Coronavirus Impact on Skiing and Snowboarding

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

Saturday 25th July

Perisher Ski Resort in Australia Makes Face Coverings Mandatory

From Monday 27 July a face covering will be required when visiting Perisher premises.

An appropriate face covering can include a neck buff, balaclava, facemask or similar and should fit closely around the mouth and nose.

It comes as Australian sees a sharp rise in the neighbouring state of Victoria with resorts there closing.

 Two resorts in Australia close due to covid-19 spike

Perisher, in New South Wales, opened in June with covid-19 restrictions in place.

Another ski resort opens in Australia

Here are the current resort rules:

FACE COVERINGS: From Monday 27 July all Perisher guests and employees will be required to wear a face covering while on Perisher premises including at The Station, including but not limited to: arriving and departing the resort in car parking facilities, while using lifts, on Skitube and shuttle buses, in public places, and while skiing and snowboarding.

Guests are kindly requested to supply their own face covering.

PRE-PURCHASE YOUR PASS OR LIFT TICKETS: Due to resort capacity limits, guests must pre-purchase season passes or lift tickets online well in advance.

Same-day lift ticket sales are not available.

MAINTAIN SOCIAL DISTANCING: Guests are requested to maintain 1.5m physical distance from other people at all times in the resort.

Guests who live together will be allowed to ride lifts together while others will need to physically distance. Guests will be requested to refrain from congregating in large groups.

We will be limiting the number of people in rental, retail and ticket outlets as well as using signage to indicate safe distancing indoors.

All our premises will be cashless this season.

DOWNLOAD THE RESORT APP: Stay informed with the most up-to-date resort information.

FOOD & BEVERAGE: Food and beverage operations and indoor seating will be limited.

We encourage you to pack your own snacks and lunch.

NO TOBOGGANING & SNOW PLAY: Following NPWS advice tobogganing and snow play is not permitted.

The Toboggan Slope and Tube Town will be closed for the season.

STAY HOME IF UNWELL: Please stay home if you are sick or are considered high risk.

Do not visit the resort.

RESPECT THE RULES: You may respectfully be asked to leave the resort if you do not follow all hygiene and physical distancing guidelines.

Skiing in Australia

Skiing in Australia. Image © PlanetSKI.

Friday 24th July

Skiing and Snowboarding Starts in South America

Cerro Catedral in Argentina has become first ski resort in South America to open.

Conditions are said to be great and it is for locals only

Cerro Castor hopes to open next week.

Elsewhere the news is not so good amid Covid-19 restrictions.

See here for our full report:

South America Opens for Skiing and Snowboarding

Ski Solutions Office Reopens

The UK specialist ski operator has re-opened its head office in Battersea in London.

“Our staff have coped with working from home tremendously well but now things are picking up we thought it was time to allow them to work in the office if they wish to,” said Managing Director, Craig Burton.

“The office has been deep cleaned, we have done all the relevant risk assessments and all social distancing and hygiene measures are in place.”

We reported on the move lower down this rolling blog on Wednesday 22nd.

More Troops Sent to Melbourne

Two thousand more soldiers will be sent to Melbourne to speed up contact tracing.

Victoria state reported 300 new cases on Friday, a slight dip in the rate of local transmissions.

We have been covering the growth in covid-19 cases in Australia as some ski resorts have closed and other remain open.
The ski resorts of Perisher and Threadbo in New South Wales remain open; Another ski resorts opens in Australia

Some ski resorts in Victoria have closed due to the spike in Melbourne; Two resorts in Australia close due to covid-19 spike

Stranded Foreign Ski Workers on the Way Home

The last of the remaining foreign ski workers who have been stranded at Jay Peak resort in the USA during the coronavirus pandemic are on their way home to Peru.

Most were college students working a winter season in the Vermont resort.

They have been provided with accommodation and food.

“We are all very grateful that they will all be with their families soon,” said Melissa Sheffer, the resort’s director of rooms and community engagement, of the college students who work seasonally at the resort.

They were unable fly home in March, but when the pandemic closed Peru’s borders.

Thursday 23rd July

Questions Marks over Summer and Winter Olympics

The Tokyo Olympics, already pushed to next year, will hinge upon the development of a coronavirus vaccine or treatment according to the organising committee president, Yoshiro Mori.

The Tokyo 2020 Games were scheduled to start this Friday.

“If things continue as they are now, we couldn’t” said Yoshiro Mori said.

The 2022 Winter Olympics are due to be held in Beijing.

World Travel Market Set to Go Ahead Amid Covid-19

Organisers have confirmed WTM London will go ahead between 2nd and 4th November 2020.

It will be an altogether different experience.

It will be one of the first major exhibitions to take place globally since the Covid-19 pandemic, but it remains how many people will come and what shape it will take.

All the ski nations are usually there promoting their product.

WTM said: “The show will reflect the diverse needs of the travel and tourism industry by incorporating both a live event, at ExCeL London, as well as a virtual event taking place online the week after.”

ExCeL said: “The vast majority of the venue (90%) has been restored to its original state now, with the remaining space secured as equipment storage for NHS Nightingale. This ongoing support will not impact the normal operation of our venue and the centre will be able to host safe, secure, and successful business events and conferences from 1 October onwards.”

Wednesday 22nd July

Covid-19 Cases Continue to Rise in Australia

The state of Victoria had seen a record 484 infections in the past day – the vast majority are in Melbourne.

It is Australia’s worst day since the pandemic began according to the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Michael Kidd.

There were another 16 infections in New South Wales with one each in Queensland and South Australia, bringing the total to 502 cases.

The ski resorts of Perisher and Threadbo in New South Wales remain open; Another ski resorts opens in Australia

Some ski resorts in Victoria have closed due to the spike in Melbourne; Two resorts in Australia close due to covid-19 spike

Skiing in Australia

Skiing in Australia. Image © PlanetSKI.

Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews he was “very unhappy and very sad” to report that people aren’t following the rules.

Of the 3,810 cases detected in the past two weeks, officials have found that  90% of cases did not isolate between first feeling symptoms and getting tested

53% of people did not self-isolate while waiting for their results.

“People have felt sick, they’ve got symptoms and they’ve kept going shopping. They’ve kept going to work,” Andrews said according to the BBC.

“They have been at the height of their infectivity. And they have just continued on as usual.”

However, he said it wasn’t about blaming people, noting that many would have felt the pressure to work to “feed their kids, and pay their bills”.

He stressed that the state was offering 1,500 Australian dollars (£840; $1,070) sick leave payments to those who needed it.

UK Companies Step up Plans for Next Winter

The specialist operator, Ski Solutions, opens its offices in London tomorrow, Thursday 23rd July, with some staff returning to their desks.

It is another sign of some form of normality beginning to return to the travel industry.

Signs of life for next winter’s skiing and snowboarding season

The offices in Battersea have been deep cleaned and a full hazard assessment carried out. Staff are able to go back in on a voluntary basis.

“With travel restrictions beginning to lift, we know that you might be ready to start planning your next ski holiday for this winter. We have been busy making preparations to ensure you feel as safe and confident as possible in doing so,” said managing director, Craig Burton.

Ski Solutions offers reduced deposits where available, no amendment fees if you want to change your date or destination, and help with sorting Covid-safe travel insurance.

It reports bookings picking up for next winter.

Ski Solutions

Ski Solutions

“Opening the offices again is a sign of improvement and I’m delighted we are able to do so. Some staff will prefer to continue working for home, but others are keen to come in and for things to get begin to get back to normal,” said Craig.

We understand the team will also be having a social distancing beer or two in nearby Battersea Park after work

Protection Measures Re-introduced in Austria as Cases Rise

From Friday wearing a face mask in shops, banks and post offices will become compulsory again.

Making face masks compulsory is aimed at the protection of people the government said.

It also said a mask carries a wider message.

“We know the mask has a symbolic effect: the less visible they are on a daily basis, the greater the lack of concern,” said Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

Meanwhile, an Austrian woman from Klagenfurt goes on trial today for breaching quarantine regulations.

The woman is alleged to have gone to the post office while suffering from Covid-19 and not wearing a mask.

She faces a sentence of three years in jail.

Tuesday 21st July:

Support for Tokyo 2021 Summer Olympics falls with possible consequences for Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics

A survey says only one in four Japanese are in favour of holding Summer Olympics in 2021.

They fear covid-19 will not be under control and efforts should go towards recovery from the impact of the pandemic rather than holding the Olympics.

The nationwide survey was conducted by Japanese news agency, Kyodo.

It found that 36.4% of respondents believe the Games should be further postponed – something International Olympic Committee President, Thomas Bach, has warned is not on the cards.

A further 33.7% said they wanted the Games cancelled.

The Games are due to start on July 23rd 2021.

If the postponed Tokyo Olympics do not go ahead next year due to the virus then some think the 2022 Beijing Winter Games is also unlikely to go ahead.

“Taking the political side out of it for the moment say there is a Covid problem in July and August next year in Tokyo, it is hard to imagine there is not going to be a knock-on effect in the same area five months later,” said International Olympic Committee Member, Dick Pound, to Reuters in a phone interview.

Beijing 2022

Beijing 2022

Of those surveyed who were against the Tokyo Games taking place in 2021, 75.3% cited a belief that COVID-19 will not be contained by this time.

Switzerland Sees Rise in New Covid-19 Cases

Since lockdown measures were relaxed in mid-June the number of new cases has begun to slowly creep up in different parts of the country.

Around one in ten new cases are from people returning from at risk countries.

Two schools were closed in cantons Vaud and Jura after teachers tested positive.

Hundreds of people were quarantined in Zurich and Olten after attending nightclubs visited by a number of individuals who were infected.

Around 33,500 people have tested positive to the virus and almost 2,000 have died.

Switzerland has a population of 8.5 million.

The cantons of  Ticino, Vaud, Geneva and Valais have been the hardest-hit parts of the country – they were hotspots early in the pandemic.

After imposing unprecedented restrictions on public life to contain the pandemic, Switzerland has eased its measures and re-opened its land borders.

The information below comes from Swissinfo.

  • Face masks have been mandatory on Swiss public transport since July 6. Some cantons (including Vaud and Jura) require customers to wear face masks in shops, and upper secondary students in Lucerne will need them after the summer break. Other cantons are considering the measure. From August 1, the University of Fribourg will require masks anywhere that the minimum 1.5-metre distance cannot be maintained.
  • Since July 6, anyone entering Switzerland from any of the 29 “high risk” countries, including the US, has to undergo a ten-day quarantine. From July 20, entry restrictions will be relaxed for 21 further countries, including Australia and Canada but excluding the US.
  • Travel is now possible between Switzerland and the European Union, EFTA countries and the UK.
  • Tracing app SwissCovid has been downloaded about 1.6 million times, but only about 986,000 devices are running it. Tests are now free for residents.
  • Since June 22, public and private events of up to 1,000 people have been permitted on condition that contact tracing is guaranteed. Larger events are still banned.
  • The recommended safe distance between people was reduced from two metres to 1.5 metres. Some cantons, including Basel and Ticino, have introduced stricter restrictions on gatherings than in the rest of the country.
Swiss flag

Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI.

Monday 20th July:

More Covid-19 Cases in Australia

The Australian state of New South Wales has recorded its two biggest days of new infections since April.

Victoria has almost 3,000 active cases but New South Wales as been relatively virus-free in recent months.

But concerns in New South Wales are growing due to several new infection clusters.

The state has confirmed 38 new infections in the past 48 hours.

The ski resorts of Perisher and Threadbo in New South Wales remain open; Another ski resorts opens in Australia

Some ski resorts in Victoria have closed due to the spike in Melbourne; Two resorts in Australia close due to covid-19 spike

Officials in Victoria have warned the surge there could take weeks to subside despite a new lockdown.

Australia has now seen more than 11,000 cases and 123 deaths.

Fask Masks Now Compulsory at Some Indoor Spaces in France

In France, masks are also now compulsory in indoor spaces such as shops, restaurants and banks.

They were already required on public transport.

People can be fined €135 (£122) for failing to comply.

The government has said  there are between 400 and 500 active clusters of the virus.

There are a rising number of cases in the north-west and in eastern regions, but the Alps and the Pyrenees remain on course with their battle with the virus.

PlanetSKI’s chief reporter, Jane Peel is currently in France on skiing business  – waterskiing business.

More of that later.

Facemasks in France

Facemasks in France. Image © PlanetSKI.

France has recorded more than 200,000 infections and more than 30,000 deaths.

Specialist Snowsports Insurer Offers Covid-19 Protection

“We are increasing our emergency medical cover – even though Coronavirus is still a known pandemic, we are now able to provide cover if you contract the virus whilst overseas, for trips to countries with no FCO warning,” said the MD of MPI Brokers, Michael Pettifer.

All current and new MPI policies will now include cover under the Emergency Medical Expenses section.

Cover includes;

  • Hospital costs
  • Ambulance costs
  • Additional accommodation costs (if you are unable to travel home as originally booked)
    Repatriation if it’s medically necessary

For policies issued after 13th March 2020 5.30pm – there is no cover under any other section  for claims caused by the Coronavirus.

This includes any preventative containment or delay measures.

For any policies issued and trips booked before 13th March 2020 5.30pm cover remains as per the policy terms and conditions.

The policies will not provide any cover for COVID-19 if the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are advising against all but essential travel to the destination due to the virus.

In the present circumstances as the FCO advice on foreign travel is susceptible to rapid and significant change, we strongly recommend that you visit the FCO website to check the up to date advice against actual or potential travel plans before purchasing travel insurance.

MPI Brokers

MPI Brokers

Bode Miller Plans Online Winter Snowsport School

Plans for an actual school have been in place for some time, with the online programme a stand-in until the coronavirus pandemic ends.

It is aimed at young ski racers, snowboarders and cross-country skiers.

It will consist of video content, online workouts and webinars for local club coaches.

“Hopefully we’re opening more of a super high level private-school type education that’s COVID proof, and that allows for our kids to pursue whatever passion they have,” said Bode Miller to the Associated Press news agency.

“It allows students to operate on their own schedule, get a first-class education, and still develop into whoever it is they are meant to be.”

Around 100 students have reportedly expressed an interest in the programme.

Bode Miller is seen as one of the greatest ski racers of all time, certainly one of the most charismatic.

He is an Olympic and World Championship gold medalist, a two-time overall World Cup champion (2005 & 2008) and the most successful male American alpine ski racer of all time.

He is the only skier with five or more World Cup victories in each discipline.

Miller has won six Winter Olympics medals, the most of any US. skier – 1 gold, 3 silvers and 2 bronzes.

He retired in 2017 as we reported at the time; Bye, bye Bode

And on other matters…

Good points very well made…

It is quite simple

It is quite simple

Sunday 19th July

Further covid-19 cases and restrictions in Spain

Millions of people have been told to stay at home amid an outbreak in the Spanish region of Catalonia.

It includes the city of Barcelona and its population of 4m.

More than 96,000 people in three towns in Catalonia have been told to stay at home as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the Spanish region.

The Catalonia region contains the mountains in the Spanish Pyrenees that are offering some summer activities.

1,226 new cases were reported in Catalonia on Saturday.

More than 170 localised outbreaks have been reported since Spain eased its strict restrictions on 21 June.

More than 28,000 people have died of Covid-19 in Spain.

Summer Flights to Innsbruck

It is planned that easyJet will start their London Gatwick to Innsbruck service on 1st August 2020.

Throughout August easyJet will then fly twice a week and from September onwards, three times a week.

However, the company is constantly reviewing its timetable; it is subject to change.

The flights will give access to some of this: Go cycling in the Austrian Tirol this summer

However arriving Britons need a recent medical certificate or test negative for coronavirus on arrival.

Otherwise they will need to self-isolate.

Further cases and measures in Australia

On Sunday the state of Victoria state recorded 363 new cases and three deaths.

The government there has made it mandatory for people in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire to wear masks when outside their home from Wednesday.

Some ski resorts in Victoria have closed for skiing and snowboarding following the new spike in cases; Two resorts in Australia close due to covid-19 spike

The ski resorts in New South Wales, including Perisher and Thredbo, remain open.

A lockdown is currently in place in Melbourne and some of its surrounding areas.

“You won’t be able to leave home without your mask and then wear it where it is absolutely essential to stop the spread of the virus,” said Premier Daniel Andrews.

Those who do not comply with the rule will face a $200 fine (£111).

Australia has reported 12,000 cases of the virus since the pandemic began and 122 deaths.

Canada Race Teams Set to Head to Switzerland for Training

Alpine Canada is going to Switzerland at the end of July to resume ski-race training.

The team says it is currently the best place in the northern hemisphere due to its wintry conditions.

The entire ski team will be tested for the virus before departing for the airport and again upon arrival.

Neither of those measures are compulsory by the Canadian or Swiss governments, but Alpine Canada is taking extra precautions.

There will also be intermittent testing once athletes and support staff are settled in their “bubble.”

“I would be pretty confident to say that that’s the longest time that any of our current athletes have gone without ski training,” Phil McNichol, high performance director for Alpine Canada.

French, Italian, Swiss and Austria racers have all been training on their home glacier slopes.

The International Ski Federation is already planning for next winter with multipe scenarious being prepared; FIS plans for snowsports competition next winter

Austria and Germany have already said they are willing and able to hold their World Cup events should conditions allow.

Here are our earlier rolling coronavirus blogs if you want to look back at all the relevant developments over the past months as we reported its impact and updated daily since the pandemic began.

All you need to know about the pandemic and its impact on the world of snowsports:

July 12th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

July 5th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

June 28th: Coroanvirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

June 21st: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

June 14th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

June 7th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

May 31st: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

May 24th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

May 17th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

May 10th: Coronavirus impact on snowsports

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