Coronavirus Impact on Skiing & 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

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Saturday 10th October

Iconic US Ski Magazine Closes Down Blaming Covid-19

In its day it was one of, perhaps, the best magazine with its stunning photographs and in-depth articles – it was all about passions for the mountains.

Skiing as a way of life.

It holds out the chance of publishing again, but few agree it will.

The Coronavirus pandemic may have been what pushed it over the edge, but glossy and expensive print magazine are becoming increasingly unviable in the internet world.

They have adeclining readership and advertisers are simply spending their money elsewhere.

It is a very, very sad loss to the world of skiing.

Powder Magazine Statement:

As we are all painfully aware, COVID-19 has dramatically impacted our lives this year, leaving the future shrouded in uncertainty.

There is little it hasn’t touched and, going forward, this now includes POWDER Magazine.

On October 2, we were notified by our parent company A360 Media, LLC (formerly American Media, LLC) that our entire editorial staff will be placed on indefinite furlough, effective November 20, 2020, when operations of the magazine, our website, and our social channels will be paused.

We do not know if or when this hiatus will end.

We do know, however, that in the coming days, we still have work to do—and two more issues of the magazine to make.

This week, we’re completing the special Gear Guide issue that will be available, for free, in ski shops across the country next month.

When you go looking for it, consider bringing a six-pack for the shop employees. It’s the right thing to do in times like these.

Our biggest undertaking still is this year’s Photo Annual, which will be on newsstands November 16.

This Photo Annual has long been the most collectible issue of the magazine each volume.

With POWDER’s future unknown, this particular Photo Annual promises to be extra special.

Do not miss it.

Beyond that, we do not know what will become of POWDER, only that its absence for any amount of time will be felt deeply by those of us who have been captivated by its words and images along its 49-year journey.

We hope that it has offered you a home; a place for skiers to come for humor, reflection, inspiration, honesty, and a small taste of the joy we know can only be found, as the founding editors articulated, in getting away from the crowd to a place where there are no lines, no lift towers, no snow fences, no bodies in the way.

Just snow.

See you there.

Powder To The People, always.
—Sierra Shafer, Editor in Chief

Zermatt Unplugged to Take Place but with Covid-19 Changes

It will take place across two weekends next winter in a smaller and more intimate fashion, and then make an appearance in the summer too.

“Due to the current situation and the great planning uncertainty, the festival will not be able to take place in its usual form next year,” said a statement from the organisers.

“We present acoustic concert formats on a small scale in various locations – with well-known national & international artists.

“And not only during the Zermatt mountain spring in April but also in late summer in the Matterhorn village.”


8th–10th April & 15th–17th April 2021


Several weekends in late summer (dates tba).

The organisers say it will be back in its original form in 2022, from 5th – 10th April.

Zermatt Unplugged

Zermatt Unplugged

PlanetSKI was last in town for Unplugged in 2018.

It is without doubt one of our favourite musical events in the mountains.

PlanetSKI goes Unplugged, Day One

PlanetSKI goes Unplugged, Day Two

PlanetSKI goes Unplugged, Day Three

Zermatt Unplugged

Zermatt Unplugged. Image © PlanetSKI.

Zermatt Unplugged

Zermatt Unplugged. Photo credit – PlanetSKI

Zermatt Unplugged

Zermatt Unplugged. Photo credit – PlanetSKI

Tirol Unveils Plans for Safe Winter

The huge Austrian ski region, which has some of the most famous resorts in Europe, has announced its plans to ensure skiers and snowboarders stay safe this coming season.

It is part of the Austrian government’s Package for Safe Winter Tourism.

There are a number of measures to protect against coronavirus which will affect cable cars, ski schools, après ski locations and restaurants.

The Austrian Tirol‘s 80 or so ski resorts include the likes of St Anton, Kitzbühel, Ischgl and Sölden.

Read more here:

Tirol Unveils Plans for Safe Winter

£5 Vehicle Drop Off Fee for Gatwick

The airport says it needs the revenue due to the financial hit from Covid-19.

No start date has been given but it will begin in 2021.

The airport claims it will also cut down on traffic and reduce carbon emissions.

“Gatwick has just gone through the most challenging period in its history and this new drop off charging scheme will give us a new revenue stream to aid recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and ultimately help us continue as an important provider of economic prosperity and jobs across the region,” said Gatwick’s Chief Commercial Officer, Jonathan Pollard.

Friday 9th October

Cases Continue To Rise in Alpine Nations

In France, the government is to tighten restrictions in four more cities this weekend as they go onto maximum alert following a rise in infections.

They include two of the gateways to the Alps, Grenoble and Lyon.

Bars and restaurants will have to close from Saturday there and in Lille and St Etienne, just as they already have in Paris and Marseille.

The maximum alert level is introduced when infections in the area exceed 250 per 100,000 people.

France has reported a near-record 18,129 new cases.

Lyon airport

Lyon airport, gateway to the French Alps. Photo credit – PlanetSKI

The number of daily virus cases is also rising in other skiing nations, including Austria, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Germany.

Austria recorded its highest ever one-day total of coronavirus infections on Thursday despite recent measures taken to try to bring the pandemic under control.

It was the third time this month that more than 1,000 infections had been reported in a single day.

In Italy, the  authorities say they recorded 4,458 new cases within 24 hours on Thursday, including 683 in Lombardy, the northern region which was the first place in Europe to impose a full and lengthy lockdown.

Germany, which has been far less affected than many European nations, saw its highest daily rise since April on Thursday, up by almost a third to more than 4,000.

The Oslo city government in Norway has tightened restrictions and told businesses not to organise their traditional Christmas parties, according to The Local Norway.

Oslo has stricter rules than the rest of Norway, including a ban of public gatherings of more than 10 people.  The rest of the country has a maximum of 20.

The Local says that although the government will ease national restrictions in October, measures put in place by local authorities will take precedence over the national rules. That means the end of the ban on bars serving alcohol afrer midnight will not apply in Oslo.

Sweden has announced that it is not going to increase the number of people allowed at public events, as originally planned.

It’s currently set at 50 people and applied to events such as concerts, conferences and sports matches.

In the summer the government had proposed raising the limit to 500 from 1st October but the decision was delayed as the number of infections began to rise again.

It’s now been postponed again with no new date set.

Thursday 8th October

Italy to Test People Coming from the UK

It has announced compulsory testing for anyone travelling from the UK and a number of other countries.

Those that test positive will need to go into quarantine.

A negative COVID test is required when you arrive in Italy from the UK.

You’ll be asked to show evidence that you tested negative in a test administered in the 72 hours before your travel.

You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country.

You should arrange to take a private test.

Alternatively, you can get a free test on arrival at some airports, or at a testing facility in Italy shortly after you arrive.

Italian authorities said it has made the move following the resurgence of Covid cases in the UK.

Read more here:

Italy to Test People Coming from the UK

Testing required

Testing required. Image © PlanetSKI.

British Army Winter Sports Association Cancels Season

“It is with much regret that due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation the Army Winter Sports Season for 20/21 is Cancelled,” it has said in a statement.

“Given the current and potential future impact of COVID-19 and the risk to our people, have concluded that Army Winter Sports Association activities should be cancelled for this season.”

The AWSA was formed in 1947 and has continued for over seventy years to provide a break from routine training and operations, whilst developing military and technical skills on snow and ice.

The AWSA supports eight winter sports disciplines: Alpine, Bobsleigh, Cresta, Luge, Nordic (Biathlon & Cross Country), Snowboard, Skeleton, and Telemark.

Army Winter Sports Association

Army Winter Sports Association

EasyJet Warns of Losses and Further Winter Cuts

The airline is used by many skiers and snowboarders and has warned it faces losses of up to £845m this year.

It would be the first loss by the airline in its 25-year history as passenger numbers plummet.

It expects to fly at just 25% of normal capacity into next year.

In a trading update the airline said it had taken tough action to cut costs.

“Aviation continues to face the most severe threat in its history and the UK government urgently needs to step up with a bespoke package of measures to ensure airlines are able to support economic recovery when it comes,” said the CEO, Johan Lundgren.

According to the BBC an EasyJet source said the airline “would keep all its funding options open” as it enters what could be a difficult winter trading period.

With air travel at very low levels, most European airlines are losing money.

Ryanair has called this winter a “write-off”.

EasyJet will formally report its annual results on 17 November.

Easyjet at Innsbruck Airport, Austria

Easyjet at Innsbruck. Photo credit – PlanetSKI

UK Quarantine Changes On the Way

It is the single biggest restriction on the ski industry for next winter after Covid-19 itself.

If current quarantine measures are in place it will decimate the winter for many UK skiers and snowboarders.

Some argue that such restrictions are needed to defeat the virus

It seems changes are coming.

See here for our full story:

UK Quarantine Changes On the Way

Swiss Pharmaceutical Firm Has Supply Chain Failures in U

NHS tests for coronavirus and other conditions are under threat.

Roche said problems with a move to a new warehouse warehouse in West Sussex.

It is Roche’s only distribution centre in the UK and covers the whole country.

The company said Covid-19 tests would be prioritised, but it could take two weeks to fix the issue.

In a statement, Roche said: “We deeply regret that there has been a delay in the dispatch of some products.

“We are prioritising the dispatch of Covid-19 PCR [diagnostic] and antibody tests and doing everything we can to ensure there is no impact on the supply of these to the NHS.”

Wednesday 7th October

Restrictions Lifted in Auckland

Coronavirus restrictions have been lifted in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland.

It joins the rest of the country at the lowest alert level.

New Zealand has recorded no new infections in the last 24-hour period.

Skiing in New Zealand

Skiing in New Zealand. Photo credit – PlanetSKI

Cortina Announces Opening Date with Covid-19 Rules in Place

The first lifts in the Italian resort will fire up on 28th November.

The last ski area to close in the region will be the Faloria, on 5th May 2021, making Cortina the destination with the longest ski season in the Dolomites.

It will though be an altogether different ski season.

“In order to safeguard tourists and locals, new principles and guidelines will be applied in the ski areas of Cortina: social distancing, use of hand sanitizer and devices of personal protection will be regulated on ski slopes and lifts and all appropriate safety standards will be put in place.,” said the resort.

Cortina is set to host the FIS Alpine Ski World Championships from 7th to 21st February 2021.

To ensure maximum safety, the Organizing Committee of the Event is constantly monitoring the development of the pandemic, nationally and internationally.

Cortina 2021

Cortina 2021

It has the collaboration of all relevant institutions: the International and Italian Ski Federations (FIS and FISI) and the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) and the health and political authorities.

The region has seen some improvements.

  • The inauguration of the new Freccia nel Cielo gondola, from the town center to the slopes of Col Druscié
  • The opening of the new slope Lino Lacedelli for athletes training in the Cinque Torri area.
  • The upcoming winter season will see further improvements in the Tofana Ski Area: in Ra Valles there will be a new chair lift.
  • Hotels have seen renovation works from refreshing rooms and common areas to expanding properties and all the way to completely renovating properties.

Scotland Set to Unveil Further Covid-19 Restrictions on Wednesday

Officials and politicians met on Tuesday as cases are on the rise.

There is a cabinet meeting in Wednesday, followed by a statement to the Scottish Parliament.

“In many ways, this is probably the most difficult decision point we have faced so far,” said the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

Some officials are supporting the idea of a “circuit breaker” lockdown for a relatively brief time, possibly two weeks, as a “short, sharp shock”.

It could include travel limits, plus the closure of bars and restaurants.

There are warnings  that some tourism and hospitality businesses may never recover if further restrictions are introduced.

Some people are already looking to the ski season in Scotland believing that with restrictions in mainland Europe and North America the five ski resorts in Scotland could benefit.

“We expect to see an increase in visitors from within the UK this year, which should provide a good boost to the local economy as these guests are more likely to visit for long periods of time and stay in local accommodation,” said Andy Meldrum, chair of Ski Scotland and managing director of the Glencoe Mountain Resort, in a recent interview with the Guardian.

International Biathlon Union to Award World Championships Remotely

Members of the IBU had been due to gather in Prague from November 13th to 15th.

They are deciding on the venue for the 2024 and 2025 World Championships.

Nové Město na Moravě in the Czech Republic is the only candidate for the 2024 event and is set to be rubber-stamped at the virtual meeting on the same dates.

Lenzerheide in Switzerland and Minsk-Raubichi in Belarus are vying to host the 2025 World Championships.

Tuesday 6th October

Scottish Cabinet Meets to Discuss Tougher Restrictions

Some government advisers in Scotland are supporting the idea of a “circuit breaker” lockdown – a short, sharp period of tightened measures.

Cases are rising in parts of the country.

The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has suggested that further restrictions could be rolled out “in the near future”.

The government has not indicated what sort of extra measures could be introduced.

Some people are already looking to the ski season in Scotland believing that with restrictions in mainland Europe and North America the five ski resorts in Scotland could benefit.

“We expect to see an increase in visitors from within the UK this year, which should provide a good boost to the local economy as these guests are more likely to visit for long periods of time and stay in local accommodation,” said Andy Meldrum, chair of Ski Scotland and managing director of the Glencoe Mountain Resort, in a recent interview with the Guardian.

Cairngorm Scotland

Cairngorm Scotland. Image © Rod Frazer.

The World Health Organisation has said today that one in 10 people across the world may have contracted coronavirus, meaning “the vast majority of the world remains at risk”

More than 35.4 million cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed globally, with more than one million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Will Italy and Sweden Go on UK Quarantine List This Week?

They are the last major ski countries that do not have travel restrictions for people visiting and returning, but their Covid-19 cases are rising.

Travel remains possible with all the skiing nations in Europe.

The rate of infections for 100,000 people in Italy over a 7-day period is now 25.6.

In Sweden it has risen to 31.7.

The figure normally used by the UK government for putting countries on the UK quarantine list is 20, though other factors are also taken into account.

See here for our full story:

Will Italy and Sweden Go on UK Quarantine List This Week?

Border controls

Border controls. Image © PlanetSKI.

Austrian Chancellor Tested for Covid-19

The Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, has cancelled all appointments and is being tested for coronavirus after an unidentified colleague received a positive result.

The Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler and others who work closely with the president are also being tested.

Chancellor Kurz was in contact with the employee on Wednesday of last week.

Cases Climb in Argentina

The country has recorded the highest number of daily cases so far with 14,687 confirmed infections last Friday.

The worst affected area is the capital, Buenos Aires, and its surroundings.

Argentina imposed a strict lockdown early on in the pandemic.

As it has loosened restrictions the number of infections has risen.

It opened some of its ski areas back in July as restrictions were lifted.

Two resorts in South America open

The number of tests being carried out in Argentina is reported to be low, so the real number of Covid-19 cases is likely to be much higher.

Monday 5th October

New Measures in France

Alert zones in France

Alert zones in France

The Savoie region in France, home to many of the country’s ski resorts, has been declared a ‘zone alerte’.

In Paris it has has been confirmed that bars will close for two weeks from tomorrow, Tuesday 6th October.

Restaurants, museums, cinemas and theatres will be able to stay open as long as they adhere to strict hygiene rules.

Circuses, fairs and exhibitions will have to close until 15th October, while swimming pools and gyms will only be allowed to admit children.

Some areas in Paris have seen more than 260 cases per 100,000 people.

Covid-19 patients account for more than 30% of intensive care beds in the capital.

Airport Testing on the Way?

The government is expected to start a trial project at Heathrow and it could then be rolled out to other airports.

Testing is seen as key to getting people flying again and booking ski holidays.

An announcement is expected to be made in the next few days.

Testing is seen to be a key priority to opening up travel and reducing the quarantine measures.

Currently the UK requires a 14-day quarantine period from the vast majority of ski countries.

Read more here:

Airport testing on the way?

Only Italy in the Alps and countries in Scandinavia are off the list as we have reported:

More skiing countries added to UK’s quarantine list

Restrictions Lifted in Auckland

The New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has announced that remaining restrictions in the city will be lifted later this week.

Auckland was the centre of a new cluster in August, but no new cases have been reported in the last 10 days.

In the French capital, Paris, all bars will shut completely from Tuesday as the French government raises the city’s coronavirus alert to maximum amid high infection rates.

Full details of the new restrictions will be announced later today.


All bars in Paris will have to shut shut from Tuesday 6th October for 14-days.

Restaurants and bars which serve food can stay open until 22:00.

They will need to have new sanitary measures and register customer contact details.

Working from home has to be prioritised by employers and University lecture halls in the capital must be no more than half full.

Across France gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people with wedding receptions and other organised gatherings in hired locations banned.

Face coverings are compulsory in enclosed public spaces throughout the country.

Masks must be worn in most workplaces.

In Paris and surrounding areas, face coverings should be worn outdoors by anyone aged 11 and over.

Hundreds of other municipalities across France have the same rule, including Toulouse, Nice, Lille and Lyon.

Facemask in France

Facemask in France

What May Next Winter Look Like with Quarantine Measures?

At the weekend yet more ski countries in Europe were added to the UK’s quarantine list – Poland and Turkey.

The Pyrenees is off limits if you don’t want to quarantine on return to the UK, and only Italy in the Alps remains free from a 14-day self-isolating position.

There are potential skiing opportunities in Scandinavia.

There are, though, some other options as we have looked at.

If you are “working from home’, then perhaps move your ‘home’ to the mountains.

Just saying….

See more here:

More skiing countries added to UK quarantine list

PlanetSKI in the Aosta Valley, Italy

PlanetSKI in the Aosta Valley, Italy. Photo credit – PlanetSKI

Sunday 4th October

Boris Johnson Warns of ‘Tough Winter’ Ahead

He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr there could be “a very tough winter for all of us”.

“I tell you in all candour, it will continue to be bumpy through to Christmas and may even be bumpy beyond.”

He said there was “hope” in beating Covid, but called on people to “act fearlessly but with common sense”.

The PM said he believed over the next few weeks and months the “scientific equation will change whether that is vaccines or testing” and there will be “progress” in beating the virus.

He said there was “hope” and “things can be significantly different by Christmas”, as well as being “radically different” by spring.

It comes as more skiing nations were added to the UK quarantine list this weekend.

Only Italy and Norway of the major ski destinations remain free to come back from without 14-days of self-isolation.

More ski countries added to UK quarantine list

Mr Johnson’s comments come as the UK recorded 10,000 new cases in a day for the first time.

There were 12,872 new cases on Saturday.

The daily total saw a significant rise from 4,044 on Monday to a then-high of 7,143 on Tuesday.

Over the next four days the daily total remained stable – varying between 6,914 and 7,108.

Then came the big leap in cases on Saturday – a far bigger increase than at any time in the  pandemic so far.

Canada Eases Some Border Restrictions as Other Rules Tightened

People will now be allowed in if they are:

  • Significant others of Canadian residents, even if they’re not married.
  • Visiting a sick or dying relative.
  • An international student attending a school with an approved Covid-19 plan.

Anyone entering the country from another country will still have to quarantine for 14-days.

However, some internal rules and regulations are being tightened.

In Ontario people have been told to stop meeting others outside of their household in a social environment.

Previously people had been able to ‘bubble’ in groups of 10.

In Toronto the chief medical officer has said indoor dining and gyms need to close, and that people should only leave home for essential purposes.

Canada has recorded 163K cases and 9,409 deaths.


Canada. Photo credit – PlanetSKI

Here are our earlier rolling coronavirus blogs if you want to look back at all the relevant developments over the past months as we have reported its impact.

We have updated daily since the pandemic began.

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

September 27th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

September 20th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

September 13th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

September 6th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

August 30th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

August 23rd: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

August 16th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

August 9th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

August 2nd: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

July 26th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

July 19th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

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

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