Tickets for Eurostar’s high-speed services from London St Pancras and Ashford International to the French Alps go on sale at 8am on Wednesday (July 19). The direct services to three stations, Moûtiers, Aime La Plagne and Bourg St Maurice, provide easy access to many top French ski resorts, including Courchevel and Méribel in the Trois Vallées, Tignes, Les Arcs and La Plagne.
The day and night services offer a generous baggage allowance, with each passenger allowed to take two suitcases plus hand luggage and skis or snowboard at no extra cost.
There are two regular services leaving London each week on Friday night and Saturday morning, plus an additional Saturday overnight service during the school holidays following the successful introduction for February half term last season.
All services leave from London St Pancras and travel via Ashford International to Moûtiers (for the Trois Vallées) and Aime La Plagne before terminating at Bourg St Maurice (for Les Arcs, Tignes and Val d’Isère).
The Friday overnight rail service takes around 10 hours, leaving St Pancras at 7.42pm, passing through Ashford International at 8.28pm and arriving in the French Alps on Saturday morning between 5.30am and 6.15am, depending where you disembark.
The overnight train arrives just as many other winter holidaymakers are taking coach transfers to and from local airports. While this is not a sleeper service with beds, it does give skiers and snowboarders a possible two extra days on the slopes, depending which return train they take.
Alternatively, travellers can take the Saturday daytime service, which departs St Pancras at 9.45am and takes from nine and a half hours, passing through Ashford International at 10.28am, and getting to Moûtiers at 6.27pm, Aime La Plagne at 6.46pm and Bourg St Maurice at 7.03pm, so passengers can hit the slopes from Sunday morning.
Services back to London leave Bourg St Maurice at 9:34am or 10:12pm on Saturdays (the latter enabling an extra day on the slopes). The service doesn’t stop at Aime La Plagne on the return journey so passengers need to board at Bourg St Maurice.
The morning train arrives back in London for 4:13pm on Saturday, while the night train arrives at 7:16am on Sunday. There’s also an additional Sunday morning service during February half term.
The 2017/18 seasonal ski services will run weekly from December 22 2017 until April 7. The special Saturday night/Sunday morning half-term trains will run on February 10 and 18 2018 only. Fares start from £150 for a return ticket to all three French destinations, however this starting price is unlikely to be available for those wanting to travel on popular peak dates. The competition for tickets on these dates is intense – February half term sold out within seven minutes of tickets going on sale in 2016, though more tickets were released later.
Tickets are available from eurostar.com or by calling 03432 186186, at Eurostar stations or from travel agents. Further information on connecting ski services from Eurostar stations is also available on the Eurostar website.
Travelling by train to the Alps has become an increasingly popular choice for skiers and snowboarders, evident from how quickly the tickets sell out. In May 2017 a petition called for a regular Sunday service to be added to the timetable. Demand for the service was supported by the fact that many operators and chalet companies run week-long holidays from Sunday to Sunday – a reported 40 per cent of all bookings. The petition is still open and at the time of publication needed 83 signatures to reach its target of 1,000, before being officially submitted to Eurostar.
Source: The telegraph