As the 2020 ski season approaches, we face a winter of travel restrictions, special measures and possible lockdowns. The good news is, skiing remains on the agenda…

Here are some FAQs about booking a ski trip during this time, with all the information we currently have at our disposal.

Are there positive signs for skiers?

Whilst it’s been summer here, the southern hemisphere has seen resorts operating largely the same as before. All have taken the necessary steps to ensure social distancing measures are in place and are enforcing other measures to keep skiers safe.

In Europe, resorts have also been open for their summer seasons, and many have enjoyed bumper ones! With a large influx of domestic guests enjoying the mountains while travelling abroad has been put on hold.

“After an excellent summer, French resorts feel confident about the winter.” Nadine Carle-Edgar, Savoie Mont Blanc Press office

This has given resorts the chance to implement new measures in preparation for what they hope will be a busy coming ski season.

Will ski resorts be open?

Currently all major ski areas are planning to re-open as normal.

It’s only the UK’s travel corridors which may prove to be a problem. Currently if you are travelling to France and Austria you will have to quarantine on your return. The same applies to Switzerland, though they have also announced you must quarantine on arrival from the UK.

This leaves Italy as the obvious choice for now, but much can change between now and the beginning of December.

What Covid-19 measures are being taken across European ski resorts?

  • France
    The main measures announced by France Montagnes include:
    Wearing a face mask is compulsory in most public areas around resort, including public transport and on lifts for those aged 11 and over.
    Social distancing of 1 metre (40 inches) and regular hand sanitising is required.
    Table service in restaurants only
  • Switzerland
    Effectively ropeways are treated as public transport by the federal government so follow the same restrictions imposed on buses and trains. As it stands at the moment:
    Masks must be worn on all lifts and queues where you cannot keep 1.5 metre distance from others.
    There are no restrictions to capacity within lifts.
    Verbier is expecting around a 15% revenue loss this year with current travel restrictions in place (no travellers from the US and Asia-Pacific). The plan is to open the resorts as normal. If there are further travel restrictions to other European countries, which could bring the revenue down to around 50% then they will contemplate closing parts of the ski areas.
  • Austria – Long known for its lively, Bavarian après-ski culture, this winter will be a very stripped back affair, with crowded enclosed bars outlawed for the season.
  • Italy – Covered lifts are going to operate at a reduced capacity, though the resorts have said they will increase the lift speeds to reduce time spent in enclosed environments.

It’s very important to note that the situation is constantly evolving and in all cases the exact situation needs to be confirmed and remains subject to change at any given moment.

Will the resorts look different and what can you expect?

You can expect the same social distancing measures in restaurants and bars as here in the UK, with no standing in bars and limited capacity. Face covering will be mandatory in public areas, like public transport, enclosed spaces in the lift systems.

In reality, the signs are positive from the Alps that they can get the season running with a large degree of normality. Much like in the UK, it will involve the co-operation of the public to make the right decisions to keep themselves and people around them safe and healthy.

Some things you can expect:

  • Face coverings will be mandatory on most lifts
  • Restaurants with no outside space will have reduced capacities
  • Busy après-ski venues will be mostly closed
  • More ordered, formal queueing process at lifts, buses, tourism offices (which will be welcomed by some!)

In the case of childcare and ski lessons, all signs indicate that there will be changes to crèches format and group ski lessons will not be going ahead this season.

You will still be able to book private nannies and instructors, with operators enforcing new measures to keep staff safe, through daily temperature checks and rigorous hygiene regulations.

Is there any good news?

Yes! We are still going to be able to ski this winter. Whilst there are a few areas within ski resorts that act as perfect incubators for the virus, like cramped indoor venues, bars and nightclubs, these will be closed for the foreseeable future.

Booking accommodation

Properties were hit hard by the virus at the end of last season with early spring closures. But operators and chalet owners have been working tirelessly to provide the best booking conditions they can to give you confidence to book your next trip.

Most properties vary from a 75% to 90% refund policy offer, or 100% in credit for the following season if cancelled. This will be confirmed at your time of booking.

Essentially, if skiing is all about the après for you, then maybe skip this season and save up for a big blow out next year.

But if skiing is all about the outdoors, enjoying the fresh mountain air and the thrill of the sport – then there’s nothing stopping you from having one of the best seasons in memory.

Get in touch with Camel Snow so we can help you navigate this landscape. Let us look after you from the moment you call, to the moment you get home.

What do I need to consider?

This ski season is going to be different, of course. That might mean deviating from your usual plans or favourite resorts. We’ve put together some of the areas to consider when it comes to planning your ski trip.

(Though we’d always recommend giving us a call if in doubt, so we can run you through it.)

Our recommendations:

  • Check your travel insurance
  • Consider last minute breaks outside of peak weeks
  • Try out a new destination (get in touch and we can make some suggestions)
  • Book for Easter, instead of February half-term
  • Book a large chalet for bigger groups and combine some bubbles
  • Consider pre-arrival shopping and food deliveries to your door
  • Book discounted lift passes online with guaranteed cancellation
  • Be sure to make table reservations before you head out (we can do this for you)
  • Consider Switzerland for 2021 (not in the EU)
  • Always carefully check your booking terms and conditions

What are we doing to keep your money safe?

The travel landscape has never been like this before. As such, the work that has gone into providing you with financial security has been enormous. As an agent we work with multiple operators and with this comes a variety of policies, we will provide full details at the time of booking.

Can I still get insurance?

Yes, insurance is absolutely vital. We work with MPI brokers who are offering the below for the coming season.

  • Covid-19 cover – We can now provide emergency medical cover if you contract the virus while overseas (if the FCDO does not warn against travel to that destination). Cover will still be in place if the policy and trip was purchased and booked prior to the warning.  This provides cover for hospital costs, ambulance costs, extra accommodation costs (B&Bs) if you miss your return journey and repatriation if medically necessary.
  • FCDO warnings – Unlike the majority of insurances, MPI can still offer cover for those travelling against an FCDO warning not to travel there. However, this does not cover anything relating to the reason for the warning. So currently in France, for example, there would be no cover for anything related to the virus, but if you broke your leg walking down the road, you would still be covered.

If you have any questions about Covid-19 ski restrictions, or just want some recommendations on where to book, don’t hesitate to give us a call on +44 (0)2081 232 859.