There’s nothing quite like the thrill of a much-anticipated ski trip. From the adrenaline to the buzz of the slopes, it’s a firm holiday favourite for us. In fact, it forms an integral part of our souls. This season, with the arrival of the vaccine, we’re feeling hopeful for some serious snow vibes. Rumour has it, 2021 is set to be alpine fresh, ready for the world to fully reopen for travel.
As we eagerly await with bated breath, we have (quite literally) everything crossed for our ski brands and resort friends, with mountain parties soon to be on the horizon. The excitement is certainly real, so let’s get into the snow positivity, with thoughts, plans, reflections, insights, and prospects shared from our resort and in-house ski army…
Home of adventure: Tignes
Stephie Dijkman, Commercial and marketing direction for Tignes
“Keeping the lifts shut has of course had a very large social and financial impact on the ski industry. In France, there’s 120,000 jobs on the line and a loss of turnover that’s millions. Also, skiing is an outdoor activity, where people can very easily respect the social distancing measurements.
“As we are positive people, we will make sure that our guests over Christmas and New Year will have a great holiday, with lots of other activities that you can do in the mountains. Snow, fresh air, hikes, touring, sledding, cheese fondue, husky rides, and more. Once we have an opening date for the lifts, we know that people will want to come out and we’re expecting a good second half (or first) of the season from mid-term, onwards.
“We’ve shown over the summer, that the mountains are more than capable of respecting all safety protocols and measurements. The winter season will be impacted, but hopefully, we’ll see an improvement with the vaccine. The mountains are waiting for you. Fresh snow, sunshine, and fresh tracks – what else!”
Party: Folie Douce
Artur Reversade, Owner of La Folie Douce
“It is an unprecedented situation, as we do not know when the season will start. Anyway, we are ready. All our staff have been hired, our chefs are already working on recipes, so whenever the button is green, we will be ready to welcome our guests.
“We are very enthusiastic, so we never lose faith, even in difficult situations. When it’s possible to open, we are sure the season will be good, as a lot of people are waiting for holidays to escape. This winter, we are opening an Italian gourmet restaurant ‘La Cucùcina’ il la Folie Douce in Val d’Isère, and we will offer a Folie Douce deli with takeaway dishes.”
Good times across the alps: Saloon Bar Group
Jeremy Kent. Owner of the Saloon Bar Group
“Things are indeed starting to feel a lot more positive. You can see the change in demeanor around the resort and even smiles under those masks. Whether it be numbers of infections decreasing, or the size of the snow piles increasing, the potential vaccines have got us all very excited over here, that’s for sure. The news that people will only have to quarantine for five days when returning to the UK, is massive for us. It means we may see Brits, as soon as the resorts open. Very exciting.
“The bars are set up for the regulations already. We have beer in the taps, the tasting and quality control are underway, and we are gagging for the masses to come and drink it (before we do). The mountains have been an extremely safe place to be and isolation has been very easy, but we are missing the people. The laughter and the buzz of people enjoying themselves on the slopes and in our venues.
“At Saloon group, and indeed many venues in the mountains, we have large spacious bars, restaurants and most with a terrace. So, we think we have some of the best venues to get things rolling. We are ready to welcome old and new faces, same vibe, different set up. The resorts will be awesome.”
Foodie Heaven: The Spot L2A
Katie and Dan – The Spot founders
“It is quite hard to stay super positive at the moment, but we’re lucky to live in such an amazing place and are 100% ready to share our mountain home with people, as soon as they can travel again. There are still some unanswered questions about when exactly we’ll be able to open the ski lifts in Les 2 Alpes, but there are lots of other things to do here in the mountains. Even in lockdown, you can’t get tired of the fresh air and views of the Muzelle!
“Dan’s sure that we’ll get through this, that we’ll all be busy when we do eventually open and is massively looking forward to seeing everyone getting together, enjoying life again (and having a pint in the pub)! We can’t wait to get ourselves, and Freddie, back on the snow. He’s supposed to be starting a snowboard club this winter and at two, he’s already giving me a run for my money on a board!”
Leading tour operator: NUCO travel
Co-founder/director, Tom Steer
“After several thousand student bookings for early December and survey results showing that over 90% would be happy to quarantine for two weeks after travel, we were really hopeful that we could run some holidays this December. However, French and UK lockdowns put an end to that sadly. But this is still only a pause and a pause is always temporary.
“Since moving those holidays to March and April, things are looking a lot more positive. We have multiple vaccine headlines filling our newsfeeds, and a massive reduction in cases in both the UK and France.
“It’s shaping up to be a very busy Easter for all of our brands, including all ages and demographics. University ski trips are selling out and breaking records every day at the moment, independent travellers’ holiday bookings and more family orientated bookings through our sister company Erna Low have suddenly picked up, as this positivity spreads and people remember just how much they want to get out to the Alps, to take in that crisp mountain air. The appetite is huge.
“There is a simmering and pent up demand for people wanting to go skiing, and with a brand new website and booking portal at NUCO Travel, as well as new event portfolio products, such as the Durham Ski Week, we’re ready to get as many people out there as we can.”
Suze Bayliss, Paradise Advisory board:
Previously Head of Marketing for The Telegraph Ski & Snowboard
“More than any other holiday, a break in the mountains gives you the chance to create lasting, shared memories with friends and family. After keeping apart from our loved ones throughout 2020, and with appropriate measures in a place, a ski trip is a perfect way to get together again safely. The tour operators are ready, the resorts are ready, and I for one, can’t wait to get back out to the mountains.”
Lou Jennings, Paradise Advisory board:
Marketing director at NUCO travel and Erna Low, co-founder of Rise festival, and boutique experience festival Outpost.
“Things are starting to feel exciting. The snow is there, suppliers are taking this time to get everything ready, refurb, retrain (all the stuff everyone never has time to do), the desire is there, and the experiences are ready to be had.
“It really is going to go boom when this is over and for those businesses who are using this time to be able to explode out of the blocks, this is going to be game-changing. With tour operators and agents starting to get to grips with the new booking terms and updated regulations, those who are adapting are starting to see bookings driven through customer confidence, on their risk-free terms. We have also noticed a more experiential approach – people aren’t going to just want a holiday, they are going to want it all.”