Started by Iainm in Ski News 10-May-2017
They ask why there no Sunday Ski Train yet as the direct daytime Eurostar Ski Train, which runs every Saturday from London to the Tarentaise region of the French Alps, is now so popular that at February half term it sells out within hours of going on sale.
Snowcarbon claim nearly 40% of ski holidays operate a Sunday changeover, and have therefore
started a petition to encourage Eurostar to introduce a Sunday Ski Train.
"Back in the 1990s, when Eurostar launched the Ski Train, almost all ski holidays were Saturday–Saturday," says James Box, Head of International Product at Iglu.com, "but since then the ski holiday market has shifted dramatically."
According to research by Iglu, the ratio last season was 63% Saturday vs 37% Sunday. "Every season, more than 800,000 skiers head to the Alps from the UK," says Box. "Many live in the South East, while others travel from all over the country to London or Ashford, just to take the Ski Train. That's a large potential market for Eurostar to get a slice of."
"Rail travel is a fantastic way for skiers to make the journey part of the holiday," says Daniel Elkan, founder of ski train information guide, Snowcarbon, who created the petition with Graham MacMahon of skier forum, Snowheads.
"A Sunday Ski Train would spare thousands of skiers airport queues, cramped flights, and tedious transfers. It's a long, polluting conveyor belt of boredom. We need more rail alternatives."
Currently, skiers wanting to travel on Sundays to the Tarentaise, for ski resorts like Les Arcs, La Plagne, Meribel and Val d'Isere, need to take Eurostar to Paris and then change station to take a TGV train.
"Skiers whose holidays start on a Sunday can still reach ski resorts by rail," Elkan says. "But no direct option? It's the equivalent of keeping supermarkets closed on Sundays."
"Many tour operators would love to offer guests a direct rail-travel option," says VIP managing director, Gareth Crump. "There's no doubt it would be a popular choice, especially if sold as part of a ski package."
With rail access an important factor in the destination choice of many skiers, ski resorts stand to benefit too.
"We would love to be able to welcome more skiers by train," says Xavier Feuillant, director of the tourist office of La Plagne. "From a sustainability point of view, rail travel is important for the Alps because if you measure the carbon footprint of a ski resort, the majority of the emissions are the result of transport of holidaymakers to the resort."
According to research by carbon-measurement consultancy, Best Foot Forward, a one-way journey by plane from London to Val Throrens produces 82kg CO2 per passenger. The equivalent journey by train produces only 14Kg CO2 per passenger. Driving, by comparison, produces 225Kg CO2 (per car).
Indications for a Sunday Ski Train are hopeful. Last season, Eurostar dipped a toe in the water for Sunday changeover - on two dates in February they offered a Saturday night overnight train combined with a Sunday daytime return.
"I hope that this petition will help to change the status quo," Elkan says. "After 20 years of a Saturday Ski Train – it's high time for a Sunday one, too."
If you feel strongly you can sign the petition as well here: https://www.change.org/p/eurostar-we-need-a-sunday-sunday-ski-train