For American skiers and snowboarders eagerly awaiting their annual ski trip to Switzerland, Austria, Italy or France, this winter is shaping up to be a lot brighter than last year, when borders and resorts were either restricted. , or completely closed.
Why ski in Europe when the Rockies are much closer? Because a ski trip in Europe offers the opportunity to ski where the sport originates, in a spectacular and magnificent setting. Skiing in Europe is not just a sport but a cultural institution, deeply rooted in mountain villages. Acclaimed Alpine cuisine, local wine, regional architecture and centuries-old cultures elevate a ski trip to Zermatt, St. Anton or Cortina to a different level. When the airport of entry is Zurich, Geneva, Venice or Milan, adding a few days in one of these vibrant cities adds a lot to the trip.
So, how is this winter shaping up in the Alps? I asked Dan Sherman, CMO of Ski.com and a longtime veteran of the ski industry, for his thoughts on the season ahead.
Everett Potter: Dan, last year clearly wasn’t a good start for Americans skiing in Europe. How is winter 2021-2022 shaping up?
Dan Sherman: We are certainly seeing strong bookings for Europe this year. There is a lot of pent-up demand for travel – especially the more exotic travel requiring a passport – and we expect to see continued interest in this winter. There is also a lot of interest in Europe from groups who were unable to travel together last winter.
EP: Will it be easier to ski in this or that country this winter, given the restrictions and entry conditions of the Covid?
DS: As long as travelers meet the conditions for the Green Pass and are fully vaccinated, all the countries of the Alps will be easily accessible.
EP: One of the challenges for skiers (or anyone else) returning from Europe to the United States this winter will be the ability to show a positive Covid test on their return and likely be quarantined when they are in Europe. Has Ski.com discussed contingency plans to help skiers who might suddenly find themselves in this predicament?
DS: While we make the known risks of traveling to Europe as clear as possible to our customers, we also always suggest that they add travel insurance. If an insured person is positive and cannot return, their extended stay and expenses are covered by our Trip Interruption coverage. If our client is not covered, we will work with them on a case-by-case basis to find the best possible outcome, including negotiating with their accommodation or other accommodation partners in the destination to find a reduced rate as far as possible for an extended stay.
EP: What are the new developments in the resort that make you excited for a ski trip to Europe this winter?
DS: I am delighted to see the Ikon Pass adding the Dolomiti Superski region in Italy and Kitzbuhel in Austria for this winter. They are famous destinations, and it is now easier than ever for our customers with ski passes to ski there.
EP: For Americans who want minimal travel time and short transfers to European slopes, which stations would you recommend?
DS: Three of the most easily accessible seaside resorts in Europe include Chamonix, a non-stop flight to Geneva, and a one-hour ground transfer. There’s also Courmayeur, Italy, a non-stop flight to Milan and a two-hour ground transfer. Finally, there’s Engelberg, a non-stop flight to Zurich, and a two-hour ground transfer.
For more information, visit Ski.com.