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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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Sunday 25th October

Cervinia Opens then Closes

The Italian resort opened for autumn skiing on Saturday 24th October.

Then on Sunday it announced it was closing temporarily due to the latest decree from central government on Covid-19 restrictions.

“Lift system temporarily closed as per decree issued on 25th October,” it said in the latest news section on its web site on Sunday afternoon.

It went on to say “Awaiting for the news. We will keep the web site updated”.

The resort has now updated its information following an Emergency Decree from the Italian Government.

“It provides for the closure of the lifts pending the guidelines validated by the Technical and Scientific Committee.

“We hope it will happen soon and reopen soon, in compliance with the new rules. We will keep you posted,” said Cervinia.

The new decree says that only professional ski racers and snowboarders can use the ski lifts.

But it appears this is not a long-term closure for recreational skiers and snowboarders.

The resorts can open to them once specific guidelines are adopted and validated by the Technical-Scientific Committee.

Two other Italian glacier ski areas are currently open, Val Senales and Passo Stelvio.

Read our full report:

Cervinia Opens then Closes

Cervinia, Italy

Cervinia, Italy

First Ski Resort in North America Opens With Covid-19 Restrictions in Place

Recent cold weather weather and heavy snowfall meant the lifts at Mt Norquay were able to turn on Saturday October 24th.

It was also the first ski resort in the country to reopen the runs after the pandemic closed all the ski resorts last March.

Lift tickets had to be pre-booked in advance to meet coronavirus regulations and social distancing was required.

Face masks were compulsory within the lodge, in all lift queues line-up and while on lifts

See our full report here:

First Ski Resort in North America Opens

Mt Norquay, Canada

Mt Norquay, Canada

GB Ski Test Due to Go Ahead at Kuhtai in March 2021

“Trying to plan ahead is a real challenge for everyone these days – but we have to believe/hope that things will improve at some point,” said the organisers.

Some may say they are being over-optimistic given the hard facts that covid-19 is rising sharply , and the general consensus that coronavirus shows no sign of being taken under control any time soon.

Fingers crossed.

Last winter’s event at Pila in the Aosta Valley in Italy was cancelled.

An alternative event with different organisers took place in Scotland.

PlanetSKI puts next year’s skis throught their paces at the Glenshee ski tests

Glenshee Ski Tests

Glenshee Ski Tests

Here are the plans for 2021

·       Dates: 1-5 March 2021

·       Location: Kuhtai, Austria

·       Decision date: No later than 5 February 2021. A Snow Test in Austria will only be possible if travel does not require quarantine on arrival in either country. For suppliers and test organisations last minute planning will be required.

·       Accommodation: To avoid cancellation charges it is accepted last minute booking will be necessary. If there is no availability in Kuhtai, there should be accommodation in the Otztal valley to the west and the road down to Innsbruck to the east. This will require a 20-30min drive/bus each day.

·       Travel: Either last minute flight options, or more likely, an increased number driving.

·       Covid-19 Guidance: The general advice regarding snowsport in Austria is outlined here https://presse.tirol.at/en/measures-for-a-safe-winter-tourism-in-tirol/pr1287745 The Snow Test itself will require appropriate distancing, mask wearing and sanitising.

·       Supplier participation: Due to the cancellation of Slide, the Snow Test is open to all brands in membership of SIGB.

If the Snow Test is not possible in Austria and if there is suitable snow cover in Scotland, a test will take place on home snow.

For those who booked for 2020, there is no registration fee and lift passes will be supplied.

Slide on Snow

Slide on Snow

Chinese Economy bounces Back with No Second Wave

The country is due to hold the 2022 Winter Olympics and was the origin of Covid-19.

Gross domestic product, GDP, in the country grew by 4.9% in the third quarter, running from July until September.

Industrial production growth has returned to a similar level to last December, just before coronavirus struck.

Saturday 24th October

Areas in Jura Mountains in Switzerland Increase Restrictions as Cases Rise

The Jura mountains are one of the worst affected areas in Europe and home to a handful of small ski areas.

The cantons of Jura, Fribourg and Neuchatel have implemented new restrictions.

Neuchatel raised its alert level to ‘red’ on Friday meaning cases are spreading at an alarming rate.

In the Jura ski camps, sports camps and study trips have been suspended.

Amateur team and contact sports are banned.

Only groups of up to 15 people may meet.

All restaurants, cafe and bars must closes at 10pm.

Read more here:

Jura Mountains in Switzerland Increase Restrictions as Cases Rise

Cervinia Opens This Weekend

The Italian glacier resort in the Aosta Valley is the latest to fire up its lifts for autumn.

Conditions are good and there are full Covid-19 restrictions in place.

It now possible to access the glacier in Zermatt with the Plan Maison, Fornet and Bontadini chairlifts running.

It is looking pretty good at the moment.

Natural snow has been topped up by the snow guns.

See here for our full report:

Cervinia Opens This Weekend

Cervinia, Aosta Valley, Italy

Cervinia, Aosta Valley, Italy

Covid-19 News from the Ski Nations

France recorded more than 40,000 new cases and another 298 deaths.

An overnight curfew in the country has been extended to about two-thirds of the country, 46 million people.

Covid-19 patients occupy almost half of the country’s 5,000 intensive care beds.

President Macron said scientists were telling him that they believed the virus would be present “at best until next summer”.

In the French Alps all sports halls, gyms and swimming pools are now shut in the Savoie area.

Other alpine nations including Italy and Switzerland have seen record highs in daily cases.

Italy’s public health body said the situation in many regions was approaching critical.

The head of the southern Campania region, which has already imposed a curfew and shut schools, has called for a complete lockdown.

Protesters in Naples opposing  stricter coronavirus measures clashed with police in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Police fired teargas after smoke bombs and firecrackers were thrown.

The protestors defied a night-time curfew imposed on Friday.

The Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, has said he does not want to repeat the national lockdown imposed during the first wave.

Switzerland has recorded a daily record of 6,634 new cases.

Tighter nationwide restrictions are expected next week, but schools are expected to remain open.

We reported on the situation in Switzerland in this special report:

Sharp Spike in Covid-19 Cases in Switzerland

Skiing in Switzerland

Skiing in Switzerland

Daily cases in Europe have more than doubled in the past 10 days.

Some are seeing a higher number of cases than March and April though it should be stressed that these are reported cases which are found after extensive testing programmes.

There was no testing on a wide scale back in the spring. Experts say there would have been far more cases back in spring.

Overall the continent has now seen a total of 7.8m reported cases and around 247,000 deaths.

It all bodes very badly for the approaching ski season and comes as tighter border and quarantine restrictions are being bought in.

Germany has added the whole of the UK to its list of countries it considers coronavirus risk areas.

There were already some COVID-19-related restrictions on entry into Germany from Scotland, Northern Ireland,Wales, North East England, North West England and Yorkshire & the Humber.

From today (Saturday 24th October) anyone entering Germany from anywhere in the UK needs to quarantine for 14 days unless they test negative within 48-hours of travel or upon entry.

Germany has a handful of ski resorts in the Bavarian Alps.

Friday 23rd October:

Canada Looks to Local Skiers as International Guests Unable to Visit

Canada is mainly only allowing in its citizens and those with permanent residency.

Earlier this month it slightly eased restrictions, but not enough to make any real difference to the ski resorts.

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.

In Whistler 60% of its guests are international.

“We are desperately trying to make that up with domestic booking,” said Big White Ski Resort to the Reuters News Agency.

International visitors represent 21% of reservations and contribute 32% of revenue to Big White.

Banff in Alberta has Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and Mt Norquay and its international marketing team is looking to the season of 2021/22.

“All of our great partners are staying optimistic and continue to promote the ski industry as a whole and our destination,” said statement from the Banff resorts of Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and Mount Norquay.

“It seems that in many markets the attention is also turning to 2021/22 and we appreciate all of your efforts to build on 21/22 if 20/21 does not eventuate as we would have hoped.”

Canada has extended its current border restrictions with the USA.

“The US is not in a place where we would feel comfortable reopening those borders,” said the PM, Justin Trudeau.

“We will continue to make sure that Canadian safety is top of mind.

“We see the cases in the United States and elsewhere around the world, and we need to continue to keep these border controls in place.”

Canada

Canada

Sharp Spike in Covid-19 Cases in Switzerland

It is currently seeing some of the most cases per head of population than the other alpine nations.

The Swiss President, Simonetta Sommaruga, says new cases are increasing “exponentially”.

“We were all hoping we could go into winter without this new increase in the number of cases,” she said.

The country is seeing 235 cases per 100,000 of population over a 7-day period.

Ski resorts and people in the Swiss ski industry hope the new measures will bring the coronavirus cases down ahead of the winter.

Tough measures now, with the results being seen as the ski season gets underway shortly.

Coronavirus cases in Switzerland

Coronavirus cases in Switzerland

See here for our full report on the situation:

Sharp Spike in Covid-19 Cases in Switzerland

Switzerland

Switzerland

Tougher Restrictions in France

France is to extend its overnight curfew to dozens more areas in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The country has announced a record 41,622 new cases.

The 21:00 to 06:00 curfew will come into force at midnight on Friday, and some 46 million people will now be affected by the measures.

Already a number of cities have the curfew including the gateway cities to the Alps including Lyon and Grenoble.

Toulouse too near the French Pyrenees.

The restrictions will be extended to 38 more administrative departments  and will remain in place for six weeks.

Skiing in France

Skiing in France

Thursday 22nd October

14-Day Quarantine for People from UK into Germany

Germany has added the whole of the United Kingdom to its list of countries it considers coronavirus risk areas.

As of midnight on Friday, anyone entering Germany will need  to quarantine for 14 days unless they test negative within 48-hours of travel or upon entry.

There were already some COVID-19-related restrictions on entry into Germany from Scotland, Northern Ireland,Wales, North East England, North West England and Yorkshire & the Humber.

Now it is the whole of the UK.

Germany has a handful of ski resorts in the Bavarian Alps.

Slide 21 is Cancelled due to Covid-19

It’s being reported that the annual UK snowsport tradeshow that was due to take place in January 2021 has been called off.

It was to have been held at the Telford International Centre.

“With 3 months till the show dates, there was no clarification as to when the venue may be able to re-open and to bring their staff back to work,” said Lesley Beck of Rare Management, the show organisers.

“Without venue staff in place to support us, we were unable to progress any further with the show organisation”.

There are no plans for an online event.

The SIGB had promised all exhibitors that, should the show be cancelled for any reason, 75% of space costs would be re-imbursed.

In a much appreciated move, the SIGB has confirmed that 100% of deposits paid will be returned to exhibitors with immediate effect, and there will be no further financial implications for exhibitors.

Planning has already started for Slide 22.

 

Slide 21

Slide 21

Luge World Cup Series to Mainly be Held in Europe

The International Luge Federation has said this winter’s events will be held “almost exclusively in Europe” under “strict protection and hygiene measures”.

The only exception is the except the final which is planned to be staged on the new track for Beijing 2022 in Yanqing in China from February 19th to 21st 2021.

The season begins in Innsbruck in Austria, November 28th – 29th, will feature races in men’s and women’s singles, doubles, team relay and sprint.

There will be no spectators at any event this season with the events being streamed on the internet and covered by television.

International Luge Federation

International Luge Federation

Further Details of New Snow Show Unveiled

We all need something to look forward to in these coronavirus times as the pandemic spreads.

In exactly a year’s time we will hopefully be preparing for the return of a snowsports show to the UK.

The National Snow Show takes place at the NEC in Birmingham October 23rd- 24th 2021, and promises to be quite an experience.

It is aiming to attract 10,000 visitors over two days.

As well as the latest gear and kit, resorts, destinations, and tour operators will be on site to help plan, offer advice and book a snowsports holiday.

It is not just aimed at people already involved in the snow scene.

The Show offers an opportunity for those interested to get a taste for snowsports through a series of workshops, skills sessions and dry slope sessions.

There’s a mini league for university students to pitch their skills against each other to be in with a chance to win £500 to spend at the show.

“The National Snow Show will be the must-attend event for snowsports enthusiasts in 2021,” said the show organiser and passionate snowboarder, Stephen Morgan.

But will it be a success?

PlanetSKI offers its view.

See here for our full story:

Further Details of New Snow Show Unveiled

The Snow Show

The Snow Show

Covid-19 News from the Ski Nations

In Italy the Lazio region around Rome has joined two other Italian regions in declaring overnight curfews.

Lombardy in the north, with territory in the Alps,  starts its curfew at 23:00 tonight.

The regions of Campania and Lazio follow suit tomorrow.

The Czech Republic has gone into a second lockdown as 14,968 new infections are reported.

Travel to work is allowed but most shops have been closed.

Some areas have recorded rates above 800 infections for every 100,000 people.

Germany has announced a record 11,287 daily number of infections.

The Health Minister Jens Spahn, who is leading the fight against Covid-19 has caught the virus and is now self-isolating.

Sales of toilet paper in the country have surged according to Germany’s statistics office as people fear for lockdowns.

Sweden is removing special guidelines for over 70s – the same advice now applies to everyone in terms of hygiene, social distancing and avoiding large groups.

The government is planning to introduce a new law that would limit the number of passengers on public transport and in shops.

The government advises that if a restaurant is busy, then people should not go in.

Retailers could also see their opening and closing times regulated.

The Minister for Social Affairs, Lena Hallengren, has said there was a need for “more precise tools” to limit activities that can play a role in the spread of Covid-19.

The general advice includes avoiding large gatherings frequent hand-washing, social distancing and working from home if possible.

Uppsala, to the north of Stockholm, became the first region to introduce tougher local rules and people are now advised to avoid physical contact with those they don’t live with.

Coronavirus

Coronavirus

FIS Introduces a Covid-19 Passport

The International Ski Federation says the passport will be “a whereabouts and test management database designed to support event participants with the recording of their whereabouts and health data, as well as COVID-19 test results”.

The system enables athletes to enter information and to record COVID-19 related data.

This includes helping organisers of events in the sport to review their status as defined by the different local rules in place for different events.

The passports were in used at Soelden last weekend where three Russian skiers were unable to compete after two coaches tested positive.

Norway and Italy celebrate after first World Cup race of the season

The official registration for the Covid-19 FIS Passport is now open for all stakeholders of FIS World Cup events.

Once individuals register, they will receive automatic invitation to continue providing whereabouts information along with answering the Health question and uploading the Covid-19 test results.

This part of FIS Passport application will be available latest on 30th October.

International Ski Federation

International Ski Federation

Who:

Anyone who travels with the any Olympic discipline on a FIS World Cup tour should register.

This includes, but is not limited to, athletes, coaches, servicemen, regular media representatives, National Ski Association representatives and more.

What:

The Covid-19 FIS Passport is a database that manages the whereabouts and Test-Management Portal for registered individuals.

It provides this information to Local Organising Committees to help streamline the accreditation process for individuals participating or attending FIS World Cup events.

When:

Registration is officially open.

While there is no deadline to register, it is strongly recommended to input your data ASAP.

Why:

The FIS Passport meets all data protection and GDPR regulations and gives those registered a streamlined opportunity to present their Covid-19 status for accreditation.

Additionally, it ensures that Organisers have a central database to screen participants, further ensuring everyone’s safety at FIS World Cup events

International Ski Federation

International Ski Federation

Wednesday 21st October

Covid-19 News from the Ski Nations

Italy’s southern Campania region around Naples is planning to start overnight curfews from Friday night.

Lombardy in the north, that has parts of the Alps in its region, is introducing a curfew on Thursday.

Health Minister Roberto Speranza says “we’re working day and night to avoid a lockdown” and he’s called on Italians not to make unnecessary journeys.

Italy has recorded 15,199 new infections –  its highest one-day increase since the pandemic began.

New infections in Switzerland and Lichtenstein have almost doubled in a day to record levels.

There were 5,596 cases reported on Wednesday compared with 3,008 on Tuesday.

In the Czech Republic the government has announced a new lockdown similar to that imposed in spring.

It comes into force tomorrow from 06:00 local time (04:00 GMT)..

People will be able to travel to and from work, buy food/medicine, make trips for medical reasons, make essential family visits and exercise or walk in parks and the countryside, similar to measures in spring.

All shops and services with the exception of those selling essential supplies will close.

The measures will last until Tuesday 3rd November.

In Germany the health minister, Jens Spahn, has tested positive for coronavirus. He is self-isolating.

Poland is to announce new restrictions on Thursday after a record 10,040 new cases in a single day.

The infection rate has doubled in under three weeks.

Spain has recorded more than one million coronavirus cases – 1,005,295.

It is the first country in western Europe to have more than a million cases.

The country’s death toll rose to 34,366 on Wednesday.

It is the sixth nation worldwide to report one million cases after the US, India, Brazil, Russia and Argentina.

Vaccine Will Help ‘Manage’ Covid-19, but Future is Bleak

The epidemiologist, Prof John Edmunds, said it was an “almost certainty” that a vaccine will help to manage the epidemic in the “not-too-distant future”.

But he also said: “There is very little chance that it’s going to become eradicated.”

He also warned the second Covid-19 wave would lead to tens of thousands of deaths in the UK.

He said that health services will be under strain in much of the North of the country in the next few weeks.

“There’s no way we come out of this wave now without counting our deaths in the tens of thousands,” he said.

He made his comments to a Select Committe of MPs.

An Example of How to Do It?

Thailand has allowed in a small group of tourists for the first time in seven months.

The group of 39 people come from the Chinese city of Shanghai.

They are holders of a “Special Tourist Visa” which was approved by the Thai government last month.

They will have to stay in the country for a minimum of 30 days and are currently in a mandatory 14-day quarantine period in Bankok.

They need to buy special insurance policies, plus get a Covid-19 test before travelling in order to obtain the visa.

They also have to have their accommodation booked for the duration of their stay and download a tracking app upon arrival.

See here for a related PlanetSKI story as we look at current requirements in and out of the ski countries of the world.

Coronavirus restrictions for going in and out of ski countries from the UK

Coronavirus

Coronavirus

French Ski Areas ‘Ready When We Are’

Ski resorts across France say they’re working hard to adapt to the ever-changing situation and are hoping to be able to welcome back British skiers and snowboarders this winter.

France Montagnes – an association made up of many of the major players in mountain tourism – usually holds a lavish reception for ski journalists in London every autumn to outline plans for the season ahead.

This year PlanetSKI and everyone else got to hear the news in an online briefing.

PlanetSKI’s Jane Peel listening in to the France Montagnes online briefing

“We know that this year has been a tough one for everyone,” said Fabienne Javault from Atout France.

“The current situation has heavily affected our lives, our activities, our ability to travel and work…. more than ever we want to keep working together and to keep our industry moving forward.”

British skiers make up the largest number of foreign visitors to the French Alps in winter, followed by the Dutch and Belgians.

Winter bookings have decreased and the resorts expect those that are made will be very last minute.

Jean-Marc Silva, the Managing Director of France Montagnes, said there had been a 5% rise in visitors this summer over last year as people flocked to the outdoors, and the ski season had already started.

See our report on the opening of the glaciers in Tignes and Les2Alpes:

France Montagnes 2020 winter launch

“We are ready when you are,” Jean-Marc Silva said.

“Mountain people are well known to be flexible and to adapt to all situations.

“That is why they innovate, get organised and reassure you to make sure you can spend the most wonderful holidays in our French Mountains. Of course, if we can.”

The resorts have introduced a series of Covid-19 safety measures and are following rules imposed by the French government.

Everyone at France Montagnes hopes we’ll be able to go.  We do too.

Loads of fresh snow in the French Alps. This is Serre Chevalier – 6 March 2020

Serre Chevalier, French Alps

Tirol Answers Your Covid-19 Questions

Austria’s main ski area has answered the 10- most- asked questions about what next winter my look like.

1. How easy is it to travel to Austria?

2. Is it possible to ski in Austria this winter?

3. Do I have to book my lift pass in advance?

4. How will the ski lifts and cable cars operate in the resorts?

5. Are the restaurants in the ski resorts open?

6. Will après-ski bars be open this winter?

7. Are the hotels open?

8. Are ski schools and children’s ski schools open?

9. Are the equipment rental shops open?

10. Is public transport in Tirol operating as normal?

See here for the answers: Tirol Answers Your Covid-19 Questions

Canada Set to Extend Border Restrictions with the USA

Canada has no plans to allow cross border tourism with the US, this will include skiing and snowboarding.

The current border restriction order is due to expire on 21st October and snow is now falling in the Canadian resorts ahead of their opening next month.

Panorama, British Columbia, Canada

Panorama, British Columbia, Canada

Sunshine Village, Canada

Sunshine Village, Canada

The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has indicated the restrictions will likely be extended once again.

Some US states with the highest infections share a border with Canada, including North Dakota, Montana and Wisconsin.

“The US is not in a place where we would feel comfortable reopening those borders,” said Justin Trudeau.

“We will continue to make sure that Canadian safety is top of mind.

“We see the cases in the United States and elsewhere around the world, and we need to continue to keep these border controls in place.”

The months-long border restriction forbids travel for skiing or snowboarding and other leisure activities.

It allows the movement of freight, and lets Americans travel overland if they are traveling to or from Alaska.

Canada

Canada

Tuesday 20th October

Covid-19 Developments in the Skiing Nations

The government in Sweden says it is hoping to introduce a new law that would limit the number of passengers on public transport and in shops.

Retailers could also see their opening and closing times regulated.

The Minister for Social Affairs, Lena Hallengren, said there was a need for “more precise tools” to limit activities that can play a role in the spread of Covid-19.

It comes as passenger numbers rise on buses and trains, despite ongoing recommendations from Sweden’s Public Health Agency for people to work from home if possible.

Sweden has had a controversial approach with no lockdown early on.

This was in stark contract to the rest of the world and its Scandinavian neighhours.

With a population of 10m Sweden has recorded 5,922 deaths and seen its GDP fall by 8.6%.

Norway and Finland both have populations of around 5m.

Norway has seen 278 deaths with its economy shrinking by 6.3%.

In Finland the economy has fallen by 4.8% with 351 deaths.

The Scandiavian countries have not so far seen a sharp spike in new cases this autumn.

Sweden has recorded 45.9 new cases per 100,000 people over a 7-day period.

This compares to 178.7 in the UK, 163 in Switzerland, 106 in Austria and 98.4 in Italy.

In Norway it is 17.2 and 25.8 in Finland.

In Germany an alpine part of Bavaria is under lockdown from this afternoon.

Berchtesgadener Land is the first area in the country to do so since the spring.

Schools, restaurants, bars, theatres, gyms, cinemas and hotels are closed, but church services will be allowed.

People can only leave home in Berchtesgadener Land for shopping, work or other valid reasons.

The local infection rate over the past week has hit 272.8 per 100,000.

Bavaria has the Alps in parts of its territory and is home to Germany’s main ski areas.

In Italy the region of Lombardy has asked the national government to impose a regional curfew from Thursday, amid predictions of a steep rise in use of intensive care beds.

France has reported more than 2,000 people in intensive care for the first time since May.

More than half the intensive care beds in the Paris region are in use.

Lyon and Grenoble that are gateway cities to the Alps are under night-time curfew as is Toulouse near the foothills of the Pyrenees.

Poland has seen daily case numbers double in the past 7-days.

9,291 new Covid-19 infections have been reported in the most recent 24-hour period.

That is 16 times more than the highest reported numbers in the first wave in sprins.

The outbreak is pushing the country’s public health care system to the limit, officials say.

Nearly 9,000 hospital beds are now being take by Covid-19 patients.

Argentina has become the fifth country in the world to have recorded one million confirmed coronavirus cases.

It has a population of 45 million and is the smallest nation to have passed the one million mark.

It follows the US, India, Brazil and Russia – all of whom have far greater populations.

Argentina has seen 26,716 deaths from Covid-19.

Coronavirus

Coronavirus

Crystal Ski Holidays Offers Free Covid-19 Insurance

It will include overseas COVID-19 testing costs, repatriation if medically required, self-isolation costs and new return flights home.

The cover will be included for all customers travelling on any Crystal Ski holidays between 12th December 2020 and 18th April 2021 and applies to all new and existing bookings.

It should be used alongside standard travel insurance.

Crystal Ski Holidays Offers Free Covid-19 Insurance

Crystal Ski Holidays

Crystal Ski Holidays

Where is the UK with travel testing and quarantine?

It is a confusing picture, but testing & reduction in quarantine times are essential if there is to be a ski season this winter for us Brits.

There are restrictions entering some alpine countries and for people heading back to the UK.

Many people are worried about flying and say if they knew planes and airports were safe, then they would consider flying again.

If things continue as they are, then there is unlikely to be a ski season for many British skiers and snowboarders.

However a number of initiatives are underway and there are plenty of grounds for hope.

See here for our full feature article:

Where is the UK with travel testing and quarantine?

Easyjet at Innsbruck Airport, Austria

Easyjet at Innsbruck

Heathrow Covid-19 Tests for People Flying to Italy

It’s a rapid Covid-19 test done before check in.

The tests are being introduced from today on BA flights plus Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific.

The tests can also be taken on flights bound for Hong Kong.

Italy requires people to have a negative test, taken in the previous 72-hours.

However the Italians require stricter molecular (PCR) or an antigenic test to meet entry requirements.

The rapid-test test will cost £80 and a result can take a mere 20 minutes.

It’s a rapid saliva swab test and is now available at Heathrow Terminals 2 and 5.

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

If you test positive within Italy you will be required to quarantine.

The time spent in quarantine can vary greatly from a few days to several weeks.

People arriving in Italy from the UK also need to download and complete a self-declaration from the Ministry of Interior.

It is hoped testing may begin to help open up routes between the UK and other countries.

People coming into the UK from Italy will still have to quarantine for 14-days on return.

Italy added to UK’s quarantine list

There is a testing facility in Heathrow for people arriving back in the UK.

It has not been used as the government has not given its backing to testing people on arrival.

Turin airport

Turin airport

For our detailed look at the requirements going in and out of the ski countries across the world then check out this related article:

Coronavirus restrictions for people going in and out of ski countries from the UK

Austrian plane

Australia Eases its Lockdown Rules After Measures Have Some Success

Coronavirus rules in the Australian state of Victoria have been relaxed after more than 3 months.

It may come as some relief for those of us in Europe, as coronavirus is spreading rapidly and tougher measures are being introduced in countries across the continent as winter beckons.

In Australia its earlier lockdown measures seem to have had an impact.

People in Victoria are now able to travel further and meet up with more friends without a time limit on how long they spend outside the home.

Strict measures remain for restaurants and retailers, limiting them to takeaway and delivery options.

The measures brought a premature end to the ski season in Victoria as covid-19 cases rose:

Mt Buller closes bringing end to ski season in Victoria

Melbourne, which has been under stricter rules , has also relaxed some of its regulations.

  • People can travel up to 15 miles from their home for exercise or shopping.
  • Gatherings of up to 10 people from two different households are allowed.
  • There will be no more time limit on outdoor socialising and exercise.
  • Hairdressers, tennis courts, golf courses and skate parks reopen, subject to Covid-19 restrictions.

Elsewhere in Victoria

  • Two adults and two children will now be allowed to visit another person’s home
  • Hospitality venues will be allowed to accommodate 70 patrons outside and 40 inside

“I know these changes can’t be absolutely everything everyone wants,” said the State Premier, Daniel Andrews.

“But they are the steps we can safely take that will make life a little bit easier.

“Follow the rules and get the numbers in Melbourne as low as they are in regional Victoria.

“Then we will all be able to move freely around our state.”

Mt Hotham, Australia

Mt Hotham, Australia

Ski Resorts in New York State will Open with Covid-19 Restrictions

The Governor, Andrew Cuomo, said the resorts can open from November 6th.

People must observe socially distancing when in the resorts.

Here are some of the new requirements at ski resorts:

  • Patrons must wear masks except while eating, drinking or skiing.
  • Gondolas and lifts are limited to carrying people within the same party.
  • Ski lessons can have no more than 10 people.
  • Capacity must be reduced by 25% on peak skiing days or if multiple trails are closed because of weather conditions.
  • There will be 50% capacity for indoor areas.
Skiing in the USA

Skiing in the USA

Monday 19th October

Banff in Canada Looks to the Winter of 2021/22

“All of our great partners are staying optimistic and continue to promote the ski industry as a whole  and our destination,” said statement from the Banff resorts of Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and Mount Norquay.

“It seems that in many markets the attention is also turning to 2021/22 and we appreciate all of your efforts to build on 21/22 if 20/21 does not eventuate as we would have hoped.”

Banff is not the only resort or ski business looking to the future, hopefully once the pandemic is under some sort of control.

Here at PlanetSKI we know of several UK ski companies that are genuinely considering sitting out the winter of 2020/21.

There are severe restrictions on overseas visitors entering Canada and things don’t look like changing any time soon.

Most people remain barred though there are some exceptions – being a skier is not one of them.

People will now be allowed in to Canada 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.

The area is currently seeing some great early season snow with up to 50cm in some places.

Sunshine Village, Canada

Sunshine Village, Canada

Sunshine Village, Canada

Sunshine Village, Canada

New Measures in Italy to Battle Covid-19

The Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte,  said the measures were needed “to avoid a new lockdown”.

11,705 new cases were recorded on Sunday, beating the previous record, which came a day earlier on Saturday, of 10,925.

“We cannot waste time, we must put in place measures to avoid a generalised lockdown, which could severely compromise the economy,” said the Prime Minister in a TV address to the nation.

“The government is here but everyone has to do their part.

“The most effective measures remain the basic precautions: mask, distance and hand hygiene.

“We must pay attention to situations where we let our guard down – with relatives and friends. In these situations, the maximum precaution is required.”

New Measures:

  • Changes in schooling mainly affect older pupils in high schools. Starting times will be later and more distance-learning will be encouraged.
  • Bars and restaurants to close at midnight, but after 18:00 only table service will be allowed. The maximum in a group will be six.
  • Local conferences and festivals are suspended.
  • Amateur contact sports must stop.
  • Gyms and swimming pools will have to adapt to new protocols within seven days
Skiing in France

Skiing in France

Switzerland Ramps Up Restrictions

New measures come into force on Monday.

  • Masks are to be mandatory in all enclosed public spaces. These include train stations, airports, shops, museums, restaurants, churches and changing rooms in sports centres.
  • Spontaneous public gatherings will be limited to 15 people.
  • Working from home is recommended.
  • Eating and drinking only while seated will also apply to restaurants and bars, both indoors and outdoors.
Facemasks in Zermatt

Facemasks in Zermatt

“I am convinced the public will understand the need for these measures,” said the Swiss President, Simonetta Sommaruga.

She added  that she did not exclude the possibility for the authorities to impose stricter measures if the situation called for it.

“The second wave has been here for ten days, and it’s come earlier and stronger than expected,” said the Interior Minister responsible for Health, Alain Berset.

Switzerland

Switzerland

Sunday 18th October

Italy Added to UK Quarantine List Today

From 04.00 on Sunday 18th October people returning to the UK from Italy have to self-isolate for two weeks.

Italy has seen a sharp rise in cases and has introduced new measures to try to tackle the increasing spread of the virus.

See here for our full story as the announcement was made last Thursday by the UK government:

Italy Added to UK’s Quarantine List

Border controls

Border controls

MPI Brokers Looks to Enhance Covid-19 Ski Insurance Cover

The leading snowsports insurance provider already offers some cover if you travel to a country where the FCDO advises against travel.

This currently includes the ski countries of France, Austria, Switzerland, Andorra and Spain.

Unlike some other insurance providers, it will cover injury, theft and other mishaps.

It will not cover Covid-19 claims though, due to the formal advice from the government.

“The FCDO warnings are just that, they are warnings – it is not illegal to travel against this advice.  Therefore, many people are weighing up the risks to themselves or others and whether they would be happy to travel against this advice,” said Michael Pettifer from MPI Brokers.

MPI Brokers

If people catch Covid-19 in a ski country off the list – currently Italy, Germany, Norway, Finland and Sweden – MPI already offers cover for hospital costs, ambulance costs, additional accommodation costs (B&B) if travel home is missed and repatriation if it is medically necessary.

MPI is now looking at covering cancellation if a person or family member is unable to travel due to catching Covid-19 or needing to self-isolate.

It is expected this cover will be added shortly with an extra cost expected to be around £25.

It will not cover if people are denied boarding an aircraft due to a temperature or showing symptoms.

PlanetSKI’s Jane Peel has written a full account of what to look for when choosing an insurance policy in these coronavirus times:

Ski travel insurance in the covid-19 and Brexit era

Meanwhile we expect that some tour operators will shortly be announcing  travel insurance policies that are Covid-specific.

They will likely be included in the holiday price.

“If there is one thing that the pandemic has shown us, it is that the way holiday refunds and insurance is currently set up is most definitely not fit for purpose,” said the PlanetSKI editor, James Cove.

“Both for the people who have lost out and the holiday companies who then have to hand back huge sums of money and administer the system.

“We await the details with interest and will be reporting on it as soon as things become clearer.”

Watch this space…

UK Foreign Office travel insurance campaign

UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office message

 

Coronavirus

Coronavirus

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:

October 11th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

October 4th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

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

Coronavirus

Coronavirus

 

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