What you need to know before heading to a French ski resort

The French government has laid out the health and safety rules that will be applied to France’s ski resorts this season, including the latest on mask-wearing and health passes. 

Ski bums and bunnies have been waiting to hit the slopes for months after the enforced closures of ski resorts that cut short or cut out the 2020 season. Whilst it is mostly full steam ahead for the resorts, there are some rules that will remind everyone that we’re not quite out of the woods Covid-wise, just yet.

When it comes to travel, France’s borders are open to “green” countries, including all EU and Schengen zone countries, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with proof of vaccination or a recently obtained negative Covid test.

Only fully vaccinated visitors will be welcomed from those on the “orange” country list, such as the USA and the United Kingdom. Without proof of vaccination, people will be denied entry. For those who’ve been double jabbed, no test is required upon arrival.

Testing applies to all travellers over 12 years of age, though unvaccinated 12 to18 year-olds can travel with an adult who is fully vaccinated.

Once finally getting to the resorts, there are specific guidelines to be followed as laid out on Friday by Prime Minister Jean Castex. Masks are required in ski lift lines and in gondolas, but not on open chair lifts or other open-air places on the mountain when skiing.

At the moment, health passes are not mandatory to access ski lifts, but this will change, says the PM, if the country’s incidence rate climbs over 200. As of 7th November, France’s incidence rate sat at 70 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Businesses related to the resorts are eager to keep their doors open after the catastrophic last season, so they may also impose some limits such as extra cleaning protocols and kerbing group sizes in their establishments.

National rules still apply for areas like public transport and all indoor public spaces where it is compulsory to wear a mask. There are no exemptions to the mask rule and those who shirk it can expect to pay fines of €135.

Restaurants, bars and cafes do not, in general, require masks as these places require a health pass to gain entry, though owners of these establishments are free to impose whatever regulation they wish on this front, and can bar entry to anyone who refuses to comply. Hotels usually ask that masks be worn in communal areas.

Photo of the Rhone Alpes by Robert Bye on Unsplash