Travelling to the Alps this winter? Read the last rules for UK travellers
Are you thinking in travelling to the Alps this winter? You need to read the last rules for UK travellers.
Please note that things change daily, so check on the Gov.UK website to be sure you are acting well!
There were major changes last week for UK travellers going to the Alps.
1) Now all travellers coming back to the UK will need a pre-departure test (before boarding to come back to the UK) that can be either an antigen or a PCR test up to 48 hours prior to departure. Without those tests, you cannot board.
2) Disregarding your vaccination status, all passengers coming to the UK, need to put on their Personal Locator Form, a code for the wrongly called Day 2 test. You can only use the UK providers for this test- check the Which website that gives you lots of codes for finding cheaper rates. It is wrongly called Day 2, as you can do the test, as soon as you arrive in the UK. You have to do quarantine until you get the result of the test. This is a bit chaotic, as many companies, were already delayed with their tests – now it will be worst – more if travelling for Christmas!
3) If going to France, now all people 12 and up- disregarding vaccination status- need a test- either a lateral flow or PCR test. This is for people 12 and over. Kids up to 11 years old do not need to do the test. For those vaccinated, tests can be taken up to 48 hours prior to departure. For the unvaccinated, up to 24 hours prior to leaving. So, if you are a family of 2 adults and at least one kid 12 to 15 that is not doubly vaccinated, do the test in the 24 hours prior to leaving! These kids that are not fully vaccinated can still go out without doing a quarantine, if the adults they are travelling with are fully vaccinated.
Quarantine Rules Removed in Switzerland as of 4 December
Great news! The quarantine rules will be removed in Switzerland starting 4th December.
It was rather unfortunate timing the arrival of the new Covid variant Omicron. This when the first snow fall in Switzerland and resorts were starting to open!
Switzerland Tourism just shared the news that the Swiss Federal Council has announced today that these measures have been lifted.
All countries will be removed from the quarantine list. This means, per Saturday 4th December, entry into Switzerland will be possible without quarantine.
There will be a stricter regime in place.
Vaccinated and recovered travellers will have to present a negative PCR test before entry. They will have to carry a second test (PCR or antigen) between day 4 and 7. The test results will be reported to the Cantonal authorities.
Val d’Isère starting the ski season with clear protocols.
I receive many emails from the different ski resorts and how things will take shape this season. I liked particularly the one I’ve received this morning of Val d’Isère that is starting its ski season with clear protocols.
Only a few days to go till the opening, Val d’Isère is striving to offer optimum health and travel conditions for its visitors. Val d’Isère is offering its guests to get an equivalence to the EU covid certificate for non EU nationals. It will also place a dedicated covid testing centre.
Starting from November 27th, an online scheduling platform will go live. Both French and foreign nationals will be able to create an account. Then they will be able to book an appointment with healthcare professionals go get tested. This service will be in both French and English. This centre will be open for asymptomatic people only. If you have symptoms, guests have to contact one of Val d’Isère’s medical centres. Val d’Isère pharmacy can deliver EU Covid certificates of equivalence.
Vail Resorts announces indoor safety protocols for 2021-22 season
Vail Resorts today announced its Winter Operating Plan for the 2021-22 ski and ride season across its 34 North American resorts, centered on its commitment to safety and the guest experience. The protocols were shared in a letter to guests Monday, and focus on the spaces most prone to transmission – those located indoors.
Straight from the Newsroom of VailResorts.com
“We are fortunate that the core of our experience takes place outdoors in vast mountain settings,” said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts. “However, as we welcome guests from around the world to the indoor experience at our resorts, we feel it’s important to do our part to combat the spread of COVID-19. We all need the opportunity to enjoy and experience the great outdoors, and we could not be more excited to welcome guests back to our resorts for the 2021-22 ski and ride season.”
Will the Green Pass be the new normal on the South Tyrolian and Aosta Valley lifts this coming season?
The coming 2021-22 ski season might bring the use of the Green Pass to get on the lifts of Sudtirol and the Aosta Valley.
This is what it looks like at the moment. It is at least, as per what I’ve read on Neveitalia and as reported by ANSA, La Stampa and the portal Trentino.
The case of Alto Adige. Will the Green Pass be the new normal on the South Tyrolian and Aosta Valley lifts this coming season?
In Alto Adige (Sudtirol), the president of Dolomiti Superski wants to impose the Green Pass. Dolomiti Superski is a big carrousel of interconnected lifts that is located east of the Autopista del Brennero. It comprises 1,200 km of pistes, including Alta Badia, Val Gardena, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Val di Fassa, Val di Fiemme, Kronplatz, amongst others.
Helmuth Sartori, the president of Dolomiti Superski supports this motion. He said: “We support political efforts to introduce the Green Pass as a pre-requisite for access the ski lifts.” This was at the assembly of the Association of South Tyrolean cable car operators held in Bolzano. “Winter 2020/21 could have been a record season, considering the early snowfalls and the optimal Easter date, it will instead go down in history as a total failure – added Sartori – and we can no longer allow another to occur a situation of this kind”.
More than 360 million euros in turnover is missing. Companies that did not have been operating during the summer have been without income for 20 months. They are fighting for economic survival. All these solutions have to be looked in advance for the 2021/22 season. Sartori wants that the legal framework is set up in advance.
South Tyrolean lifts engineers estimate that lift capacity can be reduced to 80% in closed cablecars. This was reported on the online portal Trentino. They agree to the Green Pass and other measures such as obligation of use of masks and providing desinfectant gel. They want to act now to plan security in advance to the season.
Summary of a non-season, and how things are looking now for a summer in the mountains.
After a non-season, which was different depending the country, I am looking forward. I want to focus more on the future than the past, and how things are looking now for a summer in the mountains. But will write a short summary of what happened before moving to the summer.
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This past ski- season. Summary of a non-season, and how things are looking now for a summer in the mountains.
The case of North -America. Summary of a non-season, and how things are looking now for a summer in the mountains.
It was the weirdest season- or non-season of my entire life. And I am 51 now. America had a season, albeit limitations. Canada too, even they had more limitations than America. It was a mixed patch. From Covid tests for those arriving into Vermont or Aspen, to a reservation system in most of the resorts. It must have been so difficult for resorts to organise it all. And for lodging, you sell the lodging. And you have to have an agreement with the lift company to be sure these people will be able to ski!
And what happened with Canada. Summary of a non-season, and how things are looking now for a summer in the mountains.
The Canadian provinces had lots of limitations so it was difficult travelling around. Whistler had to close earlier as a big cluster of Covid developed in the population.
You could eat inside and then not anymore. Owners and workers of restaurants kept on having disputes with the local authorities. But overall, the North Americans had a ski season.
The “White Season” in Europe and the Big Snowstorms
Looks like it will be a “White Season” in Europe. This while at the same time, there are massive snowstorms in the Continent.
I have been a bit quiet lately about writing in this blog. It happened the same when Covid became a thing last year. There was too much going on, that I did not know where to start.
The “White Season”- The “White Season” in Europe and the Big Snowstorms
There are many websites that track all the news on the ski resorts. So I’ve thought that if people need information, they can go to them. I have been only reading the news on the main papers and specialised media and it is not looking good.
Of all the skiing Western European Nations, only Switzerland still accepts tourists. But starting this weekend, restrictions will start for more countries who will need to quarantine 10 days on arrival. So, skiing will be for locals.
This already happen in Austrian resorts. Locals can go skiing, but no tourists. Spain has resorts opened. But the movement limitations in provinces make it difficult for the resorts to make money on it. So some opened with less terrain. And they don’t know how they will keep operating, when more strict measures come in.
Our Winter Getaway to the Mountains – no skiing included
How we managed to get our winter getaway to the mountains. I knew from the start, that due to the DCPM in Italy, there was no skiing included in this trip for sure.
As I also knew that the UK was going to become a third country to the EU, I really wanted to go back to Morgex. The EU allows its country-members to travel with no restrictions within the bloc. Thanks to Brexit, now we are out of the bloc, so we have the travel restrictions. The UK is now like the US. US could not go from March onwards into Europe, and they still cannot travel.
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I have been looking at all the rules in the UK, France and Italy. It started getting very technical. This showed that how determined I was. So when we were about to go, France was not asking any Covid test. Italy changed its recommendation to make the test BEFORE arriving into Italy. And this test needed be 48 hours before. That makes things tricky. I’ve found a great company (Randox), that mailed the tests to your home. It is an extra expenditure you are not counting in your normal travel. I’ve thought, as there was not going to be skiing, I used my lift tickets money on that. Also, it was good I’ve bought the tests in advance, as the mail started to be a bit slow before Christmas.
Taking the Covid tests. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included
I had my two boys at home as their schools closed with Covid cases, so it was easy to do at midday our tests on the Friday. We then drove to drop the tests to DX. DX is one of the two couriers that work with Randox and allow you to deliver these kind of tests. Not all couriers would deliver them.
The travel out of London. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included
We set up the alarm clock at 2.30 AM on the Saturday. It was me the one getting up, preparing the thermos, the sandwiches and our car fridge. This car fridge is the best thing we’ve bought on Amazon for our trip. It saves us from stopping at any shop to eat. Now in the pandemic, we want to travel safe. I also have my TravelJanes for using if needed. But the classic opening of two doors and weeing squatting works fine! Having been born and bred in Argentina, I am used to long trips with no petrol stations on the way. How many times we’ve heard a lorry honking at us, but they cannot see your face!
We went on the M20. The queue of lorries stuck in line was impressive. I’ve felt very bad for them, it seemed it was going to be very slow for them. For us it was fine, we had a delay of one hour, but we’ve stayed in the car. Finally we got across and we’ve started driving off Calais towards the south.
Swiss urged to ‘hit the slopes’ to save ski season. The situation for skiing in December in the rest of Europe.
The Swiss should ‘hit the slopes’ to save this coming ski season. What is the situation of skiing in December in the rest of Europe?
It is near December and the major Alpine countries have their lifts closed. What is the situation for skiing in December in Europe? France, Italy and Austria had to close their lifts, after some resorts opened for a short while. This was due to a second wave of the Covid pandemic.
French and Italian ski resorts will now close until January. Same with Germany. Austria is saying they will open their resorts by 18th December, defying the rest of the EU. Spain has sent hints of opening by December 18th, while Andorra is seeing what they will do. The Swiss are urged to “hit the slopes” to save the ski season.
The situation in Switzerland. Swiss urged to ‘hit the slopes’ to save ski season. The situation for skiing in December in the rest of Europe.
In the meantime, Switzerland is open. Pretty everyone can now go to Switzerland without needing to quarantine at arrival.
Although, check before travelling, as there are some exceptions to this rule!
So while other Alpine nations are seeing their resorts closed, the Swiss have been skiing for weeks!
Wearing face masks now is mandatory everywhere except while on the slopes. Cable car windows stay open during all the rides up the mountain. You need to use your face mask also on the open chairlifts. Police patrol check out the departure areas to be sure skiers and boarders comply.
Swiss are expecting their own people will flock to the mountains for the open air. They know that the Americans and Asians will not come this season. So with some local guests and perhaps later some regional visitors, they can save the season.
Demaclenko is launching a new way to clean cablecars on the go.
Demaclenko is coming with a breakthrough idea and launching a new way to clean cablecars on the go.
When I wrote the post on how the resorts were going to clean their gondolas, I thought it was going to be difficult. I was imagining some lift operators rushing with a cleaning product and rag. They would have like 10 seconds to clean all well. This was the time between skiers and boarders gets off the gondola. And then the new ones load on when they are trying to descend. It seemed bonkers!
But then, always a clever person or company comes around with a great idea! Demaclenko, the snow-making giant from Vipiteno (South Tyrol, Italy) had this great idea. Transforming their snow-fan machines into disinfection ones.
Closed gondola lifts are critical points where is difficult to follow hygiene regulations. Demaclenko has built an automatic and comprehensive solution. It allows a complete and efficient disinfection of every model of cablecar. Thus, it is very flexible.