What will skiing look like in 2020/21?

If any of us make it out to a ski resort this year (after Lockdown #3), what can we expect to find when we get there?

Ski resorts, like the rest of the world, have had to adapt to the pandemic and many are not operating on a pre-Covid scale. Having said that, most of us have become pretty used to rules and restrictions of late, so if you manage to make it out to a resort (without needing to quarantine when you get there) then the rest is easy!

Should I book a ski holiday 2020/21 in advance?

The situation is changing rapidly at present and it's hard to predict which countries will be on or off limits.

But if you've made up your mind to book then a good option is to book a package deal as you're guaranteed to get your money back if the trip is cancelled. If you're a family wanting to book a ski holiday, consider a mini break at the beginning of the Easter holidays, leaving you 14 days of school holidays to quarantine when you get back.

Don't expect to find amazing deals this year as tour operators are reducing capacity, but you may find some early-booking incentives.

What will skiing in 2020/21 look like?

If you do manage to make it out to a ski resort this year, things won't be operating in the same way they were when you were last there. Ski resorts within the same country, or even within the same region, are differing greatly on what rules they have in place, so the best advice is to do your homework!

Many ski resorts will limit the number of lift passes sold and require you to wear masks on chalifts/gondolas, in lift queues and in indoor public spaces (with social distancing at 1m minimum). You'll also likely find resorts are running gondolas with reduced capacity but at a faster speed. Ski lessons will have reduced numbers and in-resort childcare options will be limited or cancelled altogether.

Apres-ski will be much quieter this year and numbers at bars limited to prevent crowds. Mountain huts will almost certainly be outside-only dining or takeaways and all music and ski events will be cancelled. Many resorts will also ask skiers to download an app to make reservations and order food in restaurants.

As far as ski accommodation is concerned, self-catering will be many people's first choice. If you go for a hotel or shared chalet be prepared for less choice - there will be fewer large chalets available and some operators like Crystal Ski are not offering catered chalets this season. Some VIP chalets are asking guests to pre-order meals in advance to remove the need for an in-house chef. 

How to stay as safe on the ski slopes

If you do decide to travel to a ski resort, try to limit your chances of catching Covid-19 by not travelling on Saturdays (busiest days); try to book accommodation (self-catering if possible) near the slopes so you don't have to use ski buses; take a packed lunch up the mountain rather than visiting a ski hut; and reserve your ski equipment ahead of time so you don't have to spend time looking around a ski hire shop. Some resorts will be giving out free "buffs" (tubular scarfs) with your ski pass to enable you to cover your face and mouth. 

NOTE: If you decide to travel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it is even more important that you have appropriate travel insurance.