ski Train, arriving at Bourg St Maurice at 18:51 am, followed by a 30-minute road transfer to the resort.
From London to the French town of La Rosiere
Travel by train: Depart London St Pancreas at 10:00 am on the Eurostar Ski Train, arriving at Bourg St Maurice at 18:51 am, followed by a 50-minute road transfer to the resort.