Taking the Eurostar snow train to our Self-catering family ski holiday – Les Arcs 1600
In 2016 we arranged a week skiing in Les Arcs 1600, staying in a self-catering apartment and travelling door to door by train. We’ll cover the week in 3 posts – what its like to travel by eurostar on the snowtrain, the Apartment and its location and of course the skiing!
We live in South Cumbria which is basically nowhere near an airport or International train station so we needed to find a practical solution that was also cheap or good value. As we are not big fans of sitting on a coach in traffic we decided to investigate the Snow train! The snow train is a Eurostar service that runs from London St Pancras International to Bourg Saint Maurice stopping at Ashford in Kent and then Moutiers, and Aime before terminating at Bourg Saint Maurice. These stations are useful for accessing the Trois Vallees, Paradiski, La Rosiere and Espace Killy ski areas so lots of choice in amazing ski areas!
The snow train runs throughout the ski season on Friday overnights and Saturday days outbound, Saturday day and Saturday overnight returns. We chose to do Friday overnight and return Saturday daytime as this fitted well with travelling by train between Cumbria and London. We bought our tickets on Trainline.com using our Family and Friends Railcard
Top tip – Buy a friends and family railcard – they usually pay for themselves in one trip
Even better use Tesco Clubcard vouchers to purchase the railcard!
Save £100! Looking at the price of this option today versus flying gives a saving of £100 for a family of 4 based on travelling Jan 12th – Jan 19th.
Return travel to London plus Eurostar = £611
Train to Manchester plus Easyjet flights to Geneva plus coach transfer to Bourg Saint Maurice = £711 including luggage extras.
This plan also gave us an extra days skiing on the Saturday we arrived which is obviously winning!
So how was it?
Getting the train to London was great, we soon mastered who was in charge of which bags and how to store our big long ski bag on the train. Having a board game on a tablet meant we could all have fun around a table making use of the charging plugs at the same time. It’s also great being able to send the kids for a walk up and down the train to stretch their legs and pass the time.
We got to London in time to enjoy a dinner at Carluccios in St Pancras before boarding the Eurostar. It has special bays for the big ski bags and we were booked onto one of the few carriages with electricity. Seats are booked in advance online so the earlier you do this the better however next time I would not go with the same carriage. It was a busier one and this did not help us sleep. The downsides of the overnight snow train are that you only have seats and they don’t turn the lights off. They do give you eye patches and blankets with neat foot pockets at the end though! We still have these and find them super useful.
So, we didn’t get much sleep but we arrived in Bourg Saint Maurice early on the Saturday morning to snow falling in the beautiful mountains which was magical. We had bought our lift passes online in advance which enabled us to jump straight on the first Funiculaire train from Bourg up to Les Arcs 1600 where we had a 200m walk to our appartment. The boys got their ski gear on immediately and headed out on the slopes, fab!
Returning we took the daytime train so we could see a bit of France – this costs slightly more than the overnight train but is faster. We couldn’t believe how soon we were in London again. We hopped back onto the train in Euston and leaving our appartment to walking in our door took 14 hours and 2 changes on the trains.
How we did it
Bought Train Tickets on Trainline.com
Played games such as Asmodee Dobble Card Game
Took our skis in a large ski bag that can also fit clothes and more. Useful in aeroplanes when you’re booking extra bags as can use instead of a case.
Used the kids Trunki Children’s Ride-On Suitcase to enable them to carry and have fun!