A new website has launched with the aim of encouraging more people to travel by train to ski resorts. Snowcarbon is an independent website dedicated to helping skiers and snowboarders reach ski resorts by train from the UK.
The site which was founded by two respected national travel journalists, Daniel Elkan and Mark Hodson.
With a clean, simple design, the site features 30 resorts in Andorra, Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland, all of which can be conveniently, quickly and cheaply reached by train.
You can book your rail tickets on Snowcarbon. The booking forms on this site have been created for Snowcarbon by Eurostar, Rail Europe and Deutche Bahn to make it easier for you to book rail travel to ski destinations. When you click through from snowcarbon to make a booking, the enquiry and transaction takes place on the rail company's site, but snowcarbon receives a small commission.
Snowcarbon also features independent resort reviews written by leading ski journalists, as well as a sophisticated Resort Finder and unique email alerts that send users an email reminder on the day the lowest fares are available for their journey.
The site aims to encourage skiers and snowboarders to abandon increasingly stressful and expensive journeys by air in favour of the train. The environmental benefits are huge: the carbon footprint of a trip by plane to a ski resort is typically 10 times greater than the equivalent rail journey.
If more skiers chose the train, the environmental benefits would be significant. According to the Agence De l’Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l’Energie (a French government agency), 73% of a typical ski resort’s carbon footprint is made up by the journeys of tourists take to get there.
The rail journeys detailed are comfortable and stress-free. Couples, groups and families will love the space and freedom on board, and children under four travel for free on all UK and European trains. With vistas of lakes and mountains, the scenery is spectacular and by travelling overnight in a couchette, you can get two extra days on the slopes.
Many resorts have mainline railway stations – including St Moritz in Switzerland, St Anton in Austria and Chamonix in France – so the transfer from train to ski accommodation takes only a few minutes. Some resorts can be reached directly from London without a change of train, including Tignes, Meribel and Courchevel.
Surveys suggest that skiers and snowboarders are keen to take the train, but don’t have the necessary information or encouragement. A survey in 2005 by the Ski Club of Great Britain found that 68% of its members would prefer to travel to resorts by train.
A comparison of a door-to-door journey between London and Sauze d'Oulx, Italy, booked 5 weeks in advance, found the flight took 10 hours, rail travel 11 hours, 30 minutes. The flight costs £217 (including train to Gatwick, minibus transfer to resort, luggage charges), the train £178 (including private taxi transfer to resort, Metro fare in Paris). The carbon footprint for the flight was 96.8kg CO2, train 11.1kg CO2 (Car would be 227.1kg CO2 per car, by Eurotunnel).