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.
Snowcarbon was founded in 2009 by two ski-travel writers, Daniel Elkan and Mark Hodson, in order to create a comprehensive, easy-to-use resource for train travel to ski resorts. The site has a wide choice of great ski resorts, each convenient by train and with a unique Journey Planner, showing the best schedules, booking options and in-depth guides to the journeys. We are continually working on improving the site to make it more relevant and useful.
In combination with his work as a writer, Daniel works on Snowcarbon full-time. Mark has left Snowcarbon to focus on his other site, the excellent 101 Holidays. But train travel and regular catch ups with Daniel, over a curry in Tooting, are a constant.
Why we do it | What we do
Snowcarbon is built on three pillars
1. To inform
Snowcarbon was born out of the gradual discovery of the multitude of rail options that exist between the UK and the Alps and beyond, and the lack of ease of finding information about train travel to the mountains. By constantly researching, experiencing and documenting these journeys and journey options, the site has become a solid reference for winter travellers and the snowsports industry alike.
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 skiers make the best choices for that, too.
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 needs to stay as it is. There are still far too few rail options for skiers, compared to what there could be, and compared to the growing demand.
That’s why at Snowcarbon we’ve been campaigning for years to improve rail service, to make it easier for the ski industry to integrate train travel into winter holidays. Snowcarbon initiated 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, more than we can ever show on the site. If you get in touch with us, we can help from there.
Finding the best holiday options for you
Photo: Daniel Elkan
A ski holiday can take many shapes and forms. Much of the time, it’s for a bunch of people (friends or family) who are of varying ski experience and are after different things from their holiday. There might be some in the group who want to ski all day, others who would rather spend the afternoon in a spa. Some who want to party till the last bar shuts; others who’d rather stay in the chalet playing cards over wine or hot choccy. At Snowcarbon we believe in asking the right questions so that we can suggest options that are the closest to ideal that they can be.
Over the years, a fantastic array of talented people has helped make Snowcarbon happen. We are grateful to everyone who has joined us on this journey as well as those who are helping take Snowcarbon forward. You can read more about the Snowcarbon team.
The rail travel advice on Snowcarbon is written by Daniel and co-edited by other leading travel writers. Daniel has travelled to more than 50 ski resorts by train and knows the routes very well. He photographs the journeys to provide high-quality realistic images for the site. 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 welcome feedback.
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.