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Is Season 2021/22 going to happen for the British or for Anyone Else

 Poster: A snowHead
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@GreenDay, I do hope you're right but whilst the majority of the public lives in fear there is always the risk of a 'demand' for another lockdown/travel restrictions etc etc. For holidays next winter to be a good bet (as for lots of other things) we need folks to learn to see a different picture and governments to decide that continued restrictions will be more damaging to their re-election prospects than deaths.

Back OT what puts me off booking for now tbh is not just if it will be possible but presuming it is then it's the 'risk' of what it's actually going to be like, as Markymark29 touched on above.

Whilst I would miss it for maybe the couple of times in the week we'd normally partake I could cope without noisy aprés but if there lots of other stuff like masks everywhere in town and especially having to fart about with one getting on and off lifts it just degrades the holiday experience. If that's combined with things like tests and quarantine risk there or on return then it just gets to the point where for some, me in particular, it becomes an ordeal rather than a holiday and I'm not inclined to pay for that.

I appreciate that's just my opinion. There will be plenty folks for whom any amount of 'covid cräp' will be tolerable just to get on the slopes. That would've been me 20 years ago for sure but now its more than just the skiing for me and if most of that 'more' is off limits then I'm more likely to stay away.

We'll see?
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@robboj, I get what you are saying, but (in my case) it will be a year away.

If things are not vaguely back to normal by then - skiing is frankly the last thing that everyone will be worrying about.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Nobody will really know the answer to what the 2021/22 season is going to be like until much nearer the time because we have seen how quickly things can change from good to bad to good etc.. That said, I feel that it's going to be almost back to normal, including apres-ski. If the vaccine rollout reduces the death rate to around or below that of a normal flu season I can't see how any country can justify any restrictions which were not in place pre-pandemic.
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@JohnS4, That's basically my thinking too. Just about to put a deposit down for a February trip as it happens!

As for masks on lifts @robboj, presumably as it's outdoors, just pulling up your snood is likely to suffice? They may want something a bit better for a gondola though. I'm not fussed on the apres, so not really bothered if that is still curtailed to be honest!
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@GreenDay, Yes, I'm a confirmed January skier so maybe some more risk of an issue based upon what Whitty said yesterday but your general point is very relevant.

@JohnS4, I agree but thats where the general public attitude will come in and thus dictate the political mood.

@Timmycb5, a snood or thin balaclava/mask is quite a common accessory in January so that wouldn't bother me as they're more breathable in the first place. These specific masks that are required in Austria don't look as they they would sit anywhere but in their place so the thought of faffing about with them and all me kit is a pain. As for the Après it would depend on where I was. I was thinking Obergurgl to at least remove the need to worry about snow conditions so the Nederhütte would be missed there but in other places I wouldn't be that bothered.
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@robboj, Agree about public attitude. That's going to be interesting to see how it changes. It may well vary from country to country depending on (a) their dependence on tourism,(b) how their vaccine rollout is going, and (c) whether their government is still providing subsidies to people who cannot work and businesses which cannot open. It looks very much like Greece will do whatever it takes to get tourists back in summer. Some other countries might feel the same way next winter and others may not.

Like you say, it comes down to public perception. Politicians would say that they are listening to the people who elect them, though in reality its more about which strategy is the least risk to them getting kicked out of office.
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"if the vaccine reduces the death rate to around or below that of a normal flu season, I cant see how any country can justify any restrictions which were not in place pre-pandemic."
That's logic. But logic may not be what drives such decisions.
Pre pandemic, deaths from the normal flu season were not politically sensitive. No politician was condemned by the media or by his/her political rivals for allowing those deaths to happen.
Whereas each death from covid is ongoingly regarded as a tragedy which could have been avoided, if only (insert name of whichever politician) had banned travel and locked down sooner, harder and for longer.
In addition, other people's foreign holidays are perceived by some (perhaps many) voters as a frivolous luxury, bad for the planet and an insult to millions of people living in poverty etc.
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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!
@peerless ploughman, It would be very easy for them to spin it that way. it's perhaps less likely in the summer as there's more votes or readers to lose but the press would have little compunction to do so in winter against 'rich skiers' heading 'luxury resorts' etc.

Don't want to go off topic but the public attitude is the key to normality, including holidays abroad, being 'socially correct' or not.
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robboj wrote:
@peerless ploughman, It would be very easy for them to spin it that way. it's perhaps less likely in the summer as there's more votes or readers to lose but the press would have little compunction to do so in winter against 'rich skiers' heading 'luxury resorts' etc.

Don't want to go off topic but the public attitude is the key to normality, including holidays abroad, being 'socially correct' or not.


That's certainly the image of skiers with the UK press but I doubt that in Austria/Switzerland such a negative view of skiing would be commonplace. The destination country will be setting most of the rules we have to abide with unless there are still restrictions on leaving the UK next year which I find hard to believe.
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There is no conspiracy of Lockdown, as some would have us believe. Particularly the CRG Zealots who told us last summer that the pandemic was "all but over" and that "we've effectively reached herd immunity". Months ago, the Chief Scientific Advisor clearly said that the aim was to get to the same state that we're in with established 'flu - where a certain level of deaths are inevitable and immunisation and boosters keeps hospitalisations and deaths at an acceptable level. That's the logic and it's the target. Supported by the 5 week cycle of phased removal of restrictions. The illogic is the constant "Are we there yet? Why aren't we there yet? We could be there earlier." from a minority of MPs and the press, when everyone else understands the schedule of what's happening, and is able to display mature patience.
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@LaForet, Nobody on the thread has mentioned conspiracy. But many do seem to realise that one of the primary drivers of what we will be allowed to do in future and in the case of this topic, skiing abroad next winter, will be dictated, at least in part, by the politicians then view of what is going to be best for their prospects of re-election. That's not speculating on a conspiracy just showing a sensible understanding of what drives most political decisions. If what Whitty predicted yesterday is accurate it will be a political decision as to how many deaths are 'acceptable' or to be more specific, unavoidable without continued serious damage to many other aspects of our lives and wellbeing.

I wonder if we will have a clearer picture if, by the point of maximum vaccination, the government message around fear starts to change to the opposite?

To keep on topic how do folks feel about the quality/extent of the 'holiday' aspect as I mentioned above. Would that put you off or would you still go if nothing is on offer but to sleep, eat and go everywhere apart from downhill in a mask?
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@robboj, good question. I don’t know. It would be quite a deterrent for me.
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Quote:
To keep on topic how do folks feel about the quality/extent of the 'holiday' aspect as I mentioned above. Would that put you off or would you still go if nothing is on offer but to sleep, eat and go everywhere apart from downhill in a mask?


@robboj, I personally would not enjoy the faffing about with having to wear masks in gondalas, ski lifts, public areas etc nor would I enjoy the restrictions regarding keeping a distance from folk in lift queues or having meals delivered to hotel rooms. To me such restrictions would spoil a ski holiday and I would prefer to wait until restrictions are lifted
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
robboj wrote:


To keep on topic how do folks feel about the quality/extent of the 'holiday' aspect as I mentioned above. Would that put you off or would you still go if nothing is on offer but to sleep, eat and go everywhere apart from downhill in a mask?


It's really not like that here in CH. We live relatively normally. OK we have to wear masks on the trains, cable cars and ski lifts, and in shops, but it's not too bad at all. Holidaymakers even have the luxury of being able to use the bar and restaurant in their hotel.
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Quote:
@robboj, I personally would not enjoy the faffing about with having to wear masks in gondalas, ski lifts, public areas etc nor would I enjoy the restrictions regarding keeping a distance from folk in lift queues or having meals delivered to hotel rooms. ....................


But I would put with it in order to have a ski trip. So no, it wouldn't put me off. What would be a deterrent would be having to undergo some form of quarantine at either end.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
....Or a test to have to return to the UK-at least for children who will not be vaccinated. I don't think many families could take the risk of Little Jonny testing positive 48 hours before return and then having to stay in a foreign country for another fortnight before being allowed to travel back home.
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@halfhand, @snowhound, Yes, quarantine or the risk of it would make it a definite no go, even if it's 'just' having to stay at home for 10 days on return. The thought that it could be imposed abroad at any point would turn the holiday into a stress fest for me. Our youngest will be 19 by next January so we should all be vaccinated but you just never know. I recall reading a few months ago now somewhere that IIRC Austria was considering daily testing of tourists as part of an opening up scheme. The thought of waking up every day wondering whether it would end in the restaurant and bar or locked in a room somewhere else for two weeks at my expense made it an absolute no chance from me. A kind of daily Russian roulette with swabs instead of pistols.
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@halfhand, @snowhound, @robboj, Agree the testing/quarantine being the biggest problem as it introduces too much uncertainty in whether you will be able to ski, or return to the UK. That would deter me from making a ski trip. The other restrictions like mask wearing and limited/no apres-ski would be annoying but would not stop me travelling.
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@telford_mike, I have developed a hatred of masks which makes that factor more dissuasive for me. I accept they must make a difference to transmissibility of the virus and thus infection but I hate wearing one all the same. I organise my life at home to minimise the situations where I have to wear one but trying to do that abroad would make the holiday itself pointless.
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robboj wrote:
@LaForet, Nobody on the thread has mentioned conspiracy.
It seemed so to me. There have been a number of statement along the lines that pre-pandemic, regular 'flu deaths weren't an issue but that there is some sort of disproportionate politically-motivated response to coronavirus that's unjustified. Well, I think it is justified, there is no political amplification going on, and the response has been, if anything, inadequate rather than excessive.

You claim that 'whilst the majority of the public lives in fear there is always the risk of a 'demand' for another lockdown/travel restrictions etc' - I disagree. We aren't 'living in fear' and no one is 'demand[ing] another lockdown'. This is hyperbole. Yes, we are being restricted by measures designed to control an epidemic. They are tough for many. But this isn't some 1984-type situation. It is what it is given we're in a pandemic.

But as you say, to get back on topic, we were in Switzerland last August-September and didn't find the mask-wearing in the gondola or in enclosed spaces particularly problematic. We were just glad to be up in the mountains. But then we were self-catering, which I think is much more comfortable in terms of restrictions than sharing a hotel or in a chalet group. Which is why I think that self-drive and self-catering will be a bigger proportion of holidays next winter.

I suspect that the current testing requirements will be removed, as long as vaccination proceeds as planned and there are no variant outbreaks. And you'll be left with just needing a Vaccination Certificate at terrestrial Immigration or flight check-in. Something like the 'Green Pass' arrangements already announced by various summer destination countries. However, the problem Alpine country for me seems to be France- if distrust of the vaccine means they can't get their immunisation % up beyond the 75% or so needed for herd immunity, then I can see the country enduring a persistent cycle of restrictions. But hopefully, they will get there in the 9 months before Christmas.


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Thu 11-03-21 15:39; edited 2 times in total
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@LaForet, has there been any sign of additional outbreaks related to any Swiss resorts that have been open this winter? Could suggest that aprés was the main cause of transmission last season.

I’m a keen follower of some clever people on Twitter and the vaccine news seems pretty universally good, and have also seen suggestions that the virus may be running out of ways to mutate, so the fact that the vaccines work (certainly to reduce serious illness) could be good news for next season. I’m certainly very hopeful of a normal-ish season.
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andy from embsay wrote:
@LaForet, has there been any sign of additional outbreaks related to any Swiss resorts that have been open this winter? Could suggest that aprés was the main cause of transmission last season.

Overall, Switzerland has had a lower covid death rate per 100 thousand (108) ranked #17 compared to the UK (184) ranked #4 and has currently fully-vaccinated 6% vs the UK's 33% (although more people in CH have had the 2nd dose). They are currently in a multi-phase release process like the UK. The Federal office of Public Health (FOPH) is a good source for current status in Switzerland.

It's a bit difficult to answer the question without a lot of caveats, but the pattern of infections in Switzerland seems not to have been greatly affected either way as a consequence of the ski resorts being open under Covid restrictions. But of course, they're only open to Swiss residents (in theory). However, locals are often only taking a day out or a short break, so for them, it's hard to track an infection back to a ski outing with certainty.

One thing that's becoming increasingly clear is that smaller gondolas aren't a big transmission source as long as the windows are kept open and they aren't fully-occupied. The exception is the big jumbo gondolas where you simply cant get the airflow up to the levels needed to be safe. It's probably safe to say that last season, it was a raft of factors that contributed to the first Alpine outbreak, including crowded jumbo gondolas, indoor eating spaces, and bars/clubs. And that by imposing the recommended measures, it turned out possible to minimise infections while still running the resort, through having no indoor eating or drinking, open windows in gondolas, and substantially reduced numbers in jumbo gondolas.

If you're interested in some of the research into gondolas and infection, here's a typical example. The conclusion seems to be that smaller gondolas are fine if the windows are kept open, but the big gondolas are much less healthy.

One interesting complaint I have read in the Swiss press is that by closing all other sport activities but skiing, this meant that anyone who wanted to exercise had only one option - to go to a ski resort. Which put much more pressure on resorts than they expected. Some of them got caught out a bit, because they underestimated the numbers who would be there. The loss of a significant number of foreign visitors was counterbalanced by more locals deciding to get out. And with people remote working, it became much easier to take a weekday off to get in some skiing than previously, when they had to be in the office.


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Thu 11-03-21 11:20; edited 4 times in total
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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Wearing masks and not eating out wouldn't make the slightest bit of difference to whether I would go or not.

As others have said, the prospect of being forced to quarantine on the way back would be a nightmare, but I'm about to pay a deposit for next season in the hope that it's not going to be an issue.

The chances of us catching covid whilst skiing has got to be minimal. We will be self catering and will probably avoid crowded cafes at lunchtime. All fingers point towards the vaccines reducing the transmissibility of the virus, so you'd have to hope that in one year's time, it's going to be on the wane.

As for the French and their apparent lack of vaccine trust, if another year goes by whilst the vaccine is running free, then you'd hope the population might have some level of T-cell immunity, unless there are lots of new strains. That said, all of the mutations seem to be going in the same direction, so perhaps the ability of the virus to mutate to an equally virulent and effective virus is limited.
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LaForet wrote:
robboj wrote:
@LaForet, Nobody on the thread has mentioned conspiracy.
It seemed so to me. There have been a number of statement along the lines that pre-pandemic, regular 'flu deaths weren't an issue but that there is some sort of disproportionate politically-motivated response to coronavirus that's unjustified. Well, I think it is justified, there is no political amplification going on, and the response has been, if anything, inadequate rather than excessive.


I'm not going to divert the thread into yet another lockdown conspiracy debate. My own thoughts and I suspect the same with some others is that whilst flu/winter virus deaths have always been an issue to some extent depending upon the severity of different years/seasons. There has never to my knowledge previously been any call to 'lockdown' or restrict our activities in any way during the winter months. Apart from those folk that did, sadly, die then in most cases people would only associate it with a spell of social or professional inconvenience that is occasionally inevitable, even the symptoms themselves were almost incidental to that inevitability. Possibly the worst effect we would know or hear of would be the postponement of planned surgery if a particular hospital was overwhelmed.

Regardless of anyones view of whether Lockdown was justified or not that has changed with Covid and the biggest risk to all of our future sliding plans is if that policy becomes the accepted means of dealing with winter respiratory viruses. It's why I speculate that the 'propaganda' message that comes out from Governments through this coming summer will tell us a lot about what at least the next year will look like in many ways, a significant one of which is foreign leisure travel.
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@robboj, I thought you started this thread to get away from all the COVID/lockdown discussion?

Meanwhile, I've just booked some flights for Xmas 2020/2021. Still very cheap, with highly flexible terms on offer.

In fact, they are so flexible, that I've booked two because I don't yet know which time will work best. I'll just refund the one that isn't optimal.

I now have four trips booked at some level (not all complete, but some combo of flights/time off/acommodation etc.)

The increasing attractiveness of UK tourists (in a COVID sense!) to European nations makes me hopeful that the various trips we have booked might happen. France's efforts to stimulate a level of domestic tourism even as a third wave build in Jan/Feb suggests governments are attaching a high priority to getting the industry moving again.
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@snowdave, Thats a fair point but I'm just trying to put my view that the public attitude to, or fear of Covid will have a big say in what is or is not possible next winter but also that the Governments can choose to shape that attitude with different messaging once we hit the critical vaccination point? If not the worst case scenario is that this thread title becomes annualised for years to come?

Interesting about flight flexibility. I had been thinking to book a package for the most protection but if the airlines are being at least as flexible then it opens other options. May I ask what airline?
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snowdave wrote:
...Meanwhile, I've just booked some flights for Xmas 2020/2021. Still very cheap...
Not really a surprise! Very Happy
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@LaForet, thank you for that interesting link on air quality in gondolas. While they only studied three actual gondolas, it seemed that it was less the size than whether side windows could be opened, that gave much better ventilation than the skylight type. And their modelling didn't take into account whether passengers were wearing masks. It did mention passenger numbers, but of course there are limits on numbers anyway and I guess the question is whether the airflow is sufficient for the standard number or it needs reducing.

But I took it as encouraging. Given there will be anxiety about a surge in winter 2021-22 I see it as likely that there will be restrictions (masks, numbers depending on design) but a good likelihood resorts will find a way of opening.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
j b wrote:
@LaForet, thank you for that interesting link on air quality in gondolas. While they only studied three actual gondolas, it seemed that it was less the size than whether side windows could be opened, that gave much better ventilation than the skylight type. And their modelling didn't take into account whether passengers were wearing masks. It did mention passenger numbers, but of course there are limits on numbers anyway and I guess the question is whether the airflow is sufficient for the standard number or it needs reducing.

But I took it as encouraging. Given there will be anxiety about a surge in winter 2021-22 I see it as likely that there will be restrictions (masks, numbers depending on design) but a good likelihood resorts will find a way of opening.


Any resort worrying about this can remove the opening portion of windows, yes some days there will be snow ingress problem, but ventalation is assured.

Strange statistic here in Chamonix, dispite the Aiguille du Midi having as busy a summer as ever, NONE of the staff got sick. Unpleasantly for those of us riding it, they gave up with the reduced capacity game very early on and went back to playing sardines/Tokyo Subway
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British holidaymakers hoping to escape across the Channel after lockdown have been given a boost after France announced it would ease its border restrictions.

Those arriving from the UK, as well as travellers from Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and Singapore, will no longer need to have a “compelling reason” for entering the country. The need to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test result taken no longer than 72 hours prior to departure will remain in place.

In a statement, the French foreign minister said the entry requirements can be relaxed due to the widespread cases of “the ‘UK variant’ in France and the specific health situation in these countries.”
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@Weathercam, woohoo. My summer trip to Brittany is still on then!
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
As far as skiing goes, I think the Swiss experience shows that to be safe, infection countermeasures can be imposed in a resort, without it needing to shut down completely. So the issue for the next season will be the entry restrictions - i.e. the need (or not) for vaccination certificates, test certificates and exemption certificates going to the Alps and returning to the UK.

I don't see vaccination or vaccination exemption certificates as being a big problem by next season: most people will have been fully-vaccinated by then, or will be able to get an exemption. Whether they're on paper and/or an app is a bit of diversion. The problem will be if countries don't recognise these as sufficient proof of non-infectiousness, and demand a reliable test before arrival. If they do, then this could range from being inconvenient and expensive to being infeasible and too costly. We'll probably get a better idea over the summer.

The current (12.3.21) requirement for returning to the UK from France is to quarantine for 10 days plus organise two tests at a cost of £210 per person. Hopefully, this will have gone completely by next season, or at least been replaced by nothing more than a requirement to show a vaccination certificate or exemption. And similarly for destinations. If not, you're talking about £1,680 for outbound and return tests for a family of 4.


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Fri 12-03-21 13:42; edited 4 times in total
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
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The EU have just approved the single dose J&J vaccine.

They've secured 400 million doses, so I expect their roll out to be coming on a pace now.
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Yep, hopefully. I believe the mass vacc centres around here will get going tomorrow, and at the special SA variant vaccine drive in Schwaz, signup has been around 76%. That started this morning, and apparently “most” appointments were kept, so better than expected.
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https://news.sky.com/story/france-to-ease-coronavirus-travel-restrictions-boosting-uk-holidaymakers-hopes-12242734

Fingers crossed for France...
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https://news.sky.com/story/france-to-ease-coronavirus-travel-restrictions-boosting-uk-holidaymakers-hopes-12242734

Fingers crossed for France...
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Weathercam wrote:
British holidaymakers hoping to escape across the Channel after lockdown have been given a boost after France announced it would ease its border restrictions.

Those arriving from the UK, as well as travellers from Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and Singapore, will no longer need to have a “compelling reason” for entering the country. The need to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test result taken no longer than 72 hours prior to departure will remain in place.

In a statement, the French foreign minister said the entry requirements can be relaxed due to the widespread cases of “the ‘UK variant’ in France and the specific health situation in these countries.”


This is really good news - especially as the French put the UK is the same bracket as third countries such as Japan and NZ that have really low case numbers.
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So the French infections are on the up so they open up to tourism! Guess it'll be a case of quarantine when returning to the UK.
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esaw1 wrote:
So the French infections are on the up so they open up to tourism! Guess it'll be a case of quarantine when returning to the UK.

For now. It will be a different ballgame in a few months
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Well I have not seen my Mrs since Dec 31st and she's flying to Nice this coming Saturday as we have a forthcoming meeting re Carte Sejour etc and she's amassed loads of paper-work in order to travel Laughing

Would seem that now the only docs needed are the PCR test and reason to travel ex UK.
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