It’s that time of year again when skiers start getting excited about the first white glimpse on the mountain tops. Another winter season starts and it's time to plan the trip. But when it comes to skiing, can the high-speed train compete against air when travelling to the most popular ski destinations?
Travelling by train to snow destinations: an upward trend
Lots of European skiing destinations are rail accessible and, even though flights are still the most common transport method, the relative popularity of trains increased for the third year in a row. The train market share is 7%. If we compare that to the 81% of people who choose to fly, 7% seems quite a small figure but there is definitely an upward trend according to the European Rail Statistics, Ski Club of Great Britain - Consumer Research Report 2016.
High Speed Rail vs Airline when going for a ski trip?
The train answers to extra skis baggage expenses on the low-cost carriers. Swiss Airlines is the only airline not charging for ski carriage. Going by train, rail passengers don’t have to worry about this extra hassle as there are no luggage weight restrictions.
Travelling by train can also give the rail traveller the advantage of 2 extra days on the slopes. Some journeys can be made overnight. However, when flying 7-nightght stay turns into just a 6 day skiing holiday.
According to a study by the l'Agence de l'Environnement et de la Maitrise de l'Energie, 73% of ski resorts carbon footprint is made up by the journey to get there, The carbon footprint of a plane trip is 8–10 times greater than the equivalent rail journey. If more skiers took the train, the environmental benefits would be considerable.
Rail travel alternatives to winter sports destination
There are many rail alternatives to travel to winter sports destinations:
- Eurostar runs daily a Ski Train to the French Alps
- For Swiss resorts, rail passengers can take the TGV Lyria from Paris to Zurich and then continue their journey on the Glacier Express train.
- In Germany, Deutsche Bahn offers train tickets + Skipass during the winter season