How are you getting to the Alps this winter? What with being so high in the hills, surrounded by snow and 3 hours’ drive from the nearest airport, just getting to the start of your holiday here can be quite an adventure in itself. This year, though, there’s good news for travellers with new train and bus services launched to get you to the slopes on time, and cheap flight options.
New Eurostar Routes
The Ski Train is growing in popularity each year. There’s an overnight option which whisks you straight to Bourg Saint Maurice for 06:16am, stopping at Aime-La-Plagne and Moutiers. From Bourg it’s easy to hitch a lift or catch a local bus up the mountain. This means you can be in resort just after 7am on Saturday – beating all the changeover day traffic and in plenty of time to grab your skis and be one of the only people to get the first lift. On your last day the night train leaves Bourg at 10.12pm, giving you another full day on the slopes, which you’ll probably have pretty much to yourself. Priced from £149 return, this can work out cheaper than the usual flight + transfer bus combo.
However, of course there’s a downside. At peak times (over Christmas and New Year, February half term and Easter holidays) the price rockets and can reach up to £400. And trying to nab tickets for certain dates can feel like trying to get a Glastonbury ticket – they can sell out within hours of going on sale.
The good news is that Eurostar have just launched a new route to the Alps stopping at Lyon from £89 return. It only takes 4.5 hours – and even better news is that transfer company Ben’s Bus have just launched a new route from Lyon to resorts across the Haute Tarentaise! If you’re travelling in a small group or alone their service is ideal as you can buy individual tickets for their scheduled buses from £70-£78.80 return. Ben’s Bus have also just launched a second new route from Chambery airport – a lesser known option for grabbing a flight bargain as well as a cheaper return transfer at £44.80 – alongside their existing services from Grenoble and Geneva.
If you’re in a larger group and want a private transfer with a driver you can rinse for local knowledge and who will stop off at the supermarket for supplies on the way, try Cool Bus, Mountain Rescue or White Rides. The journey takes about 2hrs 45mins – but on the plus side most of these transfer buses stock EDGE magazine, so you’ll have plenty to read and keep you busy! You won’t get into resort until after lifts have closed, but on your last Saturday the train only leaves Lyon at 5.25pm, so you could get a couple of bonus morning runs in!
If timings work out, you’ve got another option of taking the local train from Lyon to Bourg. It takes 3.5 hours and then you’ve got to get up the mountain, but it costs from just £23 for a single. Booking opens 3 months in advance, when they’ll announce the timetable.
Another option is to get the Eurostar to Geneva – another new route. There’s a connection at Lille but the journey takes around 6 hours in total and from there you can easily catch any of the transfer buses mentioned above and be in resort in another 3 hours. The tickets cost slightly less than those direct to Bourg, but then the transfer is longer and more pricey.
The big benefit of going by train over flying is that you can take more baggage and your skis or snowboard travel free!
Cheap Bus Tickets
UK coach operator, Snow Express have launched a special offer price of £79 return from London Victoria to the French Alps during the new year – that’s over 40% off the normal price and less than some airport transfers alone cost from Geneva to resorts across the French Alps – and there’s no extra luggage fees with ski equipment travelling free of charge.
Departure dates include January 1st and January 15th for a week’s holiday in resorts that include Tignes and Val d’Isere. Other resorts including La Plagne, Les Arcs, La Rosiere and Sainte Foy are available too for under £100 return. The Friday departure means that it’s often possible to get an extra half-day on the slopes with an early Saturday arrival, plus with a late departure at 5pm on the following Saturday, there’s a whole day of extra skiing or snowboarding possible too.
Cheap flight options
Easyjet have just launched released their winter flight tickets to Geneva from lots of UK airports – for as little as £25 each way. You can book flights for dates up to the end of February, while seats remain, so get booking! If you want to bring your own ski equipment it’s an extra £30 each way.
You can hire the gear for a similar price in resort, or pay a bit more to upgrade and try out skis that might be better than yours. For example, Snowberry in Val d’Isere have some great discounts on the latest equipment, which comes with their expert fitting and advice. If you’re booking lessons with a school you can often get discounts on ski hire – for example Evolution 2 in Tignes offer great discounts on Skiset equipment, from €56.50 for 6 days. If you want to travel really light, rather than booking in hold luggage, you can even hire all your ski clothes from Crevasse Clothing. They’ll have the latest gear ready and waiting for you at your hotel – meaning you can travel with just hand luggage – for £69 for the week (includes jacket, gloves, goggles, socks, salopettes).
Ski pass online booking
Don’t forget to book your ski pass online before you travel. It can save you cash, and saves you time queueing when you arrive in resort. For example, if you book a Tignes pass online, it can be delivered to your home up to 2 weeks beforehand, or you can collect in resort.
Check our online Directory to book transfers, accommodation, ski hire, ski lessons and lots more!