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How are the Ski Resorts going to operate this Winter?



Winter is Coming and we know you have a lot on your mind. 



Will the Ski Resorts be open this Winter? What are they going to do to guarantee a safe experience? Isn’t too risky if I book my ski holiday not knowing what’s going to happen?


These are some of the questions our booking department has been receiving these past few weeks, so we thought we should give you some more info about how the ski resorts are planning to open and operate this year. 


Will it be possible to ski this 2020/2021 Winter Season? 



We’ve already been in contact with some ski resorts in France and Andorra and we can confirm that in times of the “new normal” we will be able to ski, unless there’s another lockdown (fingers crossed that doesn’t happen again!) . Both skiing and snowboarding take place in the middle of nature and there’s no physical contact with other people. 


And there’s one other thing, snow lovers are already used to wearing a face covering and gloves anyway and let’s not forget that thermal clothing is also considered an insulator. 



As you can see, not much will change ;)



As you may already know, many ski resorts in Europe have already confirmed their opening date.


This is what we think the ski resorts are going to do to ensure a COVID-free ski and snowboard experience. 


What's coming ahead is of great interest, so pay attention: 



General protocol for both skiers and Snowboarders


- Our colleagues from Les 3 Vallées Ski Resort have already confirmed that wearing a mask will be mandatory for everyone over the age of 11 as well as keeping a social distance of at least 2 metres with other skiers or people you are not travelling with. 


- Wearing gloves will also be mandatory. 


- There will be sanitising gel in different areas of the ski resort, especially by the gondola/chair lifts and access to the bars and restaurants. 


- It’s highly recommended to carry your own sanitising gel and to wash your hands constantly, especially when you have removed your gloves.


Avoid physical contact with the ski resort’s equipment and installations at all times (ropes, signs, fences, etc). 


What about wearing a mask whilst skiing? 

The Grandvalira and Ordino Arcalís Ski Resorts have confirmed that face covering are not mandatory during the descent. Where the face mask is requiered, you can also wear a buff with valid homologation instead. 


Are you driving to the ski resort? Here are the car park guidelines



When you’re accessing the ski resort with your car, there will be members of staff that will indicate where you can park to ensure a safe distance between the cars.


Tip: Get up bright and early to avoid queues to the car park!



How are the gondolas and chair lifts going to operate during the coronavirus?



We’re still waiting for an official press release, however, we have seen what Vallnord Pal-Arinsal and Val Thorens have done over the summer (yes, these ski resorts have been open this Summer). 



- The maximum occupancy on the gondola’s has been reduced to 50%.


- Only families and people that are travelling together will be allowed on the same chair lift. 


- People that aren’t family or travelling together will be allowed on the same chair lift as long as there are 6 or more seats and there will be an empty seat between them. 


- You are not allowed to remove your gloves or face covering whilst on the gondola or chair lift.


- Gondolas and ski lifts will be disinfected regularly. 


Important Info: Please vacate the gondolas and chair lifts as quick as possible to avoid long queues, crowds and help maintain social distance. 



You are not alone in the ski resort!



How are the ski resorts’ ticket offices and other accesses going to work?



- Wearing a face covering and gloves is mandatory if you need to speak with someone at the ticket office. 



- Everyone will be asked to keep a social distance at the queues. We’ve heard from certain ski resorts that there will be members of staff who will everyone’s temperature before accessing the resort or there might even be scanner you will have to walk through (to be confirmed). 



Have a look at this sign that Chamonix Mont Blanc has sent us!



Ski and Snowboard rental shops


Face coverings and gloves are mandatory to enter the shop.


- There will be one way in and one way out to avoid crossings between people. 


- The equipment rental will be disinfected before and after its use.


If you’re renting a helmet, the shop will also provide a mesh to wear under the helmet. 



Will the ski and snowboard schools be open this Winter?



Of course! There will be a few changes but you will be able to take a ski/snowboard lesson. 



- There will be a reduced number of people per instructor. Depending on where and when, you might be lucky enough to have the lesson all to yourself!


- There will be some changes in the schedule to avoid crowds between people that are starting the lesson and the ones that are finishing. 


- Everyone in the group will be asked to keep a safe distance and not to share their ski and snowboard rental. 


Facemasks are compulsory at the ski school meeting points for the start and end of lessons (Instructors, adults and children 11 years + )




What about the ski resort’s staff?



- Staff will have to follow strict health and safety measures. 


- Wearing a mask is mandatory and they will have to wash their hands regularly as well as make sure shared surfaces, equipment and premises are cleaned regularly. 


- We believe that many ski resorts will keep a registry of the members of staff and they will take their temperature at the beginning and end of each shift. 


- There will be different groups and they staff will always work in the same group. This way, if someone in that group tests positive, they can isolate the entire group. 


- They will also make sure that customers are following the health and safety guidelines. 


- If you have an accident, the rescue team will ask you to wear your mask and gloves.


Grandvalira Resorts has confirmed that the staff will be tested regularly. 




What’s about to come is also very important! 



What about après-ski and bars and restaurants on the slopes? We’re still waiting for more info however, it 's not looking good this Winter … Stay tuned to our website for the latest news. 


New info -> Grandvalira has announced that Abarset and Aprés Amelie will not open during this winter season. The ski resort has informed us that the current situation forces them to face a season without being able to open the après-ski spaces.


On the other hand, they have assured us that these two spaces will come back with more strength and desire to party next winter. Did you know that Abarset plans to open new facilities in the 2021-22 season?



Grandvalira Resorts has confirmed on October 6, that "restaurants will follow the government guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health of the Government of Andorra. Wearing a mask is mandatory when not sitting at the table, and seating has been arranged to ensure a safe distance between the different groups. There will be hand disinfectant at the entrance of the premises and much more frequent cleaning and disinfection will be carried out. Restaurant menus will be in QR format to avoid handling paper". We have posted the health and safety measures that will be implemented in both Grandvalira and Ordino Arcalís Ski Resorts. 



Is it possible to book a risk free ski holiday? 



As we’ve already told you, booking a ski holiday now has its benefits. Book your ski holiday with confidence knowing that we have incredible Early Booking Discounts and you can cancel your booking with one week 's notice for free! No questions asked!


Find out more about our new super flexible cancellation policy and start planning your 2020/2021 skiing holiday. 


We were all gutted when last ski season was cut short due to the coronavirus and we have all lived and are still living through very difficult and uncertain times. Our Esquiades.com team worked very hard to offer you the best service and a refund as quick as possible. Today, we want to keep offering a great service and are working to find out what health and safety measures will be implemented and keep you updated at all times. 


We will always have your back, so you can confidently book one of our ski holidays that includes the free cancellation policy. We are going to do everything possible to offer you the best service so you and your family and friends can visit one of our ski resorts. 



Bonus Track: Our advice for you to have a safe ski holiday



As the saying goes, “If you snooze, you lose” → If you want to avoid queues and crowded areas, get up bright and early and be one of the first to access the ski resort. 


Why not visit a different ski resort? → Some of us always head to the same ski resort but maybe, this can be the year to try something different and visit less known and smaller ski resorts. Have you visited Cauterets? 


Book a cheap ski holiday! → This Winter season, go skiing during off-peak dates and you will definitely find real bargains. A short ski break in the middle of the week can be a great option or any time in March. 



Here’s an exclusive! 



As we have already mentioned, we’ve been in contact with different ski resorts. Some of them are still waiting to hear from their Ministry of Health, which we totally understand as it’s very important to share the correct information. 


Nevertheless, our colleagues in Vallnord Pal-Arinsal have already told us that they will probably follow the same guidelines they’ve implemented during the Summer break (they’ve provided multilingual guidelines we wanted to share with you):



Val Thorens has also sent us this other map to show you how all of the ski resorts in France are going to operate this Winter. 




And this is all we have for now! Stay tuned as we’re hoping to show you the official guidelines each ski resort will implement very soon. 


➡ If you have any questions or wish to speak with our Ski and Snowboard Experts, we are available Monday to Sunday from 9am to 10pm. Send us your enquiry or call 0044 (0)2 036 959 406.