Let’s face it: For many people, the journey to their winter sports destinations often involves an hour-long car journey, which, depending on the weather and traffic, can also involve winter driving conditions and miles of traffic jams. But there is an alternative. Stress-free and comfortable, with the “By Nightjet to the Snow” offer of the Austrian Railways. A report about a night in the train and a day on the slopes.
I arrive at Hamburg central station shortly before 8:00 p.m. and check the display board for my platform. When I get there, the Nightjet is already waiting to board. I am lucky, because for the Hamburg – Innsbruck connection recently a ”new generation” Nightjet has been introduced, whose design and equipment make the journey even more modern and comfortable. As the journey to Innsbruck takes 13 hours, I decided to book one of the new "mini cabins". A small sleeping capsule with a bed, folding table, reading lamp, storage space and locker, providing me with comfort on the one hand and peace and privacy on the other.
I stow my luggage in the locker right next to my cabin, unpack my book for the journey and as we leave the main station on time at 8:10 p.m., I can see Hamburg in the evening passing by through the small window. It must be somewhere between Hanover and Göttingen when I can't keep my eyes open any longer and fall asleep. I miss the stops in Würzburg, Nuremberg and Augsburg and don't wake up again until around 7 a.m., when we're already just outside Munich. The night was surprisingly good, although of course there was some noise in the carriage and from the journey. A good hour and a small breakfast later, the Nightjet has crossed the border to the Tyrol and the mountains finally become visible as dawn breaks. I use the time to freshen up a bit and tidy up my luggage before spending the last quarter of an hour enjoying the passing mountain panorama and the drive into Innsbruck.
Arriving in Innsbruck at 9:14 a.m., I quickly grab a coffee-to-go before heading for the exit. A taxi is already waiting for me there, as the transfer from the station to my booked hotel is already included when I book the Nightjet. It really doesn't get any more comfortable than this! It's just under half an hour's drive to my hotel, where I already get a taste of the next few days in the Stubai mountains. I arrive at the hotel shortly after 10:00 a.m., drop off my luggage and get ready for my first day of skiing.
Also included in the offer is the use of the ski bus during my stay, a voucher for a multi-day ski pass (depending on length of stay) and a 10% discount on ski hire. So I take the bus to the valley station of the Stubai Glacier, where I first collect my ski pass and then pick up the ski equipment I have already booked online at Intersport OKAY.
I can hardly believe it, when shorty afterwards I sit in the 3S Eisgratbahn lift up to the mountain station and take a look at my watch. Yesterday evening in Hamburg, less than 15 hours later I'm just a few minutes away from stepping out of the gondola and making my first turns on the slopes. Which, I can't help but notice, look perfectly groomed from a bird's eye view and therefore really tempting.
Once I arrive at the Eisgrat mountain station, the first downhill run has to wait a little bit longer. I take the Schaufejochbahn lift even further up. In bright sunshine, I cannot miss out on the view from the ”Top of Tyrol” viewing platform at 3,210 metres. Here I am, over 700 kilometres air-line distance from Hamburg, literally soaking up the panoramic view of the summit and looking forward to three fantastic days of skiing on the Stubai Glacier. And they are finally about to start: I strap on my skis, gloves, helmet and goggles and off I go!
By Nightjet to the snow
My conclusion on the "By Nightjet to the snow" offer? In my opinion, there is no more comfortable way of travelling than by Nightjet, especially if you have a longer journey ahead of you. On the one hand, you save yourself hours of tiring travelling by car, and on the other, you can use the night to sleep and start the first day of skiing well rested. The positive side effect of a sustainable, climate-friendly journey is added to this.
By the way, the journey home is just as comfortable as the journey there. The taxi transfer takes you directly back to Innsbruck main station, from where the Nightjet departs at 8:44 p.m. and arrives in Hamburg at 9:05 a.m. the next morning. In addition to a relaxed outward and return journey, this also gives you an extra two full days on the slopes.
Good to know
The Nightjet combination tickets from/to Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Amsterdam, Vienna or Graz is available between 15 October 2023 and 4 May 2024 and can be booked from €319 per person. To the booking
And finally, a tip for all those travelling by train but not on the Nightjet: Guests who have booked their hotel in the Stubai Valley and are travelling via Innsbruck main station will receive a voucher from the Stubai Tourist Association for the one-off, free use of bus route 590 or the Stubaitalbahn railway for their journey to and from the Stubai Valley.