As the leaves continue to fall and the days become ever shorter and increasingly cold and miserable, the average person naturally begins to entertain thoughts of escaping the damp gloom of the UK. Ski resorts have a sort of inherent glamour – names like Chamonix, Val d’Isere and Courchevel instantly evoke images of roaring fires, of glittering expanses of snowy slopes, and of attractive people with rosy noses and gleaming white teeth laughing gaily as they tuck into vats of fondue. Even resolute non-skiers born utterly devoid of any sense of balance are not immune to daydreams of alpine frolics, finding themselves being seduced by the idea of après-ski antics and melted cheese. Unfortunately, in reality, skiing holidays invariably entail a considerable amount more hassle than they do in escapist daydreams; getting there involves either driving for hours along winding mountain roads, or grappling with bulky ski-wear in a vain attempt to make it all comply with airline baggage restrictions. Unless you possess the driving skills of Clarkson and a tardis-like suitcase, or resort to wearing your salopettes and snowboard boots on the flight, getting there can be a rather stressful experience. There is now, however, a third option – one which will allow you to travel down to your chosen resort in comfort and style, with minimal fuss.
The Eurostar is arguably one of the best inventions of the 20th century – it is without a doubt the best and easiest way to hop between London and Paris. It is sleek. It is comfortable. It is fast. It is entirely carbon neutral. It is very, very stylish. And, from the 19th December 2009 and the 17th April 2010, it can whisk you from St. Pancras International or Ashford International to the ski resorts of Moutiers, Aime-la-Plagne and Bourg-St-Maurice at a seriously speedy 186 miles per hour. If booked early enough, prices are competitive – a Standard class return journey begins at £149, while a Leisure Select ticket, including meals, drinks and extra comfortable seating, starts at £229 return. One of the many advantages of using the Eurostar Snow Train service is that it deposits you on the doorstep of your resort – it is merely a case of hopping on the train in London or Kent, settling back to enjoy the stunning scenery, then hopping off the train at the other end, ready and raring to hit the slopes. Either opt for the day train, which departs from St. Pancras at 10am and arrives at its last stop in Bourg-St. Maurice in time for dinner around 8 hours later, or the overnight train which leaves at 8.30pm and arrives at 6.30am, allowing you time to grab breakfast before hitting the slopes. It is worth taking into consideration the fact that if you decide to travel on the night train in both directions, it will allow you to spend eight days on the slopes rather than the usual six. Those travelling with children needn’t worry about sharing the train with crowds of drunken revellers, either – Eurostar will be imposing limitations on the amount of alcohol passengers can bring onto the train with them, so a restful journey is assured. Snow Train passengers also benefit from an increased luggage allowance, allowing you to pack clothing and equipment for the whole family without resorting to wearing it.
For avid skiers looking to invest in the French property market, there is plenty of affordable accommodation in the most popular Alpine resorts, conveniently located for the Snow Train service. Fully furnished leaseback apartments in a new 4 star development in Les Arcs cost between €222k and €428k, have between one and three bedrooms, and come with access to a superb leisure complex including a swimming pool, sauna, hammam, jacuzzi and fitness room. The complex is a stone’s throw away from the station in Bourg-St. Maurice, the last stop for the Eurostar Snow Train, making it unbelieveably easy to travel from the UK in comfort without having to haul mountains of ski equipment between the airport and your resort. As all the leaseback apartments come with a guaranteed return on your investment of between 3.8% and 2.5%, dreams of a cosy apartment in a winter wonderland have the potential to become a reality.
November 6th, 2009 | Permanent link
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