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European piste skiing this winter

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We usually book our family ski holiday around this time, but I'm wondering if there is any point this year.  It's always a great break, kids (8 and 10) love it but seems like a high chance of covid related cancellation.  

How many people on here are expecting to ski this winter, and have you booked yet?

Current fall back plans are getting a cabin somewhere with pistes, but also non-lift related outdoor fun (snowshoeing etc) or sacking off the family and seeing if I can get away touring with mates.

1
 kaiser 23 Nov 2020
In reply to Sam W:

Go for it.

I booked for March 2021 in November 2019 and am still hoping that will go ahead.

Once these vaccines start to take effect things will be back to normal PDQ

5
In reply to Sam W:

I've gone for it. Booked flights with Easyjet at about £35 return, which I can afford to lose if Covid or quarantine at either end of the trip forces cancellation. Accommodation is booked with free cancellation up to a fortnight before. Will book lift passes, baggage and transfer that fortnight before when things look more certain.

Obviously the flight losses would be more of an issue for a family of four.

3
 Arcturus 23 Nov 2020
In reply to Sam W:

I was originally planning lots of ski trips for this year. That was back in January before it all went pear shaped. I am really p'd off about this virus partly because it interferes with seeing the grandchildren and now looks like it will seriously screw up our skiing plans. 

To address your question: we are not booking anything yet, especially for the family group because it just looks too uncertain at present. However as soon as there is any indication of stabilisation and mass vaccination we will be booking....probably for Easter en famille and driving and staying in an apartment or chalet self- catering. 

However also thinking of booking a couple of cheap flights in advance for early February and mid March for just me and maybe my wife (although she has a conflict - on the one hand she's not such a keen skier as me but on the other she hates missing out on anything!) and taking the risk that accommodation will open up. Probably Austria and Switzerland. Not looked at flight prices yet...are they still doing cheap flights?.

Anyway that's our loose plan at the moment such as it is.

2
 Doug 23 Nov 2020
In reply to Sam W:

I'm in a different position to you as I'm retired & live in a (small) ski resort, but I thought quite hard before I bought a season pass. In the end I took the risk as none of the lifts are enclosed in any way & they can probably run with limiting the 4 person chair lifts to only one or two people per chair. And buying a season pass back in September was less than a weekly pass at full prices.

Looks like they are preparing to open as they've been busy putting up safety netting, testing snow canons etc for the last few days.

Beware that during the spring lockdown, ski touring &  XC skiing were banned in France. Hopefully that won't happen again but who knows what the situation will be in a couple of months

 Ian W 23 Nov 2020
In reply to rj_townsend:

> I've gone for it. Booked flights with Easyjet at about £35 return, which I can afford to lose if Covid or quarantine at either end of the trip forces cancellation. Accommodation is booked with free cancellation up to a fortnight before. Will book lift passes, baggage and transfer that fortnight before when things look more certain.

> Obviously the flight losses would be more of an issue for a family of four.

In defence of easyjet, Mrs W and I had a trip to barcelona cancelled earlier this year; there was an online form to fill in, we received a full refund within a week of completing the form. Apparently the same speed of service is not common to all budget airlines............

 robhorton 23 Nov 2020
In reply to Sam W:

A couple of months ago I was hoping we would be able to drive somewhere in France without too many enclosed lifts and quarantine when we got back. Looking at the current case numbers in both UK and France I think that's now unlikely but who knows how things will be looking in another couple of months. It seems unlikely enough vaccination will have happened to make much difference to anything but the tail end of the season - and the risk is everything will then be rammed. I'm just going to watch and see for now.

In reply to Ian W:

> In defence of easyjet, Mrs W and I had a trip to barcelona cancelled earlier this year; there was an online form to fill in, we received a full refund within a week of completing the form. Apparently the same speed of service is not common to all budget airlines............

Yes, I had other flights booked with them earlier this year which they eventually cancelled. I got a full refund from them but it took the full month that they quoted.

For next year, I've gone for the non-refundable option - quarantine at either end would kill the trip off and the price I've paid I wouldn't be too distraught at losing, and if they cancel the flights I'd get voucher or full refund.

In reply to Sam W:

Think we'll get some accommodation booked that can be cancelled at short notice.  We've always driven out anyway (flights prohibitively expensive in school hols), last minute ferries always seem to be available.

Looking at it from the other side, it will be a disaster for the ski towns if they don't get a season at all, so I'm sure heaven and earth will be moved to get people on the mountain.

 Mikek 23 Nov 2020

I'm absolutely amazed at how many posters appear to be oblivious to the FACT there is a pandemic and the reason why skiing opportunities are apparently unavailable is to prevent infections that can kill people and overwhelm our health care etc etc. Skiers returning from the Alps seem to have been a major cause of the Covid virus establishing itself in the UK earlier this year. Skiing and the associated socialising, travelling, etc are certainly not to be advised during a pandemic.

17
 Doug 23 Nov 2020
In reply to Mikek:

I strongly suspect the Covid outbreaks associated with places such as Ischgl were due to après-ski rather than skiing. Skiing itself is probably pretty low risk if you avoid bars, crowded restaurants & cable cars.

3
In reply to Mikek:

>  Skiing and the associated socialising, travelling, etc are certainly not to be advised during a pandemic.

Socialising is the problem not the skiing. Close the bars and have some social distancing outdoors, run hotels and cabins at 50% capacity and it would work fine. 

1
baron 23 Nov 2020
In reply to summo:

Good luck with social distancing in an Italian lift queue!  

In reply to baron:

> Good luck with social distancing in an Italian lift queue!  

Just limit ski pass sales to a number where there won't be any queues. 

1
 Ian W 23 Nov 2020
In reply to baron:

> Good luck with social distancing in an Italian lift queue!  

Italians don't have lift queues. I'm not sure what the correct term is, but it isn't "queue". Scrum would possibly cover it, but there are more rules governing scrums.

Post edited at 16:34
baron 23 Nov 2020
In reply to Ian W:

> Italians don't have lift queues. I'm not sure what the correct term is, but it isn't "queue". Scrum would possibly cover it, but there are more rules governing scrums.

😀

In reply to Ian W:

> Italians don't have lift queues. I'm not sure what the correct term is, but it isn't "queue". Scrum would possibly cover it, but there are more rules governing scrums.

It's genetic, most Brits have the same latent gene, this can occasionally express itself when Ryan air or easy Jet tannoy "we are now inviting passengers to come forward for flight number...." by the time they've reached the word 'number' there's 50 people stampeding with oversized trolley dollies. 

 John2 23 Nov 2020
In reply to summo:

Many years ago I was staying in a chalet in France. One of the guests returned in the evening and said, 'My ski instructor said to me today, "You ski like an Englishman and you queue like a German"'.

In reply to John2:

> Many years ago I was staying in a chalet in France. One of the guests returned in the evening and said, 'My ski instructor said to me today, "You ski like an Englishman and you queue like a German"'.

Brilliant. I might just steal and use that. 

In reply to Sam W:

There seams to be a few issues around skiing in the alps this year,

1) When will the resorts open - the resorts representatives are currently in talks with the government about opening and what it will look like, this is hopefully getting sorted soon (just read in the news they will decide in the next 10 days if they will open at Christmas). One of the biggest issues is local hospitals are overrun at the moment with covid care, and they are not wanting the extra load of tourists and skiing accidents. Once they do open they could have to close mid season if there is a big outbreak but that's part of the risk, but i would hope that if they are given the go a head to open then they have planned how to lower the risk and keep it open. my local resort is offing money back if they do have to close.

2) Quarantining - currently there is a 14 day quarantine for people returning from most (all?) of Europe, this seams to be stopping most people planning to come, as I guess they can't manage that with work and school etc, I think the UK government are looking at  lowering this to 5 days with the new faster tests?

3) After the latest lockdown when travel is technically allowed, you may be able to travel to Europe with the potential to quarantine after, but if the home office is recommending not to travel, I understand it rule out most travel insurance, which is a bit of a gamble skiing.

4) As some have said the skiing itself should be fairly low risk, it will be the restaurants and bars etc, so there could be issues about whats open if you get here. I think this is a lesser deal for those that are coming for skiing and are happy to be self contained

Like most tourist places at the moment, there is the split thoughts of some wanting it all to open for the season to keep a local businesses and work going, and others that would rather it stay shut. Hopefully there should be some answers coming to the above issues soon.

Post edited at 18:50
In reply to kaiser:

> Once these vaccines start to take effect things will be back to normal PDQ

This sounds like a Number 10 press office release on instagram.

In reply to ecrinscollective:

> There seams to be a few issues around skiing in the alps this year,

> 1) When will the resorts open - the resorts representatives are currently in talks with the government about opening and what it will look like, this is hopefully getting sorted soon (just read in the news they will decide in the next 10 days if they will open at Christmas). One of the biggest issues is local hospitals are overrun at the moment with covid care, and they are not wanting the extra load of tourists and skiing accidents. Once they do open they could have to close mid season if there is a big outbreak but that's part of the risk, but i would hope that if they are given the go a head to open then they have planned how to lower the risk and keep it open. my local resort is offing money back if they do have to close.

>I assume you're reading the French news. In Italy, the ski resort question was front page of the corriere della sera this morning and Conte (Italian PM) looks dead set against opening. For my 'patch' ie Aosta, it's in the red zone as is the Piemonte and Lombardy. I was optimistic a few weeks ago for Xmas/NY, now much less so.

In reply to aostaman:

Hi, Yep in the French news, it was reporting that they did a break down of when the money was earned in a season, with some thing like 70% ( i may not have that 100% right but it was the lions share) being after Christmas, in which case if the hospital numbers haven't dropped after the latest lockdown (due to end or evolve soon), then I think they may not open at Christmas. hopefully the numbers will have dropped and even if they have to extend lockdown they will be able to open?

 Laramadness 24 Nov 2020
In reply to ecrinscollective:

I'd just add to that excellent summary that the Covid numbers in Haute Savoie are some of the highest in France at the minute, combined with the number of bordering countries in the Alps region, that's weighing on the decision. I'm in the Pyrenees, snow seems an unlikely thing right now!!

 Doug 24 Nov 2020
In reply to Laramadness:

Haute-Alpes, where Ecrinscollective & myself live, had one the highest rates of infection in France last time I looked even if the actual N°s involved are not high due to the relatively low population. As for snow, we have some but only high up & this afternoon I spotted several clumps of primroses in full flower

 Doug 24 Nov 2020
In reply to Laramadness:

Seems there will be no piste skiing before early January in France, but as there was no mention of XC skiing or touring maybe some skiing will be possible. The following is from Le Monde

Emmanuel Macron estime "impossible" l'ouverture des stations de sports d'hiver avant les fêtes de fin d'année 

"Une concertation a été engagée par le gouvernement avec les élus locaux et les professionnels mais il me semble toutefois impossible d'envisager une ouverture pour les fêtes", dit le président de la République, qui souhaite "préférable de privilégier une réouverture courant janvier dans de bonnes conditions" et une coordination européenne sur le sujet.

In reply to Sam W:

Cue epic snowfall from mid-December onwards and the best Christmas snow conditions in living memory

In reply to Sam W:

As Doug said looks like no skiing at Christmas

https://www.skipass.com/news/ski-noel-macron.html

Post edited at 20:25
In reply to ecrinscollective:

> As Doug said looks like no skiing at Christmas

Which is the best way to guarantee conditions will be perfect.  Bit like end of season Scotland during lockdown

In reply to Sam W:

Hope so should still be able to ski tour

 yorkshireman 25 Nov 2020
In reply to Sam W:

> Cue epic snowfall from mid-December onwards and the best Christmas snow conditions in living memory

At least we're allowed to go out for a 3 hour run or hike, within 20km of our house from Saturday, compared to the previous 1hr/1km - I can't tell you how much of a morale boost that will be. 

As for snow, there doesn't seem to be much on the horizon where I live (Vercors). From my house I can see Lans-en-Vercors and Villard de Lans pistes, both of which have dustings from last week. Yesterday I was sat out in a t-shirt in yet another day of glorious sunshine watching the snow cannons at Aigle (small nursery slope in town, at 1000m but cast in shade most the of the winter) doing their best to create a base (it's getting below freezing during the night). Autrans behind me has a huge XC area and they've been laying down an artificial base for a while now too.

The annoying thing is I've got my ski pass for the season and will have time off work at Christmas and won't be able to use it during that time. As Doug and Ecrinscollective said, touring might still be an option.

> Haute-Alpes, where Ecrinscollective & myself live, had one the highest rates of infection in France last time I looked

I noticed that too - how much do you reckon was down to everyone from 13 coming up for the summer break after the first lockdown, as compared to locals? Certainly here in Isère, it was one of the busiest tourist summers any could remember.

 Dave Searle 25 Nov 2020
In reply to Sam W:

I would suggest looking at Switzerland more than France or Italy! They have lifts open at the moment and I think they will try as hard as possible to keep them open during the winter!

 Doug 25 Nov 2020
In reply to yorkshireman:

> I noticed that too - how much do you reckon was down to everyone from 13 coming up for the summer break after the first lockdown, as compared to locals? Certainly here in Isère, it was one of the busiest tourist summers any could remember.

Difficult to know but most locals I've spoken to blame it on the second home owners, most of whom come from Bouches-du-Rhône (13).

 yorkshireman 25 Nov 2020
In reply to Doug:

> Difficult to know but most locals I've spoken to blame it on the second home owners, most of whom come from Bouches-du-Rhône (13).

I went back to our old village in July and several of my former neighbours were back up from Marseille for the summer (second family homes). I practically had to beat them off with a stick with all the hugs, kissing and handshakes - I was genuinely flabergasted that they assumed everything was fine again.

 wbo2 25 Nov 2020
In reply to Dave Searle: After 14 days quarantine on entering the country......  

 Pinch'a'salt 25 Nov 2020
In reply to wbo2:

No quarantine requirement for UK residents going into CH currently...

 Richard Horn 25 Nov 2020
In reply to Sam W:

I was holding out hope of a ski holiday but that was before Covid revealed its seasonality / 2nd wave. We have young children (youngest is 2 so too young to ski) so book with companies with childcare - unfortunately Esprit has cancelled their entire programme for this winter, and others have reduced theirs so options look like being very limited. In any case I was thinking to drive down rather than risk being at someone elses mercy in terms of transport.

Havent given up hope completely, March/April is still a while off and vaccine roll-outs might be progressed by then, but more realistically currently envisaging saving the cash and having a blow out summer holiday.

 Enty 25 Nov 2020
In reply to Doug:

> >

> Difficult to know but most locals I've spoken to blame it on the second home owners, most of whom come from Bouches-du-Rhône (13).

That's just northerners blaming southerners.

E

 Misha 25 Nov 2020
In reply to Sam W:

Some reports the Alpine nations are discussing whether to keep the ski resorts closed all winter. I’d wait till the outcome of that is clear. 

 Doug 25 Nov 2020
In reply to Enty:

everything bad comes from Marseille or Paris,  at least according to some of my neighbours.

 John2 25 Nov 2020
In reply to Misha:

The British ski professionals in Val d'Isere are hopeful that things will open up in February. A decision of some sort is to be made at the end of next week for all French resorts.

 Sans-Plan 25 Nov 2020
In reply to Pinch'a'salt:

For now! 

CH numbers don't look good, i'm assuming part of the reason they ditched the UK>CH quarantine to try and salvage the ski season and get seasonnaires etc into the country, but until UK open up to CH without quarantine it's a bit pointless for ski trips, it will be the first time in many years I haven't been skiing at Christmas, i'm just hoping spring is going to be looking better.

 Sans-Plan 25 Nov 2020
In reply to John2:

Which will make Switzerland etc. crazy if they do open at Christmas (whihc is looking like its happening) as the French will be flocking in by their thousands.

 John2 25 Nov 2020
In reply to Sans-Plan:

There are attempts being made to get all of the Alpine nations to co-ordinate their opening times. I hope they are successsful.

In reply to yorkshireman:

Around the Briancon area, we were 20% up on tourists in the summer, we noticed a lot of visitors that wouldn't normally have come to the alps, but i guess they didn't fancy sitting on a crowded beach.

I am not sure it was all brought in by tourist, one theory I have heard is we had very few cases in the first wave and this time round its got in to the category of people who seam to be struggling with it. but i am not sure.

 Sans-Plan 25 Nov 2020
In reply to John2:

Agreed, it is going to be pretty disastrous if they all open at different times, the Swiss are already open weekends though in certain areas so that doesn't bode well.

In reply to ecrinscollective:

>  3) After the latest lockdown when travel is technically allowed, you may be able to travel to Europe with the potential to quarantine after, but if the home office is recommending not to travel, I understand it rule out most travel insurance, which is a bit of a gamble skiing.

^this. You'd have to be fairly daft to travel or ski without insurance.

 kevin stephens 26 Nov 2020
 yorkshireman 26 Nov 2020
In reply to kevin stephens:

Had a work video call yesterday and discussing this subject with a colleague in Geneva office who lives over in France while waiting for others to turn up. He pointed out that as of tomorrow when he can travel 20km for exercise he can go over to CH for ski de fond and eventually piste skiing which highlights the point of the article perfectly. 

It's all annoying but to state the obvious we need to remember that Brits that can't go on a skiing holiday (for one year, as opposed to those that never get to go) rank pretty low on the sympathy scale generally, never mind when hundreds of thousands of people are dying. 

1
 Doug 26 Nov 2020
In reply to yorkshireman:

I had an email copied to me yesterday making it clear that the XC ski area operators are in discusssions highlighting how they are different from downhill resorts and argueing that they should be allowed to open once the snow arrives.

 yorkshireman 26 Nov 2020
In reply to Doug:

I think thats fair enough considering there's mostly no chair lift access required, no queuing and social distancing is easy. People tend not to travel internationally for it either (compared to piste skiing) 

In reply to yorkshireman:

> I think thats fair enough considering there's mostly no chair lift access required, no queuing and social distancing is easy. People tend not to travel internationally for it either (compared to piste skiing) 

Certainly the indoor ski tunnel at Torsby Sweden had a 50 person limit this year. It works out at about 40m separation, but when I was there at some times of day there were only 9 or 10 folk in there. 

Places outside have said chair lifts have separation or only individual households on each chair and no plastic weather hoods pulled over.  

A few pisted resorts have said they aren't opening the lifts until after new year, but the nordic tracks are still being machined. 

 FeridDudnn 26 Nov 2020
In reply to rj_townsend:

Hi everyone, I've just registered on this forum

 Rob Exile Ward 26 Nov 2020
In reply to FeridDudnn:

Welcome! Any chance of a bit of a profile?

 Doug 27 Nov 2020

XC skiing will be allowed in France from tomorrow, pity there's no snow at low altitude (at least near me) but I'm sure it'll arrive sooner or later

https://www.francetvinfo.fr/sante/maladie/coronavirus/confinement/confinement-le-ski-de-fond-sera-autorise-dans-un-rayon-de-20-km-des-samedi_4197025.html

Post edited at 11:48

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