how to get there and when to book

Les Gets, France

Part of the huge 650km Portes du Soleil, Les Gets is dotted with chocolate chalets that give it an enduring charm. You can ski to wonderful high-altitude restaurants, such as the panoramic Grand Ourse on Mont Chéry and the new La Croix Blanche at the top of the Chavannes cable car. The resort has introduced electric snowmobiling for kids, along with a geocaching trail and chocolate-making workshops to add to its already family-friendly appeal.

The trip

Departure from London St Pancras on Friday by Eurostar at 7:01 p.m. to Paris-Nord. Stopover in a Parisian hotel and departure the next morning from Paris-Lyon by TGV at 10:29 a.m., arriving in Cluses at 3:09 p.m.; from there it is 25 minutes by bus or taxi.

Train travel time

19 hours, 08 minutes, including one night in Paris

Highlight of the trip

Slide in the Arve valley on the approach to Cluses.

How many?

Return rail fares from £170 per adult, booked via Trainline (thetrainline.com) or Rail Europe (raileurope.com).

La Plagne, France

The 11 villages that make up the resort of La Plagne are scattered over enticing terrain, with most accommodation being ski-in ski-out. There’s a huge range of activities here, and this winter the resort is introducing electric Moonbikes – a cross between a snowmobile and a skidoo, ideal for exploring the terrain once the lifts have closed. You can also stay in a luxury snow groomer, under the stars at the top of the Arpette slopes.

The trip

Depart London St Pancras on Saturday at 8:20 a.m. with the Travelski Express for Moutiers, arriving at 4:45 p.m. From there it is a 40 minute transfer.

Train travel time

8 hours, 47 minutes

Trip Highlights

Direct night for the very first ski slopes.

How many?

Return rail fares only as part of a Travelski package, from £720 pp including accommodation and lift passes, booked direct with Travelski (travelski.com) or travel agencies designated trips such as Skiline (skiline.co.uk).


The essentials

Useful resources for train travel in the Alps

The new 2nd Edition Rail Map of Europe (£12 from europeanrailtimetable.eu) is a fantastic companion for planning rail journeys. Change stations in Paris (Gare du Nord to Gare du Lyon) with a pre-booked taxi from companies such as City Airport Taxis (city-airport-taxis.com) or Paris Private Cab (parisprivatecab.com).

How to book your tickets?

Plan your trip and book your tickets through rail reservation agencies such as Trainseurope (trainseurope.co.uk), International Rail (internationalrail.com) and Ffestiniog Travel (ffestiniogtravel.com). You can also use online ticket agents such as Rail Europe (raileurope.co.uk) and Trainline (trainline.com). Travelski Express rail ski passes are booked directly with Travelski (uk.travelski.com/travelski-express).

More information

The three main train companies that skiers and snowboarders should be aware of are Eurostar (eurostar.com), OUI.sncf (oui.sncf.com) and Deutsche Bahn (bahn.co.uk). For more information on NightJet sleeper trains, see the NightJet website (nightjet.com).

Useful guides to traveling in Europe and the Alps are available on Seat 61 (seat61.com) and Ski Flight Free (skiflightfree.org).

Daniel Elkan is the founder of snowcarbon.fr, an independent guide on how to get to ski resorts by train. The website offers train travel timetables up to a year in advance, ski passes with train travel included, in-depth independent travel advice, videos and skier-to-skier stories about vacations skiing by train.

Reader Service: Planning to travel to the continent? Be sure to book European travel insurance before you leave.

This article is updated with the latest information.

About George Dailey

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