Weekend after weekend, the caravan of cars with ski boxes on the roof pushes hesitantly towards the Alps. A climate-friendly journey would actually be in every skier’s own interest: global warming threatens to melt the snow from under their feet. Traveling there and back is the largest item in the CO₂ balance of a ski holiday, and it could be significantly reduced by train.
Which ski resorts are particularly easy to get to by train?
A whole range of ski areas are very well connected to the railway network, some of which can even be reached from northern Germany without having to change trains. On Saturdays, an ICE runs from Hamburg via Hanover to Seefeld in Tirol and on to Innsbruck, on Fridays the direct connection is via Berlin, but only again from February 11 due to construction sites. The “holiday express” of the private provider “Train 4 You” offers direct connections from Hamburg and Münster to St. Anton am Arlberg, the trains run overnight. With the ÖBB Nightjet you can get from Hamburg to Innsbruck in your sleep.
The possibilities become far greater if you are willing to change trains once or twice, the gondola lift often starts very close to the station. In Austria This applies, for example, to Bad Gastein, Kitzbühel, St. Johann, Brixen im Thale or Leogang, as well as to the Zillertal with train stations in Zell am Ziller and Mayrhofen. In Südtirol the Pustertalbahn connects the Kronplatz and Drei Zinnen ski areas. In the Switzerland well-engineered timetables for trains and postbuses have been used for a long time, and some places like Zermatt are completely car-free. You can take the train directly to the slopes in Klosters and the Aletsch Arena, for example. A train trip to Davos, Disentis or St. Moritz is worthwhile simply because of the panorama. In Germany For example, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Oberstdorf are easily accessible by train.
The new online portal helps with planning the trip winterrail.eu with a comprehensive overview of winter holiday destinations that can be reached by train.
Are there tickets that are particularly worthwhile for skiers?
In Austria you can the ÖBB-Kombiticket be interesting that combines a train ticket and ski pass – even for several days. However, it is only sold for rail routes within the country, for example from Salzburg for the journey to Bad Gastein. In Switzerland, the Rhaetian Railway offers a skier ticket with the promising name “1 franc pleasure” on. You can travel from any Rhaetian Railway station, for example from Chur, to Davos/Klosters or Scuol for just one franc more on the ski pass. The offer is aimed primarily at day tourists. That also applies to this Garmisch ski ticket from Deutsche Bahn. An adult pays 56 euros for a ski pass plus train journey from Munich, otherwise 50 euros are due for the ski pass alone.
Where to put the luggage?
Down jacket and ski trousers, fleece sweater, gloves, helmet and goggles: the luggage for a skiing holiday is usually a bit larger. Add to that the skis or snowboard along with the bulky shoes – accommodating all of that in a well-stocked open-plan car can definitely be a challenge. In principle, however, there is also room for skis in the ICE, according to Deutsche Bahn, namely in the luggage compartments above the seats or upright on the luggage racks. In local trains, the multi-purpose compartments, which are actually intended for bicycle transport, can also be used for winter sports equipment. There are no surcharges for bulky luggage on the train.
More comfortable but not cheap door-to-door luggage transport, which Deutsche Bahn offers in cooperation with the parcel service Hermes. It costs EUR 17.90 per suitcase per trip, and EUR 27.90 for skis. Luggage shipping can only be booked for trips within Germany, so it is not an option for trips to Switzerland, Austria or South Tyrol. So there is a lot to be said for the third option – namely renting skis, boots and helmets at the holiday destination.