Will we be able to enjoy winter sports at European ski resorts this season?
Because of the pandemic, last year wasn't the best time for ski and winter sport lovers to have some fun, so there is no doubt we all hope this year will be better. Indeed, France, Germany and Italy had closed most of their slopes for 2020/2021, so there are big hopes it will resume this year, and that we will all be able to enjoy our beautiful European mountains. But since Covid cases are rising again with some countries putting local lockdowns in place, there is nothing quite certain. Will ski resorts be open for the 2021/2022 season, and what will be the restrictions in place if there are some? Here is what we know.
Depending on countries, situations can vary a lot. For instance, in France many ski resorts such as Val Thorens, Chamonix, Deux-Alpes and Val d'Isère are due to open next weekend, while in Austria they took a step back because of a nationwide lockdown.
In many places such as Cervinia in Italy, you will need an NHS Covid Pass to eat at restaurants or take part in indoor activities, while in France it is also required for cafés, bars, restaurants, leisure centres, cinemas and theatres. But many places in Italy and Switzerland should open at the end of the month, and haven't yet indicated precise restrictions.
The countries which have indicated precise ones however include Austria, which is a real problem as winter holidays there are really important for the economy. And Germany is in pretty much the same situation, with the fourth wave described as ?dramatic?, meaning the country will probably ask people to show either proof of vaccination, recovery or negative testing in order to enter ski resorts from now on.
Some countries are however a lot safer, since they are not actually experiencing a big rise in cases.
Alex Herrmann, the UK director of Switzerland Tourism, commented: ?Switzerland was the only Alpine country which was able to almost fully operate the ski resorts and wider mountain hospitality industry during the last winter season and has proven that it's possible to have an enjoyable and safe winter holiday despite Covid?.
He added: ?Nevertheless, we are following the development of the Covid situation carefully. The Swiss resorts and hotels are very much looking forward to welcoming back the winter sports enthusiasts from the UK this winter.?
As for France, it seems to be somewhere in the middle since it is experiencing a smaller surge in Covid cases, which led the French prime minister to say that ski resorts will remain open, but it isn't excluded to have more restrictions in place if things get worse. That is why we would advise to check individually each ski resort's website before travelling, as things could potentially change quickly.