Well, what to say, because of the Coronavirus, this has certainly been a tricky year for us all.
The ski season here in France officially started with a couple of big destinations already open, but as of last week the whole of country is now on lock down until at least December 1st so what will this mean for your holiday travel plans?
Like this past summer, none of us knew what to expect and monitored the news on a daily basis intensely for any travel restriction changes. What we did experience in the luxury rental business is that people, depending on where they were coming from booked last minute for a property to use on their holidays. This not only happened with ourselves but with the business partners we also work with.
In discussions the past couple of weeks with property owners and partners, our feeling is this will happen again with last minute bookings so we have all been preparing for drastic changes to take place and hope that since this is only the beginning of the long season, the cancellation of any plans will hopefully be cleared up in time for Christmas.
So, how will the ski season be different this year with coronavirus-related regulations in place?
The director of the tourism office at l'Alpe d'Huez, François Badjily, admitted it would be complicated, but he was confident of having a normal season.
“We’ve put everything in place to reassure people: Barrier gestures in shops, ski stations, slopes etc.,”
The director of France Montagnes, Jean-Marc Silva, an association that groups French mountain tourism sectors, agreed.
“Our mountains can handle the concerns that our clients have in terms of health well.
“We are convinced that the value of the mountains will match the expectations of people. People need to feel good; they need the mountain air.”
Here is the current safety update:
Masks will not be mandatory while skiing.
One big change is that there are likely to be fewer catered chalets this year. For obvious reasons, those traveling as a group should stay within their own bubble. We understand each booking situation so will be different and adjustments can be made for your stay. Public transport
The rules on public transport for getting to the ski stations will remain the same as in the rest of the country. Masks will be mandatory. Chairlifts
Wearing a mask is compulsory while in queues and on the chairlifts. Chairlifts will be disinfected daily.
Shops / Ski Rental Shops
Wearing a mask will be mandatory and hydro-alcoholic gel should be made available. All rental equipment should be regularly disinfected. Restaurants / Bars
Bars and restaurants will, in theory, be open. However, as time will tell, this may change depending on the government recommendations and local requirements.
If an option, bars and restaurants will only be offering seated consumption, and masks will be mandatory when customers are moving around and not at the table. Accommodation
Masks will be mandatory when in a communal area. There are no extra requirements if you are in self-catered accommodation.
Wearing a mask will be mandatory at the beginning and end of each lesson for instructors and anyone aged 11 and over.
At this point we can only predict what will happen with the ski season but are glad at least we are only at the start of it so time will tell. We do have some new, amazing holiday properties available this year at a wide range of rates for all.
As part of our promotional efforts, we have already been showing presence online with what we do have coming in and are getting excellent feedback with people from all over letting us know that as soon as restrictions are lifted and safety is ensured they intend on enjoy the ski season ahead.
With this past summer, as a bit of awareness, we noticed since France lifted restrictions within the country first, French nationals were booking very quickly and at every location for a villa rental. We are expecting the same this year with our chalet and apartment rentals on the ski slopes.
If you are from outside the country and have a time frame, area and accommodation in mind for a future holiday, please let us know and we can see what is available and tentatively book the property for you as a reservation. It must be noted though that this past summer owners were not accepting reservations from people in countries in which borders are still currently closed too.
In the meanwhile, everyone please wear a mask, stay safe and stay home. The mountains aren’t going anywhere and we have an extensive number of properties throughout the French Alpes in key areas such as Megeve, Chamonix and Meribel.