Omicron’s running rampant. But that isn’t stopping one of Europe’s prime winter sports from being enjoyed.
With that, Europe is strictly regulating ski activities. Travel restrictions have been introduced on who can access ski resorts, and when.
Some European countries are taking the opposite route though. They’re beginning to ease restrictions, hoping to attract more tourists for the season.
Who is Easing Restrictions?
Switzerland and Austria are.
Still, basic EU-wide COVID-19 restrictions are being applied. And this may make it difficult for the average traveler to plan their holiday this year.
The country has dropped the need for PCR tests as a pre-travel requirement (only for vaccine-proven visitors) since January 22.
Basically, if you can prove recent recovery from COVID – you’ll be allowed access with no pre-travel test.
Ski resort rules across Switzerland haven’t changed much. They’ve been the same since 10/2021, and they all follow a principle of no-certification for slope access.
However, a COVID certificate will be required to access indoor restaurants, bars, and different facilities.
Masks are needed when accessing cable cars and chairlifts. Also, do note that there’s a reduced capacity in-effect aimed at reducing virus spread throughout the country.
As quoted from Austria’s tourism Minister, Austrian travel restrictions can be summed up as “strict rules,” and “safe winters.”
This restriction is being expanded this year, with Omicron increasingly spreading throughout the continent.
Skiers seeking entry to Austria must now show proof of being fully vaccinated – or having fully recovered from COVID-19.
Also, they’re required to show either a negative score on a PCR test or a booster jab proof.
On arrival, Austria has a “2G” rule set in place. It regulates cable car and ski facility use. Here, 2G refers to skiers requiring proof of vaccination or recovery.
Negative test results aren’t accepted unless the skier can show official proof that they’re exempt from the vaccine.
Special rules apply to children. Those under 12 years are excluded from 2G’s requirements.
Teenagers over 12 can either show vaccination proof or apply for a “Holiday Ninja Pass,” allowing them access to venues by showing negative test results instead.
Beyond that, Austria also closes its ski venues early. Restaurants have been closed on curfew starting at 10 pm. Also, masks are needed in cable cars and other closed spaces.
Travel restrictions to Germany are quite strict – most resulting from fears of the Omicron variant.
Germany applies double-tier restrictions when classifying areas – those being “low risk” and “high risk.”
Traveling to tour is a possibility if it’s from a Schengen-associated state or EU country. However, travelers need to check the area they apply to.
For high-risk areas, arrivals exceeding 12 years of age must present vaccination proof, negative PCR results, or recovery proof. Non-vaccinated travelers are required 10 days of self-isolation.
With that, Germany’s ski resorts are still open, yet strict rules are also in place.
Germany applies a model similar to Austria’s 2G recovered or vaccinated rule. And it applies to indoor facilities (such as bars and restaurants).
Restrictions may tighten though for the next year, implied from a recent comment by the German government. This may force applicants to test negative for COVID before gaining access.
France has one of the harshest ski restrictions on the continent.
So far, unvaccinated travelers on France’s orange and red list can only access its borders for a few essential reasons. Those from the UK aren’t even allowed tourism access, even if they’ve been vaccinated.
Regardless, there are signs that the French government aims to relax those rules soon.
If you’re already in France, you may be able to access its ski resorts. But, you’ve required a health pass, especially for facilities such as restaurants, cafes, bars, and ski lifts.
Also, the proof is needed that you’ve received a vaccine (or) have recently recovered from COVID-19 (or) getting an antigen test/ negative PCR in the past 24 hours.
This applies to all skiers over 12 years of age – and the previous measures are limited in time.
That is, the French government plans to introduce a vaccine pass soon – where negative tests become inapplicable for ski resort access.
Masks are also needed to access ski and enclosed cable car queues. But, if you’re on open chair lifts or actively moving down slopes, a mask isn’t needed.