Our blog

Coronavirus - latest update

by Richard Visick, 21 June 2021

Summer holiday plans may be up in the air right now due to continued restrictions on international travel, but we are hopeful that the UK and Europe’s vaccination programmes will soon help to open borders, in plenty of time for winter 2021 and that long-anticipated ski holiday!

 

In the meantime, we continue to believe that a responsible tour operator should never commit its customers to a holiday that it cannot guarantee it can deliver or that will be promptly and fully refunded (in cash) if it is unable to go ahead due to the closure of the resort or of international borders.

 

We have therefore been working closely with our suppliers to ensure that we can give you the necessary guarantees to allow you to book your next ski holiday with total confidence.

 

As a result, for winter 2021 we will initially be working with a smaller number of suppliers than in previous years, each of whom has been carefully selected for sharing our same values of honesty, integrity and flexibility, and who we can trust to properly look after our clients while the pandemic continues to affect international travel.

Should I still start planning a holiday?

 

We are always happy to talk to you about skiing, discuss holiday options, and make suggestions and recommendations for your next trip! Even if you don’t (or we don’t) feel ready to commit to a holiday yet, we can still lay all the groundwork so that you are ready to get something booked as soon as the time is right.

 

If you do feel ready to book a holiday right now, you can rest assured that we will continue to accept low deposits and will never force you to pay your balance until we absolutely have to, especially if it becomes clear that the holiday is unlikely to go ahead. Your booking will always be protected in the unlikely event of the financial failure of either us or our suppliers’, your money is always held in a trust account on your behalf until you have returned from your holiday, and we guarantee to give you honest advice regarding the insurance you will need in place to ensure that your holiday is protected if the holiday can go ahead, but you are unable to travel.

 

If you are starting to think about your next ski trip, please feel free to get in touch with us at any time on +44 (0)20 3397 8450 or info@snow-wise.com.

BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE!

 

Booking a holiday with snow-wise means that you can always be confident that we have our clients’ best interests at heart, and that we will never book you a holiday that we can’t be certain can be delivered in the way you deserve.

 

When Europe was sent into lockdown in March 2020, we quickly repatriated all our holidaying clients and cancelled all remaining bookings for the rest of the winter. Unlike many other tour operators, we quickly issued full cash refunds - without any quibbles or credit notes - to everyone whose holidays we had to cancel. In fact, we were one of the very first ski companies to do so, which led to us being included by Which? in their list of travel companies you can trust with your money!

 

Take a look at our Facebook reviews to see just how satisfied our clients have been during these difficult times!

 

Our reputation for honesty and integrity is so important to us, that we would rather turn away business than book a holiday that we cannot be confident we can deliver. As lockdowns started to lift last summer, we knew many clients would desperately want to book a ski holiday to give them something to look forward to. However, the continued, fluctuating international travel restrictions and uncertainty over how ski resorts might function during the pandemic made us feel it was inappropriate to make customers commit to a holiday unless we could guarantee that we would be able to deliver that holiday as booked or, in a worst case scenario, to give a full cash refund if the trip was unable to go ahead.

The progress of both the UK and European countries’ vaccination programmes give us much greater hope for winter 2021-22 and that we will be able to get you away for the kind of ski holiday that you deserve. However, the continued uncertainties over international travel restrictions and decisions about the allocation of countries to the traffic light system, mean that as an honest and reputable tour operator we must still proceed with caution.

Financial protection

 

As a member of the Travel Trust Association (TTA), any money we receive from you for your holiday must be paid directly into a trust account where it is held on your behalf. We cannot use your money to pay our suppliers or to cashflow our business until you have received your holiday and returned from travel, or we have taken out additional insurance to protect against the failure of our suppliers. This is a completely different model for financial protection than used by most other industry regulators.

 

You are additionally protected against our financial failure through our ATOL licence (T7500) for flight-inclusive packages, and the TTA’s “Stand Alone Safe Seat Guarantee” for all bookings (including accommodation only, and packages without flights).

We will also be issuing regular updates on news from the Alps and the provisions that resorts, hotels, airlines and transfer companies etc are putting in place to keep you safe.

 

If you would like to receive these updates please subscribe to our newsletter by clicking on the button below...

Stay safe and remember  #WeWillSkiAgain

Coronavirus - latest update

by Richard Visick, 7 January 2021

With excellent early season conditions in the Alps, and some resorts having already had enough snow to build a secure base for the rest of the season, we had been optimistic that we would be able to send clients out to the slopes once the current restrictions across the Alpine nations had been lifted.

 

However, the latest UK national lockdown restrictions and the recent extension of restrictions across the Alps (with many resorts remaining closed or only accessible to locals) have cast further doubt over the 2020/21 ski season. With FCDO travel restrictions likely to remain in place until mid-February at the earliest, the chances of us getting out to the Alps to ski this winter have once again been pushed further back.

 

With this in mind, and until there are further updates, we are focussing our attention on bookings for the 2021-22 season, but we still very much have our fingers crossed that travel may open up in time to allow some skiing later on this season.

At the time of writing the situation in the five countries we feature is as follows:

 

Austria

Ski lifts in some (but not all) resorts are open, but for locals only. All hospitality settings (hotels, restaurants, bars etc) are closed until at least 23 January. People travelling from the UK to Austria must quarantine for 10 days on arrival or provide a negative test after 5 days. Note that flights from the UK into Austria are banned until 10 January, and the FCDO currently advises against all but essential travel to the country. UK travellers will also need to self-isolate on return from Austria.

 

France

All ski lifts in France have been closed to the public since the start of winter. They were due to open today (7 January) but the French authorities have announced that they must now remain closed for the foreseeable future. All hospitality settings are closed until at least 20 January. British nationals travelling from the UK are not currently permitted to enter France.

 

Italy

All ski lifts in Italy are currently closed to the public, with a provisional re-opening date of 18 January. Travellers from the UK are not permitted to enter Italy until at least 15 January.

 

Spain

Spanish ski resorts are open but travellers from the UK are not permitted to enter Spain until at least 19 January.

 

Switzerland

Most (but not all) Swiss ski resorts are open, but travellers from the UK are not permitted to enter Switzerland at present.

 

For the most up-to-date information on travel from the UK visit:  https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

 

As things stand, we are unable to predict with any certainty whether we will be able to ski this winter. However, rest assured that we are constantly monitoring the situation and, as soon as it is possible, we will be ready to help you plan your next ski trip.

 

Looking further ahead, we are optimistic that the vaccine roll-out will allow a return to international travel by summer and that, by next winter, things will have returned to some degree of normality. We are therefore focussing our efforts on ensuring that the ski holidays we offer for winter 2021-22 will be our best yet.

 

It is never too early to start planning, and there is already a lot of demand for peak dates (New Year 2021-22 and February half-term 2022). So, why not give yourself something to look forward to and get in touch with us today to start planning next winter’s ski adventure?

 

Even if it may be too early to fully commit to a holiday this far ahead, we are always happy to discuss options with you and to give impartial advice and recommendations on the best destinations to suit you. Please feel free to get in touch with us at any time on +44 (0)20 3397 8450 or info@snow-wise.com.

 

We will also be issuing regular updates on news from the Alps and the provisions that resorts, hotels, airlines and transfer companies etc are putting in place to keep you safe.

 

If you would like to receive these updates please subscribe to our newsletter by clicking on the button below...

Stay safe and remember  #WeWillSkiAgain

Coronavirus update

by Richard Visick, 19 November 2020

As autumn turns to winter and the slopes begin to turn white, we would normally be looking forward to the start of the ski season and our first departures of the winter in just two weeks’ time.

 

Sadly, with Coronavirus-related measures still in place both in the UK and across the main Alpine countries, the pandemic is already having an impact on the 2020/21 ski season. While a handful of Swiss ski resorts remain open for now, current restrictions mean that the vast majority of ski resorts which would normally be up and running are currently closed to recreational skiers. 

 

Recent news regarding the development of effective vaccines does allow us some hope that life may be able to return to some form of normality soon.

 

In the meantime, we remain hopeful that restrictions may ease such that skiers may be able to travel to the Alps at some point this winter. As soon as the opportunity arises, we will be here to help you create that long-anticipated ski trip. The very nature of our tailor-made packages means that we can put together ski trips with any departure date, for any duration, and we can be as flexible as you need to be in order to create the trip that suits you best.

 

Looking further ahead, we are already thinking about the 2021/22 ski season to ensure that we can give you something to look forward to even if you are not able to get your ski fix this winter. With this in mind, we have put together some ideas of packages for New Year 2021/22 at some of our favourite hotels.

 

Even if it may be too early to fully commit to a holiday this far ahead, it’s never too early to start planning. So if you would like to give yourself and your family a festive ski holiday to look forward to, we are always happy to discuss options with you and to give impartial advice and recommendations on the best destinations to suit you. Please feel free to get in touch with us at any time on +44 (0)20 3397 8450 or info@snow-wise.com.

 

We will also be issuing regular updates on news from the Alps and the provisions that resorts, hotels, airlines and transfer companies etc are putting in place to keep you safe.

 

If you would like to receive these updates please subscribe to our newsletter by clicking on the button below...

Stay safe and remember  #WeWillSkiAgain

Coronavirus update

by Richard Visick, 22 September 2020

With autumn now setting in, thoughts are now turning to the forthcoming ski season and the effect that the Coronavirus pandemic will have on ski holidays this winter.

 

European ski resorts are now starting to release details of how they plan to keep skiers safe. However, there remains a huge amount of uncertainty about how the pandemic will affect our ability to travel to those resorts over the coming months, and to what extent the necessary changes that resorts are having to make will impact on your enjoyment of a ski holiday.

 

At the time of writing, three of the four main Alpine countries (Austria, France and Switzerland) are subject to FCO travel restrictions, with advice against all but essential travel and the obligation to quarantine for 14 days on return to the UK, with no clarity on when these restrictions might be lifted.

 

At the same time, ski lift companies, ski schools, hotels, bars, restaurants, and all other ski resort infrastructure are trying to plan how they will be able to operate while fulfilling the requirements for social distancing and all the associated Covid-19 protocols.

 

When the pandemic first broke out in Europe sending most countries into lockdown in March, we quickly repatriated all clients who were in resort at the time, and cancelled all remaining bookings for the rest of the winter. It was important for us to fulfil both our legal obligations (under the terms of the Package Travel Regulations) and our moral obligations to our customers, by issuing full cash refunds to everyone whose holidays had to be cancelled. We were pleased to be one of the first ski companies to do so, and are proud to have been included by Which? in their list of travel companies you can trust with your money.

 

Looking forward to Winter 2020-21, as a responsible tour operator we feel it would be ill-considered to expect our customers to commit to a holiday unless we could guarantee that we would be able to deliver that holiday as booked or, in a worst case scenario, to give a full cash refund if the trip was unable to go ahead.

 

Given the ongoing uncertainty around travel, we believe that now is not the right time to be booking a ski holiday for this winter, and we have therefore made the decision to put a temporary hold on accepting new holiday bookings until we have the clarity and assurances we need to be able to fulfil our commitments to you.

 

We are working closely with our suppliers and industry bodies to ensure that we will be able to give you the necessary guarantees to allow you to book your holiday with total confidence and we expect to be able to start booking again in the near future.

 

In the meantime, this doesn’t mean that we can’t talk about skiing, discuss holiday options, and make suggestions and recommendations for your next trip. We would be delighted to talk through ideas with you, to advise you (with no strings attached) so that you are ready to get something booked as soon as the time is right.

 

If you are starting to think about your next ski trip, please feel free to get in touch with us at any time on +44 (0)20 3397 8450 or info@snow-wise.com.

 

We will also be issuing regular updates on news from the Alps and the provisions that resorts, hotels, airlines and transfer companies etc are putting in place to keep you safe and to make Winter 2020/21 a successful ski season.

 

If you would like to receive these updates please subscribe to our newsletter by clicking on the button below...

Stay safe and remember  #WeWillSkiAgain

Coronavirus update

by Fraser Wilkin, 1 May 2020

As you will be aware, the 2019-20 Alpine ski season came to a premature end in the middle of March due to action taken by local and national authorities to combat the spread of the Coronavirus.

 

We are pleased to confirm that we were able to quickly repatriate all clients who were in resort at the time, and that we have now refunded everyone whose holidays we had to cancel.

 

Naturally, we remain positive with regards to Winter 2020-21 and will continue to provide our clients with regular updates on how COVID-19 may affect any future travel plans.

 

With so much uncertainty about exactly what the future might hold, it may not yet be the right time to make a new booking for next year, but it is never too early to start dreaming of hitting the slopes!

 

We are more than happy to provide you with inspiration for your first ski holiday after lock-down so you don’t have to start planning from scratch when the world starts opening up again.

 

Should you wish to start looking at options for the 2020-2021 season then please do contact us on +44 (0)20 3397 8450 or info@snow-wise.com.

Booking with confidence

 

Remember that booking with snow-wise means booking with confidence that your holiday is fully financially protected, for every eventuality. All our clients whose holidays we had to cancel due to the Coronavirus pandemic have received full cash refunds.

 

As a member of the Travel Trust Association (TTA), any money we receive from you for your holiday must be paid directly into a trust account where it is held on your behalf. We cannot use your money to pay our suppliers or to cashflow our business until you have received your holiday and returned from travel, or we have taken out additional insurance to protect against the failure of our suppliers. This is a completely different model for financial protection than used by most other industry regulators.

 

You are additionally protected against our financial failure through our ATOL licence (T7500) for flight-inclusive packages, and the TTA’s “Stand Alone Safe Seat Guarantee” for all bookings (including accommodation only, and packages without flights) .

 

2019-2020 proved to be one of the most challenging winters in recent memory for the ski industry - first with February’s extreme weather (Storms Ciara and Dennis) and then with the outbreak of COVID-19. However, we pride ourselves in our integrity and always doing the right thing by our customers, whether that be quickly organising alternative travel arrangements or repatriation, or providing full cash refunds for cancelled holidays in the shortest time possible.

 

Take a look at our Facebook reviews to see just how satisfied our clients have been during these difficult times!

Looking to the future...

 

No doubt there will be many challenges ahead, but with your support we are optimistic that we can continue to provide exceptional tailor-made luxury ski holidays for many years to come…

 

#staysafe  #wewillskiagain

To receive regular updates as we look forward to the

2020-21 ski season...