All you need to know about ski holidays by train

Finding cheaper packages on the Eurostar Ski Train

Thu 31 January, 2013

Around this time of year the Eurostar Ski Train can be quite expensive, particularly for peak dates.

But if you haven't already chosen accommodation and would be happy with a package from a ski tour operator, then a very good-value way to have a ski holiday with the Eurostar Ski Train is to buy a package with either Inghams or Crystal.

Not many people know this - because it has not been widely publicised - but both companies have an allocation of tickets on the daytime Eurostar Ski Train, and they price the train at the same rate as flying. Ian Davis, Product Director at Crystal Ski says: "This season we’ve doubled our allocation and seats have sold really well. Admittedly, a plane’s speed is higher, but on a train you can travel in comfort, take as many suitcases, skis and snowboards as you like, and, if you travel on Friday night out and Saturday night back, you get eight days of skiing instead of six."

(We don't agree with Ian that flying is even faster, but that is another story)

What Crystal and Inghams are doing, in partnership with Eurostar, is a great thing. Rather than charging a supplement for the train (as used to be the case), these two tour operators are encouraging rail travel by matching train and plane prices way.

It's like being able to shop in Harrods Food Stall, but at the same price as Tesco.

But just because it is only these two tour operators price this way, it doesn't mean that other tour operators don't want to. Many of the medium size and smaller tour operators, such as Peak Retreats, Erna Low, Mountain Heaven, Powder White, Zenith Holidays and Ski Famille are keen supporters of rail travel to ski resorts, but are not yet able to get the kind of train allocations they need (from the train companies). So they work more on prices that are live at time of booking. We hope they will be able to get some kind of special allocation for next season too, and we are actively talking to train companies about this.  Inghams also offers rail packages to Swiss destinations too, and we hope that they and Crystal will expand their range of destinations offered with train included, in line with skier demand, which is growing fast as more skiers discover this way of travelling.

Crystal and Inghams' allocations for the Eurostar Ski Train each week are not unlimited, so you may find that for some weeks they have already sold out. But if they are available, they are good value.

One important thing: if you have difficultly finding or booking train options online with these or any other ski company, pick up the phone and call them. It is easier and will save you time.