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Late Season Bookings Rise as Ski Nations Ease Covid Rules

If you want to get away later in the season now is perhaps the time to book. Easter is nearly sold out in some places. We look at the easing of restrictions, the reality of skiing under current rules & growing pressure on holidays.

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Some ski tour operators say they have sold most of their holidays later in the season as skiers head back to the slopes.

The Specialist travel agent SNO, that sells holidays on behalf of all UK tour operators, reports only around 10% of Easter ski packages are left across the board.

It expects many to go shortly.

“When restrictions for un-jabbed kids were stricter, many families pushed their Christmas and New Year trips back to the end of season, so the final big fortnight of this winter is almost sold out,” said the director of SNO, Richard Sinclair.

The squeeze seems to be appearing on flights first, so there are more deals remaining for self-drive and accommodation-only packages.

“This is clearly not a year to wait and hope for a late deal,” added Richard Sinclair.

With the half-term week underway many skiers and snowboarders are benefiting from the easing of travel rules and restrictions in the resorts themselves.

The slopes in Pila in Italy have seen a rise in the number of British people on the slopes this week.

Though it is still easy to escape the hordes.

Pila, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Pila, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

It is the same in other alpine resorts including Morzine in France, where the Brits account for the majority of the foreign market.

Morzine, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Morzine, France. Image © PlanetSKI

“It’s great to have Morzine busy and buzzing again,” said Sara Burdon from the Morzine tourist office.

“After a tricky start to the season restrictions have eased and British skiers are able to make it out here and enjoy the slopes.

“The full entertainment and events programme is back on and accommodation is full over the holidays.

“Bookings are looking very good for the rest of the season as skiers are keen to take advantage of the ease in restrictions and get back to their much loved Morzine.”

Regular readers will know PlanetSKI has been based in Aosta in Italy for the past month or so.

We have been skiing all the main resorts in the Aosta Valley and have popped over the border to ski in France and Switzerland on several occasions.

We have had to do a few Covid tests crossing the borders, but thankfully they are now reducing.

Covid ski rules. Image © PlanetSKI

Covid ski rules. Image © PlanetSKI

Later in this article the PlanetSKI editor, James Cove, will be reporting on the reality of skiing with Covid-19 measures in place.

Covid ski rules. Image © PlanetSKI

Covid ski rules. Image © PlanetSKI

First, we produce a round-up of some of the recent changes across the skiing nations and what some of the current rules are:

Austria

Full vaccination, with booster if appropriate, is required to enter Austria.

Once in resort a health pass is needed to use the ski lifts and to go into a cafe, bar or restaurant.

FFP2 masks must be worn indoors, including in cable cars and gondolas, and outdoors if you cannot maintain a 2m distance between others.

Austria has relaxed restrictions on outdoor events.

France

France has scrapped Covid-19 tests for British travellers who are fully vaccinated.

Mask-wearing is no longer mandatory on French ski resort chair and drag lifts.

They are needed in enclosed spaces such as gondolas and cable cars.

In general, people are not required to wear masks in the open air, though they are advised to continue wearing masks in ski lift queues.

Italy

Italy has ended the requirement to wear a mask in outside public places.

Masks remain compulsory in all indoor public places, and people need to carry as mask at all times “in case of gatherings”.

A green pass is needed to access the ski lifts.

It is also needed in bars and restaurants.

Norway

The requirements to show a negative test on arrival at the Norwegian border has been scrapped.

It has also scrapped almost all remaining Covid-19 restrictions, doing away with face mask and self-isolation requirements.

It has ended the 1m distance rule.

“Now we can now socialise like we did before, in nightlife, at cultural events and other social occasions,” said the Prime Minister, Jonas Gahr Store.

“We are well protected with the vaccine. We can treat Covid-19 like other diseases.”

Switzerland

Switzerland dropped most of its Covid restrictions on Thursday.

People in Switzerland will no longer have to show a Covid certificate to enter bars, restaurants and other indoor venues.

Ski resorts will continue to get back to normal.

Border restrictions to enter Switzerland have been dropped.

See here for our related story on Switzerland with full details:

Covid ski rules. Image © PlanetSKI

Covid ski rules. Image © PlanetSKI

As we mentioned earlier PlanetSKI has been skiing in resorts in Italy, Switzerland and France these past four weeks.

Our editor, James Cove, sums up what it’s like (that’s him on the left).

PlanetSKI in Pila, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

PlanetSKI in Pila, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

“The bottom line is that it really is not much of an effort to adhere to the rules.

In Italy a green pass is needed to access the ski lifts.

It is not much effort to pull your phone out of a pocket and allow a machine to read it.

It has been the same in France and Switzerland, though less strictly enforced in my experiences over the past month or so.

Switzerland has now changed its rules and lifted most restrictions.

Covid ski rules. Image © PlanetSKI

Covid ski rules. Image © PlanetSKI

The pass is required indoors in bars & restaurants with masks required.

Again not much effort and it soon becomes automatic.

Covid ski rules. Image © PlanetSKI

Covid ski rules. Image © PlanetSKI

An FFP2 mask is needed in many situations and has simply become another piece of my ski kit.

I wear it all the time and simply pull it up when required.

Covid ski rules. Image © PlanetSKI

Covid ski rules. Image © PlanetSKI

And pull is down over my chin when it is not needed.

Covid ski rules. Image © PlanetSKI

Covid ski rules. Image © PlanetSKI

It has actually become rather useful when the temperature drops and/or the wind picks up.

I have used it to keep my face warm on several occasions.

In short none of it is a problem and is perhaps a very minor inconvenience for the far greater pleasure of actually being able to ski again.

All you have to do is have enough FFP2 masks and then simply follow the rules which really are little more than common sense.

If you think where we were this time last year then following the minor rules in place is a very, very small price to pay.

There are people ensuring rules are followed, but it is all done politely and with good grace.”

Covid ski rules. Image © PlanetSKI

Covid ski rules. Image © PlanetSKI

Covid ski rules. Image © PlanetSKI

Covid ski rules. Image © PlanetSKI

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We do our very best at PlanetSKI to ensure the information provided here is as complete and up-to-date as possible. However, please be aware that we assume no liability in this respect. Information provided by PlanetSKI should be checked with the official information provided by the authorities. The situation regarding travel warnings and local rules changes quickly.

Image © PlanetSKI

 

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