What is Snowcarbon?
Snowcarbon is an independent website dedicated to helping skiers and snowboarders travel to ski resorts by train from the UK.
Snowcarbon was founded by two travel journalists, Daniel Elkan and Mark Hodson, in order to create a comprehensive, easy-to-use resource. The site has a wide choice of great ski resorts, each convenient by train, with a unique Journey Planner, showing the best schedules, booking options and in-depth guides to the journeys. Like most online resources, the site is a work in progress.
In combination with his work as a ski-travel journalist, Daniel works on Snowcarbon full-time.
Daniel writes ski features for publications including The Independent, The Guardian, Telegraph Media, Snow magazine, InTheSnow and Ski+Board magazine.
Daniel’s mission is to make it easier for skiers and snowboarders to travel to the Alps by train, with Snowcarbon as a catalyst for improvements in options and information offered to skiers. Daniel has pioneered a number of initiatives to help make this happen, including the creation of the Journey Planner and the Dynamic Packages Section (to help more ski tour operators create rail-ski packages). He has filmed, directed or produced a number of short films about rail travel to the Alps, with more to come. He is currently working on the Tour Operator Train Travel Initiative, which if successful will mean that train companies and ski tour operators could work more effectively together, to the benefit of all.
To help skiers personally choose the best resorts, accommodation and rail journeys, Daniel has set up an ‘Ask Daniel’ service.
Why did we create the site?
Snowcarbon was conceived in the Italian resort of Sauze d’Oulx. Daniel had endured a tedious, delayed journey by air. While slumped on a coach transfer approaching the village, Daniel glimpsed a railway line further down the hill and wondered if he could have travelled by rail instead.
Finding the information proved difficult – but the rail journey itself from London was relatively easy and would be far less damaging to the environment. Since then, Daniel has spent five years researching and writing about rail travel to European ski resorts (PDF document). Finally, in the autumn of 2009, he realised that a website on the subject was needed, to act as a resource for the increasing number of skiers and snowboarders wanting to travel this way.
Can you rely on the transport information on Snowcarbon?
Yes. Every journey on this website has been thoroughly researched by us and - and tested by Daniel, who has travelled on all the trains and routes mentioned - over the course of more than 10 years. Current information is double-checked rail companies and bus companies, resort tourist offices and regional tourist boards. The Journey Planner uses a unique database of hand-researched journeys, showing the best options to each resort on any given date during the season.
Almost every photo of a train has been taken by Daniel, so that you can see realistic images rather than the kind of perfect, sugary ones shown in train-company brochures.
Do we feature every ski resort accessible by train?
No. There are hundreds of ski resorts in Europe. Some have convenient journeys by train, others less so. By limiting the number of resorts featured, we can provide detailed information on the resort and how to get there. Those we selected met two criteria: a great resort and a convenient journey by train.
Who helped make snowcarbon happen?
We are grateful to our writers (right), whose detailed ski knowledge proved invaluable. We are indebted to our research assistants, Sharmin Ahammad, Melissa Brown and Louise Foster, and, in particular Tom Higgins, who worked ceaselessly throughout the launch period.
What about the future?
The snowcarbon philosophy of enjoyable, sustainable travel to the Alps is one that we believe will benefit skiers, snowboarders and the entire wintersports industry. We aim to be a catalyst for change, encouraging and co-ordinating travel improvements to make rail journeys to ski resorts ever more convenient. Please join us in helping to make this happen.