After the explosion of excitement in the ski community at news last week that the previously discontinued direct rail service between the UK and the French Alps had been re-established, it is becoming increasingly clear that it will not be the ski train as before.
The first media statements from the Compagnie des Alpes (a French company which manages many large French ski resorts and has chartered the ski train for this winter) to the French media raised as many questions as they answered on this side. of the Channel. As time goes on, it becomes more and more clear how the revived ski train will perform this winter.
The bottom line is that this is not a regular train service where you can buy a one-way or round-trip train ticket only. Instead, think of it as the travel part of a new vacation package by train rather than by plane. These ski train vacation packages will be offered at a selection of six well-known resorts and properties selected by the tour operator – Travelski (owned by Travel Factory, itself owned by Compagnie des Alpes).
Right now we’re told that you won’t be able to book a train ticket like before and just create your own trip around it. At least that seems to be the case, internal sources tell us the final details are still being worked out and you cannot book a ski vacation package by train on the Travelski site yet. We believe you will be able to do so by the end of this month.
The news of a direct train return option for skiers has been widely hailed as good news for holidaymakers and good news for the environment if we are to ‘build back better’ (not worse – as had seemed to be the case). case with the cancellation of the service) after the pandemic.
“It’s such good news that this service is operational for winter 21-22. British customers are so important to Les Menuires and we can’t wait to welcome them again! Packages must be booked through Travelski for the train to work for our customers; they will have a good way to get to our resort, les Menuires, just above Moutiers, and more ecological, so we are happy ”, declared Marlène Giacometti – director of the tourist office of, Les Menuires, one of the six stations served by the new ski train.
In fact, train ski vacation packages are not a new idea. This is really how the British ski holidays started with pioneers like Henry Lunn, Erna Bas and Water Ingham taking tens of thousands of Britons to ski by train each winter on “snow trains” in the first half of the twentieth century before the advent of airplane skiing holidays.
So what do we know about the new ski train vacation this winter so far?
- The direct train service will only be available if it is booked as part of a ski vacation package at one of the six French ski resorts operated by the Compagnies des Alpes.
- The service will have fewer stops than before, serving only London St Pancras in the UK and no longer stopping at Ashford International.
- Skiers will benefit from 7 days on the slopes instead of the usual 6 vacation package.
- The service will operate between December 18, 2021 and the entire next season until April 16, 2020.
- The service will stop at Moutiers and Bourg St Maurice in France and holidays can be booked in Tignes, Les Arcs, La Plagne, Méribel, Les Menuires or Val d’Isère.
- Each train can carry up to 600 passengers.
- Transfers will then wait at the stations to take customers directly to their accommodation.
- The return trip will take place the following Saturday in the day, arriving in St Pancras in the middle of the afternoon.
- Holidays will have very low CO2 production per skier compared to flying or even self-training – all ski resort destinations are powered by green electricity.
- The holidays will include transfers, accommodation and lift passes as well as the 7-day lift pass.
- A range of accommodation types will be available to suit all tastes and budgets.
- There will be a dedicated check-in for Travelski customers in St Pancras, operated by Eurostar.
- The packages will be fully ABTA glued.
Skiers opting for stay in Les Arcs can take a simple 7 minute funicular ride from Bourg St Maurice station to Arc 1600, meaning skiers can be on the slopes that morning.
“This is excellent news for the region,” commented Guillaume Desrues, mayor of Les Arcs – Bourg Saint Maurice. “It will allow our English friends to come to Tarentaise and Les Arcs with a very low impact on the environment. This rail link is particularly important for the municipality of Les Arcs – Bourg Saint Maurice which wishes to become more virtuous and promote more responsible tourism. Les Arcs are just two stops from London!
“This is very, very good news and a low carbon solution to reconnect with our UK customers. We sincerely thank Compagnie des Alpes and Travelski ”, adds Marion Grognet, Marketing & Communication Director of Les Arcs.
Few details on the cost of the holiday have yet been revealed, but an “upfront price” (the cheapest ticket available) will be £ 640 per person (£ 2,560) for a family of 4 staying in an apartment from the CGH & SPA Kalinda 4 * Residence in Tignes, including the return train ride from London, 7-day ski passes and transfers to / from accommodation. The dates on which this award will be offered have not been published.