Following the Norweigan Directorate of Health implementing travel restrictions in Norway, most EU countries rapidly introduced measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. Many of you will know that we operate courses and trips in Scotland, France and Norway. All of these courses have been impacted due to the Coronavirus pandemic, associated travel restrictions and social distancing. We made the decision early to cancel courses in Scotland and Chamonix, then subsequently our ski touring programme Norway. We took government advice seriously and still firmly believe that it was Off Piste Performance’s moral obligation to act diligently to look after our clients and staff. This resulted in a premature finish to our winter season at the point when we were due to be at our busiest. From mid March to mid May these cancellations total 407 client skiing days, and cancelled work for our regular guides, instructors and catering staff.
Despite some requests it was not possible to move or rearrange our Scotland courses. The implications of trying to run some of these trips in alternative locations would have made it difficult for people to follow government advice. As you can imagine these events have the potential to be detrimental to our business, as well as many others operating in similar circumstances. All our domestic courses in Scotland (Ski Performance Scotland with the Eagle Ski Club and our Ben Nevis Ski Weekend) have been offered refunds or credit notes.
Clients on our popular Norway Ski Programme, namely Lofoten, Arnøya, Kvaløya Plus and Kvaløya have been offered a full refund or the opportunity for a credit note. If this remains un-used a full refund can still be claimed as per your statutory rights. Our trips to Norway fall under the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 which require Off Piste Performance Ltd to have systems and protection in place to refund your payments in the event of cancellations or insolvency, within 14 days. In some cases our clients have been uncertain as to their rights under these regulations. These are very much in the interest of the customer or client and we have tried to summarise some common questions under the FAQ’s below.
Trips and courses are currently scheduled for the 2020/21 winter season. We are all used to dealing with unpredictable snow conditions, but a global health crisis does take things to a new level. As we look to next season we really want to remain flexible but mindful of the challenges ahead as we assess the impact and inevitable change to our programmed trips. We will of course continue to monitor and heed the advice of the UK, French, and Norwegian governments alongside that of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), as well as assessing the impact on our business.
We remain committed to operating, putting our clients’ needs first, whilst maintaining the highest degree of personal and social responsibility that we can. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our clients who’s positive messages of support have helped us immensely in recent weeks.
Look after yourselves and others, and best wishes.
Alison and James Thacker, Off Piste Performance Ltd
Can I have a refund? Yes under the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 you are entitled to a full refund if we cancel one of our trips where these regulations apply. Namely, Kvaløya, Kvaløya Plus, Arnøya and Lofoten. If you have not yet received your refund, please call Alison on +44 (0)7725 852 129 to arrange.
What if I would like to transfer to a trip next season? In this case we would be more than happy to transfer you to another trip where we can. We will issue a credit note, to the same value as you original booking.
I am reluctant to take a credit note in case of insolvency. Would I loose my money? Any credit note can be exchanged for a refund at a later stage. Off Piste Performance Ltd is obligated to have systems in place to refund you in the event of insolvency under the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018.
Do you know what is going to happen next year? As we look to next season we really want to remain flexible but mindful of the challenges ahead as we assess the impact and inevitable change to our programmed trips. We are committed to operating if we can do so, but our priority remains that of the safety of our customers and staff. So we will run trips in line with government advice and that of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). We are currently taking bookings for next season, but are not asking for deposits at this stage.
What about my flights? As you book flights and make travel arrangements independently, we ask to you contact your airline or your travel insurance provider. Having suitable travel insurance is a requirement for our trips.