Eurostar Ski Train - overnight
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Eurostar have announced the cancellation of the Ski Train for 2020/2021 and have not committed to reinstating it in future. We need more low-carbon routes to Europe, not fewer. Please sign our petition to reinstate this fantastic service and follow the updates of the Save The Ski Train campaign.
There's no question that taking the overnight Eurostar Ski Train to the Alps is a great way to get two extra days on the slopes. By travelling overnight you get to ski on the Saturday of arrival and again on the Saturday of departure - and because many skiers are sitting in aiport transfers while you ski, the slopes are beautifully quiet. You can reach all the resorts of the Tarentaise region in France this way - including Les Arcs, La Rosiere, Tignes, Val Thorens and Meribel.
However, the overnight ski train could also be called the Marmite Train - in that skiers seem divided into those that love it and those that don't. The reason is that this train is basically the same as any other Eurostar train, and though it travels overnight it only has reclining seats but does not have couchette compartments with flat beds.
For that reason, if you want to go overnight but want a flat bed rather than a reclining seat, you might prefer to travel by Eurostar + Corail Lunea instead.
Eurostar Ski Train - video review
To show you what this train is really like, we took it from London to Les Arcs and La Plagne, and interviewed other skiers and snowboarders - on the train and then on the slopes - to find out what they think of this train.
The film was fun to make - our aim was to create something that for the first time shows what the train is actually like.
We found quite a range of opinions - as you'll see.
Reclining seats (no flat beds)
The ideal thing when travelling overnight is to have a flat bed to sleep on. However, Eurostar's overnight Ski Train only has reclining seats, and they don't recline back very far. Not everyone can sleep well this way, although some people manage fine.
Clearly it is worth bringing a pillow to lean on, or folding up your ski jacket and resting on that. Ear plugs will help too. Eurostar provide a blanket and eye mask per person (both of which you can keep). The eye mask is useful because the lights don't get turned off.
Some people don't manage to get off to sleep sitting up or on their friends/partner's shoulder, and end up lying in the aisle between the seats in order to lie flat. Needs must!
In Standard Premier (Eurostar’s equivalent of First Class), every seat is a table seat - and you get a meal served too. But still not a precious lie-down-and-sleep experience.
There are power sockets (UK and Continental) in all Standard Premier carriages, and in coaches 5 and 14 of the Standard Class carriages. The Eurostar Ski Train doesn't have wifi or internet on board yet. You can click here to view the seating plan.
Luggage and skis
There are generous luggage allowances on the Eurostar Ski Train.
Each traveller can take two cases (with no weight limit) plus a pair of skis or a snowboard, plus hand luggage. Nice.
There are special compartments for storing skis and snowboards, but like on ordinary Eurostar trains, you can also store them on the overhead racks.
The Eurostar Ski Train overnight service has a cafe bar serving hot and cold drinks and snacks. It's decently priced but you can also bring your own food and drink on board too. Unlike the old Snow Train, which had a legendary disco carriage, the cafe bar doesn't resemble anything like the mayhem of the Snow Train. But you will find people having fun and a drink here.
Before you board, at St Pancras International station there are numerous shops, bars and cafes, including a Marks & Spencer. You can stock up on goodies and booze for the journey, although there is a limit on how much booze you can bring on board - it is: up to four cans or bottles of beer, or one bottle of wine, or one 50cl bottle of spirits per person.
Ski holidays by train — Ask Snowcarbon
At Snowcarbon we are always happy to help you with suggestions for great resorts, fantastic accommodation and how to get there.
Looking forward to helping you.