Ski tour operators suspend operation

18th November 2020, by Abi Butcher

Esprit Ski is one of the UK's leading family ski operators

Esprit Ski is one of the UK's leading family ski operators

More sad news for the ski industry this morning as VIP Ski goes into administration and Hotelplan UK announces that it is suspending all operation this winter across its family brand Esprit Ski and much of its chalet holiday brand Ski Total due to Covid-19 and ongoing travel restrictions. Hotelplan will not operate any catered chalets or chalet hotels in France across Ski Total, Inghams and Flexiski and has suspended all travel to Finland for this winter, a decision that will hit families hoping to get away to Lapland.

Earlier this month, the company announced it would not be running any ski holidays across all four of its brands in December due to Covid-19 restrictions. The decision to suspend the operation of Esprit Ski, Finland and catered chalets for this winter has come just a week later but is one that CEO Joe Pont says has “not been taken lightly”.

“Over the past few months, we’ve been busy reviewing what the chalet and childcare experience would look like and our top priority has always been to keep everyone safe,” said Pont, in a statement released last night.

“Whilst the current COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, we will have to make some significant operational changes to our holiday experiences – and we simply cannot guarantee the excellent childcare, great service and welcoming chalet experience that our customers know and love, on certain 2020/21 winter holidays.

“We know that those of our customers impacted will be very disappointed, and it is not a decision we have taken lightly. We have gone on sale early for the winter 2021/22 ski season, and we hope our customers will choose to join us then or pick one of our other hotels or apartments for their ski holiday this season, but if they would prefer to receive a refund, we will arrange this.”
Pont said interest in ski holidays for this winter had picked up since news of the Covid-19 vaccine had broken, but added: “Due to the ongoing travel restrictions across the UK and Europe, combined with the unpredictable and constantly evolving situation of COVID-19, we are faced with uncertain operational challenges when it comes to running our successful childcare programmes, chalets and chalet hotels.”

Customers are being offered the option of transferring their booking to another type of accommodation — hotels and self-catering apartments are still available through its other brands Inghams and Flexiski — or to rebook for next winter.

VIP Ski, which operates 60 luxury ski chalets, club chalets and ski hotels across 10 resorts in France and Austria, yesterday went into administration.

“Despite the wonderful support of our guests, colleagues and partners, we have been unable to navigate the extraordinary challenges of managing a winter ski operator through the current Covid crisis,” the company said in a statement.

“We are sorry to announce VIP SKI has ceased trading today.”

If you have booked to travel with VIP SKI this winter, information on how to obtain refunds is available here: .

Earlier this month, Interski, which operates in Italy, announced it is suspending operations this winter.

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