It was a bitter blow last week when France, unexpectedly, and some might argue unnecessarily, slapped a ban on all British holidaymakers, just as the nation’s ski resorts were enjoying incredibly inviting snow conditions. It had promised to be one of the best starts to the season in recent history, until Macron dashed the hopes of many. Worryingly, it looks like Austria could soon follow suit.
While devastating, the news has prompted many skiers to look beyond the well-trodden slopes of the Alps. It’s the perfect opportunity for resorts elsewhere to open their arms widely to eager British skiers and snowboarders. Now’s the time to swap-ski, forget France and move on.
Here we look at some of the options skiers, who have been left broken-hearted by Macron, have to play with. For a full guide to the rules and restrictions in ski resorts around the world, head here.
Original plan: Partying in Val d’Isére at New Year
Swap to: Open bars in Verbier, Switzerland
While France tightened its restrictions on Britons, neighbouring Switzerland eased theirs. Arrivals from the UK no longer need to test after their arrival, and in order to enter the country a lateral flow test (not older than 24 hours) will suffice. Those who may have been looking forward to ringing in the New Year in popular French hotspot Val d’Isere, where nightclubs such as the world-famous Dick’s Tea Bar have been forced to close due to curbs on drinking and dancing, should now look to the likes of Verbier, where bars remain open and the festive spirit is very much still alive and well.
Flights to the Swiss hub of Geneva (a two-hour drive from Verbier) are frequent and there are plenty of operators, many British-run, in the resort. If chic Verbier isn’t your flavour, look elsewhere to the likes of Zermatt, Saas-Fee or Andermatt – all are open and offer superb early-season snow conditions.