The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the travel industry unlike anything we have experienced before. Although a level of uncertainty remains, governments and authorities are beginning to plan and implement strategies for a way to safely return to our normal lives. Social distancing is likely to be a part everyday life for a while longer which has led to many questions about future travel and how ski holidays will be affected next season.
Some of the most common questions we are being asked by clients right now are:
- Will there be a 2020/21 ski season?
- When will we be able to travel again?
- How will social distancing work in ski resorts?
- What are ski resorts doing to prepare for next winter in light of COVID-19?
- Is now a good time to book a skiing holiday?
Lockdowns are easing slowly across European resorts with many opening for the summer season. Hotels, bars and restaurants are opening across The Alps with summer skiing and socially distanced sports and walking/bike trails being permitted.
Even with distancing rules in place, it is reassuring to see such activities being resumed with plenty of time for the situation to improve further before the ski season starts. With much of your time spent on the slopes in wide open spaces, taking in the fresh mountain air, a ski holiday lends itself perfectly to social distancing practices.
Changes to your ski holiday
Ski resorts will have to follow guidelines set out by their regional or central government and this means that there may be a few changes to your ski holiday next winter. We cannot provide details for each resort until we are much closer to the season, but we can look to resorts in the southern hemisphere which are opening next month and the summer season guidelines in The Alps.
Physical distancing will be a priority for next season. This includes adhering to guidelines when queuing for lifts and riding the lift itself. Timberline Lodge in Oregon, USA reopened in early May and permits skiers to ride lifts only with the people they came with.
Restaurants may still have capacity restrictions to ensure you are able to dine whilst respecting social distancing rules. Cleaning and sanitation will be increased and will likely be much more visible than usual.
The common themes across areas that are starting to ease their lockdown seems to be testing, social distancing, increased sanitisation, and face coverings. It is likely that your winter ski holiday will include at least some of these precautions to keep you and other skiers safe.
Exclusive use accommodation
There are many factors to consider when selecting accommodation for your ski holiday but this season you will likely have social distancing to consider in addition. Chalets and hotels will be doing their utmost to provide reassurances to guests that they have implemented measures to protect against COVID-19 transmission. For added piece of mind, why not opt for a catered ski chalet? Each of the luxury chalets on our portfolio is available for exclusive use which enables you and your family to enjoy your time in the mountains with limited exposure to other people.
Flexible terms and conditions
The 2019/20 ski season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic and the ski resorts being put into lockdown. Although travel companies suffered a reduction in sales due to the travel bans, the outlook for the 2020/21 season is a positive one with a survey conducted by Ski Press and Skipedia finding that 85% of ski industry professionals believe that resorts will open as usual. Many of the operators we work with are providing flexible terms and conditions for next winter to instil confidence when booking, including fully refundable deposits on bookings up to the end of the summer months.
Driving to resort
Although most of us favour flying to resort due to the shorter journey time, we are expecting a lot more of our clients to choose driving this season to limit their contact with others. There are also plenty of advantages to driving such as no transfer costs, no luggage restrictions and freedom to enjoy the journey and take it all at your own pace. Planning destinations to stop and break up the journey can also form part of the holiday itself. The French/Swiss Portes du Soleil is the closest major ski area to drive to which includes Morzine, Avoriaz, Les Gets and Chatel.
If you are unsure what to do about your ski plans for next winter or have any concerns, do get in touch. The team are working from home, but we are here and ready to start discussing your next ski holiday when you are.