*** LAST UPDATED – 28/10/2020***
Unsure how the 2020/21 European ski season is going to operate? Below we’ve debunked the myths behind the ever changing news.
First things first, we are happy to report that most resorts across the Alps will be open for the Winter 2020/21 ski season as usual, having spent the summer testing measures to ensure they are able to open safely.
As skiing and snowboarding is largely an outdoor sport wearing protective gear like gloves, goggles and ski masks, it should be easier to stay distanced from others. Enhanced social distancing rules will be in place at all lifts stations, restaurants, shops and bars, with regular cleaning protocols followed at the lifts and chalets.
Policing at lift stations to ensure people are properly distancing and wearing adequate face masks (not just face coverings) has already begun in the high altitude resorts like Tignes that are already open for business.
It’s certainly true that some of the lower value chalets have closed, however our incredible luxury ski chalets remain open for business as usual and for your peace of mind have adapted their staffing to offer more self-catered or contactless service, with enhanced cleaning standards in place.
‘Flexibility’ is the word this season, if you are happy to travel then all chalets are offering a change of date to the following season if you can’t go this year, so you won’t lose your money.
With the help of an experienced team (like ours) you can plan carefully and ensure you take the right precautions when planning your winter getaway this year. It’s crucial to receive guidance on the right chalet service to book to minimise contact, alongside booking valid winter travel insurance that won’t leave you high and dry if things rapidly change.
Those of you travelling from the UK are still facing the need to quarantine (either on arrival or when you return home), but we remain hopeful that airport testing or the reintroduction of travel corridors will change all that very soon, so that you can get away for some much needed time on the slopes.
With regular changes being made to the list of UK travel corridors, we always recommend you visit the FCO for up to date travel advice, before travelling.
To help you navigate the uncertainties about what’s happening in resort, we’ve put together a guide to the Covid-19 safety measures country by country, below.
HOW DOES SOCIAL DISTANCING WORK IN THE CHALETS
- Flexible booking policies are being offered by chalet owners, with a change of date or full refund offered if trips are cancelled because of Coronavirus
- Many chalets are offering the option to book the chalet self-catered instead of serviced
- Face coverings will be worn by staff
- Tighter cleaning controls and changeover procedures will be in place
- Meals will be laid out before you sit and cleared away when you are out
- Social distancing measures will be maintained between staff
- Concierge services will be contactless with payments online for pre-bookable extras
FRENCH SKI RESORTS COVID POLICY
France Montagnes, who oversees the French ski resorts, have issued a handy infographic (below) to help clients understand how to stay safe this winter. This covers all of the Covid-19 safety measures you’ll need to know before heading to resort this winter.
For everyone 11 years and over wearing a face mask is compulsory in any lift, ski hire shop, restaurant or communal area and when arriving and departing ski school.
We’ve been asked time and time again how social distancing will work on the ski lifts, and the French ski resorts assure us they have had plenty of time to test their Covid-19 safety measures over the summer. So they don’t feel the need to limit lift numbers at present, although this could change when the season kicks off.
We know that many restaurants will be running take-away solutions for evening meals and we have heard that several of the livelier nightclubs (E.g Dicks T-bar Val d’Isere) will not be opening their doors this season, be prepared for some early nights.
Lift safety facts:
- Face masks will be mandatory for anyone aged 11 and over while queuing and on the ski lifts
- Public areas will be disinfected regularly
- Lift passes should be bought online in advance, with many resorts offering discounts for doing so
- Markings will be used to ensure distancing while queuing
- Hand sanitiser will be available at ski pass offices and ski lift boarding areas
Bus safety facts:
- Face masks will be compulsory on public transport
- Buses will be regularly disinfected by the driver
- Separate doors will be used for embarking and disembarking
Bars and Restaurants
- Table service only
- Tables will be a minimum of 1 metre apart and there will be panels to ensure distancing in some restaurants
- Face masks must be worn at all times when walking around the premises
- Hand sanitiser will be available
- All surfaces will be cleaned frequently
AUSTRIAN SKI RESORTS COVID POLICY
If you are planning to visit Austria this winter unfortunately you will have to forgo the infamous ‘apres-ski’ party scene, as it has been banned this season with singing and dancing not permitted. Table service is favoured with groups limited to 10 people maximum, excluding children.
Most resorts have a 1am curfew however a stricter 10pm curfew has been put in place in the hugely popular Tyrol region which includes the resorts of Solden, Mayrhofen and the Arlberg region (St Anton, Lech, Zurs and St Christoph).
Shops, restaurants and ski lifts will remain at normal capacity with face masks compulsory in all public areas including ski lifts. A standard 1 metre social distancing rule is in place for all individuals not in the same family or bubble and ski school groups will be limited to just 10.
The good news is the Austrian government will also be regularly testing those working in travel and tourism to minimise any issues.
SWISS SKI RESORTS COVID POLICY
Switzerland tourism has made every effort to label the Alpine resorts a safe destination to visit. The launch of their ‘Clean & Safe’ campaign will see a stamp used by all restaurants, transport providers and hotels that commit to following rigid Covid-19 health and safety guidelines.
Switzerland has already implemented successful social distancing measures over the summer season on the mountain railways, restaurant and in the shops, with regular disinfection, hand-sanitising stations and contactless payment systems, these measures will continue throughout the winter months.
Face masks and coverings will be required on all ski lifts and in public areas where a social distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained. Lift capacity will have no restrictions applied.
Zermatt are even offering credit on ski passes if you can’t ski this year that can be redeemed within 3 years of issue.
ITALIAN SKI RESORTS COVID POLICY
UPDATE on 28/10/2020: Italian resorts are currently closed until the 24th November at least following an Emergency Decree from the Government. We are hopeful that resorts will open again in December with stricter social distancing measures and tighter controls on lift capacity and queues.
What was done before the current closures:
One of the last countries to be taken off the Uk travel corridor list Italy seems to have some of the most stringent social distancing laws in place, with a social distance of 3 metres required where possible.
Face masks must be worn in outdoor spaces and indoors at all times, as well as on ski lifts and public transport, except in private chalets and apartments. As yet they have not reported any restrictions to lift capacity.
Across restaurants and bars service staff must wear masks at all times and regular sanitising of public spaces and other amenities is in place. Public transport has strict regulations and is regularly disinfected with empty seats and distancing maintained.
So with all that in-mind, if you are still keen to ski things will certainly be a little different this season. But one thing is guaranteed, you’ll be sure to return feeling relaxed and rejuvenated after a less busy social schedule.
You may be forced to go to bed a little earlier than expected, but that leaves you time to make the most of being first on the slopes. What’s more you might even get time to stay in and enjoy some time with your family in the comfort of your incredible private luxury chalet.
We are hear to help, so please do reach out to us to discuss your travel plans or to ask questions.
Contact us via e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org or give our team a call on +44 (0) 208 133 1130.