There’s more bad news for skiers who enjoy the traditional British ski chalet holiday with the news that one of the longer established companies, VIP Ski, has been forced into administration. At the same time the UK’s second biggest ski holiday operator, Inghams, has announced it will not run any chalet holidays to France this winter and its sister company, Esprit Ski, is suspending its programme for 20-21. This follows the announcement by the largest ski holiday company, Crystal, earlier this autumn, that it too is not offering chalet holidays for the coming season.
VIP Ski is one of the longest-running chalet holiday companies, built up organically from scratch over more than three decades. Although the company’s directors are legally prevented from commenting on the company’s demise, a friend of the management team say that despite their very best efforts, VIP Ski is a victim of the impact of coronavirus on travel, exacerbated by changes in government legislation which meant that directors of holiday companies have to be sure they can deliver holidays through the coming winter, when in reality the constantly changing and currently relentlessly grim virus news made that impossible for VIP ski.
“After a little delay, anyone to whom VIP SKI owe a holiday will be fully refunded under licenses with ATOL and ABTOT” the friend said.
Inghams is part of the Swiss-owned Hotelplan group which also operates Ski Total, Flexiski and Esprit Ski which are also suspending French chalet holiday sales. In fact chalet-based family-specialists Esprit Ski has had their entire programme suspended for this season.
“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. 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,” confirmed Joe Ponte, Hotelplan UK CEO, who 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.”
Although chalet holiday options for the coming winter are declining there are still plenty of smaller companies offering them and the Hotelplan Group are still selling some in Austria and Italy.
This season though some have modified catering plans. Among the companies selling chalet holidays this winter are: