Travelski Express 2022-23 goes on sale
Packages with the Travelski Express (the artist formerly known as the Eurostar Ski Train) are now on sale.
For the second season running, French tour operator Travelski has exclusively chartered the Eurostar Ski Train to the French Alps. You can get a package that includes train travel, transfer, accommodation and ski pass.
For many skiers and also many tour operators, chalet companies and accommodation providers in the ski industry, this is frustrating. The only way to get on this ski train is with a Travelski Express package, and that shuts the rest of the industry out and means that many skiers can't use the direct train to reach their favourite accommodation. That's the downside of one tour operator chartering an entire train for it's own use only.
Fact is, more ski trains are needed. No doubt, in a future season, more ski tour operators will charter a ski train. This is surely a matter of when, not if. In the meantime, there's the Travelski Express, and there are indirect journeys via Paris, Lille and Brussels etc.
Travelski Express - what's changed for winter 2022-23?
1. Outbound daytime, return overnight
Travelski has, sensibly I believe, switched things around. This season the outbound journey will be by day, giving you a lovely, relaxed, scenic journey on the way there. And, as it's a daytime train, celebratory drinks are allowed too. The return journey back to the UK is overnight. This means at the end of the holiday, you get an extra days' skiing on Saturday - the quietest day on the slopes. The overnight journey is sitting up, not in flat beds, but having the overnight journey at the end of the holiday means that after a full day on the slopes and a belly full of lovely French dinner, you are more likely to get some shut eye.
There are two exceptions to this, and that's at Christmas and New Year, where the outbound journey is overnight (more details below).
I'm really pleased that Travelski has done that. It's something that I suggested to them last season - and which skiers subsequently did too. To its credit, Travelski has taken this mass of feedback onboard, no pun intended, and acted on it.
2. Transfers are to the door (instead of to the centre of resort)
This season, Travelski Express is offernig transfers that take skier from the train to the door of their accommodation, rather than just to a place in the resort village nearby. This is a marked improvement. It means that you will get to where you need to be (your hotel or self-catered residence), and have less walking. More time in the warm, more certainty about where you need to be to get the transfer. So this is certainly an improvement, as last season transfers with Travelski Express had some mixed reviews.
3. Less choice of accommodation, but more suitability to the UK-based skiers
This season, Travelski has said that it will offer a smaller range of accommodation but the selection will be more tailored to the UK market. That's probably a goood thing too, because it means more thought will have gone in at Travelski's end about what they offer. And this also enables them to offer the to-the-door transfer service, because logistically there will be fewer different accommodations to serve.
4. Nine ski resorts served, but —possibly —more to be added
The Travelski Express offered pacakges to nine ski resorts: Brides les Bains, La Plagne, Les Arcs, Peisey-Vallandry, Les Menuires, Méribel, Saint Martin de Belleville, Tignes and Val d’Isère.
As of today, these are still the only resorts being offered. But there may be some new ones added in due course, such as Val Thorens, Courchevel or La Rosiere. This is down to commercial considerations, and is unknown at the moment, but is a possibility.
Note that in it's marketing literature, Travelski states that it offers seven resorts. That's because it counts Peisey-Vallandry as part of Les Arcs, and Saint Martin de Belleville as part of Les Menuires. Why it does this, when they are such distinct resorts in their own right, I don't know.
Travelski Express timetable 2022-23
This is the Travelski Express timetable for winter 2022-23. For every week except Xmas and New Year, the service is daytime out to the Alps, and overnight back to London. However, for those two weeks it's overnight outbound to the Alps, daytime back to London.
Outbound timetable (for Sunday 26th December 2021 only)
|Depart (Sat 26th Dec)||Arrive|
|London St Pancras||Moutiers||Bourg St Maurice|
- First departure Sat 17th December 2022
- Last departure Sat 15th April 2023
|London St Pancras||Moutiers||Bourg St Maurice|
On Friday 23rd and 30th December, the journey is overnight outbound, departing London St Pancras at 18:42, arriving Moutiers at 05:31 and Bourg St Maurice at 06:17.
First inbound journey: Saturday 24th December 2022
Last inbound journey: Saturday 22nd April 2023
|Bourg St Maurice||Moutiers||London St Pancras|
On Saturday 24th and 31st December, the journey back to the UK is by day, departing at 09:34 from Bourg St Maurice and 10:14 from Moutiers, arriving at London St Pancras at 16:13.
On Saturday 7th January, the journey back to the UK is overnight (as usual). Since the outbound journey on 30th December was overnight too, this means that you get an 8-day ski pass included in the package, so you can enjoy two extra days' skiing altogether (although you might be a bit knackered after your outbound journey).