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Skiing 20/21 - Changing usual approach?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I was just wondering how people are approaching their skiing holiday for the coming season. Are you giving it a miss this season? Are you hoping to go, but are thinking about changing your usual approach? Are you doing what you always do?

The sort of factors I'm thinking about:

- Going to somewhere smaller and looking at a more boutique type hotel and getting away from the big help yourself buffet type places (if this is not banned).

- Leaving it until the last minute, as the landscape is constantly changing

- Will there be a vaccine by then?

- Keeping an eye out for deals, to encourage people to go

- Protocol having left EU - Visas/Driving Licences etc....though I'm lucky, as have EU passport and can fly from Dublin.

- Insurance is an issue - does it cover C19? What happens if not allowed to travel, if resort is locked down? What happens if get locked down in resort?

- What baggage will be allowed? Skis? Hand luggage?

It's quite hard to weigh up just how big the risk is, as I live with somebody vulnerable (though not on the Govt's list).

Any thoughts from others would be appreciated.


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Fri 10-07-20 13:32; edited 2 times in total
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I am planning on booking this week - package so will be covered for any cancellation (I've checked). Got to go Feb half-term next year so going self-catering to make it more affordable. Got to have something to look forward to after missing out on this last Easter...
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Old Fartbag, I'm maybe a bit similar in that I am NI and have the EU/Dublin advantages, but also the disadvantages of no Euro Tunnel/short ferries. We generally DIY/self cater in Livigno, but sometimes we use a small local agent for coordinating transfers/accom. Before Covid, we were planning to do a 2 week stint in Jan 21. I'm currently on 'wait and see' mode. Normally we wouldn't book until Sept/Oct, but might leave it a bit later and hope for some clarity. I haven't yet developed a contingency plan for what to do if our normal way of working isn't an option, but I don't intend to miss skiing this year if it's at all possible.
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I think many tours offer nowadays free cancellation. So, either make the trip last minute or ensure your cancellation policies.
I don’t expect that there will be a vaccine soon.
& I like the idea of FS to self-catering
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
From an Austrian perspective, it is likely that some things will change. Nothing has been confirmed yet, these are all speculation from local people/organisations and the press:

• Après ski bars, huts, etc. to be table service only, face coverings to be worn by staff and customers when not seated.
• No loud music, singing/shouting.
• Compulsory face coverings in gondolas and covered chair lifts, with the request to not speak.
• Compulsory face coverings in stand-up cable cars with restricted numbers, with the request to not speak.
• No buffet or self service food.
• Arrivals to have certificate of negative COVID test within a given timeframe.
• Border checks.
• Travel restrictions from certain countries.

Planning is certainly underway with the assumption that colder weather will increase infection risk and that there is unlikely to be an effective mass vaccine within a year.
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@queenie pretty please, Great to get the thoughts from the other end of the equation - and those sound like sensible measures....though it will be interesting to see how easy/practical it will be to get a Covid test just before travelling.

This thread should be as much about Resort protocols, as personal decision making......and I suppose that will become clearer as we get closer to the start of the season.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
element wrote:
@Old Fartbag, I'm maybe a bit similar in that I am NI and have the EU/Dublin advantages, but also the disadvantages of no Euro Tunnel/short ferries. We generally DIY/self cater in Livigno, but sometimes we use a small local agent for coordinating transfers/accom. Before Covid, we were planning to do a 2 week stint in Jan 21. I'm currently on 'wait and see' mode. Normally we wouldn't book until Sept/Oct, but might leave it a bit later and hope for some clarity. I haven't yet developed a contingency plan for what to do if our normal way of working isn't an option, but I don't intend to miss skiing this year if it's at all possible.

I have been to Livigno, which was something like a 7 hour bus journey (IIRC) - though I now see a time of 4 - 5 hours given....so that risk has to be weighed up.

With S/C, I suppose the risk of Supermarket shopping needs assessed vs being in a Hotel - there's certainly more things to weigh up this coming Winter.

If I go, it will be with Crystal - as I want the security of having a Package Holiday, in these times of uncertainty.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I'd suspect there is lot to yet become clear - I'm pretty much resigned to driving although that won't stop me purchasing a couple of speculative weekender flights if the price is right. So Brexit will make that additional hassle plus the prospect of negative COVID certification being onerous or costly. Think resorts should just disable bubbles on chairlifts (horrible claustrophobic things anyway) and suspect numbers in gondies and cable cars will be restricted.

Insurance - there will be products - the real benefit would be if BoJo can get his finger out and sign up to extended EHIC so we aren't hostage to think of a number premiums (not so bothered about trip refunds more the cost of an extended COVID related hospital stay).

I'm kind of the opposite logic to OF - can't see I want the complexity of a TO in the middle of arrangements I might want to flex at shortish notice.
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Desperately want to go, but no way realistically that I'm going to book anything, even think about it, until we see how it goes for the rest of this year, into winter and over Xmas. I might - very might - then think of grabbing something, preferably in a location not requiring shared cable car or gondola, but the flying and airport issue remains to be thought carefully about too (too far for us to drive unless we went for a long trip). Would much prefer self catering too, don't want to drink or eat out at indoor restaurants, nor even at a breakfast table.
(I am someone with health issues relevant to this dratted thing, so have to force myself to be cautious.)
After experiencing the Dollies this February, the week when they went into lockdown, I'm avoiding anywhere busy or popular, definitely!
Current plan us to stick to Scotland if we can. Might well try and grab a trip late season though, when the picture should be clearer, risk maybe lower, slopes and streets less busy and weather more conducive to eating and drinking outdoors.
All depends on cost (air, TO, accommodation, other, Euro xr) and availability (ditto), EHIC arrangements, etc etc.
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we prob leave booking until late
will prob drive - may prebook eurostar though.
will prob go somewhere small

If there is an outbreak, then I can simply pack up & leave.

I
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wanting to go, but don't think I'll commit to anything yet.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I'm using the points I built up on on a home swap website for a self catering apartment in France rather than chalet or hotel. If I cancel due to Covid, half of the points are returned to me. I'm Irish and will be flying from Dublin to Lyon and buying changeable flights. Private taxi transfer to resort rather than coach, will have lunch on outdoor terraces and eat in apt in the evenings. As we're essentially getting the apartment for free, we're splurging on a few private lessons for child plus nanny for 4 afternoons rather than group lessons and kids' club. Both arrangements deferrable to following season if we have to cancel. We plan to get Trailfinders insurance as I can't find another insurer on the Irish market who covers Covid-related issues. Going on 12 Dec before massive influx of people from all over.
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Old Fartbag wrote:
I was just wondering how people are approaching their skiing holiday for the coming season. Are you giving it a miss this season? Are you hoping to go, but are thinking about changing your usual approach? Are you doing what you always do?

As we drive and self cater I won't be changing approach and I am expecting by and large a normal trip or two. Already have tunnel booked for Christmas week.

Old Fartbag wrote:
The sort of factors I'm thinking about:

- Leaving it until the last minute, as the landscape is constantly changing

Definitely a good idea if going off peak

Old Fartbag wrote:
- Will there be a vaccine by then?

I doubt it but I would expect track and trace and treatments to be better.

Old Fartbag wrote:
- Protocol having left EU - Visas/Driving Licences etc....though I'm lucky, as have EU passport and can fly from Dublin.

For my Christmas trip there should be no effect. Will deal with any changes for subsequent trips - don't see it being a big game changer purely for a skiing trip

Old Fartbag wrote:
- Insurance is an issue - does it cover C19?

Most don't as I understand in terms of cancellation of holiday.

Old Fartbag wrote:
What happens if not allowed to travel, if resort is locked down?

I think if you are unable to travel because of Covid you are boogered. If resort lockdown I would imagine a refund/rebook.

Old Fartbag wrote:
What happens if get locked down in resort?

I would imagine they would allow you to repatriate but I don't know for sure.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Have booked somewhere that can be cancelled up to 2 days beforehand. Booked with BA so I can be reasonably confident of rearranging flights if it all goes belly up. Transfers can wait and can be cancelled late on anyway. Lift passes when we get there. Just about making sure it can be cancelled at short notice I guess.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Dave of the Marmottes, I’m with you, driving and booking direct, I don’t see that T/O’s add any value especially atm. I’d advocate getting rid of pull-down chair bubbles (really dislike them, even when it’s super cold I prefer to be without). I dislike gondolas in general, think the resorts like Arlberg are going to suffer re queues because of too many built in recent seasons vs chairs. Limited numbers whilst necessary is going to cause chaos at peak times. Smaller resorts will do well imo, larger ones not so. Not bothered about apres oompah scene hopefully it’ll deter a lot of the Jäger-bomb numpties from going and they’ll go to Magalluf instead! I see it as a reset....hoping it’ll still work for the resorts/ locals but I think it’ll send a lot to the wall if no vaccine in next 6 months.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
queenie pretty please wrote:
From an Austrian perspective, it is likely that some things will change. Nothing has been confirmed yet, these are all speculation from local people/organisations and the press:

• Après ski bars, huts, etc. to be table service only, face coverings to be worn by staff and customers when not seated.
• No loud music, singing/shouting.
• Compulsory face coverings in gondolas and covered chair lifts, with the request to not speak.
• Compulsory face coverings in stand-up cable cars with restricted numbers, with the request to not speak.
• No buffet or self service food.
• Arrivals to have certificate of negative COVID test within a given timeframe.
• Border checks.
• Travel restrictions from certain countries.

Planning is certainly underway with the assumption that colder weather will increase infection risk and that there is unlikely to be an effective mass vaccine within a year.


That amount of extra hassle, cost and stress entirely defeats the purpose of the holiday for me, never mind the presence of the speech and mask police, so no thanks Austria in 20/21.

If that is the case QB you're going to have a lovely quiet season.

I'm afraid that insolvency practitioners may have the best season ever?
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@robboj, That's a pretty extreme list and the authorities are well aware of the effect that masks and restricted number has on their revenue, which is why a lot of the regulations have been dropped for the summer season. Carinthia seem to be particularly paranoid, but there is no appetite for more restrictions in Tirol. While the infection rate remains low, life is pretty much as normal including in bars and restaurants. I have never seen a request not to speak – that would not go down well. I would be most concerned about border issues.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Skiing in Scotland for me will be similar to previous years if it is open. I rarely go into huts. No enclosed bubble cars or furniculars (except Nevis range first lift up). You pretty much always need face mask as it can be very windy sometimes. Also it saves money on suncream. Take a pack lunch, and a flask of coffee.

There might be congestion on the T bars if there is one person only allowed, similarly any chair lifts might have fewer uplift per hour. I guess it really comes down to what the infection level is like when the resorts open and there is some snow. Could be very minimal, as it was on 5/3/2020 when I last went.

Most of the skiers in Scotland are Scottish, with some north of England. I rarely get on a T bar with a non Scottish accent. Transport to resort will be by car probably, as public transport is almost non useable for a day trip.
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Having driven for the first time this year for what was meant to be a 30 day trip (ended on 15), we decided 2-things-in-1. We're always going for longer than a week in future; which means we will always decide to drive in future. As for face masks, I wear one all the time on the slope- my chops freeze easily Very Happy, so it's no infringement on my liberty!
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I don't see the mask thing driving down numbers. People are becoming used to masks and in winter people often wear buffs and other types of face coverings anyway. The request not to speak was mentioned for using closed lifts, not a big deal either, you're only on the lift for a few minutes. Masks didn't seem to stop people using bars and restaurants here in May, which is well outside of usual tourist seasons.

Table service in huts, again no big deal, most huts do this anyway. Yes the rowdy Dutch might miss their noisy sweaty après bars but after all this is a global pandemic which has killed over half a million people, not a conspiracy to stop Dutch tourists from getting drunk.

So in fairness, I don't see these sort of measures keeping people away who actually want to have skiing holidays. And like I said, these are just conversations locally and in the media at present, not actual government measures. But it's clear this is being discussed.

The only thing which could be a big deterrent is border checks, it could add hours to people's journeys, so I expect the government will treat such a measure as a last resort. However, Slovenia have been doing it recently and it doesn't seem to have stopped people from driving to Italy and Croatia.
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Scarlet wrote:
@robboj, That's a pretty extreme list and the authorities are well aware of the effect that masks and restricted number has on their revenue, which is why a lot of the regulations have been dropped for the summer season. Carinthia seem to be particularly paranoid, but there is no appetite for more restrictions in Tirol. While the infection rate remains low, life is pretty much as normal including in bars and restaurants. I have never seen a request not to speak – that would not go down well. I would be most concerned about border issues.


Thanks, yes the border issues would be the biggest potential problem and the most stress. A pre-departure test in the previous say 72 hours is potentially a wasted cost, and a significant one if all five of us are travelling and its still a private revenue stream at £/€100+ per test. Right now I feel that if countries or states of countries with tourist based economies want everyone tested then they should be set up to do that at their border quickly and efficiently.

Tbh even if that was the case if the risk by then of asymptomatic infection is still high I'm not sure I would be inclined to risk the disaster that being refused entry would potentially become?

I decided at the outset of the pandemic to manage my personal expectations by assuming I won't be skiing next winter and I think thats probably still the safest thing to do.

If I do go it really will be book one weekend to fly the next.
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Old Fartbag wrote:
I was just wondering how people are approaching their skiing holiday for the coming season. Are you giving it a miss this season? Are you hoping to go, but are thinking about changing your usual approach? Are you doing what you always do?

The sort of factors I'm thinking about:

- Going to somewhere smaller and looking at a more boutique type hotel and getting away from the big help yourself buffet type places (if this is not banned).

- Leaving it until the last minute, as the landscape is constantly changing -- Absolutely!

- Will there be a vaccine by then? -- if there is, everything will be back to "normal". But it's highly unlikely.

- Keeping an eye out for deals, to encourage people to go -- I would be SHOCKED, absolutely SHOCKED if there won't be TONS of deals come next season! So yes, I'm holding off booking anything at all. Waiting for sweet deals when the time gets close.


Only one thing to add.

If you were UNABLE to go outside of the busy period (Christmas, midterm break), it would require a nerve of steel. Of those who "booked" right now, I anticipate a slew of cancellation as circumstance change. The fact many of early booking now comes with generous cancellation allowance simply means there will be significantly more last minute deals when people who "booked" opportunistically choose to cancel without penalty.

I personally would give the season a miss if I can't go outside of peak periods. Then, as we get close, there maybe deals to be had so good you can jump on them to surprise yourself.


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Fri 10-07-20 23:35; edited 1 time in total
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Will there still be restrictions on chairlifts and Tbars ? If so the smaller French resorts may have an advantage, as should Glenshee and the Lecht with all their Pomas, the COVID safe Skilift Cool
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Peter S wrote:
Will there still be restrictions on chairlifts and Tbars ? If so the smaller French resorts may have an advantage, as should Glenshee and the Lecht with all their Pomas, the COVID safe Skilift Cool

Back to the future - Pomas; T-Bars and 2 Man Chairs that bruise the back of your legs when getting on - and then spit you out when getting off. Happy Days! Toofy Grin
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T-bars are the devil's invention at the best of times and hopefully Covid rules will make them sole use only. Far too close up and personal to share!

I definitely want to ski next season but haven't booked anything except the BB, although I haven't even booked the flights for that and fully expect them to be expensive when I do.

Other than that, I'll see how things go.
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I will stay in North America this season even if they let us come over by then (and I fully support banning us right now, sad to say). I'm still grieving the cancellation of my March Alps trip and can't hack another whiff so I'll skip a season and do road trips. For me, a great fallback.
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Mr P has invested in touring skis, and I’m hoping to follow suit with something along those lines but a bit more hybrid. There’s plenty to explore down the lower end of the Belleville valley which can keep us away from the crowds, though I’m sure we will still be using the lifts.
We are lucky to now have our wee house to stay in. Lots more driving via the tunnel to and from I think as well.
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I’m having a normal season. Only difference being it’s busier, with domestic tourists. No other restrictions.

Heli skiing has got too cheap to not do due to lack of tourists. I’m broke because I’ve booked loads of heli days.

Loving it Happy
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Book lastminute.

As the global ski industry collapses, travel firms will be giving stuff away practically for free.

Any 2nd wave of plague in winter 2021 will kill prebooked vacations.

Recent research suggests European and North American vacation prices today are already down 10-20% on last summer.

Prices are tumbling.
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I think the effects of a (likely) no-deal Brexit and the ensuing fallout is going to effect UK residents skiing more than a steenking veerous.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Also the decline in subsequent generations coming into the sport as the baby boomers start to die off and younger people are less inclined to ski or continue skiing. Millennials in particular have less money, do other things and seem less enthused about skiing. An Increasing minority don’t drive and some may be resistant to a sport that has a reputation for a heavy carbon footprint. By 2030 they will make up 22% of the population. This is also affecting other recreations and clubs well beyond skiing. It is probably more acute here because of our separation from reliable, affordable ski areas.
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We booked the chalet in January as we left for the same dates next season. If we are allowed to go we will get there somehow and make it work for us. Not really thinking about it at the moment as seems a bit pointless to speculate, too many what ifs.
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Clearly I must be among the most optimistic here - 4 1 week trips booked !

January - Saalbach, Austria with my brother - booked via Crystal
Feb half term - Zell am See, Austria with wife and 2 rugrats - booked via Crystal
Mar - Les Arcs, France - friends apartment, lads only - self arranged
Apr Easter - Meribel, France - s/c apartment with wife and kids - self arranged

Having missed 2 out of 3 trips booked last year, and a fortnight summer hols in Corfu (all of which were refunded in full or vouchered (BA for that bit) I figured next season I needed to go big !

Only deposits at this stage - but I struggle if I don't have something to look forward to. Very Happy
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Whitegold wrote:
Book lastminute.

As the global ski industry collapses, travel firms will be giving stuff away practically for free.

Any 2nd wave of plague in winter 2021 will kill prebooked vacations.

Recent research suggests European and North American vacation prices today are already down 10-20% on last summer.

Prices are tumbling.


Nice theory. However the more likely scenario from lack of early bookings isn't going to be hotels, chalet and TOs selling at or below cost price. It'll be mass failures/insolvencies, with the smallest firms going earliest. Less choice, less availability (as a lot of owners simply shutter up for a season) and the hotels and chalets left operating having higher prices as a result, but still struggling due to lower volume.

I don't see anyone benefiting from a lack of early bookings...
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Having taken a punt early on when the MagicPass was reissued for 2020/21, I'm looking forwards to having all of February with my +1 in Switzerland.
We are driving down and AirBnB ing, so worst case we can cancel at short notice, and the passes are insured if the season goes belly up. Its just the tunnel booking to go, and to be honest, if we are all in lockdown in the UK this winter, I will have bigger things to worry about than a few quid on some kyboshed travel plans, as the freelance market for construction engineers will have probably evaporated. Puzzled

Still, I am a positive person, and I will have many sweet dreams going forwards in expectation of the aforementioned POMA's, T-Bars, and Kamikazee 2 Man Chair lifts in the smaller Swiss resorts on the MagicPass. Laughing
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My preference would be to avoid cable cars, gondolas, funiculars and other enclosed spaces. Any suggestions as to which resorts would give the greatest km of skiing on just chairs, pomas & T-bars.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
froomie wrote:
Whitegold wrote:
Book lastminute.

As the global ski industry collapses, travel firms will be giving stuff away practically for free.

Any 2nd wave of plague in winter 2021 will kill prebooked vacations.

Recent research suggests European and North American vacation prices today are already down 10-20% on last summer.

Prices are tumbling.


Nice theory. However the more likely scenario from lack of early bookings isn't going to be hotels, chalet and TOs selling at or below cost price. It'll be mass failures/insolvencies, with the smallest firms going earliest. Less choice, less availability (as a lot of owners simply shutter up for a season) and the hotels and chalets left operating having higher prices as a result, but still struggling due to lower volume.

I don't see anyone benefiting from a lack of early bookings...

I do.

Those failures and consolidation you speak of will come, but not for 20/21. What WILL happen is every establishment will fight to fill their rooms however they can, probably a lot of last minutes at much low prices.

Those who can't managed the cash flow in 20/21 will fail to operate in 21/22. But the hotels and chalets will still be there, perhaps operated by a new owner.

TO's? They can go. They're on the way out anyway. With online booking make DIY so much easier, there's no longer any point to have any middleman. Only the most service-oriented one will exist, charging higher prices for their service. The shake-up is already happening in the background. The pandemic only accelerates it.

We're in a recession. To say prices will go up in the middle of a recession is ignoring reality. What may come at the end of the recession is a different matter. But not for 20/21, which is what this thread about.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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DCG wrote:
My preference would be to avoid cable cars, gondolas, funiculars and other enclosed spaces. Any suggestions as to which resorts would give the greatest km of skiing on just chairs, pomas & T-bars.

I got to thinking about this the other day after someone mentioned it.

The place I go to most often is Paradiski based in Les Coches. I reckon I could get most of the way around the domain without being enclosed. On the La Plagne side it would rule out going up to the glacier in the Bellecote. But I don't do that much anyway. I almost never use Roche De Mio. Use of Grand Rochette would be a small issue but not a killer. On the Les Arcs side the Varet would be a big loss, Aiguille Rouge not something we'd do loads and was closed for a whole week once when I was out there. Transarc could cause some inconvenience. Oh and there is of course the Vanoise Express. I usually buy a Paradiski pass and split the time 50/50 so that would be a major gripe.
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@Layne, Thanks for that suggestion. It's been a while since I've been there but I'll take a close look at the map following your suggestions.
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abc wrote:


Those failures and consolidation you speak of will come, but not for 20/21. What WILL happen is every establishment will fight to fill their rooms however they can, probably a lot of last minutes at much low prices.

Those who can't managed the cash flow in 20/21 will fail to operate in 21/22. But the hotels and chalets will still be there, perhaps operated by a new owner.

TO's? They can go. They're on the way out anyway. With online booking make DIY so much easier, there's no longer any point to have any middleman. Only the most service-oriented one will exist, charging higher prices for their service. The shake-up is already happening in the background. The pandemic only accelerates it.

We're in a recession. To say prices will go up in the middle of a recession is ignoring reality. What may come at the end of the recession is a different matter. But not for 20/21, which is what this thread about.


Fair points. Perhaps the consolidation won't be immediate, but seems likely it will come. However, just look at what is happening right now with airfares. Airlines aren't just giving seats away. They are reducing capacity as it's less costly to park planes than run them at a loss. Fares haven't come down, check out BA LHR-GVA for July and August. Down to 2 daily flights in either direction (against 10 normally) and a return economy fare is still £200+.
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