UK Students In Isolation in France After Covid-19 Cases Are Trainee Ski Instructors Heading to Switzerland

The group is in isolation in Vallorcine near Chamonix after 16 out of the group of 26 tested positive.  Locals in Vallorcine are reported to be anxious and there are concerns in Verbier. The course organiser says all the rules have been strictly followed.

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The story is reported in the Mail Online and is backed up by information we have received and checked at PlanetSKI.

It is reported that a member of the group began to feel unwell on Tuesday and tests were carried out where the positive cases were identified.

All the trainees are now in isolation and strict protocol is being followed.

All staff at the hotel have been tested and the results are said to be negative.

Vallorcine is a small village with 400 locals and is near the Swiss border.

We reported on the incident in our rolling blog yesterday on Friday 22nd January.

The story was reported on national TV in France with concerns about the variant virus that was first discovered in SE England in December.

It has been dubbed in France, ‘Le Variant Anglais’.

Tests are now being conducted at the Centre National de Référence in Lyon to establish if it is the variant strain, B117.

Some people who were trying to take part in the £8,900, 10-week course held in Verbier were stopped from boarding a Eurostar train at St Pancras in London last week – again we reported on it in our rolling blog on Wednesday 13th January.

The course is being run by Peak Leaders and offered by the Verbier ski school, Element.

The two are effectively one and the same company.

The trainees are due to be taking exams with the British Association of Snowsport Instructors, BASI.

Both organisations have put out statements.

Peak Leaders statement:

There have been a number of cases of Covid in a group of trainees on a course in France.

They had just arrived to start their qualifications with BASI as well as their Outdoor First Aid qualifications.

All had travelled in the UK in accordance with UK regulations and then entered France in accordance with advice from the French Consulate in London.

All trainees travelled with negative PCR tests as required by French law.

A few days after arrival one trainee felt tired and slightly unwell, so was immediately tested.

This test was positive and all the trainees were immediately isolated and then tested.

Despite the absence of symptoms in many trainees there were a number of positive results.

At every point we have followed the guidance of the medical services here in France and the trainees have been excellent in cooperating and helping with the track and trace procedure.

We continue to follow French rules on quarantine and are working with the authorities here to help contain the situation.

BASI statement:

For gap courses, BASI is only responsible for providing the exam component of the gap course itself. We are not involved with the logistics surrounding travel to and from resort, nor is BASI actually selling the gap course or collecting any money from students. It is the gap provider who does this as they are the ones operating the business

Throughout the pandemic, BASI has continued to adjust how and where we run courses to ensure we comply with local, national and international guidelines and restrictions. BASI qualifications are part of a career pathway for our members and we have an obligation to help them progress with their career if it’s safe and legal to do so.

Over the last year BASI has made a number of changes to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those taking a BASI exam, including:

  • Ensuring all our trainers undertake COVID Officer training and are well equipped to run courses safely.
  • Amending our booking terms and conditions to give members flexibility and the peace of mind when booking courses during the pandemic that they will not be out of pocket if their exams need to be cancelled at the last minute.
  • Adopting a flexible approach by moving courses when rules change to try and give our members the best chance to attend.
  • Reducing the capacity of some courses to comply with local rules, often causing the course to run at a loss.

Gap courses aside, BASI continue to operate our own courses in Switzerland because there are a number of members living there and they have expressed an interest in progressing with their career.

We are using local examiners to satisfy a local need; we are not encouraging members to travel internationally to attend courses under the current restrictions and we have ensured we are compliant with all local rules and restrictions.



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