Ski resorts by train

The ski season suddenly cancelled

Sun 15 March, 2020


Daniel Elkan & Jamie Serjeant

This season has been rocked first by French rail strikes, some unusually warm temperatures, and now the coronavirus pandemic too.

Last night, just as we boarded the overnight Eurostar ski train at Bourg Saint Maurice, France’s prime minister issued a statement that effectively forced the country’s ski resorts to close with almost immediate effect. Along with Italy, Switzerland and Austria, this means almost all European ski resorts are closed.

The mood was a bit surreal, with travellers realising that they were taking the last Eurostar Ski Train out of the Alps for the season, leaving a country shutting down to slow a pandemic, only to return to another. A lot of skiers felt that they would have been perfectly happy waiting things out in resort, in the snow and sunshine, rather than return to the UK.

Now, countless skiers and snowboarders are either stranded in the Alps, will have to cancel their upcoming holidays, or are in quarantine back at home. This is devastating for holidaymakers, and tough on ski tour operators too, who had been told on Thursday and Friday that resorts would stay open.

How to postpone Eurostar tickets
At the time of this post being published, Eurostar have offered anyone travelling between 13th March and 7th April 2020 a voucher if they want to reschedule their train. The rescheduled train can be up to 12th December 2020.

For skiers and snowboarders, this isn’t good enough - the next winter season will barely have started. We’re getting in contact with Eurostar and will report back when we hear more.

We will post the best information that we can find out from rail companies and rail ticket providers on our blog.

If you are stuck now
If you are stuck now, and need advice about travelling home by train, you can email Snowcarbon. We can't promise to be able to help, but if we can understand the problems people are facing, we may be able to:

1. Answer questions about rail travel.
2. Get answers and statements from rail companies about options for changing travel plans
3. Highlight your experience and predicament so that others in similar positions can benefit from any shared knowledge and transport providers better understanding the challenge facing skiers trying to get home.

Strange times
For many of us, we’re fortunate enough to take open borders for granted. This coronavirus pandemic is showing us an alternative world, one of restrictions, hysteria and chaos. The dream of being able to travel easily across Europe sustainably by train, was already under threat in the current political climate; it now faces another challenge. The mountains need people, and people need the mountains. Hopefully, we won’t be separated for long.