THE LATEST COVID-19 NEWS AND TRAVEL UPDATE FROM THE MOUNTAINS
The Alpine countries are opening up, with France and Austria announcing improved access for Brits as of 13 January.
BEFORE YOU BOOK/CANCEL/AMEND/EVEN THINK ABOUT GOING ON A SKI HOLIDAY THIS SEASON, PLEASE CHECK THE OFFICIAL INFO FROM THE RELEVANT COUNTRIES LISTED BELOW.
How are resorts implementing physical distancing? Where and when do we have to wear a face mask? Are there restrictions when it comes to ski lift passenger numbers? There are lots of questions surrounding the 2022 ski season.
We want you to feel as informed and prepared as you possibly can be about your upcoming ski trips. We are gathering as much information as we can from ski resorts about what measures they are putting in place this winter to keep you safe and the ski lifts turning. We will continue to feed that information directly to you via our website, newsletters and social media channels.
for official travel advice visit the fco site here
Way back in June loads of lovely readers responded to our survey asking: Assuming it’s possible to travel and ski, how likely are you to go next season?
A whopping 81% said that they definitely will, while 28% want to go more than they had planned. Only 3 said that they wouldn’t, but does that look set to change with the ever altering travel restrictions, new Covid variants, and vaccine laws and regulations?
Honestly, who knows? But here at Fall-Line we are doing our best to keep you up to date. The good news is that we will keep this post updated with any changes, so no need to go scouring the web for vague answers to the difficult questions – just click back to this page and find all of the information you may need when it comes to planning your ski trip this year!
First things first though: which resorts are looking promising? Where can we go that will be easy?
- It looks like Andorra, Italy and the Scandinavian countries of Sweden and Norway will be the easiest places to head for this season, with fewer restrictions and a lively après ski scene to boot!
- France rolls in next with only a handful of restrictions and the requirement to pay for a Health Pass upon arrival.
- Canada is claiming bronze in this particular race, although those who have been double-jabbed may find skiing in Canada this winter pretty straightforward.
- Switzerland is still open for skiing, but with quarantine restrictions, taking the time off work may make this destination a no-go for many skiers this winter.
- Finally, Austria is looking the most challenging – the borders are currently closed, making a pre-Christmas ski holiday seem pretty unlikely. However we will keep this page up to date with any changes that will see the tourists returning to this beautiful part of the world!
UPDATES FROM 24/01
- From 4am on the 11th of February, fully vaccinated holiday makers returning home to the UK will no longer have to take a pre departure Covid test.
UPDATES FROM 21/01
- From the 22nd of January, fully vaccinated visitors to Switzerland will no longer need that pre-departure Covid test!
- AND as a cheeky bonus, Austria will be removing the UK from the variant list as of the 24th of January, which means…
- Fully vaccinated travellers will be able to enter Austria with a valid PCR or proof of a booster jab.
UPDATES FROM 13/01
- From the 14th of January, skiers will be allowed to enter France as French travel ban is lifted for tourists.
- This applies to vaccinated UK travellers only – those who remain unvaccinated must have a “compelling reason” to travel, quarantine for 10 days upon arrival, and provide a negative covid test before release from that quarantine.
- Vaccinated travellers must provide a negative covid test within 24 hours of commencing their travel to France.
- Unvaccinated travellers coming into the UK must fill in a passenger locator form and take a literal flow or PCR test 48 hours before entering the country.
UPDATES FROM 06/01
- From the 7th of January, anyone over the age of 5 flying into the UK who are ‘double jabbed’ will no longer have to take a PCR test, only a lateral flow. A PCR test will only be necessary if the lateral flow test is positive.
- Unvaccinated passengers must continue to take a pre-departure test, PCR test on or before Day 2 and on or after Day 8 and self-isolate for 10 days. ‘Test to release’ remains an option for unvaccinated people to shorten their self-isolation period.
- Tourists can also now travel to Switzerland from UK, as long as they are fully vaccinated. They will need to take a PCR test 72 hours before travelling, and then another lateral flow test within 7 days. This requires an official certificate and is costing approximately 50 CHF.
UPDATES FROM 16/12
- On the 16th of December, the French authorities decided to suspend all flights entering France from the UK until and including those leaving on the 4th of January.
- Only essential travel is allowed which, unfortunately for those who see skiing as your life blood, does not include tourism.
- For travellers already in resort, their holidays have been allowed to continue to completion, but no flights carrying ski-ready tourists will be landing.
UPDATES FROM 10/12
- Austria will be opening their borders from the 12th of December! This applies to those who have been vaccinated or can prove they have recovered from Covid.
- Anyone over 12 entering the UK must now do a pre departure PCR test 48 hours before they leave. This ruling was put into place by the UK government at 04:00 on the 7th of December.
- Going forwards from the 7th, it seems that Britons can take PCR tests with them, many tourist boards are allowing visitors to buy tests on a first come, first served basis, and tests are available for approx €25 in many pharmacies around Europe. Some travel companies allow guests to purchase the appropriate amount of PCR tests before they go skiing to take with them. Crystal, for example, are doing this from £15 per test.
- Because children under 12 in the UK cannot be vaccinated twice, while in France they must take a covid test every 24 hours. This test must be taken, in Val d’Isère for instance, in a designated centre.
- For now, it looks like being organised is your best bet, bringing tests with you and keeping an eye on the latest updates…
- In France, locals and visitors must have a Health Pass.
- Starting from the 5th of November, France no longer convert vaccination certificates into Health Passes for free, so tourists must now pay €36 in a designated pharmacy to upgrade their pass.
- French citizens and visitors to the country now need a Health Pass until the 31st of July 2022.
- The Health Pass is necessary to access shops, bars, hospitals and restaurants, so is integral to your holiday.
- The double vaccinated do not need to quarantine or take a PCR or antigen test on arrival in France.
- For the unvaccinated, you will be expected to quarantine, provide a negative test result and/or proof that you are travelling for the right reasons.
- There is also a compulsory mask wearing rule across the majority of the country. This applies to anyone over the age of 11.
- French resorts opening dates vary from the 11th of November to the 18th of December.
- Most resorts look set to close at the end of April, with Meribel being one of the last to close on the 22nd of April.
- Après ski here is looking good unless there are some dramatic changes re the pandemic!
- On the 19th of November Austria announced a full, 20-day lockdown, delaying the opening of many resorts by a few weeks.
- Ischgl for example has delayed its opening from the 25th of November until the 3rd of December, although that only allows locals and day skiers to access the slopes, for now and only with proof of vaccination.
- The linked Swiss resort of Samnaun however will be opening as planned on the 25th.
- Austria’s national lockdown itself does not end until the 12th of December.
- Assuming the cases go down, tourists will be able to enter the country on the 13th of December.
- It appears that to travel to Austria tourists will also have to provide proof of vaccination.
- For locals it looks as if vaccination is becoming mandatory in February, so that may also be the case for tourists.
- Switzerland have tightened rules on entering the country since the Omicron variant popped up.
- They have opted to back a government led covid pass scheme instead of a full lockdown.
- Switzerland are expecting visitors from the UK to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival into the country though, which makes skiing here impossible for many travellers.
- Those travelling through Switzerland do not need to quarantine, providing that they do not stop overnight and that the travel does not exceed 24 hours.
- As of the 28th of November, tourists from other countries are free to visit as long as they can provide proof of vaccination or a negative test.
- Passenger locator forms are also required for those who are travelling into Switzerland.
- This requires information such as your mode of travel into the country, your date of arrival and departure, your name and passport details, and both your home address and your address of residence while staying in Switzerland.
- Children under the age of 16 must be included as a minor on form of a parent or guardian.
- Some Italian resorts (those with glacier skiing, such as Cervinia) have been open since the 15th of October, making them one of the first to lay down rules for their guests regarding skiing during Covid.
- As of yet there has been little to no talk of locking down again, however…
- Italy have requested that every resort worker has a vaccine, under the country’s super green pass scheme.
- Italy’s super green pass scheme launches on the 6th of December.
- This scheme requires visitors to provide proof of vaccination or that they have recovered from Covid-19 – this will apply in a variety of settings, from restaurants and bars to accessing the ski lift system.
- Guests to ski resorts, as well as staff, must wear face coverings in enclose areas.
- Lifts will run at full capacity but under bad weather conditions that require the bubble to close, capacity will be reduced to 80%.
- Enclosed lifts such as cable cars and gondolas will also run at 80% capacity throughout.
- Guests will be expected to maintain distancing of 1 metre from fellow skiers.
- As for Sweden, the travel ban was lifted on the 31st of October, so skiing here is looking less complicated. There are few bans or restrictions but visitors must be vaccinated.
- Norway is taking a similar approach, asking visitors to provide a full vaccination pass or proof of immunity through recovering from Covid – otherwise you may have to take tests or quarantine. This is the case for all travellers from ‘purple-rated’ countries.
- In some areas masks and social distancing is still expected.
- Lift capacity will be limited in some Scandinavian ski resorts.
- Après ski looks set to go ahead as normal too, so good news!
- Andorra are planning on opening their resorts from the 3rd of December until the 18th of April.
- Guests above the age of 6 will be required to cover their faces with a mask or neck warmer when in lift queues, and this will also be mandatory in enclosed spaces such as ski schools, restaurants, ticket offices and shops.
- Distancing will still be in place requiring guests to be 1.5 metres away from one another on enclosed transports and inside buildings.
- Canada’s boarders remain open and their season has begun.
- However many Canadian ski areas require full vaccination 14 days before arrival in resort.
- Revelstoke Mountain Resort, for example, require guests aged 12 or over arriving from the 18th of November to provide proof of full vaccination – the likes of Whistler and Big White however do not.
- All airports require those aged 5 and up to provide proof of a negative PCR test taken less than 72 hours before the flight.
- Masks and a 2 metre social distance are mandatory indoors for adults and children over the age of 12.
But what about the UK?
The 7th of November sees all travellers returning to the UK having to take a pre-departure Covid or PCR test 48 hours before arrival into the country, which may add even more cost to your skiing holiday.
The 30th of November saw a requirement for international travellers to the UK doing a day 2 PCR test and to self-quarantine until they got a negative result back. Of course because this only applies to international travellers, as it stands those coming back from holidays to green list countries should still be okay to return from your holiday and to jump back straight into real life.
On the 4th of October the UK’s traffic light system was simplified and flights to all popular European ski destinations were given the okay. Also if you are fully vaccinated you don’t need to do a test before you leave.
It is also worth noting that while the UK recommendation is that children have a single dose of the vaccine, many European countries require double vaccination or a negative covid test in children as young as six, such as Andorra. This varies from place to place, but is important for families to be aware of.
We for one can’t wait to get back out on those slopes, so we will be keeping everything crossed for a better season this year.