Crystal Ski Cancels Holidays Until March 5th
23rd January 2021
Last modified on May 5th, 2021
The UK’s largest ski tour operator pulls the plug as questions grow whether there will be a ski season at all. Covid-19 and international travel restrictions to EU and Schengen countries means travel is not likely any time soon.
“We’re sorry to confirm that due to the impact of COVID-19 and the restrictions now in place, we can’t operate our holidays to Andorra, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Finland, France, Italy, Norway, Switzerland or the USA for departures up to and including 5 March 2021,” said Crystal Ski Holidays.
“We’re sorry for the disappointment these updates will cause, and we hope we can take you to the mountains soon,” it added.
This week France has said it lifts will not be able to run in ski resorts at the beginning of February and likely the whole month, French ski lifts to remain shut into February and likely beyond.
Italy has extended its ban on ski resorts opening, Italy’s ski areas remain closed.
Resorts are open in Austria, but for locals only, and its lockdown has been extended, Austria extends lockdown.
Andorra too is open to local skiers and snowboarders only.
Skiing continues in Scandinavia and in Switzerland, Swiss ski resorts to stay open.
Then there is the small matter of lockdown in the UK preventing travel and all the countries in the EU and Schengen banning people from the UK as the British are from a so-called ‘third nation’ country due to Brexit.
Most nationals from ‘third nation’ countries are banned except for those with very low levels of Covid-19, such as New Zealand and Australia.
Even those who might be able to travel from the UK on an EU passport or because they have an exemption will need to fulfill quarantine and testing obligations.
For those that have had their holiday cancelled by Crystal the company said “We’ll be proactively contacting any customers whose holidays are impacted as soon as possible to discuss their options, prioritising those due to travel in the coming weeks.”
Other holiday operators are in a similar position.
Inghams cancelled its holidays until the end of February a while back.
Club Med, that operates mainly in France, has also cancelled its ski programme this week until the end of February.
— Club Med UK (@ClubMedUK) January 21, 2021
It all begs the question whether there will be a ski season at all this winter.
Some are hoping there may be skiing as the vaccines are rolled out and cases are likely to come down as Spring approaches.
Others take a different, and perhaps more realistic view, that there will be no skiing this winter for the vast majority of people in the UK.
The tour operators are focusing on the winter of 2021/22 when it is hoped the virus will be under control.
They report significant interest.
However most scientific experts believe coronavirus will still be present and some are beginning to wonder if a degree of international travel restrictions will remain in place next winter.
The factor that will have a significant impact on travel restrictions being lifted is whether vaccination stops transmission.
Trials show the vaccines are good at battling the virus and stopping symptoms developing.
But it is not yet known whether those who have been vaccinated may pass the virus on.
Most scientists expect there will be some disruption to transmission, but how much is not clear – and will not be for several months.
With potential travel disruption for some time to come tour operators will be keeping a close eye on the situation.
Several UK operators have already gone out of business due the pressures from the pandemic including Ski Weekends, VIP Ski, Alpine Element and Skis Amis.
Many others including Le Ski, Ski Weekender, Mountain Heaven and Esprit Ski have largely cancelled their winter programmes for the UK market.