• Martin

Vaccine offers hope for skiers as ski stations threaten legal action against the French State.

On the day that the UK announces it is the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, which will be available to the public in the coming days, rumours abound in the Meribel valley that the French government may yet make a u-turn on their guidance for ski resorts this Christmas.

Ski station operators continue to lobby hard to be allowed to open lifts for the Christmas and New Year holiday period, a time which accounts for more than 20% of the season's revenue for most resorts. Legal cases are underway, to challenge the government's decision.

And to add salt to the wound of French skiers, French nationals are to be restricted from crossing borders to ski elsewhere in neighbouring countries. Public pressure is mounting on the French government to U-turn. The earliest we expect to hear new guidance from the government will be in mid-December, at the time the French national lockdown is due to be eased.

Meanwhile, Meribel Tourism is encouraging people to book their mountain getaway, whether lifts are open or not. The resort will be open and this Christmas, they argue, could be a time to enjoy the beautiful Meribel valley and the many activities it has other than lift-assisted downhill skiing. From personal experience, I can confirm that one can get a whole new perspective on the valley when cross-country skiing (Ski nordique) or tramping around in snow shoes (raquettes). And the kids can toboggan to their hearts' content!

With proximity to ski lifts perhaps being less of a concern, this opens up a lot of lower cost accommodation options too. Self-catered chalets are expecting a boost this Christmas season, as people seek to book a get-away, while being able to socially distance from people not in their family bubbles. There are still a few good chalets available to let - check out some of the best options in our favourite Three Valleys village - Les Allues - on airbnb.

There are no restrictions on visitors to France from members of the European Area, including EU member states, Switzerland, and the U.K. Currently it is required to carry a declaration of having no Covid-19 symptoms when you enter France. From mid-December it is expected that the requirement to carry an "attestation" will be removed. Check the latest travel advice here.

So if you're looking for a guaranteed White Christmas, in a beautiful valley with a range of outdoors options to enjoy the mountains (and the possibility of skiing being allowed in due course), then Meribel looks forward to welcoming you.

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