What is Snowcarbon?

Snowcarbon is an independent website dedicated to helping skiers and snowboarders travel to ski resorts by train in the Alps from the UK.  

There are plenty of ski resorts that can be reached easily by train; and so many skiers that would prefer train travel to flying or driving. But often, trying to find out about train travel to the Alps can be frustrating and time consuming. 

It’s one of the reasons why so many skiers end up flying or driving to the Alps when rail options are there for the taking. This is a crazy situation that needs to change. Snowcarbon exists to help change it. 

We want to empower skiers to avoid boring airport queues and long transfers and enjoy social, scenic, sustainable journeys by train instead.  

This means challenging the status quo and not taking no for an answer. 

Snowcarbon is a site created by skiers for skiers. It doesn’t have any affiliation or make any money from train tickets or train companies, and is completely independent.

The site was founded by two ski journalists, Daniel and Mark.  

Click here to read The Snowcarbon story.

Daniel ElkanSnowcarbon Founder, Daniel Elkan

How do we know what we know?

The rail travel advice on Snowcarbon is written by founder Daniel and co-edited by other leading travel writers. Daniel has travelled to more than 50 ski resorts by train and knows the routes well. He photographs the journeys to provide high-quality images of the experience. 

Since 2004, Daniel has been writing features about rail travel to ski resorts for The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Sunday Times, Conde Nast Traveller, National Geographic Traveller, The Sunday Times, InTheSnow Magazine, Snow Magazine, Ski+board, Time Out, Fall Line Skiing, among others.

The Snowcarbon ski-resort guides are written by leading ski-travel writers. In each case the author is an experienced visitor to the area. We are constantly looking to improve the information on the site and always welcome feedback. 

Over the years, a fantastic array of talented people has helped make Snowcarbon happen. We are grateful to everyone who has been part of this journey as well as those who are helping take Snowcarbon forward.

Read more about the Snowcarbon team

Why we do what we do

Snowcarbon is built on three pillars 

1. To inform

Snowcarbon was born out of the combination of two things:

a) the gradual discovery of the many convenient and exciting rail options that exist between the UK and the Alps.

b) the realisation that it's hard for skiers to find out about these train journeys to the mountains.

By constantly researching, experiencing and documenting these journeys, the site has become a solid reference for skiers, snowboarders and the wintersports industry.

Snowcarbon’s raison d’etre/rationale: Every hour of research we do can save thousands of skiers time and effort trying to find out the same thing, and enable them to find out things they might not otherwise have realised.  

As well as the journey, your choice of resort and accommodation is crucial for ensuring that you have the best holiday. We have a wealth of knowledge to help you make the best choices. 

2. To inspire

From the moment that Daniel began travelling to the Alps by train, he realised that this made the journey part of the holiday. Trips with friends would be bonding experiences, a chance to make new friends en route, with the way there and back becoming a memorable part of the trip. At Snowcarbon we want to share this discovery and inspire others to do the same. We interview train goers in our Your Stories segment, covering their experiences. We’ve created videos about direct and indirect journeys. And Daniel has used his experience as a travel photographer to document the journeys to show you exactly what the experience is like.  

Photo: Daniel Elkan

3. To campaign and enable

Nothing has to stay as it is. There are still far too few rail options for skiers, compared to what there could be. Demand for more direct and indirect options is growing demand. 

That’s why at Snowcarbon we’ve been campaigning for years to improve rail services, to make it easier for the ski industry to integrate train travel into winter holidays. Snowcarbon created the Tour Operator Train Travel Initiative (TOTTI) in 2012, the SaveTheSkiTrain campaign in 2020 and the SaveTheSleepers campaign in 2016. We lead initiatives to help improve the range of options available to skiers and try to act as a catalyst to get the ski industry and rail companies working better together. 

Snowcarbon is also part of lobbying efforts attempting to drive structural change. We aim to help skiers, but importantly we need business and government to play their part too.

Booking holidays via Snowcarbon

Photo: Daniel Elkan

Snowcarbon is a little bit like a specialist travel agent. We use our knowledge of resorts, accommodation providers and rail options to help skiers find and choose the most suitable holiday options for their next ski trip. 

Snowcarbon doesn’t sell holidays directly, but we make knowledgeable recommendations. We work with specialist travel agencies, tour operators and accommodation providers such as hotels and catered chalets. If you end up booking via one of our recommendations, you pay the same price as if you’d contacted the provider directly, but Snowcarbon receives a commission for having successfully recommended you. This goes to help us to continue to run and improve the website and to provide this holiday-advice service. 

We have relationships with a huge number of providers – far more than we show on the site. If you get in touch with us, we can help. 

Find the best holiday options  - Ask Snowcarbon

Photo: Daniel Elkan

Ask Snowcarbon is a free, tailored advice service to help you find or create the best ski holidays by train. How does it work?

Step 1
You email Snowcarbon giving to let Daniel know what you are ideally looking for.  Useful things to say include: 

  • Which ski resorts you’ve been to before (if any)
  • The level of ski experience across your group
  • What kind of accommodation you are ideally looking for - such as a catered chalet, hotel or a self-catered apartment or chalet
  • Your ideal departure date
  • Anything that you are particularly looking for in terms of resort and accommodation, such as a traditional village, ski-in-ski-out, lots of apres ski, a quieter family-friendly resort etc etc

Step 2
Daniel will respond to your email. He might suggest a quick call to clarify anything.

Step 3
Daniel send you initial suggestions by email for resorts and accommodation. These could be independent accommodation options or via a ski tour operator, or both, depending on what’s most ideal in your case. Daniel has a huge range of contacts in the ski industry.  At the same time, Daniel can also provide sample train itineraries and advice on how to book them independently, or as part of a package if available.

Step 4
You see which options you like, ask for any more or anything different. And, if you like any of the options, you can book them directly with the accommodation provider or tour operator.

There’s no cost to you for this service. If you book one of the accommodation options that came via Daniel’s options and contacts, you pay the same price as if you'd contacted the provider directly, out of the blue. But Snowcarbon will receive a commission. This helps cover Daniel's time and helps us continue to make the Snowcarbon website better.

Click here to contact Daniel by email

What about the future?

Photo: Daniel Elkan

The snowcarbon philosophy of enjoyable, sustainable travel to the Alps is one that we believe will benefit skiers, snowboarders and the entire wintersports industry. We aim to be a catalyst for change, encouraging and co-ordinating travel improvements to make rail journeys to ski resorts ever more convenient. Please join us in helping to make this happen.