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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 1st November

Decision on Val d’Isere World Cup to be Made on November 13th

The Premier Neige is due to start on December 5th with events over the following days but France has now gone into lockdown until December 1st.

Extending the lockdown has not been ruled out.

“Considering that the French government will state an update of measures in 15 days, considering the travel restrictions and potential changes in very short notice , the Local Organising Committee and the French ski association together with FIS, have decided to issue the next decision on the competitions program on 2020 November 13th,” said a statement from the International Ski Federation.

Criterium de la Premier Neige

Criterium de la Premier Neige

Preparations for the event will continue as planned.

The racing has already been impacted by Covid-19 so that men and women will not meet at the venues.

Speed and technique competitors will be handled separately as far as possible.

Criterium de la Premier Neige

Criterium de la Premier Neige

See here for our story as lockdown was announced in France.

French ski resorts close and others delay opening as France goes into second lockdown

Skiing in France

Skiing in France

Austria Ski Areas to Close as Covid-19 Spreads

As cases surge the Chancellor has unveiled new lockdown measures.

It is a severe below for the snowsports industry.

Nine resorts are currently offering some skiing with some excellent early season conditions.

Eight glacier ski resorts are currently opening for skiing and snowboarding with Covid-19 measures in place.

They are Hintertux, Stubai, Sölden, Kaprun, Pitztal, Kaunertal, Dachstein and Mölltal.

Kitzbuhel in the Tirol has also opened a run in the Resterhöhe area.

It looks like they will be closing from Tuesday.

“We are very sorry that due to COVID-19 guidelines, we have to close our ski resort from Tuesday, November 3rd until the end of November 2020,” said the resort of Stubai.

“Thank you for your understanding and hope to see you again soon at Stubai Glacier.”

Here at PlanetSKI we are just checking the situation in the other resorts and will be updating as soon as we receive further information.

See here for our main report:

Austria Ski Areas to Close as Covid-19 Spreads

Soelden, Tirol, Austria

Soelden, Tirol, Austria

Saturday 31st October

Indoor Ski Centres Close as England Goes into Second Lockdown

The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead has announced it will be closing on Wednesday 4th November.

The others are expected to follow suit.

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a second national lockdown starting next Thursday, November 5th.

Leisure centres and gyms have to close and those same rules have been interpreted as applying to the indoor snowsports centres.

They reopened in August as restrictions were eased.

The Snow Centre says it will maintain the slopes ready for when it can reopen.

People who have booked a visit for 5th November onwards will be e-mailed over the next few days.

See here for our full story:

Indoor Ski Centres Close as England Goes into Second Lockdown

The Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead

The Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead

Austria Introduces New Lockdown Measures

As cases surge the Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, has unveiled further restrictions.

Ski resorts in the alpine country will be affected but remain open.

There will be a curfew from 8pm to 6am.

Most venues for leisure and sport will be shut – cinemas, theatres, swimming pools and dance schools.

Restaurants will shut but will be allowed to serve takeaways.

Betting shops must close.

He said that shops would remain open.

The restrictions come as infections approach a level which officials say will stretch the country’s hospitals beyond capacity.

The rules will come into force on Tuesday and last until November 30th.

On Saturday another 27 deaths were reported in Austria with a further 5,349 cases.

See here for our full story:

Austria Introduces New Lockdown Measures

Austria turns red

Austria turns red

Fancy a Socially Distanced Fondue?

The meal is an alpine favourite and it seems we can still all gather round a bowl of melted cheese.

We just need to do it slightly differently in these coronavirus times.

Needs must

Needs must

Sweden Advises Increased Restrictions

The authorities are advising people living in Stockholm and the Swedish regions of Västra Götaland and Östergötland not to visit gyms, museums, libraries, swimming pools and shopping centres.

They have also been told to avoid physical contact with people they do not live with.

The advice lasts until November 19th.

This follows similar restrictions introduced in the regions of Uppsala County and Skåne last week that followed a rise in infections.

Last winter it kept its ski resorts open as they closed across the rest of Europe, Sweden Remains Open for Skiing

It has seen significant death rates and sharper economic losses than its Scandinavian neighbours.

Salen, Sweden

Sweden has been somewhat controversial as it did not enforce a lockdown and many see its so-called success as something of a myth.

It has seen many more deaths that its Scandinavian neighbours and its economy has suffered more.

It has a population of 10m and has seen 5,927 deaths.

Its neighbours of Norway and Finland have populations of around 5m and both had strict lockdowns.

They have seen 280 and 354 respectively.

Sweden’s GDP has fallen by 8.6% in the pandemic, while Norway’s has dropped by 7.3% and Finland’s GDP has shrunk by 3.2%.

The country registered its highest number of new infections since the start of the pandemic on Tuesday.

There were 1,980 new coronavirus cases compared with a high of 1,870 daily cases recorded on 23rd October.

The country’s Health Agency said the peak during the spring was probably far higher but went unrecorded due to a lack of testing at the time.

Andermatt is Latest Swiss Resort  to Open Some Slopes

Lifts turn on Saturday.

“Tomorrow starts pre-winter season at Gemsstock,” said the resort on Friday.

“Protective measures were developed to ensure the safety of all guests and employees.

“Every guest should join in. This is the only way to ensure that we can not only start the ski season, but also continue.

“The ownership of the measures and the part of the guests therefore plays an important role.”

Andermatt, Switzerland

Andermatt, Switzerland

The area is planning to open for weekends until November 22nd, and then daily from November 28th.

Wearing a mask will be obligatory in all valley and mountain stations, restaurants, gondolas and cable cars.

Inspections have been carried out ahead of the opening.

Andermatt, Switzerland

Andermatt, Switzerland

Here are the resort rules:

For the protection of everyone:

·       Protective glass screens have been installed at many locations

·       Floor markings and barriers have been installed indoors

·       Hand sanitiser is provided at central locations

·       Scheduled cleanings have been increased

·       Wearing a mask (covering mouth and nose) is obligatory in the indicated indoor areas

·       Employees have been provided with personal protective equipment

·       Capacities have been expanded in outdoor areas (e.g. at restaurants)

·       A digital checklist is provided on the website

The SkiArena asks guests to:

·       Always wear a mask in indoor areas and in the lift facilities

·       Bring your own face mask (covering mouth and nose)

·       Pay for your tickets and activities online whenever possible

·       Reserve seats (in restaurants and at events) in advance

·       Respect the floor markings and barriers

·       Use contactless payment whenever possible

·       Regularly wash and sanitise your hands

·       Maintain a minimum distance of 1.5 metres

·       Support contact tracing

Friday 30th October

Verbier Opens for Skiing

The Swiss resort opens its Lac des Vaux area after some good October snowfalls.

The rest of the main Verbier ski area will open in early December.

The lifts will be open only on weekends in November and then daily from 5th December.

It is looking good and will be great for the lucky ones able to enjoy the slopes.

There has been a mixed reaction given the surging levels of Covid-19 in Switzerland.

Many people were out enjoying the opening day.

“So awesome! It’s good that people are still smart enough to enjoy life, the resorts and I am sure that the distances and all sanitary measures are respected,” said Deborah Sinz on the resort’s Facebok page.

Others took a different view given the Covid-19 situation in Switzerland.

“I don’t quite understand how it is that ski resorts can open up and bring together so many people (just look at the number of people in the queue behind) when the epidemiological conditions in Valais are catastrophic,” said Michael Rodger.

“We are not allowed to gather more than 10 people in public space, however, when we have our skis on, there is no problem … We wonder who we are kidding,” he added.

See here for our updated report:

Verbier Opens as Covid-19 Surges in Switzerland

Verbier, Switzerland

Verbier, Switzerland

Covid-19 Spreading ‘Out of Control’ in Austria

Almost the whole of the alpine country has turned red on its four-level traffic light system.

New measures are expected to be announced tomorrow.

The red alert means that outbreaks are out of control and the virus is widespread.

Several glacier ski resorts are open with covid-19 measures in place.

It is reported they are being adhered to and working well.

They are Hintertux, Stubai, Sölden, Kaprun, Pitztal, Kaunertal, Dachstein and Mölltal.

Kitzbuhel has one token run open.

Austrian media reports that the most likely option to try to halt the increasing spread is a night-time curfew, that would last for 10-days.

Ski resorts are expected to remain open with no additional measures.

See here for more:

Covid-19 Spreading ‘Out of Control’ in Austria

Austria turns red

Austria turns red

New Generation Ski School Reacts to France Lockdown

There has been sharp criticism from many in the French snowsports world to the lockdown, the closure of resorts, the curtailing of freedoms and the economic impact.

All have some justification.

New Generation operates out of many resorts in France and others across the Alps and has offered its view on the lockdown.

“This is not the news we’d hoped for, BUT we believe it is necessary to control the number of COVID-19 cases across the country.

“One positive is that if we all stay home and stay safe now, the winter season will have a better chance of going ahead.

“We’re hoping this will avoid future lockdowns, once the lifts open.”

The comment seems to match the views made by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the country’s Parliament that we reported on earlier as she introduced similar lockdown measures across Germany.

“This pandemic brings the question of freedom to the fore. Freedom is not ‘every man for himself’, it is responsibility – for oneself, one’s family, the workplace.

“It shows us we are part of a whole,” Mrs Merkel said.

“It will come to an end”.

New Generation in Tignes

New Generation in Tignes

Covid-19 Cases Surge in Europe Bringing Severe Worries for Start of Ski Season

The pandemic is spreading rapidly in many parts of Europe with mountain regions not exempt from the surge or government restrictions.

France has imposed a four-week lockdown.

It will impact all areas of France including the mountain regions.

The two ski resorts that were currently open, Les2Alpes and Tignes, have had to close with others that were planning to open in November now needing to delay.

French ski resorts close and delay openings as country goes into second lockdown

If the lockdown doesn’t have the desired impact it could be extended, with disastrous consequences for the start of the French ski season.

Resorts and skiers are becoming increasingly concerned.

Verbier in Switzerland opens on Friday with some good autumn snow already on the slopes.

Lac des Vaux, Verbier, Switzerland

Lac des Vaux, Verbier, Switzerland

Let’s hope it stays open – unlike Cervinia in Italy that was ordered to close last weekend after social distancing measures were broken on its opening day.

There is much hope for skiing and snowboarding once the pandemic is under control with huge amounts of pent up demand.

Unfortunately control doesn’t look like happening any time soon.

See here for our full story:

Covid-19 Cases Surge in Europe Bringing Severe Worries for Start of Ski Season

 

Facemasks in Zermatt

Facemasks in Zermatt

France Goes Into Lockdown

The Alps and the Pyrenees along with all other areas of France are now in a second national lockdown.

The two glacier ski resorts that were open, Les2Alpes and Tignes, have shut.

Other in the Alps and Pyrenees with planned November opening have cancelled them and are hoping they can open in December along with all the other ski resorts once the current lockdown is lifted.

Significant concerns remain for the start of the ski season.

We started a rolling report after Prime Minister Macron unveiled his plans on Wednesday night.

It contains the news, analysis and reaction from the mountains and has so far had almost 20,000 people read it from across Europe.

French Ski Resorts Close & Delay Openings as Country Goes Into Second Lockdown

We will continue to update it across the day, and hear from our readers and reporters out in the French Alps.

Verbier Opens Today with Snow & Covid-19 on People’s Minds

The Swiss resort opens its Lac des Vaux area after some good October snowfalls.

The rest of the main Verbier ski area will open in early December.

The lifts will be open only on weekends in November and then daily from 5th December.

It is looking good and will be great for the lucky ones able to enjoy the slopes.

Lac des Vaux, Verbier, Switzerland

Lac des Vaux, Verbier, Switzerland

However, it comes as coronavirus surges in Switzerland and the country has become a European hotspot.

Switzerland is seeing the highest number of new cases per head of population of any alpine nation with 471 people per 100,000 as measured over a 7-day period.

France is 399, Italy 216 and Austria 209.

Of the European skiing nations only Andorra in the Pyrenees is higher with 1,015.

Spain, with its resorts in the Pyrenees, is at 272.

Switzerland has dropped its 10-day quarantine requirement for people coming from the UK.

But not because the UK is doing so well in battling the virus, but rather because Switzerland has so many more cases it doesn’t quite see the point.

It is though fantastic to see Verbier opening in October with such good conditions.

We used to live there year-round and it was our alpine base for many years until we moved over to Austria and then Italy.

We have skied its slopes on many an Opening Day.

Verbier, Switzerland

Verbier, Switzerland

All of us hope that Verbier can control its opening and adhere in reality to Covid-19 rules, so people are safe and it is not ordered to close.

It has the ‘Clean & Safe’ award from Switzerland Tourism, but some say that is more of a marketing tool and looks good on paper, than anything more meaningful in reality.

Safe & Clean

Safe & Clean

See here for our full report: Verbier Opens on Friday as Covid-19 Surges in Switzerland

Verbier, Switzerland

Verbier, Switzerland

Thursday 29th October

Hard Winter Ahead for Germany

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has warned of a “long, hard winter ahead”.

Addressing the country’s parliament on Thursday, Merkel said that “winter will be hard – four long, difficult months – but it will come to an end”.

“This pandemic brings the question of freedom to the fore. Freedom is not ‘every man for himself’, it is responsibility – for oneself, one’s family, the workplace.

“It shows us we are part of a whole,” she said.

Coronavirus

Coronavirus

Verbier Set to Open on Friday as Covid-19 Cases Surge in Switzerland

The resort will be following all the regulations and has obtained the “Clean and safe” label in collaboration with Switzerland Tourism.

Some question the wisdom of opening as Switzerland, and the Valais Canton, is one of the hotspots in Europe.

The resort will open its Lac des Vaux slopes on Friday 30th October.

Depending on the snow conditions the resort will then open the slope from Les Attelas to Les Ruinettes.

The rest of the Verbier ski area will follow from early December.

The lifts will be open only on weekends in November and then daily from 5th December.

It is looking pretty good.

Lac des Vaux, Verbier, Switzerland

Lac des Vaux, Verbier, Switzerland

Lac des Vaux, Verbier, Switzerland

Lac des Vaux, Verbier, Switzerland

However some question the wisdom of opening as Covid-19 surges.

Switzerland is seeing the highest number of new cases per head of population of any alpine nation with 471 per 100,000 as measured over a 7-day period.

France is 399, Spain 272, Italy 216 and Austria 209.

We reported in the sharp increase in cases in Switzerland last week on PlanetSKI.

Sharp rise in Covid-19 cases in Switzerland

See here for our full article on PlanetSKI as Verbier prepares to open:

Verbier Set to Open Tomorrow as Covid-19 Surges in Switzerland

Verbier, Switzerland

Verbier, Switzerland

Reaction from Les2Alpes as Resort Closes Today

Our reporter in Les2Alpes is Alex Armand from Tip Top Coaching.

“It’s very sad that we are loosing the last few days of the Toussaint holidays skiing,” said Alex.

” However better loose a few days now and enjoy a fabulous winter. The resort is due to open on 1st December and we at TipTop Ski Coaching are very much looking forward to a skiing filled winter.”

Alex was out on the slopes on Thursday morning making some final turns ahead of lockdown.

Alex Armand, Les2Alpes, France

Alex Armand, Les2Alpes, France

Les2Alpes, France

Les2Alpes, France

Les2Alpes, France

Les2Alpes, France

See here for out full report on the situation in France with all the latest news and reaction:

Ski Resorts in France Cancel Openings & Close as Country Goes into Second Lockdown

European Countries Deep Into Second Wave

The European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said: “We are deep in the second wave. I think that this year’s Christmas will be a different Christmas.”

It comes as both France and Germany are about to enter a second lockdown, albeit with slightly fewer restrictions than the first in the spring.

The ski resorts in France that had opened earlier this month will close at the end of today and none will be able to open until at least 1st December.

In France, the number of daily deaths is higher than any time since April. On Wednesday, 36,437 new cases and 244 deaths were confirmed.

In Germany it’s being reported than 89 people have died in the past 24 hours with a record 16,774 infections.

In Austria, the health minister has said that hospitalisation rates will be a key factor in determining whether there will be another lockdown.

The Local news website reports that the number of patients in intensive care in Austria has increased by 40% in a week.

Another skiing nation, Norway, recorded its second highest increase in daily cases on Wednesday, with 403 new infections reported.

And Reuters news agency is reporting that Sweden registered its highest number of new infections since the start of the pandemic on Tuesday.

There were 1,980 new coronavirus cases compared with a high of 1,870 daily cases recorded on 23rd October.

The country’s Health Agency said the peak during the spring was probably far higher but went unrecorded due to a lack of testing at the time.

Reuters reports that Sweden has also registered 9 new deaths, taking the total to 5,927 deaths.

Its death rate per head of population is far higher than other Scandinavian countries but lower than the UK’s.

Nordic Skiing on the Rise

It is reported to be doing so in North America as people might prefer to avoid lifts and queues.

The Canmore Nordic Centre, near Banff in Alberta Canada, reports a year-on-year rise in season ski passes.

The Centre has also seen 20% more people registering for its biathlon and cross-country skiing programs than last year.

Hire shops also predict there will be a rise in people renting the equipment.

Canmore Nordic Centre

Canmore Nordic Centre

Ski Resorts in France Cancel Openings & Close as Country Goes into Second Lockdown

Val Thorens and Val d’Isere have cancelled their openings in late November.

Of the two glacier resorts currently open in France, Tignes is shutting after skiing on Thursday and Les2Alpes will likely do exactly the same, though it has been slow to make an announcement.

It follows the news of a second national lockdown that was made by President Macron on Wednesday evening.

  • Travel will be banned between regions.
  • People will only be allowed to leave home for essential work or medical reasons.
  • Non-essential businesses, such as restaurants and bars, will have to shut.

All that means ski resorts will shut.

See the full details here in our rolling and updated report:

French Resorts Close as Country Goes Into Second National Lockdown

Les2Alpes, France

Les2Alpes, France

Wednesday 28th October

Switzerland Drops Quarantine for People Arriving from the UK

From 29th October people who have visited the UK in the past 10-days will no longer be required to quarantine for 10-days on entry to Switzerland.

Switzerland introduced a quarantine as cases surged in the UK.

Coronavirus continues to spread sharply in the UK and some are questioning the move.

Switzerland itself is seeing a steep rise in cases.

Sharp rise in Covid-19 cases in Switzerland

It is one of the countries in Europe hardest hit by the second wave so the authorities deemed it pointless to impose quarantines on people arriving from less-impacted regions.

Now only Belgium, the Czech Republic, Andorra and Armenia – along with three regions of France, including Paris – are considered high risk.

People who arrive in the UK from Switzerland do still need to quarantine.

“Pretty much people from anywhere can now come into Switzerland without quarantine,” was how one of our readers put it.
“Our incidence rate is so bad they decided to open again to anyone with lower incidence.”
And another reader has this view:
“In other news, the Swiss completely tore up quarantine today…”
And another of our readers in Switzerland:
“I suggest you research why before you all book your flights and chalets.
“It’s not for tourism, but because Switzerland has the highest number of cases per 1000.
“They removed all the countries with better records from the quarantine lists.
“Over 8000 cases in last 24 hours, hospitals under severe pressure, ICU nearing capacity.
“Valais worst hit Canton.
“Quite frankly, you would be mad to even consider travelling here.”
Swiss flag

Switzerland

France Goes Into Second National Lockdown with Ski Resorts Effectively Shut

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced tonight a second national lockdown.

Travel will be banned between regions.

People will only be allowed to leave home for essential work or medical reasons.

Non-essential businesses, such as restaurants and bars, will have to shut.

The measures come into force on Friday.

The glacier ski resorts of Tignes and Les2Alpes in France are currently open and will be significantly affected by the new measures.

They opened less than two weeks ago:

France Opens for Skiing

Les2Alpes, France

Les2Alpes, France

The resorts will effectively have to close and guests leave.

Most workers in the resorts will be required to stay at home unless they are involved in health and safety work

See here for our separate breaking news story with more details:

Ski Resorts Set to Close as France Goes In to Second National Lockdown

Skiing in France

Skiing in France

‘Test and Rest’ at Heathrow

The Sofitel Hotel at Terminal 5 is offering an overnight stay together with a self-administered saliva-based PCR Covid-19 test kit.

Prices start at £179.

The test is carried out by the UK-based biotech firm, HALO.

Guests at the hotel download an app, scan their test kit, spit in a tube and it is then taken to a facility for testing.

The result is sent to the App along with a certificate.

If negative the person can then travel with peace of mind and have a negative test certificate.

Test and Rest

Test and Rest

It comes as Heathrow loses its top spot as the busiest airport in Europe.

Paris Charles de Gaulle is now the busiest as demand slumps.

The Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye, said the UK had been too slow to embrace covid-19 testing and was “falling behind”.

He said other airports in Europe had reopened faster because they had implemented testing regimes.

World Champion Tests Positive for Covid-19

The 28-year old Norwegian ski racer Aleksander Kilde is now isolating in Norway.

He won last season’s overall title.

In a statement he said that he had “mild symptoms” and that his general condition is good.

He remains optimistic about getting well fairly quickly.

The other alpine skiers in the Norwegian national squad were tested for Covid-19 and are negative.

Kilde competed in the opening race of the season in Soelden earlier this month.

It is unclear if he will be able to take part in the next race, a parallel giant slalom on November 14th in Lech-Zürs in Austria.

Aleksander Kilde

Aleksander Kilde

Some ski resorts in Italy Remain Open

Four resorts are able to offer skiing and snowboarding at this time of year.

After crowded scenes in Cervinia the national government ordered them all to close except to racers and professional skiers.

3 out of the 4 are still open to the general public – Val Senales, Passo Stelvio and Sulden am Ortler.

Val Senales, Italy

Val Senales, Italy

Sulden am Ortler, Italy

Sulden am Ortler, Italy

Cervinia opened on Saturday.

The majority of Covid-19 precautions were followed to the letter by the resort, but long queues developed outside the main lift and ticket station with some crowding inside the lifts.

The pictures went viral.

Cervinia, Italy

Cervinia, Italy

On Sunday the government was issuing a planned Emergency Decree raising restrictions.

It ordered ski resorts to close to the general public pending an examination and authorisation on their procedures.

It is unclear if the measure was a result of the scenes in Cervinia.

“Apart from national competitions, Italy’s ski facilities will remain closed. In November you will not go skiing in Italy,” said the Italian Minister of Sports, Vincenzo Spadafora, according to Italian media.

The rules of the new Emergency Decree expire on November 24th.

See here for our full story:

Some ski resorts in Italy remain open

 

Val Senales, Italy

Val Senales, Italy

First US Ski Resort Set to Open on Wednesday with Covid-19 Restrictions in Place

Wolf Creek is set to be first out of the blocks after recent heavy snow.

At the weekend Mt Norquay in Canada became the first resort to open in North America.

“The powder is stacking up, 22” and still counting!” said the resort of Wolf Creek in Colorado on Monday.

Three lifts – Treasure, Bonanza and Nova –  will be running on Wednesday October 28th, through to Sunday November 1st.

The slopes will be open from 9am to 4pm.

The resort will then assess the conditions for the rest of November.

It will be operating under Covid-19 restrictions.

“Don’t forget your mask!” said Wolf Creek on its Facebook page.

Wolf Creek requires wearing face masks and social distancing in all indoor and outdoor public places.

This includes buildings, in the base area, and riding a lift.

Masks are required outdoors while in the base area and while in ticket and lift lines.

Tickets will not be sold to anyone without a mask or face covering.

“Any guests refusing to follow Colorado State Guidelines guide lines will be asked to leave,” the resort warns.

See here for our full story:

First US Ski Resort Set to Open today with Covid-19 Restrictions in Place

Wolf Creek, Colorado

Wolf Creek, Colorado

Tuesday 27th October:

Brand USA Looks to Abandon World Travel Market

Brand USA has confirmed that it is ‘likely’ permanently to pull out of World Travel Market in London and ITB in Berlin.

Other organisations are considering their position with regard to big travel fairs as Covid-19 has brought into sharp focus whether such gatherings are necessary in the digital world or just an expensive indulgence.

Brand USA

Brand USA

See here for the full report on Travel Mole.

Brand USA

Brand USA

Good Points, Well Made

We are not sure of the scientific basis of the numbers, but wearing a mask and going skiing looks like a sensible course of action.

Good points, well made

Good points, well made

 

Melbourne Defeats Covid-19 But At Huge Economic Cost

The Australian city is to come out of its lock down at midnight as no new cases have been reported. Some say it has set an example to the rest of the world, but its economy has been badly hit.

The 5m residents will no longer have to stay at home and most other restrictions will be lifted gradually over the coming days.

The city has had one of the world’s longest and toughest lockdowns.

Ski resorts in the state of Victoria closed back in August, just days after they had tried to open for the season.

Two ski resorts in Victoria to close for rest of the season

Mt Buller closes bringing ski season to an end in Victoria

Mt Hotham, Victoria, Australia

Mt Hotham, Victoria, Australia

It is 110 days since Melbourne went into lockdown – in the middle of its winter.

Some say the city has become a world leader in dealing with the virus along with Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, New Zealand and Hong Kong.

Raina McIntyre, a biosecurity professor at the University of New South Wales’ Kirby Institute, told the BBC that Australia’s response had been “light years ahead” of the US and the UK.

See our full story here:

Melbourne Defeats Covid-19 But At A Huge Economic Cost

Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne, Australia

Protests in Italy Over Latest Covid-19 Restrictions

Clashes took place in the northern cities of Milan and Turin that are gateways to the Italian Alps.

Disturbances also happened in Naples and elsewhere.

In Milan tear gas was used to disperse protesters after petrol bombs were thrown.

They came after new restrictions were introduced at 18.00 on Monday.

In Milan, crowds chanted “Freedom, freedom, freedom”

28 people were arrested in Milan.

Many regions have imposed night-time curfews, including Lombardy where Milan is and Piedmont where Turin is located.

The government is also urging people not to travel outside their home towns or cities, unless absolutely necessary.

People are asked to avoid using public transport where possible.

“We think that we will suffer a bit this month but by gritting our teeth with these restrictions, we’ll be able to breathe again in December,” said the Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, on Sunday.

Ski resorts remain closed after crowded scenes at Cervinia as it opened on Saturday.

Cervinia opens then closes

Ski resorts in Italy shut to general public

Coronavirus

Coronavirus

Worried About Not Being Able to Ski in Europe this Winter & Thinking of Summer Trip Down Under?

Well, think again.

The Australian airline Qantas has said its routes to the UK are unlikely to be reinstated for at least another year.

“For some of our big destinations like the United States and the UK, it’s going to need a vaccine given the high prevalence of the virus in both of those locations,” said the Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce.

“It’s going to take some time to recover international travel back.”

Ho, hum.

Mt Hotham, Australia

Mt Hotham, Australia

Ski Resort in Italy Shut to General Public

There are currently only a handful of glacier resorts open but the apparent breaches of Covid-19 rules in Cervinia as the pandemic spreads in the country are being taken very seriously.

It’s an indication of what things may be like next winter.

In Italy and across the Alps.

The spread of Covid-19 and flouting of rules is being taken seriously.

At the weekend images of long queues as Cervinia opened, that apparently breached social distancing, went viral.

They received an immediate  political response and the resort was closed.

So, what about the future?

Ski Resort in Italy Shut to General Public

Cervinia, Italy

Cervinia, Italy

Skiers in Tignes Advised to Wear Face Masks as Police Patrolling

It is reported that gendarmes from the prefecture will be in Tignes on Tuesday checking if everyone is wearing a correct Covid-19 mask on all buses, ski lifts and in ski lift queues.

Ski buffs and simple face coverings are not acceptable.

The lift company, STGM, has been told that if people are not wearing masks and lift attendants are not enforcing it, the ski resort will be closed.

The resort of Cervinia in Italy opened at the weekend and was then forced to close as social distancing and Covid-19 rules were apparently being flouted.

Cervinia opens then closes after alleged crowded scenes

Tignes opened for skiing and snowboarding earlier in the month.

France opens for skiing

France has seen 52,000 new Covid-19 cases in last 24 hours.

Facemask in France

Facemask in France

Official Ski Resort Guidance Issued to Colorado Resorts

The chances of any meaningful numbers of UK skiers and snowboarders heading to the USA this coming winter is slim, to say the least.

However, it may happen in the second half of the season and here at PlanetSKI we are continuing to keep our eyes on what is happening across the Pond.

The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment has released its final guidance:

“Outdoor activities like skiing and snowboarding can be lower risk if done with proper precautions, both on and off the slopes,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director of the state health department.

“We have to proceed carefully and be willing to evolve if necessary.”

  • To sell lift tickets online or by phone
  • To ask guests if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or might have been exposed
  • To limit ski school groups to no more than 10 students
  • To load lifts and gondolas in a way that keeps guests in different groups socially distanced and
  • To consider using reservations to limit the number of visitors.

The guidance also establishes standards for ski areas to allow skiers and snowboarders to isolate if they test positive for the coronavirus.

There are also requirements for resorts to ensure that employee housing is safe.

The governor of Colorado, Jared Polis, said the ski season will look very different from previous ones – especially when it comes to apres ski events and nightlife.

“That is not what skiing looks like in a pandemic,” he said.

Ski areas must submit a safety plan to local officials for approval.

Once approved, the plan would head to the state health department for a final sign-off.

Skiing in the USA

Skiing in the USA

Monday 26th October

Rapid Testing at Canada Ski Airport

In a week’s time Calgary airport in Alberta will offer a fast test for Covid-19.

It could reduce mandatory quarantine to as little as 2-days with a negative test.

It starts on November 2nd and will be watched closely in Canada and the wider world.

The test will be offered to people who are connecting to airports within Alberta and essential foreign travellers staying in the province for at least 14-days after arrival.

If the results are negative people are no longer required to stay at home.

If results are positive, a 14-day quarantine is required.

The authorities have agreed on a 26-week pilot project.

Canada is exempt from the UK’s advice against all non-essential international travel.

Entry to Canada is limited, except for Canadian citizens and permanent residents or their immediate families (exceptions apply), temporary foreign workers, and some international students

Earlier in October Canada eased entry for some:

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.

The first ski resort in North America opened at the weekend.

Mt Norquay near Banff in Alberta Canada.

Banff is served by Calgary airport.

First ski resort in North America opens

Canada

Canada

There are many pilot testing programmes going on at the moment.

Where is UK with travel testing and Quarantine?

Austrian Airlines is offering a rapid pre-boarding coronavirus test free to passengers on flights from Berlin to Vienna.

“We must break down the borders that corona has built up in recent months,” said the Chief Operating Officer, Jens Ritter.

He admitted that the tests are no substitute for the standard PCR tests required by national authorities, but that “eventually we aim to also achieve the loosening of travel restrictions, but first we want to show how a targeted testing programme could work”.

Austrian plane

Boots the Chemist to Offer 12-Minute Covid-19 Test

It is a nasal swab test and will be available in more than 50 stores across the UK to anyone who is not showing symptoms.

It will cost £120.

One of the needs for such a test is for pre-flight testing for people customers who require a test before travelling abroad, or for their peace of mind.

However many countries require a high standard of test for people coming into the country and it is unclear if this one will be recognised.

The test into Italy for example needs to have been done in the 72-hours before travel and should be a molecular (PCR) or an antigenic test.

The new test, from the UK-based life sciences company LumiraDx, has been approved by authorities in Europe and the USA.

In trials on more than 500 patients it accurately detected the virus in more than 97% of cases.

The test detects the presence of a Covid-19 antigen protein.

Research indicates people develop symptoms of the virus 5-days after they were infected.

Some develop symptoms within three days and others may take nearly two weeks to become ill.

Boots

Boots

Cervinia Opens then Closes

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

Then on Sunday 25th 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 in Italian resorts.

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.

Some claim the decision was made after images of long queues at Cervinia on its opening day went vital on social media.

Cervinia, Italy

Cervinia, Italy

Read our full report:

Cervinia Opens then Closes

Cervinia, Italy

Cervinia, Italy

Restrictions on People’s Movements in Spain Likely to Impact Ski Areas

A national state of emergency has been declared with movement between districts to be determined by regional leaders.

It is likely to be dependent on work and medical needs, rather than holiday requirements and wishes.

There is also a limit on public and private gatherings of different households to a maximum of six people.

Spain has introduced a night-time curfew between the hours of 23:00 and 06:00.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is to ask parliament to approve an extension of the new rules from 15 days to six months.

“The situation we are going through is extreme,” Mr Sánchez said in a televised address on Sunday.

“It is the most serious in the last half century.”

Baqueira Beret, Spain

Baqueira Beret, Spain

Cases continue to rise in other European countries according to the latest graph from the BBC.

Latest from Europe

Latest from Europe

 

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 18th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

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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