All you need to know about ski holidays by train

Eurostar Ski Train (overnight)

Mon, 22/07/2013 - 11:14 -- admin

Introduction

new exterior

The direct overnight Eurostar Ski Train  is a very simple way to get two extra days on the slopes of the Tarentaise region of the French Alps. It leaves London at 8pm and arrives the next morning very early, giving you plenty of time - indeed a little too much time, depending on your destination - before the ski lifts open and you make first tracks.

The fact that it goes direct is an obvious advantage, but unlike the sleeper trains from Paris, the Eurostar ski train has no actual couchette beds. It only has reclining seats. This means that not everyone gets a great night's sleep on it. It's a bit like Marmite - some love it, some not so much. 

Travel blogger Stu Jarvis has written a very entertaining and informative account of what the overnight Eurostar Ski Train is like.


Step 1: Take the overnight Eurostar Ski Train to the Alps

new exterior Eurostar Ski Train cafe bar

There's always a frission of excitement when you board an overnight train headed for the Alps, knowing that next morning you'll arrive minutes from the slopes.

Years ago, the Snow Train with it's legendary Disco Carriage meant that the bonhomie and party continued (in the bar-disco) from the moment you boarded  until you arrived. Things are different on the Eurostar.  The atmosphere has been some what muted by Eurostar's banning of alcohol on board. You can bring your own food on board, but you can't bring alchohol, nor can you buy it at the bar.

You may also want to see our more in-depth guide to the experience onboard the overnight Eurostar Ski Train.


Step 2: Transfer to your resort

new exterior

Once you arrive, it's a relatively short transfer the train station to the ski resort.  These transfers are typically between 25 minutes and 45 minutes,  and are far shorter than airport transfers - which can take 1.5 - three hours - or even longer.

It's a good idea pre-book a taxi transfer (although at popular stations like Bourg St Maurice and Moutiers you can find a taxi driver on the spot too) because the Ski Train arrives so early in the morning- at 05:17 in Moutiers, 05:45 in Aime and 06:07 in Bourg St Maurice. If you have booked a rail-ski package with a tour operator, the transfer should be included (but check that with your provider, of course). Some chalets will also offer to pick you up for free.

Make sure that your chalet, hotel or apartment will be open for you when you arrive, so you are not hanging about in resort when nothing is open.


Overnight Eurostar Ski Train timetable 2018-19

The overnight Eurostar Ski Train departs London on Fridays and returns from the Alps on Saturdays.

Outbound journey

  • The first overnight outbound departure to the Alps is on Friday 21st December 2018
  • The last overnight outbound departure to the Alps is on Friday 29th March 2019
Depart Arrive
London St Pancras Ashford Moutiers Aime Bourg St Maurice
19:45 20:28 05:33 05:57 06:16

Inbound journey

  • The first overnight return departure from the Alps is on Saturday 29th December 2018
  • The last overnight return departure from the Alps is on Saturday 6th April 2019
  • On Sat Feb 23th the train doesn't call at Ashford in the return journey (annoyingly)
Depart Arrive
Bourg St Maurice Moutiers Ashford London St Pancras
22:12 22:54 06:33 07:16

New Sunday - Sunday holiday option for 2018?

For most weeks of the ski season, the direct Eurostar Ski Train services are suitable only for skiers whose holiday dates are Saturday – Saturday.  However,  Eurostar will run one  extra service, serving Sunday-Sunday holidays, at February half-term.

The outbound trains was overnight, departing St Pancras on the Saturday eveing, arriving in the Alps early on the Sunday morning.  

The return journey was daytime, departing the Alps on the Sunday morning and arriving back at St Pancras in the afternoon.

However, it's very difficult to predict whether Eurostar will offer that for the 2018-19 season, and Eurostar likes to holds its cards very close to its chest and say nothing, much to the frustration of skiers trying to plan, and to those organisations trying to promote rail travel to the Alps.

Outbound schedule (last season):

Saturday Feb 11th and 18th - overnight travel
London St Pancras dep 19:42
Ashford  dep 20:28
Moutiers arr 05:34
Aime la Plagne arr 05:58
Bourg St Maurice arr 06:17

Inbound schedule:

Sunday Feb 18th and 25th - daytime travel
Bourg St Maurice dep 09:34
Moutiers dep 10:14
Ashford  arr 15:37
London St Pancras arr 16:13

It's not yet clear whether Eurostar will do this for the 2017-18 season.  To help encourage Eurostar to build on this, please sign and share our petition for a Sunday - Sunday Ski Train


How much does the overnight Eurostar Ski Train cost?

The 'lead in' fare for the Eurostar Ski Train is £149 return per adult - i.e. that's the cheapest it can be. However the reality is that on peak dates, even if you book as soon as the train goes on sale, trains are priced at about £300 - £400 return.

Our Live Ski and Snow Trains Price Check page shows live prices for the whole season. 

This was our prediction before the train went on sale:

Date Adult return price
Non-peak £150 - £230
Christmas £270 - £320
New Year £280 - £350
Feb half-term £320 - £400
Easter £250 - £320

When can you book the Eurostar Ski Train 2018-19?

Tickets for independent travel on the daytime and the overnight Eurostar Ski Trains will normally go on sale around the middle of July, for all dates of the 2018-19 winter season. The exact date yet hasn't been announced.  (To be the first to know, you can join Snowcarbon's newsletter mailing list - see the form at the bottom of this page).

On our unique Live Ski and Snow Trains Price Check page you can view prices (updated everyday) for the Eurostar Ski Trains (and other journeys too).

However, although independent ski-train fares are not on sale yet,  ski holidays with rail travel included, from ski tour operators, are already available to book. Click here to view them, or if you would like some advice on destinations and tour operators, ask Snowcarbon founder Daniel.


How to book the overnight Eurostar Ski Train

The Eurostar Direct Ski Train is simple to book online.  If you already know where you want to go and are travelling independently, you can book the Eurostar Ski Train on Eurostar's website.

However, please note that if you are going to La Plagne, there is an error on Eurostar's website. So please read this article about the problems of booking to Aime La Plagne with Eurostar's website. (Don't worry, the solution is simple - just book to Bourg St Maurice instead)

If you are a group of 10 people or more, then you can register in advance for group tickets for the Eurostar Ski Train - see our guide to how to book group train travel to ski resorts in the Alps.

If you would like to view possible resorts and see exact journey times and transfer information, visit the Resorts and Journey Planner page

One of the best ways to book the Eurostar Ski Train is with a rail-inclusive package from ski tour operators. The train travel costs about the same price as flights  - and has transfers from station to resort included.You can visit the ski train holidays page to view ski holidays by train from a number of tour operators.

You can find out more about how to book the Eurostar Ski Train in our guide to booking ski holidays by train.


Going overnight we'd say that although the direct service is very convenient, you might want to also consider taking the direct service, take a Eurostar + Corail Lunea instead, so that you can sleep on a flat bed. Sure, you'll have to change station in Paris, but that isn't difficult, and you'll get a better night's sleep and arrive at a more reasonable time. However, this service is now only available from Paris - Briancon, which serves Montgenevre and Serre Chevalier, for example. It doesn't serve the same route as the Eurostar Ski Train.

We've made a film of the direct overnight Eurostar Ski Train to show you what it's like, including interviews with skiers and snowboarders to get their views.

We're always keen to hear what you think so please let us know - your opinion is really useful to other skiers.