If you automatically presume that the fastest way to reach the ski slopes is by plane, then you may be forced to change your mind.
A race, in the style of a Top Gear challenge, is set to begin which pits a plane against a train to find out once and for all which really is the fastest way to the slopes and will give a real time comparison of the journey.
The two intrepid travellers competing in the race are ski journalists Neil English, who will take the plane and Daniel Elkin who will be on the train. The journey starts in London and as the pair battle it out, the winner will be the first one who is sitting in a hot tub sipping Champagne at the Fish and Pips chalet in Meribel, a resort in the massive three Valleys ski area of France.
Neil is flying to Geneva from Gatwick and then transferring to the resort by private minibus, whilst Daniel is catching the Eurostar to Paris, taking a TGV to Moutiers and then a 20 minute ride in a taxi into Meribel.
With a cameraman following each journalist, the film captures the drama, frustration and banter – exposing the advantages and limitations of each mode of transport.
“As a kid, I used to take the train to ski resorts with my family,” says Neil English. “I loved it, it was always so exciting. But when Daniel challenged me to a race, I was up for proving that however enjoyable train travel might be, the plane is a lot faster.”
“There plenty of ski resorts in the the Alps that you can reach as quickly by train as you can by plane if you live near London,” says Snowcarbon’s Co-founder, Daniel Elkan. “The conventional wisdom says that flying is much quicker, but measured door-to-door, that is a complete myth.”
While there is also a direct ski train from London to the 3 Valleys, the slightly longer, indirect (via Paris) route was chosen deliberately because equivalent journeys can be made to resorts all over the Alps. “Only one region of France has the direct Ski Train from London but many other ski regions are accessible by Eurostar + TGV just as quickly, so this race has relevance to many regions and resorts,” says Elkan. “And these journeys are comfortable, easy and fun.”
“As a region, we want skiers to be aware of all their travel options. Travelling by train can make the journey part of the holiday,” says Vincent Lalanne, director of Les 3 Vallées Association. “The film highlights the fact that these indirect routes are perfectly viable – so as well as an exciting race, it helps inform skiers about their travel options.”