Ski Club 2.0 Home
Snow Reports
FAQFAQ

Mail for help.Help!!

Log in to snowHeads to make it MUCH better! Registration's totally free, of course, and makes snowHeads easier to use and to understand, gives better searching, filtering etc. as well as access to 'members only' forums, discounts and deals that U don't even know exist as a 'guest' user. (btw. 50,000+ snowHeads already know all this, making snowHeads the biggest, most active community of snow-heads in the UK, so you'll be in good company)..... When you register, you get our free weekly(-ish) snow report by email. It's rather good and not made up by tourist offices (or people that love the tourist office and want to marry it either)... We don't share your email address with anyone and we never send out any of those cheesy 'message from our partners' emails either. Anyway, snowHeads really is MUCH better when you're logged in - not least because you get to post your own messages complaining about things that annoy you like perhaps this banner which, incidentally, disappears when you log in :-)
Username:-
 Password:
Remember me:
👁 durr, I forgot...
Or: Register
(to be a proper snow-head, all official-like!)

EoSB from Oxon by train (and some buses)

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
There's been a bit of chat on here recently about the costs and benefits of traveling to the alps by train, so I thought I'd chart my journey here.

I'm aiming to reduce my carbon footprint by traveling this way rather than flying, but also think it will be more relaxing.

I'm traveling from Abingdon in South Oxfordshire. The general plan for the outbound journey is:

- bus from ~200m from my house to Didcot Parkway Station
- train to London Paddington
- tube from Paddington to St Pancras
- 1801 Eurostar to Paris, arriving Gare du Nord at 2117
- RER from Paris Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon
- overnight in Paris
- 0735 TGV direct to Moutiers arriving 1215
- 1230 Altibus up the mountain to Val Thorens

Return journey:
- taxi or lift down to Moutiers as annoyingly the Altibus times down line up well with the trains
- 1117 train to Paris, changing to TGV at Lyon, arriving Paris Gare de Lyon at 1701 (There is a direct 2 hrs earlier, but that means a very early start.)
- RER from Gare de Lyon to Gare du Nord
- 1903 Eurostar arriving St Pancras 2030
- tube from St Pancras to Paddington
- train to Didcot Parkway
- bus home

Costs are:
- £3.50 for bus from Abingdon to Didcot (by far the worst value of the journey)
- return off peak return from Didcot to St Pancras £39.60
- Eurostar return ticket £104 (could have been slightly cheaper if I'd booked earlier)
- hotel by Gare de Lyon 95euros (There were cheaper available)
- Paris to Moutiers return £114*, inc 1st class on outbound leg. (Could definitely have got this cheaper if I'd booked earlier)
- Altibus to Val Thoren 12euros

* I bought an SCNF Advantage Card for 49euros valid for 1 year, which gives ~1/3 reduction in French train fares for the traveler plus someone accompanying them. It also gives discounts on various other things like food on the TGV
snow conditions
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Just approaching Paddington. Next step to tackle the tube.

I should have said in my first post that I'm taking my skis with me.
ski holidays
 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?
I do love a train trip!
latest report
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Made St Pancras in very good time.

Now sitting in the Eurostar departure lounge. No queues for security or passport control. It felt a bit odd putting everything through the security scanner. If you have skis, you need the staff to bring you a foam support to rest them on in a tray.
latest report
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@sugarmoma666,
Have a great trip, we'll think of you whizzing across the French countryside as we push and shove the the security at Luton Airport.
See you in Oxalys!

I'm coming home by train ..
Lardy Bus to Geneva station, then meeting my misses of the plane next Saturday afternoon.
Then Train to Zurich to see my Granddaughter and the family.

There was a direct train Zurich to Paris till last week, so we've got to change in Basel and Mulhouse, when we come home.
Then the Eurostar ...
Then direct train from St Pancras to home.... We'll be cream crackered when we get home.

But its a great way to travel.
A tip if you dont know it already ..
Buy a book of 10 Paris Metro tickets either in the waiting room at St Pancras or even at the Eurostar buffet car.
You'll have them ready in your pocket when you head for the RER rather nervously fumbling at the ticket machines wondering if the person behind you is picking your pockets.
These tickets don't have an expiry date and I've used them after 20+ years after buying them.
snow conditions
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
@sugarmoma666, good effort Happy.
Fingers crossed for a smooth journey with no unexpected delays.
ski holidays
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
mgrolf wrote:
@sugarmoma666, good effort Happy.
Fingers crossed for a smooth journey with no unexpected delays.

It was partly your PSB journey thread that inspired me to start this one. I think people (including me until recently) think using trains in Europe is far more expensive and difficult than it actually is, so thought it was helpful to share some really experience.

Over the last few weeks, with all the stories of airport queues and airlines cancelling flights (sometimes at very short notice) I've felt increasingly comfortable with my planned travel choice. It's probably taking a bit longer than it needs to, but I've focused on getting to Val Thorens as early as I can tomorrow rather than minimising journey time.
snow report
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@sugarmoma666, that's pretty much the approach i took - not prioritising the shortest elapsed time or cost, but things that mattered to me more. A bit of a change in emphasis, but it makes one realise that it isn't so hard to change what we do.
ski holidays
 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.
Unfortunately, there's a 90min delay on the Eurostar. We've been diverted to another line due to someone having been hit on the line ahead, so more unfortunate for them.

To be honest, I'd hardly bat an eyelid at a 90min delay to a flight, and the Eurostar is really quite comfortable with plenty of legroom.
latest report
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
The 1801 Eurostar finally made it to Paris at about 2325 (scheduled arrival 2123). Amusingly, the 1931 from London was sitting on the next platform when we pulled in, so I guess it either wasn't diverted or got a better route Laughing

The short trip across Paris on the RER to Gare de Lyon didn't go entirely as planned either. There was some issue on the D line, so I was told to go on line 5 to Bastille and then line 1 on to Gare de Lyon. A little bit of investigation on Google maps showed that my hotel was just as close to Bastille as Gare de Lyon so I just stopped there. I struggled to find any lifts up and down to the platforms on line 5, so had to lug holdall and skis up and down stairs (although got help from nice ladies on 2 sets of stairs).

I'm now finally in my hotel room. I chose this hotel as it has a lift, but practically the first thing the receptionist told me is that the lift is broken. No real issue in the end, as he was more than happy to carry my holdall up to my room and my skis have stayed in reception.

All in all, a longer journey than expected, but still quite relaxed. Now to get a few hours sleep before the next stage.
snow report
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
All settled on the 0735 Paris to Bourg Maurice TGV, which has set off exactly on time. (Apparently the front of the train goes to Modane). Plenty of luggage space and my skis are in the rack above the seats.
snow report
 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.
@sugarmoma666, all sounds great!

We’re also travelling by train to the EOSB, but from Inverness. Using an interrail ticket so won’t post costs as mildly complicated and not that comparable- but key point is that it’s definitely less than we’d have spent driving out.

You were lucky with Eurostar security. For the 1231 on Thursday, there were big queues - well managed to be fair, but tedious.
snow report
 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
@sugarmoma666, impressive effort so far. At least the Eurostar didn't throw things out. Hope all the rest of the dots line up.
snow report
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
The TGV from Paris to Moutiers ran like clockwork. Very slow clockwork for a high speed train, but it arrived dead on time in Moutiers.

I'm now on the Altibus up the mountain
snow conditions
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@DrLawn, it's a great way to travel.

As a slight update on information here (and elsewhere), you can now buy individual metro tickets at the Eurostar cafe, so I could just purchase 2 to cover my return journey to Gare de Lyon.
ski holidays
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I wonder if I'm going to regret arriving in a ski resort in sandals? snowHead
latest report
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
sugarmoma666 wrote:
I wonder if I'm going to regret arriving in a ski resort in sandals? snowHead


Only if you're not also wearing a t shirt and shorts. it's hot up the top at the moment!
snow report
 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?
anarchicsaltire wrote:
sugarmoma666 wrote:
I wonder if I'm going to regret arriving in a ski resort in sandals? snowHead


Only if you're not also wearing a t shirt and shorts. it's hot up the top at the moment!

I got cold on the train so changed out of my skirt. I'm still in a t-shirt though Cool
snow conditions
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Great thread - love a long train journey snowHead
ski holidays
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I found carrying skis on the RER actively unpleasant as one is trying to look after them and a bag and back pack in a location very well known for dipping. Ditto in London underground as well but perhaps dipping is slightly less of a risk.

As for metro/RER tickets - I am delighted one can buy them elsewhere - on my one experience of travelling via Paris (many moons ago) nearly all the ticket machines were broken at the Gare du Nord, needless to say no staff around or ticket booths open, and I had to trek round trying to find a working ticket machine.

I think going via Brussels (for Switzerland) was preferable (even more moons ago) as at least you are only wandering around one station.
snow report
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
@sugarmoma666,
Quote:


Unfortunately, there's a 90min delay on the Eurostar. We've been diverted to another line due to someone having been hit on the line ahead, so more unfortunate for them.


we were affected by this delay also, but on the TGV from marne le valle (disney) to brussels midi, just short of 3 hour delay, but was informed onboard that we can claim compensation for this. just filled in the sncf form online and we will get 50% refund direct into my bank.

we also had over an hours delay on the Eurostar from brussels to London last night, and we can claim 25% back for that as well, bit of a bonus really as it did not really cost us anything apart from arriving in Bruges at 2am sat morning instead of 10pm Friday evening as planned.

with regards to travelling to the alps by train, i would definitely do it more if i was a solo traveller.

just before last Christmas i was due to fly out to les menuires, then bens bus to resort, but then the French government put in place restrictions for brit travellers due to covid. i had to quickly change my flight to Paris on the Friday eve instead of Geneva on the Saturday, i then got the TGV from CDG on the Saturday morning then altibus up to resort.
i must admit it was a bit of a faff with my ski bag, and i certainly wouldn't want to be doing it with my kids, but it was doable.

if i was to do the train again, i would look to see if i could get the Eurostar to Lille, overnight by the station if morning timings do not work out, bypassing Paris and the metro, and get the train in the morning to resort, it would probably mean changing at Marne le valle. The direct train i got at Christmas from CDG stopped at Marne le valle, then Lyon/Grenoble and Albertville before Moutiers but it does not appear to be on the timetable now, so i assume it only runs at winter.

main downside to all of this, is that you cannot book too far in advance for the trains in France, so cannot guarantee the timetable works for you
snow report
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@countryman, i was victim of an attempted "bag dipping" in paris last week on the metro, but either they were too amateurish, or i was street wise enough to see what was going on that i managed to avoid it.

i will describe the scenario in case it may help others in a similar situation, i have assumed there were 4no characters involved 3male and 1 female, but no's 1 and 3 may have been innocent.

i called this procedure the "T-PAC", as anyone who has seen any of the C5 traffic police procedure programmes will have heard of

i was just about to get on an escalator with my daughter at Notre Dame metro when (character) no1 pushed in between me and my daughter who was in front of me, about half way up the escalator no2 who was walking up and seemingly taking a phone conversation stopped right by me, no3 (female) then tapped him on his back and asked him to move. he then proceeded to push in front of me and no1 but on my step, pushing me back towards number 4, straight away i was suspicious as he could have easily moved up a few steps and moved over, as i had my phone in my back pocket and backpack over my shoulder, i twisted myself around so bag and derriere was against the escalator so not easy to get to.
by this time it was quite close to the top, and as we got off i could see that the no4 had what looked like a document satchel on his waist and was closing it, i assumed this is where he was going to stash his ill gotten gains.

as i was with my daughter, and in a foreign country, i did not want to make a big scene, so i just looked at characters no 2 and 4 and gave them a rue smile as they walked off together.
as said no's 1 and 3 could have been innocent but the scenario would not have worked without them being there, and they could have all met up further on for all i know.

i did not let my daughter know what had happened until we had exited the station as to not have worried her too much.

from then on i made sure my girls, and myself, made sure our bags were in front of us and carried at knee height on the metro, and nothing in back pockets.

obviously, this could all happen anywhere, including London, but i probably stood out like more of a tourist as even a slight hesitation on which platform/escalator/exit to take can be a giveaway
ski holidays
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@terrygasson, nothing in back pockets EVER surely...
snow report
 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.
@holidayloverxx, i have just got used to carrying my phone in my back pocket, too uncomfortable in the front pocket of my jeans, though at least it is generally well hidden, like anything i will initially be more careful but no doubt slide back into bad habits!!!

i know this sounds like generalising, but i cannot understand how girls walk around with their mobiles nearly falling out of the rear pockets of their jeans
latest report
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@terrygasson, How busy was Bruges (post covid) ? - I might be visiting in May
ski holidays
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
terrygasson wrote:
@holidayloverxx, i have just got used to carrying my phone in my back pocket, too uncomfortable in the front pocket of my jeans, though at least it is generally well hidden, like anything i will initially be more careful but no doubt slide back into bad habits!!!

i know this sounds like generalising, but i cannot understand how girls walk around with their mobiles nearly falling out of the rear pockets of their jeans


Off thread - but accidents do happen in the loo and the pots of rice end up having to be used to dry them out Laughing Shocked
snow conditions
 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.
Quote:

I found carrying skis on the RER actively unpleasant as one is trying to look after them and a bag and back pack in a location very well known for dipping. Ditto in London underground as well but perhaps dipping is slightly less of a risk.


I did London underground, with changes, and a snowboard bag with no wheels, in rush hour. Not a particularly fun experience. Multiple changes make train travel pretty miserable with large luggage, and there is the stress of potentially missing a connection. Snow express bus seems like a more relaxing (and possibly a lot cheaper) option.

Off to northern Spain next month and looked into other options, but flights were by far cheapest option (£50 return flying Vs £300+ for train). Until train travel prices come down to something comparable to flights it's hard to justify paying a lot more for a much slower choice and the hassle of multiple changes.
snow report
 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
@albob, it was fairly busy but it was Easter weekend, but not oppressively so.

if you have not been before, I can thoroughly recommend it, have been a few times and love it.

am still recovering from the headbanging beer!!!!
ski holidays
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@terrygasson, I have been before, just not for a while...

Beer - Brugse Zot brewery is worth a visit Wink
ski holidays
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
albob wrote:
@terrygasson, I have been before, just not for a while...

Beer - Brugse Zot brewery is worth a visit Wink


And of course that must visit Bruges Beerpub 't Brugs Beertje in Kemelstraat. Madeye-Smiley
latest report
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@albob, yes, we went there this sunday lunchtime (its proper name is "halve maan") for a brewery tour and beer sample, have been before but worth visiting again.

@Alastair Pink, i don't know that one, will have to give it a go next time.

my favourite is a place called "de garre", it is hidden in a little alleyway just off the main square. its house beer is 11% abv Shocked , but it also has a menu of around 100 other beers that you can try.

also, my girls found the cheapest chocolate shop in bruges, it is on Katelijnestraat close to the brewery.
"daya chocolates" big signs saying it is the cheapest chocolate shop in bruges, approx 3euros per 100g compared to most that are roughly 5euros per 100g , with good deals on multiple purchases.
snow conditions
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Return journey is almost complete and has gone very smoothly, following the plan in the first post of the thread. The only exception is that I'm getting picked up from Didcot as the buses really don't line up.

@el Hen and I shared a taxi down to Moutiers with @Fishcop this morning (who is staying in the area). It took less than an hour door to door.

The first stage was on an "ordinary" train, which didn't have much luggage space. However, it wasn't busy so no issue dumping my holdall on a spare seat. Skis went on the luggage rack. It was a lovely scenic journey to Lyon.

The journey from Lyon to Paris was by TGV. El Hen and I had seats upstairs in the same carriage. It was surprisingly easy getting my holdall and skis up the stairs. The TGV has loads of luggage space. (I'll post a photo below). Again, my skis went in the luggage rack.

We arrived at Gare de Lyon and followed signs for the RER Line D. It's only 2 stops, so just stood on the train. No issues finding lifts/escalators at either end, so holdall and ski bag really weren't an issue. As above, I'd purchased my ticket for the RER on the outbound Eurostar, so no need to figure out how to buy a ticket in the station.

At Gare du Nord we went straight to the Eurostar departure area. No queues to talk of, so were in the departure lounge by 1810.

When we came to board, there was initially a shortage of luggage space. This was easily resolved when a Eurostar staff member explained that the 4 seats nearest the luggage racks had been reserved for luggage plus moving smaller cases/bags onto the overhead racks. The overhead racks are plenty big enough for airplane carry-on size cases etc. My skis went vertically in the seats reserved for luggage. Interestingly, when I went for a walk along the train, I noticed there was plenty of spare luggage space in the other carriages, so I'm not sure how ours ended up so chokka.

The journey from St Pancras to Paddington was painless. Again, no issue finding lifts, so carrying my gear was no problem.

I'm now on the train back to Didcot. There's loads of luggage space. Skis are in the overhead rack again.

Overall, I've found traveling by train very relaxing. I really didn't miss the check-in and security queues I associate with airports or standing at the baggage carousel going my luggage will appear. Coupled with it being much more sustainable than flying I'd definitely do the journey by train again. Another plus was being able to pack my holdall without having to worry about how baggage handlers might throw it around and being able to get to it during the journey.
snow report
 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?
TGV luggage racks (upstairs):

snow conditions
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
terrygasson wrote:
... i have just got used to carrying my phone in my back pocket, too uncomfortable in the front pocket of my jeans, though at least it is generally well hidden, like anything i will initially be more careful but no doubt slide back into bad habits! ... i know this sounds like generalising, but i cannot understand how girls walk around with their mobiles nearly falling out of the rear pockets of their jeans
I used to have that problem - the phone falling out, but also they're easy to break there, and as above obviously theft targets.
Just as Covid was closing the world down I bought a foldable phone, so that problem's history for me.
It's one of the best things I ever bought, for precisely that reason. I used to break them all the time.... not any more.
snow report
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I can concur with sugar momma. I love travelling by train to the mountains. It's so relaxing and easy. And by the time transfer to airports and general queuing is factored in, takes a similar amount of time and costs about the same.
latest report
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Thanks @sugarmoma666, I am hoping to persuade my wife to travel by train in the future. You show it is possible.

From Yorkshire it would probably need overnighting in both directions - how did it work in Paris?
latest report
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@j b, on the outbound I spent the night in Paris. I chose a hotel within walking distance so that I could get there in the evening, then easily walk to the station in the morning. @Stuart_M and @SallyM were on the same trains as us to Paris on the way back, but were staying there overnight.
snow conditions
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I didn't get many photos of the scenery on route, but here are a couple. The first is Lac du Bourget near Chambery, where the train t runs alongside the lake. The second is Moutiers station.



Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Sun 24-04-22 12:53; edited 1 time in total
ski holidays
 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.
@j b, depending on your attitude to early mornings/ late evenings, it’s possible to do some pretty long distances in a day - we’ve done Perpignan, Berlin, Zurich, and Moutiers from/to Edinburgh as single travel days in the past. But also pleasant to break journey and enjoy good food and city visit en route
latest report
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Currently we’re also on the train heading home from EOSB. For us it’s a 24hr trip from Moutiers (left 0917 this morning, after a pleasant night and excellent meal) to Inverness (due in 0842 tomorrow). 4 trains, with changes in Lyon, Paris, and London.

Echoing sugarmoma666, we’ve had no issues with luggage (including 2 pairs of skis/ boots, avalanche and touring kit).
snow report



Terms and conditions  Privacy Policy