Guide to the Eurostar Ski Train
Updated: Jan 13
Important Covid update: please note the information given below was compiled before the Covid pandemic. Travel times and journeys may now be different so you are advised to check before you book and travel with the relevant travel operators.
For a fast, convenient and greener way to the top French ski destinations this winter, book a seat on the Eurostar Ski Train.
Tickets are now on sale for this service that travels direct from central London to the heart of the French Alps. With a generous baggage allowance, two services a week (overnight or daytime), and no lengthy airline check-in delays, it's a great way to travel to the slopes this winter.
Where does it go? The Ski Train whizzes straight from London to
the Alps, stopping at the destinations of Moutiers, Aime La Plagne and Bourg St Maurice.
Which resorts can I get to? These resorts are easily reachable by
bus or funicular railway from one of the three Ski Train stations:
How does it work? Two services a week depart from London St Pancras (and Ashford International) throughout the winter season, from 20th of December 2019 to the 4th April 2020. There's a day time service and an overnight service. The Saturday daytime service departs on Saturdays from London St Pancras at 09:45 (or Ashford at 10.28). It's a terrific way to get to the slopes, enjoying the beautiful views of the French countryside from the comfort of your carriage as you speed down towards the Alps (arriving in Moutiers at 18:27, Aime La Plagne at 18:46, or Bourg St Maurice at 19:03). The overnight service departs on Friday evenings from London St Pancras at 19:45 (or from Ashford at 20.28), and you will awake in Moutiers (05:32), Aime La Plagne (05:57), or Bourg St Maurice (06:16) station. As you arrive early at these stations, you could take a bus, taxi, or funicular straight to your ski resort, and hit the slopes after breakfast on Saturday. Altibus provide transfers from these stations to the most popular resorts. NB. buying tickets online via Altibus is cheaper than at the station. Tickets and timetables are available at www.altibus.com.
One of the many benefits of the overnight ski train is that you can fit in two extra days' skiing on the relatively quieter Saturday changeover days - without having to pay for the extra nights' accommodation (ie. on arrival, because you arrive in the morning, once you've wiped the sleep from your eyes, you can hit the slopes before lunch; and on the last day, the departing train isn't until the evening, so you can fit in almost a full days' skiing).
Here's a video of what it's like to travel on the Eurostar ski train:
Baggage Allowances One of the major attractions of the Eurostar Ski Train is the extended baggage allowance, with no weight restrictions. Each passenger can now take an extra item of luggage on top of the standard 2 cases measuring up to 85cm at their longest length, plus one item of hand luggage. Eurostar have also set aside an area in each carriage dedicated to stowing your large luggage, so you can keep your expensive skis or snowboard close at hand.
Check-in Eurostar recommend that you arrive 60 minutes prior to the Ski Train's scheduled departure time (rather than the usual 30 minute check-in time for standard Eurostar services). Just the time necessary to walk to your platform, stow your luggage, and crack open a bottle of French wine to get your holiday underway. Which brings us on to...
Seats Note that the Ski Train overnight service does not provide sleeper carriages. Passengers in standard class on both the daytime and overnight trains (tickets from £149 return) just have the standard seat, while those who opt for standard premier (from £229 return) can expect a carriage with more space and a larger seat. You may not have a bed, but what you lose on space you gain in time!
Food on board There are several options for the hungry passenger on the Ski Train. If you opt for a standard premier ticket you can expect two lights meals, along with drinks, to be served in your carriage. See the Eurostar website for more details on the refreshments they offer. For those with standard tickets, or who need extra fuel along the way, the bar-buffet offers a range of hot and cold meals, as well as snacks and drinks to keep you going. This is open until midnight on the overnight service. You can, of course, also take your own food and drink on board.
Fares Adult fares start at £149 return for non-flexible standard class tickets, and £229 return for non-flexible premier class. Children can travel from £100 return in standard class, and £185 return in standard premier. There are no hidden extras, only the cost of bus, taxi, or funicular journeys from the nearest train station to your ski resort (from €15 Adult return for the local bus shuttle service to most ski resorts.)
(tickets provided by Eurostar - they go on sale in July ahead of the coming winter season)
Arrival times and hotel check-in Bus and taxi journeys from the stations to the resorts take between 30 minutes and a maximum of 2 hours, depending on your resort and the weather conditions (the funicular trip from Bourge St Maurice to Les Arcs takes just 7 minutes). If you arrive on the overnight ski train, you can be up in your resort in time for breakfast, but it may be worth contacting your accommodation to arrange temporary luggage storage for your first morning of skiing, since check-in times are generally later than this.
Return journeys Return services depart from the nearest train station to your resort (although travellers should note that Aime La Plagne is not served by return Ski Trains). Once again, you have a daytime or overnight service to choose from, departing either on Saturday morning or Saturday evening. The daytime train leaves from Bourg St Maurice at 09:34 or Moutiers at 10:14, and will have you back in Ashford at 15.37 and London at 16:13 the same day. Alternatively, you can catch the overnight train from Bourg St Maurice at 22:12 or Moutiers at 22:54, arriving at Ashford at 06.33 and London St Pancras at 07:16 on Sunday morning. Check the information on Eurostar's website - Eurostar Ski Train - for further details.
Bon Voyage! Less Carbon, More Fun...