Tickets for direct ski trains go on sale today on loco2.com, where skiers book from any UK railway station to the largest number of Alpine resorts in a single transaction.
From Altrincham to Ambergate, skiers will be able to connect from their local station to the two direct ski train services that will run each week between London St Pancras International, calling at Ashford International and Moûtiers, Aime-la-Plagne and Bourg St Maurice in France. It will also be possible to book to even more resorts in the French Alps via the new, weekly, direct Eurostar from London to Lyon.
“The new London – Lyon route opens up some really exciting new journey options for skiers, who can now travel by train to a range of fantastic ski resorts without needing to change station in Paris,” says Daniel Elkan, founder of Snowcarbon.co.uk, an independent guide to travelling to ski resorts by train.
“Instead, they can travel direct from London [or Ashford] to Lyon, and then change platform and take an onward local train to their ski resort. Interestingly, these journeys to ski destinations via Lyon can’t be booked in their entirety on Eurostar’s website because the Eurostar site doesn’t allow bookings on the local trains from Lyon to the Alps. However these complete journeys can be booked in one go on Loco2.”
The day service from London to Bourg St Maurice will run on Saturdays from 19 December 2015 to 9 April 2016, and return from Bourg St Maurice on Saturdays from 26 December 2015 to 9 April 2016. The overnight train will operate from London on Fridays between 1 January 2015 and 1 April 2016 and from Bourg St Maurice on Saturdays from 2 January to 9 April 2016. Tickets start at £149 return.
The weekly direct service from London to Lyon departs in each direction every Saturday during winter. Onward connections from Lyon include: Annecy for Le Grand Bornand and La Clusaz; Grenoble for Alpe d’Huez; Sallanches for Megeve; St Gervais for St Gervais and Les Contamines; and Modane for Val Cenis.
Travellers can find out more in Loco2’s dedicated train-booking guides to Moûtiers, Aime-la-Plagne and Bourg St Maurice. Moûtiers offers easy access to Méribel, La Tania, Courchevel, Val Thorens, Le Ménuires and Valmorel. Aime-la-Plagne is convenient for La Plagne. And Bourg St Maurice is the gateway for Les Arcs, Val d’Isère and Tignes.
Why ditch the plane and take the train?
“There are many reasons why the train beats the plane for skiers,” says Kate Andrews, co-founder of Loco2. “For example, travel overnight to gain two extra days on the mountain in a typical seven-day holiday – a great way to maximise time on the slopes and make the most of expensive ski passes.
“Plus travelling by train allows skiers to skip airport queues, tedious transfers and baggage fees,” she continues. “It’s more comfortable, offering the chance to stretch your legs, the convenience of an on-board café and scenery to enjoy. And while flying might appear quicker at first glance, it isn’t when you factor in travel to and from the airport, check-in time and transfers to the resort.”
But Kate warns: “Book as early as possible – tickets get snapped up very quickly, particularly for the February half-term and Easter school holidays.”
Fully independent, Loco2 charges no booking fee, so tickets are the same price as buying direct from rail operators (some variation due to EUR/GBP exchange rate).
Visit the website at loco2.com