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Train accessible resort that is quiet (ish)

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
HI All, I'm looking for a suggested resort to take my 6 year old (at time of trip) son for Feb half term please. Probably going to aim for self catering accommodation.

I have found something that suits in Les Arcs 1600 but I'm worried lift queues will be an issue and think a smaller resort might be a better alternative. I'm confident with the logistics of the journey and I'm not tied to the Eurostar ski trains.

What I need is:
- Any country/ski area considered (including UK!)
- Accessible by train in a single day from London
- Short lift queues at Feb Half term, I mean relatively short this is half term after all
- Well groomed blue runs
- Not shut all the time for wind/fog/lack of snow

Nice to have
- Piste side accommodation
- Very short road link to train station
- Pool in village
- Friendly ski schools (The boy wasn't keen on the ESF approach in Val)

Not bothered about
- Expert skiing (Black runs or off piste)
- Large number of runs
- Lively Apres Ski
- Somewhere that sounds cool or impressive
- Luxury accommodation

Any suggestions on any points gratefully welcomed, Thanks Henry
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I think you can’t go too far wrong aiming for Switzerland. Train from Paris Gare de Lyon to Lausanne takes 4 hours and from there you can connect to trains heading deep into Valais which will connect you to local trains or busses to the resorts. My first thought reading your post was to head to Champéry which is on the quieter side or the PDS and requires a local train from Aigle. This area is vast and crowds disperse quite quickly.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Le Lioran, you can ski right out the train onto the pistes. London -> Paris -> Le Lioran.
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Thanks both - any idea what the queues would be like in Saas Fee at half term? I have done the train journey there in the summer and the youth hostel there fits the bill for accommodation. I'll also check out Le Loran and Champery.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Was in Saas-fee about in Feb 2012 and found it quite busy as it quite a ‘narrow’ resort which funnels people back to key lifts. It’s very scenic and easy to access by train and local bus which we did from Zurich airport. Big resorts don’t necessarily mean big crowds as they spread out quickly once the usual ski school lift bottle necks (found everywhere) are cleared.
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@Henwc, I think Saas-Fee probs too well known -> busy. You could look at Sedrun? Linked to Andermatt. Very charming. https://disentis-sedrun.graubuenden.ch/en/skiarena-andermatt-sedrun Very friendly.
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Thanks - I feared that about Saas Fee (comes up on igluski = busy) it's a decent November resort if the snow is right but I agree the lower section is still to narrow and the area is a bit fragmented. If it wasn't for the train I'd go back to Cevinia (quiet as soon as the whole resort is over in Zermatt). I'll check out Andermatt too.
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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!
If you are happy with Switzerland then Grindelwald might be an option. Long time since I skied there (late 90s) but the scenery is beautiful and from what I remember a good few easy runs. The whole place is set up around the train. Not sure what would be the best connection from Paris, TGVs run to a number of Swiss cities from Paris and Interlaken has regular express trains from Basel / Zürich / Geneva. Swiss resorts have struggled in recent years because of the cost (assuming that is not big issue for you) so might not be as busy as French or Austrian resorts.


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Wed 11-09-19 10:34; edited 1 time in total
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Thanks - I will look at Grindelwald - in the summer the best option for return train in Switzerland was a 3 day rail pass because it seems the Swiss transfer ticket is no more. Cost wise a lot will depend on the age limits for free kids tickets and passes. I'm braced for having to pay more once he's 6. Saas Fee in the summer wasn't as expensive as i feared because we ate at the youth hostel and the pool was included. I might check out similar options across the various Swiss resorts.
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Westendorf (no idea what the train travel time from the UK is though).
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@Henwc, see my swiss rail thread. Cheapest way is the day ticket bought 60 days in advance.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
La Rosiere would meet your criteria, the nearest station is Bourg St Maurice which is where the direct ski trains from London terminate, alternatively use the normal Eurostar and change in Paris. The resort is quieter than most at half-term with a good choice of accomodation, it's also less expensive than the mega ski-stations nearby, Les Arcs, Tignes and Val d'Isere. Les Arcs is even more convenient, the furnicular is just a short walk from BSM's station but much busier at peal periods.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Thanks all - I have had La Rosiere recommended elsewhere and it was totally empty last year when I went in March. It has the bonus that BSM has plenty of travel options. Not sure if i'd trust my impatient 6yo to be sensible on the long drag lift over to La Thuile though...
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Les Marecottes is directly accessible from Martigny by a narrow gauge railway and it is a lovely ski area, a single fast chair that accesses a mix of blue and red runs and while I haven’t been there during half term I can’t imagine it being very busy as it was absolutely dead on the days that I have been there. Even though you say that a large number of runs is not important you may find it a bit small and want to move on after two or three days. If were to spend the first half of your holiday there, perhaps with a couple of private lessons (I doubt that there are English speaking group lessons) then your boy would likely build up his confidence nicely before taking the train slightly further down the valley to, for example, Saas Fee, to ski the busier slopes but more extensive slopes there. If you only want to stay for a couple of days then you may have to stay in Martigny and take the railway up each morning but this only takes 20 minutes. Final point, it does seem quite snow sure as it seems to get the brunt of any storm coming that way (it was really striking how much more snow there was on roofs there compared to roofs at the same altitude in the Val d’Anniviers on consecutive days) and the skiable area is between 1700m and 2200m, but the flip side of that it is that it probably does have more bad weather days than resorts a little further down the valley.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Villars/Gryon or Leysin or even Les Diablerets all by direct mountain train from Aigle.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Some ideas for ya:

https://www.seat61.com/ski-by-train.htm

Though he seems to have forgotten about the the TGV Paris, gare de Lyon directly to the Maurienne valley, Bardoneccia and Sauze d'Olux:

https://www.seat61.com/Paris-to-Milan-by-TGV-train.htm
http://pistehors.com/backcountry/wiki/Ski-Areas/Maurienne

And the overnight couchettes to Briancon and environs:

https://www.seat61.com/lunea.htm

Also:

https://www.snowcarbon.co.uk


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Wed 11-09-19 11:40; edited 1 time in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Similarly, Valmorel is a much quieter resort than Trois Vallees, and accessible via Moutiers and the direct Eurostar from London. (Though depending on when your half term is, the direct services may be fairly booked up / expensive by now).
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
+1 for Valmorel.

I would also suggest Montgenevre. You can change in Paris and get a TGV to Oulx in 4.5 hours which is a short bus ride from the resort.

Also consider Val Cenis accessed from Modane station.
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Thanks All

It seem like there are loads of great options if I change at Paris

Is it a good plan to book return Eurostar from London to Paris while still cheap and plan the rest later?
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Henwc, seasonal Thalys Snow (special trains) usually go on sale second week of September. Google when the sale start, check timing and you will see what is possible. I live in Belgium and same Thalys Snow is available for the Netherlands and Belgium. It is the best way to travel to FR resourts served by Moutiers, BSM and others (thus huge areas and smaller local resorts). Last year I bought rwturn tickets 98 eur per person. It is much faster and nicer traveling experience compared to driving.
Thalys Snow tickets at good price goes very fast!
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@mooney058, thanks for the info - would you advise a Eurostar London to Brussels and then a Thalys Snow train?
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Henwc wrote:
@mooney058, thanks for the info - would you advise a Eurostar London to Brussels and then a Thalys Snow train?


Really depends on timing. For bxl it would be the same train station. Bxl Thalys Snow schedule used to be 07.58 departure and circa 15.00 arrival at Moutiers/BSM.
I always prefer the most direct route. So if you would need to change train stations in Paris then tes, BXL would be easier in that regard. But I would not like this to be a preferred option for the UK travellers the next time I would be looking at train options Wink
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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!
Thanks - it sounds like departure from Bxl will be a bit early for my connection. I found the 2019/20 timetable here on the NSI website:
https://www.nsinternational.nl/en/trains/thalys-to-french-alps
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There are overnight trains from Dusselfdorf in Germany to Innsbruck, lots of ski areas close to Innsbruck.
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Ste Foy? A few minutes from Bourg. Very friendly, pretty and good ski schools.
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Arosa. Leave St Pancras at 8.19, then Paris to Strasbourg; Strasbourg to Basel; Basel to Chur; Chur to Arosa. Arrive 12 hours after departure!

Resort ticks an awful lot of your boxes! Railway station smack bang in the middle of the resort. Very Happy
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Zell am Ziller has a railway station in the middle of the village and a good range of pistes for intermediates. Come to think of it, Zell am Zee would work too.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
+ Arosa. Would love to go back but always hard to find reasonably priced accommodation.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Most places in Austria are probably stretching the "Accessible by train in a single day from London" requirement. Italy as well, except for those places on direct trains from Paris, like Oulx/Sestriere. France / Switzerland are more practical.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Allow 15 hors to get to Les Arcs by train. For me it is:

Train to Birmingham
Train to London
Change stations in London
Train to Paris
Change stations in Paris
Train to Chambery
Train to Bourg st Maurice
Funicular to Les Arcs

Definately doable, but not quick and not cheap.

It would be easier to fly to Paris and get the train from there.

Depending on which of the half term weeks you are planning I don't think Arc 1600 would be too bad apart from when zones A and B overalp
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Just to respond to ecureil's comment that Austria in a day is stretching it. We have done London to Salzburg in a day several times. Admittedly a long day, but a much more pleasant journey than suffering the airport scrums. Not expensive - if you book early enough, London to Salzburg can be done for €69 one way. Lot's of resorts easy to reach from Salzburg, some (like Zell am Zee) directly accessible by train.

Innsbruck also easily reachable.

The oracle on all things train is the man in seat 61. Here is the page that shows the Salzburg options: https://www.seat61.com/Austria.htm#Salzburg

Dolomites also possible (train from Munich).

I am converted and tend to use train where possible - just more pleasant and less stressful. An overnight on the Friday in Paris or Brussels is also a very pleasant extension to the holiday and opens all sorts of possibilities.
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