It may seem mad to be even thinking about a ski holiday for Christmas this year, but right now, at the time of writing there is still a distinct possibility that you will be able to hit the slopes this December. Here’s what needs to happen:
- Lockdown in France and England is lifted, so that non-essential travel can happen again. Certainly all the noises coming out of the French and British governments this week have been that they want families to be together for Christmas. This will mean an easing of travel restrictions. At no point in either lockdown has travel been forbidden between England and France, so there’s no reason why it would now. So if non-essential travel is allowed in England, and in France, you will be able to travel from England to France for a ski holiday.
- Quarantine – you do not need to quarantine to go from England to France, and there seems no reason why the French would introduce it now. Currently you need to quarantine for 14 days returning from France to England. So for those of you working from home during lockdown, having to isolate for 14 days after skiing might not be a problem. For the rest of us, who can’t take three weeks off, or who need to be in work to work, then the current quarantine rules are an issue. But there is hope:
- There is still talk of a reduced quarantine period of 7 days – this may allow more people to travel out to France for Christmas.
- The rapid-testing that’s going on in Liverpool, and other cities now, and at Heathrow airport will be rolled out hopefully in the next few weeks, meaning you can return home to the UK, have a rapid test, and if your test is negative, you can go back to work. Failing that, why not get a private test on your return.
The likelihood of catching Covid on a ski holiday is now very small. Here’s why:
- Apres-ski bars will be closed or seriously reduced capacity – last season the virus spread easily in crowded bars, indoor spaces, in cold temperatures. We’ve learned our lessons and crowded bars will not be happening this year. If you’re still worried, then don’t go into a crowded bar.
- Masks on ski lifts, in lift queues, and in shops. As is the norm, everyone will be masked up, so when you’re in a ski lift, you’ll wear a mask. In the 3 Valleys it’s possible to use chairlifts to reach most slopes, so you’ll be out of doors most of the time.
- Social-distanced queues – you’ll be a metre apart in queues, and let’s be honest, there won’t be many queues anyway.
- Travel – perhaps the most risky part of your ski holiday would be airplane travel. If that’s a concern, a lot of our guests this season are driving out, so keeping to their own bubble the whole journey.
- Accommodation – if you book your own chalet, you won’t be mingling with other guests, you’ll stay in your own bubble. If you’d rather not come into contact with staff, then don’t go catered, go self-catered, and then order food or ready-made meals to be delivered. All operators are cleaning the chalets to Covid-standards before you arrive.
The Benefits of a Ski Holiday at Christmas
- Exercise & fresh air. Let’s face it, we’ve all been inside far more than we would have liked these last few months. Here’s a chance to get a blast of cold mountain air, and a good workout to clear the cobwebs, stretch the legs, and begin to feel human again
- A change of scene. Most of us haven’t been anywhere, apart from work and home, for the last 8 months – let’s widen our horizons, and look at some beautiful, awe-inspiring snow-capped mountains.
- A non-zoom Christmas – let’s spend Christmas together with our loved ones in gorgeous surroundings, rather than staring at yet another Zoom screen
- Loads to do – Meribel is being creative this year and re-thinking its Christmas and New Year activities with Covid in mind. Fireworks with live-streamed music. Christmas parades coming to you. So there’ll be lots of things to do apart from skiing, and they’ll all be Covid-friendly.
A ski holiday with a difference
This promises to be a ski holiday like no other you’ve had, and one you’ll always remember:
- Empty slopes – whilst we’d love everyone to come out skiing, in all likelihood not everyone that usually comes, will come. So for those of us that do go, we can look forward to empty slopes, no queues, pre-booked tables at restaurants.
- Limited apres. If you just go skiing to soak up the apres scene then maybe this isn’t the year for you. But if you like skiing, quiet bars/restaurants, or just chilling by the fire in your chalet, then this will be the perfect year for you.
- A friendly welcome – the resort is so keen for people to come, all the staff will be falling over backwards to look after you and ensure you have a great holiday.
- Last-minute bargains – there are so many unsold chalets, that you’ll be sure to snap up a fantastic last-minute deal for Christmas
- Skiing with a mask – the 3 Vallees have even invented a snood with built in face mask – how very 2020.
So start dreaming, start planning, get packing, and we’ll see you on the slopes this Christmas.
Meribel Ski Chalets still has December availability, so check out our website for more info.