If you think flying is the only option for your ski trip to Austria, think again. Train travel may not be the first thing that springs to mind but with improved services and connections, Austria is closer than you think.
Train v Plane
We all know the benefit of train travel in terms of sustainability, but there are some key advantages to skiers in letting the train take the strain.
Increasing charges for skis and luggage v No charges for skis or luggage
1.5-2 hour check-in v 30-minute check-in time
Long transfers from the airport v Railway stations in resort or a 15-30 minute taxi or bus ride away
Instead of moving from airport queue to airport queue you can sit back, relax and enjoy the journey by train as the scenery glides by. By going overnight you can ski on the day you arrive and depart, giving you two extra days on the slopes.
City Night Line – Relatively undiscovered by the UK ski market, the City Night Line train is Austria’s answer to the Snow Train.
The resorts of Alpbach, Söll and Hopfgarten are easily accessible using the City Night Line. The journey times are as follows, with adult returns starting from £195. Outbound Depart London St. Pancras 16.02 Eurostar Arrive Paris-Nord 19.17 (change stations) Depart Paris-Est 20.20 City Night Line Arrive Wörgl 09.40
Inbound Depart Wörgl 20.31 City Night Line Arrive Paris-Est 09.23 Depart Paris-Nord 10.13 Eurostar Arrive London St. Pancras* 11.28
Then take a taxi: Worgl to Alpbach (30 mins; €40) Worgl to Soll (15 mins: €22) Worgl to Hopfgarten (15 mins: €22)
Söll Part of the Ski Welt circus, Austria’s largest connected ski area, the resort of Söll has access to over 270km of varied and interesting slopes. Located between the majestic Wilder Kaiser mountains and the Kitzbüheler Alps, the pretty resort offers great value for money, is a popular choice for Brits, with a lively après-ski scene and has top winter wonderland activities for all to enjoy.
How much? A “White Weeks” package at the 3* Hotel Tulpe in January* starts from €570 per person for 7 nights on half board, including a 6 day ski pass Wilder Kaiser – Brixental. (* 8 – 21 Jan 2011). More packages and offers are available at www.wilderkaiser.info
Hopfgarten-Kelchsau-Itter Situated at the foot of the Hohe Salve, the resort of Hopfgarten is located in the heart of the Ski Welt, which has recently been awarded the TOP resort award by the Skiresort Service International. Hopfgarten is Söll’s quieter neighbour, boasting a a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and traditional Tirolean charm.
How much? 7 nights in 3* accommodation starts from € 544,50 per person on half board, including a 6 day ski pass. To book email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0043 5335 2322
Alpbach Highly regarded as one of Austria’s most picturesque villages, the charming village of Alpbach is a true winter wonderland and a top choice for families, beginners and intermediates. A wide range of non-ski activities are on offer too, from snowshoeing to sleigh rides and tobogganing. How much? 7 nights at the 4* Hotel Böglerhof in Alpbach starts from €790 per person on half board, including a 6 day Alpbachtal ski pass and weekly activity programme. For more information visit www.boeglerhof.at.
St Anton Extensive and varied slopes, breathtaking scenery, reliable snow, a bustling village atmosphere and some of the best après-ski in the Alps – what more do you want from a resort that has it all! Located in the western part of the Tirol region, St Anton is regarded as one of the top European resorts and it just keeps getting better.
The full daytime journey details to St Anton are as follows: Outbound Depart London St. Pancras 06.22 Eurostar Arrive Paris-Nord 09.47 (change stations) Depart Paris-Est 10.24 TGV Arrive Zurich 15.00 Have a meal at Zurich station Depart Zurich 16.40 Railjet Arrive St Anton am Arlberg 18.57
Inbound Depart St Anton am Arlberg 09.01 EuroCity Arrive Zurich 11.20 Depart Zurich 13.02 TGV Arrive Paris-Est 17.34 Depart Paris-Nord 19.13 Eurostar Arrive London St. Pancras* 20.34 How much? Adult returns start from £195, child returns start from £153. Stay at the centrally located 3* Hotel Ehrenreich in St Anton for 7 nights on half board, with prices starting from €665 per person. To book call 0043 5446 2353.
For more information about train travel to the Alps visit www.snowcarbon.co.uk For more information on the Tirol region – www.visittirol.co.uk