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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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Updated:

Beijing Big Air Cancelled

The FIS Freestyle and Snowboard Big Air World Cup Beijing has been called off.

It had been scheduled to take place November 27th and 28th.

Other FIS events have been affected as we have reported, World Cup snowsports continues but with some disruption.

“Should any changes to the current competition calendars be necessary as a result of COVID-19 prevention measures imposed by national and regional governments or due to weather-related problems, they will be announced as any decisions are made,” FIS said in a statement.

Beijing Big Air

Beijing Big Air

Beijing Big Air

Beijing Big Air

Sunday 22nd November

Call for People in US Not to Travel over Thanksgiving… and California Introduces Curfew as Cases Surge

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has told Americans to avoid travel for the Thanksgiving holiday amid soaring numbers of Covid-19 infections.

“In the last week, we’ve seen over a million new cases,” said the CDC’s Erin Sauber-Schatz.

Thanksgiving typically heralds the busiest week for travel in the US.

Last year, an estimated 26 million people passed through the country’s airports in the week surrounding the holiday.

Thanksgiving is a week away and is seen as the start of the US ski season.

We have reported on the recent openings with heavy snow and strict Covid-19 restrictions in place.

Snow falls as more US resorts open

Loveland, Colorado, USA

Loveland, Colorado, USA

Arapahoe Basin, Colorado

Arapahoe Basin, Colorado

In California cases are surging and a curfew has been introduced..

Mammoth Mountain in California has opened for skiing and snowboarding.

As of Saturday night the curfew is from 22:00 to 5:00.

It will carry on until 21 December, with a possible extension if needed, according to authorities.

Restaurants will be able to offer takeout and delivery outside these hours.

The stay-at-home order affects 41 out of California’s 58 counties, covering more than 94% of the state’s population.

Saturday 21st November

Swedish Team Out of World Cup Racing this Weekend After Positive Covid-19 Test

The resort of Levi in neighbouring Finland is holding women’s World Cup slalom racing this weekend.

The Swedish Team will not be competing as they have all had to quarantine after a coach, Christian Thoma, tested positive for Covid-19.

The Swede, Anna Swenn-Larsson, was one of the favourites for a podium place.

She won slalom silver at the 2019 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.

The squad is in 7-day isolation in Finland.

“We are currently in contact with the Finnish health authorities to try to find a solution to bring home our staff and our skiers,” said the national team manager, Tommy Eliasson.

See here for our related story:

World Cup Racing Continues But Disruption Continues

Swedish Alpine Ski Team

Swedish Alpine Ski Team

In Sweden itslelf on Friday evening bars had to stop serving alcohol after 10pm local time (9pm GMT).

It is just the latest rule and updated guidance to come into force.

Next Tuesday public gatherings will be limited to eight people after a surge in infections in the country.

Others advice has changed in different areas of the country.

Sweden currently has 288 cases per 100,000 people over a 7-day period.

It has recorded 6,340 deaths.

Sweden’s Royal Academy of Sciences is urging for a rethink on the decision not to recommend wearing face masks – it says they should be worn in public indoors.

A major attraction in the Swedish capital Stockholm is to close for the first time in 129 years due to coronavirus restrictions.

The Skansen open-air museum, which also holds an annual Christmas market, said it would close from 27th November

“It has been a difficult decision, but based on the current guidelines at the same time a necessary one,” Skansen’s CEO said in a statement.

Skansen open-air museum

Skansen open-air museum

Unlike much of the rest of the world Sweden has never imposed a lockdown.

In Sweden the ski resort of Idra Fjall has already opened.

Idre Fjall, Sweden

Idre Fjall, Sweden

In neighbouring Finland the number of people allowed to meet in public in the capital Helsinki is to be limited to 20.

Finland has had just 374 deaths since the pandemic began.

It’s 7-day average of coronavirus infections is one of the lowest in Europe at 29 cases per 100,000 people.

In Finland the resorts of Levi and Ruka are already open.

Snowsport England Continue Monitoring Situation for English Alpine Championships 2021

The English Alpine Championships are Snowsport England’s premier Alpine event and is the biggest English week of winter ski racing.

Hundreds of the UK’s best skiers, along with their families, head to Bormio in Italy every year to compete – from children as young as eight right through to senior athletes.

The Opening Parade is scheduled to take place on the afternoon of Saturday afternoon, 13th February 2021.

Races will take place from Sunday 14th to Friday 19th February.

The Championships act as a gateway for future Alpine world champions and Olympic stars – World Cup Alpine ski racer Dave Ryding, started his competitive career at the English Alpine Championships.

Snowsport England

Snowsport England

Snowsport England has issued the following statement:

“The Organising Committee have been monitoring the COVID-19 situation and discussing plans for staging a COVID-safe event.

“This includes open travel ‘corridors’, consideration of local restrictions both in Italy and in the UK, and our own risk assessment.

“For the competition to go ahead we must be assured that it would be safe for all participants including competitors, officials and coaches to take part.

“We will be making another announcement no later than 20th December with a firm decision on whether or not we intend to go ahead with the competition, based on our best understanding of the situation at that time.

“We believe that this should allow everyone sufficient time for managing travel and accommodation plans.

“Should the decision at that stage be to go ahead, the Invitation Bulletin with detailed plans would be published in early January along with opening online entry.”

Snowsport England

Snowsport England

Friday 20th November

Gatwick Airport to Offer Covid-19 Screening

It is offer it before departure and after arrival for passengers, staff and local residents.

Results will be available the next day and that the scheme should satisfy any future changes to the UK’s quarantine policy.

Currently, arrivals from many countries must quarantine for 14 days, but the government is  considering a so-called “test and release” policy allowing people to leave quarantine after a negative test result.

From 30th November passengers and staff will pay £60 for a test and the general public charged £99.

Gatwick

Gatwick

Is there going to be a season for UK skiers this winter?

It is the question on many of our lips as winter approaches.

Some operators have gone bust, and others have called off the whole season.

There are grounds for some optimism, but the realistic ones know it will not be for a while.

See here for our analysis on what next winter looks like:

Is there going to be a season for UK skiers this winter?

PlanetSKI ponders

PlanetSKI ponders

Some Colorado Ski Areas Go On ‘Red List’ on Friday

They are though remaining open.

Ski areas in listed at Level Red are in “severe risk” but will be allowed to stay open as new restrictions come into place on Friday.

In Summit County in Colorado Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Breckenridge are open.

It is one of 15 counties that moves to Level Red on Friday.

Arapahoe Basin, Colorado

Arapahoe Basin, Colorado

The new levels announced by the state governor, Jared Polis, “does not affect ski resort on-mountain operations specifically.”

Ski resorts in the Level Red areas must stop indoor dining, but can provide takeout or outdoor eating, “but may still operate their lifts according to their approved plan.”

The statement also said facilities “essential for health and safety, like restrooms” can remain open.

Families also may go indoors “to warm or shelter from inclement weather.”

There is a new online pledge in Colorado to ‘Save Our Ski Season – Stop Our Spread’ amid the rising Covid-19 cases.

See here for more.

People taking the pledge are being asked to follow public health guidelines and limit their interactions to immediate household members.

Save Our Season

Save Our Season

Thursday 19th November

Swedish Alpine Team Goes into Quarantine

On Wednesday a coach of the team tested positive in Finland ahead of the racing in Levi this weekend.

There are back to back women’s slalom events on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd November.

Health officials in the ski resort in Lapland decided to isolate all members of the team, including support staff and trainers, after the positive test.

The squad is to be quarantined for seven days.

Due to the pandemic, strict hygiene and testing rules are in place before the races this winter.

All athletes, coaches and supervisors must be tested.

Strict rules of wearing a mask and adhering to social distancing are in place.

Swedish Alpine Ski Team

Swedish Alpine Ski Team

WHO Warns of Covid-19 Surge in Europe

The World Health Organisation’s Europe director, Hans Kluge, has said health systems on the continent are being overwhelmed.

“Europe is once again the epicentre of the pandemic, together with the United States. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but it will be a tough six months,” he said.

“Mask use is by no means a panacea, and needs to be done in combination with other measures. However, if mask use reached 95%, lockdowns would not be needed.”

More than 29,000 deaths were recorded in Europe in the past week.

However, he said new cases were declining as lockdowns curb infections.

He said Europe accounted for 28% of global cases and 26% of deaths.

He expressed particular concern over the situation in Switzerland and France, where intensive care units are at 95% capacity.

Facemasks in Zermatt

Facemasks in Zermatt

Ski resorts in the Alps are closed to the general public in France, Italy and Austria.

Switzerland, that is a Covid-19 hotspot, has kept its ski resorts open.

The ones offering limited early season skiing are Verbier, Zermatt, Saas-Fee, Arosa-Lenzerheide, Engleberg, Davos-Klosters, Crans-Montana and Andermatt.

Current confirmed cases in the ski nations of Europe

These are the figures per 100,000 people over a 7-day period taken today, Thursday 19th November.

Andorra: 581

Austria: 554

Switzerland: 432

Italy: 405

Bulgaria: 332

France: 297

Sweden: 287

Spain: 228

Germany: 154

Norway: 78

Finland: 29

The UK stands at 261

Facemask

Facemask

But what type of mask should you wear?

Battle of the ski masks

Ski facemask

Ski facemask

World Cup Snowsports Continues but with Disruptions

GB athletes in several disciplines are in action over the next few days.

The ski and snowboard programme for 2020-21 has suffered more disruption for both Covid-19 and weather-related reasons.

But there’s some good news too.

Freestyle – Freeski Slopestyle
FIS World Cup – Stubai (Austria) – 19th – 20th Nov 2020

GB Snowsport Competing Athletes:

• Tyler Harding – World Class Programme Athlete
• Chris McCormick – World Class Programme Athlete
• Kirsty Muir – World Class Programme Athlete
• Katie Summerhayes – – World Class Programme Athlete
• Justin Taylor-Tipton – – World Class Programme Athlete

Alpine
FIS World Cup – Levi (Finland) – 21st and 22nd November 2020

GB Snowsport Competing Athletes:

• Charlie Guest (Slalom) – World Class Programme athlete
• Alex Tilley (Slalom) – World Class Programme athlete

Nordic
FIS Races – Beitostolen (Norway) – 20th – 22nd November 2020

GB Snowsport Competing Athletes:

• James Clugnet – World Class Programme athlete
• Andrew Musgrave – World Class Programme athlete
• Andrew Young – World Class Programme

Read more here in our full report:

World Cup Snowsports Continues but with Disruptions

Katie Summerhayes in Stubai this week – photo Jamie Matthew

Balkan Holidays Cancels Ski Trips Over Xmas & into the New Year

It blames Covid-19 and international travel restrictions.

“It is with regret that we write to inform you that we have taken the difficult decision to cancel all of our Bulgaria charter flights, flight only and package holidays departing 19th December 2020 up to an including 16th January 2021,” it said in a letter to customers.

It offers ski holidays to Bansko, Borovets and Pamporovo in Bulgaria. Plus ski trips to Slovenia & Romania.

“Together we will get through this and soon we will be able to once again visit the wonderful ski resorts we all love and enjoy,” it added.

Balkan Holidays

Balkan Holidays

PlanetSKI visited Bulgaria last winter on a trip with Balkan Holidays.

Skiing in Bulgaria

PlanetSKI in Bulgaria

PlanetSKI in Bulgaria

Anglo Scottish Ski Championships Cancelled

The event was due to take place in Pila in the Aosta Valley in Italy, in January.

“It is with regret that due to the current circumstances the 2021 Anglo Scottish Championships have been cancelled,” organisers, The British Ski Academy, announced.

Anglo Scottish Champs 2021 are off

The Championships include alpine races for children from the under-10s up to under-16s.

They were scheduled to happen from 7th to 10th January.

“As the Anglo Scottish could not have counted for seeding (as per the TD Forum) the decision was made to cancel the event, the BSA added.

Courchevel Releases Covid-19 Regulations for December World Cup Event

The resort in Les3Vallees is set to host the FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup on the 12th and 13th of December.

Coronavirus rules in France allow for professional and high-level sporting events.

The following protocols were established by the organizing committee for the Women’s Alpine Skiing World Cup in Courchevel.

It worked closely with the Fédération Françaisede ski, the national (Health Ministry, Sport Ministry, and ARS- the Regional Health Agency) and local (Savoie Prefecture and the mayor’s office in Courchevel) health authorities in France.

The protocol guidelines are as follows:

  • Limit as much physical contact and interaction as possible by establishing sanitary bubbles
  • A sealed off race area with very strict health and safety protocols.
  • Adhere to physical distancing protocols and protective measures everywhere.
  • Wearing a mask is required at all times, in every area both indoors and outside.
  • A policy of using both viral or antigen RT-PCR nasal tests for race, organizing committee, and media sanitary bubbles.

See here for further details.

Courchevel World Cup

Courchevel World Cup

Wednesday 18th November

Major UK Operator Cancels All Chalet Holidays in France

Hotelplan UK runs Inghams, Ski Total, Esprit and Flexiski. Holidays to Finland go too.

It is another body blow for UK skiers and snowboarders in these Covid-19 times.

“After much consideration, alongside the continual review of the latest restrictions and ongoing impacts of COVID-19, we have sadly decided to remove the chalets and chalet hotels Hotelplan UK manage in France from our 2020/21 winter ski season offering,” said Hotelplan UK CEO, Joe Ponte.

It has also cut the Esprit Ski programme for the whole winter and its programme to Finland.

Read more here:

Major chalet operator cancels all holidays to France

Inghams Ski 2020-21 digital brochure

Inghams Ski 2020-21 digital brochure

RIP VIP

The UK ski operator has called in the administrators.

After 30-years it has been forced to cease trading – Covid-19 is the reason.

Tributes are being paid from PlanetSKI readers.

Gareth Ebbage: Sad news. Tough times for ski and travel. The light at the end of the tunnel is still a few months away.

Mal Sargeant: They were a superb brand, portfolio and company. Such sad news.

Becky Horton: So sorry to read this…

Adrian Gravil: Such sad news to hear. Only went with them once but was an awesome trip to Lech and will be remembered always.

Catherine Cooper: Oh no that’s a real shame

Holger Gassler: Sorry to hear this

Liz Vizard: We were looked after by them so well in Val d’Isere. Probably the best catered accommodation we ever had. Such a shame.

Tracey Hill: Such a shame for those relying on this company

Dar Sigala: So sorry to hear this. I have faith and hope we are at a turning point for lives and business to be reborn and rebuild our futures..The vaccine is close . If there was a way, I would say hold on.

See here for our full and updated story on its demise:

VIP SKI Goes Out of Business

VIP chalet

VIP chalet

Tuesday 17th November

VIP SKI Goes Out Of Business

The company had been going for 30 years and has been unable to survive the Covid-19 crisis.

It focused on the higher end of the market offering holidays mainly in France, but also in Austria

“Despite the wonderful support of our guests, colleagues and partners, we have been unable to navigate the extraordinary challenges of managing a winter ski operator through the current Covid crisis.

“We are sorry to announce VIP SKI has ceased trading today.”

The administrators have been called in.

Mark Supperstone and Simon Jagger of ReSolve Advisory Limited have been appointed as Joint Administrators.

They have issued the following information for people who have booked for next winter or are owed money:

Package holidays (including flights)

If your booking included flights, you will need to contact the CAA as your booking is protected by their ATOL scheme (no: 3556).

Non-flight packages

If you booked a non-flight package or accommodation only, this is protected by ABTOT (no: 5240) or by your credit or debit card issuer.

If you paid the Company directly using a credit or debit card you will need to submit a claim for a refund to your card issuer.

VIP SKI

VIP SKI

 

It follows the demise of Harris Holidays that ran Ski Weekends and a number of other UK ski companies are known to be under pressure.

Leading UK ski tour operator goes into administration

Many others have been slashing their programes for next winter.

More to follow…..

VIP SKI

VIP SKI

Italian Runner Fined for Breaking Covid Rules as Friend Dies in Fall

A 36-year old man has been fined €400 (£360) for breaking Covid rules after his friend fell into a ravine and died.

They pair was running in the mountains near the Swiss border and outside their areas of residence in Lombardy.

Simone Massetti, 34-years old, fell 200m his death.

His friend, who he was running with, tried to save his life but was unable to.

Neither man should have been in the area as they were not allowed to travel away from their locality which is under ‘Red Zone’ Covid-19 regulations.

The funeral of Simone Massetti takes place this afternoon.

Coronavirus

Coronavirus

 

Val d’Isere World Cup Racing to Go Ahead

The go-ahead has been given for the ski races in Val d’Isère during the Critérium de la Première Neige from 5th-20th December 2020.

Seven FIS Alpine ski World cup races are scheduled to take place.

The races will be held without members of the public present and they will follow the Covid-19 protocol arranged by the organisers and the local authorities.

“We are very pleased to be able to welcome the teams for this 65th Critérium de la Première Neige,” said the head of the organisation of Le Critérium de la Première Neige, Ingrid Jacquemod.

“We are putting everything together to ensure that the races will take place in the best health conditions for the safety and security of all.

“We are working to make sure that the largest possible number of people can enjoy watching the races safely in digital format.”

Le Critérium de la Première Neige

Le Critérium de la Première Neige

The programme for 5th to 20th December, 2020:

Saturday 5th and Sunday, 6th December: Men’s technical disciplines

Saturday, 5th: Giant Slalom

Sunday, 6th: Giant Slalom

Wednesday, 9th to Sunday, 13th December: Men’s speed disciplines

Wednesday to Friday: downhill training

Saturday, 12th: Downhill

Sunday, 13th: Super G

Wednesday, 16th to Sunday, 20th December: Women’s speed disciplines

Wednesday and Thursday: Downhill training

Friday, 18th: Downhill

Saturday, 19th : Downhill

Sunday, 20th: Super G

Le Critérium de la Première Neige

Le Critérium de la Première Neige

Easyjet to Slash Winter Routes

It has posted its first annual loss in its 25-year history and says it expected to fly at 20% of its capacity into winter.

The airline posted a loss of £1.27bn for the year to 30th September as passenger numbers and revenues had more than halved.

The airline is used by many skiers and snowboarders in the winter months.

The airline has welcomed the possibility of a Covid-19 vaccine being rolled out, and believed underlying demand was strong for air travel.

“We know that people want to travel. On the news of the vaccine last Monday, bookings were up close to 50%, so it just gives evidence to the fact that any good news that comes out of here makes people more confident making bookings going forward,” said the Chief executive Johan Lundgren to the BBC.

The airline aid that it has the flexibility to ramp up capacity when it sees demand returning.

Innsbruck airport

Innsbruck airport

A Different Kind of Apres

If any of us manage to get to the Alps this winter, what can we do after a day on the slopes when we can’t indulge in traditional apres?

Rowdy, packed bars are most definitely out.

You could simply retreat to your accommodation with your social bubble and a few beers, or you could do something different.

Here are some highlights from a few resorts we often visit:

Fondue In A Gondola – The Enversin gondola in Vaujany in Isere.

Visit The Zoo – The Alpenzoo in Innsbruck in the Austrian Tirol is the highest themed zoo in Europe.

Starlit Snowshoe & Aperitif – Morzine in the French Alps first offered this experience last winter, in those distant days before coronavirus.

Snowshoe & Eat In An Igloo – As the sun goes down, strap on your snowshoes and follow your mountain guides to a ‘secret igloo’ in Megève in the French Alps.

Tobogganing – Not just any old tobogganing but floodlit tobogganing down a 4km long track in St Anton in the Tirol in Austria.

Ski A Black Run At Sunset – La Sarenne in Alpe d’Huez in Isere, France is the longest black run in the world.

Illuminated Walk – Alta Lumina in Les Gets, France, is the latest series of evening walks, imagined and created by Moment Factory.

For the full details then see here: A Different Kind of Apres

La Sarenne by night, Alpe d’Huez

 Austria Goes into Full Lockdown

Measures came into place at midnight on Monday after a surge in cases.

We reported on the news at the weekend as it was announced, Austria goes into full lockdown as Covid-19 continues to surge

Since the weekend Austria has overtaken Switzerland as the alpine country with the fastest growing number of cases.

In the past 7-days its has had 570 confirmed cases per 100,000 people.

Switzerland is at 525, Italy 404 and France 290.

Over in the Pyrenees, Andorra is at 523 and Spain is 275.

The UK is at 266.

All the ski areas in Austria are closed to the general public, but some elite competitions are going ahead, including the FIS Freeski World Cup in Stubai in the Tirol from November 18th – 21st.

There will be no spectators and strict Covid-19 rules in place.

Freeski World Cup

Freeski World Cup

Austria Lockdown Measures (17th November – 6th December):

  • People will have to stay at home all day with only some exceptions such as for shopping or exercise.
  • All nonessential shops will close
  • Service providers such as hairdressers will shut.
  • Secondary schools have already switched to distance learning
  • Schools for younger ages that are still open will do the same while providing childcare when necessary.
  • People should work from home where possible
  • Fuel stations, tobacconists, banks, pharmacies and bicycle shops are allowed to remain open.

It is hoped the measures will bring down cases of Covid-19 and allow the bulk of the ski season to have some sort of normality.

Stubai, Tirol, Austria

Stubai, Tirol, Austria

Monday 16th November

British Schoolgirls’ Races 2021 Cancelled

They were due to take place in the French resort of Flaine next January, 25th – 26th.

“We regret to announce that the British Schoolgirls’ Races in 2021 has been cancelled.

“This is due to the current COVID-19 situation and following advice received from Flaine,” said the organisers.

“But WE WILL BE BACK in 2022 so please save the date: 31st January to 1st February 2022”

The event is run by the Ladies Ski Club and has been taking place for 65-years.

One of the sponsorship partners is MPI Brokers and last year more than 30 schools took part.

British Schoolgirls' Races

British Schoolgirls’ Races

British Schoolgirls' Races

British Schoolgirls’ Races

Sweden Tightens Response to Covid-19

The country faces a growing number of cases in a second wave.

Last week the rate at which people were being admitted to hospital was rising faster in Sweden than any other country in Europe.

The Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven, said today that the limit on public gatherings in Sweden would be cut from 50 people to 8.

“It is a clear and sharp signal to every person in our country as to what applies in the future. Don’t go to the gym, don’t go the library, don’t have dinner out, don’t have parties — cancel!” he said.

The new ban applies to public gatherings such as concerts, lectures and theatre performances, but not to private gatherings.

Last week Sweden announced it was to ban the serving of alcohol after 10pm.

There are local recommendations to avoid public transport or shops in nearly the entire country.

A ski resort in Sweden, Idre Fjall, opened last weekend.

Idre Fjall, Sweden

Idre Fjall, Sweden

Sweden never shut its resorts last March as they closed across Europe.

Sweden remains open for skiing

Skiing finally ends in Sweden

Sweden did not go into lockdown and has seen 6,164 deaths from a population of 10.5m.

Its Scandinavian neighbours Finland and Norway went into lockdown and, with populations of around 5m each, have seen 369 and 294 deaths respectively.

In the last 7-days Sweden has seen 298 cases per 100,000 people.

In Finland it is 27 and in Norway it is 74.

Sweden’s Gross Domestic Product has fallen more during the pandemic than Norway and Finland.

Police Patrol Zermatt Lift Station After Reports of Crowding

Police officers have been pictured patrolling lift queues in the Swiss resort after photos emerged at the weekend appearing to show skiers and snowboarders failing to keep their distance.

The images were doing the rounds on social media.

“I would say that in these cases the risk of infection is higher than in a bar, restaurant or concert with a concept of adequate security, ” Andreas Cerny, an expert in infectious diseases, said according to the news website 20 Minutes.

One of the photos of Zermatt posted on social media

On Sunday morning the regional police were posted at the lift stations to ensure the correct coronavirus safety measures were observed.

Markus Hasler, the head of the Zermatt lift company, told 20 Minutes that the overcrowding photos did not reflect the general situation and that safety had been respected.

“The pictures in question were taken early Saturday morning, before the cabins opened,” he said.

The Mayor of Zermatt, Romy Biner-Hauser, was also there with the police, according to Blick.

“It as a quiet, normal operation,” he told Blick, describing the pictures of crowded queues as “only snapshots”.

One PlanetSKI reader who is in Zermatt confirmed that the police were present at the Matterhorn Express on Sunday morning and checking people were wearing masks.

Police on patrol in Zermatt

“Today walked on to the lift out of town at 8.40 with no line at all and just rode the bubble with 2 other friends. On the mountain no lift lines and the lifts weren’t full,” our reader said.

“Coming down at 3.15 the wind had closed the bubble so had to get the cable car which was full but not rammed to capacity. Apparently yesterday was much busier but last week the week days were very quiet.”

He reported the slopes were very quiet.

Zermatt, Switzerland, Sunday 15th November

Switzerland is currently the only alpine nation with ski areas open to the general public, though the Valais in which Zermatt is located, has a number of Covid-19 restrictions in place.

Austria Looking at Mass Testing

Austria is considering introducing a form of mass testing to help find a way out of its second national lockdown.

The Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said he wants to take similar steps to Slovakia which tested two thirds of its population two weeks ago.

The latest lockdown in Austria is due to begin at midnight tonight and last until 6th December.

“We want to deploy mass tests at the end of the lockdown in order to enable a safe re-opening in schools and other areas,” the Chancellor said.

Sebastian Kurz

Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz

It’s reported that teachers would be the first to get the tests which would be extended to others later.

The number of infections has decreased for the first time since the start of October with 5,665 new cases reported on Sunday.  But the number of patients being treated in intensive care has risen by 30% in a week.

Second-Wave Peak Has Passed in France

There continues to be some good news from France.

Two weeks into its lockdown, the second-wave peak of new cases has passed, according to the Health Minister.

Olivier Véran has told French newspapers it is early to say that the virus has been beaten but, thanks to lockdown, the numbers of infections have fallen for 10 consecutive days.

He said the infection rate has fallen in the past 10 days, “which suggests we have passed a peak in the epidemic.”

However, he warned “We have not won against the virus yet”.

#Lockdown2 forced the French glacier ski areas of Tignes and Les2Alpes to close.

Tignes, France

Tignes, France

They are hoping to re-open in early December, with the full lockdown currently due to to end on 1st December.

However, the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, has suggested that there will be only a limited lifting of restrictions then with bars, restaurants and gyms remaining closed and people still required to stay at home except for essential trips.

Too Early to Say if England Lockdown Will End on 2nd December

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told the BBC that it is too early to decide whether the current lockdown in England will end on 2nd December as planned.

“We’ve seen in the last week that there is still a very high number of cases but we do absolutely want to come out of this national lockdown,” he told the Radio 4 programme, Today.

“That is our goal, everybody has a part to play in making that happen of course, following the social distancing rules and isolating when you need to.”

The prime minister, Boris Johnson, who is self-isolating after coming in contact with an MP who has tested positive for coronavirus, has indicated that the England lockdown will be replaced by the regional tiered system after 2nd  December.

Meanwhile the Scottish government is to discuss tomorrow whether to move some areas into its highest level of restrictions, which would amount to a lockdown.

Planned Test Events for Beijing Winter Olympics Scrapped due to Coronavirus

The International Olympic Committee has said the planned international test events that were scheduled to take place in the 2021 season will not now take place.

There have been growing fears about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on test events for Beijing 2022.

Alpine skiing, speed skating, figure skating, ski jumping and Nordic combined were some of the disciplines due to see test events.

Athletes would come from across the world to see the facilities ahead of competition and the organisers were to test the facilities and organisation methods.

“The current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting many parts of the world means that travel restrictions are currently in place, and the travel situation is likely to remain complex for the coming months in which the Beijing 2022 test events were scheduled,” said the IOC in a statement.

Instead there will be a series of ‘adapted testings’ where the facilities will be used but not necessarily in a competition format or with international athletes present.

The IOC claims the Games are ‘well on track and the new arrangements will “reduce the complexity of this season for all involved, including the athletes”.

Read more here in our main article:

Planned Test Events for Beijing Winter Olympics Scrapped due to Coronavirus

Beijing 2022

Beijing 2022

 

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:

November 9th: Cornoavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

November 2nd: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

October 26th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

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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