Campaign launched to save the Ski Train to the Alps

by Mark Alker 1

The twice weekly Eurostar Ski Train service that runs from St Pancras and serves 16 French Ski Resorts including Courchevel, Les Arcs, Tignes, Sainte Foy and Val d’Isère, has been cancelled for the 2020/21 season.

Eurostar made the announcement a week ago stating that the economics of enhanced cleaning, mask wearing and other Covid19 policies made the journey, that has traditionally run each winter season.

ski train protect our winters

According to the environmental organisation, Protect Our Winters (POW), the train has a significant impact on CO2 emissions when compared with flying.

With 750 skiers on each train, the Friday overnight and Saturday daytime services carry a total of 24,000 holidaymakers every winter. The daytime train makes the 830km trip from London to Bourg St Maurice in just over eight hours and is frequently faster than flying when compared door to door — with an estimated 80% reduction in COemissions. Travelling on the overnight train each way gives skiers two extra days on the slopes.

In a communication to its customers, Eurostar stated, “This is a decision we’ve made with a great deal of sadness. It’s been an absolute pleasure to take thousands of travellers direct from St Pancras to the Alps over the years. But in the wake of the coronavirus and a challenging travel market, we’ve had to make some changes to our services, focusing on our main routes with the highest demand.

What we think

In a warming world that is negatively impacting on the winter sports sector flying to ski or board is the largest contributing, self defeating factor in the equation. We covered the options of travelling to the Alps with bikes in Singletrack magazine in 2019 by using trains instead of planes. The Ski Train is a genuine low carbon alternative that needs to be encouraged. This move by Eurostar, while understandable to a certain degree must be pushed back against in order that it doesn’t become a permanent cancellation. Signing the petition is one way to show support not just for the service but to illustrate the fact that as winter sports travellers we are aware of the need for change and the need for the travel industry to consider all low carbon options – not just as added extras but as obligations.

How we all account for our carbon footprint must become a prime focus of not just each of us as individuals but also of corporate policy. Use the buttons below to sign the petition and learn more about the advocacy group Protect Our Winters (POW)

An illustration of the comparative differences between transport from London to the Alps, as used in the above bike article. Figures are based on a per passenger basis.

ski train protect our winters low carbon travel eurostar

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