Skiing in 2021: Travel advice for the 2021 winter ski season in Europe and the Alps amid the coronavirus pandemic
Going ski is without a doubt one of the best winter vacations. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie on skiing or snowboarding, or just love the aprÃ¨s-ski vibe, you’re probably wondering what’s going to happen in the mountains this year. Will there even be a 2021 ski season?
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The answer is still pending. When the ski slopes finally reopen and international travel is allowed, coronavirus won’t stop some of us from putting on our gear and goggles and hitting the powder, but it will make the skiing experience a little different.
If you’re hoping to head to the mountains later this year, whether it’s France, Austria, or even North America, here’s everything you need to know about a ski vacation in 2021.
When will ski resorts open in 2021?
At present, French ski resorts are expected to remain closed at least until March 2021. The resorts were open until January 7, when the government made the decision to close them until the spread of the coronavirus is back under control. Italy is in a similar boat.
Ski resorts are currently open in Spain’s Sierra Nevada region, in Poland and Iceland, as well as in other countries such as South Korea and Quebec. In Austria, the slopes remain open to locals only.
Can I book skiing this winter?
Skiing is a little different this year thanks to the global pandemic
Yes, you can hopefully ski later in 2021. As with summer vacation resorts, ski resorts around the world have adjusted their offerings and changed their processes to become a safe space for visitors during the winter. coronavirus pandemic – when travel restrictions allow (more on this below).
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If you fancy a trip to the slopes this year or in 2022, it will pay off to book in advance. With limited capacity at ski resorts thanks to social distancing and fewer flights and trains to the mainland, you’ll need to get in quickly to validate your trip.
Estelle Giraudeau, Executive Director of Club Med, Told HELLO! they already see people booking three or six months in advance, so believe him: “the earlier you book the better”. Plus, get there early and book a full package and you’ll probably get the best price too.
What security measures are in place for the 2021 ski season?
A major difference for this year’s ski season before the resort closed was that capacity had been drastically reduced in most locations. Estelle Giraudeau said Club Med likely won’t see more than 70% of their rooms filled to allow for social distancing, but they’ve also added other security features, including contactless check-ins and buffet staff (rather. as guests helping each other).
In France, Austria and Switzerland, ski lift networks are covered by public transport laws, which means masks are mandatory, and in many of them you will not be able to share a lift with anyone. ‘one outside your home, and there is hand sanitizer at all stations.
Capacity is reduced in ski resorts
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At Club Med, children’s clubs were still operational in December but at reduced capacity, and regular disinfection and an emphasis on hand washing for children will ensure the safety of the little ones when the stations reopen.
Which stations will be the safest for skiing in 2021?
While no ski resort can guarantee it will be COVID-free when things reopen, many are putting great measures in place to keep customers safe. Social distancing and destination masking rules will apply at all resorts, and others go even further to protect customers.
The French mountain resort of Pays de Gex, for example, is working to become the first resort to receive the COVID-free label, which helps resorts and businesses maintain their COVID-19 measures. In Tyrol, Austria, tourism staff are offered free tests to help stem the spread of the virus.
“The tests in the tourism sector have been multiplied”, explains Holger Gassler at Tyrolean Tourist Office“This is why employees of accommodation companies, restaurants, campsites and youth hostels can now be tested regularly and free of charge.”
As a general rule, the safest resorts are probably the smallest and least popular.. Rather than heading to the big ski resorts, you might be safer heading to East Tyrol, where the crowds will be smaller. The Pyrenees are also quite calm – we love La Mongie, which offers access to 100 km of pristine slopes in the Grand Tourmalet ski area, with 69 slopes to discover.
What if I can’t travel if I book a ski vacation this winter?
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If you book a ski holiday for later this year you are in demand of UK government rules and regulations and your destination. This means that you may need to quarantine yourself upon your return, or you may not be allowed in at all, depending on the progress of the virus. Keep an eye on foreign travel advice.
To help you with peace of mind, many companies have adjusted their cancellation policies. Club Med all-inclusive packages only require a 15% deposit and the company offers free changes and refunds if you have a positive COVID test before you leave.
Ski France offers free cancellation (for any reason) 14 days prior to departure for hotels, 30 days prior to departure for residences and 45 days prior to departure for chalets, while the chalet operator Mountain paradise guarantees a 100% refund for any cancellations related to COVID-19.
Is a chalet safer than a hotel for skiing in 2021?
Safety is the primary concern for all types of accommodation, so staying in a hotel won’t necessarily always be safer than a chalet. However, the smaller the hotel (and resort), the safer you’ll be, as you’ll come into contact with fewer people, and self-catering can also help give you peace of mind as you don’t will not have to eat there. common rooms or have your food prepared by someone else.
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How can I ski safely this winter?
Bring a picnic with you to avoid the crowds
By following social distancing measures, washing your hands and wearing a mask are the best ways to stay safe while skiing this winter. But here are a few more ways to make sure you have a stress-free (and hopefully COVID-free) vacation:
- Avoid popular dates such as midterm and Christmas
- Don’t travel on a Saturday, they’re notoriously busy
- Try autonomous and independent vacations to minimize contact with other people (you can take your car in France on the Eurotunnel, for example)
- Don’t take off during aprÃ¨s-ski – stick to a bar to minimize contact with others
- Stay outdoors – the virus is known to suffer in outdoor environments, so the more time you spend outdoors the better
- Pack a picnic for lunch rather than stopping at a restaurant
- Take private ski lessons to avoid groups of strangers
Where can I ski without quarantine?
Before the nationwide lockdown, British citizens were forced to quarantine their homes for 14 days after returning from popular European ski destinations including France and Italy.
When things reopen and you are planning a trip, Scotland could be the perfect solution to keep you from isolating yourself for two weeks upon your return. There are five ski resorts, the most popular being Cairngorm Mountain and Glenshee. Although the resorts are smaller than what you’re probably used to, traveling by car between resorts is recommended and allows you to cover up to 130km of trails, all with breathtaking views.
What are the best ski deals available for next winter?
We’ve spotted some of the best ski hotel deals still available for later in 2021.
The all-inclusive Val Thorens Sensations is located in one of the highest resorts and offers incredible skiing. Perfect for couples and small groups, the hotel offers a fun and relaxed atmosphere.
Sensations of Val Thorens, from Â£ 954 per person, Club Med
The luxury resort Les Arcs Panorama is the ideal choice for families and offers a multitude of ski lesson options for children. Plus, as the name suggests, the panoramic views are quite spectacular.
Les Arcs Panorama, from Â£ 1,369 per person, Club Med
For those looking for a taste of luxury, the Aspen Lodge Penthouse Suite 1 is the perfect choice. Located in the heart of Val d’IsÃ¨re, the top-floor accommodation can accommodate up to six people in three en-suite bedrooms. The living room has an open fireplace, Nintendo Wii console, pool table, draft beer and coffee bar as well as a giant movie screen – heaven!
Aspen Lodge Penthouse Suite 1, from Â£ 1449 pp, VIP chalets
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