We played cards and watched ski films
After the tears brought on by David Attenborough’s Planet Earth last year, I joined the crusade of carbon-reducing warriors. Remembering the suffering walruses *cue more tears*, I was determined not to let our annual snow trip be an exception. This was the driving factor for me to make a change and try the Eurostar Ski Train, however, we found so many additional benefits, it wasn't long before the whole ski group joined us. Cheaper than flying, and two extra full days of skiing had us wondering why everyone didn’t take the Ski Train.
Convincing nine of our friends, several of who are large rugby types, to get on a train to the Alps we thought impossible. Yet last season we all arrived in a pub across from St Pancras, laden with ski bags, feeling excited for the week of skiing ahead of us. My excitement doubled entering the pub to a fresh round of beers, our ski team already proving themselves.
After a hearty dinner and a few drinks, we wandered into St Pancras, through security and onto the train. The experience was much more pleasant compared to the previous year's 4 a.m. dash to the airport on a few hours' sleep. Airports require an excessive amount of moving around different waiting places, all whilst trapped in a dazzlingly bright shopping centre; leaving you sitting on floors wondering when the coffee will kick in and if that screaming child is on your flight. It is fair to say I am not a morning person.
Once on the train we played cards and watched ski films, speeding through the darkness towards the mountains. The complementary sleep care package (neck pillow, blanket, eye mask and pillow mist) was very sweet and helped us get a good night’s rest before the morning. I am a good sleeper so managed to sleep well, but some of our group did struggle so I would take into account some apres-nap time on the other side if you struggle to sleep.
After arriving at Bourg St Maurice, we grabbed a coffee and took the funicular, which was a short walk away, to Les Arcs 1600, and from there took a free shuttle bus to our accommodation in 1800. No cold queue in Grenoble airport waiting for passport security, no waiting for our bags to arrive (or not arrive) on the conveyor belt, and no sickening hairpin bends on the coach journey. The whole journey had also been cheaper than flying when considering transfers and travel to the airport, especially if you are bringing your own skis as ski carriage is included for free on the train. Overall, I was feeling very pleased, clipping into my skis at 10 a.m., ready for the whole extra day of skiing ahead of me compared to if we had flown.
We had a brilliant week skiing in Paradiski and especially enjoyed the two powder days we were lucky to have. Although it was bittersweet finding the powder on one of those days as it had rained up to 2600m, causing the majority of runs to be a sticky mess. I had never seen it rain that high before. We must use our love of snow to protect it. Beyond travelling by train, Protect Our Winters UK, the UK chapter of the outdoor climate charity POW founded by the legendary Jeremy Jones, is also a great organisation to get behind to make the systematic changes needed for us to keep skiing in our most beloved mountains.