Two years ago we decided to try something a little different: my husband, our 8-year-old daughter and I decided to travel to a ski resort by train instead of flying. Now, this was mainly driven by two things: the Climate Crisis (we needed a more environmentally friendly way of travelling) and my complete terror of flying. So, with a little (alright, a lot!) of encouragement from Snowcarbon’s Daniel Elkan, we took the standard class Eurostar to Paris, changed stations, and then picked up the TGV down to Montgenevre.
We loved the experience so much we were hooked. Flying was out, train travel was in! So for our next ski holiday in the 2019/20 season we were obviously going to travel by train, but this time we decided to do things differently again.
The direct Eurostar Ski Train appealed to us because it cut out the change of trains in Paris. Not that that was a big problem but we figured we could make a simple journey even easier by removing this element. This meant that we had to look for resorts that could be easily reached by the Ski Train and we eventually settled on Les Arcs; specifically Arc 1950. Also, we decided to take a risk on snow conditions and booked early in the season for Christmas! Finally, we chose Standard Premier class on the Eurostar as a bit of a treat – well, it would be Christmas after all!
Despite some French rail strikes, the Eurostar left on time from London St Pancras and we absolutely loved the next 7 hours as we were thoroughly well looked after by the Eurostar staff. The food was excellent, the staff were lovely, the seats were comfy and we liked the bag of goodies that was on our seats when we boarded which included a blanket, neck cushion, eye mask and earplugs! The free movies that you could watch over the Wifi provided a good selection of entertainment too.
When we arrived in Bourg St Maurice, it was a simple matter of walking along the platform to pick up the funicular which whisked us up the mountain to Arc 1600. A short wait for the shuttle bus, a 15-minute transfer, and we arrived in Arc 1950 in time to book into the apartment with plenty of spare time to make it to the shop for a quick stock up on essentials such as coffee and croissants for the morning.
We loved Arc 1950. It was beautifully Christmassy! All sparkly and snowy (as you’d expect!) with a really relaxed, friendly atmosphere. The apartment was nicely decorated, clean and cosy but as we had a high floor room, we had vaulted ceilings which made it feel more spacious. It truly was ski-in, ski-out with the nearest lift being a 30-second ski out of the back door of the apartment.
During the days we tended to eat out at the mountain restaurants and then self-cater in the evenings. The restaurants we ate at were all pretty good, though I did struggle to find many vegetarian options. This was frustrating as Les Arcs is proud of its eco-friendly credentials, so I would have hoped to see more veggie and vegan choices in the restaurants. I can thoroughly recommend the Igloo Bar which, while a bit pricey, is just fun for the experience of having a drink in an igloo!
Also, we needn’t have worried about the snow so early in the season. For the first three days in resort, we had slightly restricted skiing due to the fairly massive snowstorm that battered the mountains. Of course, there are always other things to do, so we hit the sledging slopes and then the pool, so we didn’t feel too bothered about the weather. Then, on Christmas day, the sun came out! - and it was glorious! Miles of perfect corduroy piste in beautiful sunshine – you just don’t get any better than that.
All in all, we had a fantastic holiday and possibly the best Christmas ever. We’d absolutely recommend both the direct Eurostar ski train (travel Standard Premier if you can) and Les Arcs, and I think we’d definitely go back. In fact, we’re so converted to train travel that we’re looking at returning to the Alps for a summer holiday too!