Given the choice I would catch the train to the Alps every time. It can be done during the day or overnight. Best of all, if staying in Meribel or La Tania the train will take you to Moutier, which is a mere 20 minutes’ drive away. And if you are staying in one of our chalets we will pick you up from the station in our minibus.
Most of the UK ski tourists will fly. But why? OK it is understandable if you live a long way from St Pancreas, but if you don’t, you really should consider it.
Admittedly I live in London, so getting to St Pancreas was pretty easy, even with a snowboard bag in tow. I had opted for an overnight train on the way out. The Eurostar left at 6pm and I would arrive at about 7 am in the morning, perfect for an extra day on the slopes. St Pancreas is what an airport should be like. It is spacious and efficient. When you arrive there are always ample check in desks and security stations to ease you through to the waiting area.
As there is no hold luggage and no weighing of baggage, allowing you to be a bit more generous with what you pack. However, you should adhere to one simple rule, don’t pack what you can’t carry. Once your train has been called, you make your way up to the platform. You can pretty much guarantee that your train will not be cancelled or delayed. It does happen but not as frequently as it does at the airport.
The out bound journey I normally opt for requires a change in Paris. It is very simple and the journey takes about 15 minutes on the underground. One I have changed station and you are on the overnight SNCF you can settle down with a glass of wine and some cheese and relax, knowing that when you wake up in the morning you will be in the mountains.
Some people will say that it sounds awful, to me it is a much preferred option. When you have to get up to catch a plane at 4am I will still be a sleep on the train. When you arrive at your destination there is no passport control or luggage to wait for and unless you are really stupid there isn’t that worry about lost luggage.
The journey back is also great. The train departs the mountains at a reasonable 9am and will arrive back in London in time for you to get home, watch the strictly results, and get a good night’s sleep before work.
But ten hours on a train! What will I do? At least on the night train you can rest. I would say that after the skiing and the après, the train on the way home is my favourite time of the holiday. It is a great time to relax, you can enjoy the scenery, read a book, eat a nice lunch and have a good old chat with your mates.
Sure, the train takes a little longer, but not much. I personally find the train a lot less stressful and a great deal more relaxing. As they say, let the train take the strain.