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

Sunday 6th December

Cat in Switzerland Tests Positive for Covid-19

The case was found by the veterinary medicine laboratory at the University of Zurich.

The cat had been tested as part of a research project and came from a household with a person who had also tested positive.

Cats, like dogs, are however not believed to play a major role in the spread of the virus.

It is unclear if the cat infected the person, or the other way round.

The Federal Office for Food Safety and Veterinary Affairs said that it believes transmission from humans to cats is rare, but it cannot be ruled out.

People are urged to observe basic hygiene rules, even with cats.

This includes no close contact between animals and humans such as licking of the face or letting the animal sleep in the owner’s bed.

People are advised not to put a facemask on pets “for the sake of animal welfare”.

Skiers & Snowboarders in Colorado Prepared to Miss Ski Season

That’s the finding of a new survey from Magellan Strategies.

In a poll of 788 people 480 said they were thinking of not skiing this season due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

31% said they were not planning to ski this season,

39% said they had not purchased a pass this season, which means they likely will not be riding chairlifts since most resorts are using day-ticket supplies to control crowds.

They cited fears that others might not follow safety guidelines, frustration over reservation systems and concerns over costs in a declining economy.

Many thought that skiing would be shut down due to the pandemic at some point this season.

  • 36% of respondents gave shutdown a 50-50 chance
  • 29% guessing there was a 75% chance resorts would close
  • 18% saying resorts would most certainly close

Restrictions Eased in Some Ski Areas in Italy as Cases Go Down

The Aosta Valley is coming out of the country’s Red Zone and going into the Orange Zone which means an easing of restrictions.

However Lombardy and Piedmont which also have many of the country’s ski areas are remaining in the Red Zone.

The Italian health minister, Roberto Speranza, signed an ordinance on Friday night, and the changes will come into effect from Sunday December 6th.

People in the highest-risk zones have to remain in their local area and are only allowed to leave for work, study, health or other essential reasons.

The R Number is now below 1 in 16 Italian regions, as the lockdown measures have their effect.

On Thursday the regulations for the Xmas period were announced with ski resorts remaining closed.

La Thuille, Aosta Valley, Italy

La Thuille, Aosta Valley, Italy. Photo credit – PlanetSKI

Saturday 5th December

Coronavirus Quarantine Question

We have just received a question from a reader, Jon Slator, and as we were writing the answer we thought others may have a similar question.

So, we thought we’d share our response……


Hi. After 30 years of skiing I’ve just discovered your site and …..it’s great. Keep up the good work.

A quick question.

I have most of January booked in Saalbach and am prepared to risk the virus but not 14 days quarantine on return, which is my current understanding for travel back from Austria. Is this correct or have I missed something?

Jon Slater


Hi Jon,

Quick question, but long answer I’m afraid!

The 14-day UK quarantine rule ends on the 15th December and is replaced by a so-called ‘test and release’ scheme.

You have to self-isolate for 5-days, take a test from a list of government-approved testing facilities and if negative you are free to go about your business.

You will need to pay for the tests yourself and they are around £100 each.

We wrote about it as the new scheme was unveiled, and there are further details in this PlanetSKI article.

There are some new groups of people who are exempt from today, Saturday, 5 December.

The following people will no longer need to self-isolate when returning to England from a country not in a travel corridor:

· “High-value” business travellers

· Performing arts workers

· TV production staff

· Journalists

· Recently-signed sports professionals

For business travellers, their trips must result in a deal which creates or preserves 50 jobs or leads to a £100,000 investment or order, according to the Department for Transport.

In addition there may be restrictions going into Austria.

At time of writing entry to Austria without the need for a COVID-19 test or quarantine is possible from the UK, except for people who have been to these regions in the 10 days prior to travelling to Austria:

– North East
– East Midlands
– Yorkshire and the Humber

If you arrive from these regions, or have been to these regions in the last 10 days, you must present on arrival a medical certificate not more than 72 hours old, confirming a negative test for COVID-19.

Testing on arrival is available at Vienna and Salzburg airports, and costs approximately €120 per test.

If you cannot present a negative test result upon arrival, you must isolate for 10 days and take a test at your own cost within 48 hours. You can end self-isolation early with a negative test result.

You will also have to check your insurance very carefully.

Travel to Austria is advised against by the UK government due to its current high levels of Covid-19 (352 cases of 100,000 of population over a 7-day period).

It is likely you will NOT be covered if you catch Covid-19 (the reason for the UK recommendation against travel). Other parts of your policy may be valid, so a ski injury could be covered.

The EHIC card, which allows for free reciprocal heath case within the EU, may not be valid as the UK leaves the EU on December 31st. Though negotiations are ongoing at time of writing and there may be a deal on this.

For interest here are the Covid-19 rules in Saalbach, but we suggest you check as this was the state of play just ahead of when the resort was due to open at the end of November (when we were about to post a story, but didn’t as the resort cancelled its opening), so they may have changed:

Saalbach Releases Details of Covid-19 Rules

With participating accommodation providers people can cancel for free or re-book up to 14-days before arrival.

Government Directives for Covid-19 protection:

• Code of Conduct for lifts and pistes – information points throughout ski area

• Mouth & nose masks (MNP) mandatory on all lifts, indoor public areas, and in large crowds

• Employees in regular contact with guests wear MNP at all times.

• Dedicated disposal bins for masks/handkerchiefs (or guests may dispose of at home)

• Queues arranged to avoid gatherings of people above legal requirements of 1m distancing.

• Hand sanitiser stations at all indoor areas/lift stations; regularly checked/refilled.

• Ventilation in lifts; capacity maximum not an issue due to short travel time-frames

• All lifts, escalators, sanitary facilities, ski depots and first-aid rooms disinfected regularly

• All employees tested for Covid-19 on day one; regular follow-up tests

• Daily pre-work temperature checks for employees in direct contact with visitors

• Procedure for covid symptons: stay in room, contact reception/doctor, await instructions

• Non-cash payments whenever possible

How Dangerous are Ski Resorts for Spreading Covid-19?

The World Health Organization’s emergencies chief said that the risk of catching Covid-19 while skiing is likely minimal.

“I suspect many people won’t be infected barrelling down the slopes on their skis,” said Michael Ryan said at a WHO news briefing in Geneva this week.

“The real issues are going to come at airports, tour buses taking people to and from ski resorts, ski lifts … and places where people come together,” he said.

“We would advise that all countries look at their ski season and other reasons for mass gathering,” he said, warning that indoor socialising after skiing might be particularly risky.

More face masks in Tignes

Face masks in Tignes

Two alpine countries think it should be OK with tight restrictions:

Swiss Ski Resorts Will Be Open For Xmas

Austria allows skiing at Xmas. But only just and not for many

France, Italy and Germany disagree and are shutting their resorts.

As is Andorra.

Andorra Closes its Ski Slopes

Heathrow to Charge for Drop Offs as easyJet Charges for Overhead Lockers

The airline industry has been hit hard by Covid-19 and it is looking at ways to claw back money.

Heathrow is to follow Gatwick and other UK airports by introducing a charge to drop off and pick-up passengers from its terminals.

The fee is likely to be £5, the same as Gatwick, and is expected to be introduced in late 2021.

EasyJet passengers will have to pay more from 10th February if they want to use an overhead luggage locker.

They will need to buy a more expensive ticket.

Currently people are allowed a cabin bag measuring up to 56 x 45 x 25cm.

But under the new rules passengers who want to travel with a bag this size will need to buy a more expensive ticket such as an Up Front or Extra Legroom seat.

Prices range from £7.99 more expensive than a standard fare, up to £29.99 on longer flights.

People will still be able to put a small bag under the seat in front.


easyJet. Photo credit – PlanetSKI

FIS Searches for Replacement Venues for Cancelled Test Events for Beijing 2022

As well as being used to test facilities for the next winter Olympics the events were also part of the 2020/21 competition calendar.

The International Ski Federation says it is “now focusing efforts on finding replacement venues for the cancelled FIS World Championship and FIS World Cup events”.

The coronavirus pandemic, and in particular travel restrictions, has caused the events to be cancelled.

FIS will announce any replacement competitions and venues as they are confirmed.

Those that have gone are:

  • FIS Freestyle Ski, Snowboard, Freeski World Championships – February 18-28
  • FIS Ski Jumping Continental Cup – January 27-28
  • FIS Ski Jumping World Cup – February 10-14
  • FIS Nordic Combined World Cup – February 12-14
  • FIS Alpine World Cup – February 24-28 (women only)
  • FIS Cross Country World Cup – March 19-21

We reported on the cancellations last month on PlanetSKI:

Now the President of FIS has spoken on the issue.

“We were hopeful that staging the Test Events in China would be possible this season,” said the FIS President, Gian Franco Kasper.

“But the current second wave of Covid-19 has resulted in very strong travel restrictions that made it virtually impossible to stage international competitions.

“It was a difficult decision to make, but thanks to the advanced level of preparation by the Beijing 2022 team, we know all venues will be operating at the highest standard in time for the Games in February 2022.”

Testing the venues is a requirement to ensure the venues in 2022 will be of the highest possible standard and in the safest environment.

The organisers are working to make this happen with Chinese athletes and possibly others taking part.

The athletes participating in these events will not earn any FIS points.

Additionally, all venues will be made available to FIS Technical experts to ensure standards of preparation.

Friday 4th December

Unclear Whether Ski Resorts Will Open in Spain

In Spain travel has been restricted, with Spaniards only able to head to the mountains over the Xmas period for family visits.

Spain has not ruled out opening its ski resorts for locals, but the situation remains unclear.

In the Aragon region of the Spanish Pyrenees Formigal, Panticosa, Cerler and Valdeinares and Javalambre have delayed the opening of their resorts until the situation is clearer.

Staff are on Spain’s furlough scheme, ERTE.

Candachu and Astun haven’t set a date for opening yet and have also placed staff on ERTE.

The resorts of Masella, Boí Taüll, La Molina, Port Ainé, Vallter 2000, Espot Esquí and Tavascán have all announced that they are opening on December 9th.

Baqueira Beret remains set to open on 11th December.

Spain’s Tourism Minister, Reyes Maroto, said that the “government is in favour of opening in a safe way”.

In Spain the regions are largely responsible for imposing their own coronavirus rules, set within national guidelines.

The Health Emergency Chief, Fernando Simon, has warned that any relaxation of measures could lead to a resurgence in the spread of the virus.

We’ll keep you posted…

Swiss Ski Resorts Will Be Open Over Xmas

The Federal government made the announcement this afternoon.

Many will welcome the move and many others will worry about it helping to spread coronavirus in a country that has one of the highest infection rates in Europe.

“The ski areas in Switzerland will be able to open during the Christmas holidays,” said the government in a statement.

It said they should be open for “domestic tourism”.

It has ordered further reductions in capacity in trains and cable cars.

“The prerequisite is that the epidemiological situation so allows, and that hospitals, contact tracing services and testing sites have sufficient capacity,” the statement added.

There will be no limits on the number of people allowed into resorts.

Confirmed cases of Covid-19 have risen by 4,382 in Switzerland over the past 24 hours.

This is the first time since the beginning of November that the number of registered coronavirus infections has risen compared to the same day the week before.

Last Friday it was 4,312.

Read the full story here:

Verbier, Switzerland

Verbier, Switzerland. Photo credit – PlanetSKI

Mass Testing Starts in Austria With a Swiss Canton Preparing To Follow Suit

Austria has started a mass testing programme for everyone over six today.

It has begun in the capital, Vienna, and will be expanded to  the regions of Tirol and Vorarlberg in the Alps.

Testing in the capital is taking place at 80 test stations and the other regions will start their testing at the weekend.

The Swiss canton of Graubunden, home to St Moritz, Klosters, Arosa, Davos and other ski resorts, has announced targeted mass testing as part of its measures to shore up the ski season.

Testing will be voluntary and the pilot project will take place 11th – 13th December in some regions.

Depending on results mass testing could be extended to the entire canton in southeast Switzerland.

“We want to massively increase testing capacity. We are doing a pilot project for Switzerland,” said Peter Peyer from the Graubunden cantonal government.

Andorra Closes Its Slopes

Andorra has announced the ski lifts will not run over Xmas.

It has already been announced that the ones in France will be closed until January at the earliest.
“It is a difficult and painful decision, but from a health point of view, it is better to postpone the opening of the ski resorts until January,” said the head of the Andorran government, Xavier Espot.

The principality that sits high up in the Pyrenees sandwiched between France and Spain stressed it was keen to display its “loyalty” to Europe.

The resorts had planned to open this weekend.

In Spain travel has been restricted, with Spaniards only be able to head to the mountain areas over the Xmas period for family visits.

Read more here:

Hotelplan UK Suspends All Ski Holidays Until February

The company runs Inghams, Ski Total and Flexiski.

It has already axed the entire season for its other brand, Esprit Ski.

“Following the disappointing news that many ski resorts will not be opening their lifts until late January, alongside a number of airlines now cancelling their January flights, we have this week suspended all Inghams, Ski Total and Flexiski ski holidays until after 30 January 2021,” said the CEO, Joe Ponte.

“Once again, we are extremely disappointed for our customers, but we continue to work towards delivering the ski holiday experiences they hope for when the time is right.”

People who have booked will be offered an alternative holiday at a later date, or a refund if they want one.

See here for further details:

Italian Mountain Areas Placed Out of Bounds to Visitors Amid Fears of Third Wave

Italy has just had its highest daily death toll, surpassing the number at the height of the pandemic in March.

New restrictions are announced, with more to follow, to try to beat the current spread with ski resorts closed.

Other alpine countries except Switzerland have closed ski areas as Covid-19 spreads across the Alps.

The Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, has said it will be “a different kind of Christmas, sacrifices are still necessary in order not to expose ourselves to a third wave in January with a high number of deaths.”

Strict travel restrictions affecting the mountain areas have already been announced.

“The holidays will be adequately regulated and, like during this summer, there will be no exceptions. We cannot risk a third wave,” said Health Ministry Undersecretary, Sandra Zampa.

That means ski holidays are off the cards.

The draft text of the latest restrictions is being debated for an announcement ahead of the end of the day on Friday.

The new emergency decree – formally called a DPCM (Decreto del presidente del consiglio, or ‘prime minister’s decree’) – containing rules covering the next month, including the Christmas period, is due by Friday, December 4th.

The draft decree text states that slopes are shut, but can reopen on January 7th.

“The lifts in ski areas are closed; they can only be used by professional and non-professional athletes,” states the draft text, a copy of which we have seen.

Torgnon, Aosta Valley, Italy

Torgnon, Aosta Valley, Italy. Photo credit – PlanetSKI

Fears of Third Wave in Switzerland Too

The warnings come from Geneva’s University Hospitals (HUG).

As debate intensifies in Switzerland about its strategy and its opening of ski resorts some in the medical community have issued warnings.

If restrictions are lifted, the new wave of hospitalisations could reach a daily peak of nearly 1,000 by the end of January — two-thirds higher than that of November.

“The circulation of the virus is still strong in Switzerland”, said Isabella Eckerle, co-head of HUG’s Centre for Emerging Viral Diseases.

“If we continue to relax the restrictions and people move around a lot at Christmas, there will be an upsurge in cases from mid-January, followed by the third wave in February”.

Antoine Flahault, director of the Institute for Global Health in Geneva, has said an increase in the infection rate is likely to be exacerbated by the cold weather.

“Covid has a clear seasonal component that could have a strong effect in boosting the rate of reproduction of the virus,” he said.

Flahault noted that the combination of cold weather and Christmas celebrations are likely to “substantially accelerate the spread of the virus in communities”.

The comments have been made in an article in The Local.

The Swiss government will decide today whether ski holidays will be allowed over Christmas.

See here for PlanetSKI’s article looking at the pressure mounting on Switzerland.

Skiing in Switzerland

Skiing in Switzerland. Photo credit – PlanetSKI

Thursday 3rd December

Highest Daily Death Toll in Italy

As new rules are set for ski resorts and mountain areas in Italy the country has exceeded the highest daily death toll of the first wave – 969 on 27th March.

In the past 24-hours it has had 993 deaths.

New restrictions include a ban on moving between regions, quarantine if returning from another country, night-time curfews and other restrictions.

Ski resorts will remain closed to the general public until January at the earliest.

See here for more on the restrictions:

Aosta Valley, Italy

Aosta Valley, Italy. Photo credit – PlanetSKI

Tirol Reacts to New Restrictions in Austria

The Austrian Chancellor has announced that skiing can not start until December 24th and all hotels, bars and restaurants will be shut until at least January 7th.

Skiing and snowboarding will be locals only.

“We we remain optimistic and hope that with all the news measures and regulations, we can still look forward to better times in January,” said a statement from the Tirol to PlanetSKI.

“Unfortunately this is not good for tourism ….this does not make it easy in this situation. But as a consequence, the infection rate should decrease, so that this can change again.

“Let’s hope that in this way, the numbers can decrease. Health and safety are simply the top priority”.

Read more here:

Ski Cross World Cup in Val Thorens Goes Ahead

It has been confirmed the event can take place on December 19th and 20th.

The decision was made by the Savoie prefecture and the International Ski Federation after extensive consultation – strict social distancing and health protocols will be followed.

The competition will take place without sprectators and will be broadcast on television.

Everyone involved, organisers and athletes, will be tested for COVID-19 the day before racing starts.

“All of the resort’s services will be mobilized to guarantee safety and ensure everyone follows the social distancing and health measures in place,” said the resort.

The track is  1,250 metres in length with the fastest taking just 1 minute and 1o seconds to get down.

More than 100 athletes expected to compete.

Latest Italian Restrictions Will have Huge Impact on Mountain Areas

Travel between regions has been banned over holiday period stopping many from going to second homes in the mountains or visiting family & friends.
The government has singled out ski areas in particular. Further measures to battle Covid-19 to be announced later.

“From December 21st 2020 to January 6th 2021, travel between different regions (including those to or from the autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano) will be prohibited, with the exception of travel for proven work reasons, situations of necessity or health reasons,” said a statement from the government.

On December 25th and 26th 2020 and January 1st 2021, travel between different municipalities will also be prohibited, with the same exceptions.

Travel “will always be possible, even from 21 December to 6 January, to return to one’s residence or home.”

It means people cannot visit second homes during the holiday period or see family and friends if outside people’s local region.

“From December 21st 2020 to January 6th 2021 it will be forbidden to travel to second homes located in a region or autonomous province other than one’s own. On December 25th and 26th 2020 and January 1st 2021, the ban will also apply to second homes located in a municipality other than their own.”

La Thuille, Aosta Valley, Italy

La Thuille, Aosta Valley, Italy. Photo credit – PlanetSKI

It is a further blow to the ski and mountain areas.

See here for our full report:

Aosta Valley, Italy

Aosta Valley, Italy. Photo credit – PlanetSKI

Nordic Nations Pull Out Of Cross Country Ski Races Over Covid-19 Fears

The Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish cross country ski teams have all been withdrawn from the next two World Cup events.

Norway, was first to withdraw, announcing the decision on Tuesday.

They’ve now been followed by Sweden and Finland.

It’s a somewhat surprising development to have all the major Nordic countries pull out.

Finland has just hosted the opening World Cup competitions of the season in Ruka.

Athletes from all three countries will not compete in the next races in Davos, Switzerland on 12th and 13th December and Dresden, Germany on 19th and 20th December.

They are the last two World Cup competitions of 2020.

It’s understood there are concerns that insufficient Covid-19 protocols are in place to offer protection.

It will be a big blow to the organisers to have the Nordic nations absent.

Read for the full story:

Switzerland Under Pressure

It’s alpine neighbours want it to increase Covid-19 measures or perferably shut its ski resorts altogether.

Switzerland is keeping the ski resorts open as fellow alpine nations close theirs and try to prevent their citizens from visiting the Swiss Alps.

If there is a serious outbreak or hospitals become overrun there could be long-term consequences.

France, Germany and Italy are trying to stop their skiers going to Switzerland and then returning home.

Advice against travel is offered and quarantine measures have been put in place by France and Germany.

The President of the Italian Health Council, Franco Locatelli, has said that Switzerland’s decision to keep ski resorts open was “disappointing”.

He said that he hoped Swiss ski resorts would shut by the end of the year.

If not, he said he would call for a quarantine for people returning to Italy.

Austria is advising its citizens against all ‘foreign travel’ over Xmas and the New Year and has also imposed quarantine.

Switzerland is rapidly, and rather oddly, becoming something of a pariah nation in the Alps.

It has drawn up a revised plan to try to keep infections under control that is now being discussed by the various authorities.

There are already tight anti-coronavirus restrictions in terms of social distancing, mandatory wearing of masks and many other measures.

Now the cantonal authorities are discussing reducing the total number of skiers allowed on the slopes of ski resorts.

The first is a restriction of guest numbers to two-thirds of those who were in the same ski resort on the best-visited day of the previous year.

The number of skiers and snowboarders could also be capped at 80% of the average attendance over Christmas across the past five years.

See here for our full story:

Skiing in Switzerland

Skiing in Switzerland. Photo credit – PlanetSKI

Wednesday 2nd December

More French Resorts Protest about Plans to Close the Ski Lifts

Several more demonstrations have been held today in the French Alps.

Resorts are urging the government to change its mind.

The authorities say the closure is about stopping hospitals becoming overcrowded and people dying.

The latest protest was held at Bourg d’Oisans in the southern French Alps, where an estimated 1,500 people attended according to the organisers.

The resorts of Alpe d’Huez, les 2 Alpes, La Grave, Vaujany, Villard-Reculas, Oz-en-Oisans and Auris-en-Oisans were represented.

The resorts employ around 500 seasonal workers between them in the winter months.

Read more here:

Austria Allows Skiing at Xmas but with Tight Restrictions

Strict quarantine rules are set to be imposed making the slopes out-of-bounds to many foreign holiday skiers.

Resorts will open on Xmas Eve for locals only as hotels remain shut.

“From December 24th, individual sports outdoors such as skiing will be possible again so that the Austrian population has the chance to engage in sporting activity over the holidays,” said the Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz.

He was speaking at a news conference announcing re-opening measures after the country’s second coronavirus lockdown ends on Sunday 6th December.

Hotels and accommodation providers in resorts will remain closed until January 7th.

Bars, restaurants, cafes and clubs will also remain closed until January 7th,  however they may be allowed to reopen if infection rates allow.

It is some good news for local skiers and snowboarders, but bad news for the economy of the resorts themselves and the many local businesses.

Strict quarantine measures have also been introduced for international visitors and Austrians returning home from a trip abroad.

All those travellers who come to Austria from countries with more than 100 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a 7-day period will need to quarantine for ten days.

The current rate in the UK is 153.

In Germany, its largest foreign ski market, it stands at 148.

People arriving from neighbouring Switzerland (310) and Italy (281) would also have to quarantine.

See here for our full story:

Further Demonstrations in French Alps Over Ski Lift Restrictions

One has been held in Bourg St Maurice and was organised by elected officials of the Haute Tarentaise region.

People from local resorts including Val d’Isere, Tignes, La Plagne, Les Arcs and those in Les3Vallees joined the protest.

Earlier this week a demonstration was held in the resorts of Les2Alpes.

300 people turned out to voice their opposition.

See this earlier story on PlanetSKI:

On Tuesday there was a demonstration in Albertville and on Thursday one is planned in the ski resort of Puy St Vincent.

France has taken measures to dissuade people from skiing in neighbouring Switzerland where the ski resorts are open.

These include border checks and 7-day quarantine.

See here for further details:

Crystal Ski Holidays Allows People Under Tier 3 to Change Holidays for Free

The government has not banned international travel but the operator has said people can change their ski holiday without charge if they don’t want to travel.

“We understand that there’s still a lot of uncertainty about travel plans this year,” said a statement from TUI that runs Crystal Ski Holidays.

“Customers who are self-isolating or live in tier 3 and don’t wish to travel in the next 14 days are able to amend their holiday for free.

“If the new holiday is cheaper, we’ll refund the difference and if it’s more expensive, customers will have to pay the new balance.”

Crystal Ski Holidays

Crystal Ski Holidays

Austria Set to Introduce Stricter Quarantine Measures

Strict foreign travel restrictions are set to be imposed making the slopes out-of-bounds to many foreign holiday skiers and be for locals only.

Full details will be released later today.

Hotels, bars and leisure facilities are set to remain closed as the country comes out of lockdown on Sunday 6th December, but ski resorts could be allowed to open before Christmas.

Likely for locals and day visitors alone.

There are expected to be further quarantine restrictions on international visitors and Austrians returning home from a trip abroad.

All those travellers who come to Austria from countries with more than 100 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a 7-day period will need to quarantine for ten days.

The current rate in the UK is 153.

In Germany, its largest foreign ski market, it stands at 148.

People arriving from neighbouring Switzerland (310) and Italy (281) would also have to quarantine.

Read more here:

French Protests at Closure of Ski Lifts Continue

The mayor of Chatel in France has decked out the town hall with Swiss flags.

“A lack of listening and consultation, a rash decision – France has decided to close its ski areas when its neighbour has taken a different position. Symbolically, the town hall of Châtel is decked out in the colours of Switzerland,” tweeted the mayor, Nicolas Rubin.

Austria Meets to Decide its Covid-19 Rules Post Lockdown

In Austria the government meets today to decide on restrictions when its lockdown ends this Sunday, December 6th.

The eyes of skiers and snowboarders will be on restrictions in ski resorts.

Austria is under growing international pressure to close its resorts until January, but it had said it will not do so.

“We will have to live with further massive restrictions after December 7th,” the Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, has said.

Here at PlanetSKI we’ll keep you posted, but there are suggestions of some restrictions on ski holidays due to tighter quarantine measures.

Indoor & Outdoor Slopes in England Can Open Today

All five indoor slopes in the England are set to open as the country comes out of lockdown and goes into the Tier System.

The outdoor ones can open too.

All indoor centres can open whatever Tier Level they are in, however travel maybe restricted depending on whether the centres are in Level Two or Three, and there are other restrictions.

There are no indoor snow centres in England in Level One.

Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead – Level Two

Snozone, Castelford – Level Three

Snozone, Milton Keynes – Level Two

ChillFactore, Manchester – Level Three

Snowdome – Tamworth – Level Three

No specific mention is made of indoor snow centres in the government’s tier rules, but in Level Three gyms can open and indoor leisure is permitted as long as guests do not mix with other households.

The snow centres have been defined as indoor leisure.

See here for our earlier story:

Indoor and Outdoor Slopes in England Prepare to Reopen

Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead

Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead

Italian Ski Resorts Want to Limit Skiers to Overnight Guests Only

The alpine regions see it as a way to preserve the winter and reduce the spread of Covid-19. The authorities are yet to react.

Under the proposal only people who have booked accommodation or own a holiday home in a resort area would be able to purchase a lift pass.

Italian ski resorts bring in an estimated €11bn a year.

The resorts worry they could lose 60% of their annual business if they are not allowed to open over Xmas and New Year.

The Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, said it is not possible “to allow holidays on the snow. We cannot afford it”. He added that “everything that revolves around holidays on the snow is uncontrollable.”

The proposal comes from the ski regions of Piedmont, the Aosta Valley, Lombardy, Trentino-Alto Adige/Sud Tirol, Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia.

Resorts in Italy remain closed to the general public.

The current lockdown in Italy ends on tomorrow, Thursday December 3rd.

Read more here:

Tuesday 1st December

France Set to to Prevent its Nationals from Skiing in Switzerland

President Macron said he will take measures to dissuade people from skiing in neighbouring Switzerland.

The exact details have not been revealed.

With it looking increasingly likely that French resorts will have to close their lifts over the Xmas period President Macron has said he will take “restrictive and disuassive measures” to prevent French people simply heading to Switzerland to ski.

“If there are countries which keep their ski resorts open, we will have to take control measures,” he said.

He was speaking to reporters after a meeting in Paris with the Belgian Prime Minister.

Details of the measures will be revealed in the coming days.

On Monday the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, had further discussions with representatives from the French mountain communities.

They will meet again on December 11th to “discuss the situation and decide when resorts can reopen”.

The Swiss resorts in the Portes du Soleil ski area are reported to be already planning to pick up skiers in the French resorts and bring them round to the Swiss side.

The Portes du Soleil ski area staddles France and Switzerland.

“We plan to pick up the skiers near Châtel and the other French resorts by bus. We are preparing to absorb part of the French clientele,” said the director of the Portes du Soleil Switzerland, Enrique Caballero.

The French resorts in the Portes du Soleil include Chatel, Morzine, Les Gets and Avoriaz.

The resorts of Champery, Les Crosets and Morgins are in Switzerland.

Read our full story here:

‘We Won’t Give Up’ says Les2Alpes

A demonstration has been held in Les2Alpes.

More than 300 people met with banners saying ‘let us work’.

Les2Alpes wants to convince the government to change its decision and allow ski resorts to open.

Les2Alpes, like many other ski resorts, says it has worked hard to put measures in place to keep the resort Covid safe for the approaching ski season.

The resort opened opened for the summer  from 6 June to 30 August, and then from 17 to 29 October.

The resort says these openings allowed it to test its Covid measures and confirmed that they work as there were no reported clusters.

The French government and mountain representatives will meet again on 11th December to discuss the situation and decide when the resorts can open.

See here for the full story on PlanetSKI.

Some French Resorts Lobby and Protest About Plans to Close Their Ski Lifts

Ski Amis Goes Out of Business

It is the latest UK ski operator to cease trading amid the impac of Covid-19 and tough conditions ahead with Brexit.
“It is with great regret that we have taken the decision to cease trading,” said the company.

Ski Amis specialised in catered chalets and self-catered apartments in France.

It’s been operating in the French Alps since 1989 and has won several awards.

In 2018 it was named Best Chalet and Winter Sports Accommodation Provider at the British Travel Awards.

“We would like to thank all of our loyal clients who have chosen us to take their holidays with over the years, along with the staff who have worked hard to provide our clients with the very best holidays.”

“We have tried very hard throughout this period however unfortunately we are left with no other alternatives but to take this very difficult step and we are so very sorry to everybody affected,” the company added.

It is the latest grim news for the UK snowsports industry as others have gone out of business or limited their winter programme.

Read more here:

Call in Italy for Ski Resort Hotels to be Allowed to Open

Regional leaders are today urging the national government today to allow hotels in ski resorts to open over Christmas and to shut international borders.

The Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, has said only that the resorts will have to shut.

It comes as EU leaders try to seek a coordinated opening of ski resorts in January.

Talks are ongoing this week:

Aosta, Italy

Aosta, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI.

Some French Resorts Lobby and Protest About Plans to Close Their Ski Lifts

A demonstration is being held on Wednesday in Bourg St Maurice in the heart of the French Alps, with the Isere area urging the government to change its mind.

Other ski areas are accepting the situation and moving on.

The authorities say the closure is about stopping hospitals becoming overwhelmed and saving lives.

A final decision will be made in Paris this week as the government has said it wants ski lifts to remain closed until January 10th to battle the spread of Covid-19.

Read more here:

Monday 30th November

Germany Restates Desire to have Coordinated Opening of Europe’s Ski Resorts

The German government has again urged other European Union member states to hold off from opening ski resorts until coronavirus infections have gone down.

A spokesman for the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, said today that European countries should take a co-ordinated approach to relaxing restrictions.

“It doesn’t make sense to undermine national contact restrictions… by starting the ski season too early,” said Steffen Seibert.

We have reported on the issues and the high stakes here:

French Ski Resort Urges Support for Demo Calling for Christmas Opening

Officials in Tignes are encouraging locals to join a demonstration calling on the French government to allow the country’s ski resorts to open fully in time for Christmas.

A statement from the Tignes town hall says it wants to “influence the decision taken by the executive to ban the opening of ski areas”.

The French President Emmanuel Macron said last week that it was impossible to envisage resorts opening in time for the Christmas holidays.

The demonstration, called by the elected officials of the Haute Tarentaise region, will take place in the valley town of Bourg St Maurice at 11.30am on Wednesday morning.

“We ask that the possibility of opening our domains for the Christmas holidays be reconsidered, failing which a clear and definitive date for the opening of our stations, and concrete commitments of aid for our companies, our resident and seasonal workers,” the statement from Tignes adds.

“Together, let us bring the voice of the mountain to the public authorities!”

The call for action follows a decree signed by the Mayor of Tignes, Serge Revial, confirming that all outdoor sport including ski touring, is permissible in the resort during the current restrictions.

French ski areas say they will be open for business in December even if the lifts have to stay shut.

“All outdoor sports and leisure activities in the ski area are permitted from 7:30 am to 2:30 pm every day of the week,” the  Tignes Mayoral decree states.

“Each practitioner must be provided with his exceptional travel certificate set up by the Government.

“Access to the “Double M” piste is prohibited for any practice.

“This decision was made in particular for reasons of safety and conflict of use on the double track M. Access to the glacier can be done through the Génépi sector, under everyone’s responsibility.

“Be careful, good skiing!”

Surge in Infections Feared in USA After Thanksgiving

Infections in the US are expected to increase from an already unprecedented level following the Thanksgiving holiday.

Health officials had encouraged Americans to stay at home over the long weekend but figures show that between 800,000 and 1 million people passed through US airport checkpoints on any day in the past week.

Although that’s lower than the 2 to 3 million in 2019, it’s far higher than the numbers travelling earlier this year when daily totals fell below 100,000.

The top infectious disease expert in the US, Dr Anthony Fauci, said on Sunday that there could be a “surge upon a surge” of  coronavirus infections in the weeks after Thanksgiving, and he did not expect current recommendations around social distancing to be relaxed before Christmas.

The US had 27 consecutive days in November where cases surpassed 100,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

On Sunday 93,238 people were admitted to hospital, the third time this month admissions have gone over 90,0000.

“There’s no way that the hospitals can be fully prepared for what we’re currently facing,” emergency medicine physician Dr. Megan Ranney said at the weekend.

This is like a natural disaster occurring in all 50 states at the same time. There are not adequate beds. There are not adequate staff. And because of the lack of national preparation, there are still not adequate supplies.”

Drive Through Christmas Markets

In Germany, some Christmas markets are going ahead but with a difference.

Most of the country’s festive markets have been cancelled but a few have come up with creative ideas to allow them to open.

They’ve gone ‘Drive-through’.

One in Landshut in the south of the country looks pretty much the same as usual.

There are wooden chalets, fake snow and mulled wine.

But visitors have to stay in their cars as employees wearing face masks serve them with festive treats.

Apparently 500 vehicles turned up on one day at the weekend.

The Local Germany reports that the limits on social gathering have been a huge blow to Germany’s 3,000 or more Christmas markets, which have been annual fixture since the 15th Century.

They usually draw about 160 million visitors annually.

Crucial Week Ahead for Start of Ski Season in the Alps

Some ski nations want the slopes to remain closed until January in a coordinated effort to fight Covid-19.

Others say ‘No Way’.

Talks this week will likely decide the outcome.

If you want to ski we should know soon whether ski resorts will open in December, allowing you and others to hit the slopes over the festive period, have fun and benefit the local snowsports economy.

Or if you prefer them to remain shut as the pandemic is very much around, you’ll find out whether the resorts will remain closed, helping to keep covid-19 at bay, fighting hospitals becoming overrun with patients and saving lives.

The stakes are high and being examined at the very top level of governments across the Alps.

Germany’s Angela Merkel is leading the camp wanting measures in place to keep resorts closed, while at the other end Switzerland is ignoring all calls to shut, saying it is skiing as usual and its Covid-19 measures in place are perfectly fine to stop the spread.

The rest are at varying positions between the two.

Read more here:

Skiing in Switzerland

Skiing in Switzerland. Photo credit – PlanetSKI

World Para Snow Sports Championships in Lillehammer Moved to 2022

The event was due to be held from February 7th 2021 to 20th.

The event has been moved to January 2022 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

This means there will only be a short gap between the end of the event and the start of the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics on March 4th.

The new event is due to join together the Para World Championships for Alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing and snowboard for the first time.

“We were looking forward to the Championships in Lillehammer next year, but we fully support the decision to postpone it to January 2022,” said World Para Snow Sports managing director Christian Holtz.

750 athletes and 30 countries are expected to take part.

World Para Snow Sports Championships

World Para Snow Sports Championships


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 23rd: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

November 16th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

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