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Whether you’re a blue cruiser or black-diamond bonafide, these ski destinations (accessible by train) offer ample choice for a stress-free snowy getaway.
Rail route: Eurostar from St Pancras to Amsterdam, where the Alpen Express sleeper train pulls into Solden’s station in time for a day’s skiing.
With three towering 3,000m peaks, Sölden’s Big 3 Rally draws in those eager to challenge themselves on the slopes. Spend days working your way across Sölden’s 144km of slopes, or try the nearby linked glacier areas of Rettenbach or Tiefenbach. Reward yourself with celebratory drinks at outdoor ice bar at Après Ski Philipp, or emulate Bond’s secret-agent suaveness (Sölden’ is 007’s favoured resort) head to the glass-walled Ice Q, a restaurant with views over the pistes.
Val Thorens, France
Rail route: Eurostar from St Pancras to Moutiers. From Moutiers, it’s a 50-minute bus ride to the village.
Groomed runs and top-notch powder snow make Val Thorens an ideal playground for skiers of all levels. Not only the highest resort in the vast Les Trois Vallées ski area, but also the highest in Europe, in Val Thorens you’re guaranteed snow until May. The resort’s lofty position also means it’s home to some epic views, while a young crowd makes for a buzzy village vibe with lively après ski and fondue that doesn’t cost a fortune.
Rail route: Eurostar from St Pancras to Brussels. From Brussels, take the ICE to Cologne and then the NightJet sleeper train to Kufstein. From there it’s a 25-minute bus ride to Soll.
Lesser-known than St Anton or Lech, Soll legitimises the adage “good things come in small packages”. The tiny village is walkable in minutes, but when you’re here for the slopes that’s of little consequence. As part of the SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser network you’ll have access to 284km of pistes, spanning nine villages. Although Soll’s lower altitude means conditions can get icy, snow machines are used liberally here. While known for its beginner-friendly runs, experienced skiers can still seek out a challenge by descending the Black Eagle. If off-piste is more your thing, hit the hair-raising Black Pipe which runs from the Hohe Salve to Hoscholl and has more than an 80% incline.
La Clusaz, France
Rail route: Eurostar from St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord. Take a short taxi to Paris-Lyon and take the TGV to Annecy. A 40-minute drive will take you to La Clusaz.
Quintessentially French, La Clusaz’s reputation precedes it. The resort manages to retain its small-town charm thanks to an enchanting little square – the nebulus of village activities and the location of a low-key farmer’s market selling fresh French produce every Monday. But back to the slopes. A large percentage are suited to beginners, with five interlinked massifs (each catering to a different ski level) ensuring that whether you’re a red runner or black expert you’ll have somewhere to schuss. Step it up a level and take to the resort’s untouched backcountry terrain for off-piste adventures. Après ski is more chilled-out than rowdy, meaning it’s better for those who like to end their ski days with a glass of rouge rather than multiple trays of schnapps.
Sauze d’Oulx, Italy
Rail route: Eurostar from St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord. Change to Paris-Lyon for the TGV to Oulx. Take a 15-minute taxi or bus to Sauze d’Oulx.
Many of Italy’s skiing destinations are off-limits via train (unless you’re up for a 20-hour journey and countless changes) but Sauze d’Oulx is ideal for an Italian alpine getaway. With a vast choice of tree-lined skiing and wide, open valleys, it’s an ideal spot for improving beginners to build up confidence. Although sunny days can bring snaking queues, the slopes here are generally pretty crowd-free. If you’re looking for something more challenging, take a ski lift to the top of Monte Fraiteve where a 1300m descent to the valley floor at Jouvenceaux awaits. Alternatively, explore the neighbouring Sestiere and Claviere resorts for a more diverse range of runs. Known in the 80s as a “Magaluf for moguls”, Sauze d’Oulx has since shed its laddy reputation – but that doesn’t mean you won’t find a good night out.
Rail route: Eurostar from St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord. Change to Paris-Lyon for the TGV to Lausanne. From Lausanne, take a regional train to Martigny, where you’ll change to board another regional train for 35 minutes to Le Chable.
One for the high-flyers, Verbier has long been the go-to for the well-heeled set. As the main resort in Switzerland’s Les Quatres Vallees – and with access to more than 400km of runs – it’s no surprise that the resort is a mainstay on most ski hotlists year in, year out. Verbier is suitable for intermediate to expert-level skiers and snowboarders, thanks to its challenging terrain and some of the best lift-served off-piste skiing in the Alps. The downside? It is notoriously expensive – those looking for cheap thrills best look elsewhere. Vibey bars draw an international crowd, largely consisting of the young, rich and fabulous.
Rail route: Eurostar from St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord. Change to Paris-Lyon for the TGV to Bellegarde. Change at Cluses and take a 50-minute bus or taxi ride to Avoriaz.
This one’s for the snowboarders, who will be drawn to the resort’s three major parks, super pipes and vast areas of incredible off-piste terrain. Avioraz’s enviable location smack-bang in the middle of the Portes du Soleil area means it’s also extremely well-connected, offering access to over 650km of marked pistes spanning 13 resorts. The village is purpose-built and charmingly old-fashioned; you won’t see any cars here but you also won’t be seeing many bars, hotels or restaurants either. Luckily, Morzine is only a ski lift away and will serve all your après needs.
Courchevel 1850, France
Rail route: Eurostar from St Pancras to Moutiers. From here it’s an hour bus or taxi to Courchevel.
As chic as Cortina and as glamorous as Gstaad, Courchevel 1850 is the highest village in Courchevel and has long attracted the one percent of the one percent. Suffice to say, Michelin-starred restaurants and luxury chalets are the norm here. The resort’s clientele are likely to have been the catalyst for Prada’s ski-wear collection and while you won’t find group discounts or cheap lager, you will find top-notch skiing. Another Les Trois Vallées resort, Courchevel connects you to 600km of powdery pistes – though the local slopes in the Courchevel valley aren’t too shabby either. If you’re more Chardonnay than chair-lift and your sport of choice is people-watching, set up base at LE Mangeoire piano bar, order a glass of champagne and mingle with Europe’s glitziest snow set.
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