Price comparison: Eurostar Ski Train vs Eurostar + TGV
Is there much money to be saved by travelling to the Alps by train via Paris, with Eurostar + TGV, instead of taking the direct Eurostar Ski Train? That's a question many skiers ask Snowcarbon, and rightly so. The Eurostar Ski Train goes on sale mid-July, so it's worth considering this question now.
There's no scientific answer — but I can tell you what I know based on years of checking and comparing fares on a regular basis.
|Date||Eurostar Ski Train (adult return price)|
|Non-peak||£150 - £190|
|Christmas||£300 - £350|
|New Year||£320 - £400|
|Feb half-term||£450 - £500|
|Easter||£280 - £320|
And here's how Eurostar + TGV journeys compare:
|Date||Eurostar + TGV (adult return price)|
|Non-peak||£120 - £230|
|Christmas||£160 - £350|
|New Year||£180 - £400|
|Feb half-term||£180 - £400|
|Easter||£160 - £320|
The Eurostar Ski Train advertises its prices as ‘From £150 return’ but in reality those prices are only achievable for off-peak dates. If you are travelling at Christmas, New Year or Easter, even if you are hovering over your computer just as the Eurostar Ski Train goes on sale, you’ll still pay about £300 return. For tickets on the Eurostar Ski Train for February half term, you’ll pay £450 - £500; also, for half-term, the Ski Train tends to see out in about four hours.
The alternative, is travelling from London to Paris Gare du Nord by Eurostar, and then taking a TGV train from Paris Gare de Lyon. You can change stations in Paris by taxi, for maximum ease. These Eurostar + TGV journeys tend to start at about £110 return, and for off peak dates the prices will creep up gradually.
For peak dates, Eurostar + TGV prices start a bit higher and creep up a bit faster. For February half term, I was amazed last year to see Eurostar + TGV journeys on sale at £180 return, which saves about £300 over the Eurostar Ski Train on travel per adult. But the gap narrows as the days and weeks move forward toward the date of travel and prices continue to rise, as the cheaper fares get sold.
Children aged 4 – 11 get a discount of about 30%, both for Eurostar Ski Train journeys and Eurostar + TGV.
Because tickets for the Eurostar Ski Train go on sale in mid July for all dates of the season, while tickets for Eurostar + TGV journeys go on sale in October for journeys up to three months ahead, you can see what prices are available for the Eurostar Ski Train before deciding whether to wait for Eurostar + TGV journeys instead.
Of course, compared to flying or driving, you are going to have a far more enjoyable, social and sustainable journey than any other method of travel to the Alps. What price that?