CORONAVIRUS IMPACT ON SNOWSPORTS GROWS
5th March 2020
Last modified on March 15th, 2020
Events with large gatherings across Europe are being called off. All the major alpine resorts, except France, have closed for skiing. Read our our rolling blog.
Here on PlanetSKI we are monitoring events closely and reporting on individual developments in this rolling blog:
SKI RESORTS ACROSS EUROPE ARE NOW CLOSING….
All the latest information on this developing situation is now our main coronavirus story:
TRYSIL & HEMSEDAL SKI RESORTS IN NORWAY CLOSE
The resort owner, Skistar has announced that the two ski areas are closed with immediate effect and until further notice due to a municipal decision. All affected guests will be contacted.
Skistar says it will shortly send out an email with more information to all customers who have a reservation this season.
“We follow recommendations from authorities and experts and also encourage our customers to follow the advice and recommendations from their own government,” a statement from Skistar says.
THE XTREME VERBIER SET TO TAKE PLACE
In accordance with the Cantonal and Communal authorities, the 2020 Xtreme Verbier is confirmed concerning the competition and live broadcast.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak no public events and festivities will take place (Event Village in town, spectator zone on the mountain, official party).
The organisers are in regular contact with the authorities to assess the situation on and ongoing basis.
It will take place in the weather window of March 28th to April 5th
WORLD CUP SKI RACING SEASON IS OFFICIALLY OVER – KRANJSKA GORA RACES OFF
The International Ski Federation has announced that the FIS World Cup Alpine races in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia this weekend are cancelled.
There was due to be a men’s slalom and a giant slalom.
“Due to the outbreak and situation with the Novel Coronavirus, the upcoming Audi FIS Men’s World Cup races in Kranjska Gora (SLO) have been cancelled,” FIS said in a statement.
“The health and welfare of the athletes and all other participants, as well as the general public are in the forefront and the priority of FIS and all stakeholders.”
So that’s it for the 2019-20 World Cup ski racing season.
There are no more men’s or women’s races scheduled.
SNOWBOMBING CALLED OFF
Snowbombing is the latest alpine event to cancel due to coronavirus.
The event was to be celebrating its 21st anniversary and was to have seen thousands of British skiers and snowboarders descend on Mayrhofen in Austria in April.
This year’s headliners included Liam Gallagher, The Streets, Foals and Rudimental.
Here is the full statement form the organisers:
“Following discussions with the Austrian authorities, it is with a heavy heart that we have to announce the cancellation of Snowbombing 2020. In brief, our guests can opt for a refund, keep their existing holiday without the festival element or transfer their package to next year’s show.
Today, the Austrian authorities placed a ban on all outdoor events above 500 people and indoor events above 100. This ban is in place from now until April 3rd and is likely to be extended.
We understand that this will be disappointing news for you, as it is for us. Snowbombing started in 1999 and this year was to be our 21st festival. The cancellation is unprecedented for Snowbombing but the wellbeing of all guests, artists and crew is our priority.
We understand that this poses a number of questions regarding what happens next, and we will offer all ticket holders the following options:
Full refund of your festival package.
Keep your existing holiday in the ‘hof. Currently, the hotels, ski lifts, bars and restaurants in Mayrhofen are open and your holiday can still take place. If you choose this option we will refund £150 – the value of your festival wristband within your package. We will still be there to manage your holiday and if possible will still be providing some entertainment.
You can transfer your booking to Snowbombing 2021, the dates of which are to be 5 April – 10 April. If you take this option we will also offer you a 20% refund on this year’s package and 100 euros wristband credit at next year’s show.
We will send all participants detailed information on the above by 15:00 on Friday 13 March outlining the process in detail and answering any and all questions you may have.
At this point, your group leader will be emailed a form where you can choose which option you wish to go with.
Forms need to be submitted no later than 15:00 on Friday 20 March.
For those that require refunds, we estimate refunds will be processed within 21 days.
This is new territory for us and many event organisers, but we do have a plan in place and so we ask you to read the above instructions carefully.
We are busy making alternative arrangements for you and need time to focus on this. You will receive all the information needed in a detailed note on Friday 13th March.
Thanks again for your understanding and patience. We are truly saddened that we cannot welcome you to Snowbombing 2020.”
Staff working for Olympic Broadcasting Services and the Olympic Channel in Madrid, Spain have been asked to work from home with coronavirus cases rising in Spain.
The news comes from insidethegames
The Madrid Regional Government has announced a series of preventative measures.
No staff have tested positive for coronavirus.
WOMEN’S WORLD CUP ALPINE RACES IN SWEDEN CANCELLED
The International Ski Federation announced on Wednesday that the races due to be held in Are in Sweden this week would not take place.
Slalom, giant slalom and parallel slalom races were due to be held on Thursday 12th, Friday 13th and Saturday 14th March.
“Due to the outbreak and situation with the Novel Coronavirus, the upcoming Audi FIS Women’s World Cup races in Are (SWE) have been cancelled after new recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Sweden,” FIS said in a statement.
“The health and welfare of the athletes and all other participants, as well as the general public are in the forefront and the priority of FIS and all stakeholders.
“FIS is fully compliant with the instructions and decisions of the National and Regional Governments and their Health Authorities in any recommendation regarding public gathers that impact FIS competitions.
“The races in Are will not be replaced on the World Cup calendar and the 2019-2020 season is officially finished for the women.”
The Alpine World Cup finals due to be held later this month in Cortina, Italy, had already been cancelled.
They were called off before Italy closed all its ski resorts.
The US skier Mikaela Shiffrin had recently returned to Europe following the death of her father and had been considering racing in Are.
She now finishes the season 2nd overall and in slalom and 3rd in giant slalom.
BRITISH INTERSCHOOLS CHAMPIONSHIP RACES CANCELLED
They were going to be held in Pila in the Aosta Valley in Italy but the coronavirus crisis has led to Italy been placed in lockdown and all ski resorts closing.
They were attempts to move them to France
“Despite our best efforts, the support of Combloux resort and the diehard enthusiasm of a handful of teams, clubs and individuals, the hurdles have proven too high and the concerns too grave for us to reorganise the races following the government closure of ski resorts in the Aosta Valley,” said the organisers.
“It is with sadness that we confirm cancellation of the 2020 Interschools.”
“There are substantial costs and financial commitments that go along with organising the races regardless of whether they are run.”
“For that reason, once the dust settles, we expect only to be able to offer a part credit against the 2021 races.”
“There will be more to follow on that issue, but for now, many thanks to all the teams and families for their understanding. Our apologies to those who were attempting to relocate . We tried!”
GB ALPINE CHAMPIONSHIPS 2020 CANCELLED
They were due to be held in Tignes between March 29 and April 10 but have been cancelled due to the escalating cases of the COVID-19 virus in Europe.
The GB Snowsport Board convened yesterday along GB Snowsport Chief Medical Officer Professor Mike Loosemore to make the decision to protect those competing in – or planning to attend – the event.
Vicky Gosling OBE, Chief Executive Officer of GB Snowsport, said: “GB Snowsport will not put anyone at risk during these times of heightened health concerns and therefore we have taken the sensible and difficult decision to cancel the British Alpine Championships 2020.
“The annual event is a great celebration of British alpine skiing and a real highlight in the GB Snowsport calendar. I want to extend my thanks to all those who had worked so hard in planning the event and for the community of Tignes for their continued support.”
All athletes, who have entered, have been notified directly and Vicky Gosling added: “We know this is hugely disappointing for all those who had been looking forward to Tignes but GB Snowsport take their responsibility for the well-being of all athletes, officials and spectators extremely seriously.
“Sadly, due to the continuing threat of the COVID-19 virus and the fact that there are no later dates available in the calendar, the Championships will have to be cancelled for 2020.’
Austria bans mass outdoor and indoor events.
Austria has banned indoor events of more than 100 people and outdoor events of more than 500 people, said the Interior Minister, Karl Nehammer.
The outdoor ban will likely effect events in ski resorts.
We have spoken to sources within Austria Tourism who are expecting clarification, but at the moment they are interpreting is as events rather than ski slopes.
It raises the question of the numbers in cable cars too.
The large ones take over 100 people, but Austria mainly uses the 3S gondolas for long vertical rises.
The country has also announced a ban on people arriving from Italy.
“We are putting in place an entry ban for people from Italy to Austria, unless they have a doctor’s certificate,” chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Tuesday.
Austrians in Italy will be allowed to return as long as they agree to a two-week home quarantine.
Other measures announced by the government include stopping university lectures and encouraging companies to let employees work from home.
HERE IS THE CURRENT ADVICE FROM THE TIROL:
Should I be worried about travelling to Tirol?
According to the Austrian Deparatment of Health Tirol is currently not considered a high-risk area(link in German).
There are no travel restrictions for Tirol.
Further information can be found on the website of the federal state government.
Please, inform yourself by the responsible authorities in your home country where to get updates from the local health department.
How many CoV cases are there in Tirol?
So far thirty people in Tirol have been diagnosed with CoV, two of them are no longer showing symptoms.
The government of Tirol works in close coordination with the federal government of Austria and the operational organisations to contain the spread of the Coronavirus.
Are there currently any restrictions to and from Tirol?
There are currently no restrictions on public life.
This also applies to public transport both to and from Tirol as well as within the region.
There are absolutely no plans to close the borders.
For all the latest information on public transport, please contact the Verkehrsverbund Tirol (VVT).
As a precaution, from Tuesday, 10.03.2020 onwards, special teams will perform selective health checks on people crossing the border from Italy by car or train.
This concerns the border areas Brenner, Sillian and Reschenpass.
Can I use public transport to travel around Tirol? What if I have already bought a ticket?
There is no restriction on public transport in Tirol.
We will provide information quickly if this situation changes.
Tickets which have already been issued can be used as normal.
Are the ski resorts in Tirol closed?
No, all ski resorts in Tirol are open as normal.
All the areas within Tirol can be easily accessed.
Can I cancel my holiday?
If you do decide to cancel, it is likely the standard cancellation conditions of your accommodation provider will apply.
For more information, please contact your accommodation provider or your travel insurance company.
Where can I find official and up-to-date information on the spread of the virus?
The Austrian Federal Ministry of Health provides information on its website (in German) about the spread of coronavirus worldwide and the current situation in Austria.
For the latest up-to-date information please visit the website of the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES)and the updates provided by the die regional government of Tirol.
A hotline operated by AGES gives information on transmission, symptoms and prevention of coronavirus: 0800 555 621 (7 days a week, 24 hours a day)
How can I protect myself from coronavirus?
As with standard winter flu, the best way to protect yourself from coronavirus is by washing your hands several times a day with soap and water or an alcohol-based disinfectant.
If you have to cough, cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue (not your hands) and avoid direct contact with people who are ill.
THE SNOW AND MOUNTAIN CONGRESS IN ANDORRA POSTPONED TO 2021
The Congress is postponed to 2021 due to travel restrictions of participants’ countries of origin.
The organization of the Snow and Mountain Tourism Congress informs that, given the increase of travel restrictions of many countries and organizations in the past hours, a growing number of participants and speakers have reported the impossibility to join this event.
Given these circumstances and the willingness of the organization to maintain the highest quality planned for this international congress, it has been decided to postpone its celebration to 2021.
The participants and speakers are being informed of this decision.
The organization regrets that the current situation has affected the celebration of this international event and shows its determination to organize it in 2021 at the highest expected level.
The Government reports that there is currently no transmission of Covid-19, and that for the moment the country’s tourism activity is developing normally for its visitors.
Audi FIS Ski World Cup races in Kranjska Gora (SLO) are to be held without spectators
“This is to inform you that, following the decision of the Ministry of Public Health of Republic of Slovenia, according to which all sporting events must take place without the presence of an audience, the men’s Audi FIS Ski World Cup races in Kranjska Gora (SLO) on 14-15 March 2020 will be held without spectators.”
The presence of media on-site will not be limited, however a set of measures will be implemented to minimise interaction between athletes, teams and accredited people.
This statement from the French ski area on Tuesday:
“Les 3Vallees is currently fully open, as is every other ski resort in France.”
“Sadly, we can’t see into the future, but we do know that the incidence of Coronavirus in France is 87% lower than in Italy.”
Major ski competitions, events, ski courses and much else besides are being affected.
Two big music festivals, Rock the Pistes in the Portes du Soleil and Tomorrowland in Alpe d’Huez have been cancelled.
Another has been forced to scale back.
The British Association of Snowsport Instructors, BASI, has issued the following advice as its courses in Italy will not go ahead.
At the weekend it decided not to send its Trainers into the Aosta Valley to deliver courses and in Courmayeur and Pila.
“We also have taken the decision to cancel the courses that were planned to run in Tonale on Monday 23rd March.
“Our advice to students impacted by these cancellations is to use their travel insurance to recoup as much of their outlay as possible.
“However, seeing as the underlying reason for these cancellations is clearly extraordinary, BASI will be as flexible as possible with regards our usual cancellation policy and will endeavour to find new course places for those impacted and to do what we can to minimise the financial impact to students.”
“This decision does not currently affect any of the other courses which we have planned across the Alps.
“We will take swift action if the situation changes.”
FIS ALPINE SKI WORLD CUP FINALS IN CORTINA CANCELLED
The event was to take place from March 16th to 22nd.
“The health and welfare of the athletes and all other participants, as well as the general public are the priority of FIS and all stakeholders,” said the International Ski Federation.
“The main issue that steered the recommendation of the Council was the travel restrictions imposed by an increasing number of national authorities, which would have likely limited the participation of several athletes.”
Nine events were scheduled for Cortina: Four men’s races, four women’s races, and a team parallel event.
“It’s with great disappointment that I accept this decision,” said the Italian federation president, Flavio Roda.
“Every member of the board made their decision based on limitations that their respective governments have imposed in relation to the virus.”
The resort has reacted with disappointment at the turn of events.
“We regret to take notice of the decision,” said the Mayor of Cortina Gianpietro Ghedina.
“The whole organisational machine was ready to host the finals and Cortina would have demonstrated its ability in facing any challenges or even situations of emergency.
“The decision unfortunately reflects a problem of communication by the county on the current situation of health emergency.
“The result is a loss for the economic fabric and for the tourism and sports sectors. Nevertheless Cortina will be able to react.”
“Cortina was preparing to welcome competitors and spectators to what it hoped would be a wonderful events. The resort looks forward to having the opportunity of welcoming them again in the future”.
The event in Cortina was to be the main test event for next season’s FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.
The winners of each discipline will be finalised after the last scheduled races of the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup season.
Currently, these are scheduled to take place on Sunday March 15th , in Are in Sweden for the women and in Kranjska Gora in Slovenia for the men.
“This was an extremely difficult decision for us to make, but ultimately welfare and health of the athletes, teams and everyone associated with the World Cup as well as the general public must be our top priority,” said the FIS President Gian-Franco Kasper.
“We certainly did not want the season to end without World Cup Finals, but we must respect this very serious situation.
“We look forward to recognising the winning athletes at a later date when we can properly celebrate their accomplishments.”
STATEMENT IN RELATION TO THE GB ALPINE CHAMPIONSHIPS IN TIGNES
The event is due to take place in Tignes 29th March – 5th April
“GB Snowsport is closely monitoring the situation and all WHO advisories, and are in contact with the local authorities regarding the continued global outbreak of the Coronavirus,” the organisation said in a statement.
There is expected to be a further update on Tuesday 10th March.
“GB Snowsport will maintain its existing principles that are being applied, which are to fully comply with the instructions and decisions of the National and Regional Governments and their Health Authorities,” it added.
SNOWBOXX FESTIVAL CUTS ITS MAIN ACTS
The festival, like Rock The Pistes (see below), takes place annually in the Portes du Soleil ski area.
It is on from 21st to 28th March in Avoriaz.
It will go ahead but without most of its big-name acts.
The organisers say that following the advice of the French authorities, they have been asked to reorganise the schedule of the music events taking place at Snowboxx due to the current Coronavirus (COVID 19) outbreak.
This will involve the performances of Annie Mac, Andy C, DJ EZ and The Sugarhill Gang no longer going ahead this year.
The rest of the festival programme will continue as planned, including skiing and music events in Avoriaz venues.
“This exceptional decision is completely out of our control and it has been enforced by the issuer of the licence to our main stage area under the advice of the French authorities, despite the resort being expected to operate as usual and host thousands of people over the next few weeks,” the organisers announced on Facebook on Friday 6th March.⠀⠀⠀⠀
“As a gesture of goodwill, we will be offering refunds of 80% of the festival wristband cost.
“This represents a significantly higher amount than the value of the performances postponed but we want to be as fair as possible with our customers. You can choose to get this amount refunded or discounted from your Snowboxx 2021 package.”
NO SPECTATORS FOR HOLMENKOLLEN WORLD CUP SKIING
The popular Holmenkollen Ski Festival in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, is going ahead with no spectators.
The Municipality of Oslo has decided that the annual FIS World Cup Nordic and Raw Air ski jumping events from 6th to 8th March will be closed to the public.
“We fully understand the decision that has been made, and of course we are sorry for this.” said the CEO of the organising committee, Kristin Vestgren Saeteroy.
“We have had a good dialogue with both the Municipality and The Norwegian Directorate of Health.”
The Norwegian health authorities fear an increase in the spread of coronavirus when spectators are travelling in the metro to the event.
The metro is the main means of transportation for the event.
The competitions will be televised as planned.
SKI CROSS & SBX JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS CANCELLED
The FIS Junior Ski Cross and Snowboard Cross World Championships 2020 in Saint-Lary, France, from 19th to 25th March, have been cancelled due to restrictions imposed by the French government.
The International Ski Federeration says that while the region of Saint-Lary is not reported to be affected by the coronavirus, “the development of the situation and its potential impact upon the arrival of young competitors remains unclear.
“Also, in order to protect the interests, health and the safety of the athletes registered for this event, where more than 200 athletes from 22 countries and 4 continents were expected, the Local Organising Committee of the FIS Junior Worlds has decided to cancel the event immediately.
“In light of this, it seems unlikely that a replacement venue can be found at this late stage of the season. However, an announcement will be made at a later date should a solution arise.”
ROCK THE PISTES CANCELLED
The Rock The Pistes festival which was due to have its 10th edition usually attracts 28,000 people.
This year was to have included a performance from veteran British rock band, The Stranglers.
“We regret to announce that the 10th Rock the Pistes music festival, scheduled to take place from 15 to 21 March 2020, will no longer be going ahead,” said a statement today from the organisers.
“Rock the Pistes music festival is cancelled owing to risks from Coronavirus COVID-19.”
TOMORROWLAND 2020 CANCELLED
Tomorrowland Winter 2020 in Alpe d’Huez also announced on Thursday that it is not going ahead.
The electronic dance festival was set to bring 25,000 people to Alpe d’Huez for this year’s edition from March 14th -21st.
The organisers have been in close contact with the French government
“Since Saturday we were in close contact with the French Government about the impact of the COVID-19 virus (coronavirus) and we finally received their official decision,” said a statement from the organisers.
“The French Government is taking drastic measures regarding the COVID-19 virus in France.”
“Therefore they are enforcing the cancellation of large events, bringing together people from different nationalities on closed festival grounds and event locations.”
The resorts stresses that the slopes remain open including all normal activities – ski lifts, slopes, bars, restaurants – like all other ski resorts in France and across the Alps.
ENGADIN SKI MARATHON CANCELLED
The Engadin Ski Marathon in Graubünden, Switzerland, is the world’s second largest cross-country skiing event. It was due to take place on Sunday 8th March.
The organisers called off the marathon and a series of other races planned during the week leading up the marathon as part of the biggest festival of cross-country skiing in the Alps.
Almost 17,000 people from more than 60 countries were expected at five races during Engadin Marathon Week near St Moritz.
The cancellation follows the decision of the Swiss government to ban events attended by more than 1,000 people.
FINAL SNOWBOARD SLOPESTYLE WORLD CUP CANCELLED
The final competition of the 2019/20 season, the Spindelruv Mlyn SnowJam in the Czech Republic on 20th-21st March, has been cancelled.
This is due to restrictions imposed by the Czech government over concerns regarding Coronavirus.
The International Ski Federation (FIS) says it’s unlikely that a replacement venue can be found at this late stage of the season, though it will make an announcement if a solution arises.
Great Britain’s Katie Ormerod is leading the world standings in snowboard slopestyle and will win the title and the crystal globe by default if the last competition does not go ahead.
FIS STATEMENT ON CORONAVIRUS
“The International Ski Federation is maintaining the existing principles applied since the outbreak of the Novel Corona Virus.
“This is to fully comply with the instructions and decisions of the National and Regional Governments and their Health Authorities.
“Additionally, FIS remains in constant contact with the hosting National Ski Associations and Organising Committees to provide support including information about measures undertaken by other Organisers.
“Should any changes to the current competition calendars be necessary as a result of measures imposed by National and Regional Governments, they will be announced as any decisions are made.”
FIS meets on Friday to discuss the final FIS Alpine World Cup races of the season that are due to take place in Cortina in the Dolomites in Italy from March 18th to 22nd.
At the very least they will be held without any spectators due to the new rules imposed by the Italian government on Wednesday.
In the upcoming weeks, there is an extensive programme of FIS World Cup competitions in many disciplines.
Norway features strongly during the coming period with the annual Nordic Holmenkollen weekend in Oslo, which is also the start of the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup Raw Air Series for women and men that heads to Lillehammer, Trondheim and Vikersund.
The men’s Audi FIS World Cup is in action also in Norway in Kvitfjell. The next women’s competitions take place in Are (SWE) with a parallel event, giant slalom and slalom on the programme.
This weekend the FIS Freestyle World Cup features the final aerials event and penultimate moguls competitions in Krasnoyarsk (RUS), with the FIS Snowboard riders racing in Sierra Nevada (ESP) and onwards to Livigno (ITA).
The highlight of the season for Ski Jumping, the FIS Ski Flying World Championships are to be held in Kranjska Gora in Slovenia, March 19th to 22nd..
The tribunes were recently installed and the organisers have reported ticket sales of more than 10,000 in the last week alone.
PLANETSKI REPORTS CORONAVIRUS
ITALY: New Measures Introduced
SWITZERLAND: Coronavirus Spreads In Switzerland