Coronavirus Impact on Skiing & Snowboarding
24th May 2020
Last modified on May 30th, 2020
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
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 10th: Coronavirus impact on snowsports
April 12th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding
April 5th: Coronavirus impact on snowsports
Saturday 30th May
Crystal Mountain in USA Reopens
The resort in Washington State will open for two weeks of skiing and snowboarding from June 1st – 14th.
People will need to make reservations and follow social distancing measures.
Places will be available to book a day in advance.
They will be distributed on a first come, first served basis with a maximum of four in a group.
“We’re ready and excited to welcome you back starting June 1 for spring skiing and riding in Green Valley, but things are going to be different,” said the resort.
“Capacity will be limited, and reservations are required.
“We’re committed to doing this responsibly and rely on your cooperation to make it a safe and positive experience for everyone.
The Green Valley lift, accessible by the gondola, is the only chair that will be running.
The terrain is advanced.
“In order to minimize injuries and incidents, Crystal Mountain Ski Patrol strongly recommends only skilled skiers and riders visit,” said a statement from the resort.
“It is imperative that guests ski and ride safely. Enjoy the ski area, but this is the time for restraint. Please be conservative and practice good judgment.”
All visitors must have a reservation, including pass holders – No exceptions. Please only arrive at the resort during your reservation time slot
Physical distancing must always be maintained, including when in our parking lots, restrooms, retail, food, and lift lines
There will be no tailgating allowed in the parking lots
Guests are strongly encouraged to wear a mask, gloves, and goggles/sunglasses
Practice good hygiene – wash your hands frequently or use disinfectant
Ride the chairlifts and gondola with those in your household only
With few exceptions, there are no indoor facilities open, please be prepared to be outside for the duration of your visit
Failure to cooperate with physical distancing and updated resort policies will result in a loss of skiing/riding privileges
Staff will be required to wear a mask or face covering
Staff will complete a daily health screening prior to starting their shift
Enhanced COVID-19 awareness training has been implemented for all resort staff
Gloves will be used when handling guest items
Restrooms will be cleaned and sanitized hourly, and other high-touch services disinfected throughout the day
Gondola cabins are sanitized immediately following each use
Nightly deep cleans of high use areas
PHYSICAL DISTANCING MEASURES
We are discontinuing the use of signed receipts for transactions
Plexiglass protective barriers have been installed where possible
Grab-N-Go food options only
Online ticket sales have been implemented as the primary method of ticket purchase
“Crystal will continue to carefully monitor COVID-19 and all associcated local, state, and federal guidance,” the resorts added.
“As we have said throughout this pandemic, we remain committed to keeping our staff, guests, and community safe.
“We have been in contact with the governors office and will continue to follow state orders with all local and national guidance.”
Arapahoe Basin in Colorado reopened last Wednesday as we reported earlier on PlanetSKI:
Beartooth Basin Summer ski area is also opening on Monday.
It will stay open to July 5th if the snow holds out and will be open from 9am to 3pm each day.
The ski area is located at Beartooth Pass in the Shoshone National Forest on the Montana-Wyoming border in the United States.
It is the only ski area in North America that is only open in the summer, generally from late May through early July,
It is unable to open in the winter as the access road, US 212 is closed in the winter months.
Val d’Isere Set to Open for Summer Skiing and Snowboarding
Val d’Isère has announced it is opening the Pisaillas glacier on June 6th for summer skiing.
The slopes will only be open to ‘pre booked’ clubs with a maximum of 450 skiers
There will be race lanes and some ‘free’ skiing and it hopes to stay open until July 11th.
Snow removal from the road from Val d’Isère is continuing to allow access to the glacier.
There will be a limit of 500 people per day in the first week, and then it is hoped to raise it to 600.
An online reservation and pre-sales system will be used.
Social distancing will be implemented and face coverings will be mandatory in the queues and on the lifts.
See here for a related PlanetSKI story as three glacier resorts in Austria reopened on Friday:
Friday 29th May
More Restrictions Eased in Austria
Hotels are reopening in Austria today, reports the BBC.
They are only open to Austrian citizens, but there are hopes that foreign tourists will be able to visit once the borders with neighbouring countries open in mid-June.
There are also plans to mass test hotel staff in order to try to reassure tourists.
Plus combat the memory of outbreaks of Covid-19 at ski resorts earlier this year.
The country hopes to test 65,000 hotel workers a week by July, and these tests will be paid for by the government.
Theatres and concert halls are also reopening, but audiences are limited to 100 people and strict social distancing rules apply.
There are plans to increase audience sizes over the coming weeks.
Three glacier ski resorts, Hintertux, Kaunertal and Kitzsteinhorn reopened today as we have reported elsewhere:
Ski Dubai Indoor Snow Centre Reopens
The indoor centre in the United Arab Emirates has welcomed back skiers and snowboarders.
Strict social distancing and cleaning measures are in places.
Riders also have to wear face masks.
“We have reopened in Dubai in compliance with government regulations and have taken all the necessary precautions to ensure you have a comfortable experience with added peace of mind,” said a statement from Ski Dubai.
At present international borders remain closed except to essential workers, so no tourists are allowed to enter the country.
The United Arab Emirates had 32,532 recorded coronavirus cases and 258 people died.
Here at PlanetSKI we hit the slopes in Ski Dubai in 2018 as we headed to ski in Australia and New Zealand.
So, what’s it like?
Other indoor centres across the world remain closed and will be watching how the Dubai centre operates.
All the UK ones closed as lockdown was implemented:
The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead to the north of London is already making plans.
“While lockdown isn’t over yet, we know many of you are really looking forward to getting back on the snow,” said the The Snow Centre earlier this month.
“So our team are exploring ways that we can safely enjoy the slopes again as soon as it’s okay to do so.”
Here’s a taste of what skiing and snowboarding may look like:
Rethink on UK Quarantine Rules?
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he wouldn’t rule out a rethink of the quarantine rules when he appeared on This Morning on ITV.
Hancock said the Government has been looking carefully at overseas holidays and the rules on quarantine and international travel.
His comment have been reported by Travel Mole.
“A few weeks ago, you weren’t very hopeful about foreign holidays,” Holmes said. “EasyJet have announced they may have to cut a third of their staff, isn’t that a reason in itself to rethink us as a country about quarantine?”
He then asked Hancock: “Would you rethink the quarantine?”
Hancock replied: “I wouldn’t rule it out.”
“This crisis has had a massive impact on airlines across the world,” he added. “I am a little more optimistic than I was about being able to get some foreign travel back up.
“The quarantine rules are important and we will keep watching and try to do everything we can to allow the relaxation and freedoms, but you understand we will only do that when it is safe to do so.”
When asked by Holmes if it was now not out the question for Britons to keep their fingers crossed about having a July foreign holiday, the Health Secretary added: “I absolutely wouldn’t rule it out. We have got to proceed cautiously.”
Thursday 28th May
Travel Firms Urge Government to Scrap Quarantine Measures
From 8th June, people entering the UK from abroad will be told to isolate for 14 days or face a £1,000 fine.
It will make it harder for British people to travel to the Alps and the Pyrenees as they will need to quarantine on arrival home.
Some ski businesses that operate in the mountains in the summer have told us it will be “the death of our summer business”.
70 travel companies have sent a letter to the Home Secretary Priti Patel, they say the policy would reduce visitor numbers and may make it harder for Brits to travel abroad.
“The very last thing the travel industry needs is a mandatory quarantine imposed on all arriving passengers which will deter foreign visitors from coming here, deter UK visitors from travelling abroad, and most likely cause other countries to impose reciprocal quarantine requirements on British visitors,” the letter says.
France has already introduced a reciprocal quarantine period.
Greece has also said people from the UK will need to self-isolated for 14-days.
Swiss Athletes Back in Training
All Athletes in Switzerland can resume training from June 6th after the country’s Federal Council announced that covid-19 restrictions will be “largely relaxed”.
The Swiss Olympic Committee said they welcomed the news and that the “heart of Swiss sport would start beating again.”
Here at PlanetSKI we will be checking about summer training for snowsports athletes and will be updating later today.
From June 6th, training can take place for all sports with no restrictions on the size of the training group.
Public events with up to 300 people will be allowed.
On June 24th, the Federal Council will review the procedure and may allow for events with up to 1,000 people.
Larger events with more than 1,000 people are not allowed to take place until August 31.
EasyJet Set to Cut 30% of Workforce with Prediction Things Not Back to Normal till 2023
The airline is used by thousands of skiers and snowboarders every winter has come out with some stark predictions and severe actions.
It is looking to cut up to 4,500 jobs to survive the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We remain focused on doing what is right for the company and its long-term health and success, following the swift action we have taken over the last three months to meet the challenges of the virus. Although we will restart flying on 15 June, we expect demand to build slowly, only returning to 2019 levels in about three years’ time.
“Against this backdrop, we are planning to reduce the size of our fleet and to optimise the network and our bases. As a result, we anticipate reducing staff numbers by up to 30% across the business and we will continue to remove cost and non-critical expenditure at every level.”
Wednesday 27th May
2021 Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships Cancelled
The Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships was scheduled to take place 1 – 6 March at Vail in Colorado but “ongoing uncertainties around the COVID-19 pandemic” have led officials to cancel it.
“This was a difficult call to make since we’re so many months away from the next Burton US Open, and we’re not sure what will be happening with the pandemic nine months from now,” said Burton CEO, John Lacy.
The Cortina 2021 World Ski Championships are looking to move to 2022 and other event organisers are already looking ahead to whether they can go ahead next season amid possible covid-19 restrictions.
Read more here.
Free covid-19 tests for incoming tourists
They are being offered by the Portugese island of Madeira in an attempt to attract incoming visitors.
Similar tests are being offered at Vienna airport in Austria with other airports that give access to the Alps looking at the experience in Vienna.
It could be a model for other tourist destinations in summer and winter.
If a country, ski area or resort I seen as covid-safe it could increase its share of winter bookings.
Madeira reopens to tourism on 1st July 1 and will provide free coronavirus tests on arrival.
Alternatively people will need a negative test certificate taken no more than 72-hours before departure.
Madeira registered 90 of coronavirus and is trying to present itself as a covid-safe destination.
AS SKI RESORTS IN AUSTRALIA SET TO HAVE LIMITED OPENING NEXT MONTH FIRST COVID-19 CASES IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA IN WEEKS
An overseas traveller came to Victoria where she was quarantined for less than a week.
She then travelled on to South Australia as the quarantine was shortened because she was given an exemption “for compelling family reasons”.
She tested positive on arrival at Adelaide Airport.
The woman, who is in her 50s, is now isolated and authorities are trying to trace whoever she was in contact with while travelling.
See here for our article on Australia ski resorts set to open.
Meanwhile the first human trial of a vaccine in the southern hemisphere has begun in Melbourne, Australia.
The vaccine being tested, NVX-CoV2373, is being made by US company, Novavax.
It will be tested on a group of 130 healthy adults with the first results expected in July.
There are more than 100 vaccines being developed around the world, and around a dozen have begun human testing.
Tuesday 26th May
TRAVEL TO ITALY
The European country that was first hit by the pandemic is set to lift border restrictions and open up more of the country on June 3rd.
It has had 229,858 confirmed cases and 32,785 deaths.
People from the UK, as long as they are not showing the symptoms of covid-19, will be allowed to enter Italy without 14-days quarantine.
At the moment a quarantine period is required for most people.
However it should be remembered that on June 8th anyone returning to the UK will have to undergo 14-days of quarantine under new regulations just announced.
Here at PlanetSKI we have a particular interest in Italy as we lived there last winter in the Aosta Valley in northern Italy.
We left in a hurry when we decided it was too dangerous and left some possessions behind.
We will return when the rules allow, and when we deem it to be safe.
To show our support, indulge in the socially distancing summer activities of cycling, hiking and maybe even some glacier skiing.
All conditional on our judgement that it is safe to do so.
We’ll probably do a bit of sightseeing too.
So, what are the changes?
Below we repost the latest official and updated guidance from Italy.
Travelling within the Italian regions is allowed at the moment.
Travelling outside the region you are in is allowed only for proven work needs, emergency situations, or health reasons.
From the 3rd of June it is possible to travel from one region to the other.
Until the 2nd of June 2020 it is forbidden to travel abroad (to and from foreign states), except for proven work needs, emergency situations, or health reasons.
Travelling from the Vatican City State or the Republic of San Marino to the adjacent Regions and vice versa is always allowed, without any limitation.
From the 3rd of June 2020 travelling to and from the following States is allowed: Member States of the European Union, States parties to the Schengen Agreement, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Andorra, Monaco.
Circulation restrictions for specific areas of the country can be restored at any time in the event of a worsening of the epidemiological situation.
Cruises by Italian flag passenger ships are suspended.
Measures applied on national territory
From the 18th of May, a gradual reopening of several activities has been allowed.
– The activities of accommodation facilities (hotels, bed&breakfast, etc.) are allowed, provided that the interpersonal safety distance of one metre is guaranteed in the common areas.
– The opening to the public of museums and other places of culture (libraries, archives, archaeological areas and parks, monumental complexes) is allowed. In all places of culture, contingent fruition methods must be guaranteed, or in any case such as to avoid gatherings of people and to allow visitors to respect the distance of at least one meter between one another
– The opening to the public of bars, pubs, restaurants, ice cream shops, pastry shops and the like is allowed. All premises open to the public must comply with guidelines and protocols identified by the autonomous regions and provinces to prevent or reduce the risk of contagion.
– The activities of beach resorts are allowed, in compliance with the guidelines and protocols identified by the autonomous regions and provinces to prevent or reduce the risk of contagion. Regional protocols and guidelines also cover access to free beaches.
– The opening to the public of all commercial activities is allowed, provided that the interpersonal distance of at least one metre is ensured. Customers will be able to enter the stores a fixed number at a time, and will be able to stay inside only for the time necessary to purchase the goods.
– From the 15th of June, shows in theatres, concert halls, cinemas and other outdoor spaces are allowed. The performances must be held with pre-assigned and spaced seats, and at the condition that the interpersonal distance of at least one meter is ensured for both the staff and the spectators, with the maximum number of 1000 spectators for outdoor shows and 200 people for performances or each individual hall in closed places.
– Access to parks, villas, playgrounds and public gardens is allowed. Outdoor recreational activities are allowed.
– It is allowed to do outdoor sports or physical activity, observing the distance of at least two meters for the sports activity and at least one meter for any other activity. Minors and non-self- sufficient persons can do sports or physical activity if they are accompanied.
– From the 25th of May 2020, the opening to the public of public of gyms, swimming pools, sports centres and clubs is allowed, in compliance with the rules of social distancing and without any gathering.
– The activities of wellness centres, spas (with the exception of the provision of services falling within the essential levels of care), cultural centres and social centres are suspended.
– The opening of places of worship is conditioned by the adoption of organizational measures such as to avoid gathering of people, guaranteeing the possibility for visitors to observe the distance of at least one meter from one another. Religious services are allowed with the participation of persons, in compliance with the Protocols signed by the government and by the respective religious denominations referred to in attachments 1 to 7 to the Presidential Decree of the Council of Ministers of the 17th of May 2020.
Regions and autonomous provinces may anticipate or postpone the opening of different activities, taking into account their compatibility with the development of the contagion.
The Presidents of the regions decide on the planning of local public transport services (bus, metro, tram), to avoid overcrowding of the means of transport in the daily time slots with the greatest presence of passengers.
The minister of infrastructure and transport, in agreement with the minister of health, may order reductions, suspensions or limitations in transport services, including international, automotive, rail, air, sea and inland waters transport.
Obligation to use masks
It is mandatory to wear masks in closed spaces, including means of transport, and in any situation where it’s not possible to guarantee the interpersonal safety distance.
Children under six years of age and persons with forms of disability not compatible with the use of the mask are not subject to the obligation.
Monday 25th May
TIT FOR TAT QUARANTINE MEASURES FROM FRANCE
When Boris Johnston announced a likely 14-day quarantine two weeks ago it was said France would be exempt.
Summer holidays to the French Alps and Pyrenees seemed a possibility.
No-one quite knew why France had an exemption and no satisfactory explanation was given as to why people arriving from France were not a risk, but those from other countries were.
Then the UK government did a U-turn and said the measures would apply to France despite ethe earlier poisition after a phone called between Prime Minister Johnson and President Macron.
Now the French authorities have said people arriving in France from the UK will have to self-isolate for 14-days from 8th June.
It comes as some other European countries are set to lift border restrictions.
Some commentators are questioning why such border controls, if they are now needed, were not introduced sooner.
The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, the measure would “reduce the risk of cases crossing our border”.
“This is absolutely not about booking holidays. We want to avoid a second wave and that is absolutely vital.”
Back in March our reporter George Eykyn returned from a ski holiday in St Anton in the Tirol in Austria after it was closed due to coronavirus.
There were no proper checks or consistent advice from the UK government on his return, Exodus from Austria with confusion over whether to self-isolate
He took it on himself to self-isolate and developed the symptoms, Life under lockdown – a brush with coronavirus
Sunday 24th May
AUSTRALIAN SKI RESORT ANNOUNCES OPENING DATE
Mt Buller in Victoria in Australia has announced it will open for skiing and snowboarding on June 22nd.
It made the announcement on its Facebook Page.
Here is what it has looked like in Mt Buller as the first snow has fallen.
The ski season in New Zealand is also starting at the end of June as covid-19 restrictions were eased:
We have posted a new article on PlanetSKI today looking at what Mr Buller, and other resorts, may look like + what the season ahead may hold with coronavirus restrictions in place:
SCOTLAND LOOKS FORWARD TO RESTRICTIONS EASING IN MOUNTAINS & HILLS
The Scottish government set out its phased approach to leaving the lockdown.
The first phase allows for some outdoor pursuits, but it encourages people to stay local.
There have been breaches of the lockdown as it was introduced back in March.
The police have been leaving notes on windscreens of some cats parked near walking routes.
Now the rescue authorities are urging people to be cautions when they return and that rescue missions will be limited – see more here on the BBC.
The lockdown has led to the longest period in almost 20 years without a mountain rescue incident.
Scottish Mountain Rescue represents 24 volunteer teams and has said access to the hills was “not back to normal”, and only possible for those who could safely comply with the government’s travel guidelines.
Rescue teams are on stand-by for accidents but their responses would be slower and with fewer team members.