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Austrian Ski Resorts Welcome Relaxation of Covid Restrictions

It is the last major alpine county to do so and the move brings it more into line with Switzerland, France and Italy. PlanetSKI reports from the Tirol on the welcome change and how hopes are rising for a good end to the season. UPDATED

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It had been a long time coming but finally ski resorts are beginning to feel pretty much like normal.

Gone is the need to show a green pass to buy a lift ticket or to go into restaurants and bars.

No masks are required in the most settings, though they are still required in cable cars and gondolas as they are classed as public transport.

The full details in the Tirol, where PlanetSKI is, can be seen here.

Austria is the last of the major alpine nations to remove many of its covid restrictions.

France still has some but they, too, will go next week.

Kuhtai, Tirol. Image © PlanetSKI

Kuhtai, Tirol. Image © PlanetSKI

Masks off in Kappl. Image © PlanetSKI

Masks off in Kappl. Image © PlanetSKI

“We welcome the changes in Austria and it is very good for our ski resorts,” said Elena Protopopow from the Tirol Tourist Board.

“It is good that all the alpine nations now have broadly the same rules and we look forward to welcoming more British guests in March and April.”

Elena Protopopow, Tirol Tourist Board. Image © PlanetSKI

Elena Protopopow, Tirol Tourist Board. Image © PlanetSKI

PlanetSKI has skied in Italy, France and Switzerland over the past couple of months as Covid rules are relaxed, but there has been nowhere quite like Austria for its enforcement of the rules.

Rules were relaxed on Saturday March 5th, but on Friday March 4th mask wearing in lifts was being rigorously enforced.

We needed our green pass and passport (photo ID) to enter this venue in the ski resort of Lermoos for lunch.

There was a checkpoint in the umbrella bar on the left to access the restaurant building on the right.

Lermoos, Tirol. Image c/o PlanetSKI

Lermoos, Tirol. Image c/o PlanetSKI

It has been similar in Obergurgl, St Anton and other resorts we have visited in the past week or so in Austria.

The other ski resorts in Italy, France and Switzerland certainly showed a less draconian attitude as restrictions were eased a few weeks back.

France will remove some of its last restrictions on Monday 14th March when the requirement to wear masks indoors will go, though they will still be mandatory on public transport including enclosed ski lifts.

On the same day, the need to show a vaccine pass to enter restaurants and bars will go.

Cases numbers are high in all countries, but hospitals are not under intense pressure and Omicron is proving not to be serious for those that have been vaccinated.

48,000 new infections have been announced in Austria, more than at any time since the pandemic began.

More than 2,500 people are being treated in hospital wards and 182 in intensive care.

Overall the Omicron variant has not led to a sharp increase in admissions.

One event that has benefited from the relaxation of rules in Austria is the SIGB Snow Tests taking place this week in Kuhtai in the Tirol.

SIGB Snow Tests, Kuhtai, Tirol. Image © PlanetSKI

SIGB Snow Tests, Kuhtai, Tirol. Image © PlanetSKI

SIGB Snow Tests, Kuhtai, Tirol. Image © PlanetSKI

SIGB Snow Tests, Kuhtai, Tirol. Image © PlanetSKI

The organisers were worried it may not even happen, as there was recently a ban on outdoor gatherings of more than 50 people in Austria.

That was lifted earlier and the final go-ahead for the event only took place 3-weeks ago.

“There was a general uncertainty about whether it would even take place and it is so good to see it in full swing,” said the event organiser, Mike Jardine, to PlanetSKI.

SIGB Snow Tests, Kuhtai, Tirol. Image © PlanetSKI

Mike Jardine, SIGB Snow Tests, Kuhtai, Tirol. Image © PlanetSKI

There are 18 ski brands present, 3 snowboard brands and a number of other suppliers.

“Kuhtai has been brilliant in working with us to arrange everything at the very last moment and it is great to see many of the restrictions lifting last weekend and as our event got underway.”

The event is about more than just testing skis, snowboards and equipment.

It sees the GB snowsports industry come together.

“It is fabulous just to be back out in the mountains as an industry, meeting colleagues and talking snowsports once again and the easing of restrictions in Austria has allowed that to happen,” said Tord Nilson from Volkl skis to the PlanetSKI editior, James Cove.

SIGB Snow Tests, Kuhtai, Tirol. Image © PlanetSKI

Tord & James. SIGB Snow Tests, Kuhtai, Tirol. Image © PlanetSKI

“The easing of restrictions here in Austria has certainly helped the event and we can even test out a few beers too,” added Tord.

SIGB Snow Tests, Kuhtai, Tirol. Image © PlanetSKI

SIGB Snow Tests, Kuhtai, Tirol. Image © PlanetSKI

We have reported on the SIGB Snow Tests in our updated snow report, that includes James testing some Volkl Race Tigers and the Elan Wingman – see here for that report.

It is hoped the easing of restrictions in Austria will help the end of the season, which some say is one of the best times of the season to ski.

We can only agree.

Here’s Wilma Himmelfreundpointner from the tourist office in St Anton.

Related Stories:

Austria has decided to suspend the order for compulsory Covid-19 vaccinations for people over 18-years of age.

The government now says it considers it disproportionate to the threat posed by the Omicron variant.

Remaining restrictions, except for rules on masks, are expected to be lifted on 20th March.

We do our very best at PlanetSKI to ensure the information provided here is as complete and up-to-date as possible. However, please be aware that we assume no liability in this respect. Information provided by PlanetSKI should be checked with the official information provided by the authorities. The situation regarding travel warnings and local rules changes quickly.

Kappl, Tirol. Image © PlanetSKI

Kappl, Tirol. Image © PlanetSKI

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