The ski train or ‘snow train’ is becoming increasingly popular due to the convenience and itineraries that enable an extra day or two on the slopes. However, why is there no Sunday Ski Train? The direct daytime Eurostar Ski Train, which runs every Saturday from London to the Tarentaise region of the French Alps, is now so popular that at February half term it sells out within hours of going on sale.
But with nearly 40% of ski holidays now operating a Sunday changeover, a petition has been launched to encourage Eurostar to introduce a Sunday Ski Train, backed by widespread support from the ski industry “Back in the 1990s, when Eurostar launched the Ski Train, almost all ski holidays were Saturday – Saturday,” says James Box, Iglu’s Head of International Product. “But since then the ski-holiday market has shifted dramatically.”
According to research by Iglu Ski, the ratio last season was 63% Saturday vs 37% Sunday. “Every season, more than 800,000 skiers head to the Alps from the UK,” says Box. ‘Many live in the South East, while others travel from all over the country to London or Ashford, just to take the Ski Train. That’s a large potential market for Eurostar to get a slice of.”
“Rail travel is a fantastic way for skiers to make the journey part of the holiday,” says Daniel Elkan, founder of rail-ski information guide, Snowcarbon, who created the petition with Graham MacMahon of skier forum, Snowheads. “A Sunday Ski Train would spare thousands of skiers airport queues, cramped flights, and tedious transfers. It’s a long, polluting conveyor belt of boredom. We need more rail alternatives.”
With rail access an important factor in the destination choice of many skiers, ski resorts stand to benefit too. “We would love to be able to welcome more skiers by train,” says Xavier Feuillant, director of the tourist office of La Plagne, a popular destination for skiers from the UK. “From a sustainability point of view, rail travel is important for the Alps because if you measure the carbon footprint of a ski resort, the majority of the emissions are the result of transport of holidaymakers to the resort.”
According to research by carbon-measurement consultancy, Best Foot Forward, a one-way journey by plane from London to Val Throrens produces 82kg CO2 per passenger. The equivalent journey by train produces only 14Kg CO2 per passenger. Driving, by comparison, produces 225Kg CO2 (per car).
The snow train has lots of benefits:
- Unbeatable convenience with a short transfer from station to resort
- Free ski carriage
- Generous luggage allowances
- Chalet Hotel Le Dome in Tignes from £565 pp (inlcudes snow train, transfers and catered chalet)
- Hotel Les Trois Vallees in Val Thorens from £1014 pp (inlcudes snow train, transfers and half board hotel)
Would you like to see a Sunday snow train? If so, sign the petition here