SnowSkool was invited to a Webinar hosted by Atout France – the French Tourism Development Agency – to learn about how The Three Valleys and the other mains resorts in France are preparing to welcome skiers & snowboarders back out to the mountains starting in December 2020. We heard from representatives from Vinci Airport (which looks after the airports of Chambery, Grenoble & Lyon), Compagnie des Alpes (which looks after the ski lifts) and from Three Valleys (the world’s greatest and most popular and largest and most amazing ski area)!
Running through the whole presentation was a precursor that any and all of the plans talked about are subject to change as more information comes to light. SnowSkool will endeavour to keep you up to date on a regular basis.
Face masks are mandatory in French airports and you will be expected to wear one from arriving in your departure airport to departing from your arrival airport. Information screens will be evident throughout the airports, floor markings will keep you distanced and there will be hand sanitizing stations for public use. Teams will be conducting “reinforced cleaning” throughout the public areas of the airport and some airports (Lyon is already confirmed) will have a COVID-19 specific Medical Centre.
With chairlifts & gondolas operating right now for the mountain bikers and glacier skiers, the lift pass companies are closely monitoring the procedures in place and will use these lessons on a wider scale in the Winter. It is a perfect testing ground. It is not expected at this stage that there will be any reduction in lift capacity but France’s Public Transport Laws mean that riders must wear a face mask on joining the lift queue … snoods/ bandannas will probably be ok as long as they cover nose and mouth.
The goal of the team from The Three Valleys is super-clear: ensure guest safety whilst also doing everything possibly to make sure they make the most of winter in the mountains. The Méribus service is due to run as normal (and they may bring in additional vehicles to relieve pressure during busy weeks). Again, face masks will be compulsory whilst riding the buses.
There are no firm plans with regards to how your ski instructor training will look … but this is being dealt with on a national level and so we are expecting some expert guidance from Govt officials before the season kicks off.
In the chalets, we continue to talk very regularly with our accommodation partner. They too are speaking of “reinforced cleaning” with regular deep-cleaning of the chalets, provision of hand gels and measures in place to make sure there is limited mixing between those in different chalets.
Restaurants throughout France have been open for a while already and the processes are in place to look after diners. Staff wear masks, customer are not required to do so when seated. Tables have been moved further apart to ensure distancing takes place. In some restaurants, screens have been put up between tables.
The best news for many of those on the SnowSkool course is that the bars in Méribel and on the slopes are planning for another massive season of apres-ski events with bands & DJs being booked up as we hoped they would be. The larger outdoor terraces will be bouncing as always and the safest place to be. What happens when it is too cold and too snowy to stay outside? Watch this space …
Although we concede that you probably could have guessed that most of these measures would be in the pipeline for next season, we hope this summary helps and that you find it soothing that lessons are being learnt over the Summer to make sure your SnowSkool course the best it can be!
We’ll bring you more as we find it out. For more information in the meantime, here are some interesting webpages: