Government Confirms Ban on All Ski Holidays
27th January 2021
Last modified on May 5th, 2021
Snowsports holidays are included in the existing ban on all foreign holidays. The measures have been in place for a while but appear to have been flouted or misunderstood by some. A small number have found claimed loop holes.
People travelling out of the the country will first be required to declare their reason for travel and prove it is essential the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has told MPs.
A skiing or snowboarding holiday is not essential.
In a statement to the House of Commons on Wednesday, Ms Patel said England’s lockdown rules were “clear [that] people should be staying at home unless they have a valid reason to leave. Going on holiday is not a valid reason.”
She said declarations would be checked by carriers and there would be increased police at airports and ports.
Ms Patel said: “Anyone who doesn’t not have a valid reason for travel will be directed to return home or they will face a fine.”
She mentioned the specific case of people arriving at St Pancras International Station, in London with skis.
“I do want to emphasise that, because people should simply not be travelling,” she told MPs.
“We see the examples… I will call some of them out. Border Force have given me examples where even at St Pancras people have been turning up with their skis, that is clearly not acceptable.”
PlanetSKI understands the people were not stopped by UK Border Forces, but French border guards who were implementing France’s regulations.
We reported on the story earlier on PlanetSKI as a train manager posted and commented on the incident on the 13th January.
The incident was revealed by the train manager ‘Justin’ who gave details in a tweet.
A ski trip to Switzerland does not count as essential travel on eurostar. A group was turned away at St Pancras by the French border police this morning. The very limited reasons for travel to France can be found here: https://t.co/gCARmnet5l
Stay home! pic.twitter.com/01zbjmkC5f
— Justin on eurostar (@EurostarJustinp) January 13, 2021
The train manager went on to say that a ski trip “does not count as essential travel” and there are “very limited reasons for travel to France”.
He added: “I really fancy a trip with my family to eat chips in Brussels but there’s a global pandemic on right now.
“If we all do our bit and are patient for this final push, then hopefully we can get back to doing all of those things we love.”
The people in question were skiers trying to head to Verbier in Switzerland to take part in a gap-year skiing instructor training course.
They were turned away.
Others on the course made it to Vallorcine near Chamonix in France where an outbreak of Covid-19 developed and the group had to go into isolation ahead of the main part of the course in the Swiss resort of Verbier.
We understand the local Swiss authorities have spoken to people running the particular course in Verbier, and another one run by a different provider.
For those skiers and snowboarders currently out in the mountains and planning on returning while the current restrictions are in place the government promised tougher enforcement.
The Home Secretary said police would increase checks at home addresses to ensure arrivals were complying with self-isolation rules.
There are isolation restrictions in place for arrivals from all the ski nations in Europe and beyond.
The major UK ski operators have already cancelled their programmes to meet restrictions, and we now expect further extensions of the cancellations.
- Crystal Ski Cancels All Holidays to March 5th
- Inghams Suspends All Ski Holidays until end of February
However we know of a small number of examples of people travelling independently to the Alps.
The ski resorts in France and Italy remain closed, while in Austria they are opened but aimed at local skiers only.
The resorts in Switzerland remain open and appear to be the main area the small number of people flouting the rules have headed to.
Here at PlanetSKI we remain as upset as all other skiers and snowboarders about the ban, the current rules and the appalling situation brought by the coronavirus pandemic.
Regular readers will know we are based in the Alps in the winter, criss-crossing all the ski nations from our alpine base.
Clocking up well over 50 different ski resorts with hundreds of reports filed.
Last year we lived in Aosta in Italy and we saw the pandemic spread at first hand.
The season before we lived for over 3-months in Innsbruck in the Tirol in Austria.
This winter we are resigned to not skiing until it is safe to do so and within the rules of the UK and the countries offering us their hospitality.
Our position remains the same as it has been for several months.