Travelling by coach is a savvy way to reach your ski resort. Fares are low, there are various pick up points around the UK, and numerous companies offer at least a weekly service to more than 40 ski destinations.
Not only are prices competitive, which basically translates into more skiing holidays a year, but taking a coach can actually increase your ski holiday time by two days. How? If you travel at night then you’ll arrive at the resort in the morning ready for the first run of the day. And you get to ski on the last day of your holiday by driving back in the evening. A couple of beers on the coach and you’ll be in the land of nod dreaming of the powder stashes you discovered that day.
What are the other pros of travelling by coach?
Less hassle than flying
Once you factor in airport transfers, check-in times, luggage collection and then airport transfers, even seemingly quick flights can take about half a day – that’s a morning of missed skiing! Also, short flights are rarely fun – food is less desirable than on a long-haul flight and there’s no in-flight entertainment. Contrast that with most coaches which have free wifi, on-board entertainment, and an incredible changing landscape.
You’re also more likely to chat with your friends on a coach and play games and there’s generally a bit more excitement and anticipation.
Plus, you’ll avoid airport security which for some reason always makes us feel a bit nervous. Weird that.
No nerves at the carousel while you wait for your kit to appear
It’s the WORST feeling when you realise that your baggage ain’t coming. Was it stolen? Is it going round and round on a different carousel? Is it still in the bleedin’ UK!? Avoid the anxiety and travel safe in the knowledge that your skis are tucked safely in the coach’s compartment. What’s more, you won’t have to fork out extra money to check your skis in. None of that thank you.
No DVT (that’s deep vein thrombosis). It’s worth a mention.
No popping ears for the kids. If you knacker them out before the journey, they’ll sleep (*we make no guarantees) throughout the night in time to wake up for the skiing!
Modern life is so fast paced and much of it spent staring at tiny screens that it’s a real pleasure to take in the changing scenery and surrounding views as you approach the ski resort. We know you’ll get plenty of superb views once you’re up there, head high above the clouds, but a different beauty and a slower rhythm exists along the route to the mountains. Vast lakes bordered by majestic mountains, swirling rivers and small rock formations. We’re getting sappy but anyone that’s driven to the Alps just knows.
Cut your carbon footprint
Consider this: visitors flying to a ski resort make up at least 75% of that resort’s carbon emissions. Flying is one of the single most environmentally unfriendly things we can do. It’s a tough one. At OnTheSnow we like to travel and we’re not entirely averse to a plane, but we also love our mountains. And if our mode of transport can have that much of a damaging effect on our snowy playground, and we’re presented with an alternative mode of transport, which is possibly better for the plethora of reasons listed here, then, it’s a no brainer. If only we could teleport…
It’s cheap! If the other reasons weren’t reason enough then let the extremely reasonable fares be the deciding factor. Travel to a ski resort for 60 odd quid? We think that’s pretty great.
On the downside
We’re big fans of coach travel but we can’t emphasise it enough, preparation and research are key. Check exactly what facilities are available on your coach. The luxury coaches are great; they have plenty of leg space and a high level of customer satisfaction, however, night journeys are long and it’s not fun being stuck on a coach feeling restless and a bit uncomfortable. Most of the coaches are climate controlled but check if extra blankets are provided. We recommend dressing in layers and taking an extra fleece in your carry on.
Check the difference between the fares as upgrades can cost from as little as £30 extra.
The way to get the most out of the journey, and to maximise you time on the mountain, is to try and get some proper kip during the night. Before you leave the house, do the following: give your face a good scrub, brush your teeth, slap some cream on, do as you would if you were going to sleep and not aboard a moving vehicle. And don’t forget the eye mask and the ear plugs – sometimes these little things make all the difference.
Finally, there’s nothing worse than rushing for, and then missing, a coach. Check the company’s policy on missed coaches but be advised that, for most, a missed coach means a lost fare. FYI, if travelling from London, London Victoria is an extremely busy station and navigating your way through it can be stressful. The coach station is a good ten minute walk from the train station but it’s an easy route. Allow yourself an extra hour of travel time in order to ensure a stress-free departure.
Which companies offer it?
With fares starting from as little as £65, SkiBus offers great value for money. The company run at least a weekly service, sometimes twice-weekly, to more than 40 destinations in the French Alps. And there are no charges for luggage or skis and snowboards.
All coaches have increased legroom, on board magazines and free wifi on the 1850hrs departure.
SkiBus provides both overnight travel on luxury coaches and lunchtime departures. Destinations include the Three Valleys, Bourg St Maurice and Les Arcs, Chamonix Valley, Tignes and Val d’Isere and many other top destinations.
SnoExpress offers fares starting from £69 and runs coaches to over 40 top French ski resorts. The service departs from London Victoria and Dover each Friday. Return journeys leave on Saturdays.
The company has partnered with National Express to make cheap travel to the Alps more accessible for skiers and snowboarders based elsewhere in the UK. SnowExpress customers are entitled to 10% off all National Express journeys.
Some of the resorts serviced by SnoExpress include Tignes Valley, Les Arcs Villages, La Plagne Villages, Chamonix, Mont Blanc Valley, Val d'Isere Valley, 2 Alpes, Val Thorens, Avoriaz, Morzine, Meribel Valley and Courchevel Valley.
Snowcoach travels to France and Austria and provides fantastic holiday packages including free ski passes and ski hire for children sharing a room with two paying adults. If you just want to book your journey to the resort, you can do that too.
French resorts that are serviced include St Gervais, Val Cenis, Valmeinier Austrian resorts that are serviced by Snowcoach include Kirchdorf, Mayrhofen.
Travel in first class style with Ski Meribel. The company offers supremely comfortable seats with an excellent recline, foot and leg rests and pillow bolsters and car rugs for extra coziness. The sleeper coach departs from London Victoria and Dover each Friday, arriving early on Saturday, from December through to April. The return journey departs from Meribel each Saturday.
Get super cheap travel with National Express’s coach partner Eurolines. Departing from London Victoria and via Eurotunnel, some of the resorts serviced include St Gervais (Megeve) Chamonix, Moutiers, Aime, Bourg-St-Maurice, Tignes Les Lacs and Tignes Val Claret, Vald’Isere.
Eurolines also offers discounts to Ski Club members.