Making tracks to the French Alps

Taking the train to the French Alps can be a much a more pleasurable way to arrive at your skiing destination. As well as allowing you to sit back and enjoy the dramatic scenery, the train can have many other advantages; no luggage or ski carriage charges, discounts for children, under-4s travelling free, shorter transfers and an extra day on the slopes if you travel overnight.

The Eurostar direct ski train departs from London St Pancras every Friday night (for overnight travel) and Saturday morning (for day-time travel) and arrives in Mo�tiers, Aime-la-Plagne and Bourg-Saint-Maurice some seven hours later; it is then a short transfer up to the Tarentaise resorts such as M�ribel, La Plagne and Les Arcs. There’s a caf�-bar on-board, but the train doesn’t have couchette beds, only reclining seats.

If comfort is essential, catch an early-evening Eurostar to Paris and take a Corail Lunea sleeper train, with accommodation in four or six-berth couchette compartments. You can reach resorts all over the French Alps and the Pyr�n�es this way.

Of course, taking the train is also much better for the environment and, as Daniel Elkin, founder of Snowcarbon.co.uk, attests, need not always take longer than flying: “I’m always surprised by how long it takes to reach ski resorts by plane,” he says. “Somehow you end up spending the whole day travelling, with all the shuffling about in airport queues and sitting on transfer coaches. Going by train takes a little longer, but the journey is in larger blocks of quality time. You can read and play games, or go to the caf�-bar, all with ever-changing scenery constantly gliding by.”

Visit www.snowcarbon.co.uk, www.eurostar.com or www.raileurope.co.uk