Back in March our busy courses came to a grinding halt and the sudden departure of our guests left our resorts and lodges eerily quiet. Since then 2020 has continued to challenge us with so much uncertainty making it hard to plan our approach to the coming winter.
The one consistent thing through the summer has been the enthusiasm for and commitment to skiing that our regular guests have shown. They, like us, cannot conceive of missing out on a winter season and desperately need a ski or snowboard trip to look forward to.
So, we’re excited to confirm that Nonstop will operate this season and deliver a busy, albeit amended, program of both coaching camps and instructor courses.
With 18 winters worth of delivering award-winning ski and snowboard courses we are fully aware that our guest’s needs always come first. In these testing and uncertain times, that priority is as essential as ever. As such, we’ve amended our cancellation conditions and our resort operations to provide the necessary reassurances.
The key facts:
WHERE CAN I SKI THIS WINTER?
Nonstop will be operating a range of ski/snowboard coaching camps and courses this winter in Fernie, BC and Banff, AB. Currently only Canadian skiers and riders are able to join us but as the winter progresses we’re hopeful that our loyal international guests will be able to make it over.
At the time of writing (29 Sept 2020) Canada has controlled the virus outbreak more successfully than most countries and are now working to eliminate it all together. There are some restrictions still in place, but life is getting back to ‘normal’ for Canadians and resort towns had busy and successful summer seasons. One reason for their success is that they have been very strict with their border controls; at the moment the Canadian borders are still closed to all but essential travel. Furthermore, any arrival in Canada (currently restricted to citizens and residents) has to quarantine for 14-days.
Although the decision to keep the borders closed is made on month-by-month basis, it is our belief that they will remain closed at least until the virus is under better control in the USA, or until a Covid test (with results within an hour or two) is available at international airports. Sadly, we’re not alone in proceeding on this assumption.
For our European guests the answer is largely yes. At the time of writing (29/08/2020) quarantine is not currently required on arrival in France or Italy (it is for Switzerland).
We operate a 10 week ski/snowboard instructor course in Les Deux Alpes, France and we intend to run this course even if the current FCO requirement for a 14 day quarantine upon return to the UK is in place. Firstly, we believe our course participants will consider this is a sacrifice worth making for 10 weeks of skiing, and secondly, there is a decent chance that when the course ends in late March, that there will be new testing capabilities in place negating the requirement to quarantine.
Our 2021 ski instructor training courses in Treble Cone/Wanaka, New Zealand are available to book and we have every hope that they’ll operate as normal. Currently (Sept 2020), it’s not possible for travellers to enter New Zealand but a lot is likely to change in the eight months between now and the courses starting in July 2021; new testing capabilities are likely to enable travel to return to normality and the hoped-for vaccine may well be available by then. Places are limited and after all the constraints on fun in 2020 we’re expecting the course to fill up fast. You can secure your place with a booking deposit and will receive a full refund in the event the course can’t go ahead.
There are several scenarios which might lead to your course being cancelled due to Covid disruption. Here’s how we’d handle them:
If the ski resort lifts close before your course starts, we will formally cancel the course and offer you the following options:
If a course has started and we are subsequently forced to end it prematurely, due to Covid-19, we will refund you on a pro-rata basis. As an example, this means that if you miss out on the final three weeks of a 10 week course, you will receive a refund of 30% of your course fee.
The only amendment to this is in the event your package included a season pass, and you had already skied the equivalent number of days that makes a season pass cheaper than day tickets, the lift company may not provide a pro-rata refund.
If the border of the country your course is scheduled in (e.g. Canada, France, Italy, New Zealand) closes to international visitors, then we will provide you with the following options:
If the Canadian authorities prevent Canadians from travelling between provinces and this results in you not being able to reach your course, we will provide you with the following options:
If you live in an area which has been ordered into a local lockdown (as has now happened across several areas), then you may be required to stay at home if the Government advises against all but essential travel to, from and within the area.
In this instance you should contact your insurance company right away.
If your travel insurance doesn’t provide cancellation cover for this instance, we’ll provide the following option:
If you have symptoms, are diagnosed with Covid or are advised to self-isolate within 14 days of your course starting, it’s unlikely that you will be able to join us. The only exception is that in the case of our longer duration (8-11 week) courses – you may be able to join us a few weeks after the course has started once you have recovered. Please contact us as quickly as possible and we will do our very best to help you.
You must contact your travel insurance provider.
If your travel insurance doesn’t provide cancellation cover for this instance, we’ll provide the following options:
You’ll need to provide us with a medical certificate, or confirmation that you have been advised to self-isolate, so that we can amend your course booking with our suppliers.
There are many countries that we are advised not to travel to because of the Covid risk. These countries change on a daily basis so it can be hard to plan ahead. There are several insurance companies who will cover you if you decide to travel to a country against FCO advice. We know that MPI Brokers and Battleface Insurance are offering policies like this. As always, it is vitally important that you have ample insurance for you trip and we strongly recommend committing some time to researching the policies available
We advise delaying booking flights until nearer the date of departure, unless you find a great deal which makes it worth taking the risk. Some operators are offering a free flexi-change which you may decide makes purchasing your flight more risk-free. Feel free to contact us if you want to discuss.
Nonstop purchases Financial Failure Insurance each time a guest books a course. This protection is arranged through Towergate Underwriting Group and is a legal requirement for all travel package providers.
In the unlikely event of Nonstop’s insolvency each guest whom has not yet travelled will receive all monies paid in full. Should a guest be in resort at the time of insolvency, the guest will be repatriated, at no cost to them, to the point of departure. Should a guest decide to continue with their Holiday the policy will pay all reasonable costs to allow the guest to continue with their Holiday plans.
COVID WHILST IN RESORT
Should you start to feel unwell, you should stay in your room, seek medical assistance if required and immediately report any illness and symptoms to the hotel management.
If you start to display Covid symptoms whilst on your course, we will assist in isolating you and those who you have come into contact with. Depending on the availability of local testing we will attempt to arrange for everyone on the course to be tested.
If you do contract COVID-19, you’ll be expected to follow the specific procedures in place in your accommodation and destination. Our Course Host and residential team (available 24/7) will be there to support you, as will the staff at your accommodation.
PRECUATIONS AND CHANGES
Naturally we all want this winter to be as normal and as fun as possible, but we should recognise that this season’s courses will be different for both our guests and staff. Social distancing, masks, handwashing, perspex screens and staggered meal times will all contribute to making for an altered Nonstop experience. However, skiing and snowboarding and being outside in the mountains is not inherently Covid-risky and can still be enjoyed. Despite all the awkward precautions, we will strive to ensure that the course atmosphere is as inclusive, welcoming and rewarding as possible.
Our biggest focus is keeping our guests and staff safe, and we are closely following the guidelines and requirements of the destination Governments and local health authorities to minimise the risk of Coronavirus. We will work closely with all our suppliers to ensure that the prudent and mandated precautions are replicated across every aspect of your course.
In Canada, we have been successfully and safely operating our hotel business in Fernie, BC since June 2020 when we reopened to the public and have implemented many new protocols and procedures to ensure our staff and guests have remained safe and felt reassured. We have gained useful experience this summer that we will be taking into the winter season.
Our course hosts and residential teams have always provided care and support for any guest who has been injured or fallen ill while on a course. Further to this, in March 2020 we implemented measures to closely monitor the health of everyone in the Nonstop community (including staff, guests and our instructing team) and these continue. Measures include twice-daily temperature checks and broadly include:
The core aspect of Nonstop is our world-class ski and snowboard coaching. This element of our package will remain broadly similar to normal winters although there will be some amendments:
We’ve chosen to limit our accommodation to hotel rooms (as opposed to houses/chalets) to enable more social distancing, private bathrooms, and easier and immediate facilities for self-isolation. In addition, you can expect:
In Fernie, BC we operate our own restaurant (www.ferniesmokehouse.com) and have significant control over our operations. We will be implementing:
Our supplier restaurants in Banff and France will be observing local guidelines.
Bus transportation is required for airport transfers and in certain destinations a daily shuttle to the resort is required. Safety procedures include:
One of the central elements of Nonstop are the experiences and activities we arrange outside of the ski/snowboard coaching sessions. This winter we will be focusing on the many amazing outdoor experiences (think night skiing, torch-light decent, fire-pit parties, snow shoeing, xc skiing, fat-biking, snowmobiling, and ski touring) as opposed to the indoor or difficult-to-socially-distance events (like cheering on the local ice-hockey team, pub crawls, playing road-hockey, karaoke, road-trips etc). Lots of fun will still be had!
GOT A QUESTION?
With so much changing so frequently (except our desire to ski) there are likely to be additional scenarios that come to mind or other questions you need to ask. Do not hesitate to reach out to our team and talk to us - contact us.
We look forward to speaking with you.