Updated Friday 17th December 2021

With the French borders closing to UK holidaymakers from 11pm tonight (UK time), we are obviously receiving a huge amount of phone calls and emails from worried customers about their forthcoming holidays. As you can imagine, there is a lot to unravel and suppliers are in the process of updating us with their processes for dealing with the mountain of cancellations. It is the busiest time of the year and there are 10’s of thousands to process.

We are concentrating our efforts on those customers who were due to depart to France imminently (prior to Christmas) and we will be in contact in due course. We will then work in departure date order. Andorra, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and North America remain open but with testing requirements in place.

We ask you to please bear with us and not to inundate us with phone calls and emails. We appreciate that everyone is concerned, however our industry and team are under immense pressure. Can we please ask for patience, kindness & understanding at this incredibly difficult time. Thank you.

The ski season is well and truly underway and with massive early snowfalls, the likes of which we have not seen for years, reports from resorts are fantastically positive. You will be pleased to hear is not nearly as daunting as we all feared.

Here’s a guide to help you through:

  1. Pre-book your Day 2 test for returning from your holiday and make a note of this reference number (as you will need it for your return journey).
  2. Pre-Departure Testing: Please check the arrivals details of the country you are staying in. Information can be found on www.gov.uk or the relevant country’s government website. PCR or Antigen Travel Tests can be booked online at various outlets and whilst they advise results will be returned within 48 hours, it is widely reported that these are coming back in a matter of hours. Check your local area for the many pharmacies that offer this option as well as official testing suppliers eg. Randox. Boots online also has a great booking service.
  3. Staying in Switzerland: A PCR test is needed within 72 hours of arrival. You may then be required to do a Day 3 Antigen test in resort where local testing is available.
  4. Staying in France: As of 16th December, the borders are regrettably closed to UK holidaymakers. This is an ever changing situation so we will keep you updated.
  5. Staying in Austria: You do not require a negative Covid-19 test as long as you are double vaccinated.

At Your Departure Point in the UK, the vaccinated will be required to show:

  • Passport
  • NHS Covid Pass (make sure you download the QR code for Travel & that this is valid for the entire duration of your stay).*
  • Relevant Entry Form or Sworn Statement to the country in which you are staying
  • Proof of your relative Covid-19 test or,
  • Proof that you have recovered from Covid-19 within the last 180 days if you have received only a single dose
  • * You must show that you received your second injection no more than 270 days before arrival. If you received a booster more than 120 days after being fully immunised, this must not have been more than 270 days before arrival.

On production of the above, you will be provided with a Fit to Fly form.

NB If you are not vaccinated, you will not be able to go for a week’s skiing holiday. If you are staying for longer, you must show either a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival or proof of recovery from Covid-19 in the past 180 days. You must also complete specific clearance forms of the country you are staying in and self-isolate for 10 days. You are able to leave self-isolation after 5 days with a new negative PCR test result. The day of entry counts as “day zero”.

On Arrival at Your Destination, passport control remains as normal, and you will need to show:

  • Passport
  • NHS Covid Pass
  • Proof of your relative Covid-19 test (or recovery as detailed above)

Arrivals & Departure into/from Geneva Airport (after 9th January 2022):

  1. PCR tests are required for those entering Switzerland by air.
  2. These tests will allow you entry into France as you are travelling from a Green-to-Green European country.  (Reports are that there are currently no border Covid checks for entering France from another EU country including Switzerland).
  3. You do not need to do another test for returning into Geneva from France for your flight home.

Returning to the UK:

We recommend you pre-book a travel antigen test and take this with you before you leave for your holiday. These cost around £20 and are widely available online. Then:

  1. Take this test within 48 hours of arriving in the UK.
  2. Fill out your Passenger Location Form for re-entry into the UK.
  3. Take your Day 2 Test and isolate until the results are received.

There is much worry about testing slots at airports etc. Please do not worry. Testing is available at airports both outbound and inbound, however we recommend following the above procedures for being fully prepared as well as peace of mind. For those of you travelling on 26th December, we recommend you book your pre-departure test (either PCR or Antigen) for either the 23rd or 24th December. You will receive the results in plenty of time and this will allow you entry into the country you are staying in (as well as the Geneva/France combination if flying into Geneva).

Children Aged 12-15 and Single-Vax’d

We understand that this is of great concern for many of you. However, again, please do not worry. Resorts will be fully set up to allow for these 24-hourly testing requirements for those who are 1) unvaccinated, 2) single-vaccinated or 3) those that provide proof of having recovered from Covid-19 within the past 3 months. We are fully aware that current booking slots for these in resort tests in resort are booking up however, please be assured the resorts are also fully aware of this and preparations are in place to expand the service. We have been reassured by resorts that everyone who needs a 24 hour test will get one.

In Cases of Contracting Covid whilst Abroad:

You will be required to isolate for 10 days if, at any point, you test positive. You will need to speak to your personal travel insurance provider about this and ensure you are fully aware of their policy about finding and recovering alternative accommodation costs for this. It is not the responsibility of your tour operator, agent, or holiday accommodation provider to find or pay for this additional accommodation.

Once You’re There:

Reports are that everything running incredibly smoothly, and the skiing is absolutely wonderful. Checks are being done on Covid passes on the main base level resort lifts only. Face coverings need to be worn in lift queues, in bubbles and cable cars but not on chairlifts. Mountain Restaurants are happy serving indoors as well as outdoors.  

On One Final Note:

Our season has got underway with very little hassle at all. Please have faith. It is not nearly as bad as we all feared. We are so grateful to all those early customers who have been providing us with a day-by-day analysis of their skiing holiday. They are having the most fantastic time and each and every one of them has said “it was absolutely worth it” We ask you to please not read too much information or articles online – there are a lot of rogue people out there who are finding joy in scaremongering. This is hugely frustrating as we and the resorts need you to go and enjoy your skiing holiday. We fully suspect you need to as well!

Get boosted and Happy Christmas all,

Best wishes,

The Team at Powder White.