Skiers urged to remain confident in Austria

22nd November 2021, by Abi Butcher

The ski season in St Anton should be in 'full swing' by Christmas says Kaluma Ski

The ski season in St Anton should be in 'full swing' by Christmas says Kaluma Ski

Skiers should have confidence in booking a holiday in Austria this season, says the owner of a ski instructor academy in Kaprun, which today is sending home 200 of its students.

Ski Instructor Academy Austria (SIA) director Paul Simpson told Where to Ski & Snowboard that the 20-day “firebreak” lockdown that starts today to try to quell the rise in Covid-19 infections should protect skiing in the new year. And although some glacier resorts in Austria remain open to local skiers, 200 students on SIA ski instructor courses have been sent home until the lockdown ends.

“We allowed them to ski until yesterday, and are transferring the majority of students home to the UK and European countries today with the remaining few flying back to North and South America and South Africa tomorrow,” said Simpson.

“Our Covid policy allows students to resume the course as soon as possible or obtain a refund on all recoverable costs — so 90% have opted to resume, and will get a refund on accommodation and training costs that they’re missing.”

Crucially, Simpson says “people should have confidence booking in Austria”.

“We think the lockdown will guarantee the January and February period — it’s a firebreak lockdown and will protect Christmas and New Year. I think people should have a confidence in booking in Austria.”

His words are echoed by Andy Butterworth, director of St Anton chalet company Kaluma Ski who said the lockdown was “expected”. Kaluma Ski has delayed the start of its season from 9 December to 19 December, moving all guests and delaying the travel of staff.

“Dare I say it but the lockdown is a good thing and if the government sticks to their word we will have the season in full swing by Christmas week and hopefully continue all through to May. Who knows, Easter could be the new Christmas!”

Inghams told WTSS they are “monitoring the situation closely,” and remain optimistic that the season will go ahead as planned, with their first ski departures to Austria due to start after the lockdown ends on 12 December.

A spokesman for Inghams added: “In line with our In Safe Hands promise, if the lockdown is extended and we are not able to travel to Austria, our customers will be offered the option to move to another date or destination, or have a full refund.”

She said that the vast majority of Inghams’ customers remain optimistic about their upcoming ski holiday and are looking forward to getting back on the slopes again – with booking volumes continuing to surpass pre-pandemic levels.

Joe Ponte, CEO Inghams’ parent company Hotelplan UK added: “The news of the lockdown in Austria is of course concerning, being so close to the start of the winter ski season, but we remain optimistic about the winter ahead. We’ve planned for countless eventualities and are arguably better prepared than ever before. And with one of the best, most experienced teams in the business, I’m confident that we can deal with whatever comes our way.


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