2020 ski holidays: How Coronavirus may impact your holiday?

Our 2020 ski holidays will be a bit different than usual thanks to Coronavirus. The global pandemic is making the forthcoming winter season very unpredictable, but we do know that there will be compromises for holiday companies, ski resorts and holidaymakers alike. But, as long as people are allowed to travel, there is no reason why we can’t enjoy ourselves in the mountains responsibly. So how will Coronavirus impact your winter holiday?

Travelling to the resort

As long as travel restrictions allow it, we will still be able to visit some fantastic ski resorts this winter. However, how you get there will be a serious consideration for skiers and snowboarders. Many travellers will be nervous about flying to their destination, as sitting on a plane with potentially infected people isn’t too appealing.

There are some government guidelines we can follow to make air travel as safe as possible. But before you book your holiday you need to check the COVID-19 situation for your destination to make sure you can get there and more importantly, get home. Other considerations for travelling are:

  • Online check-ins
  • Avoiding the busiest times and routes
  • Don’t travel if you have any symptoms or are self-isolating
  • Check FCO travel advice before you book anything

Once you have landed, to get from the airport to your chosen resort, you will need to get a transfer. If you are on a package holiday, you need to consider that you will be sitting on a coach with more people for at least an hour. Therefore, you may want to book a private transfer or hire a car to get you to your resort. Doing this will limit your contact with the public, also a car will give you the flexibility to drive around the resort or visit other places during your trip.

Alternatively, you could drive to the resort from home so you and your family will be more isolated and safer than if you fly. Driving may also have an impact on what resort you decide to visit, as you may want to reduce your time behind the wheel. For example, you may not want to drive to the southern Alps from the UK, but you can drive to the northern French alps in under 10 hours from Calais. Many people stop off in Dijon on the way for a rest and to experience another part of France.

If you decide to drive, you may want to catch the Eurotunnel, as you can sit in your car in isolation during your channel crossing, rather than mingle with people on the ferry. Travelling by train will also get you across the channel much quicker

A massive consideration for travelling abroad during the coronavirus is insurance. It is getting difficult to find a trustworthy insurance company that will pay out if your holiday is cancelled due to a pandemic. Therefore, you should check with your insurance company to see if you are covered, or find one that provides the necessary coverage.

Accommodation

Accommodation providers in ski resorts are struggling right now. Even if they don’t get any bookings, they need to pay the rent on their chalets and apartments, which is not cheap. The unprecedented situation meant that the 2019/2020 winter was cut short, while insurance companies did not always pay out to holidaymakers. This meant that holiday companies took the brunt as credit card companies cancelled deposit payments, putting many chalet companies out of business.

Some large package holiday companies such as Crystal have decided to not operate catered chalets at all this winter to limit the risk to their business. Therefore, in many cases, ski and snowboard holidays will be provided by the smaller independent companies that managed to keep afloat.

Smaller independent holiday companies offer a different experience to the larger ones. There is a much more personal touch, and in many cases, you will be looked after by the company owners themselves.

But what kind of accommodation can you expect? There will, of course, be hotels, but many Brits like the catered chalet experience. You will still be able to stay in catered chalets, but there is a good chance that you will need to book the whole chalet, as chalet companies won’t want to mix groups of strangers.

Therefore, many holidaymakers will opt for self-catered chalets and apartments. The advantage of going self-catered over catered chalets is that you get more flexibility. You can eat out every night or save money by eating in at whatever time you like. If eating out or cooking doesn’t appeal to you, many private chefs can tailor a menu package to your budget and will cook for you every night.

Many holiday companies are expecting people to book their holidays last minute, so they can reduce their risk. But this may not be necessary as holiday companies are doing what they can to reassure their guests. Before you book your accommodation, you should check out the company’s booking terms. Many accommodation providers are offering flexible booking terms to give their guests peace of mind. For example, some chalet companies such as More Mountain in Morzine are putting a 24-month time limit on your deposit, allowing you to delay your holiday if the COVID-19 situation prevents you from travelling.

In Resort and on the mountain

Ski resorts are releasing details on how we can slide around on the mountain with as low risk to our health as possible.

On 15th September, l’association France-Montagnes released a statement to give us an idea of how we will ski and snowboard this winter in France. The statement illustrates their intention to open ski resorts and what their plans are at a national level. In summary, we can expect the following:

  • You won’t need to wear a Face mask while skiing or snowboarding, but you will need to wear them in lift queues, on lifts and in waiting areas. Purchase Face masks in advance
  • Social distancing will be implemented in lift queues.
  • Resort personnel will be disinfecting all contact areas multiple times per day.
  • You will need to wear masks when you are in the hire shop, getting your gear.
  • Hire kit must be disinfected between users, and hand gel must be available when renting equipment.
  • When dropping and collecting kids from ski school, parents must always wear masks. Students aged 11 and over must also wear a mask in lift queues and on lifts. Hand gel will be available, surfaces and loaned equipment will be disinfected between users.
  • Masks will also be compulsory on resort transport, such as on the ski shuttles, main bus services etc.
  • It is advised to order your lift passes online (They are often cheaper online too).

With this in mind, you may want to take your own equipment if possible. This is because hiring your gear may take a bit longer than usual and you will may not want to stand in a hire shop with lots of people that have just been travelling.

If taking your own stuff is not an option, you may be able to find a mobile hire shop. These guys will bring your Ski or Snowboarding equipment to your accommodation, which is convenient and reduces your exposure.

It is worth noting that the safest place to be is on the slopes. Even if you crash into someone, you will be fine (from a Coronavirus post of view anyway). When you are sitting on a chairlift next to a stranger, you will probably be fine too, as you will be outside in the wind, and only with them for a short period of time while wearing a mask.

To make sure you don’t get held up in lift queues, we recommend that you get up and out for first lifts. You will get to the front and also get on the best snow before everyone else.

Aprés

Robbos bar

For many skiers and snowboarders, aprés is a big part of their holiday. Unfortunately, aprés in winter 2020/2021 probably won’t be the same as previous seasons. But that doesn’t mean aprés won’t happen. Bars and restaurants in French resorts will only offer table service which will create a more personal experience from bar and restaurant staff. Tables will be placed at least 1m apart when possible (some will have plexiglass dividers) and you will also start to see tables with built-in beer taps, which will add a whole new dynamic to your aprés sessions. All establishments will provide hand gel, and all contact areas will be cleaned frequently. You will need to wear a mask when on your feet and walking around. This may seem a bit strange if you decide to hit the dancefloor, but you will get used to it. Also, you need to have your head screwed on and be sensible, avoid virus transmitting activities such as beer pong and allowing people to free pour toffee vodka into your mouth, it’s just common sense really.

If aprés is important to you, you may want to book your holiday for later in the season, when temperatures are milder and days are longer. This will mean you will be able to enjoy outside bars on sunny days, rather than being in enclosed indoor bars packed with people.

That Is How Your 2020 Ski Holiday Will Be Impacted By Coronavirus

This is all good news and not as inconvenient as it may seem. It is good to know that ski resorts are taking the situation seriously and holiday providers are thinking about their guest’s peace of mind. Everyone involved is putting things in place to keep us safe so we can still enjoy the mountains as before. All you need to do now is keep an eye on travel restrictions and book your holiday. Here at S2AS we belive 2020 will still be a good year for Ski & Snowboard if only a little differant.

It is possible to have a responsible ski or snowboard trip during Coronavirus:

  • Think about going to a resort that doesn’t require flying.
  • Driving to the mountain or staying in accommodation that is walking distance from the lifts.
  • Riding chairlifts together with people within your party.
  • Keeping your face covered when in close contact with people outside your party.
  • Eating and drinking outdoors, or at your accommodation.

Many people’s winter holidays were already more or less like this before the pandemic. With ski resorts putting in the required measures to keep us safe, we should make sure we act responsibly and sensibly to make sure these measures are as effective as possible.

Remember to take a few Face Masks with you.

Thanks for reading and ride safe.

S2AS Team

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