Unless you are keen on ski touring, then it is not possible to ski in France just now. However, this is completely normal for this time of year.
This, of course, was not a normal season, and all French ski resorts had their season curtailed by Covid-19 in mid-March.
Are ski resorts open now in France?
France had a relatively extreme lockdown, with people only allowed out of their house to shop for essentials or for a maximum of one hour’s exercise within 1km of their home.
However, from 11 May, the country started their ‘déconfinement’. The end of lockdown was based on a close analysis of three factors: the number of Covid-19 infections, the pressure on intensive care and the ability of areas to trace contact with new cases.
All ski areas are in the ‘green zone’ and currently, people can travel up to 100km to go hiking, running, climbing or cycling in the mountains – while socially distancing – and ski resorts have welcomed them accordingly.
Are any lifts running in France?
Last weekend, Chamonix opened the Aiguille du Midi cable car and Montenvers train for the first time since March.
Capacity has been reduced by 60% and there are new measures in place including the compulsory use of face masks and thermal imaging. All the lifts and buildings are being disinfected regularly and hand-sanitiser provided.
This would be the ‘closed season’ anyway in France, so few other lifts would be open at this time of year.
Will French ski resorts be open next winter?
While it is obviously impossible to predict the future, we know that French ski resorts (as well as glacier resorts in Switzerland and Austria) plan to offer skiing next month and so it seems highly likely they will be open for skiing this 2020/21 winter.
Both resorts will be offering skiing on their glaciers, which have skiing available above 3000m.
How will Covid-19 affect skiing in France next winter?
It is clear from the measures introduced in Chamonix that socially-distancing measures will probably be in place, at least at the start of the winter season in November/December.
This will probably mean that capacity will be reduced on lifts, face masks will be compulsory and cleaning regimes will be ramped up. Restaurants will probably be open, but with reduced capacities.
We will update you on our blog on a regular basis as the situation progresses, but you can be confident that resorts will be focusing on health and hygiene safety as a priority.
This video is in French, but it’s clear to see some of the measures being introduced in Chamonix:
ℹ Suite à la réouverture annoncée de l’Aiguille du Midi et du Train du Montenvers ce samedi 16 et dimanche 17 mai ainsi que tous les week-ends du mois de mai, nous avons créé et mis en place à titre expérimental un dispositif d’accueil – hygiène et sécurité inédit 👇On vous attend à Chamonix-Mont-Blanc !
Posted by Mont-Blanc Natural Resort on Thursday, May 14, 2020
Should I book my France ski holiday now or wait?
This is a difficult question to answer. While we can be confident that resorts will open for skiing, we do not know what restrictions will be in place.
However, there are some excellent offers for those prepared to commit now.
All you need to do is pay a specially reduced deposit of 25% of your ski package (down from our usual 50% deposit) to confirm your booking, with final payment not due until 70 days before travel (so October to December, depending on your date of travel). For a limited time with many of our properties, these deposits are also FULLY-REFUNDABLE until the 1st of September 2020 if any Covid-19 related restrictions prevent you from travelling.
Simply give us a call on 1300 803 156 for advice on the best early booking offers.
When is the best time to go skiing in France for Australians?
We recommend booking your trip for January or March. These are both low-season periods in France.
February is the school holidays in France and the busiest time already. So in a season when we’ll probably see social distancing in place, and perhaps longer queues for lifts, it’s definitely a month to avoid.
Skiing in January will typically see a good snow base, as well as a chance of powder days. It’s obviously colder and with shorter days than March, which can be great for spring sunshine.
Some of our clients do travel at Christmas or New Year, simply because these are special times in the Alps.
If you’re not sure, simply give Top Snow Travel a call on 1300 803 156 or contact us online for advice on the right time to go skiing in France for your group.