France Extends Pass Sanitaire Requirement to Ski Lifts

It is no great surprise and it brings France into line with Austria and Italy. There have been further changes to mask wearing rules with more requirements. UPDATED

Last month the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, said that a health pass would be needed to use ski lifts if cases rose above 200 per 100,000 of population over a 7-day period.

Two weeks the case rate was 75.

One week ago it was 129.

On Monday November 22nd the case rate was 189.

It is now at 246 (November 26th) and the measure has been introduced.

The Health Pass will be required to use ski lifts for all people over 12-years old.

It is expected there will be random checks on people rather than everyone having to show the pass, but each resort may do things differently.

These checks may be when people buy/collect their lift passes or at lift stations.

Ski schools are also expected to carry out spot checks.

In all French ski resorts masks will continue to be needed in lift queues, meeting places outside & in the ski lifts.

There is likely to be no limitation on capacity in lifts.

It brings France in line with the other alpine nations of Austria and Italy that require people to have a health pass to use the lifts.

Switzerland does not order one, but masks are mandatory in cable cars.

Entry to venues such as restaurants and bars in Switzerland is only allowed for those who have been fully vaccinated.

Val Thorens, Image c/o Chris Moran/PlanetSKI

Val Thorens, Image c/o Chris Moran/PlanetSKI

“After three winters with good snow followed by a disappointing season without being able to open our lifts, we are preparing to open all services and activities in compliance with health regulations,” said the Directer General of France Montagnes, Jean-Marc Silva.

“The snow has fallen and bookings are in full swing at the moment, as our customers are ready to be able to enjoy winter sports, French resorts and unique landscapes once again. Resort professionals are mobilised and confident for the forthcoming season.”

On Thursday the French health secretary, Olivier Véran, announced further nationwide measures.

They were around boosters and education with an increase in places where masks are required,  and that will have an impact in the nation’s ski resorts.

Masks are to be compulsory again in all indoor spaces, including those covered by the health pass such as cinemas, theatres, tourist sites, bars, cafes and restaurants.

For bars and restaurants  a mask will be needed while walking to a table or going to the toilet,  but not when seated while eating or drinking.

Masks are to be mandatory for large gatherings outdoors, such as Christmas markets.

This will also likely include large gatherings at ski resorts, such as ski tests.

Image © T.Loubere OT Val Thorens

Image © T.Loubere OT Val Thorens

Facemask in France

Facemask in Tignes, France.

At the beginning of October the French government announced that a pass would not be needed to use the ski lifts.

With the very important caveat of cases falling.

We reported on it at the time:

Now though cases are rising.

Earlier this week the French Ski Areas Association confirmed the details for the winter:

Masks and Social Distancing

  • Wearing a mask is compulsory from the age of 11 in all ski lifts and in the waiting lines.
  • Masks are recommended for children aged 6 to 11.
  • Only surface lifts and conveyor belts may be exempted from wearing masks if they are used by only one user at a time.
  • Skiers are required to wear a surgical mask or a category 1 fabric mask (AFNOR SPEC S76-001 certification).
  • Concerning neck gaiters, only those that are filtering and certified will be allowed as an alternative to masks.Very practical for skiing and adapted to this protocol, approved neck gaiters can be put on and taken off in a few seconds.
  • Skiers must respect distances between people or groups of people travelling together in the waiting lines.
  • Protective measures must be applied throughout the ski area.
  • Lift operators will make hand sanitizer available at relevant locations.
  • Mask wearing regulations are also subject to changes by the regional Prefect.
  • Wearing a mask is not required while skiing.

See here for our earlier story:

“We need a collective mobilisation … to save the holiday season,” said government spokesman, Gabriel Attal.

For useful guides regarding travel from the UK to France, including information on the travel rule changes from 1 October and the Pass Sanitaire please consult the French Embassy’s website here.

Here at PlanetSKI we are keeping a close eye on the situation in all the ski nations and will be updating you with all the latest news and developments.

Image © PlanetSKI