All you need to know about ski holidays by train

Five reasons not to travel overnight to the Alps

Mon 22 June, 2015


Daniel Elkan

What’s this? A website that helps skiers find out how to travel by train, suggesting reasons not to travel by overnight train?  That might seem a bit strange.
Well, we do think overnight train travel to the Alps is great. Sleep on the way, wake up in the Alps and get two extra days skiing on your holiday.  What’s not to love?
But overnight travel isn’t always the most suitable option.  In many cases daytime travel can be more advantageous. Here are the reasons why.

Reason 1: No flat beds on the direct Eurostar Ski Train
If you are considering taking the direct Eurostar Ski Train to the Alps, know that the overnight service only has reclining seats, not couchette beds. For some people, this is no problem. But if you want to lie flat, then this direct service is not for you (take a sleeper train from Paris, instead).  To see more about what the direct service is like, you can watch our review of the overnight Eurostar to the Alps.

Reason 2: You like travelling luxuriously
Don’t expect the Orient Express on overnight travel to the Alps. Sure, you can opt for Standard Premiere on the Eurostar Ski Train – giving you spacious table seats, food and wine.  But the train doesn’t have couchette beds, so you can’t lie flat.  Of course, if you take a sleeper train from Paris, you can lie flat.  However, the sleeper trains from Paris are fairly old rolling stock. They do the job, but don’t expect luxury - even in ‘First Class’ – which basically is just four (slightly wider) beds in a couchette, instead of six. That gives you more room, but it won’t make you feel like a prince or princess.

Reason 3: You are a beginner skier
Experienced skiers love overnight trains because they know they can arrive, get up the hill and enjoy an extra day of skiing.  But if you are a beginner or a very inexperienced skier, arriving in resort in the morning, you are probably going to need to get your bearings, rent equipment etc.  Your lessons won’t start till the following day, so unless you book a private lesson, you won’t really be ready to start.

Reason 4: Your accommodation won’t let you in until later in the day
If you are arriving on an overnight train, make sure that your accommodation has somewhere to store your bags – and ideally give you somewhere to change, before you go out to enjoy the slopes. Most accommodations cater for overnight travellers, but if yours doesn’t, go daytime instead.

Reason 5: It's your first time by train to the Alps
If you have never tralled to the Alps by train, choose daytime travel first.  This is the way to fall in love with the fact that it’s about as fast as flying  - watch our plane vs train race - but far more enjoyable.  Daytime train travel is simpler to organise, easier to persuade your fellow skiers to try.  Then for a future trip, try overnight.

You can find out more about what skiers think of daytime and overnight journeys in the Your Stories section - we'd love to hear yours too.