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BOOK WINTER RAIL ROUTES
Tuesday October 1, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

Independent rail-to-resort guide from our friends over at Snowcarbon explains how to book. Tickets are now on sale.

 

 

 

The long wait for those looking to book indirect rail journeys - via Paris or Brussels - is over.

From Thursday October 3rd, UK-based skiers can book travel to resorts in France, Switzerland, Italy and Austria, combining Eurostar services to Paris or Brussels with onward trains to the Alps.

Instead of airport queues or long drives, skiers will be able to relax and enjoy space and scenery with friends or family.

Travel between 15th December 2019 and 5th January 2020 can now be booked, with journeys between 6th January and 8th March 2020 bookable from Thursday 17th October.

For journeys from 9th March onwards, booking dates have not yet been announced.

Travel Period                                Tickets Go On Sale

15 Dec 2019 - 5 Jan 2020              3 Oct 2019

6 Jan - 8 Mar 2020                         17 Oct 2019

9 Mar - 30 Mar 2020                       Not yet announced

1 Apr 2020 onwards                       Not yet announced

"This winter's skiers can book further in advance than ever," says Daniel Elkan, founder of independent rail-to-resort guide, Snowcarbon.

"Those booking on 17 October will be able to book bespoke routes 143 days ahead, enabling more holidaymakers to ditch the planes and cars and travel sustainably - by rail."

"However, booking online is not as simple to book as it should be. You can spend a lot of time online without finding what you're looking for," he said.

"Given the climate emergency and the importance of rail travel as is part of the solution, it's crazy that booking rail tickets can feel like something of a goose chase or a treasure hunt."

"Consumer-facing websites a blunt tool - often too inflexible to offer the optimal journey, or omit travel options that are actually bookable," Elkan says.

"This is partly due to the complex underlying European ticketing system, with multiple train operators and hundreds of ticket types trying to interact. It's like a room full of people where no one is fluent in a common language: misunderstandings are going to happen. Too often, websites fail to show skiers all their options or help travellers tailor-make their journeys. So don't rely on the web alone."

For information on what it is like taking the train to the Alps see te linsk in this related article:

Ax Les Thermes, French PyreneesHeading to Ax Les Thermes, French Pyrenees

























 

Eight Tips for Booking Your Ideal Journey:

1. Any combination of trains is bookable, so don't believe websites when they tell you otherwise.

First, look up what journey schedule you'd ideally like.

The Snowcarbon Journey Planner (check out snowcarbon.co.uk here) and websites like rail.ch, bahn.co.uk, Loco2 and Trainline can help.

Research one-way journey schedules and individual legs before deciding what overall return journey you want.

2. Try using rail-booking experts such as Trainseurope, International Rail, Ffestiniog Travel and Rail Canterbury.

For a modest booking fee, these specialists can book your journey for you, secure tickets at best available prices and tailor-make itineraries to give you more flexibility.

3. Consider a Paris stopover, travelling out the evening before your ski holiday begins.

This can get you into your resort earlier and potentially give cheaper train fares too.

Or stop over on your return journey, which may well give you an extra day on the slopes at the end of your holiday.

4. If you are flexible about departure times, state this when booking with an agent, who can then focus on finding cheaper journeys for you.

5. To save money on peak holiday dates, consider travelling out a day early (e.g. Friday instead of Saturday) to a station close to your resort and staying a night there.

This can give you an extra day on the slopes, and access cheaper fares.

6. Since Eurostar's direct ski trains have been on sale for two months already, and many of the cheaper fares are now booked up, bespoke, indirect routes via Paris may save you money.

You can change stations in Paris easily using a pre-booked taxi, a taxi from the taxi rank, or the Métro.

7. When comparing train fares to air fares or driving, factor in airport transfer costs and baggage charges, and the value of spending quality time with your companions enjoying the scenery on the train, rather than in airport queues or on traffic-choked transfers or long road trips.

8. Get hold of a Rail Map of Europe (£11.99 + p&p available from www.europeanrailtimetable.eu).

It gives a really useful perspective on routes and is a good planning companion.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

 

 

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