What can skiing be like for the rest of the season?
January 4, 2022 | James Cove, PlanetSKI Editor-in-Chief
When will France reopen its borders to British skiers? Will Switzerland continue its open door policy? And Austria and Italy? What is the situation in the Pyrenees and in Scandinavia? NEW
There are many questions, but few valuable answers.
We will ski again under more normal circumstances, but when?
The short answer is, no one knows.
Omicron continues to spread across Europe with its predictable and unforeseeable consequences.
Skiing nations Andorra in the Pyrenees records the highest number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a period of 7 days.
It stands at 2,605.
In the neighbor Spain it is 1225.
In the Alps, it is 1,268 in France and 1,129 in Italy.
Switzerland and Austria are lower and more stable at 542 and 236 respectively, but Omocron has yet to hit hard.
In scandinavia Norway is on 436, Finland 541 and Sweden 403.
In Great Britain the figure is 2,011.
The consequences of these numbers in terms of hospitalization cases, travel restrictions, the number of people needing to self-isolate and the impact on ski resorts for the rest of the winter remain to be seen.
Ski resorts are open across Europe with Covid-19 restrictions in place.
For a lot of skiers and snowboarders these days, life on the slopes is different – but not that different.
There remains a hard core of British skiers ready to jump through the hoops needed to get to the slopes.
Some UK skiers and snowboarders are discouraged from going skiing as it is necessary to pass a pre-departure test to return home.
If they were positive, they would have to isolate themselves in the Alps.
There are reports that this measure may soon be phased out, which should encourage more people to ski.
The temperature reports a source telling him that “pre-departure tests have been put in place to try to slow the spread of Omicron, to prevent him from entering the UK. Now that Omicron is dominant in the UK and everywhere, that narrows down the argument for having it. We have other ways to slow the spread through national testing. “
The requirement for people to take a PCR test within two days of returning to England looks set to remain.
This assumes that one can get to the Alps in the first place.
In France, the most popular destination for UK skiers and snowboarders, the border continues to be closed and more and more ski holidays are being canceled.
The latest company to announce new cancellations in France is Travelski Express which offers ski vacation packages by train to the French Alps.
“With the continuing restrictions on travel between the UK and France, Travelski regrets to confirm the forced cancellation of the Travelski Express departure scheduled for the 14e January, âhe declared in a press release sent to PlanetSKI.
“As with previous departures, all customers are contacted by email and offered a full refund or the option to book a later departure in the season.”
It is not known when this later date may be.
There is no official word on when France may allow the return of British skiers and snowboarders.
At PlanetSKI, we understand that announcements are expected shortly from some of the major UK operators on further holiday cancellations in France in January.
We looked at the issue in that previous article, where we probed when the border might reopen.
Current indications are that there will be no changes to French border rules “until January 15,” according to a well-placed UK tour operator we spoke with.
He said the information was “from a local political source”, but went on to say “honestly, it’s up to everyone to guess.”
It is currently not possible to transit through France by car for the most part, so driving to Italy, Austria and Switzerland is also prohibited for people from the United Kingdom.
A little crumb of comfort is Germany restrictions on travelers from the UK lifted at 11 p.m. on Monday 3e January.
This means that people can fly to Munich to ski in Germany or access resorts in Austria and Switzerland.
This also means that it is possible to cross Germany to the other Alpine countries, but motorists should enter mainland Europe from the UK into Belgium or Holland, rather than France.
It remains possible to fly to Switzerland from the UK and resorts are open with Covid-19 measures in place.
It is a similar situation in Austria and Italy.
In Italy, the omicron variant is now spreading rapidly.
Two provinces in the Alps, Lombardy and Piedmont, have moved into the moderate risk âyellowâ zone category as cases increase.
Even if travel reopens, many people will not be able to get to the mountains because they are positive and therefore need to isolate themselves rather than go on a ski vacation.
In London alone, 1 in 15 people are believed to have the virus and some say the real figure is much higher.
Many people who test positive in the UK have been doubly stung and boosted.
I am an example and my skiing is stopped this week because I am isolating myself after a positive test.
I had to be in Norway and then in Italy.
The UK government has already warned that 25% of the workforce may need to self-isolate.
10% of railway workers are already on sick leave.
The statistics are bleak, but they need to be put in context.
There is hope as it looks like we have passed the peak in the UK and that means fewer people will need to self-isolate.
There is no doubt that while the Omicron variant spreads faster, it is less harmful to those who are double-bitten and have had a booster.
Some say it’s better to have Omicron rather than Delta as the dominant strain.
This brings us back to the original question – “What can skiing be like for the rest of the season?”
I repeat my answer: “nobody knows”.
But we are certainly in a much better position than 12 months ago.
The ski resorts are open and when I come out of my self-isolation period at the end of the week, I predict that I will be more optimistic about skiing this winter than when I checked in to my room right before Christmas Eve. New Year’s Eve.
Time will tell us.