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Ski Train advice

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Morning all, does anyone have any experience of getting a train to the Alps from St Pancras International? Looking to go to Aime La Plagne. Just seen the EasyJet flights for easter 2022 triple so looking at alternatives.

Many thanks
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I went down to Bourg-St-Maurice by train in December (Aime is a couple of stops from the end of the line) - generally straightforward, although my train was delayed and I arrived very late. If I do it again I'll stay in Paris overnight and get the first train down in the morning. There's lots of useful info at https://www.snowcarbon.co.uk/. (I think booking should be open now for trains up to Easter.)
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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?
Not yet, but if you wait until Thursday evening I’ll let you know!
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Thanks Paul & Timmy, much appreciated and good luck with your trips.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
We had a last minute train journey in 2020 when the storms cancelled our flight out. We went to Paris on the Friday night stayed over and took the TVG in the morning to Bourg. It was quite expensive but we were desperate. I have seen suggestions to Eurostar to Lille then TGV to Lyon then change to get to Bourg. I priced this up and worked out cheaper and could do in one day if you don’t mind an extra train change.
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Done it 4 times. Twice on the direct train overnights and day versions and twice with a change in Paris. 100% recommend as my preferred travel. We had it booked for today! But due to French changes in rules we cancelled it. Eurostar cancelled our return train so got a full refund. Currently half way down France driving last minute booking.

But the train is super easy, 2 stops across Paris. And then another train. Sometimes a swap is needed, we’ve always managed a direct train.

It’s not always massively cheap, but the transfers much easier and cheaper which counts. Also you have flexibility to stay over In Paris in the springtime!! skiing holiday and you can (dependant on your holiday allowance) get extra days skiing. You can get a late afternoon train, so ski the extra day. Arrive in Paris at 10pm. Have a night in Paris and a day and return on an evening Eurostar. Very doable.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Best bit is train picnics and beer!! I usually start with a Buck’s Fizz on the way down Eurostar and a beer and sandwich for the SNCF bit. All travel options should be considered around food and drinks I feel

(Hence I don’t really like driving down lol!)
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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!
https://www.seat61.com/trains-and-routes/eurostar-ski-train.htm

All the info you’re ever likely to need.

I thought direct Eurostar had been cancelled, but resurrected by an operator, but you have to have a package with them. Not aware of the latest news.

Direct is best, but changing in Paris is easy enough, just a bit of a ball ache with big bags. Bear in mind you didn’t use to be able to return from one of the stations, may well have been Aime.
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FIRSTOFTHEGIANTS wrote:
https://www.seat61.com/trains-and-routes/eurostar-ski-train.htm

Bear in mind you didn’t use to be able to return from one of the stations, may well have been Aime.


It was Aime but that was because they didn’t have passport control for the direct trains all the way home. If you are doing it with a change in Paris it’s fine.

Also it’s a reason I have never bought skis. We’ve crossed Paris loads with one big bag (boot bag in another roller bag) each and a small rucksack. Really not a massive problem as it’s one RER and 2 stops. Just wouldn’t want a big bag and skis too.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Likewise, a coffin snowboard bag is fine. Biggest issue is getting through the lethal Metro gates!
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
ralphster, as FIRSTOFTHEGIANTS says: its quite easy . . . . once you've done it once.
First time is a bit of an adventure: foreign country, different underground system, 2 sections to Gare de Lyon, train's platform often announced only minutes before train leaves . . . . First class on France not much more expensive than 2nd and always worth buying.
Eurostar service to Paris has been scaled back, to less trains. Watch out for strikes on French trains.
Train tickets more expensive than air, but you save on airport car park and transfers. Plus none of that sitting around for hours in the airport just waiting . . . and you can see the country whizz past as you munch your bagette and play Wordle.

I've managed it with trolley bag, boot bag and skis. As mentioned: watch out for vicious metro barrier jaws.
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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.
I second @Jonpim, though changing in Paris can be a pain if you have a ski bag and other big bags, and if there's a metro strike. We travelled during the French general strike in December 2019 (I think). This was a special case (though the French do tend to strike more than the British). On the way out we used the metro, but it was very tortuous with minimal services running and we had to walk maybe 10x further than normal. On the way back we queued ~1 hour for a taxi, and maybe 20 taxis refused to take the ski bag, before one did (they all could, but just didn't want to).

If changing in Paris, I've often spent the night at a hotel by the station I'm departing from in the morning. You can normally get reasonable rates, and it saves worrying about making connections if you're delayed. Another reason I do this is that I've also got a 2 hour train trip between London and York, and it's a bit of a push to do the whole lot in one day
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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
@Jonpim, I'm glad you reminded me about the 2 sections to Gare de Lyon. I'd read it on seat61 but had forgotten! Better brush up on it before Thursday.

I've had to completely change my trains for this week. Eurostar cancelled the train I was planning, so we're getting the earlier one, which means staying in the Premiere in at St Pancras overnight, but it's cheap as chips. It's also a blessing in disguise. We managed to change our TGV train to an earlier one too (admin fee of €10) and that has given us a 1:25hr Paris transfer, whereas before we only had 0:48hr transfer and I was beginning to panic. It also means we get to resort before the shops shut, so we'll be more sorted for the next day.

Looking forward to it!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Timmycb5, I'm sure I told you about the two parts of Gare de Lyon and that 48 min transfer was tight! Anyway I'm glad you have the longer transfer time now!

@ralphster, yes we have been by train to several resorts including La Plagne. It is a really enjoyable way to travel to a ski holiday although it is frustrating that the normal direct ski train isn't running at present (unless you get the Travelski package). If you are changing in Paris and taking a TGV to the Alps you will probably be able to use Aime station both ways as you will be on a domestic service. With the direct Eurostar you have to travel to Bourg for the way back as Aime doesn't have passport control (that is my memory anyway!). St Pancras International is far nicer than domestic UK stations - has some upmarket shops and a few cafes in the outer part and is light and airy.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@snowymum, Yeah you definitely did. I think I read about GdL on seat61 too.

It was because you said 48 mins was tight that I was starting to worry!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
We’ve arrived after driving down in La Tania and the husband who was always ‘let’s drive’ when I was ‘take the train’. Actually agreed that the train is the best thing. He missed chilling, playing cards, napping and drinking beer!!

Despite the change in Paris (and yes I know Paris well - but the man in seat 61 is like a god!) the train is pretty simple. Just allow a decent change in Paris so you aren’t panicking or rushing. And make sure you know in advance your train platforms it make a huge amount of difference
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
You can get to many places in the Alps in a day from St Pancras - not always easy to arrange though. And sleepers from Paris are fun, and not always expensive. I've done Zermatt a few times, managed to get there in a day ... but there was no simple way to find connecting trains AND book the cheapest option ... but it is the best way to get to the Alps in my experience ... cost was always more than flights (inc ski carriage) and same rules about book early to get cheaper .... If interested I can share the 'tricks' I found to solve the challenges in booking ... but this year all is difficult, early booking risky, and the nightmare of changing rules may be with us for a while longer.
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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?
You can get to many places in the Alps in a day from St Pancras - not always easy to arrange though. Bourges (les Arcs, Tignes / Val D), Aime (la Plagnes) Moutier (Three Vallees) are all simple from St Pancras, either on the ski train direct (day or night) or better, change in Paris and overnight .... if they still do that . And sleepers from Paris are fun, and not always expensive. I've done Zermatt a few times, managed to get there in a day ... but there was no simple way to find connecting trains AND book the cheapest option ... but it is the best way to get to the Alps in my experience ... cost was sadly always more than flights (inc ski carriage), but worth it and same rules about book early to get cheaper .... If interested I can share the 'tricks' I found to solve the challenges in booking ... but this year all is difficult, early booking risky, and the nightmare of changing rules may be with us for a while longer.
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We are booked to travel from London to Bourg on Friday 28th, heading out on the Eurostar at 7.55. Their site says check in 120 minutes before, but that makes it difficult getting to St Pancras early in the morning. We don't really want to stay overnight ion London on the Thursday if we can help it. Can anyone advise if getting into the South Eastern Platforms at 6.54 am leaves enough time to still make sure we get the Eurostar for 7.55, please?
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
jdsjds wrote:
We are booked to travel from London to Bourg on Friday 28th, heading out on the Eurostar at 7.55. Their site says check in 120 minutes before, but that makes it difficult getting to St Pancras early in the morning. We don't really want to stay overnight ion London on the Thursday if we can help it. Can anyone advise if getting into the South Eastern Platforms at 6.54 am leaves enough time to still make sure we get the Eurostar for 7.55, please?

I would say yes, but only just, and you'll be taking a risk. There is a problem of course that their isn't another train going a little later, but you can go to Paris and change - which may not cost a lot more than the overnight in London if you get some credit for the train you missed - so I guess that is the fall back position. Eurostar may not be very sympathetic given they said get there 2 hours early. Arriving at the entry gates an hour before works, and normally gives enough time for security etc .. However there are of course risks it could take longer with additional checks. So I guess it depends on your view on risk - better to have at least 1/2 an hour more
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jdsjds wrote:
We are booked to travel from London to Bourg on Friday 28th, heading out on the Eurostar at 7.55. Their site says check in 120 minutes before, but that makes it difficult getting to St Pancras early in the morning. We don't really want to stay overnight ion London on the Thursday if we can help it. Can anyone advise if getting into the South Eastern Platforms at 6.54 am leaves enough time to still make sure we get the Eurostar for 7.55, please?


We found a cheap premier inn hub at about £60 for the Friday night (although we cancelled as our holiday was cancelled) meant we knew we had no rushing around.

Worth doing for piece of mind. IMHO
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Eurostar state 120 minutes for a reason. If you ignore it and miss the check-in, then it will mean the need for new tickets.
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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!
Sale of food and drink on long distance trains in France is currently not allowed due to Covid. This dulls the experience a little.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
kditrj2d wrote:
Sale of food and drink on long distance trains in France is currently not allowed due to Covid. This dulls the experience a little.


Are you allowed to Take your own sandwich etc
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
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Don’t know. Check with the operator.
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