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OUR ROLLING BLOG ON THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON SNOWSPORTS CONTINUES

The coronavirus crisis is having a huge impact on the snowsports world and here we bring you all the latest news as it happens. PlanetSKI reports.

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Here on PlanetSKI we have been updating you with all the news, big and small, in our rolling coverage.

Here is last week’s offering:

And now we start a new page as the crisis continues and its impact on snowsports continues.

But first some simple and straightforward messages from the UK government that we should all follow.

Government advice

UK Government advice

SATURDAY 28th MARCH

SNOWBOARDER SERIOUSLY INJURED IN AVALANCHE REQUIRES HELP FROM EMERGENCY SERVICES BATTLING CORONAVIRUS

The man, in this 30s, was seriously injured after triggering an avalanche in the backcountry in Colorado.

It required almost 40 people to be pulled away from coronavirus response efforts.

“In light of COVID-19, when our local resources are stretched and incidents like this stretch them even more, people need to use their friggin’ heads,” said the San Miguel Sheriff, Bill Masters, in a statement.

The avalanche was 500m long and 50m wide, according to an incident report from the Colorado Avalanche Information Centre.

The man hit a tree and suffered serious injuries.

“We do want people to enjoy themselves outdoors and in safe activities,” said the authorities  in a statement to local media.

“But the backcountry, we know, is not forgiving. If people are going to go back there, they need to understand, if they have an emergency, they are stressing resources that are already spread thin with our attention on the public health threat.”

“Don’t make your day of fun come at the expense of the public health needs of others by taking away resources to rescue you during your emergency.”

RULES ON EXERCISE UNDER LOCKDOWN

Various countries have different restrictions on exercise.

Ireland has just imposed a limit of 2km (1.2 miles) from home while in France it is 1km.

This means that in the French Alps people cannot go ski touring and they have to make do with the snow near their home if they live in a ski resort.

In the UK exercise and shopping are the two main reasons the majority of people are allowed to leave their homes.

They are allowed to take “one form of exercise a day’”

Richmond Park, London

Exercising in the UK under lockdown

The UK government has said people should use open spaces near their home.

However, there is no definition of what is local.

Here at PlanetSKI we are exercising in our local park and urging people to obey all the rules and keep a safe distance apart.

KASPER TO STAY ON AS PRESIDENT OF INTERNATIONAL SKI FEDERATION

It comes as the coronavirus pandemic continues and FIS cancels its Ski Congress in Thailand.

It was due to take place from May 17 to 23 and 75-year old Gian Franco-Kasper had planned  to stand down as general secretary.

So far the only candidate announced is Johan Eliasch, the chairman and chief executive of sportswear company Head.

Eliasch has been supported for Presidency by GB Snowsport.

The decision to postpone the Congress was taken during a conference call meeting on Friday 27th March.

“For the time being, in view of the current situation with Covid-19 pandemic, the new date and location is not yet defined. However, the objective is to organize the FIS Congress 2020 in the autumn of this year,” said FIS in a statement.

Gian Franco Kasper, FIS President

Gian Franco Kasper

FRIDAY 27th MARCH

THIS FROM ‘BIG 3’ IN CANADA– SUNSHINE VILLAGE, LAKE LOUISE & MT NORQUAY – TO UK SNOWSPORT INDUSTRY COLLEAGUES

Here in Banff it is a very different town right now – instead of people bustling around and enjoying the snow that continues to fall we are all inside trying to stay sane.

It is a sad sight, seeing the town so quiet and seeing so many friends having to leave town and many friends (long-time locals) are losing their jobs.

I know this is happening the world over – just so sad…

At this time I know the most important thing is to look after ourselves and those close to us.  I hope you are taking the time to do just this.

SkiBig3 continue to support our vitally important travel/trade partners and are currently working with many of you to process refunds/credits for our mutual guests affected by this situation.

I do thank you for your continued patience as we try and get through this as quickly as possible.

For those of you who think you may have a refund situation due to COVID-19 please do reach out to me so I can assist where possible.

It would be great to get these processed as soon as possible.

We are of course waiving any and all cancellation fees as we want to work with you to ensure this is as easy as possible for you and your teams – and of course our guests!!

Our travel/trade partners are extremely important to us (as you know) and we know that when we are all through this you will be a vital component to get us back up and running again.

I know there will be some serious demand for some serious ski therapy after this and I look forward to working with you to welcome guests to Banff and Lake Louise next season to enjoy the ski vacation they deserve.

If you do have any guests affected by the COVID-19 who either had their trip cut short or just could not make it we would love to work with you to re-book them for next season – as everyone is saying – POSTPONE not cancel.

Ski Big 3

Ski Big 3

1,305,552 PINTS OF CZECH CRAFT BEER NEED TO BE DRUNK

They will go off in weeks if not drunk.

The beer is languishing undrunk in barrels in 32 craft breweries across the country and can be bought direct from breweries.

The country is under lockdown with all restaurants and bars closed.

Pale lager was invented in the Czech city of Pilsen in 1842.

The Czech Republic has the highest per capita beer consumption in the world.

Czech beer

Czech beer

ELDERLY IN SWITZERLAND ADVISED TO MAKE A WILL

The Swiss Society for Intensive Medicine says the elderly should think about drawing up living wills.

It is also advising that they discuss with their loved ones whether they want to be put on ventilators.

A third of Swiss already have living wills, so families know their wishes in the event of serious illness or injury.

Dr Roland Kunz, a gerontologist, says statistics show that if an elderly coronavirus patient with underlying health conditions ends up on a ventilator, the chances of survival are “vanishingly small”.

Guidelines in Switzerland have already been drawn up and that if there are more patients than beds, the doctors will decide, based on who is most likely to survive.

Swiss flag

FIS ON CONFERENCE CALL

Coordination Group meetings for the 2021 Alpine World Ski Championships and 2023 International Ski Federation Nordic are being held as conference calls amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Due to the current circumstances, it is not possible to have the Coordination Group meetings on site as planned,” said a statement from FIS.

“But even during the current coronavirus crisis, the preparations for the future events are continuing in all aspects where this permits.

“Therefore, in coordination with the respective Organising Committees, their National Ski Associations, the broadcast and commercial rights holders and other stakeholders, FIS will stage them as conference calls instead of inspections visits and in-person meetings.”

International Ski Federation

International Ski Federation

WARREN SMITH SKI ACADEMY GOES REMOTE

Warren will be presenting a series of webinars live from Verbier in Switzerand where he is under lockdown.

He and the team will be talking about what keen skiers can be working on from home to continue to develop their skiing technique and ski biomechanics.

There will also be ski equipment checks.

“The ski season ending doesn’t mean we have to stop our progression and improvement,” said Warren.

“In this period of self-isolation, social distancing and general lack of mountain time, we are fully aware that people are feeling the effects of not skiing.

“Trust us. We feel the same.

“So, during this time, we want to keep people engaged and motivated to continue their ski technique development by offering our services through our Remote Coaching Programme”.

Originally scheduled for an October 2020 release, in light of recent events the programme has been brought forward along with individual packages that will help skiers through these difficult times.

The first webinar/Facebook live event will launch early next week.

Skiers are encouraged now to ‘like’ the WSSA Facebook page or email the team for inclusion on the invite list, with updates starting this weekend.

Warren Smith

Warren Smith

THURSDAY 26th MARCH

WHAT ARE YOU DOING AT 8PM TONIGHT?

Here at PlanetSKI we’ll be out on our doorstep, a respectable distance from everyone else of course, and clapping.

As loud as we can.

It was the idea of Dutch yoga instructor Annemarie Plas who wanted to show doctors, nurses, GPs and carers some national gratitude.

People are being ask to clap from their front doors, gardens, balconies, wherever they may be, at 20:00 local time.

 Support the NHS message

Support health workers

MESSAGE FROM MPI BROKERS

All of us at MPI Brokers are still here operating as usual, on hand to answer any of your queries.

We’re as gutted as you all are to see the ski season end early but it is certainly for the best to keep everyone healthy and ready to bounce back better than ever in next season.

MPI Brokers image

MPI Brokers for specialist ski travel insurance

MAN WHO BREACHED LOCKDOWN RULES IN FRANCE TAKEN INTO CUSTODY

The police in the Savoie region of France are getting tough on offenders.

A 25-year-old man has been arrested and taken into police custody in Albertville. He’ll be tried today for contempt and endangering the life of others.

He’d been spotted breaching confinement regulations twice in one day on the Rue de Val d’Isere.

The police say he had already been fined three times in five days.

According to the French daily, Le Parisien, the initial fine for a breach of the rules is €135 Euros.  If there is a second breach within 15 days, the fine rises to €1,500.

Anyone who breaks the rule four times faces a possible fine of €3,700 or up to six months in prison.

French police are reported to have issued more than 4,000 fines on the first day of the lockdown, rising to more than 90,000 by Sunday 22nd March, six days later.

MESSAGE TO THE OUTDOOR COMMUNITY

Plas y Brenin, the National Outdoors Centre in the heart of Snowdonia, is producing a range of free content to prepare people for a return to the big outdoors after lockdown.

The centre is planning to provide free videos, podcasts, live broadcasts, training plans, articles, articles, Q&As and quizzes.

Plas y Brenin, Snowdonia

Plas y Brenin, Snowdonia

“On Monday night, the Prime Minister announced new measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus. Everyone in the UK must stay at home except for shopping for necessities, daily exercise, any medical need and travelling to and from essential work,” said CEO Ruth Hall.

“We know that these new restrictions will prove hard for many and represent a fundamental change to the way in which we lead our daily lives. But our message to you is that, if we make the best use of this time, we all have an incredible opportunity to enjoy a brighter future in the outdoors.

“In the coming weeks, our expert team will be working remotely to help support you develop your knowledge and skills, whether you are looking to take your first few steps into the outdoors, or a seasoned outdoor instructor looking for continuing professional development.”

Follow @plasybreninofficial on Instagram to see content as it appears.

#bringtheoutdoorsin #plasybrenin

CANADA AVALANCHE BULLETINS TO END

Avalanche Canada said it will issue its final forecast for the season next week.

It is around a month earlier than normal.

The organisation relies on data from a network of avalanche professionals across western Canada, such as heliskiing lodges and ski resorts, and most have closed due to COVID-19.

The last forecast will be March 28th.

Avalanche Canada

Avalanche bulletins to end

WEDNESDAY 25th MARCH

MAYOR OF TIGNES CONFIRMS CASES OF CORONAVIRUS IN RESORT

The Mayor of the French ski resort has issued a message to everyone in Tignes as he confirms the town has not been spared.

Jean-Christophe Vitale says that the lockdown which began 10 days ago is an opportunity for everyone to take time for themselves and others.

He urges everyone to take care of their loved ones, the isolated and the elderly.

Tignes, France 17 March 2020

Tignes, France

Here’s an edited version of the email sent to residents today:

“ As movement restrictions tighten and the period of confinement is expected to increase, I once again appeal to good citizenship and to respect the measures put in place at the national level to effectively combat the spread of Covid-19.

“Tignes is not spared from the wave of contamination, proven cases are noted.

“I have a thought for the people and families concerned. I want to assure them of my support and my admiration for the emergency services, the nursing staff courageously mobilised in the face of this epidemic.

“Human and material resources are also provided by the Town Hall and its partners, in support of staff in direct management of this crisis (reception of children of nursing staff, provision of protective equipment for professionals, exchange of information on the situation assessment…).

“I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the merchants who remained open and serving the Tignarde community; salute their commitment by avoiding exposing them, scrupulously respecting the barrier gestures.

“Be united! Leave your home only out of necessity to guarantee your safety and that of everyone.

“The emergency law to deal with the epidemic now authorises municipal police to note and report offences.”

WORLD CUP SKI RACERS GET INVENTIVE IN THE LOCKDOWN

Mikaela Shiffrin is having to find ways to fill her time, just like the rest of us.

She’s written a song to thank the coronavirus heroes….

View this post on Instagram

We are witnessing incredible acts of kindness and selflessness every day. The doctors and nurses helping the ill, and continuing to help the millions who have sickness and injuries not even related to this specific virus. The thousands of retired health professionals who have volunteered their services to aid the hospitals strained in space and resources. Those testing and developing treatments and vaccinations to this and every other disease. The firefighters, police force, and every other kind of public service worker and defender out there. Our service people from the Army, Navy, Air Force and beyond who unable to return home though they may feel torn in half by their obligation to protect our countries from afar and their longing to protect their families from home. In Italy, a lot of the food plants are slowing down production significantly because the workers are worried about going to work, even though these plants are held to an incredibly high sanitation standard. Yet, these food plants staying in production is essential for the general public to continue to have access to food… So I did a really small thing, in the grand scheme of everything. I wrote a song— inspired by the plant employees of my @barilla family continuing to put the public needs ahead of their own needs and fears, but it is a message to everyone. Thank you.

A post shared by Mikaela Shiffrin ⛷? (@mikaelashiffrin) on

And the Italian Christof Innerhofer and family have found a way to get their skiing fix…

LATEST FROM VAL D’ISERE

This comes from the Val d’Isere Seasonaires page:

Local News

France has tightened restrictions further, particularly in reference to exercise.

Anyone leaving the house for physical activity must now do so in a 1km radius around their residence and it must be for no longer than an hour.

It can also only be done once a day.

They must have their “justification” paper – signed, dated and with the time they have left home. The fines for ignoring these rules are €135 for the first offence, rising to €1,500 for repeat offenders.

All open air markets have officially been banned as well, except where the local authorities deem them necessary and ensure people follow the social distancing rules.

Due to reasons of preventing the propagation of the virus, the municipal waste collection for recyclables is going to cease operating until further notice is given.

This means (amongst other items) you will now need to keep plastic bottles, cardboard, paper, cans at your residence.

Collection of black bag waste and glass will continue as normal.

The 4 dechetteries in the Haute Tarentaise are closed completely.

The church bells will ring for ten minutes at 7.30pm tomorrow evening as a sign of solidarity for the incredible work of healthcare professionals in France and around the world.

To show your support, please light a candle in the window at the same time

The Spar in the centre of town and the Sherpa opposite the bus station are reserved for the elderly from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

It is also possible to have shopping delivered to your home, which you can do by ordering via email or telephone: leshallesdeval@orange.fr / 0479060266 sherpavaldisere@yahoo.fr / 0479060198. This service is free, but please only use it if you are at risk or older.

Val d'Isere, France

Val d’Isere, France

·       The automatic washing facilities near the UCPA are open. If using, you must stay at least a metre away from anyone else inside.

·       The Tourist Office can be contacted on info@valdisere.com

·       The Mayor’s Office can be contacted on 04 79 06 01 60.

·       The Police Station is open 8h to 12h and from 14h to 18h. At the weekend, they are contactable by phone.

·       The pharmacy’s opening hours are 9am to 1pm and from 3pm to 7pm.

·       The Post Office is not open to the public but post boxes are still functioning as normal with the postal service continuing to work.

·       The Supermarket in La Daille has now closed.

·       The Adroit farm store is open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day

·       The boulangerie Chevallot des Clarines is open from 6h30 to 13h30

·       The Garage Autocentre in La Daille remains open for the moment.

·       Le Spar des Hameaux is open from 8h to 12h30 and from 16h to 19h30

·       Le Spar Station service is open from 7h to 13h

·       Le Spar du centre is open from 8h to 13h and from 15h to 19h30

·       Le Sherpa is open from 8h to 13h30 and from 15h to 19h30

·       Cash 2000 is open from 8am to 12pm (50% off all fruit, veg, dairy and butchery until end of confinement)

·       La boulangerie Chevallot des Clarines est ouverte de 6h30 à 13h30

·       Bricoval is open from 10h to 13h and from 16h to 19h

·       The Tabac on the main road is open 8:30 à 12:30 and from 16:00 to 18:30

·       The Tabac in the Tourist Office square is open 7h to 15.

·       The Post Office is not open to the public but post boxes are still functioning as normal with the postal service continuing to work.

UCI MOUNTAIN BIKE WORLD CUP CANCELLED

The Fort William round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup is off.

The recent official confirmation that social distancing will be necessary for an extended period, together with current Government advice on travel and events means any hopes of running the June UCI World Cup in Fort William have ended.

Mountain Bike World Cup

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup cancelled

“We did investigate re-scheduling options with cycling’s governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and other partners but no alternative viable dates could be found,” a statement says.

“We are sorry to have to make this decision but we are sure you can understand the reason why.

“Those who purchased advance tickets can either get a full refund or have them allocated to a future event. You’ll receive an email soon with the details on how to arrange this.

“The June event would have been the 19th consecutive UCI World Cup in Fort William, with advance ticket sales indicating another amazing weekend of mountain bike action and excitement on the cards.

“Thanks to all fans, riders, teams, event crew, contractors, sponsors and partners for their support and we’re looking forward to an even bigger UCI World Cup weekend in the future.”

MORE US RESORTS BAN UPHILL SKIING

Loveland and Winter Park in Colorado are the two latest.

It follows too many people congregating, usually in parking areas.

Ski resorts in the state have been closed since March 15th by order of the governor,  Jared Polis.

Some resorts allowed touring to take place.

Whitefish Mountain Resort

Uphill skiing banned in more US resorts

Over the course of 3 days this past week, seven human-triggered slides and multiple close calls are reported across the San Juan Mountains.

Eight people were caught by the slides, 4 carried, and 2 partially or fully buried.

Other resorts in Colorado to have banned uphill skiing including Arapahoe Basin, Keystone, Breckenridge, and Copper Mountain.

MATTERHORN ILLUMINATED AS SIGN OF HOPE

The mountain is being illuminated daily between sunset and 11pm, weather conditions permitting.

Matterhorn lit up as symbol of hope

Symbol of hope

Resort statement:

With the illumination, Zermatt wants to give people a sign of hope and solidarity in this difficult time of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Just like the motto ‘Light is hope’.

The village shows solidarity with all people who are currently suffering and is grateful to all those who are helping to overcome the crisis.

This includes the medical staff, all those who ensure the logistics and the supply of the population as well as all those who stay at home out of consideration and adapt their daily routine and tasks to the circumstances.

FIELD HOSPITAL BUILT IN AOSTA BY PILA SKI LIFT

Aosta was PlanetSKI’s winter home this season, until we left due to the spread of the coronavirus with total lockdown coming into force.

We caught this lift to the ski resort of Pila many time.

Pila, Aosta, Italy

Pila, Aosta Valley

At the base is now a huge field hospital with 17 tents.

Pila coronavirus field hospital

Field hospital, Pila

“The structure will serve as a reserve in the event that the beds at the Parini hospital run out due to coronavirus infection,” said the Chief of the Aosta Valley Civil Protection, Pio Porretta.

Italy registered a smaller day-to-day increase in new coronavirus cases for the second day.

The death toll from the outbreak grew by 602 yesterday to 6,078 in total.

While that is an 11% increase, it is the smallest nominal rise since last Thursday.

STATEMENT FROM GB SNOWSPORT

Our thoughts are with everyone affected by Covid-19, and we want to say a huge thank you to everyone working on the frontline to fight this pandemic.

We urge everyone to follow Government guidelines and stay at home.

Message from CEO, Vicky Gosling:

“On behalf of GB Snowsport, I want to express our desire that all our athletes, their families and friends as well as the millions of other snow sport enthusiasts follow the Government guidelines and stay in their homes – and most of all stay safe.

“These are unprecedented and challenging times for everyone, not just GB Snowsport, and our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by the pandemic Covid-19 which is sweeping across the world.

“Our world class programme athletes train and compete across the world in locations where the virus has been detected and public health is at serious threat – I want to extend my sympathies and support to those communities which have become second homes for our athletes and coaches.

“In these circumstances, we will ensure that the health and safety of our athletes and staff as well as wider stakeholders is paramount and that is the clear message from GB Snowsport.

“We will not put anyone at risk during these times of heightened health concerns and so we have taken some sensible decisions to pull all our athletes out of events two weeks ago so they can be at home during this global health pandemic.

“The guidelines from the Government – and the World Health Organisation – are clear.

“Stay at home, exercise the highest standards of hygiene and exercise social distancing.

“I know that for all our athletes the need to curtail the season and to cancel events has been extremely disappointing but at times like this everyone connected with GB Snowsport and indeed global support has to put health and well-being at the top of our agenda.

“As an organisation we are working hard to provide updates and advice to our staff, athletes and wider stakeholders.

“We are also using this time to plan so we are best prepared for when business resumes – which we hope is as soon as possible.”

GB Snowsport coronavirus message

The message from GB Snowsport

TUESDAY 24th MARCH

CALL FOR VERBIER TO BE PLACED UNDER QUARANTINE

A doctor in the Swiss ski resort is calling on authorities to seal it off from the rest of Switzerland.

Local doctor Sabine Popescu says there has been a surge in cases of the new coronavirus in recent weeks.

Swiss RTS radio reported a cluster of 60 infected people in Val de Bagnes in the canton of Valais, which includes Verbier.

“People are coming thinking they will be safer in the mountains. Now we must get the idea that this is over. Verbier needs to be in confinement,” said Sabine Popescu to the Reuters News Agency.

“Very soon there will be no more tests or medicines to treat people and the only way is to halt the rise,” she said.

Verbier, Switzerland

Verbier, Switzerland

A local paper reports that the Valais canton health director, Esther Waeber-Kalbermatten,  had written to the federal government in Bern to seek guidance, since quarantining a whole region is not allowed in Switzerland.

In Austria the authorities have quarantined some ski resorts including Ischgl and St Anton.

VIRTUAL MEETING FOR US SKI & SNOWBOARD

The organisation has said it will host its annual congressional meetings online, rather than in-person in Park City.

It said the decision was made in accordance with the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines restricting large gatherings.

“We have already moved our annual Athletic Summit and Club Excellence to a virtual meeting, and we’re confident that the 2020 US Ski & Snowboard Congress will deliver a positive outcome that allows all of us to focus on athlete development and organizational excellence,” said US Ski & Snowboard in a statement.

The organisation is responsible for all aspects of competitive skiing and snowboarding fin the USA from grassroots programmes through to elite international and Olympic teams.

US Ski & Snowboard

US Ski & Snowboard

A MESSSAGE FROM THE TEAM AT NEILSON

“When your body’s busy your mind isn’t… #GetYourActiveOn (at home)

“We know how an active lifestyle helps us all feel happier and more relaxed – we are a company full of active people ourselves.

“Ideally, we’d be continuing to inspire you to travel, to explore, to seek adventure and to spend as much time as possible enjoying the sports you love doing in the great outdoors.

“If things were different right now, we’d be encouraging you all to ski, board, sail, paddle, surf, learn, climb, cycle and play to your heart’s content.

“The Neilson team are still here though, and we’ve been busy chatting about the ways in which we can continue to stay in touch and how we can all stay active, from wherever we are.

“Stuck inside?

“We’re going to start sharing lots of ideas for keeping active at home and we’d love to hear your ideas too.

“Our search for a Neilson Active Ambassador continues, so show us how you #GetYourActiveOn (at home) via Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, so we can share your ideas to inspire others too!

“Stay tuned to our social media channels and even whilst we have to put our travels on hold for the time being, we can all continue to share our passion for being active.

“Take care of yourselves, stay active & we’ll see you soon.”

Here are PlanetSKI, we’ve invested in a way of getting our cycling miles in without straying from home.

The editor’s household has purchased a device that lifts the back wheel of a bike off the ground, turning a regular bike into an exercise bike.

Turning a cycle into a static exercise bike

Stay active while going nowhere

MONDAY 23rd MARCH

COVIDIOT

Our editor, James, is hoping this new word doesn’t enter the Oxford English Dictionary.

Oh dear...

Oh dear…

SKI RESORTS IN FINLAND CLOSE

Levi was going to close on Friday and was hoping for a gradual close-down.

However rather than reducing the number of visitors the announcement caused more people to visit the resort for a last chance to ski.

“Our decision has turned against itself, so next week the number of customers in our slope centres would have increased rather than gradually being reduced,” said the Managing Director of Levi Ski Resort, Jouni Palosaari, to local media.

“For this reason, we decided to close our operations even earlier than first announced.”

It shut on Sunday with this statement:

“Dear tourists and residents, Levi ski slopes have been decided to close today 22.3.2020.

“The slopes of Lapland slopes made a decision together.

“The centres announced that they would do this because the notification closes and reduce the number of customers in a controlled way could have done the opposite of what was intended and caused a rush to the slopes on the last possible skiing days.

“We all want to protect health above all.”

Ylläs, Luosto, Olos, Pallas and Ounasvaara have also shut.

On Sunday there were 626 reported cases of coronavirus cases in Finland, up 105 since Saturday.

Levi, Finalnd

Levi, Finland

AUSTRIAN SNOWSPORT STARS DRAFTED IN TO HELP OTHERS

Some of Austrian’s leading  skiers and snowboarders are using their forced down-time to help others during the coronavirus crisis.

Many of the athletes are also in the Austrian Armed Forces and have been drafted in to help keep the supply and distribution of food going.

Alpine racer Patrick Feurstein is working at SPAR HQ in Dornbirn.

“Our department from the Army Command Centre is responsible for loading and unloading the trucks. We can help and learn here as well,” he says in an article on the Austrian Ski Association website.

Snowboarder Arvid Auner is responsible for the delivery of goods at a food discount store in Werndorf.

“It is very important to me to make a contribution in the current situation so that the supply of important goods and food to the population continues to function without complaint,” he says.

“When I was shopping for my grandmother recently and saw almost only older people in the supermarket, it was clear to me that I would also join a private initiative in Graz to support our older people with errands of all kinds.

“We all have to stick together now so that the current precarious situation eases as quickly as possible.”

Slalom specialist Michaela Dygruber is enthusiastic about the scheme.

Austrian ski racer Michaela Dygruber helping the coronavirus effort- photo Austrian Ski Association

Michaela Dygruber – from the slopes to the warehouse – photo Austrian Ski Association

“I think the campaign is megacool, because we athletes can also make a contribution…… In this difficult time it is important that we all stick together, so I am glad that I am can be there and help.”

Others involved in public service in Austria include Nordic combined athletes Philipp Orter, Thomas Jöbstl, Martin Fritz and Thomas Rettenegge and snowboarders Sabine Schöffmann, Jemima Juritz and Fabian Obmann.

FIS HOLDS VIRTUAL ALPINE WORLD CUP FINALS

The climax to the alpine ski racing season, the World Cup Finals in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, may have fallen victim to the coronavirus but it didn’t stop competition taking place.

The first ever World Cup e-finals took place over several days from last Wednesday until Sunday when the actual competition was due to end.

The event was hosted on the FIS World Cup Ski Racing mobile game which is free to download and play.

‘Racers’ were able to compete free of charge and could purchase personalised racing equipment.

FIS, the International Ski Federation, has said it is matching the revenues generated in-game during the e-finals and donating them to the coronavirus efforts in Cortina.

“Italy, the Dolomites and Cortina are an important part of the FIS family, and this action and donation is the least that FIS could do in light of the cancellation of the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Finals, which should have been taking place right now to celebrate the world’s best Alpine skiers,” said FIS Secretary General Sarah Lewis.

FIS World Cup alpine racing e-finals 2020

Virtual finals

Figures released before the e-finals were completed showed that players from 87 countries all around the world had used the app to ‘train’ and get used to the race courses.

The countries represented with the biggest number of participants were Switzerland (16 %), USA (13%), Italy (11%), Austria (10%), France (10%), Germany (6%), Canada (6%), UK (4%), Spain (3%) and Slovenia (2%).

The overall winner is getting a pair of VIP tickets to the 2021 FIS World Championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo, courtesy of Cortina 2021.

Individual discipline winners will receive a pair of skis from HEAD, Atomic, Fischer, or poles from LEKI.

FIS is also awarded 5 pairs of Grandstand tickets to the 2021 FIS World Championships.

THIS FROM THE VAL D’ISERE SEASONAIRES FACEBOOK PAGE

“From now on, unless you have a PHD in Virology/Immunology (from a real University) we won’t be allowing posts about the workings of COVID-19 without credible sources.

“News articles from reliable news outlets are fine but a paragraph you have copy and pasted from a WhatsApp group is not.

“The spread of misinformation can be really dangerous, even when done with the best intentions.

“Check the top of the seasonaire page for Caitlins updates which are fact checked and cross referenced.

“Hope you are all living your best quarantine lives xxx”

It reminds us here at PlanetSKI of this cartoon we posted earlier.

Good point, well made

Good point, well made

HIGHLAND RESCUE TEAM URGES PEOPLE TO STAY AWAY FROM THE MOUNTAINS

The Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team in Scotland has said its ability to respond to emergencies may be reduced in the coronavirus crisis.

“Although the Lochaber hills are looking beautiful and inviting at present, we as a team would not be responsible if we failed to point out that, at this time of national emergency, our ability to respond to incidents may be curtailed by circumstances created by Covid-19” said the secretary of the organisation, Dr Brian Tregaskis.

The Lochaber team is one of the busiest in Scotland and covers the UK’s highest mountain Ben Nevis and many other munros in the area.

“Hillgoers should consider what extra pressures a single accident may put upon already stretched local hospital services.”

“Normal service in terms of recovery and transfer cannot be guaranteed.

“As much as it pains us, the best thing folk could do is stay at home at this time.

“Support your local community. Please do not put extra stress on our small and already fragile healthcare infrastructure.”

“The hills will still be here next winter and hopefully later in the summer adventure can be had. Stay safe.”

Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team

Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team

SNOW+ROCK CLOSES TODAY

The outdoor retail store has closed all its shops across the country.

They shut at 1pm today, Monday 23rd March.

It made the announcement on Sunday.

Coronavirus Information

In line with government advice regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus), all the stores will close from 1pm on Monday 23rd March 2020.

The store remains open online.

Snow + Rock

Snow + Rock

“We believe that people are happier outside, something which holds true now more than ever,” it said in a statement.

“We encourage everyone to stay safe, support one another and do your best to spend what time you can outdoors in a responsible way.”

“In line with government advice regarding COVID-19, we’re committed to doing everything we can to keep everyone who works and shops with us safe, whilst still supporting them to get outside as much as possible.”

The Head Office teams are working from home.

Its warehouse and customer service teams are working around the clock to keep things moving and prevent any delay to orders paced online.

Here at PlanetSKI we encourage you to support all businesses in the snowsports industry, where and when you can, at this difficult time.

Snow+Rock asks for understanding as the situation develops and more measures are introduced to help protect businesses and communities.

TWO US RESORTS BAN UPHILL SKIING

Breckenridge and Keystone have closed uphill access across their slopes until further notice.

“We love fresh snow but without ski patrol and terrain maintenance, it is unsafe for skiers, riders, those sledding and first responders. Thank you for respecting all posted closures,” the resorts said in a statement.

The resorts’ closures equate to no ski patrol, maintenance or services on resort terrain and the possibility of encountering unmarked hazards.

Some resorts in the US are allowing uphill skiing as we wrote earlier:

UPHILL SKIING CONTINUES IN SOME US SKI RESORTS

All the resorts are closed but some are allowing people to skin uphill and into the backcountry – at their own risk.

“Uphilling is allowed on the ski area at any time, but it’s entirely at people’s own risk,” said Tucker Vest Burton from the Aspen Skiing Co.

Whitefish Mountain Resort, in Montana, is also allowing it for 14-days after the main lifts closed.

Whitefish Mountain Resort

Whitefish Mountain Resort

It is taking place at Stowe and Smugglers Notch in Vermont.

Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows have taken a different position.

“We understand that people are eager to get out on the slopes, but no uphill travel is allowed at Squaw or Alpine,” the resort posted on Instagram.

“Avalanche danger in the Sierra is currently rated high, and avalanche control and other safety measures involving grooming machine travel will still be ongoing at the resort during the closure. Even when avalanche danger subsides, our ski areas are closed to guests until such time as we reopen, be it this season or next.”

This view mirrors France in the Alps where the police are patrolling in some parts of the Alps as they feel any accidents would distract the authorities from the task of fighting and dealing with coronavirus.

More to follow…

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