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, Head of International Product at Travel Agency “But since then the ski-holiday market has shifted dramatically.”

PHOTO: La Plagne/Elina Sirparanta

According to research by Iglu, the ratio last season was 63% Saturday vs 37% Sunday. “Every season, more than 800,000 skiers and snowboarders 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,  “A Sunday Ski Train would spare thousands of skiers airport queues, cramped flights, and tedious transfers. We need more rail alternatives.”

Currently, skiers wanting to travel on Sundays to the Tarentaise, for ski resorts such as Les Arcs, La Plagne, Meribel and Val d’Isere, need to take Eurostar to Paris and then change station to take a TGV train.  “Skiers whose holidays start on a Sunday can still reach ski resorts by rail,” Elkan says.  “But no direct option? It’s the equivalent of keeping supermarkets closed on Sundays.”

Independent chalet company, Ski Bonjour, is one of many accommodation providers keen to see the introduction of a Sunday Ski Train.  The company, which has catered chalets in the resorts of Tignes and Val d’Isère, has holidays that start both on Saturdays and Sundays. “Skiers coming by train on Saturdays arrive more relaxed and clearly enjoy the journey,” says Becky Coates, Marketing Manager at Ski Bonjour. “The shorter transfer – minutes instead of hours – is a huge advantage, with none of the delays of airport transfers.”

VIP is one of many tour operators that offer chalets on a Sunday – Sunday changeover.  “Many tour operators would love to offer guests a direct rail-travel option,” says managing director, Gareth Crump.  “There’s no doubt it would be a popular choice, especially if sold as part of a ski package.”

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.”


Follow this link to the petition

Categories: France, News

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