Planning your new skiing holidays Val Thorens might seem like a bit of a daunting prospect at the moment, but the resorts are still open. When COVID-19 closed Europe’s ski season back in early March this year - thousands of skiers were left stranded with no idea about what was actually going on, or how they were supposed to get home.
Many others had to cancel their upcoming trips, with many assuming that they would be able to make up for it this winter ski season. However, as the ski season approaches, it’s clear to see that this isn’t going to be the case as we face another bout of travel restrictions, special measures and even possible lockdowns.
Will I be able to go skiing this winter?
Between November and May, there are bound to be a least a couple of days when the UK dry slopes can potentially open to the public - with social distancing in place - but if you want to ski on actual snowy mountains in the Alps, things start to get less certain.
We know from experience that advice, rules and guidance can change with the drop of a hat, so it is fair to say that a lot is likely to change between now and the start of the ski season in December, and again by it’s close in April. The present situation looks rather dire for UK skiers who have been crossing their fingers to visit their favourite Alpine ski countries without having to quarantine after returning home.
As long as there isn’t a complete ban on international travel or a UK lockdown which spans the whole winter, you should be able to find somewhere to practice your turns, even if that does mean heading to your local UK slope.
Where is (currently) off limits?
Switzerland, Austria and France - which are all popular with British skiers - are currently off the UK government’s travel corridor list, so those who go to these countries anyway must self-isolate when they return for two weeks.
Where can I go?
At the time of writing, Germany and Italy, both with wonderful skiing and can be easily reached by either rail or road, remain on the travel corridors list. If that is still the case in December, the top resorts in Germany are safe bets.
Scotland’s resorts could have their busiest winter for years. They are expecting a rise in visitors from within the UK this year, which should provide a welcome boost to the local economy as the guests are likely to stay for at least a week, and stay in local accommodation.
Has the ski industry written off this winter?
Ski resorts across central Europe, Scandinavia, the US and Canada are planning for a busy season. Most countries have a strong domestic market for skiing, and their summer holidays have been helped by locals holidaying in their native countries.
UK package operators are having a much harder time planning ahead. They would ordinarily book charter flights for the season ahead, and need to decide whether to commit to them over the next two months. Many have already decided to reduce their offering, especially large chalets where different household groups would normally mix, and operators are recruiting fewer seasonal staff.
What will it be like in the resorts?
Most ski resorts are busy establishing details on how things are going to work, but the basic rules appear quite common. Wearing face masks in lift queues, enclosed spaces, communal areas and indoor public spaces, plus practising social distancing. There is of course some variation, and as well as adhering to national guidelines, resorts and regions will be responsible for implementing their own measures.