Take the snow train from St Pancras to France and Austrian ski homes

Rules on building holiday homes in top ski resorts have eased and there are good deals to be had. We take the snow train from St Pancras.
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Autumn’s misty mornings mean it’s time to dig out the ski goggles and gloves and prepare for winter on the slopes. For those looking to invest in a permanent Alpine base there are new developments from France to Austria.
“Prices have remained flat across much of the Alps this year and there is a fair amount on the market, especially resale homes,” says Jeremy Rollason of Alpine Homes.
“Confidence is returning. We have completed twice as many sales this year compared with last, as vendors become more realistic on price. Buyers can find good deals.”
Quite simply, France is our favourite. It is where 70 per cent of British skiers head for holidays either at resorts with vast, well-connected ski domains — think Tignes and Méribel — or to smaller, family-friendly centres.
France offers more than 200 resorts, most of which are straightforward to reach by car, plane or by high-speed, regular snow train directly from St Pancras station.
From £180,000: apartments in the centre of Tignes, one of the largest and most prestigious French resorts. Through MGM (www.mgmfrenchproperties.com)
Location is crucial, says Laurent Hallez of French developer MGM. “Buyers want a hassle-free holiday home providing an active mountain lifestyle where they can either clip on their skis or catch a bus to the ski lifts directly from their front door.”
MGM (www.mgmfrenchproperties.com) is building second phases at existing developments in Tignes, Valmorel and Châtel. Prices start from £143,000 — excluding VAT at 20 per cent, which is not applicable on homes bought through France’s well-established leaseback scheme.
In super-smart Courchevel, loved by the world’s wealthiest skiers, Knight Frank (www.knightfrank.com) has newly unveiled plans for 38 one- to four-bedroom apartments priced from £304,600 to £1,913,000 at Carré Blanc in Courchevel Village.
There is direct lift access to Courchevel 1850 and to the vast Trois Vallées ski region. The contemporary apartments of 462sq ft to 1,800sq ft are in a traditional chalet-style building with spa and underground parking.
The undisputed star of recent years, Austria has traditonally been the value choice for Alpine buyers. It provides family-friendly, authentic ski resorts with knockout nightlife, but the prices are the biggest draw.
“Austria is still viewed as good value but there is so much more to it than that,” says Jessica Delaney of Alpine Marketing.
“Buyers choose it for three main reasons — good après-ski, a lower cost of living in most resorts, and for nostalgia. Often, adults who first learned to ski in Austria love the idea of returning with their own children.”
From £311,700: three- to five-bedroom detached chalets in Wald im Pinzgau, near the Kitzbühel Alps in Austria. Through Alpine Marketing (www.alpinemarketing.com)
New this season are flats in the centre of Sölden from £225,700, and in Hinterglemm near Saalbach from £311,700. Available through Alpine Marketing (www.alpinemarketing.com), both have a rental obligation, which is a standard requirement in much of the Austrian Alps.
Savills Alpine Homes (www.alpinehomesintl.com) has flats and chalets across southern Austria from £111,000. One- to three-bedroom flats in a refurbished hotel in Mayrhofen, south-west of Salzburg, start from £254,500. 
READ MORE: Buy a luxury ski home in Swiss ‘Belgravia’

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