The direct overnight Eurostar Ski Train is a very simple way to get two extra days on the slopes of the Tarentaise region of the French Alps. It leaves London at 8pm and arrives the next morning very early, giving you plenty of time - indeed a little too much time, depending on your destination - before the ski lifts open and you make first tracks.
The fact that it goes direct is an obvious advantage, but unlike the sleeper trains from Paris, the Eurostar ski train has no actual couchette beds. It only has reclining seats. This means that not everyone gets a great night's sleep on it. It's a bit like Marmite - some love it, some not so much.
Travel blogger Stu Jarvis has written a very entertaining and informative account of what the overnight Eurostar Ski Train is like.
Step 1: Take the overnight Eurostar Ski Train to the Alps
There's always a frission of excitement when you board an overnight train headed for the Alps, knowing that next morning you'll arrive minutes from the slopes.
Years ago, the Snow Train with it's legendary Disco Carriage meant that the bonhomie and party continued (in the bar-disco) from the moment you boarded until you arrived. Things are different on the Eurostar. The atmosphere has been some what muted by Eurostar's banning of alcohol on board. You can bring your own food on board, but you can't bring alchohol, nor can you buy it at the bar.
You may also want to see our more in-depth guide to the experience onboard the overnight Eurostar Ski Train.
Step 2: Transfer to your resort
Once you arrive, it's a relatively short transfer the train station to the ski resort. These transfers are typically between 25 minutes and 45 minutes, and are far shorter than airport transfers - which can take 1.5 - three hours - or even longer.
It's a good idea pre-book a taxi transfer (although at popular stations like Bourg St Maurice and Moutiers you can find a taxi driver on the spot too) because the Ski Train arrives so early in the morning- at 05:17 in Moutiers, 05:45 in Aime and 06:07 in Bourg St Maurice. If you have booked a rail-ski package with a tour operator, the transfer should be included (but check that with your provider, of course). Some chalets will also offer to pick you up for free.
Make sure that your chalet, hotel or apartment will be open for you when you arrive, so you are not hanging about in resort when nothing is open.
Overnight Eurostar Ski Train timetable 2019-20
The overnight Eurostar Ski Train departs London on Fridays and returns from the Alps on Saturdays.
The first overnight outbound departure to the Alps is on Friday 20th December 2019
The last overnight outbound departure to the Alps is on Friday 27th March 2020
|London St Pancras||Ashford||Moutiers||Aime||Bourg St Maurice|
The first overnight return departure from the Alps is on Saturday 28th December 2019
The last overnight return departure from the Alps is on Saturday 4th April 2020
|Bourg St Maurice||Moutiers||Ashford||London St Pancras|
Sunday - Sunday holidays and the Eurostar Ski Train at Feb half term 2020
Normally, the direct Eurostar Ski Train services are suitable only for skiers whose holiday dates are Saturday – Saturday. However, over the past three seasons Eurostar has run an extra service, serving Sunday-Sunday holidays, at February half-term. Assuming that Eurostar continues this for February half term, the service would be the following.
The outbound journey is overnight, departing St Pancras on Saturday 15th Feb in the evening, arriving in the Alps early on the Sunday morning.
The return journey is daytime, departing the Alps on the Sunday 23rd in the morning and arriving at St Pancras the same afternoon.
|Saturday 15th Feb - overnight travel|
|London St Pancras||dep||19:45|
|Aime la Plagne||arr||05:57|
|Bourg St Maurice||arr||06:16|
|Sunday 23rd Feb - daytime travel|
|Bourg St Maurice||dep||09:34|
|London St Pancras||arr||16:02|
It would be great if Eurostar ran a daytime Sunday - Sunday service every week. To help encourage Eurostar to build on this, please sign and share our petition for a Sunday - Sunday Ski Train
How much does the overnight Eurostar Ski Train cost?
The 'lead in' fare for the Eurostar Ski Train is £149 return per adult - i.e. that's the cheapest it can be. However the reality is that on peak dates, even if you book as soon as the train goes on sale, trains are priced at about £300 - £400 return.
Our Live Ski and Snow Trains Price Check page shows live prices for the whole season.
This was our prediction before the train went on sale:
|Date||Adult return price|
|Non-peak||£150 - £230|
|Christmas||£270 - £320|
|New Year||£280 - £350|
|Feb half-term||£320 - £450|
|Easter||£250 - £320|
When can you book the Eurostar Ski Train 2019-20?
Tickets for independent travel on the daytime and the overnight Eurostar Ski Trains will normally go on sale around the middle of July, for all dates of the 2019-20 winter season. The exact date yet hasn't been announced. (To be the first to know, you can join Snowcarbon's newsletter mailing list - see the form at the bottom of this page).
On our unique Live Ski and Snow Trains Price Check page you can view prices (updated everyday) for the Eurostar Ski Trains (and other journeys too).
However, although independent ski-train fares are not on sale yet, ski holidays with rail travel included, from ski tour operators, are already available to book. Click here to view them, or if you would like some advice on destinations and tour operators, ask Snowcarbon founder Daniel.
How to book the overnight Eurostar Ski Train
The Eurostar Direct Ski Train is simple to book online. If you already know where you want to go and are travelling independently, you can book the Eurostar Ski Train on Eurostar's website.
However, please note that if you are going to La Plagne, there is an error on Eurostar's website. So please read this article about the problems of booking to Aime La Plagne with Eurostar's website. (Don't worry, the solution is simple - just book to Bourg St Maurice instead)
If you are a group of 10 people or more, then you can register in advance for group tickets for the Eurostar Ski Train - see our guide to how to book group train travel to ski resorts in the Alps.
If you would like to view possible resorts and see exact journey times and transfer information, visit the Resorts and Journey Planner page
One of the best ways to book the Eurostar Ski Train is with a rail-inclusive package from ski tour operators. The train travel costs about the same price as flights - and has transfers from station to resort included.You can visit the ski train holidays page to view ski holidays by train from a number of tour operators.
You can find out more about how to book the Eurostar Ski Train in our guide to booking ski holidays by train.
Going overnight we'd say that although the direct service is very convenient, you might want to also consider taking the direct service, take a Eurostar + Corail Lunea instead, so that you can sleep on a flat bed. Sure, you'll have to change station in Paris, but that isn't difficult, and you'll get a better night's sleep and arrive at a more reasonable time. However, this service is now only available from Paris - Briancon, which serves Montgenevre and Serre Chevalier, for example. It doesn't serve the same route as the Eurostar Ski Train.
We've made a film of the direct overnight Eurostar Ski Train to show you what it's like, including interviews with skiers and snowboarders to get their views.
We're always keen to hear what you think so please let us know - your opinion is really useful to other skiers.