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CORONAVIRUS IMPACT ON SNOWSPORTS

The team at PlanetSKI is reporting all the news & developments as it affects the snowsports world in our ever-popular rolling blog. If you want to see its impact and the response of skiers & snowboarders then read on… UPDATED

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Here are the earlier rolling blogs if you want to look back at all the relevant developments over the past weeks as we report its impact and update daily:

May 3rd: The coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

April 26th: Covid-19 impact on skiing & snowboarding continues

April 18th: Coronavirus impact on skiiing and snowboarding continues

April 12th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

April 5th: Coronavirus impact on snowsports

March 29th: Our rolling blog on the impact of Covid-19 continues

March 23rd: PlanetSKI’s rolling blog on the coronavirus impact on skiing continues

Saturday 16th May

GOVERNMENT U-TURN ON QUARANTINE FROM FRANCE IMPACTS UK VISITS TO THE MOUNTAINS

People travelling to the UK from France will no longer be exempt from the government’s 14-day quarantine period.

Tourists arriving backs from the French Alps or Pyrenees will have go into quarantine.

Last Sunday Boris Johnson said anyone flying into the UK will have to spend 14-days in isolation before being able to move freely around the country.

“No quarantine measures would apply to travellers coming from France at this stage; any measures on either side would be taken in a concerted and reciprocal manner,” said a statement on the government website.

“A working group between the two governments will be set up to ensure this consultation throughout the coming weeks.”

The following day the government clarified the position saying it applied to people arriving by sea as well – ferries and rail services via the channel tunnel.

It was announced that this rule was not set to apply to France.

In a joint statement, the UK and French governments said they had agreed to “work together in taking forward appropriate border measures”.

“This co-operation is particularly necessary for the management of our common border.”

This opened up the possibility of visiting the mountain ranges of France, and beyond, as long as one returned through France.

However, that has now ended with France now included in the new measure.

Some people will be exempt: business people, freight drivers, scientists and doctors, but not holidaymakers.

The only country exempt is the Republic of Ireland.

The government says the two-week quarantine period will be introduced “as soon as possible”

It comes as the Alps is slowly opening up to tourism as we reported earlier.

Some ski resorts in the Alps prepare to open

Border controls amid covid-19

Border controls amid covid-19

ZERMATT REOPENS

Restaurants and shops in the Swiss resort have reopened with lifts set to run on June 8th.

Most hotels and holiday apartments are also planning to open for the summer season.

Activities such as hiking, biking, mountain climbing, golf, summer skiing and many more will be on offer.

“We are looking forward to welcoming you again in Zermatt,” said a statement from the resort.

“Please do not hesitate to contact us at any time if you have any questions. Have a good time and see you soon.”

It joins other ski resorts in the Alps that are preparing to open as we reported here.

During the coronavirus pandemic the resort has beam messages of hope on to the east face of the Matterhorn, plus the flags of nations across the world.

Coronavirus message on The Matterhorn

The Matterhorn

The Matterhorn, Zermatt

The Matterhorn, Zermatt

Japan on the Matterhorn

Japan on the Matterhorn

New Zealand on the Matterhorn

New Zealand on the Matterhorn

Friday 15th May

TRIBUTES CONTINUE FOR SWISS RACE COACH WHO HAS DIED OF COVID-19

Jaques Reymond was 69 and he worked for Swiss Ski from 1979 to 1995.

He was a fitness coach of the women’s team until 1987.

He later worked as an assistant for the men’s team, before serving as head coach from 1993 to 1995.

In the 1987 World Alpine Skiing Championships Switzerland won all five gold medals in women’s competitions.

Swiss Ski

“Swiss skiing and the Swiss Ski family have lost an extremely committed person and a great coaching personality,” said a joint statement from Swiss Ski President, Urs Lehmann, and the CEO, Bernhard Aregger.

“Even after his time at Swiss-Ski, Jacques Reymond stood up for Swiss skiing, so he organised races and camps for young Alpine athletes or accompanied athletes on their way to professional life after their sporting career.

“In addition, the former President of the Ski Romand regional association provided strong support in Lausanne’s application to host the Youth Olympic Games, which were successfully carried out last January.”

The International Ski Federation has also paid tribute to Reymond and offered its “deepest condolences” to his family, friends, loved ones and Swiss Ski.

As fitness coach he worked with six-time world champion and two-time overall World Cup winner Erika Hess.

Reymond married Hess in 1988 and the couple had three sons.

Jaques and Erika Reymond

Jaques and Erika Reymond

CHAMONIX STARTS ITS SUMMER SEASON AS FRANCE LOOKS TO TOURISM RESTARTING

Chamonix has announced it’s to re-open the Aiguille du Midi cable-car and the Montenvers – Mer de Grace Railway this weekend.

It is a sign of getting things going again.

In line with government guidelines it will be implementing strict sanitary regulations across all the premises, along with an experimental “Health and safety” welcome system.

It is an indication of what many other summer resorts will be doing as the battle against coronavirus continues.

  • Thermal camera to check your temperature,
  • Hydro-Alcoholic solutions available
  • Masks to be worn during all phases of transport & in the confined waiting areas (please come equipped)
  • Transport specially adapted (limited numbers, distance between visitors, special circulation measures)
  • A full ‘Welcome & Safety’ protocol for all visitors and staff
  • Regular disinfection of lifts, trains & buildings
  • Full information panels with instructions to be followed before & during the visit

PlanetSKI visited Chamonix in the summer of 2018 click here to discover what we got up to.

We did both modes of transport.

Chamonix in the summer

Chamonix in the summer

Chamonix in the summer

Chamonix in the summer

The French government has announced an €18billion rescue plan for French tourism.

It includes €1.3 billion in direct public investment as well as government-guaranteed loans and extended access to a special fund.

France is the most visited country by tourists in the world with 90m people visiting last year.

It is the most popular destination for British skiers with around a third of UK skies and snowboarders visiting its ski resorts.

The UK has set it will shortly introduce a 14-day quarantine for people coming into the UK except if they travel from France or the Republic of Ireland.

“Whatever strikes tourism obviously strikes at the heart of France,” said the French Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe.

“This is a commitment of more than €18 billion in public finances: it is without precedent, it is massive, it is necessary,” he said.

The country began lifting some lockdown measures last Monday.

Thursday 14th May

NEW ZEALAND MOVES TO ALERT LEVEL 2 AS SKI RESORTS PLAN TO REOPEN NEXT MONTH

Thousands of businesses in New Zealand have reopened on Thursday as the country relaxes its coronavirus restrictions.

Shops, cafes, and public parks are all open with the authorities saying the chance of community transmission is now very low.

People are allowed to start seeing their friends and families again, with a limit of 10 people.

Professional sport is back on the menu – albeit with safety measures in place.

New Zealand has seen 1,497 confirmed cases of Covid-19 out of a population of around five million people.  21 people have died and 90 people are still infected.

We reported last month as the lockdown was eased in New Zealand after a highly successful campaign to contain the virus.

We have a new report with all the latest details on the resorts’ preparations, now the country is on Level 2.

Skiing in New Zealand

Skiing in New Zealand

Skiing in New Zealand

Skiing in New Zealand

SKI RACERS START SUMMER TRAINING

Swiss Ski has resumed training this week after their protection measures were approved by the relevant authorities.

The plan takes all 11 disciplines into consideration and defines the framework and conditions under which high-performance training can commence.

The Slovenian will begin training in Kanin next Monday.

The coaches of the men’s and women’s teams will assess the situation on location and if the conditions still allow, training will begin from May 19th.

We have already reported that the Austrian Team has begun training in Soelden in the Tirol.

See our report in this blog on Monday 4th May.

Bad weather hampered the training camp, but the next sessions are planned for this weekend.

The Italian Ski Federation has taken over the ski area of Stelvio Pass as we reported lower down this page on Sunday 11th May.

WHERE HAVE ALL THE PLANES GONE?

With the majority of the world’s planes on the ground it has caused a bit of a parking problem.

16,400 need a space to park.

We have just spotted this video for CNBC.

It very little to do with skiing but it’s an interesting watch.

Especially if you have driven form Los Angeles to Mammoth Mountain ski resort in California and passed alongside the ‘aircraft boneyard’ that resides in the searing heat of the desert.

It’s looking rather full at the moment.

Parking lot for planes

Parking lot for planes

See the video here.

Parking lot for planes

Wednesday 13th May

TUI CUTS 8,000 JOBS AS HOLIDAY INDUSTRY SLUMPS DUE TO CORONAVIRUS

The Germany company is the world’s largest travel group and the UK’s largest ski operator, Crystal Ski Holidays, is within the group.

TUI is aiming to cut costs by 30%.

“We were very successful economically before the crisis and will be again after the end of the crisis,” said CEO Fritz Joussen.

It said staff reductions would be achieved via a freeze on recruitment and redundancies.

Currently 90% of its 53,000-plus global workforce are either furloughed, working part-time, with reduced pay, or taking unpaid leave.

Tui said it was ready to resume providing holidays this year, using new social distancing and cleaning measures.

“The health and well-being of both customers and colleagues remain paramount and we are assessing how we can responsibly adapt to measures so that leisure travel can resume,” it said in a statement.

“We are preparing new procedures for the airport process, on board our aircraft, in hotels and on our ships, so that any social distancing recommendations or guidelines can be implemented, without compromising customer enjoyment and travel experience.”

Tui said its restructuring would affect its airline business and would also involve selling off “non-profitable activities” with impact across the group.

“For 2020 we will also reinvent the holiday: New destinations, changed travel seasons, new local offerings, more digitalisation.”

“TUI should emerge from the crisis stronger,” said Fritz Joussen.

“But it will be a different TUI and it will find a different market environment than before the pandemic.

“This will require cuts: in investments, in costs, in our size and our presence around the world. We must be leaner than before, more efficient, faster and more digital.”

It is unclear at this stage how and if Crystal Ski Holidays will be affected as the detail is being worked out.

Tui

Tui

 

 

Tuesday 12th May

SAVING SNOW IN FINLAND

In the Finnish resort of Levi, 150kms (93 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, the ski season would usually still be happening.

This year though, they had to close in March because of covid-19.

Rather than let all the good snow go to waste, locals have taken action to save it for next season. The resort is using special fabric to wrap up the white stuff.

See this report on the BBC.

The ski resort saving its snow for next season

This Finnish ski resort has had its best snowfall in recent years and it doesn't want it to go to waste, so it’s saving it for next season. ❄️bbc.in/2WR5lgJ

Posted by BBC News on Monday, 11 May 2020

LOOKING GOOD FOR SKI RESORTS OPENING IN NEW ZEALAND

The resorts are preparing to open in a limited form and with strict social distancing measures in place.

We reported in-depth last month as the lockdown was eased in New Zealand after a highly successful campaign to contain the virus.

New Zealand plan to open with some restrictions

New Zealand has reported no new infections and its death toll stands at 21.

Two people remain in hospital, although neither of them is in intensive care.

This week retail shops, cinemas, playgrounds and gyms open – although social distancing rules remain in place.

Schools will resume normal classes on 18th May, while bars will be allowed to open on 21st May.

Ski resorts are looking to open at the end of June though there are strict restrictions on international travellers entering the country.

Skiing in New Zealand

Skiing in New Zealand

The alert risk will drop to Level Two.

“I am announcing that Cabinet agrees we are ready to move into Level 2, to open up the economy, but to do it as safely as possible,” said the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern.

From Thursday in-country travel will be allowed.

“The upshot is that in 10 days’ time we will have reopened most businesses in New Zealand, and sooner than many other countries around the world,” Ardern said.

Monday 11th May

GOLF COURSES IN ENGLAND SET TO REOPEN

And for those skiers and snowboarders who play golf, this from the BBC…..

“Golf courses in England are preparing to reopen from Wednesday, following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s address to the nation.

New guidelines mean golfers will be allowed to play – on their own or with one member of their own household.

There is no change to the current position in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and so golf courses in these countries must remain closed for now.

“Golf clubs and golfers have observed the lockdown very well and must keep it up and act responsibly as play resumes,” said a statement from the England Golf Union.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said on Twitter: “In tentative steps and in the least risky outdoor environments, we can imminently allow some sports activity like golf, basketball, tennis, fishing – solo/in households. Guidance to follow.”

NO QUARANTINE MEASURES BETWEEN FRANCE AND THE UK

The French embassy in London said on Friday that it would not impose a 14-day quarantine for incoming international visitors from the UK.

Now the UK government has said it will not impose quarantine on people arriving from France.

All other countries will be affected except for the Republic of Ireland.

Some are questioning the science and medical reasoning behind the decision when France has had 26,380 deaths and is one of the most badly hit countries in Europe.

Some in the ski and travel industry are welcoming the move as concerns grow about border restrictions to the alpine nations.

In his address to the nation on Sunday, the prime minister said: “I am serving notice that it will soon be the time – with transmission significantly lower – to impose quarantine on people coming into this country by air.”

The government later clarified that the rules would apply not just to air passengers, but also those arriving by other means of travel.

In a joint statement, the UK and French governments said they had agreed to “work together in taking forward appropriate border measures”.

“This co-operation is particularly necessary for the management of our common border.”

A working group between the two governments will be set up to ensure consultation.

President Macron and Boris Johnson spoke to each other on Sunday ahead of the Prime Minister’s address to the nation.

Here at PlanetSKI we have just posted an extended article on the issue:

How long will border restrictions to alpine countries remain?

Border controls amid covid-19

Border controls amid covid-19

Sunday 10th May

ITALIAN SKI TOURER KILLED IN AVALANCHE AFTER COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS LIFTED

The 23-year old man was skiing with his brother near the ski resort of Cortina in the Dolomites.

They on the Giussano peak when they were struck.

He was carried 200m down the mountain.

His brother was uninjured and alerted the emergency services.

“The avalanche was a mix of snow and ice and was probably caused by the high temperature of the day,” said the head of the Alpine Rescue team, Marshal Paolo Simoni.

Ski touring is now allowed in Italy, along with some other open-air sporting activities, as the coronavirus restrictions are eased.

US COVID-19 SURVIVOR ARRIVES HOME AFTER 64 DAYS IN HOSPITAL

Gregg Garfield became infected on a ski trip in northern Italy last February and developed the symptoms when he arrived back in the USA

All 13 people in his group caught coronavirus.

He spent 31-days on a ventilator at Burbank hospital in California and at one stage was given a 1% chance of surviving.

“These guys in the hospital are unbelievable. This walkthrough of love, it’s just amazing,” he said as he was discharged.

“These doctors are the best of the best. I could not have survived anywhere else.”

“I’m so thankful for this hospital,” said his sister, Stephanie Bruno.

“They saved his life. Every person who has been in here to take care of him and who has talked to him and hold his hand because we couldn’t.”

Coronavirus

Coronavirus

ITALIAN SNOWSPORT ATHLETES WILL TRAIN AT STELVIO WHEN COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS EASED

The Italian Ski Federation has signed an exclusive deal with the area that allows for safe training sessions as the pandemic subsides.

FISI will have the exclusive right to lodging at the Hotel Livrio from June 1 to 30, while the ski lifts will only be open to Italian team athletes.

There are 90 beds and all athletes and supports staff will comply with coronavirus regulations.

The area is by the Swiss border.

“The Federation is committed to trying to set the best conditions for its athletes to carry out – as soon as the regulations allow – a certain amount of training on the snow and, with this in mind, I wanted to enter into an agreement with the Stelvio glacier,” said the Federations President,  Flavio Roda.

Stelvio Pass ski area

Stelvio Pass ski area

The Italian Ski Federation has named the team for the 2020-2021 season.

It includes Federica Brignone, the winner of this year’s women’s Alpine Ski World Cup, and Dominik Paris, the reigning Super-G world champion.

Italian Ski Federation

Italian Ski Federation

Austrian athletes are already back in training in the Tirol.

The Austrian Ski Federation has begun Alpine skiing training programmes as sporting facilities gradually reopen in the country last week.

They are being tested for coronavirus before and after the training camps.

It is aimed to prepare the athletes for the upcoming winter season.

The entire men’s team has reportedly tested negative for coronavirus.

Austrian Ski Federation

Austrian Ski Federation

“The health of our athletes and their supervisors is our top priority,” said the President of the Federation, Peter Schröcksnadel.

“All ÖSV employees, athletes, trainers and supervisors from all areas are tested on COVID-19 using so-called PCR tests.

“The alpines in particular are tested twice.

“Before arriving at the training camp to make sure that they are not infected and before leaving to make sure that they have not been infected during the training.

“This double certainty not only protects our athletes, but also their personal environment.

“We are also planning a scientific study on antibody tests with experts”.

The organisation said it was to be a pioneer for a modern and responsible framework of conditions for sport.

The Federation is also planning a scientific study on antibody tests with experts.

The minimum length of stay at the course location is eight days.

The measures of the ÖSV were developed together with the medical doctor Univ. Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schobesberger from Innsbruck.

“All athletes and their supervisory staff were prepared for the start of training and instructed to avoid any risk of infection, explains the Federation’s sports director. Toni Giger, who is responsible for implementing the measures.

“For us, the following applies: always a little more carefully than prescribed.”

Austrian Ski Federation

Austrian Ski Federation

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