Ski resorts by train

About bus timetabes for 2019-20

Sat 14 December, 2019


Daniel Elkan

When I first started travelling to ski resorts by train, back in 1998, trying to find out about bus connections from railway stations to ski resorts felt like a bit of a wild goose chase, because bus timetable seemed hard to come by. 

Fast forward twenty years later, and have things got much easier? Astonishingly, not all that much.

Firstly, bus timetables just came out. Yep, at the end of November for some, and during December for others. That’s why I’m writing to you now, not a month ago about this.  It would be better if the timetables were published a bit earlier, to give people more time to plan. I guess there are reasons.

For the past two years, bus timetable PDFs for the Tarentaise region (the area of the French Alps where the Eurostar Ski Train goes to) were only published French. Considering that for a massive proportion of skiers who go there speak English far better than they speak French, this seemed nuts.

So in summer I contacted the Auvergne Rhone Alps region, who publish the timetables for the Tarentaise. They promised to publish them in English for winter 2019-20. At the same time I contacted the Haute-Savoie region for the resorts of French Alps accessed by Cluses, Sallanches and St Gervais stations. Following this, the Haute Savoie decided to publish them in English too.

However, the Auvergne Rhone Alps region subsequently decided not to publish in English after all, citing the costs of translation as the reason. I mean really? How much can it possibly cost to translate a timetable (which is hardly a wordy document)? To me, this seems absolutely bonkers and a huge disservice to holidaymakers coming to the region.
I will redouble my effort for the 2020-21 season, and get the ski resorts to protest as a group. I hope this will do the trick.

For other regions, some bus timetables are published in English, some are not. We will campaign for all timetables to be in English - it's not a lot to ask of any bus company that is serious about transporting people and enabling them to find out about the bus times.

I’m now working on a series of blog articles which will highlight bus options from various stations and various ski resorts. These will follow in the next day or so.