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Family skiing - similar to Esprit but by Eurostar?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
We've had several happy holidays with Esprit, taking advantage of their childcare setup. Next year would like to do something similar, but with the option of travelling by Eurostar rather than flying. So need somewhere that either offers trains as part of the package or lets you book your own travel. Any ideas?
In terms of kids, we are past the creche stage so ideally looking for lessons/guided skiing in a group with other kids staying in the same place (so they can make friends) and then some form of evening entertainment (Esprit's cocoa club is much loved).
Any tips on Eurostar trip with kids would also be much appreciated.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@lyzhnik, The Family Ski Company would fit the bill, other than evening entertainment (all their accommodation is chalets, rather than chalet hotels, so evening entertainment less necessary). I think Ski Famille probably would too. Both operate in France.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@lyzhnik, I believe Erna Low offer eurostar price options.

Tips:

- Try to get a 4 seat/table, - if you are early enough in the booking you can choose your seats on-line. (I say early because other people do the same, so you need to do it while choices are still available)

- If you are 4+, then get a single a few seats away, and adults can take it in turns to get some "me-time".

- Don't be put off by a change in Paris option if the straight thru is booked up: it really isn't that difficult, even with ankle-biters.*

- Electronics can be charged on the train, so bring it all. Colouring pencils rather than felt tips. Card games work, but always expect one child who doesn't want to play, wants to be on cmputer. Until they notice other people having fun, then will decide they need to sit on a lap. Patience, patience, patience...

- Food, drinks, snacks - best to try to keep to a meal-schedule rather than grazing all day.

- Accompany them up and down the train - to the loo, the restaurant car, to other mates who may be on the same trip. Other travellers don't expect them to sit still the whole way, but neither is the aisle a race-track.

- Make sure you do a thorough sweep of the area 10-15 mins before arrival to ensure 'best teddy' isn't down the back of a seat. Similarly socks and shoes are likely to be discarded throughout the journey: find them before you need to get off!

- You and they WILL need gloves when you get off the other end - which you won't necessarily have thought about leaving tropical London. Pack a rucksack containing extra layers for all.

- Similarly on that note, best to have a 'required on voyage' bag for each person, with suitcases that are to be left undisturbed - there's a lot of luggage on the trains, and having to dig yours out to get Ted or an iPad is not easy, or fun.

*We found that sometimes the best train option with small children was a Friday late afternoon/early evening to Paris; a meal out; an overnight at the nearest hotel to Gare de Lyon; and 8:30 or earlier SNCF south. You'll be in resort by early afternoon, giving you plenty of time to get kit sorted prior to the Sunday ski-school

HTH,

AR
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Quote:


*We found that sometimes the best train option with small children was a Friday late afternoon/early evening to Paris; a meal out; an overnight at the nearest hotel to Gare de Lyon; and 8:30 or earlier SNCF south. You'll be in resort by early afternoon, giving you plenty of time to get kit sorted prior to the Sunday ski-school


This. I've only done the trip from Paris onwards, but getting a morning TGV which arrives in the Alps at lunchtime is IMO the most relaxing way to go skiing, even with kids.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
For the direct (day/overnight) Eurostar service you are restricted to Saturday changeovers, which probably rules out Esprit and Family Ski. With children the day service is probably better. (For the overnight service you may get little sleep; arrive very early, e.g. Moutiers before 06:00; and have restrictions on when you can access accommodation as the previous guests may not have left. On departure Saturday, you will probably have to vacate your rooms by 09:00, go skiing, but not get the train until late Saturday night. Adults can decide this is worth it for the extra 2 days skiing, but younger children may not see things quite the same way!)

"Via Paris" options are essential for TOs with a Sunday changeover. Because you "lose" an hour on the outward journey, you need either a Saturday night stopover in Paris, or an early start from London on Sunday morning.
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@lyzhnik, I don't know of any Esprit type set ups that come with train travel. We went with Snow Bizz to Puy St Vincent and booked our own train travel (Eurostar plus sleeper) but the sleeper was complicated to book and am not sure if it still runs. Snow Bizz are very good if you can find a way of getting there by train - try Snowcarbon website which has lots of useful train info. Also the man in Seat61 website has further train info.

We once tried to book Esprit but they would not sell us the holiday without the flights (and wouldn't give a discount for not using their flights) so I had a look at other operators in the resort in question, La Rosiere and came across Ski Collection and booked train and accommodation through them. They offer high end self catering, mainly with pools and have a lot of options in the Les Eucharts area of La Rosiere where there is a bowling alley and ice rink. There is a good ESF ski school there with a lunch club option. We have also been with them to Arc 1950 and Arc 2000 by train. Their parent company Peak Retreats also offers family friendly resorts such as Sainte Foy and Valmorel which can also be accessed by train.

If you are going in a peak school holiday week it is easiest to get the train tickets as a package through a tour operator such as they will be able to procure the tickets if you contact them before the day they come out..usually early July. It is hard to get tickets as an individual in peak weeks as they sell out fast and the sooner one can get hold of the tickets the cheaper the price.

Indirect journeys (Eurostar Plus TGV) via Paris usually work out cheaper but I would recommend booking the direct train the first time as it is such a wonderful experience getting on at St Pancras knowing the train will take you all the way to the alps and there is usually a great atmosphere on board...the premium seats are even better as you get food and wine provided ...depends how much you want to spend.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
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try this company, we happily used them for many years when our kids were younger.

http://familyfriendlyskiing.com/
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Why not try Snowbizz?

Self catering but all the kids go to the evening club (I think it's 6-8pm or something similar) so that adults can go out to a restaurant in peace

Lessons are 9-1pm I think. All the families stay in the same apartment block, and you can select the self drive option. check out their website. We are going at Christmas for the first time.
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Have a look at Inghams - they are a sister company to Esprit and I suspect, in resort they would share child care facilities with Esprit

https://www.inghams.co.uk/ski-holidays/special-offers/ski-train-offers
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Snowbizz are at Puy St Vincent, close to Briancon, which is one of the few places for which overnight couchette travel from Paris is still an option. Probably a better option than the overnight Eurostar with young children; you should be able to book a 6-berth compartment for sole usage. A downside is that it is never very clear when tickets go on sale.
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ive travelled with Espit ski many times. For Easter(we did the 2 Easter school holiday weeks) this year we booked our own accommadation, drove down and booked the 2 kids (5 and 3) in to all day childcare with ESF in Tignes. We were with Esprit over xmas in VDI. Id say the childcare was better with ESF and both my girls loved both
ski trips.
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