It’s nearing that time again where in any typical year, avid skiers and riders would start dreaming toward new winter destinations and planning their next trip to the slopes, whether it be to one of Europe’s hotspots or further afield to a secret hideaway where guaranteed powder and fresh tracks await.
In the rapidly changing environment of lockdown lifting, a setback to 2020’s season means that snow might not be the biggest source of uncertainty for skiers and operators, but more the status of the pandemic – can regulars forecast for a jam-packed winter making up for lost time, or perhaps rather a scene of sparce slopes and non-existent queues?
However, in the weeks of lockdown and the constant google searching, it’s clear that demand and eagerness to escape to the mountains still remains amongst holidaymakers with some major ski operators seeing a 125% increase in ski bookings, particularly across Italy, France and Austria, with a prominent interest taking to the half board trips.
While many will be itching to get out to the mountains for sporting pursuits, others maybe apprehensive of what winter’s social scene will look like and what sort of activities will be available..will socially distanced après be the new thing?
Planning ahead with the current restrictions in place can be incredibly unpredictable and dependent on how the next few months follow; the possibility of isolation periods post-holiday may be the make or break for some. Not forgetting there are of course a few tempting expenses that come with booking a ski trip and while this may have left tourists questioning their travel priorities, avast amount of resort operators, airlines and hotel & chalet companies have reacted positively to motivate their customers to commit, whether it’s sharply discounted experiences and accommodations, low deposits, valued early flight bookings, transfer deals, 2-for-1 pass products and free ski extras, to name a few.
In this moment, winter 2020-21 will undoubtedly be a different scene to what we’re accustomed to, and with a growing number of health & safety measures being introduced, ski resorts will be needing to operate at a significantly reduced capacity to manage the new ‘norm’. However, as travel gently starts to resume, many are hopeful that fast forward four months’ time, countries and resorts will have had more time to adapt and ease restrictions to invite tourists back in time for the snowfall.
Taking skiing as a social distanced friendly sport that inherently involves face covering, we hope that come the season and after a year of adjusting, we’ll feel just about safe and ready to say hello to fresh tracks, thermals and Glühwein!