Coronavirus: Is it safe to go on my ski holiday to the Alps?
As ski lovers ourselves, we understand just how important your ski holidays are. Over the past few weeks, the spread of coronavirus has affected skiers and snowboarders planning ski trips in the Alps as well as further afield.
To help keep everyone up to date (and keep rumours at bay) we’ll be regularly updating this post to reflect the latest official information, including a list of areas that are closed as well as our policies and compensation for those affected.
Update: March 15h, 2020 – 10h10: It’s official – all French ski resorts have now announced they are closed for the season. This comes at the worst possible time for the many guests who travelled out to resort yesterday, only to find out they needed to make a U-turn and head straight back home.
Here in Val d’Isere, the feeling is quite surreal. The few people on the streets are holidaymakers who didn’t even have the chance to use their equipment, now returning their gear to the shops.
Tour Operators are making repatriation arrangements for their clients but things are more difficult for those who self-travelled by air. There is no sense of panic, but people we’ve spoken to are feeling understandably stressed. We will update again when we know more.
Update, March 14th, 2020 – 21h50: Inghams Ski has just announced that they have heard from the French government that they will be closing “the ski lifts with immediate effect. This is despite assurances yesterday and this afternoon from the resorts and tourism bodies themselves that they would stay open until the end of the winter season.”
“If you are due to travel to France on Sunday 15 March please do not go to the airport.”
This appears to be the nail in the coffin for ski season in the Alps.
Coronavirus (Covid-19) Travel Information:
Last update: 15 March, 2020 – 10h10
What Are My Travel Rights?
Insurers and airlines generally follow the official UK foreign travel advice. If you ignore this advice you risk invalidating your insurance policy.
Many Tour Operators, including Ski Solutions, Crystal Ski Holidays and Inghams will be offering alternative holidays/destinations to their clients set to travel to destinations the FCO advises against travelling to.
What Happens if I Decide to Cancel My Trip?
Usually, your travel insurance will only cover you if your trip was planned for an area the FCO has now specifically advised against travelling to.
According to Su Crown, from the Association of British Insurers, “In general, cancellation or travel disruption cover will activate when the FCO advises against all travel or all but essential travel to an area – travel insurance is not designed to cover ‘disinclination to travel’ where the FCO advice has not changed to advise against travel.”
If you wish to cancel your trip to a country not named by the FCO you will need to contact your travel provider to find out their exact policy.
Can I Rebook Instead?
While many insurers will not cover non-essential cancellations, some airlines are now letting passengers rebook flights instead.
British Airways, for example, has said that passengers with bookings to some airports in the north of Italy – including Milan, Turin, Bologna, Venice, Bergamo and Verona – will be able to move their flights to a later date.
Certain hotels are offering refunds or the option to rebook, however this largely depends on the conditions at the time the booking was made.
What Should I do if I’ve Booked a Holiday to an Unaffected Area?
According to personal finance expert Martin Lewis, if you currently have a holiday booked for any destination, you should get insurance as soon as possible because the situation at your destination could quickly change.
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Should the FCO change its advice and warn against travel to a new area you should be covered if your insurance is taken out before the advice changes, but should you try to take out insurance after the fact you will not get it.
Coronavirus: Which Ski Resorts are Affected?
Which French Ski Resorts are Affected by Coronavirus?
March 14th, 21h50: Inghams Ski has just announced that they have heard from the French government that “they will be closing all the ski lifts for the rest of the season, effective 15 March, despite assurances from the ski resorts themselves they would stay open.”
“If you are due to travel to France tomorrow, please do not go to the airport.”
This appears to be the nail in the coffin for ski season in the Alps.
March 15h, 2020 – 10h10: It’s official – all French ski resorts have now announced they are closed for the season. This comes at the worst possible time for the many guests who travelled out to resort yesterday, only to find out they needed to make a U-turn and head straight back home.
March 14th 21h30: La Clusaz, Les Gets, Chamonix and Chatel have confirmed they are closing.
March 14th, 21h20: Alpe d’Huez has just announced the resort and its lifts will be closed from the end of the day tomorrow.
France reported a sharp rise in cases on March 14th, from 3,661 to 4,499. Expect the information below to change from Sunday March 15th.
Many large resorts including Chamonix, La Plagne, Les Arcs, Val d’Isere/Tignes and others have issued statements on the 12th and 13th of March saying they plan to stay open until the end of the season unless higher governmental authorities step in and force them to close, regardless of the closures in Italy, Switzerland, and Austria.
Six British skiers staying in Les Contamines tested positive for Covid-19 during the week of February 8th, 2020.
Crystal Ski has cancelled all holidays to the French ski resorts of Les Orres, Montgenèvre and Serre Chevalier, all of which border Italy as their flights land in Turin airport.
The French government has banned all gatherings of more than 100 people and therefore music festivals including Tomorrowland in Alpe d’Huez and Rock the Pistes in the Portes du Soleil.
Which Italian Ski Resorts are Affected by Coronavirus?
As of March 10th, 2020 all Italian ski resorts are closed for the season.
On March 8th the Italian government declared all resorts in the Aosta Valley – an area which includes popular resorts like Courmayeur, Champoluc, Pila, Gressoney, Alagna, La Thuile (linked to La Rosiere in France) and Cervinia (linked to Zermatt in Switzerland) as well as all resorts in Lombardy (which includes busy resorts like Bormio and Livigno – the site of the 2026 winter olympics) would be closed for the season.
Following this closure, on Monday the 9th, officials from Dolomiti Superski, a combined ski area lift pass that covers 12 ski resorts in Northern Italy including Cortina d’Ampezzo, Kronplatz, Alta Badia, Val Gardena, Marmolada, Val di Fiemme and Civetta, announced that they would voluntarily be closing all operations from Tuesday, March 10th.
On Monday March 9th Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte declared that all of Italy’s 60m residents would be placed under quarantine, only to leave their houses for urgent health or work reasons. Schools and universities across the country are closed and all public gatherings have been cancelled until at least the 3rd of April. As a result, all ski resorts are now closed for the 19/20 ski season and the FCO is officially advising against all but essential travel to all of Italy.
Which Swiss Ski Resorts are Affected by Coronavirus?
As of 7pm on March 13th, it appears that all Swiss ski resorts are closed, effective immediately.
As of 5:30pm on March 13th, Verbier has announced their imminent closure.
Ticino – an Italian-speaking canton in Southern Switzerland which borders Italy, has closed all of it’s 13 ski resorts including Nara – Leontica and Bosco Gurin – Grossalp.
Which Austrian Ski Resorts are Affected by Coronavirus?
On March 13th, Schladming-Dachstein announced that Sunday, March 15th would be their last day of operation, along with the other resorts in Styria – the last Austrian region to remain open.
On 12 March 2020 the regional government of Tirol decreed new preventative measures aimed at combating and limiting the spread of the Coronavirus. All cable cars and other ski lifts in Tirol will close at the end of the day on Sunday, 15 March 2020.
All ski resorts in Salzburgerland have followed Tirol’s decision and will close from Sunday, March 15th.
Salzburgerland includes the major resorts of Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Zell am See and Obertauern, among others.
According to a social media post by Saalbach-Hinterglemm, resorts in the Austrian Vorarlberg and Carinthia will also close on Sunday.
Late on March 11th we learned that Silvretta Arena Ischgl will be closing for two week beginning Saturday, March 14th. The surrounding ski areas of Kappl, See and Galtür are set to remain open and functioning normally.
Four British skiers in Saalbach – one of whom recently skiing in Northern Italy – have tested positive for Covid-19. All showing very mild symptoms, they have been released from hospital in Salzburg and have been placed in quarantine.
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Which International Ski Resorts are Affected by Coronavirus?
As of March 14th, all ski resorts in Andorra will be closed for the winter.
As of March 12th all Norwegian ski resorts shut with immediate effect and no foreigners are allowed travel to Norway without a 14 day quarantine – effectively Norway is closed.
American site, Slopefillers, is maintaining an up-to-date list of closed resorts in America.
The Canadian authorities have published a number of recommendations to limit the spread of coronavirus, (COVID-19). All travellers arriving in Canada are now being asked to self-isolate for 14 days as a precaution.
For SkiBro Customers
What if I have to cancel my ski lessons?
If you would like to cancel your lessons, our cancellation policy is as follows:
Cancellation is absolutely free of charge with no-questions-asked up to 14 days before the start of your booking. From 14 to 7 days before your booking you will be charged 50% of your total lesson price. Within 7 days of your lesson, any cancellations are at the discretion of your lesson provider.
If you were due to travel to a resort affected by FCO travel restrictions, and your booking is within the next 14 days, we suggest contacting your travel insurance provider who should be able to provide you with a full refund.
If you have any other questions about ski lessons, ski holidays, or just want to talk to some people who live in the Alps for a bit of information from the ground, please feel free to get in touch with us! We’ll be more than happy to help out