Trains reduce your carbon footprint and are much less stressful than flying, making taking a train to ski the zen of an outdoor travel experience.
As borders open and travel is once again considered, I look forward to a more typical winter. However, one thing that has permanently changed for me as a working travel journalist is trying to minimize my own carbon footprint and sell the idea to other travelers. It involves not flying somewhere if I can reach it in another way, or, if I have to fly to another part of the planet, moving via low carbon ground transportation.
It has worked well for me in many parts of the world, especially Europe and South East Asia / Japan. Which brings me to this: I love to ski by train. Not only do trains reduce your carbon footprint, they are also a lot less stressful than flying. What makes taking a train to go skiing the zen of outdoor travel experiences. Here are ten options from around the world.
The Glacier ExpressâAn Ã¼ber-rail that unveils both Switzerland’s breathtaking mountain scenery and fascinating alpine cultures, this double-decker train features luxurious dining cars, filled with specially designed wine glasses that compensate for the tilt of the train in curves. The 7.5 hour route from Zermatt to St. Moritz includes 291 bridges, 91 tunnels and the Oberalp Pass at 2,033 meters, but doing it all at once is a real shame when you can stop in historic resorts like Bettmeralp, Zermatt, Andermatt and St. Moritz.
Eurostar ski trainâSince 1997, the iconic Eurostar has been running twice a week from Waterloo station in London to the Tarentaise in the French Alps, dropping off skiers at Moutiers, Aime-la-Plagne and Bourg-Saint-Maurice for access fast by bus, taxi and even directly by aerial tramway to 16 major ski resorts, including MÃ©ribel, Courchevel, La Plagne, Les Arcs, Tignes and Val d’IsÃ¨re. With 750 per train, Friday night and Saturday day services carry 24,000 skiers each winter.
Vatnahalsen trainâSituated at the top of the FlÃ¥m Valley near Bergen on the west coast of Norway, Vatnahalsen Mountain Lodge dates back to 1896. Known as âSt. Moritz of the Northâ in the 1930s, the lodge is accessible only by train. Combined with world-class freeriding and ski touring, this makes a trip to Vatnahalsen a unique experience. When conditions permit, ski to the valley floor and take the famous FlÃ¥m Railway to the lodge.
Swedish night train– There’s no better way to comfortably travel Sweden’s vast distances than at night, and Swedish national rail company SJ offers one of Europe’s most modern night train services direct to major cities. cities like Gothenburg, Ãstersund, LuleÃ¥, Stockholm and MalmÃ¶. But you can also reach the popular ski resort of Ã re by night train from Stockholm, or take the long drive to the Arctic Circle via the mining town of Kiruna to ski to Abisko, BjÃ¶rkliden, RiksgrÃ¤nsen and even Narvik. , in Norway.
Colorado ski trainâIn California, a skier can go from Oakland to Truckee via Amtrak’s California Zephyr and take a cab to Northstar, Squaw Valley, or Alpine Meadows. And there’s a ski train from Boston to Wachusett, although the last few miles are by van. These slim choices make the former D&RG ski train from Denver to Winter Park, now well into its’ 70s, unique in the United States as the only dedicated train that delivers skiers directly to a ski slope.
Alaska ski trainâAs a fundraiser for the Anchorage Nordic Ski Association, this train is a once-a-year once-a-year opportunity to get out and explore the Alaskan backcountry on skis or snowshoes . From Anchorage, the train heads north to Curry, a remote area north of Talkeetna that was once home to a ski resort long lost in a fire.
Tokyo ski trainsâJapan offers regular trains from northern Tokyo to ski country, as well as from Sapporo to Hokkaido resorts. Popular day trips from Tokyo include: the high-speed train ride to the Karuizawa Prince or âKaruSkiâ hotel ski area; the Azusa express train from Shinjuku station in Tokyo to the Fujimi Panorama Resort in Nagano; and the short trip from Tokyo Station by high-speed Max Tanigawa train to GALA Yuzawa Snow Resort, where the ski area ticket office is actually located in the station.
Via Rail Express snow trainâFrom Edmonton, Alberta, board the Via Rail Snow Train to Jasper National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with some of the most breathtaking mountain scenery in the world. At Jasper Station, make your way to your hotel and take a free shuttle to nearby Marmot Basin Ski Resort.
Massif trainâA world-class off-the-radar destination, one of the many features that sets Le Massif, Quebec apart, is that it is accessible by train. There was no accommodation on the hill until Club Med opened this year, so if you were here for more than a day you would traditionally sleep in the waterfront town of Baie St. Paul. From there, a scenic 40-minute train ride brings you to Le Massif station where you board a gondola to the main base.
Trans-Siberian Railway– The most exotic entry on this list, it might not be a ski train per se, but the Trans-Siberian Railway crosses nearly 10,000 km from Mother Russia, bringing you to places and chains of little-known mountains that feature a cross-country ski community on the outskirts. , the deep powder of Siberia and the ancient origins of skiing.
Leslie Anthony is a Whistler-based author, editor, biologist, and bon vivant who has never encountered a mountain he didn’t like.