Skiers at La Plagne
Skiers at La Plagne

How Eurostar's new route is making ski resorts more accessible by rail

In many cases, travelling via Lyon is cheaper than the Ski Train and cheaper than flying too

Daniel Elkan
Tuesday 20 October 2015 12:47
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The new Eurostar route to Lyon makes rail travel to French ski resorts easier than ever – and opens up access to more mountains. The weekly service departs London St Pancras every Saturday at 7.20am, arriving at Lyon-Part-Dieu at 1pm on the dot. There, you need only change platform to catch an onward local train to your resort (previously, some destinations required a change of station in Paris). The Eurostar-via-Lyon route is also a viable alternative to the direct Eurostar Ski Train that serves the Tarentaise region – especially on peak dates. In many cases, travelling via Lyon is cheaper than the Ski Train – and cheaper than flying too.

Adult fares start at £89 return for London-Lyon, and £20-£50 for the onward return journey, with a third off for children from four to 11 (loco2.com, uk.voyages-sncf.com or eurostar.com).

Alpe d'Huez

Huge Alpe d'Huez Grand Domaine de Ski is rated as one of the Alps' most scenic ranges. The route from Grenoble station gives you a choice of five villages to stay in: Vaujany, Villard-Reculas, Oz-en-Oisans, Auris and Alpe d'Huez itself.

Lyon to Grenoble by local train takes 1hr35mins.Transfer by bus or taxi is 55 minutes. Return rail fares from London start at £123.

Le Grand Bornand

Dripping with Savoyard charm, this village is adored by French families. The 222km of slopes are linked with La Clusaz and well suited to beginners: try gentle green runs, then blues and reds.

Lyon to Annecy by local train takes 1hr59m. Transfer by bus or taxi is 35 minutes. Return rail fares from London start at £131.

La Plagne

Ten separate villages make up the resort of La Plagne. It's massive: linked with Les Arcs and Peisey-Vallandry, 425km of terrain forms the Paradiski area. Charming villages include Montchavin, Les Coches, Champagny and Montalbert, which gets a new gondola this season.

Lyon to Aime la Plagne by local train takes 2hr50mins. Transfer by bus or taxi is 25 minutes.Return rail fares from London start at £139.

Les Gets

This resort is part of the 650km Portes du Soleil ski area, and blessed with local slopes at Mont Chéry that remain remarkably quiet, retaining untracked powder far longer than other slopes.

Lyon to Cluses by local train takes 2hr55mins. Transfer by bus or taxi is 35 minutes. Return rail fares from London start at £139.

St Gervais-les-Bains

The ski area, shared with neighbouring Megève, has 445km of attractive terrain but the slopes remain uncrowded. This is good news for powder lovers, offering accessible off-piste after a snowfall.

Lyon to St Gervais le Fayet by local train takes 3hr13mins.Transfer by bus or taxi is 10 minutes. Return rail fares from London start at £139.

Val Thorens

Perched at 2,300m, Val Thorens is the highest ski area in Europe and has 600km of skiing. For advanced skiers, the options are unparalleled but beginners are also well-catered for.

Lyon to Moutiers by local train takes 2hr30mins.Transfer by bus or taxi is 1 hour. Return rail fares from London start at £139.

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