Currently 14% of British skiers travel the Alps by car. Driving to the Alps will usually only reduce your carbon emissions if there are at least three people travelling together or you are travelling in a vehicle with low emissions, such as an electric car.

If you travel in your own in an ICE vehicle, your carbon emissions would actually be higher than flying.

Travel by car is more efficient with a full vehicle

Based on research by Protect Our Winters, four people travelling by car to the Alps will produce around 2/3 of the amount of CO2 emissions compared with flying. Three people travelling would around 1/2 of the emissions generated by flying.

Still more CO2 than train travel

It’s important to note that even with four people in a car, the emissions generated are still significantly more than that of train travel.  The latest carbon footprint data from Protect Our Winters are shown below:

Car, alone, from London (via Eurotunnel) – 388
Car, three sharing, from London (via Eurotunnel) – 132
Coach from London (via ferry) – 72
Plane via Geneva (airport-to-resort transfer by coach) – 250
Plane via Geneva (airport-to-resort transfer by taxi, three sharing) – 262
Eurostar + TGV via Paris (change in Paris with RER, station to resort transfer by coach) – 11
Eurostar + TGV via Paris (change in Paris with taxi, three sharing; station-to-resort transfer by taxi, three sharing) – 14
Eurostar Snow via Lille (station-to-resort transfer by bus) – 10
Eurostar Snow via Lille (station-to-resort transfer by taxi, three sharing)  – 12
Figures to the nearest kg CO2e

If you really want to cut your emissions and keep skiing, the best option is to travel by train.

How long does it take to drive?

The average journey time the Alps is 8-9 hours from Calais (excluding stops). You can split up the journey by stopping overnight on the way, take your time and enjoy the journey.

How much will it cost?

You should budget for 500-600 miles of driving in each direction from Calais. Depending your mileage this may be around £160 each way.

Driving to the Alps via French motorways will incur around €80 of tolls in each direction. If you travel on Swiss motorways you need to buy a vignette for around €40.

How to cross the channel?

We recommend Eurotunnel for crossing the channel, with crossings available from £100. Ferries take slightly longer and are a similar price and the carbon footprint of Eurotunnel is very small (approx 3 kg/CO2) as it is powered by renewable electricity.

If you book a package with a ski company like Erna Low, you will be upgraded to a Flexiplus Eurotunnel ticket. This gives you the flexibility to turn up at any time or day you want, instead of being restricted to certain crossings.

Electric charging points

Evidently if you have an electric vehicle you can drive all the way to the Alps and back emissions free.

Although there is already an excellent provision of fast-charging points on motorways in Europe, you will need to research your trip to ensure that you can access the appropriate chargers.

Sites like ChargeMap will show you where and how to access charging points on your journey. The Ionity network is excellent. Telsa drivers probably have an advantage as the company leads the way in rapid chargers, although some (such as Albertville) have been opened up to all brands.

Case Study: Driving To The Alps In An Electric Car

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