Low carbon skiing? Let the ski train take the strain.
In the last blog we looked at airport parking with ski gear on our journey to the slopes for this winterâ€™s ski season and great deals on airport parking as part of a World First Travel Insurance package.Â For this one weâ€™re going to look at a completely different way of getting there â€“ the ski train from St Pancras ( you might not need the parking but youâ€™ll still need great value winter sports cover). Going by train can be really relaxing and it could well prove to be the answer for people who want all the fun of the snow without the hassle or higher environmental impact of flying.
Seems reasonable enough to us. After all, skiing, snowboarding and enjoying the slopes are all about enjoying the fresh air and appreciating the mountains in all their natural glory. So why wouldnâ€™t you want to go lightly to the Alps? Why bother if all youâ€™re doing is contributing to the lack of snow in future years? If you feel this way then taking the ski train offers a lower carbon solution rather than not going at all.
From 14th December 2010 until 16th April 2011 Eurostar will be running run three trains a week from St Pancras International to MoĂ»tiers, Aime-la-Plagne or Bourg-St-Maurice in the French Alps. You will also be able to pick up the train from Ashford International. The journey from St Pancras will take around 9 hours â€“ much longer than flying â€“ but will drop you right in the heart of prime ski country and less than an hour from many excellent ski resorts. These include: Val Thorens (30 minutes transfer time), Courchevel (35 minutes), La Plagne (30 minutes), Meribel (15 minutes), Tignes (25 minutes) and Les Arcs (15 minutes).
Â When you consider how little you could pay to grab a flight from Stansted to Geneva with Easyjet (On 14th January 2011: Stansted Geneva with one bag and a pair of skis, returning one week later: ÂŁ79.80) it might seem a little costly at a minimum of ÂŁ149 per adult ticket in standard class, but according to Eurostar, the environmental benefits far outweigh the cost.
They claim that the journey from St Pancras International to Bourg-St-Maurice produces just 14kg CO2 per passenger whereas the journey from London Stansted to Geneva produces 147.8kg CO2 per passenger. For the carbon conscious, it could well be irresistible. But Eurostar donâ€™t stop there. Whether or not you agree with offsetting in principle their carbon offsetting programme is covered in the price of your fare. The projects they invest in include wind farms and biomass generators in the third world. Of course you can offset your journey with Easyjet by paying an extra ÂŁ2.38 for the flight to Geneva, but youâ€™re still producing the carbon.
The time it takes might put a few people off too. But donâ€™t forget that transfer times are shorter at either end as youâ€™ll be deposited right there among the resorts, rather than at Geneva Airport (Courcheval is about 2 ÂĽ hours from Geneva).Â So if you get the Friday night train you could be skiing by nine oâ€™clock on Saturday morning. Thatâ€™s not bad, especially if you were still sitting at your desk at 5 oâ€™clock on Friday afternoon!
When it comes to luggage youâ€™ll be pleased to hear that Eurostar make special concessions for travellers on the ski train: they allow an extra item of luggage per passenger on top of the usual maximum of 2 medium-sized cases (85cm at their longest length), plus one item of hand luggage. So this could be your skis or snowboard â€“ or just another set of woolly jumpers for the aprĂ¨s ski. Itâ€™s up to you. Thatâ€™s another one in the eye for flying for sure.
But what about the legend of the Friday night ski train parties? Well if youâ€™re worried about those stories of rowdiness and all night ski train parties, donâ€™t. According to Eurostarâ€™s website, there is a strict limit to the amount of alcohol you can carry on to the Eurostar. That should help to ensure that alcohol consumption on the train is kept at a sensible level for the journey. Better to save the injuries until you actually put on your bindings.
Alcohol related mishaps aside, youâ€™re still going to need good value ski and snowboarding insurance if you hit the slopes. And thatâ€™s not just because injuries are common (youâ€™ll get ÂŁ5 million as standard on World First policies) and can put paid to your trip. A World First winter sports insurance policy will cover you all sorts of all other eventualities too, including piste closure and skiing off it (as long as itâ€™s within resort boundaries or with a qualified guide). And if you decide to take a day off from the skiing and have a go at tobogganing or dog sledding while youâ€™re there, youâ€™ll be covered for that too. Although you might want to speak to World First if you plan on doing an ‘Eddie the Eagle’. Ski jumping is NOT covered.
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- London to Hong Kong, by train
- Where to find the worldâ€™s most spectacular train journeys
- The top ten of staying safe on the slopes.
- Make sure itâ€™s more swoosh, less FOOSH this half term