Coronavirus Impact on Skiing & Snowboarding
22nd February 2021
Last modified on February 24th, 2021
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
Wednesday 24th February
‘Too Early’ To Book Foreign Holidays, says Home Secretary
The British Home Secretary has said people should not yet be booking holidays abroad.
“It’s too early. It’s far too early,” Priti Patel told the Home Affairs Select Committee.
“We have to look at the data at every single stage and the road map.”
She was asked whether it would be wise to wait until the global task force report to the Prime Minister on 12th April, to book a summer trip.
“It is too early, absolutely. There is a road map… We have to continue with the vaccine rollout. There are four tests that the Prime Minister has outlined that we will need to meet before restrictions change.”
Airlines and tour operators have reported a surge in bookings following the Prime Minister’s statement on Monday.
Boris Johnson gave details of his plan for coming out of lockdown in England gradually over the next four months.
It raised hopes that we might get some glacier skiing in the Alps in the summer or even some late spring turns in Scotland.
Update from Europe
Poland is to unveil regional restrictions to counter a rise in cases since measures were relaxed 12 days ago.
More than 20,000 people flocked to the main ski resort of Zakopane when it reopened, with many ignoring social distancing and other regulations.
We reported on the situation in Poland in this recent overview of the situation in ski resorts across Eastern Europe:
In Sweden the government is expected to toughen nationwide Covid recommendations later.
Several regions have recently stepped up guidelines asking passengers to wear face masks on public transport at all times – not just in rush hour.
Ski resorts in Sweden remain open.
Huge Loss for Heathrow
Heathrow Airport has reported a £2bn annual loss after passenger numbers plummeted during the pandemic.
It says 2020 was the toughest year in its 75-year history and the loss “underlines the devastating impact of Covid-19 on aviation”.
Heathrow’s results contained a warning it may not be able to carry on if passenger numbers remain low.
However, its boss said the airport had enough money to cope until 2023.
John Holland-Kaye has also told the BBC that he thought people would be likely to be able to go on their summer holidays.
Under the UK government’s roadmap out of lockdown, which was published on Monday, international travel could resume in mid-May though it requires countries allowing in UK citizens.
Many in Europe and elsewhere currently do not.
See our report here:
Cases Rise in Austria & More Areas Could Demand FFP2 Masks Are Worn
The masks have been compulsory in ski resorts since the lifts began turning on December 24th.
There has been a rise in cases across the country as some measures have been eased.
The Austrian Health Minister, Rudolf Anschober, has said rules for wearing the mask would be up to state and municipal authorities, but that it was necessary as the country was entering a “risk phase all the way until Easter”.
Cases are on the rise with 134 cases per 100,000 of population over a 7-day period.
“Any mouth and nose protection is good, but the FFP2 mask is massively better,” said the health minister.
FFP2 masks offer better protection against the coronavirus and other pathogens, with up to 94% of aerosols filtered out.
They are made of several layers of fabric and paper, plus have built-in filters.
The masks do not have to be changed daily and can be used several times.
They must not be washed so as not to destroy the filter function.
Read our full story here:
Tuesday 23rd February
Regional Travel Ban Extended in Italy
The new government led by Prime Minister Mario Draghi has extended until 27th March a ban on travel between Italy’s regions.
It will have a significant and continued impact on mountain areas.
It is a further blow for the hopes of some tourism in the mountain regions, and is being done to curb the spread of the virus.
Travel for tourism in Italy remains prohibited.
Last week it was hoped that ski resorts could open and there was hope the regional travel ban would be lifted.
The ski resorts were ordered not to open at the 11th hour.
Now the regional travel ban has been extended.
The new decree also extends a restriction on private visits: no more than two adults and children under 14 can visit another person’s home.
The travel ban had been set to expire on Thursday 25th February.
See here for more:
Parts of Alpes-Maritimes Go into Partial Lockdown at Weekends
The region is seeing the highest rate of cases in France.
The mountains areas, that include the ski resort of Isola 2000 and others, will not have to adhere to the new restrictions being introduced elsewhere in the region.
The area around Nice, which has the highest rate in France, will go into partial lockdown for the next two weekends.
It has more than 700 cases per 100,000 inhabitants – more than three times higher than the national average of 190.
The area has been described as “out of control”.
It had been thought the whole of the Alpes-Maritimes might go under the same measures.
The mountain areas are likely breathing a sigh of relief.
France has the highest number of people in intensive care units since the start of December.
The country is not under national lockdown, but infection rates have stayed high despite an overnight curfew and other curbs.
How will Easing of Lockdown Measures in England Affect the World of Snowsports?
Skiers and snowboarders will be looking at whether it might possible to make some end of season turns or visit the mountains this summer for glacier skiing.
Will we be allowed to enter EU countries and will we need negative tests and/or vaccine passports?
Plus, what will be happening to the indoor snowcentres & the outdoor artificial slopes in England?
Might skiing in Scotland be possible in the Spring?
Snowsport England has welcomed the developments.
“After the PM’s address to the members of parliament we are excited to see the return of our sport,” it said in a statement.
” We see that outdoor activity can start on the 29th of March 2021 and indoor activity no earlier than the 12th of April 2021.
“However, we still do not have the actual detail to what this will look like in terms of restrictions on activity or travel.
“We will be releasing updated guidance when we have confirmation on what can happen.”
See here for our full story:
Monday 22nd February
Engadin to Hold Cross-Country World Cup after Oslo Axes Event Due to Covid-19 Restrictions
Norway is unable to stage any FIS events after entry restrictions were extended by the government.
Switzerland has already staged two Cross-Country World Cup events this season.
The International Ski Federation, FIS, said Swiss-Ski’s “established health concept” would be “the base to ensure a safe field of play”.
“Saturday’s mass start competitions will take place in Surlej and Sunday’s pursuit follows mainly along the profile of the prestigious Engadin Skimarathon course,” said a statement from the International Ski Federation.
The mass start races will take place on March 13th, followed by the pursuit contests on March 14th.
Skiing and Snowboarding Situation in Europe
Some resorts in the Tirol in Austria have re-opened with a Covid-19 negative test required.
Other resorts in Austria remain open for locals only + we look at elsewhere in the Alps, the Pyrenees and Scandinavia.
UK citizens remain unable to travel & likely for some time to come.
One of our readers, Elena Protopopow, was skiing in Berger Alm in the Tirol where free Covid-19 tests were being offered.
“Great snow conditions, perfect weather and also the testing at the mountain station went smoothly and free of charge,” said Elena.
“After 15 minutes you could already start and no streams of visitors. Everything went well and measures were adhered to
See here for our full story:
All Hotel Staff in Wengen Tested for Covid-19
It comes as several cases of the South African and Brazilian variants have been found in the Swiss ski resort.
The spread of the variants will determine whether restrictions can be eased next month.
“Due to the presence of several positive cases of the South African and Brazilian variants among staff at different hotels in Wengen (sequencing still taking place) and given the impossibility of retracing the contamination chains, the cantonal doctor’s service has ordered that every member of hotel staff at the resort should be tested,” said a statement from the cantonal health authorities.
Those tests have been carried out over the weekend, some 300, and currently no positive cases have been detected.
The medical authorities are also encouraging guests at the hotels to get tested.
The authorities are currently considering a relaxation of coronavirus restrictions at the beginning of March.
Much will depend on the spread of the new variants of the virus as ski resorts remain open and the holiday period has its impact.
Read more here:
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:
February 15th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding
February 8th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding
February 1st: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding
January 25th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding
January 18th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding
January 11th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding
January 4th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding
December 28th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding
December 21st: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding
December 14th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding
December 6th : Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding
November 30th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding
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
May 10th: Coronavirus impact on snowsports
April 12th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding
April 5th: Coronavirus impact on snowsports