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Year ago I booked a ski trip to Les Menuires, from january 8th to 17th 2021. It has been cancelled due to pandemic, but since the lockdown in France has ended I hope to go there - on my own.

What I'm struggling with is apparently France is opening ski resorts on 7th of January, but English and Polish sources are vague about the topic - hardly any claim the date as "solid".

Sites of ski resorts I'm interested in all have posted on their sites something along the lines of

"Our opening remains subject to government decisions. We will give you some news as soon as possible"

This message lingers there since France entered lockdown, so my guess is the sites are either not updated, or owners are still waiting for the French gov to make a choice. So what I'm interested are French sources, unfortunately I don't understand French, google translate does help but I don't really know how to filter credible data from speculation. So my questions are:

  • Is opening of ski resorts on 7th of january confirmed?
  • Or is it subject to change at any moment?
  • Is there a date it will be known for certain that resorts either open or remain closed?
  • Does it depend on location? (I'd assume so, if covid cases skyrocket hospitals may struggle to to serve people with ski related injuries)

If covid is a concern - I have recovered from it 2 months ago, I wouldn't even notice had I not been tested.

In Poland the ruling party has a tendency to annouce at friday 11pm new restrictions that start next day. I'm hoping that is not the case in France.

les3vallees

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  • 12
    No, yes, no, no. Anyway, most people expect a new lockdown in the coming days/weeks, the only question is when.
    – jcaron
    Dec 21 '20 at 18:01
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    The British government announced measures to tackle a new strain of the virus and implemented them within hours. Already it's difficult (perhaps impossible) to travel to Europe (and many other places) from the UK. If that strain starts spreading on continental Europe you can expect the borders to be closed and travel restriction imposed with very little delay. Even if you make it to the ski fields there is every possibility that you'll get stuck there. Do the right thing: stay at home. It will snow again next year. Dec 21 '20 at 21:52
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    Seriously, don't do this. We would all like to take a ski vacation, but even if it's technically not forbidden it's going to be a huge driver of Covid spread. Dec 22 '20 at 15:23
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    In these times I wouldnt go further than one land border from my homeland (apart from personally I am not going anywhere). Your country always has to take you back (at least this was the rule so far) but there is a chance that you can just get stuck if you need to cross another country. These measures can happen very fast, and if Covid numbers are not down by 5.1 (and are up) then Germany is going to act (whatever this means)
    – lalala
    Dec 22 '20 at 15:57
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    @Luntri, you may be protected, not that this is a sure thing, other people can not see if from you. And if skiing is going to open, a lot of people will go there who are not protected (or not protected enough.) And that is a risk nobody should take.
    – Willeke
    Dec 23 '20 at 15:48
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Nothing, NOTHING, is certain and not subject to change during a pandemic... If additional measures become necessary they will be implemented and announced.

Is opening of ski resorts on 7th of january confirmed?

No. It is not confirmed. It is the planned reopening date communicated to the ski association on Dec 11, before the "new" situation in the UK and any number of possible public health situations that could happen in following weeks.

« Le Premier ministre a indiqué que l’ouverture prévisionnelle pourrait se faire à partir du 7 janvier sous réserve » d’une poursuite du reflux de l’épidémie, a déclaré le secrétaire d’État au Tourisme Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne vendredi, à l’issue d’une visio-conférence avec des élus et acteurs de la montagne.

"The Prime Minister has indicated that a provisional opening could happen on 7 January, subject to ..." a continued decline of the epidemic, declared the Secretary of State for Tourism Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne on Friday, after a videoconference with elected representatives and stakeholders from the mountains.

https://www.lechotouristique.com/article/ski-vers-une-reouverture-des-remontees-mecaniques-le-7-janvier

Or is it subject to change at any moment?

Yes, even if the government approves a reopening plan. See Switzerland, much of the German speaking part decided to close the ski areas in face of rising cases, even though they were adamant to keep them open earlier.

Is there a date it will be known for certain that resorts either open or remain closed?

You can only know for sure on the day in question.

Does it depend on location?

Unlikely. There could be regional measures but national measures are nothing new. Additionally ski resorts in France are rather concentrated.

If covid is a concern - I have recovered from it 2 months ago, I wouldn't even notice had I not been tested.

The measures are not about you and largely not there to protect your health alone; they are for the health care system and its workers as well as other vulnerable populations.

In Poland the ruling party has a tendency to annouce at friday 11pm new restrictions that start next day. I'm hoping that is not the case in France.

Measures are not effective if people have time to break them. Previous restrictions in France had been announced a couple days or even one day before.

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    No kidding. Even the best government in the world can't keep up with this shifty disease. My country planned to have COVID wrapped up by Easter! Dec 22 '20 at 17:44
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No one knows.

Most experts expect that Christmas will cause a significant spike in Covid cases due to more travel and social gathering and a strong motivation to "flout the rules". This may partially compensated by speedy rollout of vaccines, but we don't know yet how this will go.

If the spike is significant, it's quite likely that the government will take action and increase restrictions. Given that one of the initial super spreader events was actually a ski resort, ski restrictions are very likely.

Frankly, travelling during a serious pandemic for touristic reasons seems quite irresponsible: you got lucky but many others did not. The smart thing to do would be to stay home until vaccination has created enough immunity to keep most people safe.

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    “This may partially compensated by speedy rollout of vaccines” – to my knowledge no country will have enough vaccines applied by the end of January to make so much as a tiny dent on any Christmas-spike in infections. What the vaccinations may already accomplish is prevent some hospitalisations/deaths, because the risk groups are prioritised – but those aren't the ones spreading the virus. Dec 22 '20 at 10:16
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    I like your last paragraph!!!
    – Gopi
    Dec 22 '20 at 12:12
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    I thought Travel was considering having a banner which basically says that on the site. Perhaps it's not possible in SE, or perhaps the decision was to not do so. /shrug
    – CGCampbell
    Dec 22 '20 at 15:51
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    +1 add to this the rapidly unfolding situation with "new Covid". Until the facts clear up any country is capable of (over?)reacting very quickly if they perceive a threat to themselves. I had a lot of sympathy for Canadian travelers stuck in Peru for covid, 8 weeks after I left that beautiful country and approved of our taxpayer-funded repatriation. I would have a lot less for people traveling there now and then getting stuck. You could easily be stuck in any foreign country at your cost, I would not begrudge your countrymen that one bit. Dec 23 '20 at 8:33
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    "This may partially compensated by speedy rollout of vaccines" the vaccines require two separate shots basically a month apart. Nobody will be protected until late January, even if they received the vaccine yesterday. The vaccines do not work through magic and waving a syringe in front of a camera.
    – nvoigt
    Dec 23 '20 at 10:07
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I'd look at it the other way round. French ski resorts are closed up to and including 6th January. At some point before then, they will review how the pandemic has changed since announcing that decision on 11th December, and decide if the conditions have improved enough that it is now safe for ski resorts to open.

I would be very surprised to see the resorts open in January. In the unlikely event that they do, they may well be restricted to French nationals or French residents (similar to the Swiss restrictions).

Update 10th January

Lifts haven't opened yet and are closed until at least 6th February. An update will be given on 20th January. The first half of February is peak season for ski resorts. If they can't open for that period, then I expect them to stop maintaining the snow for this season and sending home any staff they can.

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The question is moot if you're in the UK

With the new strain of Covid discovered in the UK, all travel to and from the UK has been halted by European countries. So you won't be going anywhere outside the UK for a while.

It seems likely that the UK is merely the first European country to do the testing and show higher infection rates in people, and other countries are going to discover a similar problem. In that case things could get more heavily locked down elsewhere. Hopefully that's not the case and the new strain is confined to the UK, so halting travel is enough to stop/limit its spread elsewhere.

Either way, Brits aren't going skiing abroad any time soon.

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  • Might well be but the OP clearly states that he's in Poland, not the UK.
    – Gábor
    Dec 22 '20 at 12:39
  • @Gabor Yes, but the first cases were found in September in the United Kingdom. So it is probably widely spreed elsewhere already, but not noticed. This will be at least the third mutation that swiftly replaced a previous one since spring. Dec 22 '20 at 18:53
  • Only if OP is in a Tier 4 area, otherwise there are ways to get to France legally: travel.stackexchange.com/a/161733/9009
    – JonathanReez
    Dec 22 '20 at 18:59
  • The advice is only relevant to those in GB, not the UK as Northern Ireland is excluded currently from travel restrictions to Europe. Dec 23 '20 at 11:49
  • The new strain is not confined to the UK, from the BBC: "Along with Denmark, the new strain has also been detected in Australia, Italy and the Netherlands." Coronavirus: EU urges countries to lift UK travel bans. Dec 24 '20 at 13:55
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The countries that have been most successful in curbing the psndemic, such as Australia, NZ and a few others have a) strict border controls and b) strict quarantine rules. Basically if you want to enter, you have to spend some weeks in a quarantine camp first. And pay for it. Even if you are a citizen (in fact, non-citizens have a hard time entering at all).

I actually had not expected European countries to implement a)(strict border controls) anytime soon, but many countries did so over the weekend for travellers from GB, and with very little prior warning. I personally would not be surprised if they add b) (stricter quarantine measures) too if numbers do not go down.

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    Australia and New Zealand are also island countries relatively far from other continents making it simpler. Dec 22 '20 at 18:57
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    Not sure this comparison is as informative as many people seem to think. These countries have strict quarantine and border controls because they have been successful at curbing the pandemic early on. The cost/benefit calculation is different for countries that are closer together and haven't suppressed transmission internally. Recent restrictions on travellers from the UK are similar: they aim at slowing down a new variant that is not (or almost not) present in continental Europe.
    – Relaxed
    Dec 23 '20 at 0:47
  • Meanwhile, rules for entry from countries with relatively high prevalence of other variants of SARS-CoV-2 haven't changed.
    – Relaxed
    Dec 23 '20 at 0:48
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    @Jan I was not particularly familiar with it but the Norway example seems interesting in many ways. One of them is that this quarantine requirement was introduced fairly recently (November if I am reading this correctly). That's entirely consistent with the notion that curbing local community transmission is necessary for quarantine rules to make any sense.
    – Relaxed
    Dec 23 '20 at 19:03
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    What this tells us is that these countries act as if border checks only made sense when you are trying to keep something out that isn't already on your territory. Hence my guess about curbing transmission first, border/travel restrictions second. Recent events on the UK/continental border do not undermine that at all precisely because they target the UK and not other countries with high prevalence (not the downvoter btw).
    – Relaxed
    Dec 23 '20 at 23:25

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