The ‘TravelSki Express’: New direct ski train to the French Alps (Updated June 2022)by skiflightfree on Jan 24, 2022 • 2:01 am No Comments
Iain tested the inaugural outbound service in January 2022. You can read his article here, listen to the special podcast episode or watch his video below. Note that on this service the overnight was outbound, but for 2022/23 it will be the return service that is overnight.
The ‘Travelski Express’ is fantastic news for train lovers and skiers looking to reduce their carbon emissions. Compagnie des Alpes has signed an agreement with Eurostar to relaunch the direct rail service from London-Saint Pancras to the French Alps.
STOP PRESS (09 June 2022): Details have been announced for the 2022/23 service. More details below.
The ‘TravelSki Express’ Ski Train
The service is known as the ‘TravelSki Express’, sold and operated by CdA subsidiary Travelski.com
It will depart from London Saint Pancras station at 08:20 on Saturday mornings, going non-stop to Moûtiers and Bourg Saint Maurice stations, arriving in the afternoon at 16:45 and 17:23 respectively. The return service leave on Saturday afternoons, travelling overnight. It will depart at Bourg at 20:35 (Moutiers at 21:02) and arrive in London at 07:06.
The train will not stop at Ashford International.
The first departure will be on 17 December 2022 and last departure on Saturday 15 April.
There are two exceptions to this scheduling: in the festive period, the train will depart on Friday 23 December and 30 December, going outbound overnight, then returning the following Saturday by day, allowing skiers to arrive in time for Christmas Eve and New Years’ Eve.
The more trains the better
Guillaume de Marcillac, CEO of Travelski, echoed our thoughts at Ski Flight Free:
“The more trains that can go to the Alps the better.”
You can listen to Iain’s exclusive interview with de Marcillac in Episode 79 of The Ski Podcast.
Packaged trips only
TravelSki will offer a dynamic package deal that combines the train, transfers, accommodation and lift passes. The timings mean that packages will be for 7 days of skiing, with the second (departure) Saturday included. There will be ample luggage space, with no ski carriage charges.
It will not be possible to buy train travel only.
Package prices at first glance look excellent value with lead in offers from £585pp for a family/group of 4 staying in Belhambra Belle Plagne in mid-January.
Tickets are now on sale via their website.
Packages to Compagnie des Alpes resorts only
A point to note is that the ‘TravelSki Express’ is being sold ‘for the benefit of the ski resorts operated by the Compagnie des Alpes. In the first season these will be La Plagne, Les Arcs, Tignes, Val d’Isère, Les Menuires and Méribel.
In the future it might be possible to get off at Moutiers and take a transfer to their other resorts of Valmorel, Serre Chevalier, Megeve, Chamonix, Avoriaz and the Grand Massif resorts (Flaine, Samoens etc). [NB In some cases CdA only owns a minority stake in these resorts]
Notably, the list does not include either Courchevel or Val Thorens. However, we believe that there is a good chance that these resorts will be added in due course for the 2022/23 winter season.
Strategic move to stop UK skiers shifting to Austria
Dominique Thillaud, CEO of Compagnie des Alpes (and, perhaps not coincidentally, a former director of Eurostar) said:
“(This is a) low-carbon stimulus solution to reach out to the UK customers that our Austrian competitors covet”
Marlène Giacometti, Director of Les Menuires Tourist Office said:
“It is such good news to have this service up and running for winter 21-22. British customers are so important for Les Menuires and we are keen to welcome them again!”
Success for ‘Save The Ski Train’ group
This is great news for UK skiers and snowboarders and vindication for all the lobbying done by the ‘Save the Ski Train’ group, of which Ski Flight Free is proud to be a part.
CdA aiming for Net Zero
Compagnie des Alpes has a goal of achieving Zero Net Carbon emissions by 2030, so the creation of the ‘TravelSki Express’ is part of that movement towards sustainability.
David Ponson, Director of Mountain/Ski Area Operations said:
“In the face of an unprecedented health crisis that led to the total closure of our activities for the entire winter season last year, Compagnie des Alpes is working closely with its partners to promote a swift and robust recovery of the mountain economy”
Over 100,000 clients travelled with Travelski in the 2018/19 winter season. Based in Chambéry with offices in Amsterdam, Antwerp and Tel Aviv, Travelski was acquired in 2018 by La Compagnie des Alpes.