Storm clouds have been lifted for British skiers after last winter’s ski season was almost wiped out by Covid.
Alpine Resorts in Europe are now welcoming all vaccinated British tourists, with Scandinavian countries planning to open their first lift within a few weeks, preparing for a busy winter.
The United States announced this week that it will open its borders to UK-vaccinated travelers in November, but more than 300 Canadian resorts are welcoming UK travelers who have already been vaccinated.
And with the completion of the UK pre-departure test and the second day PCR test to return vaccinated travelers before the start of the winter ski season, there is now a real sense of optimism.
However, the road to a ski vacation in 2021/22 is not a completely easy blue run, as the Delta variant is still causing havoc across the continent and this is the first ski season after Brexit.
Young teenage families ski unvaccinated children aged 12 to 15 without having to take a Covid test, enter a restaurant, or swim in a hotel every 2-3 days while away Booking a vacation is almost impossible. More activities, not just the pool.
Concerns about accommodation availability have also been raised by long-standing tour operators and Brexit staff shortages causing problems.
Are you still in stock?
Craig Burton, managing director of Ski Solutions, warns that resorts are booked “well in advance” and that midrange hotels and self-catering options are also in high demand. Pre-Covid ski vacation bookings have increased by 15% during this period, according to Ingams, but Crystal Ski, owned by UK’s largest ski tour operator TUI, is still on sale, including a Christmas sale starting at £ 520pp. I told me there was a bargain.
Who should I book with?
Who is looking for the extra peace of mind that Atol-protected package travel can bring? Ingams is said to be the top company to book this year. It has awarded the Ski Holiday 2021 Package Operator Recommended Provider.
After several companies have hit a wall in the last two years, VIP Ski, which began management in January, has been revived by Managing Director Andy Sturt as a slimmer operation. Package Holidays are no longer available (this is scheduled for next winter), but they retain two-thirds of the most popular accommodation portfolio and package airport transfers at the expense of the holidays.
How does Brexit affect me?
Both Hotelplan (owning Inghams, Esprit, Ski Total and Flexiski) and Ski Solutions offer a small chalet portfolio this season due to the high labor costs of European resorts.
According to VIP Ski’s Sturt, Brexit has brought a lot of paperwork to the company, but catered chalet customers will find that their UK staff manage their vacations on-site as usual.
Ski travelers will also be the first to see a refund of EU roaming charges. Both EE and Vodafone will charge their customers £ 2 a day to use their phones in Europe from January 1st.
In addition, your passport must be valid for at least 3 months before your return date.
Where can I ski this year?
Unlimited family skiing
Vaccinated adults with unvaccinated children under the age of 15 can enter without restrictions.
Covid has been partially accused of delaying the Cairngorm Mountain cable car, which is not ready for this winter. On top of that, inconsistent snowfall should be everything between British vacationers and the Highlands.
Limited family skiing
Vaccinated adults can enter. Children over the age of 12 need complete vaccinations or regular tests to eat in the restaurant and participate in many activities.
Persons over the age of 13 must present a Green Pass to access certain activities and services. Negative antigen test results entered in the Green Pass app grant 72 hours of efficacy. For unvaccinated travelers, this means taking the Covid test every 48 hours. Social distance and masks are essential for indoor and some outdoor public spaces. Contactless tickets are used for ski lift services and buffets at restaurants and bars are prohibited.
A face mask is required for ski lifts. Guests over the age of 18 must present the Pass Sanitia “Health Pass” app to access the hotel’s bars, restaurants and pools, and to eat and drink outdoors at cafes and restaurants. This also applies to children between the ages of 12 and 17. The French government has not yet indicated whether young British people who have been vaccinated only once will be exempt. If this is not the case, proof of recovery from Covid or a negative immunochromatography performed within the last 48 hours is essential to ensure a healthy path.
The Austrian “immigration” system, which is mandatory for everyone over the age of 12, allows antigen testing to enter restaurants and other indoor public places for 24 hours, and PCR testing for 72 hours. Valid (reduced to 48 hours in Vienna). .. Some ski resorts also require the use of a contact tracking app. In the Mayrhofen Hipach region, including the Zillertal Valley, guests need to download the Tracy Contact Tracking App. The lift operates at 100% capacity. A face mask is a must for anyone over the age of 6 in a closed space such as public transport.
Unlimited skiing for adults
Vaccinated adults can enter these countries, but unvaccinated teenagers and children of certain ages cannot.
People over the age of 11 can enter Germany on holidays only if they are fully vaccinated. This cancels a single jab trip between the ages of 12 and 15. Ski resorts in Germany are expected to require a “three G” proof of “geimpfte, genesene, getestet”. Vaccinated, recovered, or tested.
The first non-glacier resort to open each year is in Finland. Luka’s north latitude means it will open on October 10. Only Double Jab visitors from the UK can enter the holidays. Those born after 2006 are exempt. People born in late 2005 and turning 16 this year will have a hard time getting a second vaccination this year.
All visitors over the age of 12 require complete vaccination or 14 days of quarantine, effectively banning British people aged 12 to 15 years. The Canadian Rockies Alberta and British Columbia (BC) Covid rules are a light touch, although both regions still have an obligation to use indoor masks. In British Columbia, including Whistler’s popular resorts, regulation will soon move to the most generous “step 4”. This means that life at the resort will return to near normal. The same is true for Alberta. Almost all restrictions will be lifted in Alberta on September 27th.
Beginning in November, UK travelers will be fully vaccinated and will be admitted to the United States for testing and contact tracing. It is not yet clear if there is an exemption for children aged 12 to 15 years who are currently offered only one jab in the UK.
Adult or restricted skiing
These destinations ban visits altogether or insist on regular testing, even for double-jabbed British vacationers.
As of September 13, the most prevalent countries in the Alps have introduced the required Covid passports for locals and tourists. Fully vaccinated UK visitors over the age of 16 can enter the country, but must be tested every three days to enter indoor public spaces, including restaurants. A Covid passport is required until at least January 24, 2022.
You cannot enter the country directly, but if you go through the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway) you can cross the border without vaccination testing or certification. The easiest way is to travel to Denmark (requires vaccination proof) where you can catch the train.
With 53% of the population fully vaccinated, it is unlikely that Japan will be open to foreign tourists in time for the winter season.
Italy’s annual rival for the title of Europe’s cheapest ski destination is currently closed to visitors from the UK on Bulgaria’s “Red List”.