SKIING CONTINUES IN SCOTLAND, BUT FOR HOW LONG?
20th March 2020
All five mountain snowsports centres are open but precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Rumours are that this will be the last weekend.
Nevis Range, the Lecht, Glenshee, Glencoe Mountain and Cairngorm Mountain have all taken protective measures.
Increased cleaning and limiting ticket sales have been among the measures taken to reduce coronavirus risks.
Cafes have also been closed and social distancing encouraged.
People who suspect they have the virus have been asked not to visit.
“Snowsports Continues, but due to COVID -19 Restrictions our Catering, Equipment Hire & Retail Are Closed” said a statement from Cairngorm.
Here at PlanetSKI we have been told that Cairngorm will likely close this Sunday and we are just confirming , but we expect it to be correct.
It is with a sense of deja-vu that we write this piece having witnessed first hand the closing of resorts across the Alps.
Pieter du Pon, director of the Lecht Ski Company Ltd, has told BBC Scotland they plan to keep the centre open as long as possible and as long as demand was there.
“We are trying to stay open and to keep our staff employed, he said.
“I am also sure there will be parents looking for things to do with children now off school where at least they can all arrive in their own car, walk a very short distance to the slopes and generally be out in the open air enjoying themselves.”
The Lecht was aiming to end the season on 20th April.
Here at PlanetSKI we think his view is rather fanciful given what has happened at all the other ski areas in the Alps and beyond.
Glenshee is taking extra precautions:
“We are open but following the government guidelines,” said a statement from the resort.
” Please use hand sanitizer and wipes where we have them.
“Keep your social distances in any queues.
“We will be having controlled access to the ski hire so people are queueing outside in the fresh air.
“We may limit access to cafes if necessary.
“We would encourage you to bring pack lunches to eat in your cars or outside on the hill – please take any litter home.
“Forecast for Friday is clear skies, sunny with little wind. We have 18 lifts scheduled including Glasmoal.
“Spring skiing conditions, hard first thing then softening throughout the day.”
Mountaineering Scotland, a group representing the interests of outdoor sports enthusiasts, has said people could still enjoy hillwalking, climbing and skiing while maintaining social distancing.
The organisation urged people not to take any risks that might involve taking the time and resources of the emergency services.
Some PlanetSKI readers had been planning to skiing Scotland but have changed their minds in the light of the rapid spread of coronavirus.
This from Peter Lewis:
“Sad – but not unexpected. I decided not to drive up to Glencoe today not just because of the possibility of catching (or unwittingly spreading) the virus but because it could (potentially) increase pressure on emergency or health services when they are already under strain.”
Here at PlanetSKI we will let you know of resort closures in Scotland as soon as we hear.
As we hinted at earlier, Cairngorm in Scotland has announced it is closing this Sunday.
The other Scottish ski areas will now be considering their course of action.
Some think they should close with immediate effect to stop the spread of coronavirus rather than encourage people to gather in groups.
However precautionary measures are being taken in line with official guidelines.
Here is the statement:
We would like to inform visitors that the last day of the snowsports season at Cairngorm Mountain will be Sunday 22nd March.
We feel this is the right decision in light of guidance from the NHS and Scottish Government around the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and as part of our ongoing commitment to ensuring the safety of our staff and visitors.
We are grateful that weather conditions have allowed us to keep the mountain open for snowsports until now.
We would also like to take the opportunity to thank the local community and the snowsports sector for their loyal and positive support this winter season.
For the final few days of the season, the ski area and lifts will be open, weather permitting, and tickets can be purchased at the Base Station.
The maximum day tickets will be 450.
Visitors must adopt single use on T-bars, the exception being parents with a child.
Public spaces within the Day Lodge, including the Cas Bar, café and shop will remain closed, along with ski hire.
Customer toilets will be accessible from the Base Station and within the Ptarmigan building when it’s possible to open the top station.
All areas open to the public will be deep cleaned and disinfected on an hourly basis.
Once again, we thank you for your continued support during these uncertain times.
Please do not hesitate to speak to a member of staff if you have any queries or concerns.
INTERIM CHIEF EXECUTIVE
20 March 2020