Eurostar Launches New Ski Train Service to the French Alps for £99 (One Small Catch)
London-based rail company Eurostar has announced a new direct ski train service called Eurostar Snow that will run from London to the French Alps during the 2023-2024 winter season.
The new service aims to provide an alternative to flying for British skiers and snowboarders looking to travel to popular French ski destinations in an eco-friendly manner.
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Train Travels from London to Bourg-Saint-Maurice
The Eurostar Snow service will depart from London's St Pancras International station on Saturday mornings at 9:01 am, taking passengers on an 8-hour journey to the French Alps. The train will stop in Lille, France briefly to allow for a change of trains. It will then continue on to Bourg-Saint-Maurice, arriving at 6:20 p.m. Located in the Savoie region of the French Alps, Bourg-Saint-Maurice provides access to major ski resorts like Les Arcs, La Plagne, Val d’Isère, and Tignes.
On Sundays, a return train will leave Bourg-Saint-Maurice at 8:26 a.m., arriving back in London at 4 p.m. after a brief stop in Lille. In total, the return trip takes around 8.5 hours.
The catch: Not a huge biggie but you'll need to change trains once on each journey.
Connects Skiers to 16 Top Resorts
In addition to Bourg-Saint-Maurice, the Eurostar Snow service will stop at three other stations - Moutiers, Aime-la-Plagne, and Moûtiers-Salins-Brides-les-Bains - that connect to 16 major ski resorts. Resorts accessible from these stations include Méribel, Courchevel, La Plagne, Les Arcs, Val Thorens, and more.
This provides skiers a car-free way to reach many of the most popular ski destinations in the French Alps. Transfer buses and taxis will be available to take travelers directly from the train stations to their final resort.
Replaces Previous Canceled Direct Service
Eurostar previously operated a similar direct ski train service along with partner Travelski Express. However, the direct service was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021 and 2022, Eurostar ran the service again with Travelski but required a change in Lille.
The new Eurostar Snow service follows the same Lille transfer model but will be fully operated by Eurostar. Travelski and other tour operators will still be able to sell tickets.
Tickets on Sale Starting August 31
Eurostar will begin selling tickets for the Eurostar Snow service on August 31, 2022. The service will run every Saturday from December 17, 2022, to February 4, 2023, for a total of eight weekends during the height of ski season.
Sample fares will start at £99 one-way for a standard class ticket and £149 for Eurostar's standard premier class. Fares will be higher during peak ski weeks around the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Baggage Allowance Includes Skis
Recognizing the needs of skiers, Eurostar Snow will offer a generous baggage allowance for passengers. Each traveler can bring two large suitcases, one smaller carry-on bag, and either skis or a snowboard at no extra cost.
This allows skiers to bring most of their gear with them and avoid high rental costs at the ski resorts. Other ski trains in Europe charge additional fees for transporting ski equipment.
Offers Sustainable Alternative to Flying
Eurostar is marketing the new Eurostar Snow service as an environmentally friendly way for British skiers to reach the Alps. Transferring by rail rather than flying significantly reduces carbon emissions.
The launch of the service is timed along with the growing demand for more sustainable ski trips among British skiers and snowboarders. Eurostar believes the train trip to the Alps appeals to eco-conscious travelers.
Builds On Eurostar's UK-Europe Train Network
The new seasonal ski service expands Eurostar's route network beyond its core business of transporting passengers between the UK and mainland Europe. Earlier this year, Eurostar merged with Thalys, another high-speed rail company operating in Europe.
Joint initiatives like Eurostar Snow help increase Eurostar Group's brand awareness across Europe and tap into the profitable ski travel market. The company may look to add more seasonal leisure routes in the future.
While catering to skiers with suitable baggage policies and direct transfers, running the ski service poses some challenges for Eurostar. The transfer in Lille adds an extra hour versus direct trains. And trains cannot match the frequency and flexibility of flights to smaller Alpine airports.
However, Eurostar believes there is strong demand for a more sustainable option, even if travel times are longer. The Alps rail service lets Eurostar promote its green credentials in the global fight against climate change.
Eurostar Train Times
From London to the Alps, here are the timings at time of publication:
|Lille (50 min connection)
|Lille (1hr 05 min connection)
- Eurostar is launching a new direct weekend ski train called Eurostar Snow from London to the French Alps for the 2023-2024 winter season.
- The train will run to Bourg-Saint-Maurice and connect skiers to 16 major French ski resorts like Val d'Isère and Les Arcs.
- It replaces a previous joint Eurostar/Travelski ski train that was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19.
- Tickets go on sale August 31, with fares starting from £99 one-way and baggage allowance including skis at no extra cost.
- Eurostar is marketing it as an eco-friendly alternative to flying, catering to the demand for more sustainable ski trips.
- Challenges include longer travel times than flying and limited frequency, but Eurostar hopes the environmental benefits will attract travelers.